Living a plastic-free life is something we should all be interested in achieving. But starting to figure out how we can make this change can be difficult. You might think that if you’re only one of a few people trying to reduce the use of plastic — wrong! Furthermore, you probably think it won’t make a difference, but you couldn’t be more wrong, again.
Every little bit counts and makes a difference as plastic is one of the most harmful materials to our beautiful environment. It doesn’t decompose, which means it will have both short term and long term effects on the planet. From endless plastic water bottles and grocery bags to clothes hangers and dog bowls, this harmful material is everywhere. Keep reading to learn some simple ways to live with less plastic.
We Tend To Depend On Plastic
We have become very dependent on plastic as a society because it is cheap and easy to mold and use. Leading a plastic-free life is a lot more challenging, but its effects would genuinely benefit our planet and make it a better place to live.
Going plastic-free sounds intimidating, but you can start small. Making a slight change in your life when it comes to plastic can have a significant effect. So, how do you start living your plastic-free life? Here are some great tips on how to start.
The journey to a plastic-free life isn’t going to be easy, but there are ways to start making changes in your life and home to help you get used to the idea and learn how to incorporate it into your lifestyle.
To inspire you on your plastic-free journey, let’s find out some of the best parts about living a plastic-free life instead of focusing on the tough transition. Firstly and most obviously – you will be making a positive impact on the earth.
You can rest easy at night knowing that you are making a positive change for our planet now and leaving a better future for all the generations that will come after us. Imagine cleaner oceans, less waste in landfills, and decreasing the effects of global warming.
If that doesn’t already inspire you, maybe knowing that you will be setting an example for people around you will. Be the plastic-free role model for your friends and family. Teach them ways to make the change and lead by example.
By inspiring others to go plastic-free, the growth of change around the world will become exponential, and we will start to see a difference in our planet. It’s a snowball effect, so start inspiring people as soon as you finish reading this.
When other people see you living your plastic-free life, they could be inspired to do the same. It is also an achievement that you can be proud of and know that you are making a difference and contributing to our planet’s future.
Apart from improving conditions in the world around us, you will be making a positive change for your body too. Living without plastic is so good for you because it generally means you are eating fresher food instead of packaged and processed food.
You may even lose some weight when you move over to the plastic-free life because this lifestyle lends itself to fresher and healthier foods. There are many positives for making this change in your lifestyle.
If you had to sit down right now and make a list of what you buy when you go grocery shopping and how much of it is in plastic, it would be pretty much everything on your list. So, one of the hardest things can be found in alternative products that are plastic-free.
Because of this, you need to understand that it will not be an overnight change from plastic to no plastic. You will need to shop around and find other grocery stores that you can buy products that don’t come in plastic packaging.
Do your research and find places that offer this. You can even try to find a community in your area that is going plastic-free, and they would be more than happy to provide you with names and ideas of places where you can shop plastic-free.
This action might even inspire you to get creative and do some DIY to create containers that you can use when going shopping that allow you to do it without using plastic. It even extends to creating your cleaning products instead of buying them.
The first thing you might want to do when you make this change is to throw away all of the plastic in your house. You don’t need to do this action because it is just a myth about plastic-free living. You don’t have to replace all of these plastic items right away.
Instead, focus on not bringing in any new plastic items into your home. When you throw away plastic, it will just end up in the landfill again and harm the earth. So, rather keep it in your home and get creative with it by putting it to use.
Another myth is that you have to do it all at once and go 100% plastic-free. This idea is something you should avoid because it is quite an overwhelming process, and we don’t want this to deter you from doing the good you wanted to.
Instead of doing that, here are some easy ways that you can start to make the change in your life and in your home that will make this process seem a lot more manageable and achievable. Start simply with your shopping bags.
Instead of paying for a new plastic shopping bag every time you buy groceries and then just sticking them in the cupboard, take reusable bags. You can purchase reusable bags at quite a few grocery stores these days too.
You can even order some online. Make sure you take 3-4 of these bags with you when you go and do your shopping. You’ll soon get into the habit of it, and that’s a great place to start with your plastic-free lifestyle.
You could also make sure that you leave a few reusable bags in your car or even in your bag so that you are never without them and have extra in case you do some unplanned shopping or if you just forget them at home before you are in the habit of it.
Next up, it’s time to make a list. This list will be of all the things you buy that have plastic. Seeing this list will make you take a step back and realize just how much plastic you use daily.
Once you’ve made this list, you should choose three of the most straightforward items to replace. It could be as simple as your fruit. Instead of buying a bag of apples, rather go to a fresh grocer and pick out apples and put them in a reusable bag.
Instead of buying prepackaged meat, you could go to a butcher and ask them to put them in your own container that you have brought with you. Whatever you find the easiest to replace, these are the ones you should focus on at first.
