People say it's hard to get rid of plastic.
Tell me about it!
When I decided to cut plastic out of my life, I knew it was going to be a long process and I had very realistic goals about it.
I knew it wasn't going to happen over night, I knew I needed to know exactly how much plastic I had to begin with, and I knew I was not going to buy any new plastic, but start replacing what I ran out of with the eco-friendly version.
So in January 2019 I took this picture:
These were all the plastic products I had when I decided to stop. Crazy right? also overwhelming.
I have to note that this picture does not include my makeup which is all plastic of course, but I'll do a separate blog about make-up.
I had everything from all sorts of cleaners, to razors, band aids, toothpaste, toothbrushes, hair products, detergent, beauty products, hair ties, etc. and the problem is, you never know really how much plastic is inside your house until you actually put it all in one place for you to see.
So after a year of not buying any new plastic products, but just using what we already had, here's my January 2020 Update:
Doesn't seem like much right?
well to me it is A LOT! I can actually see the table under all that!
The truth is, getting rid of plastic is a process, it takes time, patience and organization, but it also saves you money and it teaches you to live with less.
It is cathartic to see how your cabinets slowly get clearer, and you know exactly what you have and what you need.
Also, I've realized that I was using terrible products, supporting horrible brands and putting a lot of fillers and toxins in my body.
I literally have a face wash by Dove that contains as the 3 first ingredients water, mineral oil and petrolatum. If you don't know how bad that is then google it.
But I also promised that I would use ALL of the products (Unless they are expired or beyond recovery) until the last drop and then I would dispose of them properly which I plan to do using the several free programs out there since I don't have recycling in the complex where I live.
Yes you read that right, in Massachusetts, apartment complexes are considered commercial spaces, not residential, so they fall out of the municipality programs that require recycling by law.
Ridiculous I know, but actually instead of complaining about it, I saw it as an incentive to reduce drastically my waste, drastically .
But anyway, going back to my own plastic waste, I'll use the Terracycle programs I am part of to recycle the razors, Chapstick tubes, old toothbrushes, deodorants, toothpaste tubes, floss containers and I'll probably get a Zero waste box from them once I have a lot of products to put in.
Things I already replaced with eco-friendly plastic-free alternatives:
- Plastic toothbrushes for bamboo ones.
- Shampoo and conditioner for bar shampoo and bar conditioner.
- Face wash with pump (Pumps, same as straws, are made of highly toxic or mixed plastics and are extremely hard to recycle due to their mixed components and size) for a face wash in glass and a face bar.
- All purpose cleaner and most cleaning supplies for planet pods, Vinegar, Baking soda and lemons.
- Toothpaste tubes for toothpowder and toothpaste in glass
- Plastic deodorant for natural deodorant in cardboard tube.
- Sponge for dishes for natural fiber sponge
- Plastic bottle brush for coconut bottle brush
- Plastic Dish soap for Dishwashing block (one of my favorite personal swaps)
- Plastic floss for cardboard biodegradable one.
- Ziplocs for silicone bags
- Parchment and foil for a silicone baking mat
- Plastic razors for a safety razor.
That's all I can think of as of right now but I am sure there's more.
The point is, If I can do it, you can do it too! it takes time but it also gives you time to start planning and looking for replacements while you are using what you have.
Saves money also because you are not out there just buying all promotions you see and it makes you a mindful consumer.
I am far from being the perfect environmentalist and fitting my trash in a mason jar, but that is not my goal.
My goal is to share with you what I am doing and show you the reality of how hard it is (but not impossible) to be better every da and be the change this planet needs so much.
I'll do an update January 2021 and we'll see how far I've gone.
Here's a brief collection of the products that I am currently using if you want to try any please use code UNPACKED5 and get 5% off.