Transitioning to Plastic-free

I’m phasing plastic (as much as I can) out of my life. However, I don’t want to leave the impression that I’m rounding up every bit of plastic and hauling it to the trash bin or unloading it all at the thrift store. I’m taking a slow and thoughtful transition.

Here’s my approach to going plastic-free:

  1. If I don’t use the plastic item, it gets donated. This isn’t any different than other items in my home that don’t get used.
  2. If I can find a plastic-free replacement secondhand then I’ll make the switch and donate the plastic item.
  3. If the plastic item was given to me and not something I chose or want, then I will return or donate it.
  4. If food or beverage is stored in the plastic container, then I’m likely to find a replacement more quickly.
  5. For single use plastic, I use up what I have and then look for plastic-free alternatives.
  6. Otherwise I wait until the plastic item is broken or no longer used before I replace it.

Some additional thoughts:

Rarely do I find it necessary for plastic-free replacements to be purchased new. In most cases, I’ve found plastic-free alternatives already exist in my home, can be purchased secondhand, or I can live without. Determining when and how to get rid of plastic is not always an easy or obvious choice. I am happy that by choosing plastic-free now I’m freeing myself of those hard decisions in the future. Please stay tuned for some creative ideas for plastic-free alternatives in upcoming posts.

(The tricycle in the image is over a century old. It came before plastic was invented and well before plastic was widely used. Although I wouldn’t encourage my three-year-old to ride it, it still goes. )



5 thoughts on “Transitioning to Plastic-free

  1. Hi Julie- love your blog! I just went through (yet another) round of donating some clothing items that have some synthetic blend in them. I feel guilty about that but am trying to replace with 100% natural fiber. Longmont will be getting curbside composting soon and my plan is to purchase 100% natural fiber clothes, wear until unwearable and shred into compost. The one thing I am struggling with is bras. I cannot find a 100% natural fiber (preferably wool as I live in Colorado, too and want things that can withstand backpacking stink-free) undergarment. Also, an electrolyte type drink for my teenage-student-athlete son that comes in some type of plastic free container. Any thoughts? Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Cari! Thanks for stopping by! I’m so glad you’re enjoying my blog. I have yet to compost an old garment, but I do compost cotton rags that are thread bare and bits of fabric from sewing projects and I can say they break down just as well as the produce scraps I put in my compost. One of these days I’ll try composting a full, 100% natural fiber, worn-out garment. I don’t have any recommendations on natural fiber underwear and bras. Most contain some synthetic fiber. I do have a guest post coming up on the topic of natural fiber workout gear. Hopefully we’ll get some ideas from that post! My only suggestion on the electrolyte drink is to make your own. I’m certain you’d be able to come up with a recipe that is zero-waste. Thanks for your readership! xo

  2. I have some older tupperware that wouldn’t be safe to use for food, so giving it to the thriftstore for other (less informed) people to use is not an option. I don’t want to throw them in the landfill either, so I re-purpose them for my garden shed. There are always odds and ends that need a secure container.

    1. Annette, you bring up a couple very good points. Is it ethical to donate items that for their intended use aren’t safe? In a couple of weeks I’m going to a meeting to hear Michael SanClements the author of Plastic Purge speak. I’m going to ask him his thoughts on that subject. You’ve come up with a wonderful suggestion that didn’t occur to me – re-purpose our plastic items. Just because it’s not safe to hold food, doesn’t mean the item wouldn’t be great for storing nuts and bolts, seed packets, etc. I’m also holding onto some of my plastic for sandbox toys. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Very helpful!

Leave a Reply