For a long time, reducing plastic has been on my radar – a vague mission I’d never had the energy to put into practice. I’m rarely one to get involved with a bandwagon but, with the ever increasing visibility, and ever increasing volume of the plastic-free movement’s voice, I figured this was one trend I’m totally into following.
It’s hard. The modern world just isn’t geared up to help us be plastic-free, but the good news is that increased coverage of the importance of reducing plastic waste is paying off – its becoming easier to take baby steps towards being plastic free/reducing plastic. And for me at least, baby steps is best – you can’t always make a huge change at once.
Here are 5 things I’ve been doing recently to reduce the amount of plastic in my life (note: I don’t want to say “plastic free” as, right now, that’s an unrealistic goal, for me).
Buying vegetables locally
It’s really handy to pick up veg like cucumber and bagged salads when I’m cruising in Sainsburys, but the amount of unnecessary plastic is sinful. Recently I found a greengrocer nearby that sells naked cucumbers, fresh salad unbagged and jarred snacks like salted fava beans. I still pick up any loose veg I can get in supermarkets (onions, carrots, mushrooms, toms etc) but go to my local greengrocer for everything else. It’s a little more expensive, but its also all organic, locally grown and you can taste the difference. And they save their salad greens for Brian…
Cutting down on Online Shopping
I like to shop online now and again, but recently I’ve noticed an obscene amount of plastic involved (and I don’t even buy that much). So I decided to head back to the high street – and I’m loving it. For starters, I’m saving money on shipping, but also getting to try things on, check material labels (ecommerce, why aren’t you showing us material contents?), try my luck in charity shops and use my own canvas bags. I’m finding so many bargains too, today I picked up some black Converse All Star Dainty pumps for just £10.50 brand new from The Outlet PLUS they disposed of the box for me so they’d fit in my bag. Another unexpected plus side is that I buy less, because I can’t actually be bothered going into town to shop unless I really need something…
Bringing a Bottle, Cup and Cutlery
Yep, I’m now the kinda girl who has a travel mug, water bottle and full set of cutlery rattling round her handbag (and subsequently, a massive handbag). It’s so handy though and I know how clean they are and I’m never in a position where I have to use those rubbish picnic cutlery sets, or buy an emergency bottle of water. Most cafes will fill up your water bottle for free (or if you buy a piece of fruit or something – and we could all eat more fruit) and every single coffee shop I’ve visited in the past 6 months has been happy to fill my coffee cup. Easy.
Using Up, Recycling, Re-purposing & Replacing
It was so tempting, when I started thinking about plastic, to throw away all the plastic stuff I have and replace it with non-plastic versions. How stupid is that? I’d be creating a problem in the name of solving the problem. Instead, I’ve decided to carry on as normal, and only when something needs replacing will I switch it up for a plastic free version. This will apply to as many items as possible – and so far its proving interesting, as it’s encouraging me to research products before I buy them.
Wherever possible, when a plastic thing I’ve got stops being functional for its main intent, I’m trying to give it a new job – like using a lunchbox with a lost lid, or some staining, as a plant pot. If I can’t find a new job for it, I’ll drop it at my local recycling center.
DIY and Growing my Own
Guys, I love little tomatoes and strawberries and fresh herbs for cooking – and I used to buy all those pre-packaged spices in shrink wrap, and strawbs/toms in those weird plastic coffins almost daily. Now I have a couple of hanging baskets producing amazingly luscious fruits & a modest but prolific herb garden out in our back yard – I’m saving a bit of money and everything tastes 10x better knowing its home grown.
I’m also thinking about getting back into knitting and learning to sew – that way I can pick up old woolen/cashmere jumpers in second hand stores, unravel them and re-knit into something more my style (because somehow I never find things I just love) and make minor repairs on fashion instead of throwing it out.
Wow, this turned out to be a really long post. But those are 5 of the things I’ve been focusing on turning into a habit, in the hopes I can reduce plastic from my life. I have to be honest, the thing I’m struggling with the most is dish soap – any plastic free people out there with more experience than me got any suggestions?
What steps (if any) are you taking to reduce your plastic use?