Whenever I talk to people considering going plastic free, the key question that seems to come up, is how expensive is it to be plastic free and will they be out of pocket. So if that question is currently on your mind, this blog will help bust some myths on being plastic free.
So the first thing to understand is that starting a plastic free and low waste life is centered around consuming less. Not more. Plastic was actually originally marketed as a luxury to throw away! That’s right, post World War 2, companies actively advertised to get the nation hooked on disposable items….it was a new cheap item that could be purchased, thrown away……and then replaced. Not only did this mean that generations got brain washed with disposable items being a luxury, it also meant consumers had to purchase more to keep replacing the item they were enjoying throwing away!! Crazy right! That systemic brain washing has filtered through further generations and we now rely on a consumer industry where we expect to pay “cheap” over and over and over…..so we create waste over and over and over……and are we actually saving money in the long term if that’s the case?
1. The upfront cost of purchasing plastic free items can seem overwhelming. I remember purchasing my first plastic free reusable water bottle years ago and couldn’t justify the cost of $40 for a water bottle….but after some deliberation I realised it would only take for me to purchase 1 plastic water bottle every week for 20 weeks before buying disposables was more expensive – I still have the $40 water bottle I purchased more than 5 years later.
2. You don’t have to buy everything brand new. Sure you might want to kit yourself out with some mason jars, bottles, etc etc…..but check out thrift stores, or ask friends and family for items they no longer use.
3. “Expensive” is relative to your current lifestyle habits. If you already live quite a minimal lifestyle, the chances are you won’t notice a huge difference in your outgoings, however if you life quite a disposable life where you constantly purchase plastic, you may notice a slight peak in upfront costs, but you should notice a cost saving long term!!
4. Leading a minimal, low waste lifestyle is nothing new! People were living without plastic for centuries before you read this blog post…..and guess what…..people survived! And our grandparents……they were all about zero waste! They made do with what they had, they reused what they could, they saved left overs, they only bought what they needed……and then plastic adverts came along and corrupted everything! If you’re about to throw something away when it still has a potential use, think to yourself……”what would nanna do?”
5. There are some things that will cost more, for example “fast fashion” is cheap manufactured clothing where workers are paid pitifully, if you’re accustomed to purchasing cheap clothes because you like to keep up with the latest season fashion, you will notice a difference in expense if you chose to upgrade to more ethical brands and still want to keep in the season trends. Ethical brands don’t cut corners in manufacture and ensure they produce quality items instead which will be more expensive. We recommend upgrading your next purchase to more ethical brands over fast fashion, but to make them last through the season, try purchase items that are timeless and will carry through any season trend
In summary, the chances are that going plastic free and low waste should save you money but there will be upfront costs and compromises to be made in changing your consumer habits!