I’ve heard it takes 30 times to quit doing something before you actually break the pattern of the habit of doing it. In other words you have to make a strong stance against your habit at least 30 times before you actually transition. That’s why change is hard, but not impossible!
The first time I have decided to stop using plastic, it seemed unreal. Look around, plastic is literally everywhere and we produce and waste so much of it daily that we will soon sink under it. But you know that already, don’t you?
I realised that to reduce my plastic waste I had to ask myself each time I picked up something in a store: “Will I use this container 100 times or over?” If the answer is yes, then I became ok with buying it. That started an interesting journey as I became increasingly aware of the amount of things I used only once and then threw away. I choose to live in harmony with all things around me and seeing all this single use packaging suffocating my environment was painful. So asking myself will I use this 100 times or more has made 3 things different for me:
1. What I leave behind or the urge to plan!
I started to prepare everything a little more in advance. Where and how will I have my coffee and water today? It’s so easy to just grab a bottle of water in a shop when running for a train to London and back but I just can’t bear anymore the thought that I will use this for 5 minutes and the footprint of this single action will stay on earth for 200 years.
I became aware to this question: “What is it that I want to leave behind me?” The answer is a field full of colourful flowers and fresh air – not a turtle with a plastic straw up its nostril.
2. Reduced the choice
The second shift happened when I saw how much less produce was available on shelves when I decided not to buy things covered in plastic. WOW! The choice of food and household products reduced by about 85%.
Instead of feeling limited I actually felt a sense of huge liberation. For example, before when buying something as simple as a shampoo I was confronted by a million choices of smells, quality, price, fair-trade or not, etc. I had to spend a while considering all the options. Now that my aim is to get rid of plastic waste I have only 1 (!) choice of a shampoo. I buy a refillable shampoo in a local store and I can reuse the same plastic or glass bottle over and over. And this shampoo is also of a really nice quality and is fair-trade. Bingo – good for me and good for the planet, and so much free space in my brain to do other things!
If you don’t have such a magic store in your town, you can always find alternatives - like soap shampoo that doesn’t come in plastic – but that’s already up to you to find and plan a little in advance. It’s a fun process of picking and choosing and slightly slowing down the pace of your life to figure out what is it that you really need. In that process I have found how little do I actually need!
3. Opened a door to the community
Most interesting transformation that is happening as I am walking the path of learning about conscious living, is how much closer it has brought me to the community I live in. Suddenly shopping in a supermarket became impossible and unnecessary as I discovered a community of people around me all trying their best to make the world a better place.
A shop owner supporting local craftsmen and farmers to grow food and flowers. Delivery men cycling to deliver boxes of fresh veg around the city, a shop assistant going out of their way to teach you how to scale all products so that you use the minimum amount of packaging just because he cares so much about our common future. All of a sudden I wanted to be a part of this beautiful web and community that works so hard to help each other and create a better world for ourselves and our children.
Wouldn’t you want to be a part of this? Next time you are about to pick up something in a store ask yourself: “Will I use this container 100 or over?” and watch a beautiful road unfold before you.
Blog post written by Anastasia