Plastic-Free New Year’s resolutions from the Plastic-Free Tuesday Team!

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This January, we pledged to pay attention to plastic-free New Year’s Resolutions. We’re helping other people to get started on their PFT adventures, but we surely also have some Plastic-Free resolutions of our own to share!

Personally, I’ve managed to cut a wide range of plastic items from my life since starting Plastic-Free Tuesdays in 2014, especially disposable plastics. It’s been so enjoyable, and I got many great things in return! Yet, there are certainly still some goals left for 2015. Of course, joining in for Plastic-Free Tuesdays every week is an excellent New Year’s resolution in itself! To give you some inspiration, and to keep the conversation on plastic-free living going, we’re all sharing some of our personal paths and challenges below.

If you have any comments, questions or tips, as always, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment. All of us at PFT wish you a marvelous and plastic-free 2015!

Marlies

My own resolutions for 2015 are fairly simple, but challenging yet! I will elaborate a bit on them, because it’s my post. They appear a bit random, to be honest, but I consider this a good thing. It apparently means I have managed to cut plastic from many other, more obvious, parts of my life! J

1)      Give up on shampoo (again).

This is a proper challenge. Those who follow the Instagram account have seen my first enthusiastic posts on trying to ditch shampoo. Both the bottles AND the chemicals. I’ve tried the baking soda/ vinegar “no ‘poo” adventure a while back, and washed with egg yolk and other natural products very successfully a couple of weeks. It definitely worked for a couple of months in total, especially when cutting back on baking soda – which I think is too aggressive..  – I’ve gone past some hair breakage (whoa!), past some greasy hair, and enjoyed my new hair generally. However, in a weak moment, of not having anything on hand, and being a bit tired of my hair smelling, well.. like hair.. I caved and used by boy friend’s eco-friendly shampoo (Ecover) first, and bought a Lush shampoo bar to try out. I have to say I am not convinced that the “no ‘poo” wasn’t actually better! So I will give it another try in 2015.

2)      Get a stainless steel safety razor to eliminate wasteful disposable razors, and a bamboo tooth brush.

I’ve seen this online, and it just makes sense. I just need to find a store to get these items (I don’t like ordering online..). I’ve already been using almond oil as shaving oil for a while, and as ‘day cream’ on my face which works… just amazing! And experimented with plastic-free tooth paste. Wish I tried almond oil before. No going back. No chemicals down the drain.

3)      Sew a number of handy fabric bags, assorted sizes to buy bulk. Try out ‘new’ vintage sewing machine!

I find I never have enough of fabric bags on hand! I use them to buy potatoes, tomato’s, mushrooms, bread rolls, breads, dates, dried fruit, nuts, whatever. So easy, and so nice. I got this super cool vintage sewing machine as well recently (22.50 euro only!), so I have no excuse. 😉

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I’ll also be able to use the bags at more places soon: one of the local eco-stores (Eko Plaza) recently installed a really nice row of bulk bins, and…. the first ‘packaging free store’ of the Netherlands will open right here in my city, Groningen! Yay for that. Very pleased.

4)      Figure out way to throw parties for friends or family plastic-free.

I have not been able to have parties without being non-wasteful. Especially drinks are difficult to think of plastic-free. I mostly drink tea, coffee and water myself during the day… But that’s hardly party material?! I also drink wine and beer, so that’s plastic-free as well. Mixers, juice etc. are thougher though… However, we had some nice plastic-free caipirinha’s for New Year’s, so I think it’s possible if I’d just focus more in advance. 🙂 Main problems for wasteful parties are last minute extra shoppings (will we have enough?!), time-constraint (whaaa, people are almost here!) and being unsure what to serve guests exactly, so I’m just falling back on the pre-Plastic-Free efforts options.

5)      Use sewing machine to sew Annemiek some nice shoe bags for traveling ;-P

Annemieke

Annemieke has been traveling a lot for her work last year, which has prompted her to explore various different environments. She’s slowly becoming a real expert on refusing plastic internationally J. For the New Year, Annemieke is specifically resolving to:

1)      Find plastic-free shoe bags for traveling.

