When I first heard of the phrase ‘plastic free’, I thought it meant absolutely.zero.plastic.I realized later on that aiming for that meant setting myself up to fail. It is nearly impossible to be 100% plastic free in our modern world. Plastic has its place in our world (like in healthcare/medicine) and that's fine! It will take time for manufacturers to make radical changes.
Most of us probably agree that an acceptable amount of discomfort to be expected from the inconvenience of living with less plastic. Guess what? it isn’t going to kill us.
Here are 3 things you can do to ‘ease’ into the transition.
Accept the journey. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
I am incredibly impatient when it comes to learning a new skill. When I was young, I was interested in learning the piano. I picked it up fast and then I got interested in the guitar because it looked ‘cooler’ at the time. Later in my adult life, I have not really mastered an instrument. I realized that I didn’t stick to an instrument long enough to enjoy learning and mastering it because I wanted to become good right away. It applies to other things as well, in business or in relationships. We don’t ‘reach’ absolute zero waste. But we can aspire to live with minimal plastic.
Try not to compare yourself with what others are doing.
One thing that encourages people to do more is a strong , positive community to inspire us, not to judge and discourage us. I found that a lot of my friends are intimidated by the plastic free movement especially because a lot of people don’t seem to think small effort count. It can be disheartening and overwhelming to you see tons of plastic related issues and it’s easy to think that your efforts don’t matter. The fact is that they do. Where else should we start?
If every single person refused a straw, then we could save tons of plastic straws from reaching our oceans. Manufacturers will stop producing a product that no one wants.
Lastly, go with your pace, don't be too hard on yourself.
Humans aren’t perfect, there are no exceptions. We can’t be completely plastic free on day one and we probably won’t ever be. I’ve changed my goal to reducing my overall plastic dependency. I make realistic changes in my lifestyle without causing too much discomfort or disruption to my routine. This way, I can make long term gradual changes. Too much discomfort causes us to become frustrated and eventually give up (like starving yourself on a bad diet).
These 3 cardinal rules are simple enough to read through but practicing it is the real challenge!
I celebrate tiny successes and acknowledge and appreciate friends and family who make the effort. I know the challenges of making these changes, appreciating others will go a long way.
Do you have anything to add to the list? We’d love to hear from you, write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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