It’s very easy when starting on our journey to plastic free living to become suddenly overwhelmed. Overwhelmed at the big picture. Wow, it's so huge and so bad, is there any point changing what I am doing? Will buying a reusable coffee cup and ditching my one disposable coffee cup a day really make a difference? When you look at the huge issues single use plastic is causing, see the huge damage the huge volumes of it, it can really be quite heartbreaking and soul destroying, but it can also kill motivation to make the change.
But alway remember YES, ABSOLUTELY YES. Your one small step does make a difference. We have to BE THE CHANGE our society needs. I’m not asking you to become a ‘raving hippy’ overnight. I’m just asking you to make one small step, one small change this month. Then next month another.
Small steps by thousands of people make huge changes. So just take every change as a small step. You can dive right into a more eco-friendly way of life, but equally, you can just make a small change a month and slowly build up until you have more confidence. Look at our list above and decide which one of those is easiest for you to implement and take forward. Reusable shopping bags are a great place to start if you have the overall shopping bags consider reusable fruit and veg bags so your fresh produce does not come home in little plastic bags. Reusable bottles are not only an easy switch, but I have found I am drinking a lot more water since making that change. I don't use straws but right now I would not be without my reusable coffee cup either.
Once you are happy and comfortable, move onto the next one. We have plenty of blogs and advice to help you on your way from switching to reusable nappies, reusable cloth sanitary pads, making your bathroom plastic free just to name a few. Have a browse in our living without plastic section and hopefully, you find some of these helpful in your journey.
HAVE THAT CONVERSATION
I think of all those tens of thousands of families I have helped move to reusable nappies, to cloth sanitary pads and menstrual cups, to reusable bottles and latterly cups. Most of those changes came from having a conversation, whether online in our group or face to face at baby shows etc. A customer thanked me yesterday with this comment which really made my day (on a cloth sanitary pad video I did - see below)
Sometimes, we just need to have those conversations to make people think differently. All of us, can try and open up a conversation. Today I had the pleasure of talking to one of our manufacturers, a lovely firm and they started discussing their future plans. My immediate response was to ask them to consider their packaging, to make it multi-use and get rid of the plastic layer. And guess what, they are! They had not considered it and now are planning to try and introduce it across their range. How wonderful. One small step, one conversation, and hopefully a mindset change in a manufacturer to produce less waste.
Whilst people are often not aware of the consequences of the waste, we have to try and remember to be careful and not alienate people in our approach. Always remember respect and follow that old phrase, you catch more flies with honey! I often see disputes in online communities about people not being ‘green’ enough. How dare they consider plastic for x, y, z. It's a very alienating stance. It can really just turn people off completely and that is far worse. Hence why I always try and just encourage people to make those first small steps and do not allow any judgement in my group. You can start a conversation easily. Perhaps, at work, mention why you are using reusable sandwich bags as opposed to cling film/plastic lunch bags.
JUST DO YOUR BEST
We have all been there. In the queue with our zero waste veg packed in our reusable bags, and looked at the shopping trolleys around us and thought, why bother. Yep. Our attempts can seem futile when the masses are seemingly trying to create as much waste as possible. But we have to keep going. Our planet needs us to make the change, to help others to make the change. One by one, more and more people are realising the difference we can, as a society change. So no, we are not going to stop the problem overnight but we can all sleep better knowing we are doing our own little bits to lessen the problem.
We’ve talked in the past about guilt tripping and if you are a part of our Facebook community, you know I don’t tolerate it. I appreciate everyone makes their own efforts in their own way. Some of our customers are amazing zero waste warriors who, quite frankly, put me to shame. But I, like many others, do my very best. And, at the end of the day, that's all we can do. We all see the zero heroes online living their perfect zero waste, natural, alternative lifestyles and producing a thimble of waste a year and then look at our own efforts and feel disheartened. I know I will never get down to that thimble a year, but I have made huge inroads in the last 15 years to live a more reusable lifestyle, and my journey continues each day.
If everyone reading this can make a small step, have a conversation and do our best, wow what a difference that will make. And we just need to remember that, our little small steps DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE, even if sometimes it does not feel like it.
So today, be the change. Pick a small step to change. Have a conversation with someone about it and do your best!