It is week 1 of our 30 day  plastic free challenge.

You have already taken the first step and signed up.  Great going!

Here is how I start the challenge each year.  I do a plastics audit.

I collect every piece of plastic that makes its way into my home and my life for a week. It is amazing, not only how much plastic there is, but it is also very informative as to where it comes from.

I have been a minimalist and have been trying to omit single use plastics from my life for several years, probably decades by now. I am still on that journey.  So come along with me, and let’s do the audit.

Collect every piece of plastic, from the plastic that is wrapped around the wine bottle, to the plastic cap or wrap on that glass jar of pickles, to the bread the bag, to the liner of that box of pasta you thought was housed in cardboard only.   I mean every piece of plastic.

Make a note of where the plastic came from, what item and what company.

At the end of the week, spread out the plastic and have a good look. Now that you know what plastic has seeped into your home, you can go about eliminating or at least reducing it.  This collection includes plastic that is recyclable, or that you think is recyclable. If possible weigh it so you have a comparison the next time you do an audit.  A food scale with work, as plastic is very lightweight and may not register on a bathroom scale, or count the number of items.  Take a photo as a reminder.

At the end of the week, recycle what you can, but first find out if the item is truly recyclable.

The first time I did this was about 10 years ago.  I was shocked at the amount of plastic I had accumulated.  It wasn’t plastic carry out bags, it wasn’t water bottles, or straws, I had already eliminated those.  So, where did all this plastic come from?

It comes from places we never even think about.  Eye opening to say the least.

Being aware is the first step, making a commitment to eliminate what you can and reduce as much as possible and finding replacements is the second step.

Advocating for reduction of plastic packaging, and having companies be responsible for the plastic pollution they are causing is the third step.  Write to the polluters and tell them you enjoy their products, but want more sustainable packaging.

Congratulations on starting the journey. Share what you have learned with others.

And remember, it is a journey.

Helene Shore