My plastic-free journey didn’t start yesterday nor did it just recently. Unlike many other bloggers’ journeys, I didn’t have an epiphany after reading a book or watching a movie or listening to a TED-ed talk.
Instead, my desire to do better for the environment has been a part of me all of my life.
I had great influences throughout the years – my mom introducing me to composting at 5 years old, my elementary school teaching me at 7 about recycling, my middle school diving deeper into composting when I was 10, my own research in high school and college, and many of the great environmental bloggers that I’ve been reading about since 2010.
And with all of those influences, the desire in me to do better was strong. With it, I completed my first step outside of my parents home by researching where I could compost when I was living in an apartment in college and the years after. My solution at the time was to freeze my compost and bring it back home in a cooler on my holiday visits to my parents’ house. Eventually, when I found a community garden near downtown Dallas, I jumped on the opportunity to take my compost there instead of filling my freezer with bags of it for months at a time.
But the opportunities to be more environmentally friendly in DFW came and went. The community garden shut down. My mom became ill and my parents didn’t have the time to maintain their composting efforts that I contributed to. My outreach to local composting efforts went nowhere. And I couldn’t find another garden in Dallas to go to.
And so, I tried looking for other methods. With the one that I found – a compost bin either inside my apartment or on the patio – was rejected by my boyfriend who lived with me.
So slowly but surely, my will and determination to be this environmental warrior waned. I went back to throwing out scraps. I didn’t put as much effort into my eco-friendly journey.
I just wanted to give up.
When you try so hard to do a good thing but nothing is working, it becomes …frustrating.
And while most of my passion did die in those months of struggle, thankfully, there was still a small flame burning.
Instead of composting, I found other methods to continue my journey, including
- Opting out of bagging produce at my local Kroger and Sprouts (surprisingly, I never got weird looks or asked why I didn’t bag what probably 99% of others do)
- Bringing reusable bags to the grocery store (after visiting California and seeing that they charged for each plastic bag used)
- Switching to reusable pads and minimally packaged tampons like Natracare (Divacup and similar products were just too much of a jump at the time)
- Buying glass items instead of plastic (many of which accidentally broke as a result of my boyfriend. RIP microwave food cover, tea infuser, etc.)
- Purchasing loose tea and some bulk items (mostly nuts)
And all of those I can proudly say I’ve continued to do for the past 3.5 years.
It wasn’t until more recently that I’ve felt more empowered to continue on my journey to becoming not only more environmentally friendly but also plastic free.
With the purchase of my Dallas home (that already had a compost bin in the backyard!) and a steady and comfortable income, I felt like I was ready and confident to return to the state I was in just 4 years earlier.
And so, my research resumed. With it, I started compiling a list of all the items in my house that I use (no matter the frequency) that contain plastic. New reusable containers (like metal straws and metal bento boxes) began popping up in my kitchen. And recently, bar soap slowly is replacing its plastic packaged counterpart.
While I’m still in the process of this change and building out my list of plastic-free alternatives, I’m happy to know that I’m laying the foundation for this new life.
So if you are like me and feel that you keep hitting brick walls in your journey to becoming environmentally friendly and plastic free, you’re not alone. Reach out and tell me your story and your struggles. Let’s fight the plastic and build a better life for us and our future.