The world is changing. For the better in some ways and for the worse in some. Younger people are becoming more environment friendly. They're going vegan, pursuing zero waste, protesting against guns, exploring the societial imagined limits of gender and more and more people are quitting plastic these days, and with good reason to. Plastic is not biodegradable. Plastic is incredibly unhealthy, causes animals to die, fills up our oceans and is essentially ruining our planet. When plastic first came, it was seen as this magical new product that would change the world. And it did change the world. But not only in a good way. The plastic you use will be here long after you're gone. And that is not a good thing.
Hemp can replace both plastic and wood. Hemp grows faster than regular wood, it is biodegradable and can be made for, not only for everything wood is used for, but it can also be used to make fabrics for sustainable fashion and furniture and it can replace plastic when it comes to containers to preserve food in.
The zero waste movement is big and more and more zero waste shops are popping up in both big and small cities around the world. While zero waste is impossible in the long run, because somewhere in the process, there will be some waste, whether you are the one dealing with it or not, absolute minimum waste is possible. It is also not that difficult to make the transition. All you need is to believe in the cause and, as always with change, be willing to start.
If you are not sure where to start, I would suggest with your groceries and food habits. Here are some ways you can get started:
Start making more things from scratch and stop buying packaged food.
Bring produce bags to the store when buying fruit and vegetables.
When it comes to the staples, such as oats, rice, flour and legumes, buy them in bulk.
Try not to buy junk-food as it is often packaged and you'll be throwing away the packaging as soon as you're finished eating. Cooking yourself is also healthier for you.
Bring your own coffee in your own travel mug.
Use metal food containers and store your dry pantry items in glass jars.
If you don't already know how to, learn how to cook.
Talk to some of your local stores about bringing your glass jars there and buying directly from their bulk items at the back of the store.
Make plant-based milk, juice, yoghurt - the packaged breakfast items in general, from scratch.
Freeze food in glass jars or switch to reusable eco silicone ziplock bags.
Use cloth wipes instead of paper towels.
Use biodegradable sponges, rugs and brushes for washing dishes.
Use metal or bamboo straws.
Use wooden or metal chopsticks.
After you have changed your food habits and grocery shopping habits, move on to the bathroom.
If you're keen on lowering your waste and helping the planet, consider switching to a non-water toilet, using hemp paper instead of regular toilet paper, or switching to cloth wipes altogether.
If you are experiencing cycles, use a menstrual cup or cloth pads instead of disposable pads and tampons.
Make your own toothpaste.
Go for the no-poo method, or make your own hairwash.
Make your own lotion and bodybutter.
Use a biodegradable bamboo toothbrush instead of the plastic ones.
Make your own hairproducts out of flax seed gel.
Use olive oil instead of hairpacks.
Make face masks from pantry items.
Use soap nuts instead of regular cleaning items and laundry detergent.
Make your own zero waste makeup.
If you are a parent, plan on becoming one in the future, or if you know people with kids, be conscious of the toys you bring them. There are so many affordable organic natural toys these days that there is absolutely no reason to get them that sensory overload plastic toy that blinks shiny lights and makes noises. In fact, it is not good for them or their development and it is certainly not good for the environment. Work hard to make the right choices for them from the start. Get them bamboo bowls and spoons. Get glass bottles instead of plastic ones. Go for cloth diapers instead of plastic packaged disposable ones.
When you have made the decision to cut plastic out of your life, what do you do with the plastic you already have?
Use it. Use it until it can't be used anymore, and then, up-cycle it. Find a new use for it. Going zero waste and saying no to plastic does not mean that you should throw out all the plastic you already have. That would be incredibly wasteful and then you'd be completely missing the point of it all. Saying no to plastic means making better, more sustainable, choices from here on out. The plastic you do have should be used as long as you can, and then re-purposed. Or if you really don't want it, if you've become completely turned off of plastic, donate it to a family who needs it. There is always someone who is looking for exactly what you are looking to give away.
As a finishing tip, when you go to a public place and you see waste lying around, pick it up and throw it in the bin. The people before you may have left the place like that, but you can make the place a little better for the person coming there after you.
Make the world greener!