July is Plastic Free Month
As we close out the month, consider how much plastic packaging you brought home this month, it's sobering. I have read several articles about regular people who have attempted to not purchase anything in or made of plastic, it's basically impossible.
What's the big deal about plastic? First of all, most plastic cannot be recycled. Many of us wish-cycle and put all our plastic, including single use such as bags and film, in the recycle bin. First, don't do this! Second, all the single-use plastic gets redirected by Recology into the landfill. Once in the landfill, plastic never decomposes into a harmless chemical. It just keeps breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces (microplastics) that are now found in our air, our water, our food, and our bodies with unknown health consequences.
What can you do to reduce your plastic consumption? Here are 10 easy tips:
- Take reusable shopping bags (did you know you pay 10 cents for every bag you use from the grocery store?).
- Take reusable produce bags - either mesh bags that can be washed or just reuse any of the plastic bags you might have accumulated over the years. I have used the same plastic bags dozens of times.
- Do NOT buy bottled water. Bring your own refillable bottle. The quality of bottled water has been proven to be no better (and sometimes worse) than tap water. And if you have a plastic bottle, do not refill it, the plastic chemicals will leach out into the water.
- When you have a choice, choose canned goods or ones packaged in glass, paper, or cardboard over plastic (e.g. peanut butter, olive oil, canned corn (which is just as good as frozen), pasta, sparkling water, etc). We need to support the companies that package responsibly.
- Buy loose and not pre-packaged produce.
- Reuse plastic bags from products such as bread over again (e.g. as dog waste bags, or for storing opened cheese, etc.)
- Refuse to buy any product that is packaged in a plastic that cannot be recycled. (Buy only #1, #2, and #5).
- Go to stores with bulk bins where you can use your own bags to purchase nuts, flours, dried fruit, etc.
- Use the butcher for meats and cheeses. They do use some plastic but far less than the pre-packed products.
- Use aluminum foil or reused plastic bags or beeswax sheets to cover food, avoid film plastic whenever possible.
As a final note, we had a very successful Produce and Bloom Exchange! Thank you to all who participated. A box of leftover produce was delivered to SOS. We will be holding another Exchange on August 27th. Keep your gardens growing!
Green Team Leader