Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Reuse. Resist Packaging. Eat well.

My mother has been preaching to me for years--and living by good example-- about reducing, using less plastic, not wasting as much. It's sunk in, mostly. And recently I was all fired up by my friend Meghan Ward's epic post on plastics, which gives us well-researched reasons why plastics are awful, and then does what I absolutely love people to do--gives us suggestions for improvement.

I wanted to give a few ideas on what I do to combat the use and effect of plastics in my family:
  • I talk to my whippersnapper about plastics and what's in them.
  • I never use plastic water bottles if I can help it; I always bring a Klean Kanteen bottle for both me and the whipsnap when we go out.
  • I buy glass bottle milk-- Strauss is a fantastic brand. Also this reduces milk carton waste.
  • I use my own grocery bags and if I forget them, I insist on brown bags.
  • I switched to glass food containers and ditched my Rubbermaid plastic.
  • And thanks to Tweeting about this subject, I got these fabulous reusable sandwich bags recommended to me, and I purchased them.
  • I buy some foods in bulk and keep them in jars. Good ones are: rice, oatmeal, pasta, corn meal.
  • Purchase stuff with less packaging-- and notice when stuff has plastic packaging (and grimace accordingly).
  • I compost my scrap food in this very attractive ceramic compost bin. Our garbage service includes an every-other-week "green" bin for yard waste, but it also takes compost, so even if you don't have a compost bin, you might check if your city takes it in yard waste.
You'll get comments. My cousin was recently visiting and I love her dearly, but she was like "Oh!" when she saw my glass milk bottle. She assumed it's special milk, and more expensive. It actually isn't much more expensive--although you do need to put a deposit on the bottle, you get that back when you return it the next visit to the store. And I'm not tossing some damn crap in the trash when I'm done drinking it. She also commented on the glass jars in my cabinet full of bulk items like rice and oatmeal.

This brings me to food.

There is no shortage of reports on what pesticides and hormones in our food does to us. It makes our kids mature faster, it causes cancer. And even if you're sitting there going "Those reports aren't true," then let me ask you this: Do you honestly think that you're better off eating something with chemicals in it?

If so, go right ahead.

I like to give myself and more importantly, my kids, the best chances possible. Dairy products and meat are the ones to most be concerned about. You can check this link to see which produce is best to buy organic and which isn't--but again, I like to eat stuff without chemicals if possible. Root veggies are terrible because they absorb pesticides in the ground.

Even though people have given me huge pushback for it, I buy my meat and dairy organic always, and produce when possible. I search out stores that let me buy in bulk and have really good fresh items. I love Trader Joe's dearly, but they don't do fresh very well and they use an incredible amount of plastic packaging. My friend Kathleen mentioned when were talking about this that grocery stores with butchers and bulk items and brands like Strauss are far away from her. And this is true-- there's going to be lots of places in the country where this stuff is hard to find. But if you insist on it, for yourself and your kids, then it doesn't become much of an effort.

That's all.

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