There’s this assumption that once you commit to going zero waste you must purge all plastic items from your house and immediately purchase the sustainable, nonplastic-y counterparts. Well, I’m here to say that is NOT true. If we purged all of the perfectly useful items from our lives to buy new, that would completely negate the reasoning behind zero waste in the first place. We need to add value back into the items we already have rather than dispose of items we no longer find “attractive.”
Waste is a product of over-consumption, so it’ important we refuse what we don’t need and put that plastic stash to good use.
So, what do you do with your plastic stash?
In fact, use it until it wears out – as long as it does not compromise your health, of course. Wouldn’t it be just as wasteful to throw out perfectly good items and purchase new things only because it was plastic? Aside from cooking in your plastic containers – please, stop doing that – use up and wear out those containers, toothbrushes, hairbrushes, razors, whatever. Once they are worn out, then replace them with the more eco-friendly options.
- I still use plastic containers to store pet supplies, toiletries and organize nuts and bolts and more.
- I still use a plastic toothbrush for cleaning grout.
- I still use a plastic hairbrush – I’ve lost a few teeth but that bad boy is still operable.
- I still use a few freezer bags from before I went zero waste that I just wash out and reuse.
- I still use a plastic mopping bucket.
- I use reusable plastic plates, cups, and utensils for camping
I could go on and on. My point is. We all have several plastic items in our households that are perfectly usable. Living “zero waste” doesn’t mean throw-all-plastic-away immediately. It means making better, more sustainable choices going forward and utilizing what we already have. It’s not about buying more – but buying less. Buying non-plastic items once the plastic ones wear out will result in longer product lives and ensure that they can be sustainably recycled/composted once it’s no longer usable. If you still feel that a few of your plastic items need to leave your life, then I highly suggest you donate it or recycle it if you can.
The great thing about using what we already have means that you don’t have to invest in a small fortune of reusable products to start eliminating waste. Social media continually paints this picture that zero waste is something only rich people can achieve and I hope I have done my part to prove that false.
For more on what you can do with your plastic, read 30 Useful Ideas for Plastic Storage Containers.
What plastic items are you still using?