Yes, you can make a difference!

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A few years ago I stumbled upon a TED video in which Beth Terry tells about her plastic free life. I was intrigued. During the years that followed I increasingly often read and heard about how plastic kills animals and ruins the planet. After seeing yet another photo series of bird stomaches filled with plastic, I decided to do something about it. Because I strongly believe that we -as Ghandi said- should be the change you want to see in the world, my goal was to reduce my own plastic consumption. Like Beth Terry, I decided to document it all. So I started writing on my Dutch weblog Plasticminimalism.


Plastic photo models
Because at that time I had no idea how much plastic I consumed, I began -again inspired by Beth Terry- with weekly tallies of the plastic our two persons household threw away. I created a new waste category in our household to be separated from the glass and paper. Every week I took the big black garbage bag with plastic waste, turned it upside down and divided it into several categories such as veggies, legumes, and nuts. I would then take pictures of each category, identify key problem areas, and decide which product or category to tackle in the week ahead.

Plastic tally week I

Plastic tally week I

During the week I would try find plastic free alternatives for each and every product or product group. For example, my goals after the first tally included using reusable bags for all my veggies and fruits as well as buying bananas at the organic supermarket rather than at the mainstream grocery store. Over the course of ten months all these small steps contributed to a great reduction of our plastic footprint. By the time we relocated from the Netherlands to China last March, we barely bought or threw away any plastic.

“You can’t change the world by yourself”
While some argue that on a global scale, this won’t make any difference, I strongly disagree. First of all, this argument does not make sense if you reflect on the core of our plastic problem. Where does the plastic come from? How come birds are building nests made of plastic? How did the plastic get into the living environment of the bird in the first place?

Bird
Exactly. It’s because you and me are supporting the use of unneccessary plastic in our society by constantly accepting and buying it and then disposing of it. If you and me would not buy any plastic, there would not be any (or at least a lot less) plastic.

Secondly, I am not on my own. Over the course of the past year or so, people around me noticed my plastic behaviour and started to change their behaviour too. Amongst the first to do so were my husband, family, and friends. And in turn, they too have changed habits and are creating awareness about the plastic problem.

Yes, we can! You can! Help us grow bigger!
While I feel extremely honoured and grateful regarding the steady daily stream of visitors of my Dutch weblog, I hope that by launching Plastic-Free Tuesday even more people will think twice before putting bananas in a plastic bag, accepting plastic shopping bags, and leaving plastic litter after a day at the park.

In order to keep the movement growing you can help us by leaving a comment below in which you tell why and how you reduce your plastic footprint. This will motivate and inspire others to embark on the plasticfree journey. You can also contribute by liking Plastic-Free Tuesday on Facebook, sharing our posts on your Facebook wall, and by commenting on our updates. Our team is currently looking for new bloggers, so if you enjoy writing (in English), please contact us by leaving a comment below or contact us through the Facebook page.

Finally and most importantly: Stay consistent and stick to your plasticfree habits. By doing so you will inspire others, meaning less plastic and a healthier world! Thank you all for your support!

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About Author

Annemieke

In 2013, after reading yet another article about plastic soup, Annemieke started her Dutch blog Plasticminimalism where she documented her small steps towards life with less plastic. To create more awareness about the adverse impacts of our plastic consumption, she launched Plastic-Free Tuesday in spring 2014. She strongly believes that building a better world starts by changing our own behavior. Annemieke is an environmental scientist by training. She alternates living in the Netherlands, Sweden, the US, and China.

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