Get Rid Of Your Plastic

A program for weaning off plastic

A decidedly unnatural part of everyday life is disposable plastic. One could argue that non disposable plastic is just as artificial, but that’s going to be a lot harder to get away from. At any rate, I suggest starting with the disposable plastic.

I’m talking about saran wrap, zip lock bags, plastic storage containers, and the ever-present plastic bags. One strategy has been to explore ways of making these disposables biodegradable. That’s certainly a worthy goal, but at this point, biodegradable plastic means it will easily tear under even light loads and once you throw it away, will break into many microscopic pieces so that the plastic is more evenly distributed in our environment. So it’s best to simply limit our use of disposable plastics. Bu again, where do you start?

One thing that might make it easier is to realize that any time you store food in plastic, the plastic will seep into the food. This varies depending on the grade of plastic you’re using, but it’s safe to assume that when you pop the lid on that reused tub, you’re going to be eating some of it. Does that help you see your cabinet of assorted plastic containers in a different light? I recommend replacing them with wide-mouthed mason jars, so that you’re storing your leftovers in glass rather than plastic. You can buy them to hold one cup, one pint, one quart, and one half gallon. Pint and quart sizes work best for small portions, and you can stack them pretty well.

You can use quart size mason jars for storing home-made broth in the freezer. It is common to use plastic freezer bags. However, it makes little sense to spend so much time making nutritious broth only to contaminate it with plastic. Put three cups in each jar, so that you leave plenty of room for the broth to expand as it freezes. You do have to plan ahead enough to give it plenty of time to thaw, as dunking it in hot water could break the jar. If you needed a quart of broth, you can add a cup of water.

How about grocery store plastic bags? They have many uses beyond hauling home your groceries. One is for storing wet cloth diapers while you’re on the road. They’re also handy for almost anything you need to carry in a pinch. To stop using them, you need to find more natural substitutes that are just as convenient. The obvious is to acquire cloth bags for those grocery store trips. Many grocery stores sell them, and if you use them, you get five cents off your purchase for each bag. Those canvas bags could also be used for hauling other things normally hauled in plastic. They’re great for library books because they don’t tear when they come into contact with book corners. You could use those canvas bags for diapers, though you might be concerned about leaking. You can also buy water resistant tote size nylon bags for use in your diaper bag.

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