It’s embarrassing to admit, but in the Eighties and in the Nineties, I surrounded myself with plastic, just like most people. If you haven’t lived in those times you probably will not believe plastic was actually cool back then.
We kept fruits in a plastic bowl, washed salads in a plastic colander, kept cheese and salamis in plastic bags; we had plastic hangers, trays, bags and we even bought stuff just because it was in the colorful plastic box. Plastic shoes, belts, jewelry, everything was plastic and easily replaceable, disposable.
My view on plastic started to change in my late twenties. And not only because it started to emerge how plastic was harming our health through getting toxic chemicals into our food and beverages, but I also hated the environmental impact, the amount of waste they created. Luckily, I still had memories of the “real stuff” like ceramics, glass, wood, which looked and felt much nicer and lasted longer, if not forever.
I don’t want to quote any numbers and data how plastic is damaging our environment today and how the toxic chemicals are linked to obesity, chronic diseases, allergies and different type of cancers etc. You can google “toxic plastic” or “plastic waste” and you will be filled with disgust, you will feel guilty as fuck using another plastic cup again. When I see pictures of the waste washed out of the oceans, or animals trapped into or poisoned by our waste I am ashamed of humanity. We are hurting the health of ourselves, animals and plants too.
I know it’s almost unavoidable to live without plastic today, but I encourage you to take steps and eliminate as much as you can from your life for your own health benefit and for our planet. Make small changes at a time, one step, one less hazard to worried about.
Tips to start to live plastic free:
Start with the elimination of disposable plastic by eating home cooked meals, made from fresh ingredients bought un-packaged. Take your own lunch in a glass container and your coffee in a stainless-steel thermos when you work.
Stop buying bottled water for home; if you don’t have good quality water in your area, use a water filter on your tap or at least use a carafe with filter; added benefit: you will save money too! ! We use Brita and it cost us approximately £3 a month to have filtered drinking water. If you like carbonated water, invest into a soda siphon!
Use reusable, washable shopping bags. My Envirosax bags are many years old now, they can carry up to 20kgs each, and I always got complements how they look, they are feminine and fashionable. I always have one in my handbag, and I have four more at home for the big grocery shopping.
Keep a fold-able basket in your car’s trunk, they are brilliant.
Get rid of plastic from your home , especially from your kitchen. My food containers are glass now, I use stainless steel whenever I can, and I love wood and ceramic. If you think this was an expensive move, you are wrong. The selection of stainless steel and glass kitchen accessories are huge, the price often the same as for the plastic containers. The best way is to buy them in sets, few different sizes at a time; they are not only cheaper, but it’s easier to store them if they have come in the same shapes. Glass and stainless steel are easy to clean and even the food looks so much better in them! Most of the glass containers can be used in the oven, microwave or you can even store food in the freezer in them.
I must admit it feels a bit dumb to make these changes now and getting so excited about it when we could just have followed what our grandparents were doing and skip that 20 years of plastic-love. They didn’t waste anything – especially food – the way we do today. When you farm your own meat, milk, vegetables, you don’t let it go to the bin easily. When you live in times when there is not enough food to eat or not enough money to buy them, you use the best materials to store everything, meat, spices, fruits or vegetables. I remember my grandmother always took her woven basket when she went to the market. I thought that basket was very un-fashionable in the eighties. And today? There are millions of designs of it to make shopping cute and cool.
I know I can do much more to reduce plastic waste and toxins from our life , my war on plastic just have started. Do you have any good tips to share in this matter?