The Question Bonnie Wright Asks Herself Every Time She Shops

mbg Sustainability Editor By Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability Editor

Emma is the Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of "The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care."

To say that Bonnie Wright has been busy since her Harry Potter days would be an understatement. The 27-year-old actress, producer, and activist has appeared in dozens of roles, started her own production company, and served as an ambassador for Greenpeace, exploring and sharing her environmental values with the masses.

One scroll through her Instagram feed yields snapshots of Wright advocating for the Earth by fishing for plastic pollution and most recently, meeting with representatives at Coca-Cola to implore them to incorporate more recycled materials into their bottles. A staunch believer that individual change adds up, Wright has a thing or two to say about how—and why—we should all be using less plastic.

"We have so much plastic that needs to be recycled in this world that we literally can't keep up with," she says on a call to mbg, referring to China's recent decision to stop accepting foreign recyclables. "Yet companies are still making bottles out of a huge percentage of new plastic."

Thanks to low oil prices, the creation of new plastic continues to ramp up, with the latest reports forecasting a 40 percent increase in plastic production over the next 10 years.

In order to stop playing into an environmentally damaging system, Wright has shifted her habits. "It's amazing how quickly you reach for things that you don't even realize are wrapped in plastic. We're a reactive society, and we choose things out of convenience without mindfully considering if it's the right choice. But I've been slowly trying to change my habits by doing things like finding a new toothpaste that's packaged in glass. Now that I've found that, I can move onto the next thing."

By nixing single-use plastics from her routine one purchase at a time, she's using her dollar to vote for a new normal. "If we start choosing sustainable brands as customers, the less sustainable players are going to have to keep up. Let's buy into progress."

Here is Wright's genius advice for anyone looking to make this shift toward more mindful consumption:

How keeping a "pollution journal" could change your shopping habits for good.

  1. Today, take a piece of paper and write down every single time you interact with plastic from morning until night. Obviously, some things on that list won't be single-use plastics, but you should still write them down to get a complete picture of how you interact with this material.
  2. Then go back and underline all the plastics that you can opt not to use or find a reusable substitute for. Rather than going into your kitchen and throwing out every single piece of plastic, choose one or two to swap out at first.

This strategy is simple, effective, and can ultimately translate to other parts of your routine too. For instance, maybe once you tackle plastics you can turn your attention to the food you're throwing in the trash. "The overall message is not just about plastic," Wright reminds us, "but how you as a human being can create less waste and therefore less impact on the environment."

Check out some more ingenious tips for cutting back on your plastic consumption here.

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