The reason why you would like to remove plastic from your life is not only that it pollutes the environment, but also because less plastic (particles of which go into your body with food and water) is better for your health. More so, you spend less money. You save up some money which you can spend on higher quality food. Or eco-alternatives to plastic.
Healthier food and zero waste products are oftentimes more expensive. And it’s very easy to use this fact as an excuse when you are thinking about buying better quality food and more ecological things.
But here’s the key. The key is minimalism. Minimalistic lifestyle. Which will enable you to save up some money to spend them on better things. You might have heard this saying which is, ‘Money saved up is money earned’.
And by minimalism, I don’t mean sacrificing your own comfort in favour of some lofty idea. That would be a wrong understanding of minimalism. Or unhealthy minimalism.
For me, minimalism means not owning things that add no value to your life. Which you can easily live without. Oftentimes you only assume (or society tells you) you need them, but, in fact, you don’t.
I like this saying which is, ‘Less is more’.
And what marketing often does is it says, ‘You need more, more, more…’
More so, It creates a false need for something. It makes people believe that they really need to be this or that way, become this or that type of person when they actually don’t. And then marketing says, ‘And to achieve this ‘standard’ here’s our unique product’ (which people don’t really need because they don’t really need to achieve this ‘standard’).
I don’t say that marketing is bad (or good). It’s just a tool that can be used for certain purposes depending on the person.
So, healthy minimalism is trying to identify a list of things you don’t really need in your life and can easily remove from it, can easily exist without those things.
And once you have identified what this list is, that kind of creates an additional budget, an additional stream of income which you then can spend on things that you do need, that actually do add value to your life, that actually improve it (as well as the environment).
Here’s my personal list of seemingly valuable things.
For everyone, this list will differ, of course. The things which are valuable for me, might not be that valuable for you and vice versa. So, here it is:
-Food which is very low in nutrients: Products with too much sugar, junk food.
-Any objects which only take space in your room, but are hardly ever used: certain clothes and stationery, souvenirs, various devices.
-Things with an illusionary value: Info and skills irrelevant to your life or add no value to it, jewellery, car in a city with lots of traffic jams.
-Single-use things which you can replace reusable ones with: Plastic bags and cutlery.
-Things which you can make yourself (at least, sometimes): food, drinks.
-Addictions harmful for your health or psychology: alcohol, tobacco, junk music, films or books.
So, once you’ve identified what you don’t need, you can focus on things you do need. And free yourself from marketing manipulation. Just by making those small improvements you improve both your life and the environment. And if tens of millions of people made those small improvements, wouldn’t the planet look nicer? There’s actually a quote featuring this idea. It goes like this, ‘If every person on their patch of land did their best how beautiful Earth would be…’
There’s still some room for improvement I could make, yet here are some of them I have managed to make over the last year. This list might not suit you completely, but hopefully, it will give you some ideas on how you can reduce plastic from your life.
I used to buy water in small plastic bottles. Now I only buy big bottles. And use one reusable glass bottle when I go outside.
No money spent on small plastic bottles any longer.
I used to buy plastic glasses and bowls. Now I only use conventional ones.
No money is spent on plastic cutlery any longer.
3)Bread and other bakeries
I used to buy bread every once in a while. Usually, it’s packed in plastic bags. But now I mostly bake things myself. And rarely buy bread in plastic packages. If I do, I try to buy it in a paper package. So, the amount of plastic is reduced.
Almost no money is spent on bakeries any longer.
I used to buy various things, like clothes and stationary, ‘just in case’. Now I only buy something when I do need it.
No money is spent on unnecessary things any longer.
5)Food and drinks
I used to go to cafes a lot. And now very rarely do I do. Only on some special occasion or when there’s no other option. I mostly cook myself. It’s healthier because you always know what you put in your dish or drink. Whereas you never know completely what they put in your meal. Even if you ask them. And even if this cafe is tried and tested. They might change their cooks, their ingredients and whatnot. You cannot be aware of all their updates.
And usually, cafes cannot afford expensive healthy ingredients for their meals because doing this, they won’t earn much. They try to buy products which are as cheap as possible. Maybe not the cheapest ones, but close. Not from their garden or farm, but rather from ordinary malls’ chains.
Almost no money is spent on cafe meals with mysterious contents any longer.
I used to buy plastic bags every time I went to the shop. Now I have a reusable cloth bag. When it comes to vegetables or fruits, I take a reusable paper or nylon bag. The latter is more preferable since it serves you longer.
No money is spent on plastic bags any longer.
Just count how much money you will potentially save if you just follow the same steps, and you will realise that you CAN actually afford healthier food and zero waste products.
It just so happens that sometimes you forget your cloth or nylon bag and have to use a plastic one instead. Unless there is an option to buy a paper one. Or unless you live nearby your house and can carry a few vegetables or fruits in your hands. If I have a bunch of bananas and I forgot my nylon or paper bag and my house is near, I just carry them with my hands. But if you forget your reusable bag and there’s no other option than taking a plastic bag, don’t worry. Using sometimes a plastic bag is not the worst thing that can happen (trying to hit a complete zero or close in terms of waste is certainly great, though). The worst thing that can happen is that you forget your reusable bag, get disappointed with yourself not being ideal in terms of ecology and then quit it for a long while.
It’s actually very easy to hit the other extreme and become neurotic about zero waste. Don’t be too judgemental of yourself. Because guess what? You are nature too 🙂