The Rs of disposable plastics go:

1. RETHINK 2. REFUSE


(+ REDUCE, REUSE, REPAIR, REPURPOSE, and “RECYCLE”…if you must).

To help you reduce your own plastic waste, just remember the simple advice above.  To elaborate:

  • Rethink your use of plastics. Remembering that every plastic item ever created still exists, ask yourself whether that disposable convenience is really worth it?  That plastic granola wrapper (for e.g.) will be on this planet for thousands of years…(could you do without it, or make/find a better treat?)
  • Part of rethinking is to start recognizing where all of the disposable plastic items in your life are coming from.  What are your own bad plastic manners?  What items are you just buying out of habit?  Are others constantly imposing plastics on you without notice?
  • Armed with awareness, get disciplined about refusing single-use disposable plastics.
  • Start with the easy things, refusing coffee lids, straws in drinks, plastic bags, cutlery, wrapped muffins etc etc.  So easy.
  • Then, move onto the ‘harder’ things, sourcing one alternative at a time.  Be creative!

For me, this refusing business has become a really fun and rewarding challenge.  It never ends, but it has become second nature.  And finding/making alternatives is even better, if you even needed replacements in the first place .  If there are two things that I have learned during this project, is that:

  1. Convenience is not what makes life colourful.
  2. There is abundance in going without.

~~~

Start small:

  • Refuse one item each day that you would otherwise have acquired.
  • Host a plastic free dinner and talk about the challenges with your guests.
  • Get a group together and collect your plastics for a week or month.  Discuss.
  • Choose one area of your life you want to reduce your waste in and….GO!  Move onto the next area once mastered.  Some categories: take out waste, kitchen waste (many sub-categories), bathroom waste, cleaning products, synthetic clothes, kid and pet paraphenalia.

Go big:

  • Going big has its benefits, and I am a proponent of this approach.  Because if you start small, you might get comfortable with a few steps and never go the distance, forgoing most benefits.
  • Purge all plastics.
  • Refuse all plastics.  Prepare for the long haul…every day, every month, every year will present new dilemmas.

~~~

For great alternatives, and more specific tips, please visit my Tips and Alternatives page, or Beth Terry’s The List of Plastic Free Changes.