The word ‘plastic’ is derived from the Greek word ‘plastikos’ which describes something that can be molded. That is very fitting, as today we have molded our world from so much plastic. It’s everywhere!

Think for a moment how hard it is to avoid plastic. It’s the button you have just pressed right now or the computer mouse in your hand. It might even be most of the monitor or mobile device you are looking at right now, too. When you wake up in the morning, it’s in your alarm clock, the plastic shampoo bottle in the shower, and even plastic kitchenware. And so it goes throughout your day.

Can you imagine life without it? A life free of plastic would be difficult, though not impossible. There are many advocates for living a plastic-free life, and it all stems from potential health risks from using plastic. It has been proven that the chemicals used in plastic, many of them toxic, can migrate from the plastic into the products we’re consuming.

Here are four benefits of living with less plastic:

The threat of excess waste is endangering our health.

Life with less plastic makes us feel good.

When we start to eliminate the plastic from our home, it’s going to look and feel a lot more natural—and that will make us feel good! We might end up with a few interesting stainless steel buckets and a stainless steel kettle. We might gather a myriad of glass bottles and jars in all shapes, sizes and colors. Our food will be stored in glass or metal containers. Our shopping will be done with cloth bags that can be used again and again. We’ll be cooking with metal utensils. We’ll also be carrying a stainless steel or glass water bottle with us when you go out and about, and as a consequence, our water is going to taste better.

Life with less plastic makes us more ecologically aware.

We all ponder the great environmental conundrum: what difference can we make when millions of others simply don’t care or make little or no effort?

We’ve read and heard hundreds if not thousands of inspirational, true stories throughout our lives of how one person can make a difference. Think of Gandhi or Abraham Lincoln or Rosa Parks or more recently, Malala Yousafzai. If you believe that just one person can make a difference, then it must follow that we believe that we can make a difference.

If just one less person avoids buying plastic, then they are not generating waste for landfill. They’re not discarding plastic that may ultimately end up in the oceans or filling the bellies of our wildlife. One less piece of plastic makes our world a better place.

On a related note, a huge amount of plastic is derived from petroleum products, in other words, a non-renewable resource. Even the separation and recycling of plastic is labour and energy intensive, and we have better options.

Life with less plastic will make us healthier.

As mentioned above, there is a real risk of the carcinogens from plastic leaking in your food, drinks and even your beauty products. This can have a significant impact on our health depending on the amount of plastic in our lives. Less plastic packaging will lead to better and healthier food and drink choices, as well as beauty products.

Not only will we feel better being surrounded by environmentally-friendly things, but we’ll also feel good about our contribution to the world. These things make a person happy, and happy people live longer on average.

It can help keep our children safe.

Think about all the toys made of plastic these days and consider how many of those toys end up in the mouths of our children. If the toxins from plastic can leak into our food, then it is safe to say that it can transfer into the body when being gnawed on. And our children are much more susceptible, being smaller in size with less developed immune systems.

We should be more thoughtful the next time we’re buying a gift for a loved one. It’s time to start thinking differently and making the effort to make better choices for our loved ones and the world we live in.

Living life with less plastic is not that hard to wrap your mind around and will only take a little practice and thought. To implement such a change only involves one alternative decision the next time you are in the supermarket or out shopping.

Simply change out one small item at a time. Try to swap one item this week. Starting is easy. This week, instead of taking plastic bags to the shops or elsewhere, bring a reusable bag. The next week buy a glass water bottle and start carting it around. And then the next week, choose the better-packaged option of something that is on the grocery list. Imagine just ten weeks down the road how different things will be!