Did you feel jipped last week when I asked why we should use glass jars, but then didn’t answer you?
I’m very sorry. Forgive me?
You see, my inner researching blogging soul wanted to provide this super-in-depth post about all the various reasons why we shouldn’t use plastic. I read, and read, and read until my eyes fell out. (Well, not literally, but they did hurt.)
What insight did I learn? That All of the articles pretty much say the same thing:
- Don’t use plastic.
- Plastic is made up of toxins that deteriorate over time, in the microwave, in the dishwasher, being left in cars, being left in diaper bags, etc. and these toxins leak into your food.
- Not all plastics can be recycled so they’re not very green.
- Don’t use plastic.
And surely you don’t want to hear them – again – in incredible detail, right?
If you’re new to the plastic vs. glass debacle, both numbers 2 and 3 really are good reasons in and of themselves to consider a different material for storage (*cough*glass*cough*). Have you heard of Beth Terry? She saw a picture of a dead sea bird filled with plastic bottle caps, a toothbrush and a lighter and vowed to stop buying new plastic. She’s followed through with that vow and she’s seriously amazing.
And if you can do what she did, then you are my hero too, because I don’t think I can do that.
It’s not that I don’t want to. Of course I want to help the environment and reduce waste and reduce dependency on oil companies (it takes oil to make plastic, by the way). I’m not anti-environment by any means – I live on this planet too! But eliminating plastic completely from our house would take an enormous amount of effort that I don’t have available to dedicate to the project right now.
There are a lot of things that I worry about for my family – pesticides, artificial hormones, “fake” food posing as real food… and that’s just in my kitchen. Taking on one more battle, such as eliminating plastic from our lives, may just put me over the edge.
And momma falling over the edge is NOT a good thing.
While I can’t go plastic-commando and ditch it completely, baby steps are doable and I can slowly head in the right direction. Here’s what we can do now to help reduce our dependency on plastic, and why we should do it.
Use them as much as possible. It’s really and truly that simple. I just made a huge batch of pasta sauce (trying to use up those random ingredients, remember?) and could have easily put it into one large plastic piece. Instead, I divided the batch into 6 (or 8 maybe?) glass jars. They’re currently in the freezer, ready for our next meal – which will be toxin free. Salsa, salad dressings, bbq sauce, sunflower seeds purchased in bulk… all of these items can be stored in the glass jars in my cabinet.
My current tupperware is about four years old and they’re nothing special – made by Ziploc and bought at Safeway for nearly free back in my ulta-couponing days. However, pieces are randomly scattered amongst my friends houses and the collection is slowly getting smaller. When it is time to officially replace them I can choose a glass set instead. Like this set from Amazon for only $30.
Rinse and reuse baby. If the baggie held a non-icky item (yep, that’s a scientific term around here), it can be turned inside out, rinsed well (or even washed with soap and water) and dried. See those nifty little clippy magnet thingies on my fridge? I got them at Target, in the dollar section. They come four to a package and are PERFECT for drying baggies. Clip one on (bag opening down) and hang it on the side of the fridge to dry. The gentle heat that comes off the fridge coupled with evaporation dries the baggies in no time.
Argh! I’m so guilty of not using reusable grocery bags and it’s starting to cost me money! One of the items on my must-do list for this week was to collect every reusable bag in the house and put them in the car so that the next time I went shopping, they were ready and waiting for me. Did you notice the picture at the very top of the page? This was taken care of yesterday – woo-hoo!
Do we really need to put our produce in a bag just to put that bag into our basket or cart? If you have enough reusable bags, place your produce in those instead. Have the cashier pull the produce out to weigh and then put it right back in. If the thought of having someone else touch your fruit oogs you out, here’s a question for thought: how do you think the fruit got off the tree, into a crate, onto a transport truck, onto a forklift and neatly stacked in the store’s display? 😉 Besides, we’re all washing our fruits and veggies, right!!
Investing in a steel water bottle is a super-easy solution and frugal too. These are less than $2 if you get the “brushed metal” color. (Ooops – see comments below). A small investment for health, wouldn’t you say? By the way, in the bazillion pages of research for ridding plastic, one of the top concerns was how toxins from plastic bottled water leaked into the water itself… all while stealthily sitting comfortably in the back of the car.
Be More Aware.
Just knowing that plastic can harm us should open our eyes. If whatever you’re buying is available in glass, buy the glass. It’s actually a two-fer since not only are you not buying plastic (woo-hoo!), but you’ll have another glass jar to add to your collection when it’s empty!
What other “easy” remedies can we do to help reduce our dependence on plastic?
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