LIVE WITHOUT PLASTIC – 5 WAYS TO LIVE A PLASTIC FREE LIFE
To live without plastic may sound like a wild dream to some, but it is not “mission impossible.” It is possible and practicable to live a life without plastic. However, it comes with little prices to pay. Several of these prices will require a total overhaul of many habits. Your lifestyle, home location, and work will have to adjust to a life without plastic. So will your shopping habits and interests. Before you can confidently conclude that you’re living plastic-free, you must have gone through several stages of eliminating plastic in its several forms from your home and entire life. You alone will decide how far you are willing to go in this elimination process. But remember, even the tiniest plastic removed from your life holds considerable significance.
Plastic has become a menace to our environment over the years. It constitutes a vast mass of landfills in many cities. Cigarettes used to be the number one cause of litter in our oceans; now, plastic has taken over. These plastic materials can not only be consumed by sea animals, but they can also cause death for those ingesting it and drowning from getting entangled in it.
Sadly, we can trace this problem to the shopping habits of most people today. Our shopping carts are filled with plastic bags, plus, several of our purchases are made of plastic as well.
However, it’s not too late to begin to correct these habits. Many of the steps to take in making the switch will be things you’re not used to. But don’t feel overwhelmed and more importantly don’t give up. Most folks will see that to live without plastic is extremely difficult, yet, the true mark of progress as regards eliminating plastic is in baby steps. Here are five helpful ways to remove these environmental hazards and live without plastic.
Correct Plastic Habits in Your Food Items
Switching to a life without plastic is a gradual process. It wouldn’t happen all in one day, and you must learn to be patient in the journey. In the beginning, many of your food items, utensils and toiletries would be screaming plastic. This does not mean you should discard everything. However, focus on replacing them one by one. As one item gets used up, move to replace it with other non-plastic options.
You could begin with food items. Buy your cheese, yogurt, milk, bread, fruits, and vegetables without any plastic packaging from the farmers’ market. We’ll suggest you find a local bakery where you can get the bread fresh from the oven. You can store it in a tin instead of in plastic bags. The same goes for your food ingredients and condiments purchases; try buying them without the plastic packaging, and you’ll realize it’s not a bad idea.
When buying berries or tomatoes which can easily get crushed, turn down the plastic parceling that comes with it and transfer into your reusable container instead. Another usefulness of bringing your reusable to the store: it comes in handy when you need to hold meats and other prepared foods. A suitable replacement for plastic bags would be reusable cloth bags, backpacks, or messenger bags. You could carry a small reusable bag in your purse, so you don’t have to resort to using a disposable one.
Also, keep some in your car in case you decide to stop over for a little shopping and don’t forget to bring them into the store with you. Turn down any plastic produce bags. At the grocery store, you can put your produce directly into your cart and later into your reusable grocery bag.
Choose Plastic-Free Drinks
Did you know that frozen convenience foods are a huge source of plastic? Instead of buying ice-cream that comes in plastic containers, why not opt for an ice-cream cone? Or better still, if you want to enjoy more of that creamy goodness at home, ask for it to be repacked into your reusable container.
You should also choose to buy milk that comes in returnable glass bottles. For those who love the taste of good wine, you could’nt live without plastic if you pour out wine from a container that has a plastic stopper. Choose wine bottles with natural corks, not even the ones with metal screw caps.
Still, on bottles, you would need to make some healthy changes to what you consume by staying off sodas or any drink that comes in a plastic pack. You could do this by making your juice on your own or just eating fresh fruits as they come. Besides, sodas don’t do your body any good, and you’d be better off without it.
Most of what we call pure water in a plastic bottle is actually just filtered tap water. It’s time to ditch those plastic bottles. What’s a better option? We recommend a reusable stainless steel flask, bottle or travel mug. These can be refilled with tap water or from a water fountain anytime, anywhere. They are also suitable for coffee and other drinks. You should carry your reusable containers everywhere to avoid plastic. And if you forget them, have the willpower to go without any drink until you find a water fountain or a cafe with durable cups and glasses in use.
Bringing your own reusable containers to a cafe or restaurant proves to be a good move in a situation where you need to get takeout or pack up leftovers. Usually, takeout food comes in a disposable pack, but you can turn down the packaging if you have your stainless container. In case you want to eat your food right there in the restaurant, we recommend bringing along reusable utensils as well. Also, replace plastic straws with glass drinking straws.
Revamp Your House Maintenance Methods
Cleaning and taking care of your house would require new methods to live without plastic. However, there’s no need to replace all your plastic with anything new all at once. We know that the excitement of making the switch to a life without plastic can grow so much that you begin to stock up on new durable household cleaning materials.
