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Declaring your own home “plastic-free” can look like an enormous enterprise, however the course of is sort of easy in the event you abide by just a few key guidelines. The first is that something plastic you have already got in your house will get grandfathered in — which means that you just don’t need to run round throwing every part out. Work with what you have got, and as issues break or put on out, exchange them with plastic-free options. But till then, you probably have it, use it.
The subsequent rule is to cease shopping for plastic at any time when attainable. But be lifelike about your objective. It’s unlikely that you may attain 100% plastic-free standing until you dedicate each waking hour to the trigger. I discover that aiming for 80% plastic-free is an efficient objective. The profit is that stopping (or at the very least drastically lowering) the movement of plastic into your own home means you’ll have far much less to determine learn how to reuse, recycle, or get rid of responsibly. And that’s good for everybody concerned.
So, with out additional ado, listed below are 5 straightforward ideas that can assist you begin stemming the plastic tide.
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1. Be a Mindful Grocery Shopper
An enormous quantity of plastic comes house with you in your buying luggage — generally even the baggage themselves. Be conscious of packaging as you store — carry reusable produce bags or keep away from them totally, select plastic-free packaging wherever attainable. Buy the brick of cream cheese packaged in cardboard as an alternative of the one within the plastic tub, the tortilla chips within the paper bag quite than the plastic one. And — you knew this was coming — keep in mind your reusable bags.
DIY tip: Make your own reusable produce bags with directions from Wellness Mama.
2. Search Out Plastic Alternatives
Virtually each plastic merchandise you carry into your own home has a counterpart manufactured from wooden, steel, or one other pure materials. Plastic step stools will be handed up in favor of step stools made of wood or bamboo. Use metal, wooden, or bamboo cooking utensils as an alternative of plastic ones. Whenever you attain for plastic, pause and take just a few moments to seek for one thing pure as an alternative. Not solely will this drastically scale back the quantity of plastic in your house, however it might benefit your mood and your cognitive functioning, too.
DIY tip: The Spruce provides 11 free step stool plans to information you thru making your individual wood stool.
3. Stay Organized
A plastic-free house can nonetheless be a meticulously organized one, even with out individually-labelled plastic totes and bins. As a bonus, avoiding these stylish, plastic-filled house group shops will prevent cash, too. Use glass jars within the pantry, pure wicker or rattan baskets as an alternative of plastic bins within the closet and playroom, and cardboard file bins for storage.
4. Clean Up — Naturally
Making your individual natural cleaning products means you possibly can keep away from shopping for and throwing out so many plastic bottles of cleansing options. Just preserve just a few of your outdated bottles on your do-it-yourself cleaners. Use natural-bristle brooms and brushes and washable cloths as an alternative of plastic brooms and scrubbers.
5. Take It Slowly
There are so some ways to go plastic-free and so many tiny issues in your energy to alter that it’s exhausting for me to cease this checklist. For instance, reusable zippered pouches as an alternative of zip-top plastic luggage, reusable beeswax wrap as an alternative of plastic wrap, even toothbrushes made from bamboo.
Once you get going, it may be actually thrilling to find the entire modern and aesthetically pleasing plastic-free options obtainable. But watch out to not let your pleasure drive you to a spending frenzy. Take it slowly and buy only what you need.
This is the place many (myself included) are inclined to journey up. We tackle an excessive amount of, too quickly, and get overwhelmed, making the change to plastic-free appear difficult and unsustainable. But keep in mind that you’ve had your complete life to get used to purchasing plastic, and it might take a while to re-train your mind to keep away from it. By slowly phasing plastic out of your life as an alternative of anticipating to be plastic-free in a single day, you’ll vastly enhance your possibilities of sticking to those modifications.
Feature picture by Filmbetrachter from Pixabay.
Originally printed on October 6, 2015, this text was up to date in May 2023.