I have friends tell me they often forget their reusable bags for the grocery store and end up using plastic bags.  Or they order take-out coffee but, because they’ve forgotten their reusable cup, they use the store’s one-time-use cup and lid.

About six years ago, my husband said to me “I won’t use another throw-away coffee cup again”.  He made a commitment to simply stop using them.  If he forgot his to-go cup, he would not buy a coffee.  And he’s never gone back on that commitment. If you do the math, at five cups a week for six years, that’s more than 1,500 throw-away cups that never made it to a landfill. Pretty sobering thought, huh?

Most of us are aware of the enormous problem convenience trash has on our planet, filling our oceans, waterways, and food sources.  Eighty percent of our drinking water now tests positive for plastic. We are now putting into our bodies all that one-time-use plastic we so nonchalantly threw away time and again.

In much of the world, non-recyclable trash is always in sight. People live their lives surrounded by it. Some even make their livelihoods picking through and sorting it. It is in these places where we can see the enormity of the problem But in western civilizations, all that awful-looking trash is hidden from sight in out-of-the-way landfills. It never goes away, but because we don’t have to look at it daily, it’s much easier to avoid thinking about it or to just decide it will all just magically disappear eventually. “It’s not my problem”, many of us think. The age-old expression, “Out of sight, out of mind” comes to mind.

But it is our problem. Like any problem in life, first we must acknowledge it exists, and then we must make a commitment to correct that problem. Change is difficult; often we need some help and support. That’s where Zoetica comes into the picture. My business partners and I decided to design a system to help people live their lives in a way that minimizes their use of one-time-use, throw-away consumer products such as paper cups, plastic water bottles, straws, plates, plastic bags and food containers.

Start with a simple commitment. Take baby steps. Maybe begin this necessary and worthwhile journey by just telling yourself you will no longer purchase plastic throw-away water bottles for you and your family. And let the commitment grow from there. Read more about the problem and discuss what you learn with others. Watch environmental documentaries like Plastic Ocean. Talk to your children and your parents about the problem. Tell them of your commitment for change. Who knows where it will go. Ideally, you will broaden your goal to eventually not use any one-time-use products. Maybe if enough people make firm commitments such as yours, family, friends and even vendors will begin to make changes too. And eventually, working together, we can begin to curb the alarming growth of consumer products that are poisoning our planet … and our bodies. Be the change you want to see in our world.