However, it doesn’t work this way because you could purchase new items and never really put them into use. Sometimes, you may even have to wait for days or weeks before you make your first purchase of a durable material and other times you may not need to make any new purchases. This is because you may already have replacements for your plastic items in your house. Some household items only need to be repurposed to do away with all plastic. And if you’re eventually going to buy anything new, give it a good thought before doing so. Be extra sure you’ll be making use of the material or product before buying because you don’t want to end up with a wasted purchase.
In every home, doing the dishes is a major chore. To go plastic-free on this chore, switch to powdered dishwasher detergent that comes in cardboard boxes. Ultimately, handwashing your dishes may just be the most plastic-free option. Use baking soda or a bar soap when washing, and instead of the conventional synthetic sponges, give natural cleaning clothes and scrubbers a chance. If all these seem a little too much, think of the fact that you’ll be saving money by turning your old clothes into rags for cleaning.
Now, what about all the DIY chores you tackle around the house? A natural rubber glove will do instead of plastic ones.
Store Food and Dispose Of Them Properly
Trying to live without plastic in the kitchen is a tall task. In the kitchen, switch to glass or stainless steel containers for storing food. These can be reused over and over again. Another great way to store leftovers would be in glass jars, which work quite well with the refrigerator. Talking about that, you may also have plastic ice cube trays or Popsicle molds in your fridge; you’ll do well to replace them with similar stainless steel models.
Nonstick cookware may be beneficial, but they contain Teflon and other resins. The better option is to use stainless steel and cast-iron cookware. You’ll also want to look into your blender that comes with a plastic pitcher. If you have one already, make the smart move by replacing it with a glass-pitcher blender. If there isn’t one in your kitchen already, now you know what to look out for when next you’re buying.
It’s one thing to be cautious of eating with non-plastic items, but it’s another thing to dispose of food waste the right way. Say no to plastic trash bags and learn to compost your food waste. The approach is even more beneficial because you can mix the compost with soil to pot your houseplants. If eventually, you decide to buy potting soil, avoid buying them in plastic bags. Another environment-friendly alternative is sending your food scraps to a commercial compost facility. There, your food waste can be converted into rich soil supplements.
Switch to Plastic-Free Personal Care Methods
If you’re not taking care of yourself, who will? Everyone knows how necessary it is to take care of our bodies and look out for our complete health. We can all live a better life when we live without plastic.
You will need to commit to living plastic-free. Sure, you may have to spend more on expenses for toiletries and certain other products, but rest assured, any extras is worth it in the end.
Take buying food from the farmers market or buying fresh bread from a bakery for instance. These commodities cost more than the ones that come in plastic packaging. Buying food that comes in a jar is no different as it is equally expensive. However, these plastic-free choices are better for us as they are of higher quality. And when it comes to your body or health, you do want quality, right? You may need to create a more stringent budget and cut costs on other things that you can sacrifice to get these healthier food choices.
You’ll be shocked to find out that you’re happier without some things in your life, and there’ll be no need to spend unnecessarily. Living a life without plastic and zero waste requires changing your buying and eating habits, but in time, you’ll notice that this new lifestyle is more economical and efficient.
Your first practical step would be to form the habit of checking the labels of personal care products you intend to buy. Check the ingredients list for polyethylene. That’s the siren that screams “PLASTIC!” Polyethylene often takes the form of tiny plastic beads and can be found mostly in facial scrubs. Now, instead of liquid hand soap, use a soap bar. The bright side is that there are fewer chances of picking up germs when using a soap bar.
Personal Care Products
Many personal care products such as shampoo come in plastic bottles. They may seem like items you can’t do without in life, but you CAN do without them. A good replacement for shampoo is to use baking soda and water wash with an apple cider vinegar rinse. There are also shampoo bars on sale, and they’re a much better option.
In place of canned shaving cream, why not choose to use soap? You can also make a smart call and invest in lotions and lip balms that come in glass or metal containers. They usually cost extra, but it’s nothing compared to the quality of life they assure.
Some toilet paper brands come in cardboard boxes, and they are a healthier alternative for the ones wrapped in plastic.
If you’re female, the plastic-free life should also reflect on your choice of feminine hygiene products. Go plastic-free by choosing liners and pads made out of washable cloth material. Your best bet will be to go for those made out of organic cotton.
The way you appear goes a long way in determining the way you’re addressed. However, it won’t make much sense if, while trying to look you best in stunning and pricey outfits, you end up hurting the environment.
For your clothing needs, make sure to avoid plastic fabrics. You’ll find it in clothes made from synthetic materials like polyester, acrylic, nylon, spandex, or lycra. The better options are clothes made from organic cotton, hemp, or other natural fibers. If you really cannot avoid buying plastic clothes, then buy used ones instead. Better still, design and make your own clothes with natural fabrics.
Reflecting your commitment towards a life without plastic in your clothing goes as far as having you use a handkerchief. It will help you avoid tissue paper, which sometimes comes in a box with a plastic window.
Take charge of your tomorrow and become a more conscious world citizen today. By making these little changes and adjustments, you can live without plastic