I’ve written before about how I’m trying to buy less plastic. I just read a really inspiring interview with Beth Terry from Fake Plastic Fish, and I’m ashamed to admit that on the rare occasions when we eat out, I’ve never thought to ask the waiter to bring my water without a straw. Around the house, I’m doing pretty well, but we still have a long way to go. Just about all of my food storage containers are glass now – I have a bunch of glass bowls and casserole dishes with lids that I use in the fridge, and I’ve been recycling jars into food storage for a while now. Jars that once held olives, artichoke hearts, and almond butter now hold dried lentils, sesame seeds and walnuts. I soak them in hot water until their labels peel off, and then glue on new labels for whatever I’m putting in them. Jars like that used to end up in my recycling bin, but I figure this is an even more effective way of recycling them.
Once we get our garden going this summer, I’m hoping to dry a lot of food and my repurposed jars will be perfect for storing it all. I can picture a whole shelf full of mis-matched jars filled with various garden goodies, and it makes me smile.
I try to avoid plastic quite a bit, and when I do buy it, it tends to be secondhand. For the most part, I’d rather have things made of wood or glass or metal, and that’s pretty much what I see when I look around our house. But the bulk food at the health food store where I shop comes pre-packaged in little plastic bags with twist ties at the top (there are no bins). And when I look in our recycling bin each week, there are always several plastic containers that somehow made their way in there.
A month or so ago, I started dumping the contents of our indoor trash can into our outdoor trash can, without removing the bag from the indoor can. We compost all of our food scraps and use cloth diapers, so there is never anything wet or disgusting in our trash can, and there’s usually not much in it at all. I had noticed that each week we were removing the big plastic bag from the trash can and taking it out to be picked up with only a little bit of stuff in the bottom. It started to seem like a huge waste of a big plastic bag. I think it’s been about five or six weeks now that we’ve been using the same trash bag, and it’s working great. I imagine that eventually it will get holes in it and I’ll have to start with a fresh one, but at this rate our huge box of garbage bags should last until we retire!
Beth’s Fake Plastic Fish site is a good read for anyone looking for inspiration to reduce consumption in general and consumption of plastic in particular. Reducing consumption is the ultimate in frugal living, since it translates to not spending money. And if there’s a greater purpose to it, that’s even better.