It’s been about 2 months since I started my plastic-free experiment, so I thought I’d give you an update on how my family and I are doing with our experiment.
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I started this blog to keep me motivated and inspired as I try to become a more environmentally responsible citizen along with my family. One place I wanted to start is by reducing my family’s dependence on plastic.
Let’s start by reviewing what’s we’ve been doing and what’s been working well for us.
I’ve been very good at remembering to bring the reusable bags when I do my shopping. I’m even bringing reusable produce bags when I shop for fruit and vegetables. Also, I’m learning to say no to plastic bags even though I don’t have a reusable one with me. I give myself 4 out of 5 stars on this one. ★ ★ ★ ★
Reusable Coffee Mug
I don’t buy my coffee from a coffee shop very often, however, when I do, I’ve been trying to remember to bring my reusable cup to have it filled instead of the grab-and-go cups with plastic lids. I’ve been using my refillable coffee mug at work though, so I give myself 2 stars. ★ ★
My beeswax wraps are working great so far as a plastic wrap alternative. I don’t miss the plastic stuff. I’m working at tweaking my formula, so expect a new DIY post coming soon. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I bought 4 metal straws to use instead of the standard plastic ones. I’ve never been much of a straw user, so I can honestly say I haven’t even tried them once. I do put them in my son’s lunch for his milk and he’s always happy to have it with him. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I went to a local zero-waste shop and bought the family some bamboo toothbrushes. My 6-year-old is the only one using his already since the rest of us are still using the plastic ones. Once they need replacing, we’ll replace them with the bamboo ones. For effort, I give my family ★ ★ ★
Zero Waste shopping
I’m embracing The Bulk Barn since they allow us to bring our own reusable containers. I always thought of the Bulk Barn as a place to buy cake decoration things or for candy to sneak into the movies. But now I’m seeing it as a place to go plastic-free and to save money too. Another post on that coming soon.
I have to say that at first, bringing my own containers and even reusable produce bags was quite uncomfortable.
We still shop are a regular grocery store as well. Here are a few eco-friendly tips on shopping at a grocery store while trying to reduce your impact:
When picking items, consider the type of container it comes it. Choose glass or metal containers over plastic whenever you can. Cardboard or kraft paper packaging is also a good choice over plastic.
For zero-waste shopping, I give myself three stars. Although I’m making strides here, I feel we have so much room for improvement. ★ ★ ★
Finding plastic-free snack solutions
I’m a snacker and I’m dependant on pre-packaged snacks, from granola bars to chips, chocolate, you name it, I love it. I do bring my lunch in a reusable lunch bag. My main lunch is always packaged in reusable containers. But. it’s shamefully filled with plastic-wrapped snacks and yogurt in single-use cups. My next step will be to plan and make ahead bars so that I’m not depending on the over-packaged/processed store-bought kind. Once I have my new snacks figured out, you got it, I’ll share my ideas in a post.
Sourcing plastic-free garbage bag alternatives
I find that we can’t get away from plastic bags for garbages. I can’t find readily information on what to do as an alternative. More research on this is needed. If I find a great solution, I’ll share it with all of you.
This going plastic-free process, although not difficult, is a bit challenging. Here are a few lessons learned in the process
Lesson #1: Sometimes, being green is uncomfortable. Bringing my own containers to stores, even reusable produce bags was quite uncomfortable at first. I was afraid of being judged or seem weird with my reusable bag and clinking jars. But, I pushed outside my comfort zone and realized it’s not a big deal. And the more I do it, the more I see other people doing it too, which also helps. I’m not alone doing this!
Lesson #2. Going green is a slow process. It doesn’t happen instantly. Building new habits take time. Also, it’s not like I ditched all the plastic containers and items I already have. I’m reusing them until they are only good for recycling. Then, I can slowly replace my plastic products with better, eco-friendly alternatives.
Lesson #3. I must get acquainted with some of the dying arts like:
Luckily I still have my mom around to teach me about gardening and canning. My sisters to teach me to sew and for everything else I want to learn, we’ll there’s always YouTube.
Lesson #4. Going green is not convenient. I talk more about just how inconvenient and expensive it can be in an earlier post, but I really need to go out of my way to find eco-friendly alternatives since they are not always readily accessible.
Also, we need to change our established routine and that in itself can be uncomfortable. It makes me realize how our world has been built around convenience and it’s destroying our planet. I for one, am willing to change it all to make my difference.
This plastic-free journey my family and I have undertaken is a long one, full of imperfect moments, however, by setting goals and being diligent in planning ahead, I think we are well on our way to the next step towards going plastic-free.