Saturday, 15 July 2017

SMALL STEPS TOWARDS LESS WASTE


This year has been the year of baby step changes for me. I've been trying to make small, tangible changes in the way that I live in order to foster a more fulfilling life. I love how subjective the idea of a fulfilling life is. Many people seek adventure and travel or success in their careers or education, but I find fulfillment in the little pleasures. Creating a safe space to call home. Growing fresh vegetables to eat and share. Learning a new skill. Taking on a creative challenge. Seeing myself change and grow. Those things bring my life fulfillment. I've said it before and I'll say it again - it's the little things.

I've been on a mission to reduce waste in my little farm house kitchen, particularly in the form of plastic. I wouldn't say that we are excessively wasteful, but I have been known to buy plastic baggies and use seran wrap a time or two. I've always liked the convenience of plastic, but it definitely isn't very convenient when it comes to the health of our planet. I've been meaning to make some changes and finally I have found some amazing products that help me do just that and I wanted to share!


I have been trying to avoid the plastic produce bags at the grocery store for the past year or so, but unfortunately that sometimes means that potatoes are rolling around in my cart and the cashier doesn't always seem too impressed when she has to wrangle all the stray apples onto the scale. I decided to purchase a set of reusable produce bags and they have been a game changer! They are lightweight and made of a fine mesh material, preventing moisture from getting trapped and growing mold. When the bags get dirty, all I have to do is throw them in the wash instead of the trash.

I've always been a reusable shopping bag user, so this isn't a difficult change for me to implement. I understand that not everyone would remember to bring these to the store with them though. I have found that simply storing them with my reusable shopping bags in my car makes it easy when I stop at the store on a whim. All it takes is a little bit of habit building.

There are tons of options for reusable produce bags on the market, so I suggest just looking for the ones that best suit your needs. I purchased this set of eight from Amazon and I really couldn't recommend them more.


Another big source of plastic waste in my kitchen is through plastic sandwich bags. When I only use half an onion or need to store some pre-cut carrots, I tend to grab a plastic baggie for the convenience and ready-to-go nature of it. Recently I came across Stasher - they are an award winning company who make these silicone alternatives to plastic baggies. I like these because they are flexible (unlike bulky containers) but strong and easily washable. They're even safe to be frozen, heated, and washed in the dishwasher, which is a win-win-win in my books. They may seem expensive at $16/bag but are more than worth the money for their versatility and re-usability. Plus, they are known to keep a cut avocado fresh for up to four days (and we all know how much we love a fresh avocado).


My final favorite reusable kitchen product is beeswax wraps. They are sheets of fabric coated in beeswax, which can be used to cover bowls or wrap food in small packages simply by using the heat of your hand to warm up the wax and adhere it. When you're finished with it, all you have to do is wipe it down and reuse it. It probably somewhat depends on the product, but my wraps are expected to last about a year before I can toss them in the food bin (compost) and allow them to decay naturally. I particularly love them because of how cute the patterns are, but they also smell heavenly and do their part to keep my food fresh without any harmful chemicals leaking into the food. I purchased mine locally from Sweet Green Studios and I couldn't recommend them more if you're interested in some of your own.


What do you guys think - would you consider using any of these plastic alternatives in your kitchen?

The thing with making any sort of change to your routine is that it requires patience and grace. We live in a consumerist society that is saturated with plastic waste and the sad reality is that we are never going to be able to fully avoid that until changes happen at a societal level. But that shouldn't prevent us from trying to implement our own little changes, even if they seem small and insignificant. Sometimes it feels like it isn't worth the effort if no one else is making the effort either, but all it takes is a little perspective to realize that a bunch of little efforts add up to one great big effort.

It can also take a while to get used to the changes we have made. I've come to realize that they best way to use these products is to build habits around them. Whether that means I intentionally set my produce and grocery bags beside my purse once I finish unpacking groceries to make sure I take them back to the car or pack my lunch in containers and Stasher bags - I've come to realize that these aren't difficult or more complex things to add to my routine. They just require taking different steps.

I would love to hear your thoughts on any of these products as well as any others that you use in your little kitchen. Sometimes the smallest things can be the most satisfying.

4 comments:

  1. This is an incredible list and I am so grateful our wraps have been included. I actually keep mine on top of our plastic wrap (because I had some leftover from before I started making the wraps), so every time I go to grab the plastic, I can gladly grab the beeswax wraps instead. I loved every part of this post and am 100% on board with using these little habit adjustments to live a more fulfilling (and environmentally-friendly) life.

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    1. Yes! I've been doing that too and it definitely makes it so much easier to remember to use them. Thanks for making them and sharing your skills with the rest of us :)

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  2. Thanks so much for sharing these links! I'm off to get some of the reusable produce bags and a couple of Stashers.

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    1. Oh yay! I'm glad you were inspired. I honestly love both of those products so much and could not recommend them more!

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