It all started in the summer of 2009, when during a vacation in Croatia his three children continually asked him about the origin of all the plastic garbage that floated in the sea and accumulated on the shore.
Even with these questions running around her head, Krautwaschl, a 40-year-old physiotherapist who lives near the city of Graz, saw the documentary "Plastic Planet", which warned about the toxic effect of this substance both for our body and for the planet.
"All of this led me to decide that we should change something in our lives," he explains.
Werner Boote, the director of the film, warned in his work that there are already more tiny particles of plastic in the ocean than plankton, essential in the food chain.
Plastic in health
For this reason, humans also already have traces of this synthetic material in the blood without us knowing what its effect on long-term health is.
After her husband and three children accepted the project, in the beginning of a month, the Krautwaschl family decided to take out all plastic products: toys, lunch boxes, garden furniture, electrical appliances and clothes, objects so present that almost they had become invisible. He also started writing a blog on the Internet in which he recounted his experience and which became the basis of his book.
“The problem is not the plastic itself, but the wasteful way we use it. And also that we pay little attention to its long-term health effects ”, Krautwaschl emphasizes about the use of a material that takes centuries to degrade.
Is it more expensive to buy products that do not have plastic in their packaging? "For some things yes and for others no," he says. “I have saved a lot on cleaning products because I use vinegar and citric acid. It is true that fresh food is more expensive, but our consumption has changed a lot ”, he says.
"We do not buy unnecessary products, which is a great saving", confesses the physiotherapist.
They have also found alternatives in the bathroom: wooden toothbrushes with natural bristles have replaced plastic ones, soaps have replaced bath gels, and they use birch sugar to prevent cavities.
“We have not lost quality of life, we have improved it. The food and products we use to clean ourselves are better. There are fewer products that we use but they are of better quality. Now we eat more natural and fresh products ”, he sums up.
Even so, he acknowledges that they have not been able to give up all plastic products, they continue to use a car, which they share with another family, and they also have a mobile phone, among other things. "We continue to use plastic things, but we intend to use them with sense. As far as possible we try not to buy new things, ”he says.
“We don't have new phones, we have used ones. We don't want a new mobile just because they give it away. We try to use plastic as little as possible and in the most sustainable way possible ”, he highlights.
Not radical, if averse to waste
Krautwaschl emphasizes that she and her family are flexible people who adapt to each situation, in no case activists against plastic, but against its waste.
“The goal was not to produce plastic waste or to produce a very small amount. It was very important not to impose absolute prohibitions or to become a radical, because you cannot motivate others if you become an extremist, ”he says.
One of the little whims that he has not given up is to eat some potato chips, which his friends have brought him to celebrate a special occasion. People's reaction, he says, has been mostly positive and the most gratifying thing is having met people who found his effort inspiring.
And what is the message you want to give with your project? “I believe that the world can change, that each individual action can have an effect. Each of us can contribute with their actions to this change ”, he comments.
For Krautwaschl, if your project allows someone to become aware and renounce, for example, using plastic bags in their purchases, or any other gesture, the effort will have already been worth it.