Hints and Tips on How to Lead a Plastic Conscious Lifestyle!
It’s hard not to be familiar with the effects our plastic consumption has been having to our oceans, beaches, rivers and our planet. Watching BBC’s Planet Earth 2 brought up a whirlwind of emotions, from being absolutely mesmerised by some weird fish and its amazingly intelligent behaviour, to feelings of joy and happiness and then tears of absolute sadness to see what an impact us humans have had on the planet.
When it comes to the war on plastic, small changes can make a big difference, but I think we need to do more than change our habits, we also need to change our mindset.
Here a few things that we can do to make change:
We all know about tote bags, reusable coffee cups, but is there more that we can be doing? We should be saying no and certainly being mindful of anything that is single use, when we are out and about and at home. This includes cling film, zip lock style bags, straws and plastic cutlery. When you think about it, it’s so unnecessary, especially as there are so many amazing reusable alternatives these days. Tupperware, glass jars, reusable food covers, metal straws, bamboo toothbrushes all just being more conscious of what we use will make a small, but significant difference.
If you still drink bottled water because you prefer your water filtered, consider buying a Water-to-Go bottle. The filters use NASA technology to remove 99.9% harmful contaminants from your drinking water. If you are going on holiday and are afraid to drink the water- a Water-to-Go Bottle mean you can drink from tap instead of buying bottled. I travelled 3 months in Central America with my Water-to-Go bottle, using water from taps and streams, and never got ill. It really is a no brainer (and investment if you think how much you would spend on the single use, bottled version).
When it comes to doing a grocery shop – there are so many alternatives to going to a plastic filled supermarket. Not only are many of their products over packaged with plastic, much of the plastic cannot be recycled. Local farmers markets not only have an amazing abundance and variety of fresh and exotic fruit and veg, but it is often cheaper and a much nicer shopping experience. Alternatively, the organic fruit and veg delivery services are pretty good with cutting down on plastic.
Changing our mindset and breaking the consumer cycle
One of the main reasons for this plastic issue is actually quite simple- our excessive consumer habits. Our need to shop and buy! We spend our time, money and energy buying things that don’t fulfil us, but what we probably need is time away, getting out in nature, being present, enjoying family. That is priceless.
So maybe when you are next buying something, ask yourself:
- Do I really need this or do I just want this?
- Will I still want this in a few months’ time?
- Do I have space for it?
- Is it good quality?
- Can it be re-used or re-cycled?
- Will it make me happy for longer than 10 minutes before I feel the need to buy something else?
- Can I buy this second hand and give it a new life?
- Could the money that I am using to buy this be spent on something that will fulfil me more?
We’ve all been there. You need to buy someone a gift and you feel the need to spend a certain amount of money on them and 1 gift is simply not enough. You buy them 1 main gift, 2 medium gifts and 3 small token gifts to make your gesture seem more elaborate. How often do these end up in that forgotten drawer, at the charity store or in the bin? Children’s plastic toys are a prime example. Being a conscious consumer also means being a conscious gifter. So when it comes to gifting, think about buying your loved ones experiences, not stuff.
Let’s get loud
Does your local pub use 4 straws in one drink? Does your workplace recycle properly? Did that package you ordered come in a ridiculous amount of plastic? Don’t be afraid to speak up, get loud, take photo’s and put them on social media, send emails, speak to the manager! Nothing changes if nothing changes and speaking up can help make a difference.
So to conclude; buy less stuff, re-use, recycle, break the consumer cycle of spending more and more on stuff. Take a look around at what you own and remember a time when you wanted what you currently have. Buy local where possible, and shop with intention. Use less plastic and find plastic alternatives where possible. Find joy in experiences over things. Choose a more minimalist path. Embrace the joy of less, while being aware of how our actions affect our planet.
About the writer:
Hi, I'm Leigh Martinez, the Marketing Manager for Live Well London. I am originally from Cape Town and live in London with my Spanish husband. I am inspired by food, art, culture, nature and traveling. I'm learning so much about health and wellbeing and am so excited to be working on Live Well London. See you there and enjoy the blogs!