Well, I am not plastic-free, and won't be until someone comes up with ways to safely sell meat and cheese and crunchy chips without a ton of plastic.
But, there were a number of practices I took on last Lent and I thought you would be interested to see how I've been doing with them in the year since:
- this all started with silicone straws, and I'm continuing to use them although I'm fine in doing without straws altogether for most drinks. I did a wee backslide and got a drink at 38Degrees (plastic cup! plastic film! plastic straw because of boba!) but have been pretty much on the straight and narrow for this
- stasher bags -- Still using them instead of ziplocks for all manner of things, including freezing leftover raw meat, and now I have cute little Stasher pouches for my vitamin gummies as the ziplocks I was using and reusing were getting a bit bedraggled. Haven't really missed ziplock bags at all, except for the marinating of meat and storing end bits of veges in the freezer for making broth.
- beeswax wraps -- I bought more, and it's only just now that one of them is showing signs of wearing out -- so that's using them to wrap veges, cover cans, etc. Had to dispose of one because it had been used to cover meat that was marinating (aluminum foil is the current choice for that). You can't use beeswax wraps (and expect to reuse it safely) for meat as the juices soak in and if you wash with hot water, then you've just removed the wax!
- I bring a Contigo coffee cup when I plan to stop at Starbucks -- and if I don't bring a cup, I don't stop to get a coffee. There's still the Starbucks issue of a plastic knife with bagel and cream cheese, but that is now a rare treat. I also have a few ceramic cups on my work desk for tea or water.
- bringing my own milk to work instead of using the plastic creamers -- is probably a 50/50 success rate at the moment. But that's better than nothing
- cotton mesh bags for produce: there's been a time or two I forgot to take one to work with me so I could pick something up on the way home, but am doing pretty good with these. Am going to have to recycle one of them because some tomatoes stayed inside them a little bit too long (eww...) and washing it didn't seem to remove the stain/damage. And some have shrunk after sneaking into the dryer.
- silk dental floss in a glass container -- still using, although I had to find a different provider as the one I used was sold out.
- cutlery/silverware -- an area I need to get better in -- I do remember to bring when I bring lunch to work, but other times totally forget and end up eating Panda Express with a plastic fork (for example). I need to expand my travel set in order to do this, I think. I've also purchased a small wet/dry bag to bring them to and from. I also need to remember to bring a spoon to church, because although we've gone to real cups and plates, there's still wooden stirrers by the coffee pots. Wooden is better than plastic, but it still seems a bit wasteful.
- "Better than Bouillon" makes amazing chicken stock, although I still buy the occasional Tetra-Pak of chicken stock if I'm out and I need a lot for soup. (I also occasionally make fresh broth in my Instant Pot, but my freezer also needs to have room to store it).
- Woollen dryer balls -- are still going great, but we find that they don't work well for queen-sized bed sheets, so we are still using up our stock of dryer sheets for those.
- Period panties -- it's been a year and the elastic is starting to go on a couple of pairs of Thinx. I've built up to a full set and wear them from beginning to end of my period, and hopefully they will last until the end of my menstrual cycle days. There have been no leaks or oopses, for those wondering.
Since then, I also started buying soda in glass instead of plastic bottles and most recently, I bought a Sodastream and have three glass bottles to zap some fizzy water into. I then mix those in with juice (plastic! argh!) or mix with a bit of Italian soda (sold in glass! yay!) or their "drops" (glass container, jury still out on taste).
It feels like once you start, there is no going back -- or, okay, there's going to be times when you go for the convenience instead of refusing to use the plastic, but on the whole there is no reason to change back.
There's still lots of room where plastic can be reduced, but I haven't really found decent alternatives. Yet. Such as toothbrushes: I've had reports of the wooden toothbrushes just falling apart and the "natural" toothpaste in the glass jar is usually also fluoride free, which is not something I'm interested in. I'm planning on going back to solid shampoo once I've gone through this last bottle, but am still using conditioner in a bottle because I have yet to find a solid conditioner that isn't too heavy for my hair.
What I would like to do next is find a collapsible reusable cup for cold drinks, so I don't have to use the paper/plastic cups in the food court when I do eat out for lunch.
So that's how my reduced-plastic life is going. Still lots of plastic, but I've cut down where possible and continue to do so.
This Lent I am back to spiritual disciplines, specifically the Examen, and making sure I use lotion!
Are you reducing plastic use? How's it going?
Are you reducing plastic use? How's it going?