How do you achieve a plastic free lifestyle that’s a bit friendlier to our planet? Well, actually there are many things you can do. I tried to tackle all the different areas all at once in an effort to be an exceptional citizen. But it left me feeling overwhelmed and like I wanted to give up.
The key, I found, is to start small and, once your comfortable with the changes, grow. A great place to start is with a plastic free lifestyle. Here’s how:
Plastic Free Shopping
First step to a plastic free lifestyle: get a reusable fabric shopping bag.
Nowadays, you can buy bags made from recycled materials and colorful materials in all shapes and sizes. They’re available almost everywhere.
Off course, you don’t need to buy one if you don’t want to. You can try your hands at making your very own, personalized bag. It’s actually a lot easier than you think. Check out my tutorial on making a shopping bag from an old t-shirt here.
Don’t forget about the plastic bags you already have gathering dust in some cupboard at home. Reuse them over and over. The point is to keep these bags out of landfills and by reusing them you are doing just that. Have some in your car, handbag, travel bag, picnic bag, gym bag. You never know when you might need one.
FRUIT AND VEG WITHOUT PLASTIC
The modern world is filled with convenience. Pre-cooked. Pre-cut. Pre-packed. Our busy lifestyles demand it. Unfortunately this makes it rare to find a grocer selling fruit and veggies individually displayed to pick and choose from.
Also, keep in mind that supermarkets have to consider how practical it actually is to stock loose fruit and veggies.
Imagine how many hands will touch a single piece of package free fruit before it’s sold.
Unfortunately, there aren’t alternative solutions for every problem yet. But, if enough people demand change, it will happen.
In the meantime, embrace the plastic free lifestyle by taking your mesh shopping bags with you and tell your local grocer what you want. If you don’t have mesh shopping bags yet, you can buy some in my online shop.
Look into alternative ways of shopping. What’s more convenient than placing your order online and receiving locally grown, fresh, plastic free produce delivered right to your doorstep? Check out Farm Fresh Online and The Munching Mongoose in Gauteng, the Veg Box Company in KZN and Wild Organic Foods in the Western Cape.
PLASTIC FREE PICNICS AND WORK LUNCHES
Plastic straws may not be the bulk of the problem. And one straw may or may not make a difference. However, we need to raise awareness about the effects our carefree, convenient way of life has on the planet.
Plastic straws are as good a place as any to start broadcasting the message.
If you can raise awareness by simply doing something differently, why not?
The point is to encourage educated choices. In other words, if you don’t need something, refuse it. If there’s a simple solution to be less wasteful (i.e. your own steel straws or cutlery), do it.
It will take some planning in the beginning, but once you’re settled into your plastic free lifestyle, it’s easy.
If you’re really in a pickle and have no choice but to use plastic, at least dispose of it correctly. To be clear, by ‘correctly’ I mean put it in the recycling bin.
You CAN make a difference. Start a revolution! Get your own stainless steel straw with handy carry pouch from my shop.
CHOOSE PLASTIC FREE ALTERNATIVES
Again, the emphasis is on making better choices.
Almost all products available at supermarkets are wrapped or packaged in plastic. Choose glass or tin wherever you can. Not only is plastic bad for the environment, but it can only be recycled a couple of times. Glass and tin can be recycled endlessly.
Another way is to buy bulk. Reducing 12 shampoo bottles per year to 4 or 5 shampoo bottles per year makes a difference.
Or take a big step. Start (or should I say go back to) using soap bars. There are many local small businesses selling artisan soaps and shampoo bars. If you’re interested, check out The Soap Room, Pure Simple and Pure Primal or search for a soap that ticks all your boxes.
Lastly, get a bamboo toothbrush. Its the 21 century and we’re still picking up trash from the 1950’s. Our plastic will be around for our great-great-great-grand-kids to deal with. Swap out plastic wherever you can. Click here to buy a bamboo toothbrush from my shop.
These are just a couple of easy switches you can make to start your plastic free lifestyle. Once you’ve started, you’ll see it get’s easier and easier. Let the picture above be a reminder of why it’s important. Do it for yourself, your children and most importantly do it for the planet and all it’s inhabitants.
If you’re interested in getting your hands on some plastic free alternatives, check out the products available in my shop. If you’re looking for more tips and advice or if you just want to follow my journey, like my Facebook page or follow me on Instagram.