While plastics offer “convenience” in packaging of our foods, they are also harming birds, fish, animals – and most likely humans in the long term. Scientists have found evidence of microplastics in almost all levels of the food chain. It’s time we found ecofriendly solutions and sustainable alternatives!
And it is possible. Two recent Globe and Mail articles offered ideas for substitutes that should encourage us to think of many others that would be easy to implement in our own lives.
Reduce plastic packaging
The first article suggested that instead of buying many common products that are sold in plastic bottles, we could make our own and store them in glass jars or bottles. Of course, that’s the way we used to do it. And then we reused the containers many times over. However not all of us have the time to make our own yogurt or peanut butter. On the other hand, one of the simplest things to make at home is our own salad dressings, which only take a few moments of shaking. The article “Put a lid on it“ says: “So many of the basics – yogurt, vinaigrette, nut butters, mayo – are ridiculously easy to make and the results taste better and cost less.” If all of us reduced plastic consumption just one bottle at a time – some day we could make a difference.
The second article “Chew on this“ informs us that even the Queen of England has recently banned plastic bottles and straws from Buckingham Palace and other regal properties. So if she can do it, why can’t we ban them from our homes too?
In order to reduce our usage however we need to find suitable substitutes. The article goes on to say that: “Spurred on by a shift in the world’s eco-consciousness, savvy entrepreneurs are beginning to offer sustainable options that tick off all the right boxes, making available containers and packaging that are marine-degradable, organic and edible.” Examples given are straws and food wrappers made from edible seaweed and edible candy spoons for eating ice-cream and desserts. This type of innovation needs to be applauded and supported in order for it to make a difference for our planet. It is great to see eco-friendly solutions arising from the mess that we have unfortunately created.
Find reusable solutions
Personally, I try to make use of many reusable solutions in my home and in my travels. I have reusable glass containers for saving leftovers to pack in lunches. I use a mason jar to take my tomato juice to work – storage and cup in one. If I do need a straw, I reuse the stainless steel straws in my drawer – over and over again. And I refuse to buy bottled water, so instead I settle for tap water, usually in a stainless or glass bottle.
TIP: Mason jars work very well as storage containers. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Some store-bought products even come in mason jars, that can be used over and over again. Replacement lids are available at the hardware store if yours should rust from over-use.
How are you reducing your use of plastic? Which alternatives do you like best?