Being conscious of my plastic use is something that I was lacking in until about two years ago and I started following @leefromamerica on Instagram. She went 1 week using no plastic AND IT WAS SO SIMPLE FOR HER! I started thinking about where I use the most plastic in my life and how I could eliminate it. The two main places I use lots of plastic are in shopping and in storage. When you look at the big picture of where your plastic is coming from, there are some simple steps you can take to eliminate lots of this plastic from your life all together!
1. Reusable shopping bags
I think this is a really obvious one that we all try to do, but we’re not perfect at. I forget my bags just like everyone else, but are you only using reusable bags when you go to the grocery store or do you take them everywhere you go shopping? It’s not common that you’ll see people at the mall with reusable bags and I think that’s where some of us are missing out. Most of us take a purse to the store anyways, why not grab a reusable bag to take as well or pop a fold up bag into our purse? It’s a simple step that will save you a lot of plastic from ever entering your house.
So what do you do when forget the reusable bags? You take the plastic ones and DON’T THROW THEM AWAY! You can store them in this nifty bag holder under your sink or in a cabinet and take them to be recycled at your local grocery store or target. This will ensure that even if you are keeping the bags, you’re making sure the plastic is being reused!
2. Glass storage containers
This idea can scare a lot of people because we all know that this stuff can get expensive, and we don’t do expensive here at Clark’s Remarks! My best recommendation is to do this slowly. I have an old set of plastic Tupperware that I still use, but I also have a set of glass ones. I also use tons and tons of mason jars to store things like sliced carrots, leftover broth, lose grains, and other things. I have found lots of savings on Pyrex bowls at Marshall’s, but I got a full set of the Pyrex containers from Kohl’s for super cheap because their stuff is always on sale! I also bought a lot of my jars from Home Goods and Kohl’s as well and save old jars from random events or gifts because all jars work the same right?
3. No produce bags at the store
This one is hard for some people to get on the wagon with and I get it! I have tried to get my mom on this boat for a while now, I even gave her some reusable produce bags, and she still uses plastic ones. Sometimes we’re just stuck in our ways, but if you can, try to just put your produce in the cart and go! I tried using the bags I linked for awhile, but I kept losing them so I just throw the produce in the reusable bag because I’m going to wash it when I get home anyways! Nowadays we are very out of touch with the process food goes through to get from the seed to the table and trust me when I say it’s going to be dirty. Whether it’s organic or not you need to wash your produce and wash it well. You can use a produce cleaning spray that is totally safe for you to eat, but also grab a dish scrubber and designate it to be used just on produce and scrub your produce before you eat it. Even if it’s organic, remember they use manure as fertilizer… ask me how I know.
4. Try to purchase foods with no plastic
Doing this can not only help you reduce the amount of plastic you are using, but it can also help you eat healthier and higher quality foods. When you go to the grocery store, almost everything in the middle isles comes in plastic such as snacks, baking products or spices. Some of these are harder to avoid getting the plastic, but I shop at Whole Foods, where you can get all your meat from the meat counter in paper. You also can buy meat that comes wrapped in small amounts of plastic, but the container is recyclable, which is a good step. You also can try getting unpackaged spices and grains. I’m trying to transition into doing this and keeping the grains in glass jars. You can weigh out how much you want and put it in a paper bag and take it home to put in your containers. They have this for flour, sugar, rice, beans, spices, and other things like coconut, nuts, and candy. This step is a little more work, but if you stick to this method, you will only be picking up plastic with your milk carton.
We don’t have to be perfect. We can have plastic Tupperware and take a plastic bag from Target or put your meat in a plastic bag at the store, but I want you guys to be conscious of this. Think about how much plastic you use in a week and be mindful of the impact it has on this Earth. I hope this gives you a new perspective and maybe persuades you to buy some cool produce bags.