One of the easiest changes I made was my decrease in the use of plastic. It first started with using reusable shopping bags. Now, I must admit the reason why this transition was the easiest is because of my (former) obsession with bags. Ok, ok, still slightly obsessed; I love looking for totes and bags for different things, different shapes, different ones for lighter purchases, ones for heavier items, bags that can be folded up small that I carry everywhere I go, and bags that are kept in the car, and even a couple which hold items to keep handy in the home. Reusable bags can be used for so much more than grocery shopping, which is why I don’t call them grocery bags; just simply bags. Once it’s been classified “grocery”, then it won’t be used for anything else (our brains are weird like that). Granted, I do have bags that are primarily for groceries, as they’re more durable, but that’s not to say they haven’t been used for other purposes in the past or that they won’t be again in the future. I’d say I have about 12-15 different bags in my stash that help me everyday to avoid plastic bags. In the event I don’t have a bag with me, I’ll usually just carry purchases in my personal bag (which is usually big enough for a few extras, or I just use my hands to carry…what a weird concept, I know!).
**I’ve purchased bags everywhere from Whole Foods, my local co-op, Method (one of my favorites), Target, and even a coffee shop that was hosting a company for a short time.
The next steps I’ve taken to refuse and reduce plastic are gathering Mason jars, which have almost all been second-hand. I’ve also slowly decluttered plastic for food storage, getting stainless steel straws, bamboo utensils, and buying food from the bulk aisle (less packaging). Mason jars are used to store various things, from being the butter dish to storing leftovers, holding pens and batteries, and even has been used as a toothbrush holder.
When grocery shopping, fruit and veggies are purchased without plastic, along with nuts, beans, oatmeal, coffee, and various other dry items. These are all gathered in jars or other containers brought from home.
Keeping with the food topic, I try to bring food with me when possible and try to stay away from getting from the deli area from a store as those meals with more than likely be served in or on plastic. (I actually have a lightweight plate, bowl, and small stainless steel bowl perfect for condiments, that I’ll drag along. That way I have all items needed for a meal, including a cloth napkin!)
I’ll use a reusable sandwich baggie (not disposable).
I have fallen in love with Kleen Kanteen. I have 3 sizes-12, 16, and 24 ounces, all insulated, and insulated really well. No more plastic (or paper) cups for water, coffee, tea, fountain soda, etc., and all beverages stay hot and cold for HOURS.
I have recently transitioned from plastic, disposable shavers to a safety razor. It was purchased new from Duluth Trading Company for about $35 and a set of 5 razors for another $4 or $5, however the need to change these blades is less often, by years. I will admit I was nervous at first when trying this out. But I’ve become used to it now and will never go back to disposables. Even dental floss is purchased in paper or even glass.
It’s gotten to the point that I will “inconvenience” myself carrying extra items with when out and about, holding off buying something if I don’t have the needed container, or not purchasing period if packaging is an issue. I’m by no means perfect, but small steps make big impacts, and I’m doing my best to make as big of an impact with sustainability as I can. I actually don’t consider any of this to be an inconvenience when it comes to the health and well-being of us, the animals, and the Earth.
Below are a few of my favorites things…
Goditi la Vita!