In case you are following my series about #plasticfreejuly, you would know that this is my 3rd post this month as a part of sharing my personal journey in trying to achieve a much healthy & plastic-free lifestyle. August is just around the corner, which means that #plasticfreejuly is going to be over in a couple of days but that doesn’t mean our journey to zero waste is!
As a matter of fact, #plasticfreejuly aims to help people realize and think about their ecological footprint & environmental impact and evaluate the use of plastic in their lives, for July & beyond, converting it into a lifestyle.
Just to give a brief idea about my last 2 posts on #plasticfreejuly, In the first post i had shared about the small yet significant changes that we have brought in our lives to reduce plastic waste such as carrying a reusable water bottle, reusable coffee cup and a reusable grocery bag every time we head out, refusing to use plastic straws, switching to a bar of soap and much more. And in the second post i talked about our goals regarding #plasticfreejuly and what we plan to achieve as a next step in our journey, sharing some realistic goals that are achievable, not to get overburdened by responsibility.
Besides that, as i had shared before, #plasticfreejuly does not completely mean “no plastic” for us, it certainly means “no more plastic” in our house than what we already have/own but what it really means is using plastic responsibly.
We have been consciously working on our goal to reduce and eliminate the use of plastic in our house since the beginning of July and finding alternatives to products that we use on a daily basis but I often find myself confused about what we should do about all the existing and old plastic we already own.
Even though i completely understand the need and desire to ditch all the plastic and start fresh with a clean slate but throwing all of your old plastic away and getting all brand new eco-friendly items would be contrary to the zero waste lifestyle and definitely not the best way to deal with the problem.
I started my journey towards plastic-free living a year ago and even though we have been making conscious efforts to reduce, we still have so much in store, in every corner of our house and I certainly with all my heart refuse to discard it way after single use.
This is what low-waste lifestyle is basically about, focusing on ways to reuse or repurpose existing things and make full usage of each & every everything we own, however possible.
The first step and most important one towards building a sustainable lifestyle is to: Use what you have and use it as many times as you can.
Single-use plastic is the worst, most dangerous form of plastic and should be avoided immediately. I have made efforts to get multiple uses of every kind of plastic we already own right now in different ways. I have been re-using some of the plastic items that we have collected over the past few years (from containers to to-go boxes, plastic bags or bottles) in a variety of ways and sharing a few ideas today.
1. Ice-cream containers: I have been using my last 3 ice cream containers for storing spices & condiments. The containers were very rigid and perfectly fine, it only made sense to re-use them and not discard after one time use. Also, have been refusing to buy no more ice-cream from a long time, we try visit to an ice cream shop every time we crave for it.
2. Carry-out boxes: The last few to-go boxes have been used for various things- spices & condiments, leftovers to store in fridge, snacks etc. Starting with July, we have been carrying our own lunch box to the restaurant in case we have any leftovers. So proud of it!
3. Almond butter/ peanut butter containers: For storing Dog treats mostly and spices too. We found a better alternative to almond butter that my husband thoroughly enjoys. We switched to a bulk store nearby that has freshly grounded almond butter machine to re-fill into old jars/containers.
4. Plastic coffee cups (Starbucks etc): The last time i used a plastic cup was in July 2018, exactly a year ago and feeling quite guilty about it, i bought it back to home, washed it thoroughly and re-used it for a variety of purposes. FYI, still have those in our house, just like all other plastic cups we have used all our lives that are still out there in the landfills.
Anyway, the 2 plastic cups that we have since last year have been used to either water plants or grow plants. I am aware that single-use plastic has a certain limit to its use due to health reasons, perhaps that’s why it is referred to as “single-use” but there are ways to re-use it other than using it for storing any kind of food items.
5. Vegetable/ fruit plastic containers: One of our goals this month was to buy veggies & fruits in loose quantities in order to avoid buying packaged ones that come in plastic containers or wrapped in plastic. But there are certain fruits (mostly berries) that always comes in such containers and are unavoidable. For that reason, i have been using those to grow some seedlings in my window sill herb garden. Since the containers are not too deep, they have been perfect for growing micro-greens.
6. Old planter cups: Each and every plant that i have bought in last 2 years came in a small plastic pot, no matter i liked it or not but it did. One of the ways to get rid of those planter cups is to either return it to the nursery so they can re-use it. I certainly saved them for future use and have been using them for seedlings this year.
A pro tip: Herbs germinate faster in small planters cups as compared to big ones. Its better to transfer them into big ones once they are all grown..
– Have also been using them to store pens & other stationary items (not shown in picture).
7. Yogurt cups: These perfectly rigid cups have been actually quite useful. I use them as a scoop for rice, flour or dog food in the kitchen and also for growing tiny herbs such as oregano, thyme etc. Also, we are not able to find any alternative to these so i might just be growing my garden big this year.
I hope you liked the ideas. I just want to say that these might be the simplest of all ideas you might come across but i think that’s what makes them totally worth trying.
Also, just wanted to say that: Always do the best YOU can when it comes to living more sustainably + low waste. There’s so much inspiration around us these days, I understand that it might feel a little pressurized sometimes and may end up making unrealistic goals or expectations when it comes to reducing plastic waste.
~ Do what you can and take small steps ~
You don’t have to stay up with someone else’s journey or pace and feel discouraged. If your goal this year is to change one habit, say for example, avoiding plastic bags, focus on that and be proud of it! 🌱Just do what YOU can do, however you can do to save our beautiful 🌎. Every small amount of plastic reduced will result in bigger impacts one day than you may realize.
Sustainability always starts with you (at a personal level) & by encouraging others to take small steps. Make each step count 🌱
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