How to Transition to a Plastic-Free Lifestyle (And How to Refuse Waste on a Daily Basis)

Photograph by Tala Parker

Photograph by Tala Parker

Transitioning to a zero waste lifestyle may feel like a daunting task, but it’s actually pretty easy. Just follow these simple steps and do your best to curb the plastic you waste.

One of the things I found the most helpful in my transition was finding brands and people that I felt I could support and/or learn from. For example, I love Package Free Shop because they are a 100% zero waste store (including shipping) and have a multitude of different products. This allowed me to see what zero waste options were out there even if I didn’t end up purchasing from Package Free (their products can be pricy). Another brand I love is Everlane, which sells ethically made clothing for a reasonable price. They too ship their items plastic-free. They’ve now become my go to brand for all of my new clothing purchases because I trust them to treat their employees fairly and because I can afford the prices. Finding inspiring people is super important, for you can learn a lot from other peoples experience. I personally like Lauren Singer’s, the owner of Package Free Shop, blog. I also love @tidyguy on instagram and Sorelle Amore on Youtube.

The first step to transitioning to a more environmentally friendly lifestyle is to become aware of the amount of plastic you use on a daily bases. This can be as simple as keeping an eye on how much trash you take out at the end of the week. Hopefully, this will motivate you to decrease your consumption.

Next, keep track of what plastic products you use. When I was first going zero waste, I wrote a list of all the items I needed to replace. To make it more manageable, I gave myself a time frame in which I would have to find a replacement (generally, when I ran out of the product).

I approached the transition in categories: bathroom/toiletries (toothpaste, shampoo, tampons), food shopping (plastic bags, plastic wrapped produce), and everyday use (straws, receipts, takeout food). Then I asked myself one question; can I do without it or do I need to invest in a plastic free alternative?

For me, often the hardest part of my zero waste transition was finding the replacements for plastic items. It can be overwhelming, but after I put in the hard work and found an alternative product or item I loved just as much as the old plastic version, I felt proud of myself and happy that I stuck to my values and found something I felt I could support.

This is a bit vague, but there is no straightforward answer on how to transition. It’s a process that will be individual to each person because everyone has different needs. For more tips and suggestions, I encourage you to check out other posts on my blog about zero waste products I have tried or ways that I have stopped using plastic in certain areas of my life.

Do you have any specific questions or issues you are having while transitioning? I’d love to know! Leave a note in the comments :)