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Innovative ways to reduce plastics

Plastics offer “convenience” in packaging of foods. But 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 sustainable alternatives!

And it is possible.

Two recent Globe and Mail articles offered ideas for substitutes that encourage us to think of many others that would be easy to implement in our own lives.

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 recycled and reused the containers many times over. However not all of us have the time to make our own yogurt or peanut butter, but 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 might 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 ecoconsciousness, 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. However it is great to see ecofriendly solutions arising from the mess that we have created.

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 I am required to settle for tap water in a stainless or glass bottle.

How are you reducing your use of plastic and what alternatives do you like best?

 

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