There is a lot of buzz recently about living a plastic-free life. But the question that is often posed is “Is that even possible?” Is there really a way to live your life completely without plastic? Wwii, there are many who will say that it absolutely is and just as many that will say it’s not at all possible. But the reality is, whether possible or not, we can all do our part to use a bit less every day and get closer to that plastic-free goal.
It’s not easy, as it requires a lot of changes, but if you take it to step by step and look at it as a process, not a destination to be reached, you’ll do much better. So, here are some starter tips that will get you going on your plastic-free journey.
Take a Look at Your Trash
No, seriously, take a look. The first step to figuring out how you can best help the planet is figuring out where it is that you use the most plastic, and the answer lies in your trash can. Is it food wrapping? Toiletries? Bags? You can’t improve until you know where you need to improve, and becoming aware of the things you need to change will make you think twice before you buy that thing that is wrapped in three layers of plastic.
Carry a Water Bottle
The first switch most people make and the one that is perhaps the easiest, but very useful, is to carry with you a reusable water bottle. This is not only healthier, but it will reduce your costs, as it is free to fill up the bottle at any tap. The main thing here is to get in the habit of carrying it with you. If you don’t have it in your bag and you get thirsty - you’ll cave and buy a plastic bottle. So just keep it in your bag and it will become hard to leave home without it very soon. There are many alternatives to plastic bottles that you can try, like thermoses, glass bottles, stainless steel, and even ones made out of reusable plastic. Find one that is small enough and convenient enough for you, and make sure it’s safe for reuse.
Carry a Tote
No matter where you go, carry an extra tote bag with you in case you pop into a shop. Plastic bags are the devil, and you really want to cut them out of your life completely. Use the reusable tote wherever you go shopping, and carry smaller mesh bags for produce. You can find bags that fold into almost nothing and can fit into any handbag, so you really have no excuse. If you want to make the argument that you need plastic bags because you reuse them for other things - you probably have plenty of them lying around the house. In addition to that, many things we think we need them for - we actually don’t. You don’t have to line your bins with a bag - you can take the entire bin out and empty it directly.
Bring Your Food with You
A lot of the plastic waste we throw away is wraps from the food we get on the go. The alternative to this is simple - bring the food with you. If you prepare food at home and store it in reusable containers - like glass jars or reusable boxes - it won’t only be cost-effective, but it will be a lot healthier, as you’ll be preparing the food yourself and you can control what goes in it.
One of the areas where we tend to completely forget about being eco-friendly is when we buy things for other people. Not only do we buy gifts that might contain plastic packaging or are single-use items, but we also wrap it in a plastic-lined paper that is thrown away as soon as the gift is opened up. Instead, you can buy a gift that promotes a plastic-free life, like a handmade local soap, or a reusable coffee mug and wrap it in a bag that can be used many times over, or in some butcher’s paper that you can decorate, however, you like and later compost.
Going zero to a hundred is never a good idea, as you’ll most likely stumble, fall, and give up altogether. But if you focus on the small changes and adopt them first, and then find a community that supports you in your low-waste journey, it will be so much easier to make bigger and more “drastic” changes down the line.