Yihaa it is global (!) plastic free July! All over the world people are participating and trying to ban single use plastics this month. This way they get in contact with a zero waste lifestyle and they feel how satisfying and glorious it is to have less trash in their life. Most people continue after a challenge. Are you joining in?
Everyday I post on Instagram Stories some tips how to have less plastic/trash in your life. But not everyone has instagram, so I thought about sharing the tips also here in tiny blog entries. Because hey, why not? The less long the reads are, the quicker you’ve finished reading it, right? 😉
So today will be a little bit longer, because it’s day three and so far I already shared 5 tips. So I will quickly recapture those all together.
Tip 1: Reuse glass jars
When starting a zero waste lifestyle, some folks are overwhelmed because it looks like your have to buy tons of new reusable and plastic free items. “Honey, I ain’t got money for that!”. Not to worry, friend. You don’t have to buy everything brand new. I mean, imagine… The main point of a zero waste lifestyle is to use as much as possible the things you already have. So don’t go throwing away plastic hairbrushes and storage boxes to replace them with bamboo ones. That’s just crazy. They end up on landfill anyway, and… that is exactly what we don’t want. So use them until the end of its life. It is the single use plastics we are here to avoid and when a plastic item does break to replace it with a more planetfriendly item.
A great example of a multifunctional item you definitely have laying around is a glass food jar. Think pasta sauces, fermented veggies, pickles,… They all come in fancy glass jars. Instead of recycling them, REUSE THEM! Clean them out, remove the label and let your imagination take over.
You can use these for:
- Store food leftovers in fridge
- Pack lunch in them, easy and leak free to take with you to work/school. And it’s glass, so when you remove the metal lid, you can reheat your food in the microwave
- Fill them with some water and put your carrots in there, in the fridge. They will stay longer fresh
- Use them for bulk products: rice, pasta, coffee, flour, herbs, nuts, cookies, candy, cacao, … Okay basically anything. Your pantry will look fancier than ever!
- Use it as a glass for smoothies, juices & water. With the lid you can even use it as a take away mug
- Use it to store little things such a hair accessories, toothpaste tablets, …
- Use them for your homemade self care- & cleaning products
- Use it to put your dish brushes in. Or even your toothbrush
- I think you get the point. These jars are just freaking amazing
One little remark, don’t bring them with you to the supermarket to ask them to put your fresh produce like vegan burgers, meat or cheese in. They won’t accept glass containers. In Belgium anyway. So bring your old ‘tupperwares’ or stainless steel ones. What you can try is ask your local (what we call in Dutch:) frituur if they are willing to put your fries and sauce in glass jars. If they are cool people, they just might say yes.
Tip: Alternative for freezer bags
I get a lot of questions about single use plastic freezer bags. I wasn’t raised with those in my life, so I don’t have the habit of using them. But it is something loads of people do use. So in the Dear Planet webshop I provided an alternative for them. Reusable freezer bags made of silicone, which in comparison to plastic, doesn’t affect your health. These bags are safe for dishwashers (although I recommend washing by hand because you’ll better reach the edges), safe for the freezer (imagine if they were not, haha), safe for the oven and even for the microwave. So if you froze something, you can put it with the bag into the microwave. Do make sure you leave the bag open when you do!
These reusable Stasher bags are not only handy for freezing food. But these also are so multifunctional. I collected 60 ideas what you can use them for!
Tip 3: Ice cream
I don’t know how about where you live, but here in Belgium we are dealing with a heat wave. Although I love the warmer weather, I do wish it would rain loads at night so that nature wouldn’t suffer this much.
BUT ANYWAYS, with this weather a lot people wandering through cities are totally up for an ice cream. Who would blame them?
If you do, channel your inner zero waste mentality. The paper ice cream pots they give you, are lined with plastic. So they are not recyclable. Opt for a cone, this way you don’t have any trash because you can simply eat it ‘the packagin’. It’s that easy. If you don’t like cones, you can bring your own stainless steel or glass mini jar/container and a spoon or spork. Just ask them to put the ice cream in your own jar.
Voila. You just made a big impact. Not only because you made less trash, because also the people of the ice cream bar and the people in line might just get inspired by your small act.
Tip 4: DIY self care & cleaning products
Self care- & cleaning products mostly come in plastic packaging. Which is pretty sad. If you find some time, the fun option is to make your own products!
Buy some glass jars, dispenser & sprays and go nuts!
When you buy ingredients, make sure they come in glass, paper, carton, … Because if you buy, let’s say, 4 ingredients in plastic bottles. Well… then you might as well buy one hand soap in plastic.
// Tip: make sure to check the recipe how long you can keep your homemade product. Write it on the bottle with a window/chalk marker or put a label on it.
Tip 5: Loose tea and reusable coffee capsules
Let’s spill the tea.
Are you using paper tea bags and throwing them with organic waste? Well I have to warn you… Did you know most “paper” tea bags are actually lined with plastic?
Don’t panic. There is a very simple solution to this problem.
Are you ready for it???
Buy loose tea.
Yep. It’s THAT simple.
Use an old school tea pot and a filter. Or even better, a teapot with a integrated filter! When I drink tea, I just want the one cup, not the whole pot. I use this tiny tea pot which is great for one serving. So I love this little tea buddy. You just put the loose tea / herbs in the pot, you add hot water and you place the lid (which has a filter). When you poor the tea, the leaves will get filtered. After finishing you just empty in your organic waste or compost. Tadaah!
Not much of a tea person but all about the coffee? Great! No pro-blem-o.
If you use capsules then you have daily single use trash. Not only that, but I’m pretty sure that every time your Nespresso machine perforates the capsule teeny-tiny nano pieces of the plastic & aluminium will splinter into your coffee. And that doesn’t sound to healthy, does it?. But if you don’t care about your health, please do consider how much trash you create with every coffee serving. Time to change that, right?
Use a reusable stainless steel capsule that you can refill with loose grained coffee. This is meant to reuse for life. That does sound quite better, no? The filters are already perforated, so no need for those nasty nano splinters.
There you go! The first five tips I have for a plastic free life!
Talk to you soon!