When Sandra Krautwaschl decided to live plastic-free for an entire month, she had no idea how difficult it would be - or that she'd end up continuing on with her experiment forever.
The Austrian mother of three decided to remove all plastic from her family's home in 2009 after a family vacation to Croatia, where she had watched mass amounts of trash wash up on the beach.
Krautwashcl, 40, was disturbed by what she saw and started thinking seriously about how plastic impacts the environment. A documentary called Plastic Planet by Austrain filmmaker Werner Boote spurred her into action.
"It was the last straw and I was really outraged," Krautwaschl told Spiegel Online about what she learned from the film about plastic on Earth. "I thought, 'It can't go on like this any longer.'"
So, Krautwaschl and her husband attempted to eliminate all of the plastic objects from their home in Eisbach. The haul, which can be seen on the cover of her new book Plastikfreie Zone, included toys, clothing, kitchen utensils, umbrellas, fitness gear, bicycles, toothbrushes and computers.
What started as an experiment soon turned into a way of life.
"Some people believe we're living like it's the Stone Age, but it's not like that," Krautwaschl says in a press release for the book. "Life has just become a bit simpler, quieter and more comfortable."
While the family was able to find alternatives for many of the plastic products in their home, such as wooden toothbrushes and metal milk canisters, Kraustwaschl admits that they still use certain necessities like bike helmets and second-hand electronics.
"People who are as prosperous as we are can afford to think about these things," said the author, "and often they can make a change."
Kraustwaschl continues to detail the experience of living a plastic-free life on her (German-language) blog.
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