Don't just claim to love the environment, live like you love the environment.
Over the past 100 years or so, we have been gradually nudged, pushed, cajoled and coerced to living a plastic-friendly life. Since its invention in 1907, plastic has invaded our lives and today we cannot touch any product that does not have plastic in it ... well, almost. Just look around you. Your phone, your computer, your printer, your water bottle, your car, the bicycle, the camera, the wall clock, the disposable lighter, chairs, tables, crockery, cutlery, shrink-wrap, packaging, everything is plastic.
Plastic is great because it is durable.
Plastic is awful because it is durable.
Plastic lasts for ever. Of the gazillion tonnes of plastics produced in history, about 50% is single use. Stuff that we use just one time, maybe for just a few seconds. A drinking straw, for instance. Or plastic wrap. Packaging is something we rip apart the moment we get home. The coffee cup at the restaurant or at office. The ever present shopping bag that comes in a variety of sizes to make our lives a lot more convenient.
It seems that living without plastic is almost impossible. But, is it? There are some conscious choices that each of us can make to reduce our individual use of single use plastics. It seems a gynormous task to rid the ocean of the gazillion tonnes of plastic that floats in it and there is almost nothing that we as individuals can do about it! But no, each little piece of plastic that is in our landfills, rivers and seas, came from one individual like us. We do have a choice of doing our bit to not adding at least one piece of plastic to the forever pile of trash.
Here are some suggestions on how you as an individual can make the planet a better place. It might seem difficult, but given a few days' effort, you will find that you can make a difference and that you will feel good about the choices you make. Looking at your greener lifestyle, maybe others can get inspired and follow in your footsteps.
In time, with a whole lot of people adopting a plastic-free lifestyle, the world will gradually reverse to becoming a cleaner, greener place once again.
Living plastic-free is a conscious exercise, requiring sustained effort. It is difficult, like anything new always is. We have grown up with plastic being a part of our lives. From the crib we slept in and the toys we played with, to the bottles we drink out of and the straws we suck our coffee through. Difficulties, impossible? Definitely no. Click on the thumbnails below to get some simple tips and tricks on how you can live a plastic free life ... at home, at the workplace, while dining out or while shopping.
The home is probably the most difficult place to switch to a plastic-free lifestyle. How can one give up on the price advantage and convenience of plastic that pervades our very existence. It is not as difficult as it seems. If we look back just a couple of decades ago when we were young, or ask our parents about the times they were young, we will be amazed at the transformation that has taken place.
At the workplace
It is at the office where we spend most of our waking hours. Some work for others, while others are entrepreneurs. Some are in business, others in trading. Whatever field we might be employed in, one thing remains constant ... our use of plastic products. Every cup of coffee and every glass of water is dispensed out of a dispenser into a plastic or styrofoam cup. Three seconds tops to gulp the water, but the cup remains forever.
At the restaurant
For many people, there is a visible lifestyle change when they enter a restaurant or coffee shop. They would probably never ever use a drinking straw at home, but consider it sacrilegious to sip a cold coffee without the straw. And then there is takeaway. There are simple and specific choices we can make when visiting restaurants and coffee shops and ordering food to-go, thereby reducing our plastic usage footprint.
Plastic is a relatively new commodity in the life of humanity. But thanks to its unique properties combined with the price benefits, it has made inroads into our lives in a major way. This is most apparent when we go shopping. We shove loose goods in a plastic bag, food comes nicely packaged in plastic, meals are hermetically sealed in plastic wrap. This was not always the case and we can still revert to a plastic-less shopping experience.
There are many ways you can reduce your carbon footprint by limiting the use of plastic products and items when you are travelling. Whether by car, by bus, by train, by aircraft, even when you are out camping. Some very simple decisions you make will ensure that your usage of single-use plastics will go down drastically. People might look at you funny, but they will get the message. Go ahead, be an activist and show the world.
Do visit the Plastic Free Coalition Green Shop to buy some stuff that can be used as alternatives to the plastic products that you are used to. We do not manufacture any of the products listed here. We curate the market to find manufacturers who make plastic-alternatives. We do get a commission from them, which is then used by us to add to the corpus to enable raising further awareness about a future plastic-free life.