Seven Benefits of a Plastic-Free Lifestyle
In 2016, I went plastic free. It was a decision that changed everything and I haven’t ever looked back.
I did it because I care about the planet and wanted to make a difference somehow. Yet, putting any kind of altruism firmly aside, I am still surprised by how many benefits there are to going plastic free.
Here are a few that I’ve noticed over the years, although I’m still learning and gaining more insight as I continue with this lifestyle.
You can read my entire archives on living plastic free here
Better for your health
Plastics have their place – and it’s not around food.
Much of the food I used to purchase is “convenient” – packaged and ready to go.
Eliminating plastic provides the chance for you to totally revise your diet. You have to stop to think about where your food is coming from. You pre-plan. You get a bit more savvy in the kitchen. Your health certainly benefit from it. Best bit is – your wallet does, too.
Tap into creativity
Once you start thinking outside the norm, things start to get a little creative.
You may stare at the off-cuts and vegetables and wonder what to do with them and learn how to make all kinds of stocks and chutneys.
You’ll find yourself having a stab at creating your own toiletries or cleaning products.
Heck, I’ve even seen people using their old shoes to grow succulents in.
There are plenty of ways in which you can reuse old items – have fun with your ideas.
An opportunity to pick up new skills
My interest in zero waste has led me to become a much better cook, experimenting with all kinds of dishes.
I’ve learnt how to care for different fabrics for clothes, sew a button back on and med holes. My next plan of action is to learn how to knit and darn socks.
I look for classes in my city (I currently live in Melbourne, where there is certainly plenty to do) to learn new skills, in things I was basically clueless about before.
Your education certainly shouldn’t end just because you’re an adult and one of the benefits of living plastic free is that you’ll be inspired to learn new things.
Allows for conscious consuming
I quietly put a ban on purchasing anything deemed as “fast fashion” in 2015.
This put a stop on shopping at the likes of Topshop, H&M and Zara, along with mindless browsing through ASOS on the net.
I’m happy to say it was a complete success! While I did buy clothes, they were things I needed (such as a raincoat and warm weather gear). Most were from local brands, or secondhand stores.
I’ve a lot to learn about sustainable fashion, even after years of reading about it. However, already many of the items in my wardrobe are clothes I know I’ll be wearing for years to come – timeless pieces that will never go out of style.
If you’re just starting on your sustainable fashion journey, I recommend grabbing a copy of Green Is the New Black. I found it really helpful.
We live in a disposable society. We buy more than we need and many people purchase things with an attitude of “if it breaks, I’ll buy a new one”.
Consider this – in many cases, if you’re prepared to spend a little bit more upfront, you’ll save yourself money in the long run. Why? Because with a little forethought and research, you can purchase an item that will last you for a lifetime. This applies to clothes, kitchenware, household appliances… everything.
A chance to give back
I used to travel abroad a lot and I still feel immensely guilty about the impact this has on the earth.
No matter where I live, plane travel is going to be a part of life (I currently live 1000kms from my family, so I can’t exactly drive up for a weekend trip). While I know giving up plastic isn’t enough to counteract this… I guess it’s a small step forward in the right direction.
The environment, duh
We’re producing more waste than ever and it’s not exactly having the best impact on our planet.
We are choking in our own convenience – it’s poisoning our bodies and filling our oceans.
The time to act is now.
Savour the moment
Speaking of time, one of the biggest lessons of giving up plastic is just how valuable it is.
Money may come and go, along with possessions. Yet time – once it’s gone, that’s it. It’s something you’re never getting back.
Plastic and convenience go hand in hand, allegedly leaving us with more time to “get stuff done”. The result? We’re all rushing around like maniacs, clutching disposable cups of coffee in our hands.
It’s a small thing, but next time you order a cup of coffee, don’t get it to go, not even in your KeepCup.
Instead, stop in. Sit for awhile with your thoughts. Watch the world go by. Give yourself time to just be.
Knowing the value of time might be the best thing of all. It’ll help offer a chance to figure out what is truly important in life and what you can do without.
It’s not an easy path, but it’s ultimately rewarding in ways that may surprise you.
Can you think of any other benefits of going plastic free?