Why should we create a plastic-free home? These days, we often hear about the dangers of plastic pollution and how using plastic at home is no longer acceptable.
Well, hearing such statements is one thing. But we really have to understand why before we can fully accept this new ‘no plastic’ rule.
So, let’s get into this!
Here is why plastic at home is no longer an option and how to replace it:
Why Plastic is Not the Way to Go
Let’s start with the ‘why’ here. There are multiple reasons why people can and should refuse plastic and transition to a plastic-free home.
Here are just some of those reasons:
- All oil-based plastic will outlive your grandchildren, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Overall, the average life of plastic products can be up to a thousand years.
- Plastics made from fossil fuels contribute to emissions and climate change.
- There is no real solution to deal with the existing plastic waste.
- Corporations and governments do a very poor job regulating the environmental crisis we are experiencing. So, it is up to individuals to deal with their own plastic pollution at large.
- Recycling can solve part of the problem, but not all plastics can be recycled, and if we continue to produce more and more new plastic, recycling only a portion of it does not solve the problem.
- Numerous alternatives can make living in a plastic-free home easy, affordable, and accessible.
- Most plastic objects end up in waterways, and eventually, the ocean. So if nothing changes, relatively soon, it will be the dominating ‘inhabitant’ of the sea.
These are just a few reasons you should consider giving a plastic-free home a try!
If you want to delve into some more detailed academic research, data, and studies, you can look at online resources or order and pay for essays on the topic.
However, the bottom line is that by saying no to plastic, you are contributing to a healthy environment, learning more about sustainable living, creating less waste, and even making more space in your house!
Let’s take a look at how to tackle the plastic problem at home and how to transition to a plastic-free lifestyle:
Where Do You Have the Most Plastic in Your Home?
So, to start, think about where you have the most significant concentration of plastic in your home?
Usually, it’s in the kitchens and bathrooms that you generate the most plastic waste! Plastic food packaging, bottles of cleaning products, food storage, toiletry packaging, and so on.
Take a good look around these two rooms and notice how much plastic you purchase and throw away monthly and annually. You will be surprised to see the volume of plastic integrated into your life and home!
Take a look at this great video by Exploring Alternatives to see how to do a waste audit and some super simple tips to start eliminating plastic from your home:
The next step should be changing your habits and being more mindful about your purchases. The less plastic you bring into your home, the better!
Generally, the most plastic found in the kitchen and bathroom is product packaging on:
- Fresh foods and dried foods like pasta and rice, crackers and bread, etc.
- Cleaning products, especially liquids in plastic jugs
- Personal hygiene products, especially soap, shampoo, and conditioner
- Tools like brushes, sponges, and scourer scrubbies
You may not eliminate all the plastic from your bathroom and kitchen immediately, but consider which swaps will make the most impact and focus on those first.
The items you use the most and buy regularly are the best places to start. If you use a lotion over several months and only buy a few a year, that generates a great deal less plastic waste than the hand soap you replace every couple of weeks.
Creating a plastic-free home takes time but small changes make a huge difference!
Try the Triple ‘R’ Method: Reduce, Reuse & Recycle
The classic “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” method is something we should all incorporate into our lives:
Reduce: Say No New Plastic
Firstly, find ways to reduce your plastic usage and stop buying plastic as much as possible. For example, choose alternative food packaging, shop at local food markets, and avoid plastic bags whenever possible.
Of course, you won’t do it perfectly on the first try. Yet, plastic-free shopping will become a regular routine for you with time. Luckily, many brands offer zero-waste products these days, especially when it comes to groceries, toiletries, hygiene products, and more.
Reuse: Keep and Reuse the Plastic You Already Have
The second lesson is that we shouldn’t hurry to throw away all the plastic containers and other plastic products at home. On the contrary, we should think of ways to prolong their use and reuse them, which keeps them out of landfills, and the environment, for as long as possible. Refill plastic containers and reuse them or upcycle them into something else.
Recycle: If You Can’t Refuse It or Reuse It, Recycle It
Lastly, research recycling options for things you are not keeping. The aim is to send as few items to the landfill as possible by recycling everything you can’t reuse. However, not all plastic is suitable for recycling.
Recycling is a complicated topic, and you should learn more about the recycling industry in your state and whether it is even efficient in the first place. Websites like Write an Essay for Me can also provide some researched information on the topic.
Generally, recycle as much plastic as you can, avoid bringing new plastic into your home, and check that it is recyclable before you do.
These three simple rules will help you drastically decrease your plastic usage!
What Are the Alternatives?
We rely on plastic so much because, first, we are used to it, and second, because there haven’t been any effective (and cheap) alternatives for many decades.
However, the times have changed now. All over the world, scientists are working on plastic alternatives. Meanwhile, simple plastic-free solutions are already available to people worldwide.
Creating a plastic-free home starts with simple changes, and choosing plastic-free alternatives to the products you use.
For example, one can replace their plastic toothbrushes with bamboo ones. They are eco-friendly, easy to find, and very affordable.
Choose products that are packaged in paper, glass, or stainless steel rather than plastic.
Consider metal or glass food containers. Use beeswax wraps instead of plastic ones. These plastic alternatives are easy to find, reusable, and last a long time.
In fact, most plastic-free options are also perfect for sustainable living, as they will serve you for years and years.
They’re also made with recyclable or biodegradable materials, so when you need to finally dispose of them, they are not bad for the environment.
Check out this video by Shelbizleee to see some of the best eco-swaps you can make to cut out plastic:
Overall, there are many simple solutions and eco-swaps that can result in a significant plastic reduction in your home!
The Bottom Line
Developing new habits is always challenging at first. Yet, sustainable living and a plastic-free home are easy to achieve with good preparation and motivation. You just need to start somewhere!
Build a better understanding of how such a lifestyle can benefit not just the environment but your household and budget.
See the alternatives you can use in your home. Declutter your house, make better buying decisions and find recycling services in your area. It won’t take long, but what a difference it can make in the long run!
Frequently Asked Questions
ow can I encourage my friends/family to live plastic-free?
First and foremost, you can be the example they will look up to in their plastic-free journey. Awareness and knowledge are essential for breaking bad habits and replacing them with positive ones. So teach them what you already know and explain why you are doing what you’re doing. Check the full guide for more on plastic-free living.
What is bioplastic?
Not all modern plastic is oil-based. Bioplastics can be made from many types of biodegradable materials, such as sugar cane, straw, and corn starch. Scientists are still working on creating environmentally friendly bioplastic that can replace petroleum-based plastic. Check the full guide for more on plastic alternatives.
What happens to recycled plastic?
A small percentage of the recycled plastic gets molded into new products, like bottles or packaging. More recycled plastic is also used in construction, playground equipment, clothes, and more. However, most plastic still ends up in landfills instead of being recycled for various reasons, such as low demand. Take a look at the full guide for better options.
References and Useful Resources
Earth911: Recycling Search Tool
NSW EPA: The Waste Hierarchy