It may seem silly, but you should also write down why you have decided to make this change. If you are someone who enjoys vision boards or manifesting, this will make the transition feel real.
You could leave this message somewhere you will see it often so that when you are finding the change a bit challenging, you will be reminded why you set out to do this in the first place. You could get everyone in your family to write their reasons and support each other in the process.
As a family or an individual, you could decide to cut the frozen meals from your diet. Most frozen meals come in plastic containers as they are cheap and easy to reheat for your convenience.
Removing this might cause you to use a bit more time in preparing meals from scratch, but this will drastically reduce your plastic use, and as a bonus, you will be eating healthier and more wholesome meals that your body will thank you.
Instead of going to a conventional grocery store, make a trip and go to the farmer’s market. The great thing about the farmer’s market is that they offer seasonal and fresh produce that is of excellent quality and better than what you’d find in the supermarket.
The produce in a farmer’s market will have just been harvested or picked, which means it will last longer. You might also notice that the prices are better at the farmer’s market, so that you will be saving some money on food.
We all know that we enjoy getting a coffee cup when we are out and running errands. These single-use coffee cups are bad for the environment, and yet we use them daily. This trend is something you can change today.
Order yourself a reusable coffee cup that you can take everywhere with you and use it to get your coffee. Many coffee stores now sell their own reusable containers, and some even offer a small discount when you use your own cup.
Just like buying a reusable coffee cup, you should also buy a reusable drinking bottle. We tend always to purchase a plastic bottle of water that we only end up throwing away. Buy yourself a stainless steel or glass bottle to use.
Plastic leaks into your drink sometimes, so using a stainless steel or glass bottle will prevent this from happening. You might even taste that the water or whatever liquid inside has a cleaner taste to it – make this change today.
Another simple change to make is with your soap. Liquid hand washing soap is convenient, but it also comes in a plastic bottle. If you have one that is refillable, this is better than nothing, and that’s a small change you’ve already made.
Something else you could do is buy a bar of soap instead of the liquid in the plastic bottle. It may be a bit messier, but doing a little more cleaning to lead a plastic-free lifestyle isn’t a big deal, and you’ll be better for doing this.
Our shopping habits are something that we can change along with the activities that use the most plastic. Identify these and begin to choose a few items to make this change. You can do this with milk in the beginning.
Let’s go back to the good old days of milk in a glass bottle. Did you know that there are boutique dairy’s popping up all over, and they now offer their milk in glass containers that you can return for a deposit?
You can also buy beer and spirits in glass bottles. Choose these over cans, and that is already a significant achievement and change in your life. Once you’ve used the bottles – don’t throw them away, find a purpose for them in your home.
You could even start to brew your beverages at home and store them in these old bottles. You could also make Kombucha, and you could recycle your beer bottles and place it in here. The options are endless.
Something else to consider is growing your produce. Since we are spending a bit more time at home these days, it could be a great hobby to get involved. Start your herb garden or vegetable garden.
By growing these items in your home, you won’t have to buy them at the store, which means less packaging. It will also be so much fresher and tastier when you’ve put love and hard work into growing these items yourself.
Last but not least, for your shopping changes, start to buy fresh bread from local bakeries in your area. It smells incredible, but you will also be supporting a local business and not having to buy something wrapped in plastic.
Store-bought bread is often wrapped in plastic to keep it fresh. Local bakeries offer their bread in paper or sometimes no packaging at all. You could even start to make your bread at home if you don’t have a bakery within walking distance.
Next up is how you consume your food and how to eliminate plastic use in this area of your life. The first simple way is to always keep reusable utensils on you when you go to work in case you happen to need them.
Sometimes if you have a lunch provided by your workplace, they may only offer plastic utensils to use that will be thrown away after. If you have a set of reusable tools, you can avoid having to use the plastic product.
Prepare your lunch for your day ahead. Instead of buying a prepackaged sandwich every day for lunch, make your own at home and bring it with you in a reusable container. It will also end up saving you money in the long run.
If you don’t have a container, you could even pack your sandwiches and snacks into reusable lunch wraps. You can easily order this online and use them for a variety of food items that need some sort of packaging.
There is nothing better than takeout after a long day or even getting to take home leftovers after a delicious meal. This food is going to be packaged for you in plastic, and there is a way to avoid this as well.
You could bring your reusable container for them. More and more restaurants are joining this movement and are impressed by the customers who bring in their own containers.
Another reusable item that you should take with you everywhere is a straw. The use of straws are banned in some places, so if you like to use a straw, you’re going to need to take your own one with you.
There are a variety of reusable straws available, and this includes stainless steel, glass, and even bamboo straws. They come in a small bag with a cleaner so that you can keep it in your bag and take it with you.
