Life Easy and practical tips on how to quit plastic for good

Easy and practical tips on how to quit plastic for good

Recyled plastic
Plastic has helped and hindered the planet. Photo: Getty
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Want to change your life and save the planet too?

Enjoying an ice cream is a good place to start. Not the one in a cup with a little disposable plastic spoon, or one in a plasticised wrapper.

The ultimate waste-free treat, a good old-fashioned ice cream in a cone, is 100 per cent edible.

Over the last 10 years I’ve come to appreciate the beauty of the ice cream cone in my mission to ditch the single-use plastic in my life. Along the way, I’ve discovered quitting plastic is easier than you think – and has some pretty satisfying and unexpected results.

This might seem unlikely. Yes, plastic is absolutely everywhere. Right now, most of us are wearing it, eating and drinking from it, sitting on it, walking on it and probably even ingesting it.

Man-made plastics have been found in our drinking water, in our food chains (fish) and even in the most remote corners of Antarctica and the North Pole.

How do you even begin to give it up? Here are some practical things you can do today that will make you a happier and more ecologically-aware person.

1. Have that ice cream cone!

The best way to form any new habit is through positive reinforcement, so start with something achievable and enjoyable.

2. Make a resolution that resonates with you to reduce plastic

Studies show that we are less likely to stick to general resolutions – like ‘use less plastic’.

Instead, set yourself up for success by committing to something personal to you. Maybe you love takeaway coffee in the morning, so commit to bringing your reusable cup every day.

This has some other benefits – some cafes offer discounts for bringing your own cup.

3. Just say no – to plastic bags, bottles, balloons and straws

The evidence is very clear on the damage single-use plastic does to our environment.

The best response is to limit the volume of plastic waste at the source.

Next time you’re out, say ‘no’ to a straw in your drink. Bartenders assure me this improves the drinking experience – after all, you wouldn’t put a straw in a nice wine or a single malt whiskey.

4. Replace and re-use

Once you’ve mastered saying no, you’ll need some alternatives.

Fortunately, every single-use plastic item has a better, cooler and reusable replacement.

Switch your plastic bags for canvas or a granny trolley. Replace your plastic water bottle and straws with a metal one. Grab a reusable cup, or just a mug from your cupboard for coffee.

Beeswax wraps can replace cling wrap, or just put a plate over your leftovers in the fridge. Switch your plastic razor for a metal one, your toothbrush for a bamboo one and your liquid soap for a solid bar.

5. Give yourself a break

The sheer amount of plastic that we encounter every day can be pretty overwhelming – even more so if you are trying to avoid it.

It’s okay not to be 100 per cent plastic-free, especially straight away. I’ve been trying for 10 years and I still haven’t managed to eliminate it all. But by many of us making small changes, we can send a strong message. Plastic isn’t so fantastic in 2019.

Clara Williams Roldan is the co-author of Quitting Plastic, Allen & Unwin, an easy and practical guide to cutting down the plastic in your life. Available now. RRP $20

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