How Plastic Free July brought my attention to how much single use plastic we purchase regularly. We already use less plastic than most because of the health effects of using it. Here is how we reduce the plastic in our lives:
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We have tried other glass storage containers, these being the best that we have found. They are microwave, freezer, and oven safe. We have purchased two sets within the last four years and continue to get daily use out of them. Aside from glass being better for the earth and better for your health, glass is easier to clean, more durable than plastic, and does not hold on to odors colors from food.
These are good for sooooooo many different things, taking food with you on the go (lunches, snacks, etc.), using these to store food at home in place of ziplock bags (things like butter, meat products, chopped fruit, and the like), and of course using them to eat out of.
Each lid has a space for you to write on with a dry erase marker. (we honestly don’t use that at all because they’re clear and we can see what’s inside.)
Life Factory Glass Food Storage Containers
are also a great option. I don’t love the lids on these ones, but I do like the silicone that wraps around the containers. These guys are also freezer, oven, and microwave safe. We typically use these for taking snacks or small lunch sides on the go.
This is one of my favorite ways of reducing plastic waste. These reusable food wraps are washable, reusable, compostable, sustainable, and of course eco-friendly. (Oh and they smell amazing since they are made of beeswax.) We use these in the place of plastic wrap and ziplock bags. They adhere with the pressure and warmth of your hands. Maintenance is easy, wash with mild soap and warm water, refrain from using them to store meat products. Ours lasted over a year with lots of moving, and not much care. If we had taken better care of them I’m positive that they would have lasted even longer.
Silicone Food Storage Bags
Are another great option (which we have yet to try). I’ve seen many people rave about using these and the reviews are pretty good. We haven’t really needed these because we use the glassware and beeswrap.
- Beach cleanups pick up 5,000 plastic straws annually from area beaches.
- Plastic straws make the top 10 list of litter items found during International Coastal Cleanup Day.
Straws are things that consumers use frequently, and many times we are not even asked whether we would like one or not, as it is the default in many restaurants. I chose glass rather than stainless steel straws because I just prefer glass to anything else. I usually just keep a straw in my car or backpack (which also doubles as a great option for the times when I forget my resuable bag at home or in the car -_-) When I don’t a glass straw handy I just request no straw in my drink.
Cloth Produce Bags
This one makes me laugh a bit because (sorry for outing you babe) Max gets so annoyed when I don’t use a bag for our produce. HAHA. It’s the fact that the produce rolls all over the conveyor belt as we checkout of a store. Cloth produce bags are the perfect replacement for single use plastic produce bags. Prior to eliminating the plastic version of these bags from our lives, we were reusing them to line our bathroom trash cans. Better than single use, I know, but eliminating them altogether is even better. 🙂 The ones that I linked are made of organic muslin cotton.
Glass Water Bottles
As you know I love glass, so I did love these Ello water bottles when I used them. The only cons of using this bottle were the weight of the bottle (when full and empty) and the small amount of water that they can hold (20 oz).
I really did not want to get a hydroflask, because it’s the brand that everyone uses, but I ended up going with it because of the wide mouth. I was looking at another great local brand but the mouth was narrower than the body of the bottle and I did not like that. Hydroflask really does live up to all of the hype. I love my 40oz. Don’t ask me whether it keeps drinks cold or not, because I don’t like cold water. HAHA. The reviews are all so great though so I know it does. The lid is plastic (but it’s obviously not single use) and it is BPA free.
Saving Glass Containers for Reuse and Buying From Local Bulk Food Store
You can read more about that on this previous post. Buying things in glass rather than plastic is not only better for your health, but better for the environment. We save our glass containers and even plastic Castile Soap containers so that we can refill them at our local bulk food store. If you are a maker or someone who uses mason jars, then you can save so much money by reusing things like spice, jam, nut butter, or pasta sauce glass containers. We have gotten so much use out of old honey jars. We actually use them for daily drinking glasses. I know that isn’t everyone’s vibe though.
& of course Reusable bags.
I know these are tricky because in our experience we either forget them at home or in the car. 😐 California has banned single use plastic bags for the most part so that’s a step in the right direction. Hopefully it causes people to at least consider why they are banned. Using a backpack as a “purse” has come in clutch for those times when I don’t have my reusable bags with me.
80% of all marine debris found in the ocean is land based, and 80-90% of the marine debris is made from plastic.
In the North Pacific Ocean there are 6x more plastic debris than there are plankton.
Plastic is one of the most widely used and cheapest materials in the world today. You can find it anywhere. If it’s not made from plastic, it’s wrapped in plastic. We use around 5 trillion plastic bags a year worldwide! The US alone throws away enough plastic bottles in a week to encircle the world 5 times. Only 1 to 3% of all plastics used are recycled. After we use them, we throw them away.
Plastic is Forever. They are not bio-degradable. Can you imagine that since plastic was invented, everything that has ever been made from this material still exists? In around 700 years they will start breaking up. They will not decompose or biodegrade and get absorbed by nature. They will “photo-degrade” – which means they will turn into little toxic bits of themselves. They are here to stay.
The Plastic Free July challenge really put our plastic problem into perspective for me. I had not realized how much single use plastic is used regularly, considering that I try my best to be aware of what I purchase and use. We went to a local grocery store on the 1st of July, and I wanted some ice cream and cookies. It was then that I realized that even things like cookies are first off wrapped in plastic and then held in place by a plastic rack. W I L D. That’s only one thing. Most processed good and even produce are wrapped and held in place by plastic.
I know that there are so many more ways to reduce single use plastic waste, so please do share your ideas, thoughts and suggestions!