Plastic downsize: How to create a challenge where others have failed!
What do you think about taking a day off? Next week maybe? But we don't want to encourage you to stay away from work or to annoy your employer.
Our idea is to have a plastic-free - or better said: a plastic-reduced - day.
Usually, changes take time to establish themselves - or even to be approached. And mostly we wait for the circumstances to seem appropriate ("If I have time, then ... ."). But the right moment is as much a master of pushing ahead as we are and is a long time coming.
If you want to make a change towards more sustainability but don't know where to start, a plastic-free day can be an ideal start.
Maybe you will find that it is not that difficult to go through your daily life in a sustainable way and maybe you want to plan such a day regularly.
First of all we would like to say that during the research for this article we came across many reports from people who were disappointed with the result of their plastic-free self-experiment, who were tormented with a bad conscience or drew a negative conclusion from it, that a plastic-free life is too stressful, annoying, expensive or simply impossible.
It is not necessarily about avoiding plastic completely. It's honestly and directly said, really hard work, because plastic surrounds us like galaxies surround the earth. It's also not about getting a chronic guilty conscience or being discouraged to realize that you can only make a small contribution in the fight for the environment.
That's why we give such days an improved name: plastic downsize day!
Use the lotion you like so much on your plastic downsize day. Don't get upset if you can't get pasta in a plain paper bag and don't give up all your favorite fruits or vegetables. Things that frustrate us, we won't repeat.
Jasmin Simmel owns the "Füllgut", an unpackaged store in Regensburg. Her tip is: "The most important thing is not to want to change everything at once. If you approach the project too radically, you'll quickly get into a spin in the stressful everyday life or the environment doesn't want to play along". It is much easier to change small things first; "Consciously walk through the world and the shops, consume consciously and make conscious decisions. Don't buy as much as possible, buy as good things as possible."
You will see that your perception of plastic products is sharpened - and that is worth a lot. When we realize how dependent we are on plastic, we sharpen our awareness and can stand up to the throwaway society. Living a completely plastic-free life is very laudable, but it's not for everyone.
We think you have already achieved a lot if you can reduce your plastic consumption by 50% on a plastic downsize day. Once you've got the taste, you might want to keep it that way more often. If you go shopping more carefully in the future or always carry a cloth bag with you, you have already won the first round. One blogger reports that "her conscience made her set up a plastic account after she tried it on herself, which every time she holds plastic in her hand rings a cheerful bell and lets her pause to wonder if she really wants to buy it. If everyone had a plastic conscience book, the environment would be helped a lot. So how could such a plastic downsize day look like?
Preparation is very important. Find out where all the plastic is and think about what you want to eat, what you can "buy" and where you can get it. With a little research, planning and perseverance you will also have a sense of achievement. You can of course start the day spontaneously, but it could be a bit more complicated then.
The second advantage of preparation is that you can get a bamboo toothbrush or shower soap beforehand and start the day in the morning with a reduced amount of plastic and a good feeling.
By researching we found a few more easy to implement tips:
- You could do such a day well on the weekend, because you are not so stuck in the daily routine.
- Buy water in a glass bottle and fill it up with tap water when it is empty. So that you don't have to lug around a lot, buy the water just before work or before you get home. Drink it empty before you set off. It will save you a lot of weight. Do you like yoghurt or pudding? Just do it yourself today. You don't need any five-star experience to do this.
- Visit an unpackaged shop or if you don't live in a city, go shopping at the farm shop or visit a market.
- If you have food to spare, do without the cling film and cover the food with a plate.
- Dare! Use your own cup for coffee-to-go.
- Is there anything on the topic of sustainability in your home or the surrounding area? You could take part in a clean-up campaign, attend an upcycling workshop or repair something at a repair café.
- Deepen your knowledge about the use of plastics in our time. Watch a movie like "thrown away" or "Plastic Planet".
- Make your own rules! For example: Make-up may stay, but PET bottles are discontinued. Exchange ideas with like-minded people. In the Facebook group "Plastikfrei leben - Tipps und Tricks" there are more than 30,000 members who can give you useful information and make it easier for you to start a plastic-reduced life.
So you're sure to have fun and maybe even try a plastic-reduced week - or a whole month. By the way, a whole continent can do this! Since 2011, Australia has had a plastic-free July, a challenge created by the Australian initiative Western Metropolitan Regional Council. The aim is also to raise awareness of the masses of plastic waste and encourage people to use disposable plastic less. More than 14,000 people from 69 countries are now taking part in the challenge, including shops, schools and organisations. You can get an impression of this on plasticfreejuly.org.
With this in mind, we wish you a happy Plastic downsize day with all our heart!