You can make plastic free changes to your life that have little effect on your daily routine or you can try and do a complete single-use plastic ban. Every effort is important
so find what works for you. You might even be excited to try a semi plastic-free transition. I decided that I wanted to start as strict as possible at the beginning to see how much we could adapt to plastic-free living before adapting it to our family household. It was a slow start because I already had so many pantry items in plastic, so it has taken a while to phase it out completely. I didn’t want to throw away plastic items just to re-buy them in a non-plastic material. In fact, you will see a lot of plastic items in our house because of that.
While I still had a lot of plastic in my pantry, learning to buy plastic free is something I was able to implement immediately. The transition has gone well, though there is always one ingredient that I can’t find in anything but plastic when preparing meals. I recycle those non-recyclable soft plastics with my TerraCycle plastic packaging box. Generally I am buying more of whats available plastic-free in the produce section and have bought new fruits and vegetables that I hadn’t before to diversify our selection.
Wil, my four-year-old boy, is a pretty picky, limited eater. He likes corn dogs, chicken nuggets, cereal, french fries and carby snacks...you know the type. When going plastic free, I initially worried about him getting enough to eat. When possible, I make and freeze chicken nuggets, french fries, granola bars and other foods I used to only buy in plastic. Wil is getting used to the different options and lack of his old favorites and Joseph, my adventurous eater, is loving all of the new food around the house.
Personally, I’ve learned that I feel more of a sense of wholeness when I’m interacting with (washing, chopping, cooking) the food I’m about to eat or serve my children. I’m embarrassed to admit that I had never cut a mango in my life although it has been a staple in my kids’ diets for years. We always bought it prepackaged from Whole Foods! I have really loved making these simple kid staples and cutting and preparing our fruits and vegetables rather than buying them precut in plastic bags. That being said, we are busy parents and there are still times when I buy frozen, but now I can add the packaging to the TerraCycle soft plastic bin! TerraCycle allows us to be human and still live our values.
Another meaningful outcome of this with the kids (mostly Wil our oldest of three) is the awareness he has of our impact on the environment. Wil loves to sort our trash by what goes in the compost, what goes in recycling and what goes in landfill/trash. It is very rewarding to listen to him talk about caring for the Earth. I know that preserving our environment will be an increasingly relevant conversation in his lifetime. Plastic production and the use of single-use plastic is increasing substantially year to year and projections indicate plastic use will quadruple by 2050 if we continue with business as usual (Greenpeace). We feel it is important that our children learn to always do their best to take care of our home on Earth and to be part of the solution.
Plastic Free Hacks (not everything has to be made)
Pizza Delivery (the boxes are even compostable!)
Pick up your tortillas / tortilla chips to-go from a Mexican restaurant
Prepared foods section at the grocery store, or anywhere!