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I'd like to reduce plastic use at home: where do I start? Part 1

As the new year approaches, you may be thinking about what you'd like to try, or do differently, in 2024. I have been thinking this holiday season about what I'd like to do in the new year: purchase less processed food items (eg. french fries in a bag); get back into a gym routine (I will need help from a buddy!); and finding ways to use less disposable or single-use plastic in my day-to-day life.


If you are also interested in making some easy changes in your life that will reduce the amount of disposable or single-use plastic you use, read on! I hope I can provide you with a few ideas that you can easily implement, or can implement as a goal or challenge to yourself and/or your family.


First, a few words about new year's resolutions, and new habits. While research shows that New Years resolutions by and large are not successfully maintained, the "fresh start effect" can aid in your successfully introducing new habits Picking a date such as January 1st, as a signal of a new chapter in our life, can have an important effect on our ability to commit to a new habit. Once you've decided on a date, and what you'd like to try, there are a number actions that can help new habits become part of your daily routine. One is attaching a new habit to another eg. adding reusable produce bags to your work bag each day, or having reusable produce bags easy to access, such as next to your house keys, or your front door. Another is to positively acknowledge when you remember/ implement your new habitat: "I've got this!, or "Yeah - I remembered!"


Now, on to some ideas! The intent of these ideas is to provide choice. They may not offer the most "impact", or be the most environmentally friendly of all options, but rather are options that are not a drastic departure from our day-to-day, or may not require a significant cost.


I'll offer more ideas in subsequent posts!


Shopping


  • Reusable shopping bags - pack them with you, leave them in the car.

  • If you forget your bags - ask for a cardboard box(es) at the check out - they have plenty from unloading products onto the floor.

  • Choose loose vegetables and fruit instead of produce in plastic bags.

  • Bring reusable produce bags instead of using the plastic bags on the roll.

  • Purchase sauces, condiments, and soups in glass or aluminum/ tin cans instead of those in plastic containers.

  • If you purchase soft drinks, choose cans instead of plastic bottles.


At work


  • Bring your own coffee for the coffee maker instead of using the office coffee pods.

  • Bring a thermos of coffee instead of using the office coffee pods.

  • If you are not good at packing your lunch, start with challenging yourself to pack a lunch one day per week eg. every Monday. This way you won't be running out to buy a sandwich in a single use plastic clam shell container, for example.

  • Pack your lunch in reusable containers.


Out and about


  • Reusable straw and cutlery - pack with you instead of accepting plastic ones.

  • Choose bamboo cutlery over plastic.

  • Carry a tote bag with you.

  • Take your reusable coffee mug and water bottles (fill it up in the morning!).

  • Say no to the plastic coffee stopper, or ask for your coffee to go in your own mug (some coffee shops offer a discount if you bring your own cup).


At home


  • Cover a bowl of leftovers with a plate or reusable bowl cover (fabric, beeswax) instead of with plastic wrap.

  • Pack children's lunches in reusable containers, reusable snack and sandwich bags, and beeswax wraps instead of plastic wrap.

  • Switch to powdered laundry and dishwater soaps (in cardboard box) instead of the plastic jug of liquid detergent or soap, and instead of pods wrapped in plastic.

  • Replace synthetic dryer sheets with wool dryer balls.


Is there something here that catches your eye? I hope so!

Thank you for reading. And I'd love to hear from you. Let me know if you have any thoughts, comments or questions, via email at whatabag@yahoo.com


Wishing you a wonderful new year,

Rieva

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