Leading By Example: Life Without Plastic

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Life Without Plastic is an online store that was founded and is owned by a Canadian family: Chantal Plamondon, her husband Jay Sinha, and their son. The store sells a whole host of products that are plastic-free, and the site itself serves as a resource for people who want to eliminate plastic from their lives and encourage others to do so as well. Last year, Chantal won the grand prize of the 2014 My Ocean Guardian Journey Contest — a Bodhi Surf vacation for her family which they will be redeeming in November of this year. Naturally, we’re so excited to meet them, get to know them, and hear their story in person; they sound pretty awesome though! Here’s a little bit about their journey…

Life Without Plastic

Beginnings of Life Without Plastic

In 2003, prior to the birth of their son, Chantal and Jay were already eco-aware and health conscious, and made efforts to do their part to reduce their impact on the planet as well as live healthily. While pregnant, they began to feel uneasy about plastic in particular after doing their own research and investigation which turned up with a myriad of different negative effects. As all this was going on, they were finding it tricky to find products that they felt sure would not leach chemicals — something that brought them great concern, especially in that moment, as they were bringing a new, small being into the world.

After having their child, their outlook changed even more drastically. They were still concerned about their own health and the health of their child, yet after his birth, they became increasingly concerned about what they, after much research, considered to be a global environmental and health disaster — the widespread [over]use of plastic. They wanted to make a real, lasting change, but they didn’t know how to do so. Good quality plastic-free products were difficult to find just anywhere in Canada (and even North America) in the early 2000s, so in order to encourage others away from plastics, they figured they would need to either provide these products to people or point them in the right direction. So, in 2006, they took the plunge and turned their ideas into actions, launching the online store, LifeWithoutPlastic.com.

The company’s mission

Ideally, Chantal and Jay envision a world without fossil-fuel derived plastics, and they work towards this goal in several ways:

  1. By providing high quality, safe, and plastic-alternative items through their store
  2. By helping raise awareness through the dissemination of information about plastics as they pertain to the health of our bodies, of other entities/animals/organisms, and of the planet as a whole
  3. By sharing ideas and options to encourage others to begin their own journeys towards activism and the creation of a better and more healthy planet

There are also several guiding principles that are interwoven throughout their day-to-day operations: human health, environmental health, integrity via corporate responsibility, and community. Chantal and Jay understand that everything is connected in so many more ways than those that meet the eye, and so they strive to do their best on every level of their business.

Chantal & Jay of Life Without Plastic

Winner of the 2014 My Ocean Guardian Journey Contest

We at Bodhi Surf School were so pleased when Chantal won last year’s contest. Not only do we find her and her family’s story inspiring and innovative in the realm of Environmental Stewardship, it resonated with us coming from a fellow small-business-owner. These two took an issue they were experiencing personally, did some investigating and learned that there were others in the same boat as them, did more research and a ton of hard work, and made huge personal sacrifices — including leaving steady and secure jobs, in the creation of Life Without Plastic. And they have been successful!

Sometimes we are led to believe that making the world a better, healthier, and more sustainable place will somehow be at odds with being able to be financially stable or having a good economy. It’s just not true. Humans are actually very good at coming up with creative solutions to widespread problems — such as the looming, complex, and multi-faceted environmental crisis that we now face. Moreover, we are hearing more and more of these stories — individuals who want to ensure that we have an inhabitable planet for generations to come — and who change the game in so doing. We only hope that our Ocean Guardian Contest helps to bring some of these stories to light and gives them the credit that they deserve.

Read Chantal’s submission from last year below, and get inspired! There are still over two weeks to enter this year’s #2015OGJContest, so get on it!

In 2006, I founded a company called LifeWithoutPlastic.com with the help of my husband, Jay Sinha, who helped support our family financially. The goal was to contribute to the reduction of plastic pollution in the environment and particularly in the oceans by providing high quality, durable alternatives to plastic products made of non-toxic and natural materials. We started the business in Canada, but it soon crossed the Canadian border and has now become the leading one-stop shop offering plastic free products online with an offering of more than 400 products. 

Along with the online store, we are also offering a lot of information about the dangers of plastic for human health, animals, the oceans, and the environment. We also participate in trade shows to raise awareness about the problem of plastic pollution and its consequences on our planet. In 2010, we launched a plastic bag awareness campaign in our little village which drew a lot of attention and helped reduce plastic bag consumption. We are activists for a plastic-free planet and we try to do our best every single day, through social media platforms, to raise awareness about the plastic problem.

We are getting support from our local community in Wakefield, Québec, Canada. Over the years, we have partnered with many organizations including 5 Gyres, Plastic Pollution Coalition, and Environmental Defense Fund. We also have a beautiful relationship with plastic-free blogger and author Beth Terry, with whom we regularly discuss how we can have the biggest impact.

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About the author

Bodhi Surf + Yoga

A surf and yoga camp providing community-engaged travel experiences in beautiful Uvita, Costa Rica. Learn about what makes Bodhi Surf + Yoga different and don't hesitate to contact us.

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