It’s been about a year ago now, that I started to use less plastic on Tuesdays – at first -, and beyond – now. Want to start too? Here are 7 tips to start with Plastic-Free Tuesday!
Tip 1: Step-by-step, (Tues)day-by-(Tues)day, and product group-by-product group
Kudos to the person who can go cold-turkey on plastic. Plastic is SO pervasive, you’re about to find out when you start! It proves difficult (if not impossible) to ditch all plastic and plastic packaging the first time you try a Plastic-Free Tuesday. It takes some proper preparation to do a full PFT. And plastic has it’s ways of creeping up on you :-(.
Bummer? A problem? Definitely not! You’re trying, you’re learning, and if all goes according to plan: you’re having some fun while you’re doing this! The benefits of cutting plastics from your life will stretch way beyond the environmental benefits. All plastic-minimalizers comment that they discover many nice new foods and products, start eating healthier naturally, and save time (really! less choices.. ;-)).
I remember clearly reading somewhere during my own beginnings, that it takes at least three tries before a new routine becomes a habit. I think, from my experience until now, that sounds about right! Three times is not a very long time, though, if you think about it.
Tip 2: Tracking progress on your plastic use and replacements: a ‘plastic diary’
A great tip for first Plastic-Free Tuesday-ers: keep a small ‘plastic diary’.
On a piece of paper, write down the plastics you encounter throughout the day. What can you immediately refuse? Which items might need some preparation or replacement in due course? With the list in the back of your mind, you then keep an eye out for alternatives when you go grocery shopping the rest of the time. I personally made a list of easy meals as well, which I knew I could make without plastic fairly easy (for example spaghetti). See a few of my earlier posts on food as well: here and here. Honestly: reading them back, I can’t believe the difference between then and now! 🙂 I’ll have to write up a post about where I stand right now, sometime soon!
Tip 3: Look out for plastic-free alternatives during the week
As said above: keep an eye out for replacements throughout the week. Replace items in your fridge, cupboard or house slowly, as they run out, one by one. In the meantime, refuse new plastic! Once you open your eyes to plastic, you immediately see the many great alternatives too! Glass, fabric, wood, carton… bulk food!
When you have time, take a moment to wander through your supermarket with fresh eyes, reexamine those shelves. 😉 Golden tip: visit a (farmer’s) market with fresh produce, be amazed at the many, many nice plastic-free options.
Goodmorning! Guess what I did this weekend and will be making my coffee with today..? Freshly ground organic coffee bought in bulk!☕? Yay!? Finally my 'plastic' coffee almost ran out, so I had to replace it. Already eyed this coffee /tea selling place for a while. It's called Simon Levelt, a small chain in most major cities the Netherlands. It was even better than I hoped: they grind up your beans of choice (various organic ones) on the spot, according to your own coffee making 'technique' at home!?? And no issues about the jar either, they really liked it and other people do it too apparently ? a small piece of #plasticfreetuesday paradise ?☕? good for teas and strainers too! ? #plasticfreetuesday #happy #coffee #simonlevelt #Groningen #noplastic #plasticfree #bulkisbetter #bulkisbest #plasticfreeparadise
Tip 4: Assemble a small basic plastic-free ‘toolkit’
Very useful: assemble a ‘basics kit’ before or during the first Plastic-Free Tuesdays. Suggestions for the kit:
- (at least) two fabric reusable bags + some smaller fabric or paper bags for bulk shopping as well (see Re-Sacks for example) (of course: you can reuse some plastic bags as well, at first – the challenge is to not accept any new plastic bags and get more sustainable as you proceed)
- a carry-on reusable mug / mason jar / or (glass) bottle for drinks (see one of my favorite ones below)
- carry-on cutlery, if you’re accustomed to have meals-to-go
- a collection of (reused) jars and containers to use for food shopping
This will already help you a lot. You can build the kit as you go along, and figure out what you need exactly.
One of my favourite reusable water bottles! ? #repurposed #juicebottle #glassnotplastic. I also use it to carry tea or hot lemon water! Try that in plastic… ?#plasticfreetuesday #noplastic #reuse #refuse #tapwater #nobottledwater #bringyourownbottle #plasticfree #stopdisposableculture #dontfeedtheplasticmonster #saynotoplastic
Tip 5: Plan some meals ahead
Daily meals will be one of hardest things in the beginning. Prior to Plastic-Free Tuesday, or on your first PFT, it will be helpful to prepare a list of some easy and nice plastic-free breakfasts, lunches and dinners. The list is always a good fall back option when you’re busy, tired, and not up for plastic-free creativity. A list with some no-brainers is convenient for the supermarket. See some of my earlier tips on plastic-free meals and products here! Btw, you only need to do this in the beginning, you’ll soon know what the plastic-free options are!
Tip 6: Read/Watch up on Plastics – why are you doing this again? 🙂
One of the things which greatly encouraged me at the beginning, was reading up on plastics and watching some documentaries. There are many nice posts on this site of various team members who went through the same process of discovering the harms of plastics, for example: click here to get motivated and inspired or here to get to our Plastic Crash Course, run by our chemical engineer Barbara.
Definitely give our Facebook-page a like, if you want to receive updates and recent news items on plastic as well! Some documentaries which are recommended are “Addicted to Plastic”, “Plastic Planet”, “Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch” or “Bag It“. Sit back and already choose a first one below :-).
Tip 7: Find support with the on-line and off-line “Plastic-Free” community – we are with so many “plastic-minimalizers” already!
Finally, one thing to recommend the most: join the online community of plastic-ditchers. Follow Plastic-Free Tuesday or other bloggers on any social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or this/their blog(s). Sign up to get new blog posts straight into your mailbox on the right side of this page. There are many great plastic-free bloggers out there already, such as Beth Terry – a true plastic-free pioneer and guru. Beth just published a new edition of her book, “How I Kicked the Plastic Habit – And How You Can Too”. Which, we are happy and proud to announce, we are included in too, now! Meet Beth in this TedX:
Take it from us: it’s much more fun and inspiring when you see that other people are getting into it as well. Also: if you can, get some friends, family or colleagues involved. Make a joined challenge out of it, and get the conversation started. Above all: know you are not fighting the #plasticmonster alone ;-).
Good luck this Tuesday! Let us know how you do!