Reducing single use plastics or eliminating them from our lives altogether can be hard work. All around us are easier routes, luring us with convenience, familiarity, and a sense of normalcy.
Sometimes we feel okay about our plastic use because we are careful to recycle. But these days, we know that not everything we put in the bins actually gets recycled. Instead, much of our plastic waste ends up in landfills, in oceans, or in the bellies of unsuspecting wildlife. If you or someone you know needs motivation to keep working on reducing your plastic use, here’s a short video clip that may have you looking a little differently at plastic bottles. Follow links on the page for additional reminders of who tends to pay the price for our plastic habits!
But it’s not all about remorse. The work we put in pays off — not only in terms of reduced pollution and a lower carbon footprint, but also in terms of higher quality of life. Here are a few of the benefits we’ve noticed.
- Knowing what’s in the products you use. Do you know what’s in your laundry detergent? You will if you make it yourself. Same with toiletries, cleaning products, and food items.
- Higher quality products. Plastic is inexpensive, lightweight, and convenient. But it’s not the best material for all uses, and when you start looking for alternatives you might find you’re ending up with something better.
- Less stuff. Sometimes when pondering more sustainable options, we realize we don’t need the item in question in the first place.
- Saving money. Often, making foods and other things from scratch is less expensive than buying pre-made. And avoiding purchases by re-purposing what would otherwise be discarded is bound to save you some hard-earned cash. If you set aside those savings, you might eventually put them toward a higher-ticket upgrade like solar panels, attic insulation, efficient appliances, or an electric car — all of which will save you more money in the long run.
- Slowing down. Sometimes it seems like a burden to take extra time to do something without a machine (like hanging laundry to dry) or from scratch (like baking your own bread). But it can also be a blessing to step out of the hectic hubbub and enjoy these tasks as the “stuff of life” that they are. Kneading bread dough is a great stress-reliever. (Smelling bread baking is a whole other level of therapy!) Slow down, breathe, and enjoy.
- Remembering what’s important. Some manufacturers would have you believe that you need to replace everything from towel racks to toothbrush holders whenever your bathroom needs a fresh coat of paint. But when you step back from the advertising hype, is that really what makes you happy?
What hidden benefits have you found in pursuing a more sustainable life? We’d love to hear from you, either in the Comments or through our Contact page.