If you are like us, you are sick of plastic waste. Sick of microplastics. Sick of plastic in the world oceans, sick of plastic in landfills. Basically, you’d want to somehow just be done with plastic once and for all.
But then you look around and find yourself living in a society where plastic is used in so many places and for so many everyday life functions (food packaging, household waste management, the face masks we’ve been using in the latter years, and the list goes on). And you start to wonder anything from “where should I start” to “is it even possible to ditch plastic” and “is going plastic-free even worth the effort if most people around me are still using tonnes of this material anyway”.
First and foremost: Don’t panic. Secondly, you, too, make a difference in this world as perfectly imperfect as it might be. Going 100% zero waste and plastic-free is unrealistic for most of us, even with extensive efforts and the best of intentions. But it’s not all or nothing. We believe that progress over perfection is the approach that will get you furthest for Plastic Free July and as a conscious consumer and citizen overall.
Plastic less pep talk: You, too, make a difference
For Plastic Free July, you might feel a bit bombarded with plastic-saving tips and tricks and things you can do better to live a more zero waste everyday life. It can all be very overwhelming, and when we are overwhelmed, we can become paralyzed and do nothing. But your zero waste efforts are needed, and so are everyone else’s. And, very importantly, your zero waste efforts will inspire someone else’s.
In public spaces and in life as such, we look at each other, and we inspire one another. However small they can sometimes feel in the moment, your zero waste efforts are like drops of water that will spread and create rings in the waters around you.
- You bringing a tote bag to the supermarket instead of conveniently buying a plastic bag at checkout could make someone else reflect on their own plastic bag use.
- You drinking from a reusable bottle could make someone else question their own use of single-use plastic bottles (tip: go for a bottle in stainless steel that you can use for both cold and hot drinks).
- And so forth.
As a general formula: You doing X (insert a good habit) is likely to inspire others to Y (insert likely outcome).
A known African proverb so eloquently expresses: “If you think you are too small to make a difference, you haven't spent the night with a mosquito”.
Listen, also, to animal rights activist Jane Goodall who’s personally had a lot of impact on the world and people around her: “Every person has a role to play. Every person makes a difference. You cannot go through a single day without having an impact on the world around you.” Whether good or bad, basically we cannot not have an impact on our outer world. That’s probably also why writer Sydney Smith has stated: “It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little. Do what you can”.
And, above all, do not underestimate the cumulative impact of your actions, very well described by James Clear in his inspirational book Atomic Habits: “A slight change in your daily habits can guide your life to a very different destination”.
Speaking from experience: Change takes time
At Ruby Cup, we also oftentimes have to remind ourselves that every action matters, when we’d like change to happen faster. Both in terms of preventing plastic waste from ending in the oceans and landfills, and in terms of facilitating that people can rise above period poverty. Our mission to enable all people to live their periods safely and with dignity, regardless of their income, takes time.
Impacting lives and battling period poverty is at the center of everything we do. We’re a Social Enterprise, and every Ruby Cup purchase includes a donation of a cup to someone else who does not have access to safe period care. On top of this, we dismantle menstrual taboos and deliver sound education on reproductive health and menstrual care to every individual receiving a cup donation, and to anyone else who wants to learn.
None of this would be possible without all Ruby Cup users out there who - by choosing Ruby Cup - invest in someone else’s menstrual health and dignity alongside their own.
Through 11 years, we’ve donated +139,000 cups in collaboration with our locally-based partners throughout the world, and together with all Ruby Cup users we’ve saved Earth +14,150,00 kg of plastic. Take a look into our Impact Reports to learn more.
We’ve come far, but the remaining parts of the problems are still big.
That’s when we have to remind ourselves that actual, sustainable change for the better is a marathon, not a sprint.
Your plastic-free efforts are needed
Your plastic-free efforts and anything else you do to make Earth a better place is also a marathon and not a sprint. Therefore immediate rewards can seem few, and therefore you might find your motivation hitting a low every now and then.
But your efforts are indeed needed. So, do what you can. “The next 8-10 years are going to determine the quality of life for the next 100-200 years” - Christiana Figueres - Executive Secretary UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) 2010-2016.
If your next zero waste action is to take plastic out of your period (and someone else’s too) we are right here. We offer a 120-day money back guarantee on Ruby Cups so you’ll have time to try out for yourself and make sure that it’s your ideal period product. If you need guidance on the way, jump to our beginner’s guide, take our size quiz, or reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.