A beginner's guide to plastic-free living | Waste Reduction Week in Canada

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A beginner's guide to plastic-free living

Focus on these three areas of your life to see the biggest returns.

My friend and I were standing in a crowded local pub last weekend, waiting for a band to start playing, when he said to me, "You need to write a step-by-step guide to giving up plastic." "I've already done that!" I replied, thinking of the numerous articles I've written on going zero waste, but he shook his head. "I don't know where to start. You need to break it down even further, telling me exactly what needs to change and where I can get plastic-free alternatives."

It's true that, after years of writing about plastic avoidance and waste reduction, it's hard for me to see it through the eyes of a beginner. There are things I mistakenly assume everyone knows, like where to find bar shampoo/conditioner and plastic-free laundry detergent. But for many people, those are still daunting and confusing steps.

I've spend the last few days mulling over my friend's request, and the result is this guide to getting started with plastic reduction. It's not comprehensive, of course, because plastic-free living can be taken to all levels of extreme; but these are three key changes that I consider to be the most effective. This is where I would tell people to start.

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