When traveling, it’s very easy to reuse old plastic bags to put shoes in. Keeps clothes clean in  suitcases or backpacks. However, the plastic bags are now reused for ages and slowly falling apart. So, it’s time to find new plastic-free shoe bags. [for example, by having a nice friend make some for you on her new sewing machine.. ;-)]

2)      Get a couple of reusable plastic-free fabric handkerchiefs.

No need to use tissues or toilet paper (which comes in plastic-packaging).

3)      Convert to 100% plastic free toiletries.

This includes: replacing an electric plastic toothbrush with a bamboo one, experimenting further with DIY scrubs, deodorant and toothpaste, getting a plastic-free toiletry bag (current plastic one is falling apart after many travels and using it for a decade or so), and maybe even purchasing a menstrual cup.

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Ingredients for Marlies’ plastic-free toothpaste: tbsp coconut oil, 0,5 tsp baking soda and 10 drops peppermint oil.

Hana

Hana’s in living in China at the moment, which, as Annemiek has experienced, can bring about some extra challenges of trying to figure out where and how to shop. At the moment Hana’s resolving to:

1)      Prepare for plastic-free salads.

It’s difficult to find them plastic-free in China! Rather than getting them in a convenience store,  attempt to make some home-made ones..

2)      Be more resolved to refuse 🙂

When facing really nice or tasty things, it’s easy to forget your plastic-free resolutions. Later on, you realize that these things are not really so essential for your life, so it’s a matter of being more mindful.

3)      Actively explore more plastic-free alternatives.

For example, who knew there were ear plugs made from sheep’s hair!

Gerda

Gerda’s been working on many great plastic-free projects for Plastic-Free Tuesday in 2015, amongst which her posters and her hand-made fabric tote projects. She’s now planning to continue the good work by:

1)      Making more fabric bags to share!

2)      Put plastic-free as a priority instead of instant packaging delicious food.

3)      Find plastic-free rice and beans in a bulk store in Amsterdam.

Barbara

Barbara got on board with Plastic-Free Tuesday in 2014. She’s a chemical engineer helping us all to get better educated and more aware about plastics and their various harmful effects!  See some of her posts here and here. For 2015, Barbara’s committed to:

1)      Write more blogs on plastic for Plastic-Free Tuesday!

One aim is to create more awareness about harmful effects of many different kinds of plastics, so not only ‘traditional’ ones, but also ‘biodegradable plastics’.

2)      Engaging in conversations with users of plastic, so family, friends, acquaintances and colleagues

3)      Engage actively with shop owners and people who run market stalls about plastic bags etc, as well as internet shop owners and their use of plastic filling materials for shipping. Last year(s) some owners were convinced to change their habits of asking costumers whether they like or need a plastic bag; there must be more people who are willing to make that change!

4)      Make DIY bees wax cloths to wrap cheese bought at the market.

That’s the last straw to ban most of the plastic packaging in 2015.

Ryan

Ryan is one of our latest additions to the team! She’s gotten on board as a social media manager, convincing people on Facebook, Twitter and Tumbler why cutting back on plastic is not only important, but also why Plastic-Free Tuesday is an easy way to get started! Ryan has been living plastic-conscious for a while now, and she is resolving to make the following extra steps in 2015:

1)      Refuse all straws at restaurants and bars!

2)      Be more aware of take-out or to-go packaging.

Bring a mug or container to restaurants for left-overs and drinks.

3)      Remember to always bring along bags and containers for bulk goods at the local grocery store.

4)      Learn how to make cheese!

5)      When needing to buy a product, whether it be an appliance or piece of clothing, purchase  second hand.

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About Author

Marlies

Always interested in pursuing a more responsible and sustainable life-style, Marlies immediately got on board with the Plastic-Free Tuesday Project as a regular blogger. Marlies' special mission this year is to stop the use of any single-use or disposable plastics in her daily life, aiming to help the planet a little by being a responsible consumer. Follow Marlies as she explores her city, Groningen, in the Netherlands, from a different, plastic-free perspective, or as she travels around for work and weddings this year. Marlies is in charge of our activities on Instagram.

