We all want to upgrade to a better, more meaningful life and improve ourselves on many levels. Am I right?
What better way to feel the daily pat on the back when you evolve your habits in the household? And this month of July, unless you don't own a phone, it has been a runway of amazing Plastic Busting endeavors on all social media platforms.
From flushable pregnancy tests (hunh?) to Shampoo bars to Kenya’s draconian ban on plastic bags (4 years imprisonment if you are caught using!), the efforts to changing our habits are plentiful. After all, leading a reduced plastic life isn’t a big deal. And notice here that I’m not saying a Plastic Free life, because that is nearly impossible. I know some amazing Instragram families do it and I love to be inspired by them, but come on. It’s like being truly vegan, I love to be inspired but it doesn’t schtick with my vibe, nor my time management, although I lean towards that compassionate side more than the other (Very little meat; No fur; faux-leather and faux-fur oh but shit, that is plastic!).
Leading a Plastic-Reduced Life is a series of small decisions that you have to make every day anyways but with a hint of effort to saving this world. A sprinkle of joy onto your garbage sorting and a sprinkle of power onto your city-composting makes a huge difference for your self-pride and oh did I mention, for the planet. The argument that it won’t make a difference in the grand scheme of things for you not to throw that wrapper in the correct bin doesn’t hold and is not valid. And yes, I know some sinners who still act that way! I won’t name names but I sure as hell am looking at you in my mind with big rounded eyes.
When a billion people toss the wrapper where they’re not supposed to, that’s a lot of wrappers missing the opportunity to a second life. Wouldn’t we all want to have the chance to live a second or third life!? So your actions on any given day are crucial to show the right example to yourself and the people around you.
It takes time, it takes knowledge to change your plastic-using habits in drastic ways. So read on and get inspired by some Plastic Busting habits you can implement right now.
1. Change your batteries.
Finish up using your current AA and AAA batteries and replace them with the rechargeable batteries from Amazon or good old Energizer. And what I mean by finish up, don't just throw them away in your garbage when you're done. You can recycle your current batteries with services that pick up, or you can throw them in e-waste bins or locales or register your building for e-cycle pick ups with your town. NYC does amazing things for example but you need to be aware of it. Click here to find out more. Find out if your kids' school has a bin to recycle batteries.
2. Change your toothbrushes.
Exit the colorful plastic nonsense, welcome the sleek Bamboo toothbrushes.
Sprmal Bamboo is my favorite brand and has numbers on them so the kids don't mix them up.
3. Buy beauty products that use glass bottles.
Ok, that’s a tougher one. But hear me out. I have discovered the magical world of Essential Oils thanks to the luscious golden liquid from Bija Essence. Turns out, most Essential Oils products come in glass containers, and in travel sizes too. It’s so easy to fill up, transport and be on your way. Yes, it can be pricey I agree, but the way your skin will feel after using these kinds of products is worth every $ spent. Burt's Bee has an amazing face oil at just $8.99 and a little goes a long way, so the oils really last. Plus, when you switch to oiling instead of creaming your body, you won't need any of the other stuff for acne. I stopped my Proactiv subscription after switching to oils.
4. Buy Pantry items in glass jars or recycled paper containers.
Meaning make the decision of which product you’ll buy based on its packaging. Say wha?? I'll say it again. Buy your stuff according to its packaging, not its content.
I can’t STAND the glass Ketchup Bottle, but knowing I make a difference for the little fishies every time I curse at the bottle NOT dispensing the damn thing is worth it. At least it doesn’t fart like its plastic counterpart, although that never fails to make the kids laugh. And please, get yourself 1 Squeezable Honey Bear if that’s what makes your kids tick, but fill it up with REAL honey bought in a glass jar from a local farm (reduce travel time, support local…). How hard is that?
Mayonnaise? Make your own if the fancy glass containers are not in your budget. It takes literally 5 min to make including clean up and holds a couple weeks in your fridge. Here’s a recipe by Lisa Bryan from DownShiftology with interesting tips for a no-fail mayonnaise and using a plunger no less! The french in me cringes a little not to be using a spoon or a fork but hey, I’m in for any shortcuts. And evidently, buy in bulk!
5. Ban tampons with Applicator.
This one is for the ladies. A situation that I’ve never quite understood. Why would you want to use a tampon with applicator!??! You never know where the damn thing ends up in there. And I mean, what’s gross about touching your vagina!? This is such an easy fix and will automatically remove SO much plastic from this world. Your planet and your vagina will thank you for it. A finger to check that everything’s ok in there from time to time is always welcome, isn’t it?
