Back to Basics
Reducing Plastic In Your Home
We live in a world of plastic. Plastic cups, bottles, plates and packaging. Our plastic society is putting our eco-system and health at risk. There are some simple steps we can take to change our wasteful habits.
It's exciting to see that supermarkets have finally come on board to eliminate plastic from their stores. This change is a massive step in the right direction for the health of ourselves and our environment.
Unfortunately plastic bags are only part of the picture, plastic packaging is still being used to package fresh, frozen and dry foods. We drink most of our fluids from plastic cups and bottles and our skin care is often delivered in plastic tubes and tubs.
Did you know that Australia alone produces almost 3 million tons of plastic per year and of that 130,000 tons will end up in the ocean.
Did you also know that most plastics contain a chemical called Bisphenol-A or BPA. This chemical is very detrimental to our health. It is what we call an endocrine disruptor chemical. BPA and many others are part of these chemical, which interfere with any aspect of hormone action. They basically act like hormones in our body and as a result can displace and disrupt our own production of hormones. Most affected is the female hormone oestrogen, this results in contributing to many hormonal issues such as endometriosis, PCOS, infertility and PMT.
So , what can we do to help?
Start with the kitchen, as it is the biggest source of plastic in our homes. Look for ways that you can reduce the amount of plastic that comes into your kitchen and swap plastic based habits with more sustainable ones.
1. Beeswax Wraps
You'll never need plastic wrap again when you arm yourself with these delightful, re-useable food wraps
made from beeswax and fabric. There are also opportunities to learn how to make your own, I saw this advertised recently on a local Facebook page, so I will be checking this out for myself.
2. Glass and Metal Storage Containers
So forget Tupperware and Decor storage systems and get yourself some glass or metal jars and containers. Save jars and re-use them over and over. Some of the local natural food shops even allow you to bring your own jars to re-fill on the staples like coconut oil, peanut butter, and all your dry goods. These containers are fine for the pantry, fridge and freezer, just check liquid quantities when freezing and allow for expansion. For coffee and water, switch to your own re-useable coffee cup and use a glass or metal drinking bottle and refill. This is a lot cheaper way to drink water.
Take note green thumbs, a great way to avoid food waste and plastic bin bag waste is to build an at home compost bin. Food scraps and yard waste currently make up 30% of what we throw away and can be used to create nutrient rich fertiliser instead. Our 3 bin system has helped in this area but why not build your own compost, It's easy and so great for your garden.
4. Re-useable Bags
With the recent ban on single use plastic bags in many stores, you are going to need to invest in some re-useable bags.
TIP - Keep them in your car, so you're never without!
There are a great variety to choose from, some even stylish that can be used at the farmers markets, day at the river or even as a day-to-day bag, so keep an eye out for what's available.
5. Buying In Bulk
Believe it or not but buying in bulk will reduce plastic consumption as well as helping out the wallet. Think about buying long life items in bulk (brown rice, quinoa, flour etc) and cut down the number of times you go to the supermarket.
6. Shop At Famers Markets And Local Growers
You dramatically reduce the amount of plastic entering your home by meal prepping at the start of the week and making meals from scratch, use fresh ingredients and taste the difference.
Yes, this does take time and planning, but it's sooo worth it and it makes the week easier.
7. Mindful Party Planning.
Try to avoid using disposable products like plastic plates, cutlery and cups. There are some great alternatives now, try bamboo instead.
Try following these tips, you'll be amazed at just how little you need to take out to the curb next garbage day.
I love hearing what everyone is doing to help reduce plastic in your lives. Tell us what you do to reduce waste in your own kitchen in the comments below.
Special acknowledgement to FoodMatters.com for their information and research.