Is the convenience worth it? If you’re looking to reduce the use of plastic in the kitchen, here are a few ways to get started.
Plastic has become a product of daily convenience. From plastic drink bottles and disposable bags, to take-out boxes, we all use disposable plastic items to make our lives easier. Plastic is cheap and durable, which is why it is used so often.
But it comes at a price.
Despite being (mostly) recyclable, plastics often end up thrown out. In fact, only 9% of plastics are actually recycled. That means 91% of all plastics end up in a landfill, the ocean, or as litter on the side of the road. That’s problematic because not only can this kind of litter harm the environment and our food sources, but it’s rapidly filling up landfills.
It can take up to 400 years for a plastic bottle to decompose.
While recycling is one way to reduce plastic waste, another is to simply use less plastic in your home. And by doing so, you can help the environment by using less plastic without giving up convenience. If you’re looking for a way to reduce the amount of plastic that gets thrown out in your home, here are a few tips to get started.
1. USE CANVAS GROCERY BAGS, OR ASK FOR PAPER
Keep canvas grocery bags in your car so you have them handy as you shop, and place them back in the car after you unload your groceries. If you forget your bags, ask the grocery bagger to use paper bags instead of plastic.
Also consider the plastic bags that you’re using as you’re grocery shopping. Bananas, a bunch of kale, and a single mango often don’t need their own bags. The ones you do use can usually be brought back to the store to be recycled.
2. DITCH THE PLASTIC BAGGIES
Plastic zip-top bags are convenient, but the amount of them that end up in the garbage adds up fast! Before you reach for one, ask yourself if something reusable will work instead. Some great alternatives include:
- Stasher reuseable food storage bags are great for taking snacks to go, storing leftovers in the fridge or freezer, and can be washed in the dishwasher.
- Glass containers are great for leftovers, meal prep, and cut up produce. They are dishwasher and microwave safe, and they stack great.
- Mason jars are handy for storing sauces, spices, flax seeds, yeast, and anything else that’s stored in the refrigerator doors.
- Reusable silicone covers are a perfect way to store that half onion, or put a top on half a can of chickpeas. They come in multiple sizes and even have larger ones that fit on top of bowls to store leftovers.
- Bento-style boxes made of aluminum have convenient spaces for a variety of foods, which you can easily pack a lunch or snacks for yourself, your spouse, or your kids without plastic baggies.
- Cotton and beeswax food wraps can function just like plastic wrap, but are plastic-free and reusable. They also make great sandwich bags and lunch bags.
3. GET A REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE
Does anyone NOT walk around with a bottle of water anymore? Make this healthy habit healthy for the environment too by using a glass or stainless steel water bottle that you can refill as needed instead of tossing multiple plastic bottles a day.
Now go out there and save the world, one less plastic bag at a time!
Adapted from the original article.
HEADER IMAGE: STEVE JOHNSON
Kaleigh McMordie, MCN, RDN is a Texas-based Registered Dietitian and food enthusiast who shares delicious recipes for those who seek a healthy, vibrant life. By focusing on nourishment without giving up the joy of good food, Kaleigh helps others attain a balanced, wholesome approach to life that brings people together. Learn more about Kaleigh and visit her at Lively Table.