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A Plastic Free Lifestyle is the Ultimate Life Hack

Plastic Free July Foundation’s mission is to build a global movement that dramatically reduces plastic use and improves recycling. They are calling for all global citizens to collectively address the world’s greatest environmental challenges, plastic waste! The Plastic Free July campaign raises awareness of our growing plastic waste problem and promotes change by helping people to avoid single-use (disposable) plastic. hannahpad supports the movement, by switching to reusable pads we can decrease the amount of plastic that ends up in landfills. 

According to the ABC News the average Australian woman uses around 10,000-12,000 disposable menstrual products in their lifetime, and these products take centuries to break down! [1] Last Plastic Free July, we (hannahpad Aus & NZ) stopped sending out plastic ziplock bags with every order. A move we felt we had to make because every small change makes a huge difference.
We have asked the hannahpad team questions about what they do to positively impact the environment and how they reduce their use of plastic! These plastic free hacks can be incorporated into your lifestyle making routines easier as you'll always know exactly what you need to use without the hassle of dealing with and tossing out waste.

Winnie's essentials to reducing waste in her daily routine. Her fave is the pela iPhone case, a case that she'll never have to change because there's none like it. 

What inspired you to start making a difference to the environment? When did this happen?

Katie: When I turned vegan around 3 years ago I learned a lot about our impact on the environment and I realised that I wanted to make a difference!

Tammy: I was brought up in an environment where sustainability is important. The realisation came when I knew the problem is much more serious when I watched documentaries centered on eco-issues, such as ‘Cowspiracy’ and ‘How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can't Change’. 

Winnie: Growing up, we learned the importance of disposing trash and recycling properly in school. Over the years I grew increasingly guilty and conscious of my waste contribution as I witnessed how easy it was for people to toss their trash on the ground without a thought and birds picking at that same trash. 

Bec: I started doing research on animal cruelty and learned about the impacts this was having on the environment and inspired me to change my lifestyle.

Jenny: My switch to hannahpads (cloth pads) opened me up to so many other alternatives that I can swap to in order to contribute less waste to the environment.

Marcus: In 2013 my wife and I were working as cabin crew. We were exposed to double the radiation and triple on US flights due to the flight route over the North Pole. We also worked out that Jenny was putting over 200 chemicals on her body everyday. We decided that this type of life was not healthy and products we had to use were also not healthy.  That was the start of our journey. We also saw how much waste was being created with every flight.  This included food waste and recycle waste that was ending up in landfill. Then decided that we wanted to start our business that would benefit both people’s health and also the environment… so comes hannahpad.

Must-haves according to Aussie Padman (Marcus- Director of hannahpad Aus & NZ): Safety razor and reusable straws. 

 What are some of your favourite ways to reduce plastic?

Katie: I always carry my glass drink bottle around with me everywhere I go, also a tote bag!

Tammy: Buying my pantry at bulk shops (seeds, grains, dry fruit), farmers markets, choosing fresh veggies and fruits instead of packaged foods in supermarket, BYO-ing bags and bottle (seriously BYO for everything).

Winnie: No more plastic bottles for me- always a reusable bottle, flask and cup. Beyond that I love my reusable shopping and produce bags. They live in my bag and in the car so I’m never without them when I decide to go on a grocery run before/after work.

Bec: I love doing my fruit and vegetable shopping at markets or fruit and veg shops that don’t individually package items in plastic. Taking your own bags for spinach for example is great too because you get to choose the exact amount you take and don’t need a plastic bag. Shopping at bulk bin stores is great too for all the other pantry items like oats and pasta without using plastic.

Jenny: When I go shopping I use my own eco bag to carry my groceries.

Marcus: First thing we did to reduce plastic was to change over from single use plastic bags to multiple use bags and tote bags.  We also have reusable water bottles and coffee cups to avoid single-use plastic.

Reusable and biodegradable is the name of the game with all this wonderful stuff Katie has in her collection.  

What are some of your favourite plastic-free products?

Katie: hannahpads of course! Tote bags and my bamboo toothbrush.

Tammy: hannahpad, tote bags, water bottle, bamboo brush, bamboo straw…

Winnie: My favourite at the moment is my new pela iPhone case because unlike other phone cases I’ve had, this one is made from renewable starch and natural fibres and makes this awesome case compostable. Yes, there is such a thing as a sustainable, eco-friendly phone case. Find out more here. When you search the internet for alternative solutions, you’ll be surprised by the great ideas some of these green companies have come up with. Just amazing!

Bec: I love the Lush shampoo bars because they’re a great product without the plastic bottles! I also made the switch to skin care products that I can refill at a local store which is helping reduce the waste in the rest of my routine.

Jenny: My hannahpads because they have completely changed my life and reduced my period waste. I’ve tossed nothing out since managing my periods with hannahpads.

Marcus: My favourite plastic-free product is my Rockwell safety razor.  It has no plastic and uses replaceable steel blades that are 100% recyclable.  It took a few shaves to get used to, however, I could never turn back. 

Bec will never go back to disposable versions of these products ever again.  


What are some easy things to-do that you recommend to other people to reduce plastic waste?

Katie: Shop local at farmer's markets and health and organic stores to avoid buying and collecting plastic packaging. This way you can bring your own bags and reusable bottles/jars when grocery shopping. 

Tammy:

  • Bring your own water bottle, bags, just keep them in your bag at all times.
  • Be aware of the plastic material that you’ll use in every purchase.
  • Follow some of eco-friendly organisations on social media as reminders

Winnie: Start small. Refuse single-use plastic bags and straws whenever you’re out. The simple act of refusing can save tonnes of plastic from ending in landfills and waterways. From there re-evaluate other types of plastics you come across and slowly swap them out for reusable options.

Bec: Honestly just start with taking your green bags to the supermarket and then once you realise how easy it is you can add other habits like taking your green bags to the shopping centre to reduce the amount of plastic bags you receive from clothes shops for example. I still have a while to go before I’m completely plastic free but it’s all about changing habits and it may not seem like a big deal but in the long run it all adds up.

Jenny: Be proactive and search for alternatives that can be incorporated into your daily life. There are so many companies committed to eco-solutions that they’re only a click away online. Do the research and you’ll find something that you’ll be happy to spend your hard-earned money on and lasts for years.

There are so many ways to go plastic free this July. We hope that by sharing what we use and how we started that you’ll rethink the growing plastic waste issue and make permanent changes for a better future. 

 
Just a few of Jenny's favourite things that she uses on the daily. Easy swaps that you can also begin with.

[1] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-27/which-period-product-is-best-for-the-environment/9090658

July 05, 2018 — hannahpad Australia & New Zealand