Stop right there! I promise that you’re NOT going to feel bad about your plastic use when you read this.
I’m not going ask you to trade in your car and townhouse either for an old bicycle and a yurt in Westmeath.
Quite the opposite, I’m going to tell you how the smallest of changes can help you live a more sustainable life – how to live a sustainable sustainable life, if you will.
When we hear people talking about climate change, our over reliance on plastic and our need to live waste-free, so many of us switch off and is it any wonder?
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by it all. Like, seriously, how can you JUST ONE PERSON change all that?
The answer is – you can’t. And neither can I.
But if we ALL made one little change, wouldn’t that be great?
Sustainable living looks hard
es – there is a perception that living plastic free is inconvenient. And sometimes, it might look as though plastic-free and sustainable items cost more.
But this is where we need to talk about the “throw-away mentality”. We literally need to throw away our throw-away mentality. Buying sustainable means buying better quality that is going to last but that won’t damage the earth as it breaks down.
That’s the whole point – sustainability is about investing in quality products and in our future.
And let’s address the myths too – do you think your family might shun you as a “tree hugging hippy”? You can only change your own habits so don’t preach – let others see the changes in you.
And don’t feel bad if you don’t change your whole life. Celebrate the little sustainable wins – no matter how small!
So, here are ten little changes that could inspire you to take that first step towards a more sustainable and plastic-free life. You don’t have to tackle them all – maybe just start with one.
1: Do a “rubbish” inventory
Yep – start in the bin. I know, it sounds delightful! What plastics are you throwing away? What is creating the most waste in your bin?
Food will be the biggest resident in there – from crisps to essentials. Have a look at what is creating the most waste in your home.
2: Become more aware of why you’re buying plastic
When you’re in a shop, just ask yourself – is there a plastic free version of this?
And on a scale of one to 500 years, how badly do you want this item? (Some items can take 500 years to break down.)
3: Make your bathroom plastic-free
The biggest and most immediate change can happen here. Change our toothbrusyh from a plastic one to compostable bamboo brush. Switch to longer-lasting shampoo bars and soap. You can also refill liquid shampoos here in the shop. Consider sustainable menstrual products – give it a go!
4: Laundry products
Did you know that refill stores like The Refill Mill have laundry products too? Bring a lunch box, Tupperware or reuse your large yogurt pots – we don’t care what you’re bringing as long as you’re refilling.
5: Kitchen clear out
Wash your dishes with wooden dish brushes, compostable sponges and loofahs and solid kitchen soap or refill your washing-up liquid.
6: Use what you have
Most people have a cupboard or drawer full of plastic bags or bags for life and plastic boxes and containers. You don’t need to buy an organic, cotton shopping bags and new storage – just use what you have.
7: Turn your best intentions into action
We all procrastinate, and we ALL have one cabinet that’s bursting with plastic bottles and glass jars that we hope to someday repurpose.
Consider teaming up with a friend or family member for a crafternoon. Set aside time to do something with the items you don’t want to throw away or, you’ll end up getting frustrated with the clutter and throwing them away.
Can you use the broken plate and unwanted clothes for something else?
Maybe your garden can use it – compost it, decorate it, use it as storage or make bird feeders. Use your imagination. It’s also lots of fun.
8: Love your clothes
When it comes to clothes, the same is true. Don’t let them pile up in a bag or wardrobe.
Have an upcycle afternoon, bring clothes to the dressmakers to be altered if needed so you can wear them. You can also donate clothes or consider a ‘Trash and Treasure’ party with your friends or family members as someone might love the clothes you want to get rid of.
Also, buy good quality clothes that last and extend their life by line drying them, which also saves on electricity.
9: Remember your reusables
We have all done this – leave the house without our shopping bags, water bottles, coffee cup, reusable mask.
Do a quick check before you leave the house – keys, mask, wallet, reusables – or leave them in a bag by the front door.
10: There is no number ten
Because if you’ve managed to do even ONE of these things, you’re already winning!
Reducing your plastic and waste will not only help the environment but will address that climate anxiety you feel (more on that later) while helping you to value your belongings.
You will instantly become part of a wider community that cherishes the opportunity to live in a sustainable way and for whom it has become second nature.
Celebrate your wins, even the small ones. And don’t try to change it all overnight because when you think about it, trying to become totally sustainable overnight is just not sustainable.
Don’t lose heart – stay the course and after a while, it will be like second nature to you too.
Jump on over to The Refill Mill online store and take that first step today.