So, you want to go plastic free?
You’re ready to go plastic free, forgo unnecessary plastic and start your journey towards helping reduce the landfill crisis, one piece of waste at a time. Awesome!
Knowing where to get started can be a bit of an uphill battle, so we’ve put together the complete Waste Not guide to getting started with a plastic free lifestyle today.
Step 1 – understand why people are going plastic free
The more you know, the more motivated you will be! Take a look at our quick guide to the reasons people are opting for a plastic free lifestyle. Here are some of the facts and stats that inspired our plastic free lifestyle:
- The world’s plastic consumption is growing every year
- We have used more plastic in the last 10 years than in the entire previous century
- Nearly 50% of the plastic we use is thrown away after just one use
- Enough plastic is thrown away every year to circle the globe 4 times
- There are currently 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in our oceans
- 90% of marine animals have plastic toxins in their cells
- A plastic bottle can take up to 450 years to break down
- Plastic gradually breaks apart into microscopic pieces, but never truly goes away
- Compounds from plastic have entered out water supply and food chain
- 1 million sea birds are killed by plastic pollution every year
Once you know how harmful plastic is to the environment, it’s hard to turn a blind eye. Do your research and keep checking back on our blog for more great articles and advice to inspire you to cut down on your waste.
Step 2 – make a quick start
Look for some easy swaps that you can implement today. There are loads of quick and convenient ways to begin your plastic free life. Why not make a personal pledge to stop using disposable coffee cups, or to switch single use face wipes for a longer lasting washcloth?
You don’t have to implement a total zero waste lifestyle overnight. It’s a long journey, so look for small changes that make a big difference. Need some inspiration? Check out our article on 6 easy plastic free supermarket swaps you can make, starting today.
Step 3 – do a quick life inventory
Want to make a bigger commitment to making an all-around change and living zero waste? Why not spend a few hours making a quick inventory of the various areas of your life where you’re creating the most waste? You could try keeping a waste diary for a week, or simply think through your daily routine to identify the areas where you’re generating unnecessary rubbish.
It’s also a good idea to think about your home. Try creating a list of the various areas of your home where rubbish is created, and then listing the biggest offenders. Kitchen and bathroom are the most likely culprits, so make a list of the products that you could cut down on or find alternatives for.
Having a clear picture of where the rubbish comes from will allow you to focus on the biggest problem areas and to actively seek out alternatives that will help you to cut down on your plastic waste.
To help you avoid some common pitfalls, check out our guide to 5 common items that most people don’t realise have plastic in them.
Step 4 – find some support systems
As the zero waste movement grows and gains momentum, more and more services are popping up to cater to demand. Do a quick search in your local area to find farmers markets, allotments, bulk stores, green grocers or veg box delivery services that could reduce your reliance on wasteful plastic packaging.
The Waste Not community is also a great place to seek out advice and information about reducing plastic waste, so never hesitate to reach out on social media with questions or ideas. We’re happy to point you towards some great resources and you can also find tips and inspiration on the WasteNot blog.
Step 5 – treat yourself!
Think about rewarding yourself for living without plastic! It may sounds frivolous, but on the days when your resolve is being tested, a positive reward for your efforts could make all the difference. To incentivise yourself, think about keeping a ‘plastic free life’ log. Every time you say no to a plastic cup, bag or food container, make a note. Promise yourself that when you get to 20 items of unnecessary plastic pollution saved, you’ll give yourself a reward.
It can be as simple as an extra 20 minute break for some ‘you time’ during the day, a trip to the cinema or even an extra lie-in. Clear rewards are proven to motivate us, and keeping a clear log of how much plastic you’ve actually cut down will give you the boost you need to continue!
Step 6 – …be realistic
Don’t overload yourself with too many goals at once. “I started with food storage and products I use on the go. After a few months, I worked my way up to looking at my bathroom and cosmetics choices. That way, it didn’t feel like I had too much on my plate at any one time and I was able to adjust to my plastic free life gradually,” says Waste Not co-founder Caitlin.
And remember – the most important thing is to be kind to yourself. Nobody is perfect all the time! It’s easy to give in to all or nothing thinking. How many times have you thought something like, ‘I just used one disposable cup so now I may as well use this plastic fork too. I will start again fresh tomorrow’. Just remember that every decision counts and it’s completely normal to slip up. Don’t be your own worst enemy when you make the decision to go plastic free. Take gradual steps and remember to reward yourself for your achievements.
Step 7 – talk about it!
Nobody likes to be told off or made to feel guilty for their choices – and let’s face it, none of us are perfect. When you’re out and about and people ask you about zero waste living, be honest when you respond. Remember that you too used to use disposable plastic regularly and offer advice, support and information instead of a lecture. You will be surprised at how inspirational you can be!
Telling others about your commitment to zero waste solutions will amplify the movement and normalise the plastic free lifestyle until it becomes established and accepted. Eventually, we hope that major brands will decide to follow suit and reduce their plastic use, which will have a major impact on the environment. All because you stood up for something you believed in!
Step 8 – let us help you!
Take a look at our shop for ideas of handy, reusable products that could replace unnecessary plastic. We offer items for the bathroom, the kitchen and on the go too. Our FAQ page has answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about reducing plastic waste.
You can also follow our blog for regular updates and ideas, and join us on social media to be part of the plastic free lifestyle community. We would love to hear from you and to hear your ideas for reducing plastic waste.
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