9 Comments

  1. My husband and I have both been using stainless steel safety razors for a year, and we haven’t looked back! So much better–lots less waste, and saves a lot of money, too (no more expensive disposable cartridges).

    This year, I want to be more proactive about asking for plastic free packaging when I order something online. Most of the time I remember, but once and a while I will forget to ask before I purchase something, and end up with an unfortunate plastic surprise.

    • Marlies

      Thanks for sharing your resolutions Elizabeth! It’s interesting to see how we all run into the same things. 🙂 I try to not order online generally, so fortunately one less problem there for me 🙂 I did contact one vendor recently when I ordered one thing. The whole box was filled with what appeared Styrofoam. Even when they sell an ecological product… However, the answer came, and it turned out that the ‘styrofoam’ was actually 100% starch :-).

      It’s great when companies think along!

      Good luck on your resolutions!
      Marlies

  2. I also need to work on refusing straws – I carry stainless steel straws with me but often drinks come with straws in them already. I am down to my last razor which I want to replace with something non-plastic. I’m a bit afraid of a safety razor but may have to give it a try. Thank you for your inspiration!

    • Marlies

      Hi Natalie!

      I was surprised too with a straw recently, when I went to visit a new coffee place. So annoying! Constant vigilance is required 🙂

      And good luck with your razor. I’ll surely post mine when I get it!

      Marlies

  3. Great new year’s resolutions guys!
    I think I’m going to steal the ‘make more fabric bags’ one, and I definitely need a steel razor.
    On the rare occasions that I purchase something online, I now send their plastic packaging back using their freepost ‘returns’ slips 😀 And tell them I can’t recycle their plastic bags so can they recycle it into something useful 😀
    Always love your posts keep up the good work!

    Leanne

    • Annemieke

      Thanks for your kind words Leanne! Your plans sound great! And I really like the idea of returning plastic packaging to the sender. Do you inquire before placing an online order whether they are willing to ship plastic-free? I usually do that, but even so, sometimes webshops (even so-called organic and sustainable ones…) ignore my request. What kind of response have you gotten when returning plastic packaging? Such a great idea, I should do the same.

  4. Dear Annemieke,
    I enquired a while back to H&M who did reply. I’m expecting an order from them so that’s where I plan to return the packaging, as last time it was a bit plastic-heavy.
    I’ve really cut down on Internet shopping so have not needed to do much enquiring (or grumbling about non-recyclable packets!). I find Amazon and John Lewis are good online ones as they send in cardboard, which is a start at least.
    And I’ve only just started returning packaging, so I’ve not discovered any responses yet – going to do it with the H&M packaging and see what their response is! Leanne 🙂

  5. My question: I used to buy large amounts of produce when it was in season locally and freeze it on plastic freezer bags. I decided to not buy plastic freezer bags last year but now that it is winter where I live I am desperate for spring and summer produce and have grown bored with the gourds, roots, and cruciferous veggies that are in season. Is there a non plastic alternative? I do not own enough glass containers nor is my freezer large enough to accommodate as many of those as needed to save food to last through the year.
    Tip: The legs and sleeves of worn out clothing make great bulk bags or shoe bags with a minimal amount of sewing.

    • Annemieke

      Thanks for stopping by, Sonya! I understand your problem. I was going to suggest glass containers for freezing, but that’s not what you’re looking for. What about stainless steel containers? A few years ago, I bought some stainless steel containers at a webshop that sells all kinds of stuff that restaurants need. This was really affordable. I use them to freeze meals. They are all the same size, works well in my freezer. In the summer, I made some tomato sauce from tomatoes from my own garden, put it in glass jars (like peanut butter et cetera jars that you buy in the supermarket) and put it in the freezer. You could also experiment with reusable cotton bags for things like broccoli. If you do, make sure to share your experience with us, we’d love to know if this works. Or maybe you could find different ways to conserve the produce, like pickling or drying.

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