I will admit, I am not proud of some my plastic habit. But if there was a comparison chart (like the monthly energy bill from PG&E), I would probably land in the below average use zone. Growing up, my parents have always been very conscious about plastic waste. We re-used our zip lock bags for packing lunches and we never threw away a plastic bag until it had been re-used a couple of times. Despite our efforts, plastic was still an integral part of our lives.
But last year, I started using reusable straws in preparation for the straw ban in San Francisco, I realized how easy it was to switch over. In the beginning I was apprehensive about carrying my own straws around and having to wash after each use, but soon I was used to it. Now, I actually prefer using my straws to sip because they have a rounded tip that makes it easy to sip and it makes me feel good for contributing to a greener environment. Thanks to this simple straw transition, I felt more than ready to change my other plastic habits.
Then earlier this year, I saw an article in Bon Appetit magazine about breaking your plastic habit. It mentioned that only “9 percent of all plastic are actually recycled, and none of it, has ever biodegraded”. It was quite shocking to read the stats and made me realize that I need to double up on my effort to say goodbye to plastic in my life.
20 Easy Green Habits to Develop
1. Carry a reusable water bottle
2. Bring your own coffee cup
3. Pack your own lunch (with reusable lunch bags)
4. Shop bulk (bring your own containers if possible. Weigh your containers and label the weight on them so that it’s easier for the cashier to process your items at the checkout.
5. Bring your own produce bags. Simply reuse bags you have or you can always purchase cotton meshed bags.
6. Bring your own shopping bags. We always leave 5-6 bags in our car so we can use them whenever we need to.
7. Store your greens in a glass of water to keep things fresh.
8. Store your carrots in water (replace the water every 2-3 days)
9. Store your potatoes and onions in a dark place.
10. Use washable cloth napkins
11. Use refillable household products
12. Reuse glass jars. You can remove the labels on the glass jar by first soaking the jar in water, then rub the soaked label with some oil and baking soda. Leave it for half an hour and wash off by scrubbing. Ever since we started washing jars from tomato sauces, jams and so on, we have accumulated enough jars to store all of our spices and dried goods. If the jar was used to store something pungent, you can soak the jar and cap in some vinegar water (1:2) to remove the smell. If the smell still lingers, you can always cut out a small piece of parchment paper to cover the jar before you seal it with the lid.
13. Store food in glass containers
14. Freeze food in stainless steel containers. Some glass containers can be frozen, but check your label before you freeze any glass.
15. Reuse plastic containers. If you have plastic containers, they should still be used because otherwise, they will just end up in landfill.
16. Cover leftover with cloth or plate. Ideally you want to cover up your food with a proper seal, but for temporary storage, a plate or a pot lid is perfect!
17. Use reusable food wraps such as beeswax wraps or cloth wraps.
18. Buy loose tea leaves instead of tea bags.
19. Bring your own reusable straws.
20. Bring your own cutlery. This is especially useful for quick eats because they often only provide disposable cutlery.
Many of the changes are very easy to make. I would recommend taking one step at a time. Once you are accustomed to a new habit, you can start a new one. For me, the easiest ones are using reusable shopping bags and reusable water bottles. Much like carrying my phone everywhere I go, I have my reusable grocery bag and my water bottle with me at all time. The key is to take baby steps and keep trying! Check out my zero-waste bulk store shopping post that I did for more inspirations. If you like a copy of this poster, you can find an instant downloadable version from Sprinkles Shop!
I created another version that will be great as stickers or as fridge magnets.
Thank you for taking the time to read my post. Leave a comment or share it with others that will enjoy it as well.
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