It’s awesome if you decided to go plastic-free.
It’s double awesome if you're committed to going plastic-free even though you're super busy!
If this sounds like you, the good news is that there are lots of people just like you. They’re insanely busy but they’ve managed to go plastic-free. And if they can do it, you can do it, right?!
It’s not easy but there’s always a way. And in this article, we're going to take a look at ways you can go plastic-free despite living a busy life.
Invest in a reusable water bottle
While we should all drink as much water as we can for the sake of our health, we need to be sustainable with how we do it.
Ergo, buying plastic bottles of water should be out.
So how can we drink water when we’re on the move and short on time?
Invest in a reusable stainless steel water bottle and refill it when you can (there are lots of refill stations these days, while public bathrooms are also great places to refill your bottle if tap water is safe to drink).
Buy unpackaged groceries
This might not be possible all the time, but if you can swap packaged produce for non-packaged produce (such as loose fruit and vegetables), it’s so much better for the planet. Plus, it doesn’t even take up any extra time at the supermarket and you’ll feel so much better for it.
Pro tip: Find where to buy bread that isn’t wrapped in plastic. Once you’ve tracked it down, you’ll save yourself so much time the next time you go grocery shopping.
Find homemade alternatives for pre-packaged food
I’m definitely not suggesting that you take it upon yourself to make everything from scratch. After all, you’re busy.
But it’s a good idea to put some time aside at some point soon to identify the main offenders on your grocery list (the ones that are over-packaged, and which you buy all the time).
Once you’ve done this the first time, you’ll find it’s much easier the next time. Eventually, it will barely cost you any time at all.
I’ll stop saying “time” now. Promise.
Moreover, you could make lots of something in one go. For example, homemade hummus that lasts a few days and which you can add to a number of meals.
Buy reusable shopping bags
Yes, a number of stores now offer alternatives to plastic shopping bags — but many still don’t.
The plastic-free alternative here is to politely turn down plastic shopping bags because you’ve already got your own reusable ones!
And even if you forget to take your reusable shopping bag with you but aren’t planning to buy too much, you could still turn down the offer of a plastic bag and carry things by hand (if possible).
However, it’s a really good idea to always have one or two reusable shopping bags on your person when you’re out and about (you can stuff them in your handbag/purse?) so that you can use them in an emergency situation!
Oh, and remember the rule: any bag can be a reusable shopping bag.
Keep the plastic you’ve already got
This might sound a bit silly (and I have to admit, when someone first told me to keep the plastic I already had, I thought it was totally silly and against the whole point of going plastic-free), but hear me out on this one.
Going plastic-free means not buying plastic and therefore not filling our landfills with more of it.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t reuse the plastic that’s already in your house.
If you’ve got plastic that you’ve had for a while now and you live a super busy lifestyle, you don’t need to replace it all at once. As long as you’re not clogging up the landfill with it at the moment and it’s serving its purpose, you should be able to reuse it without feeling bad.
What do I mean by “go without”?
Well, think about all the plastic products you want to replace.
It gives you a headache just thinking about it, right?
You need to replace this, this and that. It’s gonna take up time. Ugh.
Here’s the thing: Do you even need to replace them all? Or are there some “essentials” you could actually go without?
If you’re short on time these days, it might be a smarter idea to put a little bit of time aside just to create a list of the plastics in your house you’re planning to replace. Then, ask yourself which ones are truly essential — and which ones you could actually just live without.
Wash your clothes less
Here’s something I bet you never knew: washing your clothes can create plastic pollution.
It’s true! Scientists discovered earlier this year that European and North American households are contaminating our oceans with microplastic by doing their laundry too much. Wow.
Washing your clothes less is obviously ideal if you live a hectic lifestyle, too. Moreover, this doesn’t mean your clothes need to stink. It can mean that — for example — you stock up on second hand clothes so that you’ve always got something clean to wear, and that you just air clothes outside if that’s all they need.
And if they really do need a wash, put them in your stinky pile and simply don’t wear them until you’ve washed them (whenever that is).
I don’t want this article to put too much pressure on you by the way. The fact that you want to go plastic-free is enough at this point. If you live a busy life, the last thing you want is to feel overwhelmed by the stress of eliminating all plastics from your life.
So run through this article again and see what makes sense to you. Even if you just make one of the tips a habit for now, it’s a great start. We can’t always do everything all at once. Do what you can and make a difference in your own way.