6 Staple Planet-Friendly Items to Kick Start Your Sustainable Lifestyle.
Plastic is choking our planet and we have the power to eliminate mass amounts of this dangerous waste with our daily decisions. These 6 items are things that I keep on or near my person at ALL times, helping me to dodge plastic waste left and right.
R E U S A B L E
C U T L E R Y
It's time to give a fork about cutting plastic.
Plastic is piling up and our disposable culture is leading us to a non-disposable reality. One simple step to kick plastic to the curb (metaphorically) is having your own personal set of reusable cutlery.
You can easily cop a fancy new (affordable) steel set or stock up on some bamboo kits from the Package Free Shop, or you can be budget friendly (like myself) and grab some lightweight silverware from your kitchen or local second hand store. I keep mine wrapped in a small cloth bag that stays in my purse (gentlemen, feel free to leave it in your car or desk, wherever you'll need it the most).
Just having these handy whenever you're on the go can help eliminate the need for waste and take a big chunk of plastic from your life.
G L A S S J A R S
Ditch your plastic tubs for an assortment of jars.
Do you have a kitchen cabinet overflowing with plastic tubs or bags that you've "always used" to store your leftovers? I was there too. It's what I was taught to do and have always done, until I learned more about plastic storage and its health hazards.
Plastic is made using a number of harmful chemicals including petroleum and natural gas- even the "BPA or phthalate free" kinds. When heat is applied to plastic these toxins are released and food containers are no different.
Ditch the plastic poison for a cleaner, cuter, more sustainable alternative like glass! Second-hand stores are a great place to find jars of all sizes for super cheap. Purchasing products that come in glass containers is a win win because not only do you get a yummy product, like salsa, you get a new glass jar that you can up-cycle and use to store sauces, produce or left over food in!
B E E S W A X W R A P S
No more plastic crap...I mean wrap.
For decades we've been told that we HAVE to use clear plastic wrap to preserve our food. LIES. Introducing the beautiful and sustainably sourced Beeswax wraps! I made these myself (with the guidance of Mountain Rose) using locally sourced organic beeswax from my local bee keeper and some upcycled 100% cotton sheets.
I'm vegan but I compromise for locally and ethically sourced honey, but if you are not so keen on the idea of using a bee byproduct you can always make these using Candelilla wax.
These wraps will meet your plastic-free food storage needs from covering bowls & cans to wrapping partially cut veggies or sandwiches. If you are too busy to make them no worries at all, just check out NoniLovesGreen to get your hands on some planet-friendly goodness.
C L O T H B A G S
BYOB to save wildlife.
Bring Your Own Bag! Working as a marine biologist for most of my career I can't even begin to describe how much this swap means to our planet. It is literally a life or death decision. Plastic bags are light weight and overly abundant. They easily build up, blow around and get sucked into our waters where they can be unintentionally eaten by wildlife.
Plastic bags are deadly to birds and marine animals, through ingestion or entanglement. The EASIEST switch you can incorporate into your life are bringing your own cloth bags, and not just for groceries. Almost every store now a days sells reusable bags for insanely cheap, so it's easy to bulk up your collection. The one I have here was sewn by my talented friend Emmie, from up-cycled cotton pillow cases and I'm in love!
Natural cloth bags are better than synthetic materials because when you wash them they won't release microfibers into your water system. Keep a collection of cloth bags in your car, work bag or purse for those impromptu trips to the store, keeping plastic away from wildlife. Just bring your own damn bag already.
L O C K - L I D
C O N T A I N E R S
Pop, Lock and Drop Plastic Wrapped Lunches.
One of the most useful eco-alternatives I use on a daily basis are glass jars and containers. I've collected an assortment of sizes I like and store everything from half used avocados to last nights Thai curry.
Like I mentioned, plastic is made from toxic chemicals that can actually be released into your food (eeeeew). This happens from putting hot food into plastic containers or heating food up in the containers, either way, it's bad news bears.
Collecting glass jars from products you've purchased or second hand shops is a cheap and easy way to switch out your plastic tubs.
I'm still on the hunt for non-plastic toppers for my lock-lid containers but in the mean time I never heat up these lids. They are great for storing salads, snacks and even better for replacing To-Go food containers!
S T E E L S T R A W S
Single-use plastic SUCKS.
Plastic straws are one of the most common beach and coastal trash items found around the world. They are a "single-use" plastic meaning they cannot be recycled and are designed to be used ONCE, yet the plastic can remain in the environment for decades. Seems pretty silly to use something once when we know how big of an issue it is for our marine life, but there is a solution! (Actually a few)
Skipping the straw is step number one. When you order drinks out just kindly request no straw or order beverages that automatically don't come with one (like draft beer, my personal fav). Get in the habit of it just being part of your drink order, as long as you tip the bartenders won't care. However, sometimes that straw still sneaks its way in. Another great plastic-free option, if you're hosting an event, are paper or bamboo straws.
My favorite eco tool to keep handy is my reusable straw! You can have a simple steel straw like this one OR you can get on board and get yourself the amazing new FinalStraw (I'm not going to lie, I ordered one for every member of my family for Christmas). No more plastic straws for this ocean loving fam!
Now get out there and use less crap! Our planet and oceans will thank you.