Reducing plastic in 2020

Several months back I made the decision I was going to do my best to eliminate buying plastic. Now that I have practiced for several months, I now feel I am equipped to make the full commitment going into the new year. Here is what I have been doing to cut plastic out:

Bring your reusable bags when you go shopping. I have done this for years, but I have walked into the store and forgotten them in the car or at home. Adding a bit of pain to forgetting helped: If I forgot my bags, I made myself buy more. I now have about fifty, but I don’t forget them anymore.

I never buy fresh produce wrapped in plastic any more. Sobey’s grocery store has introduced reusable produce bags – a fine-mesh bag I can throw in the washing machine. They are a superb replacement for those single-use bags provided in-store. I put all my bulk items and produce in them. Bananas, tomatoes, melons, carrots, peppers, green beans, broccoli, avocados, lettuce. Zucchini, celery, bok-choy, field cucumbers, turnips, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, apples, oranges, etc, don’t need plastic around them. A bundle of 5 mesh bags retail for $5.99, about the same as dishtowels. Bulk Barn has also implemented a bring-your-own-container program. They will weight your container before purchase, and deduct container weight from purchase at the cash.

mesh produce and bulk bags

If it is in a plastic container, I leave it on the shelf. I will pick items in recyclable boxes over items wrapped in plastic, e.g., boxed spaghetti over spaghetti in a cellophane bag. One item that has made a difference is Nuts Peanut Butter here in Canada. It comes in a lovely glass jar that seals beautifully. When the peanut butter is gone, I wash the jar and use it as a storage container. These jars have replaced all my old plastic containers I use to save leftovers in. In my pantry I store dry beans, rice, raisins, macaroni, etc in them. I even freeze soup in them. I take my morning smoothie to work in one.

I switched to compostable garbage bags. Canadian Tire’s Frank brand has green 100% compostable garbage bags made of cornstarch. They come in economical boxes of 100. Yes, they are sturdy. I don’t just use them for my compost bucket. They fit my regular kitchen and bathroom pails too.

Powdered dishwasher and laundry detergent come in a boxes, As well as old fashion bar soap. Gone from my house are the gigantic plastic containers for liquid soap products.

Vinegar is a excellent cleaning product. I have done away with multiple spray cleaning products by replacing them with vinegar. A little elbow grease and everything shines.

Trying one or two of these can make an impact. I still have to figure out mouthwash, toothpaste, shampoo, pain relievers and hand cream, but I am working on it. We have to create pressure on the market to do better. If you have any suggestions for products as alternatives to the ones that come in plastic containers, or tips about how you reduced your plastic use, please share your ideas.

Happy travels from Maritimemac

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26 thoughts on “Reducing plastic in 2020

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    1. I am so glad I found them, The problem of forgetting them is just as bad as I use to have forgetting the big bags. I am going to buy more and hopefully I will have enough I wouldn’t be forgetting them either. Cheers Happy New Year.

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  1. You’ve made admirable progress! I just put all my produce directly in the basket and my shopping bag – it has to be washed when I get home anyway.

    A friend of mine opened a store called We-fill. I can refill containers with laundry detergent, soaps, vinegar (though I think hers is too expensive), and many other personal care products. She also offers non-plastic substitutes for things like toothbrushes. Also, she has shampoo and conditioner that come in little solid bars – no container at all!

    Unfortunately, the bulk of my plastic still comes from the grocery store and she doesn’t carry food products (though some of her oils are food grade, in fact).

    I’m trying, but industry is not doing enough to reduce packaging. I buy a supplement that has an unnecessary plastic shrink wrap on top of all the other safety seals. Shameful!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I too put produce right in the cart and then load in my bags in the truck if I forgot but, smaller items like green beans , Brussels sprouts and mushrooms need some sort of carry container. Yes, It is far more expensive to buy them this way but, I have to make the sacrifice. which means, If I buy it, it never gets wasted. so I only buy produce I am using today or tomorrow. it works. Thanks so much for commenting and I appreciate your effort, and your friends effort. If she has a store link leave it here. Cheers

      Liked by 1 person

    1. so true and I’m not a shopper, standing there to decide packaging or sugar levels is not my thing … I check those at home and then decide whether to buy the product again … I know I should take a more scientific approach 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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