Can you remember what you had in your bin bags last week? Probably not (at least I cannot remember it all), we tend to consider as done and dusted once bags are outside the house. At times I find myself questioning the concept of “taking the bins out”, it may sound a bit too philosophical, but this “out” we refer to does not really exist. While we can indeed take the bins out of the house, there isn’t any powerful magic, Harry Potter style, that will make our bin bags evaporate. We are simply removing the rubbish from our sight, because there is no such a thing as “out” and the rubbish we produce will continue to exist on the same planet as we do - just not in the same house.
The exercise I propose here is to bring our awareness and consciousness to what we consume and the rubbish we produce. To look at it as a more permanent part of our lives, which will directly impact our planet and ours wellness, such as plastic waste, estimated to kill millions of marine animals every year. Nearly 700 species, including endangered ones, are known to have been affected by it. The National Geographic reported the plastic production has generated 9.2 billion tons of material. Of which, more than 6.9 billion tons have become waste. And of that waste, a staggering 6.3 billion tons never made it to a recycling bin. Scary, right?
For those who want try to look at things from a different perspective check Bag it, a film documentary that exposes the effects of plastic bags and other plastic consumer merchandise, and its effects on land ecosystems, the marine environment and the human body.
If you are ready to start a plastic free life, but you are not quite sure how, start small - drastic changes may be harder to adapt to. Face it as a continuous learning process, take your time and if one day things don’t go as planned, just take it as another learning phase and next time you will be more prepared. To help you with your plastic free starter kit, here are 5 steps to start a plastic free life:
Get ready for the world
Most times we use plastic in our lives due to its “disposable” perception, the straw in that drink, the container from that take-away, the water bottle we find everywhere and list can go on. All this is part of our social life, so be ready for all this! Make sure you have your essentials close by. If you love using straws, keep a reusable version in your bag. To ban plastic water bottles from your life, all you need is to keep your reusable bottle close by and be friends with taps and filters around you. This applies for your local coffee place, your local take-away, just bring your travel mug and food container with you - you might even get a discount!
One thing is certain, we all need to eat! And to do so, grocery shopping becomes part of our lives, when you go to your local supermarket there are a couple of different ways to stay away from plastic. Go for the option with no packing when possible, your fruits and veggies don’t need a layer of “protective” plastic around them, your bananas, peppers and broccoli will be as tasty and nutritious without plastic. If your supermarket has plastic all over it, try considering another place to shop or you can also go to your local farmers market. Ah! Remember to take your reusable bag with you!
Consider what is going down the drain
Some skincare exfoliators use plastic beads to create the exfoliating effect and once you rinse it off, all this plastic will find its way to the oceans and fishes tummies. Be vigilant about the products you are using and their composition. Opt for plastic free packages, such as bar soaps, bar shampoos, glass containers. If you are buying online, consider also the delivery packaging - you may be able to find this information on your favourite brands websites. To give you some peace of mind, all White Witch® products are plastic free and we use no plastic on our delivery packages..
When you buy prepared or frozen food it is usually in a plastic container or covered with cling film and when cooking and baking at home you can shop only plastic free ingredients and store your food in plastic free containers. You can prepare you meals and also snacks (like protein bars) at home and make it all without the need of using plastic. If you are also looking for a substitution for cling film you can look for beewax reusable wraps or simply use storage containers for a vegan option.
Ultimately, the best way to reduce, not only plastic, but general rubbish production is to consume less. Some of the alternatives suggested here for a plastic free life are really just alternatives, if you are not someone who uses straws, you don’t need to go and get a plastic free version “just because”. One of our latest posts talks greenwashing, and how every consumption trend ends up being translated in marketing strategies to sell more, so be aware of that and consume only what you need, try to reuse what you have and recycle what you can.
Leave a comment below and tell us how has been your journey towards a plastic free life.