This is my very first article on my plastic-free journey. One of many hopefully. As you know my recent trip to Sri Lanka has changed my outlook on my plastic footprint. It has motivated me to make changes to my lifestyle with regards to plastic usage.
The more I’m looking for plastic-free alternatives, the more I’m shocked at the amount of plastic waste there is. Our disposable lifestyle has become such a bad habit that thinking to live without it has become almost impossible.
First of all, when I told my closest friends and family that I’m going plastic-free, I was asked many times if I’ve thrown away every single piece of plastic from my house? Well, the answer is very simple – NO!
Many people tend to think that going plastic-free means to get rid of all the plastic from your house. It actually doesn’t mean that at all. The first change that you have to embrace is not to buying additional plastic and slowly you get into your journey. Don’t throw away everything at once as you’re causing more damage to the planet. Use and reuse your current plastic as much as you can and then get rid of it in an environmentally friendly manner if possible.
Before I highlight the changes that I have made in my daily life so far, I would like to show you the main causes of plastic pollution in the UK. As you can see below it’s mainly plastic/polystyrene pieces – that’s plastic bags and bottles.
When you know what’s causing the problem, you can solve it and I will be telling you how.
In this blog, I’m going to highlight ways I chose to enter this journey smoothly.
My first change was to stop buying/getting plastic bags from shops. Whether they’re single-use or the “long-term” plastic bags. I always carry a few canvas tote bags.
These are my beautiful and strong sea-turtle friendly tote bags. I designed them for a charity and all the profit will be going to build ethical hatcheries in Sri Lanka.
In some supermarkets bags, you can see it says 100% recyclable. It’s really important to understand the difference between recyclable and biodegradable, these are two different things. Just because it’s recyclable doesn’t mean it’ll get recycled.
Recent reports have shown that not all of our plastic gets recycled. I hear you asking so where does it go? Some goes in landfills and most of it ends up in oceans destroying our marine life and ruining our oceans. 8 billion tons of plastic ends up in our oceans and takes hundreds of years to decompose. The below image shows how long each product takes to fully decompose. This image is from 4Ocean’s website.
Secondly, I have invested in a few metal straws. I carry them with me in my handbag and it’s very handy. I happily say NO to straws whenever I’m ordering a drink. I don’t want to be responsible for straws that become embedded in the nostrils of sea turtles. Metal straws are very easy to clean, you can get thin brushes to clean the inside of the straw to remove any residue and keep them clean.
This is an image from the heartbreaking video that spurred me to embrace a plastic-free lifestyle because no animal should suffer due to our ignorance and careless attitude.
Thirdly, I’m very proud and happy to say that I haven’t bought a single plastic bottle for over a month and a half now. I carry my reusable stainless steel water bottle with me everywhere and I’m also planning to get my reusable hot beverage travel mug. While cleaning the beach in Sri Lanka, plastic bottles were one of the main things polluting the beach.
Also, in regards to hot beverages, I recently learnt that not all tea bags are biodegradable. If you’d like to know which tea bags are eco-friendly, please read this article. Some brands like Pukka herbs are eco-friendly, tea bags are not wrapped in plastic packaging and I like the fact that they take part in environmental project.
Continuing with my journey, my recent change was switching to a bamboo toothbrush from a company called F.E.T.E- From Earth To Earth. You can check it out on my instagram feed.
My toothbrush has a new pal- my toothpaste comes in a glass bottle and a wooden toothpaste applicator.
I also bought some shampoo bars and soaps to avoid buying more plastic shampoo and shower gel bottles.
One of my purchase to help me on my journey from a local zero waste shop in Leicester
Recently, while searching for eco-friendly alternatives for cling film, I came across this wonderful company – SuperBee – who are making beautiful bee’s wax wraps and who also sent me this beginner set to kickstart my journey and a lovely hand-written note. Not only is the product amazing but it’s re-usable, vegan, and sea-turtle friendly.
There’s a company named -Pela – and they have been making 100% compostable and biodegrable cases with plants and do I need to tell you why I love it so much ?
Changes are happening slowly but surely. We need to be mindful of products we buy and how they’re going to affect our environment. Let’s stop with the negative attitude of “Not my plastic, not my problem”. We can be the solution to one of today’s world major problem- plastic pollution.
One advice that I would love to share is after a certain period of time, you might feel demotivated as it can be difficult to find zero waste shops in your area. Don’t get discouraged, remember why you started this journey. I started my journey because I want cleaner oceans and I want to actively preserve our marine life and especially save sea turtles. This reason keeps me going in my journey everyday.
Set a reason and work towards changing your habits and making this world a better place for all living creatures. One piece of advice that I got when I started was “do as much as you can”
I’m still at the beginning of this journey and honestly I’m overwhelmed. I struggle when I need to buy fruits or vegetables and there are packed in plastic. Getting plastic-free cereals or buying bread that’s not packed in a plastic wrapper is yet another challenge.
However, I have been very lucky by being surrounded with like-minded people daily. I have joined different plastic-free groups on Facebook and follow a few people on Instagram who are on the same journey as I. This has been very helpful to start with to get wonderful ideas and tips. It’s not an easy journey since most of our supermarkets are filled with products packed in plastic, but you and I can make the change and save our beautiful planet as this is the only one we have. We owe it to the future generations and to Mother Nature.
My instagram feed snapshots my journey. If you’d like to get in touch on how to start your plastic-free lifestyle or if you’re looking for motivation to continue your journey, please do get in touch. I’ll be pleased to help you on this wonderful journey of ours.
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