Plastic-Free Lifestyle Tips
Plastic can now be found on every single beach in the world. Each day, approximately 8 million pieces of plastic pollution make their way into our oceans. Recent studies have shown plastic pollution to be in 100% of marine turtles, 59% of whales, 36% of seals, and 40% of seabirds.
In February, I began my journey to live plastic-free and I coined it “Plastic-Free February”. Now, I’m going to be completely honest and let you know that it was, unfortunately not 100% plastic free. In fact, it was really hard.
Most people living in the western world today, including myself, have been conditioned to a single-use, instant gratification society. We were born and raised with drive-thru’s, plastic cups and straws, and to-go containers. We don’t have to wait more than 5 minutes for a meal if we don’t want to and can take our coffee anywhere we’d like.
But now we are seeing that this way of living is having horrific, devastating effects on our planet. While some may not believe in global warming, NO ONE can deny the devastating effects on our oceans and the life that lives in them. We are seeing mass amounts of turtles with straws caught up their noses, fish and seabirds with bellies full of plastic pieces, and coral reefs that are dying and disappearing. My heart breaks writing this.
We have no option - Single-use plastics have got to go and recycling programs have got to be streamlined. Because, side note, if you think that the plastic your recycling is actually getting recycled, you could be wrong. In the U.S., recycling has gone haywire. We used to send a majority of our recycling to China, but a year ago they banned it, so now cities across the U.S. are in crisis while dealing with piles and piles of plastic without the proper systems in place to recycle it.
When I optimistically went into my Plastic-Free February, I was excited, but this excitement quickly turned to sadness and anger. It’s pretty crazy how as soon as your turn your attention to something, you start to see it everywhere. My first trip to the grocery store, was jaw-dropping. Yes, I had noticed all of the packaging of products, but not REALLY, until then. My favorite Almond butter? Plastic jar. Tamari? Plastic screw top. Cashew Milk? Plastic screw top. Hummus and salsa? PLASTIC. Plastic and other single-use material EVERYWHERE. 😭
So, I mean, it’s really hard to live plastic-free, but we all have a responsibility to start to change our habits. Imagine if we all just cut our plastic use in half? What if we reused jars and tubs and made our own salsa and hummus at home? This would make a massive difference.
so, Before I get into tips for going plastic-free, here are the biggest benefits that I’ve seen in my life so far.
It teaches you to slooooow down.
Part of the reason so many people are suffering from anxiety is because of the constant go, go, go society that we live in. Rather than taking my coffee to-go, I’ve been trying to drink my coffee at the coffee shop, or at least use my reusable mug. I’m also working towards making more of my own sauces and sides like hummus, salsa, cashew cream, etc. rather than buying them in their plastic containers from the store.
You’ll save $$$.
Making your own sides and sauces and making your own coffee/tea at home will save you a ton of money overtime.
You become more conscious.
I personally do not want to be in the dark. Especially about things that affect this beautiful world that we live on that sustains the entire human race and other living creatures. Every step that you take down this path will wake you up. For me, it has inspired me to try and help the cause by continuing to change my personal habits and by helping others to become more aware.
You feel amazing!
Knowing that you are doing the right thing and helping the earth and other living beings feels fucking AMAZING. It just does.
6 Ways to start living Plastic-Free:
REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE - In that order! First reduce the amount of plastic that you buy, then save containers you do buy and reuse them. Instead of making recycling your go-to, make it the last stop on that list. Also, take some time to learn about the recycling system in your community to make sure that what you put into your recycling bin is actually getting recycled.
Purchase a reusable water bottle and a metal or glass coffee mug if you like to buy coffee out. I have one for my iced coffee and one for my hot coffee and tea. I got both off of Amazon and they are amazing.
Purchase & use metal, glass, or bamboo straws, as well as reusable fabric grocery bags, mesh produce bags, and dry goods bags. Stores like Sprouts are even making dry goods bags available for purchase right in the store. Buying from the bulk bins is not only great for the environment, but great for your wallet. Here is a great list of 26 Plastic-Free Essentials by One Green Planet that will get you set up for success.
Bring your own to-go utensils. Again, you can get them off of Amazon. I love this bamboo set that I got a few months ago. Keep it with you at all times, especially while traveling!
Use body care and beauty products that don’t come in plastic containers. This trend is, thankfully, on the rise and something that I am personally still working on incorporating into my life. Switch to natural bar soaps and shampoos and conditioners. Companies like Lush make shampoo and conditioner bars that you can store in their reusable metal containers. There are also many eco-friendly makeup brands that use biodegradable or re-fillable containers. Here is a great list of Affordable Zero Waste Beauty Products from The Green Hub.
Switch out your cleaning products. Companies like My Green Fills sell non-toxic laundry detergent refills that come in biodegradable packaging, instead of the traditional plastic jugs, many of which end up in landfills or the ocean. Find other non-toxic household products that come in non-plastic packaging or reuse the bottles from your old stuff and begin creating your own natural DIY products.
Remember, this process can take time and will probably feel a bit daunting at first, but once you instill these new habits and find plastic-free products that you love, you will reap all of the feel-good benefits of doing something so necessary for our planet. We all have to change the way we live if we want our future generations to be able to enjoy the beauty of this planet for years to come.
Please comment below if you you have any other suggestions for switching to a plastic-free lifestyle. Namaste. xoxo