I like to think of myself as a crunchy momma. You might not know it by looking at me (or my child’s disposable diaper – oops!), but I love all things natural, eco-friendly, sustainable and safer. I’m a self-described “woo-woo-weirdo.” But there’s room to get even crunchier, folks.
So, I took the opportunity to join the Plastic Free movement to see just how much closer I could get to a zero-waste household.
Spoiler alert: It’s HARD. After our plastic-free month, we’re more like a “slightly-less-waste” household, but I’m calling it a “win.”
First, let me explain what plastic-free meant to me. Personally, I set a goal to reduce or eliminate single-use plastics from my life. That includes plastic wrap, Ziploc bags, plastic water bottles, disposable plastic cups, plastic straws, and plastic silverware.
I’ve already phased out plastic Tupperware in favor of glass. Coincidentally, the American Academy of Pediatrics recently came out against the use of plastic food containers in an effort to reduce children’s exposure to chemicals.
Here are my key takeaways from my plastic-free month and ways you can start to reduce waste in your household!
1. Plan ahead.
Just like with anything in life, if you’re not prepared, you’ll fail. So, I created a “zero-waste kit” that I stashed in my car. It was a glass mason jar filled with a paper storage bag, a reusable spork, a stainless steel straw (not pictured), a Stasher reusable “ziploc” bag (not pictured) and a linen hand towel. I also brought my reusable water bottle with me in my diaper bag.
2. Talk about it.
If I set a goal, I talk about it to anyone and everyone who will listen. It helps keep me accountable and reminds me to stay committed. I also learned that I have friends who are living/attempting zero-waste, too, which is awesome! We were able to swap tips/stories, and I joined a local group of “zero-wasters.” I took my “kit” with me to a few social events, too, which was a great conversation-starter. I’m usually pretty shy, but it’s hard to be a wallflower when using a big red spork to eat your chicken salad!
3. Start small.
I know everyone says this, but it’s true. Even if all you do is stop using plastic straws, that’s a change! It’s not going to save the world, but it changes your mindset, which is what needs to happen if we’re going to tackle this plastic problem. More than 79% of all plastic waste ends up in landfills or gets stuck in the natural world. Now, I think about it before I use or buy things in plastic!
The biggest issue I encountered in trying to eliminate single-use plastic was ordering food to-go. I recently learned that people in America now spend more money eating out than eating in— often in plastic or Styrofoam containers! I started encouraging restaurants I frequent to find more eco-friendly options for to-go containers.
Now that I’ve kicked my Ziploc collection to the curb, it’s time for cloth diapers! Stay tuned…