I’ve recognized two types of people when it comes to the idea of reducing plastic. The first are those who look at it with trendy eyes, think of it as a fad and believe it’s a glamorous adventure. The second are those who think it’s too hard, too expensive and shut down the idea.
Which group are you in?
I was in the first group for quite some time. I had the idea that going plastic-free was something that I could do to create a status for myself. I thought that if I did it right I would somehow have a more beautiful looking life. It sounds crazy saying these things (or typing them) outloud.
Now being roughly 2 years in on this journey, I’ve been able to meet in the middle of these two groups of people. I’m not perfect and I have a long way to go and a lot more to learn, but I can confidently say that reducing plastic is not glamorous and on the reverse side it’s affordable and it’s not as hard as it seems.
Reducing plastic in your home and life is a daily choice and I want to share a few things that have helped me over the last couple of years. I’ve narrowed it down to 3 ways to help you reduce plastic. Here we go:
1) Start & Stay Small. For those of you who tend to think black and white (raising my hand here), try to think more in color and outside the box. Personally, if I’m going to embark on something I dive in head first, but I quickly learned that reducing plastic is a lifestyle change and change takes time. So start small. Think of 1 thing a month you can ditch and switch, maybe it’s only 1 thing this coming year – either way you’re doing good! A few items we replaced first were water bottles and plastic baggies. We now use reusable (non-plastic) water bottles, Stasher Bags and Beeswax wraps. Since you’re going to start small with just a few things, remember these things are an investment, so you can stay small and minimal (especially because they’re reusable). Also meaning, they may seem like a lot of money at first, but they’re an investment so you’ll save money (and your health and the world) in the long run!
2) It’s A Process. I used to think I had to get rid of everything all at once: plastic baggies, Tupperware, other containers, etc. I wanted to throw them away and start fresh. Again, for those who are either all in or all out, try to settle for the in between and enjoy the journey. It’s took me nearly two years to get rid of plastic wrap and all my Tupperware, you have time.
3) Say No! This takes discipline. When you’re at a coffee shop, restaurant, or the like, simply say no. Say no to a plastic straw, to plastic cups for water, to single-use items like coffee cups. Instead, remember to bring your own! My husband and I try to bring coffee mugs wherever we go and we always have our reusable water bottles on-hand. Even when we travel (mainly on road trips), we choose to pack a zero-waste kit. A few other ideas: use mason jars for food storage or leftovers, bring a reusable bag to the grocery store (or use paper bags) and begin using mesh produce bags.
What is one thing you’re going to do this coming year to reduce plastic?