I’ve been rethinking my personal conveniences to make better choices which actually benefit more than just my life alone. I’m not going to say that I’m enjoying this particular project at all because I’m not. I just know that eliminating as much one time use plastic especially plastic bags and plastic film packaging is extremely important for the overall well being of this planet and all of us on it.
I’ve been educating myself on how one time use plastic causes detriment to the environment and our personal health. Plastic Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too by Beth Terry offers many solutions, well researched information, and inspiration from “plastic-free heros” on the plastic we use daily. Even with the solutions given it is taking me a big push to make the necessary changes.
My Plastic Mess
I started out by taking the challenge of collecting all of my disposable one time use plastic. I’m at the three week mark and I’ve had enough of it already. It is so much easier to keep doing what you are doing when you don’t have to look at the results of it. Having three overflowing bags of plastic trash sitting next to the fridge has truly irritated my minimalist tendencies and I’m making today the last day!
I researched that my local recycling centers are accepting plastics with the SPI Resin Codes 1 and 2, plus LDPE (4) clear film. I also found a recycling center that accepted some forms of PU and PVC, yet recycling causes too much pollution in itself to be thought of as a solution. Reducing my plastic consumption is more of my true goal versus spending too much time only thinking of recycling. I also think it is important for me to find out which recycling center my apartment building’s recyclables goes to.
One of the benefits of collecting my plastic trash is to acknowledge where it is coming from, and decide what new choices I can make to avoid having it in the first place.
My current collection contains six amazing fruit juice sweetened muffin containers, a falafel wrap container, a hummus tub, a castile soap bottle, a hemp protein container, an organic body wash bottle, two laundry detergent bottles, a hemp seed oil bulk bottle, an organic tempeh encasing, a salad dressing bottle, three vitamin/herb bottles, a “natural” conditioner bottle, and a whole bunch of plastic bag wrappings for frozen fruit, baby spinach, lavash bread, oatmeal soap, bean soap mix, and cover for fresh flowers. This is honestly an annoying process, but I did it anyway.
So far I’ve found a few changes that have been pretty easy to make so far. This is honestly what I’d rather focus on more than explaining each detail of my personal trash collection. One of the easiest things to change has been using body soap that comes package free. The bath bar I purchased is a yummy oatmeal soap by Sappo Hill which was recommended in the book Plastic Free. I actually love it so much more than the one I was buying in the plastic packing. It smells so delicious and leaves my skin super soft!
Another very simple change that I’ve made is using an eco laundry detergent in powdered form. It cleans just as well as liquid laundry soap. It did cost a bit more than the one that I was buying originally, but I have a feeling that going plastic-free is also going to save me money in the long run since it will inhibit me buying unnecessary things overall. I already use powdered dishwasher soap so that is also helpful.
I usually pick up recycled toilet paper in packs, yet to avoid the pointless plastic packaging I bought recycled toilet paper individually wrapped. Buying four individual rolls was only $1.09 more than the plastic four pack. (I took the photo of only three rolls because I thought it looked better.)
I stopped buying organic baby leaf spinach in the bag and started picking up a few bunches at the farmer’s market for my smoothies instead. I also am making a habit of buying almost all of my organic produce from the farmer’s market again. It is so much cheaper!
I’ve switched to reusing a glass jar as my water bottle versus the plastic water bottle I was using before. I hope to upgrade to a stainless steel bottle in the future but I’m good for now. Using reusable shopping bags at all retailers is a given and something I’ve been doing a long time. I just make sure the bags are clean and look nice.
I plan on finding a good bakery near by to get fresh bread weekly. I’m actually kind of excited about this fresh bread from the bakery option. The only downfall is that I’m not sure that I will find sprouted bread but it’s worth a try. I’m not ready to begin making my own bread but anything is possible down the road.
Environmentalism & Minimalism
I wanted to share a few of the beginning changes that I’ve made slowly releasing my share of plastic waste. My husband worries that I’m going to become too indulged in this process similar to my decluttering process, yet that’s just how it is in the beginning sometimes. My minimalism did find it’s personal balance that had nothing to do with owning 100 personal possessions. I know that I will find my balance with this as well.
I think plastic free living has more to do with the awareness that begins the change and the steps taken to make a difference. I guess now I’m decluttering my life of plastic waste. How lovely!
(Images by Dawn Michelle)