Now it’s time to re-evaluate the use of plastic around your home. Start by thinking about your trash. We use so many trash bags throwing away things such as plastic, leftover food, and items we have used.
Think about starting to use your food waste as a form of compost. You’ll notice a reduction in the amount of trash bags you need because most things we throw away into the rubbish can be recycled.
When it comes to home cleaning products, this is also something to evaluate and change. Mold is something that inevitably grows in bathrooms, but instead of using chemicals, try out some clove essential oil as a natural but effective way of dealing with this.
You could also use water and vinegar to clean your surfaces. It is an amazing alternative to the single-use plastic bottles of chemical cleaners. Not only will it reduce your single-use plastics, but it will also be better for your home and health.
You should also replace the items that you wash your dishes with — the plastic-handled sponge! Find a dish brush that has natural material bristles and a wooden handle. This small change is impressive and will reduce the amount of plastic you throw away when you replace the brush.
It is simple to clean and disinfect this wooden brush by just using some liquid soap and vinegar. You just need to leave it to soak in the solution for an hour and then finish it off by rinsing it with hot water and letting it dry.
Speaking of a wooden brush, you could also change your plastic hairbrush for a wooden hairbrush or comb. This product is also great for your hair as the natural wooden bristles condition your hair as they distribute your hairs oils to the hair shaft.
Another bonus of using a wooden brush is no more static. We all know that feeling of irritation when our hair looks like it has been electrocuted. Well, you can say goodbye to that when you purchase a natural hairbrush.
It’s time to go old-fashioned with this one and recycle and old trend – we’re talking about handkerchiefs. These might seem like an outdated tissue, but they are better for you than you could have ever thought.
By having a reusable handkerchief, you no longer need to buy tissues, which means less plastic when you are shopping. Did you know that single-use tissues have some plastic in them, so you should avoid these?
We know you like to take good care of your teeth, and this involves flossing daily. Unfortunately, dental floss comes in plastic packaging, and it isn’t precisely reusable, so what are you meant to do while still maintaining good oral hygiene?
There are sustainable dental floss options that don’t come in the plastic packaging. There are quite a few brands that offer great opportunities for you and some benefits to your teeth’ health.
Receiving junk mail is the worst because you just end up with piles of unwanted paper or even some items that are in plastic packaging. There is a simple way to stop this irritating issue from happening, and it will reduce your paper and plastic waste.
Simply put a “No Junk Mail” sign or sticker by your mailbox. This action alerts people to the fact that you will not accept that type of mail, and by doing this, you are reducing the amount of paper and plastic in your household.
Another mail hack that you may want to try to reduce your overall paper and plastic usage is to switch over to paperless billing. Instead of receiving all your bills in the mail, ask companies to send them to your email address instead.
The business will thank you for this because mailing out bills is an expense to them. You should also do this in stores when they ask you if you want your receipt to be emailed to you – it is a bit more time consuming, but you should do it!
Your pets are also something to consider – no, we aren’t saying they are recyclable! But some of the products you are using for them should be replaced. Think about when you take your dog for a walk, and you pack your plastic doggy bags.
This carelessness amounts to many plastic doggy bags each year, yet there are some great alternatives for you to try. You could use old newspapers that you have, or you could purchase the compostable dog waste bags that many companies offer as an eco-friendly option for pet owners.
How do you food your pet? Is their water bowl or food bowl plastic? Make the change to stainless steel or porcelain instead. This option is also healthier for your pet because there will be no leached chemicals from their plastic bowls.
When it comes to their food, you should also consider buying it in bulk to purchase fewer plastic bags filled with their food. It’s also quite an affordable thing to do in the long run.
Other things you should be looking at are their pet toys and their furniture. Are they made of plastic? Instead, purchase natural toys such as things made from hemp, and they also prove to be a more durable and sustainable toy.
Pet owners should also look at using natural cat litter. There are recycled wood chips that can be used for pet litter, and many companies are starting to sell more natural and less plastic and chemicalized products for pet litter.
When it comes to your clothing, try to find biodegradable clothes or made from natural fibers. The quality of these clothes will be much better than fast fashion pieces that will fall apart quickly and be bad for the environment.
You can buy clothing from hemp or bamboo, and these fiber fabrics are amazing for the environment, and they will last you forever as well. Do some research on shops like this that are available to order from or in your area.
Minimizing your plastic usage may have seemed like a daunting task before you finished reading this, but you’ve probably already thought of a few things you can change in your life that will make a big impact.
Remember to start small and work your way up so that this is an achievable goal. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your plastic-free lifestyle. Educate yourself, find sustainable alternatives, and encourage people to follow in your footsteps.