Living a completely disposable plastic free life is the ultimate goal, but as we know it ain’t that easy! We have to really try and go out of our way to do so. Hopefully this won’t always be the case and refill stations will be everywhere and single-use packaging will no longer be a thing but for now we must try our best. We interviewed someone who has taught us a lot about living a more sustainable life and has actually made it a goal to eventually never use single-use (for real)! She is a true inspiration that it is possible. Her name is Carrie and she is hero for the environment (as we should all try and aspire to be).
1. Q: what does living a plastic free lifestyle mean to you? How do you define it? (i.e. do you ever use single-use plastic? If so how often?)
Living a plastic free lifestyle is all about awareness, recognizing that your actions have a lasting effect on the life of this planet. But with that, it also is about patience and practice, not perfection. Plastic is everywhere and arguably in everything, including the water we drink. Therefore, avoiding it is daunting and often very hard. Did you know that a plastic toothbrush takes 500 years to biodegrade? 500 years! Making small changes, like buying a biodegradable bamboo toothbrush, can really make a difference for the future of this planet. Also, supporting companies that share your same ideals helps cut back on plastic utilization. There is nothing more powerful than the power of the dollar, and where you spend your money is ultimately what you support. Finding companies, like SAVRcup
, and supporting them is just as important as the daily choices you make to cut back on single-use plastic.
2. how difficult would you say it is to try and live a single-use free life?
Very! Honestly, it takes time, effort, and planning to go completely plastic free. But thats if you want perfection. This whole process takes a long time and you will never have a life that is perfectly single-use free. It is really all about making those small choices everyday to help live a more sustainable lifestyle.
3. how come you decided to live a plastic free lifestyle?
I watched an episode of Frontline
on PBS called “Plastic Wars”
that really got me interested in the topic of plastic. I then went down the rabbit hole and learned all about recycling and the dangers of plastic, not only to ourselves but to the planet. It really made me think about single-use plastic in a different way. I thought because I could recycle the plastic I was using, then everything was fine. But thats really not the case, it is estimated that only 5-6% of the plastic in the world is actually recycled. There are numerous reasons why most of the plastic we recycle doesn’t actually get recycled, but thats for another time. This all made me realize that utilizing single-use plastic as a whole was the problem, we can’t count on our plastic to actually be recycled. After all this, I completed a Sustainability Mentorship and learned about different techniques I could adopt to cut back on my waste. I also read a couple books about the lifestyle which helped me look at things differently. (My favorite one was, 101 Ways to go Zero Waste
, by Kathryn Kellogg) All of these experiences and realizations helped me focus on living a plastic free lifestyle.
4. mind sharing some tips on how to live a plastic-free lifestyle and what are some of your favorite companies/brands that help you do this?
Some tips that helped me in the beginning were to take BABY steps. It can often feel overwhelming when you want to try and live a lifestyle like this. Making one small change a month is a great goal to start with. There are two places I mainly focused on when making these changes, my kitchen and my bathroom. When I started with my kitchen, I focused on buying things in bulk, using my own reusable mason jars instead of single-use plastic. (Peoples Co-Op in OB has an awesome bulk section and you can bring in your own containers, also Earthwell Refill in SD has a ton of cleaning items and personal care items you can buy in bulk with your own containers). Trying to shop mostly at farmers markets and bringing my own bags, not only to cut down on your carbon footprint but cutting out any unnecessary packaging. Switching gears to the bathroom, I focused on using shampoo/conditioner bars (I couldn’t find one that worked well with my hair, so I started utilizing the Plaine Products Shampoo and Conditioner, an amazing company that actually sends you a return label and packaging so you can send the aluminum bottles back when you are done and they will reuse them), using paper applicator deodorant, and getting a bamboo toothbrush to name a few. (Earthhero.com is a great resource also, its basically a sustainable Amazon, you can pretty much type in whatever you are looking to purchase and it gives you great eco-friendly alternatives you can use) Also, when eating out, try to bring your own to go tupperware containers instead of taking some from the restaurant. These are some tips that helped me at the beginning. Overall, there are a ton of ways you can cut out plastic but it just takes some time and attention!