Three reasons to avoid single use plastic:
- All plastic is made from non-renewable fossil fuels: Plastic is made from oil, and increasingly, natural gas. Its not so bad to use these resources for long-lasting useful applications, but when we are just pumping out plastic junk, its literally a waste.
- Plastic does not degrade: All plastic ever made is still in existence. Apart from newer truly biodegradable plastics, most plastics just break into tiny particles over time, but they never decompose like natural materials do.
- Plastic is toxic, because plastics (and many ingredients in plastic) are man-made, our bodies do not recognise them, and they can disrupt normal biological processes.
If you analyse your plastic waste and find a lot of throwaway containers and bottles, plastic wrap and freezer bags, then you should consider some resuable options. Pete and I have got into the habit of putting food in the reusable containers rather than covering with wrap or putting it in a bag. We have lots of containers, so there is never an excuse. We also got some nice glass containers for our lunches. At work the other day someone was looking for plastic wrap to cover some leftovers and I suggested that they put a bowl over the plate, they were amazed at my creativity, but that's the kind of thing we do all the time at home. You can also make resuable wraps from fabric and beeswax.
I usually fill a drink bottle of water to take in the car whenever we leave home, so we never have to buy a drink in a bottle. At work I always use a real cup, even when disposable cups are available. If you are a coffee drinker, consider taking your own cup instead of getting a takeaway cup that you just have to throw "away".
To get you started with Plastic Free July, Biome has kindly agreed to provide a Goodbyn Lunch box and a Lunchskin sandwich wrap and snack wrap as a giveaway, as well as a 15% discount on their lunchbox range. To claim the discount, just enter FLLBC15 "Voucher Code Box" all through July 2014. More about the giveaway below...
Buying in bulk and making your own to reduce packing waste
Most of our plastic waste last year was food packaging. Buying in bulk is one way to reduce the amount of packaging. Selecting carefully at the supermarket and trying to find options with no or less plastic is another strategy. By far the best option is making your own as you need it. We are lucky to avoid milk bottles, bread bags, vege packaging and various others, by making and growing our own. Last year I even made muesli bars! One thing that does not reduce plastic is butchering our own meat, as we wrap it all in bags before freezing, but if you buy meat you can take your own container to the butcher and ask to use that instead of bags. A tip from NZ Ecochick - you can also buy cheese from a deli and take your own reusable container.
|a trip to the farmers market with my reusable bag collection |
- including Fregie Sacks
We have got so good at taking our own shopping bags to the supermarket that I occasionally accept a plastic bag just so we have some at home for the occasional time that you need one! Our secret is to put them by the door, a few in my bag and some in each car, that way, you can at least put the majority of shopping in reusable bags. So get yourself lots of bags, put them in a sensible place and remember them! Also, tip from Fiona from Life at Arbordale Farm - if you forget them in the supermarket, but they are in your car, you can always load everything in your trolley and pack your groceries in the bags when you get back to your car, you won't forget again after that ordeal! As well as the standard heavy duty big bags, I also have some light Fregie Sacks to use for fruit and veges. Finally, if you're stuck for a bag, you can make one from square piece of fabric.
How do you reduce plastic when you're shopping or storing food?