Plastic bags and I don’t get along. Same with plastic bottles. I just can’t stand them.
Many people have already embraced carrying their own water bottles and cloth bags around, but what about other forms of plastic waste, like the little plastic sandwich baggies? And how much do you really pay attention to your consumption of plastic bags and bottles? Even writing this post made me think about the few plastic bags that have somehow made their way into my kitchen. (Yikes!)
They contribute to so much waste. That alone is a reason to avoid them.
After volunteering at a Green Festival nearly five years ago and stumbling across Eco Lunch Gear, I decided to stop buying and using plastic baggies. I had stopped using plastic groceries bags shortly before that. My cabinet is filled with cloth bags of different sizes, mesh produce bags, cloth sandwich wraps, a few cloth snack bags, and assorted jars/containers. I also have a cute pink shopping tote that can be reduced to a little ball (very similar to this one) that says, “I have multiple organics” on it. Cashiers are bewildered when I pull cloth out of my pocket and unravel it into a bag. (Sometimes it is used as the bag to hold my clothes after the gym, too.) With so many stores and businesses now encouraging use of cloth bags, buying bulk foods, and glass containers, it is much easier to find alternate ways to carry and store things.
Kick the plastic bottle habit by:
- investing in a water filter for your kitchen sink instead of buying purified water.
- drinking straight tap water.
- having a couple reusable water bottles on hand. have one bottle in each place if needed — one at work, one at home, one in the car. it’s better than throwing out plastic bottles all the time.
- stop drinking soda and other beverages sold in plastic bottles. they’re probably not good for you anyway.
- in the case that you do wind up with a plastic bottle, refill it over and over until you just can’t use it anymore.
Avoid using plastic bags and baggies by:
- bringing reusable cloth bags with you to the store
- using glass jars and storage containers
- storing sandwiches and similar foods in cloth wraps
- buying or making snack bags for loose snacks like nuts, etc.
- keeping some of these bags and containers in your vehicle/bag in case you need to make a last-minute purchase and left everything at home
- being creative with storage solutions
- putting purchased items in your purse or carrying them in your hands (if possible) instead of in a bag. oftentimes, I tell cashiers that I don’t need a bag.
Unfortunately, plastic bags still make their way into my home. What to do with them?
- reuse, reuse, reuse! use the same bags over and over until you can’t anymore.
- give them to a dog owner. many people with dogs go through dozens of bags.
- use them to line smaller garbage cans.
- recycle them! visit plastic bag recycling to find some drop-off locations near you. many store chains will also accept clean plastic bags into their own specified recycling areas.
How do you avoid using plastic bags and bottles?