How to eliminate plastic from your life

Number one thing I get asked when talking, or by email is how do we get plastic out of our life, and what is really going to make a change. Firstly understand that this isn’t a war against all plastic, some is vital, and an awesome innovative material, it’s the stuff that gets used once, or very few times, and can be replaced that we have to get rid of.

  1. Eliminate single use and replaceable plastic from your life. Buy fruit and veg loose, buy stuff like pasta in bulk and keep it in jars, so you’re not going back for smaller plastic wrapped alternative, stop buying bottled water!!! This is the way we can all make a difference right now, today you can make a decision to stop buying plastic. If we all did this, we’d be over half way there. Do a quick search fro plastic free supermarkets in your area as well.
  2. Spread the word, yes the plastic issue was all over the media last year, but have you noticed something, it’s starting to go awfully quiet again, keep telling everyone you know, we as a species quickly slip back into old routines, and not using plastic has to be a routine.
  3. Make sure you’re not using cosmetics/washes with microbeads in, they are in decline thanks to our collective pressure, but it isn’t a total win yet. Likewise cotton buds, tampons, nappies, anything like that, if there is a non plastic solution (and in some cases it is hard to find) use it, although I appreciate this isn’t always easy to locate.
  4. We have to start thinking about how we are doing our washing, the big bits of plastic in our life are easy to find and get rid of, but those micro fibres that come off our clothes in every wash are devastating, so we need to front up to this. So right now the best option is to ask any plastic fibre based clothes in a Guppy Bag or similar, these collect the fibres, however this is a short term solution and we need to pressure manufacturers into installing filters in washing machines.
  5. Reuse stuff, lets break this chain of buy cheap, destroy, buy again. Lets go back to fix, improve, buy secondhand, because an awful lot of that new stuff that is out there is heavily plastic based.
  6. We all have to get behind policy changes, I know petitions can sometimes be pointless, but they do raise awareness, and groups like Surfers Against Sewage (JOIN HERE), are lobbying all the time for changes int he law when it comes to plastic, and the is really important.
  7. Directly contact manufacturers/brands or simply vote with your feet. End of the day everyone is trying to make a profit, and if you stop buying because of plastic, they will have to change, so ditch or switch to a company which is actively removing plastic or designing it out, we have the power.
  8. Grow your own veg, cook more food from scratch, use farmers markets, all are a great way of cutting out plastic packaging, yes maybe a little less convenient but not having a planet to live on is way less convenient.
  9. Beach clean – whenever you go to the beach do your two minutes, it’s not the solution but it Is the most ecologically sound way of removing plastic from our beaches. But you also have to think of it this way, it is pointless to do this without all the above, it’s like having an overflowing bath and just mopping the floor.
  10. Finally recycle, I’ve left this last as it should be seen as the last resort, not the first stop, it’s better to have nothing to recycle in the first place.

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