By Fredrica Syren:
For so long, I’ve been fed up with plastic in my life, so years ago I decided to commit to no plastic bags at all. While living in the U.S., it was a challenge because every time I went shopping or got takeout food, there was that darned plastic bag. Plastic is one of the most wasteful materials in the world. Most plastic (like a plastic bag) is used for only a very short time before being discarded. Plastic is the one material that rarely ends up being recycled; instead, it ends up in a landfill …or forest, beach, ocean and many, many other places in nature. It takes a very long time, if ever, to break down. In the meantime, the plastics leak toxins and chemicals into our soil and into the water, causing harm to humans, plants and wildlife.
Knowing this, I got used to saying “No plastic, please”and “No thanks, I have a really big purse, so let’s save the planet today and skip the plastic.”I always found that people’s reactions to my non-plastic obsession were very positive. When grocery shopping, if my husband forgot the cloth shopping bags, he even went so far as to enlist the kid’s help carrying items to the car while he carried the heaviest stuff by hand.
This year I decided to take this even further and make our home plastic free. I started with glass baby bottles and kids’ cups, bowls, plates –even cutlery –made from bamboo. The greatest challenge was not using plastic wrap and plastic bags for storing and freezing foods. I had to be very creative to do this: I started freezing foods in old recycled glass containers. I also learned about bee’s wax wrap, a wrap that comes in many different sizes. It is all-natural, made from beeswax and, best of all, it’s recyclable and reusable. I use this instead of plastic and foil wrap.
For hubby’s and the kids’ lunches, I bought handmade sandwich bags from our local farmers’market and use metal lunch boxes. My husband even got reusable bamboo cutlery as a gift, so there’s no need for plastic or to send cutlery from home. All members of our family have their own reusable non-plastic water bottle. For our youngest, we used glass baby bottles and, once he got older, we replaced the nipple with a sippy cup top. My favorite brands of water bottles are Kleen Kanteen, Eco Vesssel, Life Factory and Green Bottle.
So to sum it up, this is what I use instead of plastic:
- Bee wax wraps — Great to use instead of plastic or foil.
- Cloth produce bags —I use eco bags, perfect for buying produce in the store or at a farmers’ market.
- Shop at farmers’ markets — Yes, they do have plastic bags at the farmers’ market and, of course, you can choose not to use them; but you buy things in bulk with very little plastic involved there.
- Store food in glass — Use old recycled glass jars for leftover food and as containers to freeze foods.
- Baby stuff from glass or bamboo — There are great baby bowls, plates, spoons and drinking glasses made from bamboo on the market. If you’re looking for something cheaper, just use regular inexpensive china. Just know that once in a while you might lose a piece while the kids are learning. but it’s not end of the world.
- Shopping bags from cloth — Say no to plastic bags and bring your own. It’s so easy, and there are tons of cute cloth bags to invest in.
- Drinking bottles from metal or glass — My kids just absolutely love their own drinking bottles and bring them wherever we go, and mine is never far from my side even when I’m home.
As I see it, we still have a long way to go, but my family see this as a fun challenge and something we’re working toward –the goal of a plastic free home.
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