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.
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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