6. Carry your own shopping bag. Evidently.
They look SO amazing nowadays, it’s a fashion statement!
I must have 10 bags going on at the same time so I’m always sure to have my own bag, never having the excuse of having to take a plastic bag because I forgot mine at home. One in my purse, one in my car, two in the kitchen drawer, one in my computer bag, they’re everywhere. The Baggu ones are my fav.
Of course, the little net bags are just as cool, retro style.
7. Repurpose the inevitable plastics you have.
Use the plastic wrap of breads and other items to pick up your dog’s poop. Yes, I’ve said it. If you inevitably have plastic laying around from the Whole Wheat bread you just finished or from the hot dog buns, use it for some clean up or place your sweaty gym clothes in there after Hot Yoga.
8. STOP buying different household products!
Windex for the windows, this for the floor, that for the toilet bowl, yet another plastic sprayer
for the bathtub. Hello!? Even if they're natural and not harmful.. It's how they're presented to you that's harmful.
All things changed when I started using Force of Nature. This is a powerhouse cleaner that will tackle everything and anything in your household. Just make your own electrified cleaner using their natural cleaning agents (which do come in tiny little plastic pouches, sorry!) and you are set. It's a miracle product that I use for deep cleaning. Otherwise, good old Water with Vinegar sprayer is on my countertop ready to be used for small messes.
Hey, Instagram can be a bitch but you discover so many amazing initiatives at the forefront of revolutionizing the way we live our lives like Net Zero Company, Zero Waste Cartel for the most amazing Shampoo and Conditioner Bars (!), Might Nest for the best plastic free insulated lunch boxes and SO many more. Follow them, get involved, change change change. I'm still surrounded by people who resist the pull the the bright side, it's odd and not understandable. I agree it doesn't have to be a drastic change, or actually, doesn't it?
I have had the interesting position of witnessing a double transition in the Recycling history. Growing up in France in the 80’s and 90’s, I was struck by the lack of respect my fellow Frenchmen showed this world. It was all too common to see smokers (which at that time felt like the majority of adults!) throw their cigarette buds left and right, along with the pack itself outside on the street! Or never bring a reusable bag while grocery shopping or even at the Marché where the fruit mongers gladly gave you mini plastic bags for your 4 tomatoes.
I am half Swedish so I’ve had the luxury to understand recycling, reusing and using only what you need since I was a little girl. My grandparents rarely threw away the cellophane used for wrapping the morning cheese, being mindful of the environment has always been the case in Sweden. Bringing your own bag at the market, carpooling not only for financial reasons but also environmental reasons, bicycling all over the place, showing respect to the earth by walking around naked the whole time until you’re 6 years old (yes, the BEST feeling and I can’t recommend it more for your children). The environmental revolution in the rest of Europe started happening long after I had moved out of France, in the 2000’s and now, my goodness, it’s a working revolution. The mentalities have completely changed and the whole of Europe has become clean Switzerland in a span of a decade, rinsing cans before tossing them in one of 4 or 5 containers in the house.
The US is Faaaaaarrrrrrrrr, wwwwaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy behind on environmental awareness. I have yet to find mainstream laudry detergents for example that carry refill packages instead of having to buy the actual bottle each and every time. Perhaps it’s because of the blackhole lobbies of pertrolium/plastic who suck down everything in their path including the bright light of any Climate Change fighting efforts. We don’t seem to have that crap in Europe. Or, they’re losing the battle and the US is next no matter what outrageousness President Trump throws at it.
If Kenya, I’m sorry, the shit hole from wince you came from, is banning Plastic Bags and the USA as a whole is not capable of doing the same evident move, I wonder who is the idiot here.
His years are numbered to either 1 or 5 years (unfortunately looks more like 5) so the powerful environmental resistance that is thriving today will explode soon. The next generation will know everything and anything about saving our planet because it’ll be taught in schools and talked about constantly on television, the same way it is in Europe now.
And what better way to connect with your children on how to be a better human for this planet. And now, they’re the ones teaching us how to Reduce Reuse Recycle! It’s an amazing exchange between the generations if we only let it.
For you who prefer to watch or listen to info, here are two interesting pieces of info. If you have a strong desire to know more about rubbish, listen to the History of wastefulness from the BBC. A wonderful advantage of wasting fuel driving my car each week end out of the city is to learn about so many things listening to Podcasts and Books.
Get inspired by San Fransico's 0 Waste by 2020 efforts. Watch this 4min presentation below on the leading efforts SF is doing.
Information is out there. Go get it, make the changes.
And remember, WASTE NOT WANT NOT.
Have a happy, environmentally sensible summer,