While we were Stateside in October, I picked a few things for our journey toward a more environment-conscious living. I'm very excited to try this... Bee's Wrap-- sustainable, reusable food storage wraps, which are organic cotton treated with beeswax, jojoba oil and natural tree resin which holds its shape. They can be used to cover bowls or plates, and wrap up vegetables, fruits, etc. Rinse with cold water to clean, allow to dry and refold until next use--they can last a long time. I purchased two different sized packs to get started. Amazing stuff! No need for plastic wrap!!
I stocked up on Kiss My Face Pure Olive Oil Soap...it only has 3 ingredients--olive oil, water and sea salt. No junk, synthetics, petroleum byproducts, or irritants. For a couple of years now this has been my favorite for hands and showering. We are making the switch from liquid soap, with too much packaging, back to bar soap, and so I bought home a nice stash of this olive oil soap for hand and other use too. I want to try using this to make laundry soap soon. I'm not happy about the plastic packaging the trio of soap bars come in. But it is soft plastic, and it can be recycled where we live. There is a great recycling program in our area. But still... plastic... not good. :/
I like to drink with a straw sometimes. And since we're trying to use less plastic--reusable, washable, stainless steel drinking straws are a great alternative. This pack comes with two long brushes to help with cleaning them--which would be good for use after a smoothie drink, for instance. These straws are really nice! Not as flexible as plastic straws, so these take getting used to. The steel is thin though, so pleasant to drink from. Non-toxic, plastic-free, PBA-free, lead-free... We like! The bit of plastic packaging for this otherwise eco-friendly product is a pity, though... :( A lot of things are like that... Just too much, unnecessary packaging, and too much plastic.
Also this nice stainless steel travel cutlery set for two, which even comes with chopsticks and a bottle opener! This set will be great for picnics, travel, etc. Finding alternatives to plastic for use at home and while out & about!
During our two-week trip last month, we encountered a LOT of plastic. It was pretty depressing really, how much plastic is everywhere, in use all over, for so much... The amount of trash and things wasted... It made me really sad. I was going to document a little of this to share more about. But I also wanted to enjoy our precious time with family, going places, etc. So perhaps I'll share more about plastic while traveling another time... Our carbon foot print just to fly and be where we want to be is HUGE, so I think about that too...
Once home again though, and back to the usual routine... I had to replenish some baking supplies. Thankfully many things like flours, grains, sugar and such are available in recyclable paper bags or light cardboard boxes. Recycling is not really the answer to all the trash dilemmas, but at least these are not plastic packages!
We use some food in tins--things like chopped tomatoes and beans, as we eat a lot of plant-based meals. Also tuna and sardines, some fruit in tins too. As we don't have beans in bulk where we live--or anything else in bulk, really--buying beans in tins or boxes are the options. Thing is, these boxes are tricky, though--they are made of cardboard/paper, plastic and aluminum. Some places, these kinds of boxes can't be recycled. Thankfully, our recycling program will accept them, so we put them in our recycle bin. What I'm not liking much, is that these boxes seem to be taking over foods in tins at the supermarkets here. And tins of sardines are wrapped in a thin, useless plastic packaging... Why??!!??
Ah, you were missing seeing our trash & recycling situation, weren't you?! ;) haha... (Maybe you remember this plastic & trash post from September?) Well, this was the contents of our paper/card recycling bin about two weeks after we got back from our October trip. This is actually just part of the paper, as newspapers make up the main bulk of our paper recycling. We still subscribe to/support our local newspaper. Among other things, you'll see a paper towel tube there. Paper towel use is WAY, way down here, I'm happy to say, and we're still working on phasing those out. ( I admit though, that having the odd roll of paper towels around for emergencies is OK sometimes--like for cleaning up cat vomit, for instance. :/ ) We don't buy a lot of pre-made food, trying to make most of what we eat from scratch. One day, shortly after home from travels though, a supermarket frozen pizza for a snack found it's way into our shopping basket...Whoops... The pizza itself wrapped in plastic and then in a cardboard box--VERY naughty! I had my period while we were away, and I bought some feminine hygiene products to have while we were on the go. (I'm in the process of making my own reusable/washable cloth menstrual pads and phasing out the chemical-laced commercial products.) This may be too much info... but it's life!
And this was part of our plastic recycling, as well as some metal recycling for the last bit of October... An empty bag of Luna's kitty food. Thankfully the bag of dry food can last a good month/month-and-a-half. Some folks make their own pet food. I want to research that more. Most of this is soft plastic that food comes in. The bulk of our plastic trash is that--from food, and other every day products. We would have to seriously re-consider eating, when avoiding plastic, as sooo much food comes in plastic here. We don't have bulk food stores. And we don't have much of farmer's markets in our area. Trying to learn to grow more of our own. It's all a huge process of seeing what one buys--what it's packaged in?...what season is it?... can I opt for something else... can I make this? Choosing the least packing option available. Or doing without. It's a lot to think about...
Another thing I'm thinking about, and learning about, in terms of food, is how I can make even MORE of what we eat and enjoy... including condiments and all those other "extras." Here's a peek in our fridge--a pic which I took many weeks back. I'm researching and trying out recipes for all sorts--pesto (already been making our own--and it's MUCH more tasty than anything in a jar from the supermarket!), jams (making more of those!), chutney (need to make more of those!), ketchup, hot sauce, etc. Some things, like HP Sauce and Worcestershire Sauce, are a bit harder to make at home, so I may still buy those ready made. Some items I won't be replacing at all. I've pretty much given up making certain Asian-style meals, as I'm often disappointed with the results--there's often an ingredient I can't get, a spice our local store doesn't have, etc. So it's more a treat to go to a restaurant, where it's made well, than feel like I'm wasting ingredients, resources, time, packaging, etc.
Care to share what's in your recycling bins?! Oh, and lately on The Guardian was a very disturbing article about plastic in our drinking water, contaminating land/farm land, oceans... We are living on a plastic planet.