Let’s talk plastic.
Whether we’re talking about environmental sustainability or our health, there’s one thing for certain: plastic is harmful, wasteful and toxic. The chemicals found in plastic can cause serious health issues that impact our wellbeing. And while many of us recycle, the truth is, plastic never breaks down. It’s estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans.
Yet, with all the information available to us, everything we find is still wrapped and packaged in plastic. Just walk into a supermarket and go for a browse–everything from our food to our personal care products such as our toothbrushes, deodorants and shampoos come in packaged in plastic. Don’t even get me started on single-use straws.
But here’s what I have found out over the last few years as I have tried my best to live a plastic-free and zero-waste lifestyle: first, almost everything that comes in plastic has a plastic-free alternative. Second, by refusing plastic packaging, I have avoided a lot of toxins. It comes with its challenges at first, but once you learn the tricks and prepare for your shopping, you begin to see everything in a different light. Here are some of the objects I have replaced that have helped me seriously reduce my plastic consumption to get you started.
1. Personal care items
Avoiding plastic has meant that my hair, skin and overall health have improved. In addition to the toxicity of plastic packaging itself, you’ll find that when you do find zero-waste and package-free options it often means finding natural and organic products.
Think about the simple everyday objects you use. Go to your bathroom and have a look. What if you replaced your plastic toothbrush with a bamboo one instead? You’ll probably find that your shampoo and soaps are all packaged in plastic. How about old-school shampoo bars and soaps with ingredients you can trust. Ladies, disposable pads and tampons are filled with toxins that are harmful for your health. What if we made a switch to menstrual cups or reusable pads? Our bodies will thank us for it.
2. The food you eat
Food is another area that is very plastic heavy. Avoiding plastic will mean eating more unpackaged foods, which means rarely finding package-free produce in a big supermarket. Instead, the best thing about going plastic-free is that it encourages you to visit your local shops or farmers’ markets where food is seasonal, often organic, grown at home and unpackaged.
Eating package-free also means making healthier food choices. It means making your own food from scratch and being in control of the amount of sugar and sodium that you consume. One of the best ways is to buy food in bulk by taking your own cotton bags or glass jars.
3. Things on the go
Most of us live busy and on-the-go lives. I get it. You have a few minutes to get that morning coffee to start your day. With a little bit of planning, you can seriously avoid disposables and plastic waste. Why not start with investing in a quality travel mug and a reusable water bottle? If you’re interested in learning more about how I keep it zero-waste on the go, then check out this.
We hold the power when it comes to sustainability and the health of our planet and oceans. Don’t let anyone tell you that your daily choices don’t matter. They do – for better or for worse. Which one is it going to be?