At the beginning, when you start reducing your plastic use at home, it is normal to create new habits to avoid this material on a daily basis: take your own reusable bottle to the office, put a fabric carry bag in your backpack, start shopping at local markets with your own containers, start to use bars of soap and solid shampoo…
All of these new routines are useful to kick things off.
But the real change comes, when you implement new thought patterns that are not quite so simple, they are in fact quite deep, and they help you have a multi-faceted impact whilst facing the plastic challenge.
So, to help you to take the next step on your journey towards a zero waste life, we have created a list of 5 mental habits that have helped us when it comes to reducing plastic at our place:
Get used to thinking about what you really need, rather that what you want
One of the aspects that surprises people the most when they start reducing the plastic in their lives is, the strong relationship between plastic and our shopaholic society. The single use attitude, the made up “necessities”, the impulsive purchases… All these features are linked to greater plastic consumption.
The good news is, that you can meet most of your basic needs without using any plastic. Therefore, before buying anything new that comes packaged or made from synthetic materials, ask yourself: Do I really need this? If the answer is yes – Can you meet that need with another zero waste product or with something you already own?
Start to say “No, thank you”
A free sweet covered in advertising, a balloon for your child, a perfume sample…Most of these freebies and/or promotional give-aways contain plastic.
In the beginning, saying “No, thanks” is difficult, but in the long run it is the best thing you can do to avoid plastic taking over your home.
If that person, the one with the best intentions, insists, just say those magic words: “I really appreciate it, but at our house we try to avoid plastic. So, please save it for someone who needs it.” It works for us.
Oh, and one more little trick, the power of kindness is extraordinary, so just respond with a smile and no one will get hurt 😉
Dare to share! Share your progress, your improvements and your failures
One of the most effective ways to move forward is to share your achievements and your mistakes. But above all, share your goals.
Telling like-minded people (your work colleagues, your family members and your friends) about the next step in your fight against plastic has 3 clear advantages:
On the one hand, you will feel “obligated” to tell them about what you learned and you will move forward more quickly; on the other hand, you can count on a team of people to encourage you to continue when you start to doubt yourself; and finally, you with be planting a seed in the minds of these individuals, who just might feel curious about trying out plastic-free alternatives themselves.
Think about the environmental impact, but also about your own heath
One of the tricks that is most effective when you have been on this plastic avoiding journey for a few years already, is to think about this material not only as an environmental problem, but also as a health hazard (if you don’t know what we are talking about, take a look at this blog post about endocrine disruptors).
This way, when you feel the urge to buy a snack or a treat that is wrapped in plastic, you will think about the impact it will have on the planet, but also the effect it could have on your body.
Most of the time, this will be enough to stop you in your tracks.
Take it easy
Keep in mind that avoiding plastic in today’s plastic-wrapped society is marathon not a sprint, so if one day you end up buying a plastic bag, or purchasing plastic packaged food, take it easy on yourself.
Don’t get disheartened, don’t think that you have betrayed your principles. As Igone said in our first real plastic-free family interview: “no one is perfect”. You are one person who is trying to change their habits to protect the planet and those who live on it. This is something to celebrate.
What do you think of our 5 mental habits to reduce the plastic at your place?
Would you add any others? Would you like to tell us about the trick that especially helped you on your journey?
Share it with us in the comments below.
We can’t wait to read them.