5 surefire ways to stay plastic free beyond July27 Jul 2017
It's a beautiful word isn’t it? I love it because it’s a bit of a fairy tale. Yet even in nature the things that amaze us are never perfected. Through evolution things are always on a journey towards the ever changing goal posts that is perfection. When they get so close things around them change and they must adapt, evolve further.
Perfection is a journey. And sometimes we can succeed by focusing on the journey rather than the end result.
As Plastic Free July comes to a close, how can we make some of the things we have learned 'sticky'? How can we turn parts of the annual challenge into habits that are automatic? It's my belief that focusing on you or me changing the world and solving its plastic problems is unrealistic. It can lead to immense frustration, even to anger, and result in problems remaining unresolved. The statement “Think global act local” is borne out of our need to contribute without burning out.
So here's some humbler tips for helping the lessons we have learned in 'Plastic Free July' stick. A great foundation is to start by breaking each thing that you did through the month of July into a simple daily habit. Then make these habits part of your routine for a month. Guess what? Already you've got them becoming a constant in your life. Plastic free: it's sticking to you as a habit.
Here's a few tips for helping it stick:
Step 1. Think Small
I don’t often say this, but thinking small and simple is the best way here. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Small actions equal big change. Focus on the simple things you can do - don't sweat the big stuff just yet. Feel good about the difference you are making. This is your journey.
Step 2. Routine Routine Routine
Just pick the simplest thing you can and start. The habit forms by doing something enough times that you no longer have to think of it, it becomes automatic. In this case you have already done it for a month so let’s go with one or two actions and look to August.
Habits are actually better than you think. Turning a small thing into a habit frees your mind to use brain cycles on bigger things. You barely think about brushing your teeth or making the bed, you just do them before and after bed - autopilot. Unpacking the groceries and putting your fashionable reusable shopping bags and Onya produce bags back in the car right away can quickly become a habit after a few weeks.
Step 3. Layer Cake
Now, you blitzed the reusable bag lifestyle. Easier than you thought right? Can you add another? Buying or making bar soap is great! And sharing appliances with neighbours is actually a really nice thing to do. Or having 5 eco things in your cleaning cupboard rather than 20 hard chemicals is good for your health and requires less packaging *coughplasticcough*. Adding another plastic free layer leads to sustainability becoming a lifestyle rather than just a fad or something you did once in July.
Sit down and enjoy your coffee in ceramic or glass. Those things you have to do can wait.
Step 4. Smile
Your plastic free habits are sticking, becoming normal. Feel proud of yourself! Rejoice! Tell your friends. Help and encourage them by telling your personal story. Your empty bin, the ease of adaptation, cost saving, natural smells and the happiness it brings you... bask in those good vibes! Plus there are happy fish in the ocean who will be thanking you too.
Step 5. We know of an app.
The fair food forager app can assist with your daily, weekly habits, particularly if you are new in town. It will point you in the right direction toward food venues who are also creating habits through changing ideas around single use plastic, among other things. If you stumble upon a place we don't have, be sure to suggest it and help others with their plastic free habits.
The Reduced Plastic icon simply means the venue is taking steps to reduce its use of plastic. That might mean the use of washable or paper straws, greatly reduced plastic takeaway packaging, keepcups and incentives to bring your own cup and of course the use of ceramic plates, bowls, cups with metal cutlery. It does not imply perfection, rather a genuine effort towards zero plastic.
Please share the love by rating and sharing your fair food forager experiences.
Good luck and have fun!
Paul Hellier - Founder
If you are a business owner - here is a little resource to help your customers create habits.
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