Think Your Plastic-Free Life Won’t Make a Difference?

Think you’re plastic-free life isn’t helping the planet? Read on.

My recycled plastic kitchen clock and thermometer, courtesy The Eden Project

I came across this question on the Plastic Free Support group on Facebook. This question goes something like this:

“What’s the point of me doing all this if no one else is? What difference will my tiny contribution make?”

Wondering if your commitment is a bit OTT (over the top)?
Nah, don’t worry. With concerns like these maybe a support group is a good idea. Standing out from the crowd, challenging the status quo, maybe looking a little odd and wondering if one actually is odd.

Maybe you are a bit odd. And?

The fact is, someone felt we needed a group called “plastic free support” and more than 9000 people have joined it. Why a support group to give up using plastic?

Common household item

Same reason you need support for anything – standing out from the crowd is uncomfortable. But it’s not how much plastic you personally save, or how many people are doing it. It’s the fact that in a way, you’re pioneers! You are taking a stand for what you believe in.

There’s no question the tide is turning against the kind of waste that damages wildlife, the natural environment and even the climate. By making the effort to be free of plastic you are helping to turn that tide, and who knows? Maybe someone will read something in the Plastic Free Support group that completely changes the way they see the world. That would be great, another convert!

Of course, plastic in its numerous forms has been around a long time, starting with – it depends who you ask of course – a material called Parkesine in 1856. Like most inventions it didn’t just happen by chance – there was a demand for materials that had that flexibility and could be moulded into an infinite number of products. Mass production of polymers began in the 1940s. In those days the environmental effects were not an issue.

My plastic printer/scanner. Not ready to let this go yet …

As a material (several, actually) plastics are pretty amazing. Just looking around my home it’s hard to find items that aren’t made with plastic. Many of these are welcome additions to my home. The alternatives, which might be made of wood or metal, would be more cumbersome and expensive, not to mention heavy. But I don’t have room in my life for one-use items like plastic cups (really!), cutlery or carrier bags (we reuse those we do come by several times).

It’s just that it’s clogging up the oceans and killing wildlife. Those making the effort to stand out and raise awareness of this are the heroes of our times. So, plastic-free pioneers, keep on doing what you’re doing.


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