About a month ago I decided it was time to embark on my next sustainability lifestyle change. It had been on my mind for a while, but if I'm honest it felt daunting and just too much effort. But a few weeks in and I'm actually loving it too much not to share.
So what am I talking about?
I'll be honest upfront - I still use and buy some plastic. But I've massively cut down. The biggest shift I've made is buying dried foods, oils and basic toiletries at my local zero-plastic shop.
When I started to adopt this new routine, undoubtedly the most exciting bit was the JARS. Suddenly my usual recycling became a treasure trove of cute jars to wash, refill and place on lovely open shelving. Who knew you could be so proud of a shelf? It's also worth investing in some bigger jars for bulkier items such as oats, pasta and rice. The supermarkets have a good range, as does TK Maxx and other homeware shops. Even better if you can find some lying around in the garage or charity shops.
An early lesson I learnt is don't take the actual jars to the shop. They are far to heavy and delicate to be rattling around in your bag. Instead use some lightweight Tupperware or reusable zip-lock bags that you can wash and re-use. Finding the right container is a great moment to get creative. Just today I scoured the flat to find something to fill with hand wash before decanting into my nicer ceramic pump. I ended up using an old mayonnaise jar and you know what, it worked perfectly! If you're buying oils, honey, tahini etc, it probably is better to take the exact jar you want re-filling. But maybe ask the team to tape the lid for you to avoid any spillages!
Once you've arrived at the store, now you're in for the really exciting bit. The options, the scoops and if you're lucky - the free samples! My local store - The Source, has an amazing array, from different grains, dried fruits and tea to household cleaning products and toiletries. It's great quality and you can buy exactly how much you want. Have fun trying new things out.
If this is all sounding too much for you, remember, it's not all or nothing. Why not start with just one or two things that you buy plastic free? Build the shop into a normal routine, maybe your commute, lunchtime walk or Saturday coffee. Let it be something enjoyable, and know that you are doing something good. And don't beat yourself up if you aren't very consistent. Any time you buy one thing without plastic, you are making a difference. Every step in the right direction counts.