Happiness Has a New Address – Tagged "Life without plastic" – Page 5 – Dulse & Rugosa
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    Back to School Means More Trash- Tips to Help You Zero Waste the Transition

    Back to School Means More Trash- Tips to Help You Zero Waste the Transition

    I've put off writing about reducing plastic consumption and kids because it's so complicated.  Mostly because I've found in my grown up/no kids life that it takes quite a bit of planning and organization to reduce my plastic use.  I travel a lot to markets and on my occasional overnights I find I do great the first day but the next day is a challenge.  I'm tired, hungry, don't know the area and that's when I consume more products packed in plastic.

    When my daughter Carly was young, I lived year round on a remote Maine island.  We were homesteaders, growing our own food and I worked from home.  I didn't have to organize backpacks, lunch boxes, snacks and extra clothes- not to mention homework, books and a few toys for the car.  And that's not even taking into account winter- with boots, hats, etc.  Our life's are filled with busy and "hurry-up" which is why plastic is so popular- it's convenience.  But because we have kids and grandkids and we want them to have a lovely future we each need to make small steps towards living a plastic free life.

    Check out our tips for less trash with the back to school routine.

    The first thing you have to do is pick an area to focus on and the lunch box is a great place to start.  One of my favorite places to shop for reusable containers is Reuseit.   Especially if you are on a budget, you need to start small and keep adding because you want to buy high quality items that will last.  It's counterproductive to buy flimsy containers that won't last- it's a waste of money and makes trash.  

     

    Start with a good, rather large lunch container.  I find in general, when you use reusable containers you need more room.  You might want to pack a couple of containers- one for lunch and one for snacks.  When you decide to replace plastic bags- there's a new product on the market, silicone reusable bags.  The bags are dishwasher and microwave safe but they are pricy.  One bag cost around $12.00- but will last and last.  Another great container in my opinion is the reusable juice box.  According to Reuseit, "juice boxes are one of the most wasteful parts of lunchtime".  A single box takes over " 300 years to decompose and nearly 4 billion are consumed annually."  At $9.95 per single box these are do-able, especially if you normally buy at least 8 juice pouches a week.  If juices are not on sale it will cost you around $5.00 per week.  Over the year you'll be spending over 250 dollars on single use juice boxes.  You can buy a lot of reusable juice boxes for that amount.  And you do need to buy more than one.  We're talking kids here- so one in the lunch box, one in the snack bag, one for the car, one left at school and one under the bed.  

    Raising kids is complicated, reducing your plastic consumption is complicated.  The reason we change is For The Future.

    Plastic Free Friday- BYO

    Plastic Free Friday- BYO "P"B's-Bring Your Own Produce Bags

    The 3 R's- reduce, reuse, recycle have changed into the 5 R's.  Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Raise Awareness.  I'm feeling proud of my BYOB journey.  BYOB is "bring your own bag".  Lots and lots of folks BYOB for their big grocery trips.  That's the start of the BYOB journey.  

    Reduce your plastic consumption- bring your own produce bags.

    I realized that once I'm in the store there is a whole lot of plastic in packaging.  Even if you tend to buy fresh produce you have a bit of a quandary- do you put your veg right on the checkout counter?  Is that icky and full of germs?  Or do I use the plastic produce bags?  But I want to reduce my plastic.  Hmmmmmm

    EcoBags to the rescue.   I decided to purchase produce bags  because I noticed when I used my larger shopping bags for loose veggies, they added weight to the price per pound.  Or I held up the line as I rummaged through everything jumbled together in my basket.  It reminded me a bit of looking for my keys or phone in my purse.  It was getting to be awkward.  I'm completely satisfied with my EcoBags purchase.  It's recommended that you prewash before using- this is a good idea.  First, there's a whole bunch of sizing in the fabric and also they shrink a lot.  Even the largest bag seems a bit small after washing for a really big head of lettuce.

    When you start your plastic free journey you not only become aware of how prevalent plastic is but you have to make some economic decisions.  Plastic is so popular because it is cheap.  The price of plastic is hidden in environmental damage and loss of habitat.  Living on a budget means you need to take small steps.  Think of plastic free as a marathon not a sprint.  Each month you can go a bit further.  The good news is once you make a purchase you're done.  My produce bags are reusable for years and years.

    My cloth produce bags are reusable for years and years.

     

    Of course if you are handy and have some time you can make your own.  I've seen lots of creative reuses including those mesh bags fruits come in, old T-shirts- just remember the fabric needs to be light because what's inside gets weighed.  If you don't feel like making a casing at the top close it up with a wooden clothes pin. Homemade produce bags make nice gifts.

    If you don't have time to sew but still want a bit of personality, after all you will have these bags for years there are lots of ways to dress up your bags.  Fabric stamping, embroidery or applique are some quick and fun ways to add your unique personality.