We’ve posted a lot on the downside of plastic disposables, how they contribute to the glut of plastic waste in our waterways, oceans and landfills, how they harm wildlife, and how they can leach chemicals which may pose a health risk. So what’s a body to do? We propose this: Just Say No (politely); Refuse it!
We want to encourage a return to reusable containers, an ethic of making conservation-minded decisions – as our grandparents did – to reuse habitually, rather than using something once and throwing it “away.” And we also want to encourage using products that are fully recyclable and without toxic ingredients that can harm us and the natural environment.
Some of our favorite choices:
Cheapest and most readily available is glass – inert (doesn’t leach), and versatile enough to go from fridge to microwave or oven. Reuse a jar, or look for American glass products Libbey, Pyrex, or Anchor Hocking.
Reusable “baggies” of fabric for wrapping up a sandwich or snack are handy and light. We like these by Lunchskins, but you can also make your own, or just tie up a cloth napkin to hold easily wrapped snacks like grapes or crackers.
If it’s got to be water-tight and crush-proof, a glass jar or bottle serves well. Or, if you fear breakage, and depending on the circumstances, stainless steel may be the option that will work best for you. Take along a tiffin or thermos for lunch or leftovers. Use a cloth lunchbag, a traditional metal lunchbox or a reusable tote rather than a disposable plastic or paper bag.
Did you know that 40 BILLION plastic knives, forks and spoons are used and tossed every year in the U.S.? It takes a lot of fossil fuel (and creates plenty of pollution) to make, distribute and dispose of all that convenience! We highly recommend keeping a set of To-Go Ware bamboo utensils, a set of stainless steel utensils (wrap in a cloth napkin), a spork or portable chopsticks in your pocketbook, your backpack or glove compartment so that you can forgo the plastic stuff.
There are a bunch of wonderful products available today that are environmentally friendly, non-toxic, long-lasting and designed for ease and frequency of use– all styles and price points. You are sure to find a reliable reusable bottle or container, so #BYOR!