It’s hard to believe we have made it 6 months in this experiment of plastic free living. The time has flown by, and what once seemed so extreme has now become simple habit and routine. This is good, and it feels like we have grown a lot – we have certainly learned a tonne. However, because things have become so routine, we find it hard to share our story with others. I don’t want to say we have become complacent, but we rarely ever discuss the project with friends and family (probably good for their sanity), and we have yet to achieve many of the lofty goals we set out for ourselves at the beginning of the year.
But at the six-month mark, I am proud to say we have come a long way, and if I can say we have done extremely well! We have certainly collected a small amount of plastic (picture to come, I left my camera at work) – but when I think back to the old life, the life we used to live, it’s easy to see how far we have come. I honestly think the amount of plastic we have collected to this point would be consumed by our old selves in two weeks time – if not less. We have progressed to the point where we produce one itsy (compostable plastic) garbage bag a month, which in my mind is simply amazing – it feels like we are inches away from zero waste, literally inches.
I am most proud of Sarah, who I dragged kicking and screaming into this project on a whim as I so often do. She has probably collected three pieces of plastic the entire year, and certainly helps me keep on track. This project lends itself perfectly to her competitive side, and this drives her to be a waste free hero! Sure she gets frustrated at times, we both do – but she has pushed me, and pushed us, and I am very proud of her.
We talk amongst ourselves a lot about the benefits and drawbacks of this project, and I want to share some small incites with you – perhaps it will all be in this post, perhaps it will be broken up, I prefer to write as I act – on a whim, without over-thinking it.
Discussion Topic #1 – Are we making any difference: I think this is an absolute yes (although in our low days it tends to feel like a BIG no). Its an absolute yes on our lifestyle, not only do we not consume plastic, we now make almost everything from scratch, and save big dollars doing so. In the last few months we have made home cleaners, toothpaste, deodorant, moisturizer and milks – not to mention countless made from scratch meals that were to die for.
It is an absolute yes because of all the crazy looks we get at the grocery store when we go through with our reusable bags – bulk bin codes written on our hand. It is an absolute yes every time we can work it into conversation, because it gets people thinking about what they can do in their life to limit plastic – and hopefully waste in general.
And lastly it is an absolute yes when we are active in social media, but this is where we are going to push ourselves more – in the next six months I want to become an active blogger (yes, okay I have said it before, I’ll probably say it again). And we will try better to become active in social media, to share the story of our project and the literally hundreds of other people who are doing good work to help save this planet.
We would be kidding ourselves if we believed that we are going to change everyone’s mind, and plastic isn’t going to simply disappear come Dec. 31, 2012. I can though sit here and tell you that it feels like we are making a change, and it feels good! You can not imagine how good it feels to discover plastic-free alternatives, and we are motivated constantly by friends sending us pictures of their plastic-free finds (paper straws anyone?) – to those of you who push us and encourage us, thank you!
Discussion Topic #2 – The Rules (and should we bend them?): This is certainly the second most discussed topic in our household, and one that is a constant tug-of-war between that built in consumer, and the plastic free crusader. Truthfully we have lightened up a touch. We recently bought two glass jars of Avalon milk (with the pesky plastic tops) – and I can assure you that we savored every last drop. SIDE-NOTE WARNING: I truly believe that though we do deprive ourselves of some things, when we get to have / eat / whatever it is that we have deprived ourselves we enjoy it, truly savor it, and it feels good. I also hope that it curbs that inner consumer that demands everything now – despite how it is packaged, or how much it costs, or that in a week it will probably find a permanent place in a corner never to be used again.
But back on track, yes our rules have softened, but only slightly – and I still believe that a (moderately) plastic-free life can be a reality for everyone, not just those who take on crazy projects on a whim.
Discussion Topic #3 – Our friends / random acquaintances ask ‘So what is the hardest part of living plastic free?’, and we say: well depending on the day we say ‘ALL OF IT’ (only on the lowest days), or we say ‘the lack of easy access to simple ready to eat foods, and ice cream’, or ‘the fact that you need to be prepared – you need to arm yourself with a plastic-free arsenal on every shopping trip or you are bound to end up with plastic.’
Truthfully, it is easier than it sounds. And we promise that we will use this blog as a soap box to shout about just how easy it can be if you really prepare yourself. If you think about each purchase you make, if you are willing to sacrifice the instant, the quick fix, the ready right now for the slow, the delicious, the well thought out and perfectly executed plan. That is the bottom line, I encourage you to try, to trade-in good for all things great – you won’t be disappointed.