- Philothea Bezin
July is Plastic-Free Month…Celebrate by Ditching the Plastic Habit
When trying to make changes, such as in our diet, we learn that changing our surroundings helps -- like cleaning out our fridge and pantry and restocking with better food choices.
So, to fight the plastic invasion in our homes, landfills, and waterways, why not start by cleaning out your home and restocking it with sustainable plastic alternatives.
Remember to reuse, reuse, reuse. Instead of automatically recycling or throwing away your existing plastic items, think of ways to reuse them. Plastic is not recommended for storing food, but you can reuse your plastic bags for trash or as shopping bags, and your plastic containers for scoops or to store your dishwasher powder, nuts and bolts, rubber bands, buttons, craft supplies, and more.
Recycling plastic will not solve the plastic problem. In 2021, less than 5% of plastic was recycled. Yes, recycle what your local municipality permits, but avoid buying more plastic as much as you can.
When shopping, be prepared. Bring your own reusable paper or cloth bags, mesh bags, glass jars, and stainless-steel containers. When eating out, bring your own reusable containers to carry your leftovers home.
Buy products with the wrapping or container in mind. Refuse plastic containers and choose glass, paper, aluminum, cloth, or cardboard instead. When possible, buy in bulk, such as shampoo, detergent, pet food, and cooking oil. Store or repackage your purchases in non-plastic containers at home.
Don't get discouraged. It can be overwhelming trying to strive for perfection. Think instead of “refuse, better and best” choices.
Refuse single use plastic bags, wrappers, bottles, tubs, and Styrofoam. Items that are used for minutes and then discarded are harmful to the environment and to the animals that encounter them. Make it a practice to avoid these items.
Better is items that are effectively recycled such as aluminum, glass, paper, burlap, and cardboard or compostable materials. When it comes to compostable products, however, be sure to read the fine print. Many items advertised as compostable are only compostable in a commercial composting facility NOT in your backyard compost bin.
Best is food or products with no packaging at all like unwrapped produce or lunch meats and cheese that you can bring home in your own bag or container. You may also want to investigate making your own personal care or household cleaning products. Most “do it yourself” recipes use ingredients you likely already have in your home.
Don't think our individual efforts are useless. Manufacturers and marketers pay attention to what people buy. There are already many plastic alternatives available at stores and online. By using the power of your pocketbook each time you shop, you are sending the message to the manufacturing giants to “ditch the plastic habit.”