The world is not an easy place to live with out or even with less plastic. Trash and plastic is going to happen. But there are a few key ways that you can live with less plastic and get away from the unnecessary trash that we her about in our oceans and see on the side of the street.
News flash, its pretty easy and pretty stylish too. Never before have so many every day people and so many companies stepped up and done their part by taking responsibility, changing practices and making a new market based around creating a cleaner and more sustainable future. All it takes is a little bit of for-thought and a demand from people through what we buy. Consumers have power and when we demand through our purchasing better and more sustainable products, companies take notice.
Step One: Take Notice
Taking notice of what is out there is such a huge part of starting to make a change. When you look around and see straws in the sand at the beach and water bottles thrown in the paths of your local parks, everything starts to hit a bit closer to home. Not only that but start looking at the other things in your life that use plastic (Refer to step one). Screen protectors and phone cases (Check out my fav Pela), glitter, and other things are all everyday uses for plastic that we don’t even think about. Pay attention to not only what is around you, but what is going on in the rest of the world. Chili recently BANNED (Thats right, a governmental ban) plastic bags. We are not the only ones in the world and we are not the only ones noticing what kind of damage is happening.
Step Two: Buy less
We buy so so so so much we don’t need. Even when we donate clothing, it doesn’t all get recycled. Neither does the plastic that things come wrapped in. Think about all of the plastic windows on kids toys, on razor handles and on things that we buy that we might not really need. Before you make any purchase ask yourself “Do I really need this?” If you don’t, thats less plastic and more money in your pocket. Win-win.
Step Three: The Big 4
Bewared of the big four: Coffee cups, Water Bottles, Straws, Plastic grocery bags. All of the subs for this are very easy and linked up in my Beginners Guide to Sustainable Living post. We are all aware of these items being there for us to replace and let’s be honest, everyone KNOWS they can use reusables ones instead. So why don’t they? Because it takes a bit of for-thought. You have to remember to bring your water bottle or a reusable bag. People are always forgetting. The only thing I can say to that? Don’t forget. Walk back to your car and get it. Get those extra steps in!
Step Four: The Little Things
You know what cracks me up? When I see a women at where-ever with a reusable bag but she has put a tomato into the little plastic bags to wrap them up inside of the big bag. There is a world of unboxed, unbagged stuff out there. Use bulk when you can and look for products that are unwrapped. Pay attention to things like tampons and how much plastic is on them. Small things help.
Step Five: Use Real Things
There is no need to use paper plates and what not at home. Its just a waste and yes, there is a plastic coating on most of those too. When you are ordering out, say no to straws, plastic utensils and other things where you can use the real thing. It’s a habit that needs to be made but an easy one that only takes a second or two.
Step Six: It Never Hurts to Ask
We always joke about being salty as Baristas but the truth is, if you ask me for a real mug, I will be happy to give you a real mug. If you bring your own, even better because I don’t have to wash it. In my cafe we even sell metal straws and their little cleaners because it is less money out of our pocket. If you ask for a spoon instead of a stirrer, sure thing! If you would like your cold brew or a glass for your water instead of a disposable cup, I would be happy to put some ice in there for you. It never hurts to ask.
Step Seven: Build habits
I feel like I’ve said this a few times but the only way that anything gets changed . is if you make it a habit. Yes there are bags that you can attach to your keychain but you will still have to remember to put it back. If you forget your bag or your cup in the car, walk back for it. Eventually it will be such a habit that you wont even have to worry about thinking about it anymore. We all have ways that we have become accustom to but it’s those ways that got the world to where it is today. Just because we have always done something one way doesn’t mean its the best way and it certainly doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t always be striving to improve.
Consumer power is stronger than we think. Companies aren’t out to destroy the planet or to be some big super villain. They want to give people what they want so that they will continue to buy from them. Your money is a way of showing them just what you want and how bad you want it. If we continue as a society to just grab things off the shelves that are wrapped in film and plastic, than thats what will continue to be offered to us.
Every swipe of your card is your vote.