Have you always wanted to try Zero Waste but found it too overwhelming? You’re not alone! When I first started, I wish I took my time making changes to my life. I went HARD in the beginning, throwing all my plastic sh*t away and spending a TON of money on sustainable swaps. Well, that was my bad because I ended up relapsing quite a few times before I realized that I don’t have to commit to a full on zero waste lifestyle to reduce the plastic in my life.
From what I learned, I always tell people who want to try zero waste to start small! Consider this 30 day detox, Baby Step 1 in your zero waste journey if you don’t know where to start. Or, if you have been trying and struggling, use this as a restart to your journey.
While you’re stuck at home, this could be the best time to make big changes in your life. If you’ve always wanted to try zero waste, low waste or just simply reduce the amount of plastic you bring into your home, then this challenge is for you. I am posting this challenge during a global pandemic, and it has been modified to fit limitations of the pandemic. Otherwise, it would look a little different, but this can be applied to your life whenever you feel is right!
For 30 days, live by these 6 guidelines. It seems overwhelming, but trust me! Your hard work will pay off in the end! You’ll notice that these are all ways you can block plastic from entering your home.
Exceptions and Clarifications
- Due to the pandemic the following can be purchased in plastic; meat and vegan protein substitutes, grain, nuts, and bread (only if bulk bins are closed). But limit plastic packaged items to under 30% (in volume) of your grocery haul.
- You may online shop if you’re buying an item that will improve your zero waste lifestyle.
- You can make an exception if the majority of the item is packaged sustainably. For example, if your only option for honey is in glass with a plastic top, then this is ok to purchase.
- You can buy something made of plastic if it will benefit your zero waste journey, like a bidet attachment. I recommend Hello Tushy. It attaches right to your existing toilet. See more of my product recommendations at the end of this
- Medications and any plastic that must be used for medical purposes is permitted.
Acceptable types of packaging
Optional: Add one of these to your 30 day challenge
If you want to kick your detox up a notch then add one or more of these below to your 30 day challenge.
- Commit to eliminating plastic wrap and/or baggies, like ziplock bags, for 30 days.
- Commit to eliminating plastic straws for 30 days.
- Try a new zero waste beauty product, like natural deodorant or makeup.
- Make a big zero waste swap to a sustainable reusable like a plastic loofah for natural, dryer sheets for wool dryer balls, plastic toothbrush for bamboo, kitchen sponge for a wooden brush, etc.
- Purchase a swap from a company that practices plastic free packaging like Dropps Laundry Detergent.
- Look up composting options in your area and apply one to your life. I pay a local private compost hauler, but there are so many ways to compost at home.
- Make your own typically packaged food product like nut milk or oat milk, granola, snack bars, protein bars, bread, pasta, hummus, or nut butter.
- Switch a bottled soap product for a solid version like shampoo, body wash, hand wash, dish soap, etc.
- Make your own product – this can be all purpose cleanser, toothpaste, soap, makeup, lotion or any other household DIY.
- Commit to reducing toilet paper and/or paper towel usage for 30 days.
Ready to get started? Do this on Day One
Before you dive into your plastic detox, complete these two tasks. If you already have, great! Understanding what you’re throwing away will help you better understand what you need to reduce. In the event that you bring packaging home, it is good to know how to properly dispose of it.
What to expect after your detox
This is a plastic detox. For 30 days you will eliminate some regular items from your life. You’ll start out being overwhelmed with all the plastic around you. I remember the feeling! Eventually though, you will get used to it and avoiding plastic will become a habit. The objective here is to see how you live without plastic. You will learn how to solve problems with what you have and not, what you can buy to solve them. My goal for people who take the challenge, is to apply some of the habits learned during the detox to their life for years to come.
If after 30 days, you miss Kettle chips and Cliff bars then go ahead and buy them, I’m not here to judge! I reward myself every month with a bag of garlic parmesan chips and I don’t feel bad. #selfcare
If you need help looking for products and swaps, I added a list of resources for you below! Anything with a * is an item or service I use myself.
Makeup – Elate Cosmetics
Shampoo Bar – Meow Meow Tweet*
Dish Washing Brush – Redecker*
Share your progress with me on Instagram or Facebook! Use #30dayplasticdetox