If there is something that brings us all together when trying to live plastic-free, it’s the fact that we haven’t always lived this way.
Before finding zero waste, you (like us) must have gotten home with dozens of plastic containers, supermarket bags, food trays covered with plastic cling-film and a number of plastic drink bottles.
That is until something clicked inside you, and now that you know the impact plastic has on your health and on the planet, you know there is no turning back.
We have all been on a journey to get to the point we are at now. However, sometimes it can be frustrating when the people around us have not been on this journey themselves, therefore they don’t understand the importance of reducing plastic in order to protect their own health and that of the planet.
In fact, this is one of the things that most saddens and demotivates those of us who want to live with less plastic.
That’s why we have prepared this specific post with a number of tips (based on our experiences) to help motivate those around you to start reducing their plastic use.
But first… take a look at this blockbuster ot a newsletter we have prepared for you this month:
Plastic Free July Challenge
Start reducing your plastic step by step by joining up to the free
Plastic Free July challenge.
Now let’s get started: how to convince those around you to reduce the amount of plastic they use.
Lead by example:
Perhaps your mother-in-law looks at you as if you were from outer space when you pull out your reusable shopping bags in the supermarket or some of the other parents at the park are still surprised when they see the beeswax wrap around your little one’s afternoon tea.
Keep leading by example. Slowly these people will start to normalise zero waste and they may even get interested in it themselves.
Start by sharing the easiest steps with those around you:
Generally speaking, swapping one plastic product for a zero waste alternative tends to be the best way to get started. Why not share some of the alternatives you have found to work with those around you?
For example: using some thin fabric produce bags instead of plastic bags when weighing fruit and vegetables, swapping packaged hand soap for a traditional plastic-free bar of soap, choosing a steel drink bottle rather than single use disposable water bottles…
Talk about the benefits:
For those who are not very aware of environmental issues and health topics and who are not motivated to start living zero waste, sometimes their motivation can arise out of some of the unexpected benefits.
A member of our team convinced their family to use containers when buying fish by arguing that this way they wouldn’t have to put up with the smelly fish paper packaging in the rubbish and they could put their shopping straight into the fridge when they get home.
You know those around you, and you know what they like and what bothers them. So, why not show them some of the benefits of no longer using plastic with this in mind?
Tú conoces a tu entorno y sabes qué les gusta y qué les molesta, ¿por qué no les muestras los beneficios de dejar el plástico desde ahí?
Tear down the idea of “perfection”:
A sustainable life in a world where people live as if the planet’s resources were unlimited is not going to be 100% perfect. Therefore, when someone around you accuses you of inconsistencies for not applying zero waste techniques to all facets of your life, explain that that is practically impossible and that the important thing is to take steps in the right direction. Who can tell? Maybe that person will change their mind.
In fact, you can also recommend reading our “Real plastic-free homes” series, so that they can see evidence that zero waste perfection doesn’t exist :).
Be assertive when they come to you with suspicions:
Continuing on from the previous point, you will not win anyone over by getting your back up when your brother-in-law repeats for the umpteenth time that zero waste is just for rich people/ for those with lots of time on their hands/ for hippies and that it doesn’t have any real impact on the planet.
Let’s be honest, your brother-in-law is probably never going to stop using plastic, but it may be more likely that your sister, your brother, your nieces and nephews and anyone else who is listening to your conversation do so. So, before biting back at one of his comments, we recommend smiling politely and explaining with facts and figures why that is simply not true.
Inform without being demoralising or patronising:
Nobody wants to have someone around who is constantly pointing out all your bad habits when it comes to using plastic, and no one wants to hear a sermon on the topic.
So, inform with fact and figures and by talking about your own personal experience when the topic comes up or when someone asks you a question. If you notice that the person is truly interested, you can recommend they check out some reliable sources of more information (like this blog or one of these books) and move on to the next step…
Offer to accompany them on this journey:
It may be, that some people in your circle of friends are not prepared to try a solid shampoo bar because they feel a little lost and they don’t know which one to choose. Why don’t you offer to guide them? Or you could help them find a suitable shop where they can get some advice (by the way, you can always ask us for advice here if you have any product related questions). Or maybe they don’t believe that the plant-based scourers or the wooden dishwashing brushes really work: How about giving them one and showing them how to use it?
If you are there at the time, help them to make decisions, that way they will feel more confident on their journey towards zero waste.
Encourage this person to sign-up to the Plastic Free July challenge:
This Plastic Free July website has a great challenge set up for those who want to live plastic-free. You can get to know out tricks and tips for easily getting started on what can sometimes seem a daunting journey.
If you would like to sign up (or if you’d like to send it to someone you know so that they can join us), all you have to do is register here (https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/take-the-challenge/) and you will find lots of resources and support no matter where you are on your path to zero waste.Join the Global Plastic Free July challenge
And learn how to reduce the plastic in your life step by step