Updated: Oct 23, 2019
This post is going up a little later than I wanted because, well, tiny humans, but July is “Plastic free July” & I’ve decided to participate! There’s no wrong way to do it either. Go big, cut out all of the single use plastics or just do a little bit, cut out some single use plastics you use often. Every little bit helps, & maybe this month you will find that those changes are totally doable all the time, not just this month. I’ve decided to start smaller, with plastics I use often, & replace them with better options. My July goal is to cut out using plastic bags, Ziploc bags, plastic cling wrap, plastic straws & plastic water bottles. I try to avoid using all of these to some extent already, but I hope to cut them completely this month, no being lazy. Below are some of the products I currently use as plastic alternatives.
Colibri Canada Reusable bags – I love these bags. They come in a wide variety of sizes, prints & uses, so there is something to suit pretty much any need. They carry wet bags & double duty wet/dry in varying sizes from XL, to carry laundry, or in my case, clean extra outfits for girls & a they have a spot to put the wet dirty clothes after a change, to pocket sized for items like cloth pads, those essential oils or other small toiletries. My favourite items they carry are their array of snack bags. I use the large size to carry big sandwiches or load up a bunch of snacks for the diaper bag, the small size is perfect for packing loose snacks like goldfish crackers, nuts or delicious GORP bars, mmm. But, the best part about these bags is that they are machine washable! Um, yeah, machine washable, bonus points in my books! If they just need a quick clean, turn them inside out and rinse out those crumbies, but if they need a thorough clean, you just have to toss them in your washing machine on cold & dry on low. You can hand wash them too, but I love convenience! These bags can replace so many plastic options, especially those pesky Ziploc style bags. They also make great gifts & goodie-bags! I am adding some of the small snack sized ones to my daughter’s 3rd birthday goodie-bags, probably pre-filled with snacks for the kids.
Colibri Reusable Straws - Ah yes, the wonderful Colibri Canada also makes reusable silicone straws! In fact, they are the only ones made in Canada. Plastic straws are hard to avoid, without thinking they are handed to you any time you order a cold drink. All those tasty frapps & iced capps, so many straws, & those red iced capp straws, thanks to the red dye in them can’t be recycled everywhere either. This is a big change I am trying to accomplish. With two tiny humans, the drive-thru is life, I intend on saying, “no thank you” to the plastic straws & bringing my silicone ones instead. And these Colibri silicone straws are easy to clean, especially with the cleaning brush they also carry. And those reusable bags I mentioned above; the wide snack bag is the perfect size to hold those silicone straws & keep them clean on the go.
Brita Filtered Water Bottle – Really any reusable water bottle will do, but I love my Brita, a little extra filter for super fresh taste. I’m a firm believer in drinking our tap water, I mean, its essentially free & its clean. We are so lucky to live where we can just turn on a tap and have safe water to use & drink, so why are we killing the planet that gives us that water, for what? Convenience? Is it really that much more convenient to buy a bottle than to fill a bottle? Clearly this is a huge pet peeve for me, I truly do not understand why people need plastic water bottles, boggles my mind. One water bottle filter can replace up to 300 standard 500 ml single-use plastic bottles. Stay hydrated, save money, and reduce plastic waste. Anyway, don’t be that guy, just find a reusable bottle you like & take that bad boy everywhere you go! Plus, I find when I carry around my bottle I tend to drink way more water, so it’s a healthy choice too.
Reusable Shopping Bags – Okay, I don’t have a specific “brand” I love, but like the water-bottle, any reusable bag will do. I work in a grocery store, so plastic bag use is something I am very aware of. Bring reusable bags, any brand, any size, when we pack your bags, we don't care. Being a busy, forgetful mom of 2 littles, I totally get that bringing a reusable bag is the last thing on your mind when you run to the store for a quick trip, but even if you forget your bags there are ways around using plastic. The obvious, buy your 400th reusable bag to use then proceed to forget it at home as well (thanks mom brain), or shop Costco style and throw it loose in your car until you get home where those pesky bags are hiding. Just think, you run to the store say 3 times a week, each time you get around 3 plastic bags worth of groceries. That's 9 a week, 36 a month & 432 bags a year. That is a lot of bags you alone can keep from the landfill. If by some chance you can’t avoid using a plastic bag, many grocery stores, such as Sobeys & I believe Safeways have bins at the front of the store where you can bring back your plastic bags to be recycled.
Beeswax Wraps – Beeswax wraps are an awesome alternative to plastic cling wrap. You can wrap food, & cover bowls with them, & they actually keep your food fresher longer than plastic wrap. I can put an avocado half in the fridge in a beeswax wrap & it stays for at least 4 days before going off, whereas when I use plastic wrap, the next day it’s already starting to look funky. I own wraps from the Farmer’s Daughter, but you can find these wraps all over the place these days, likely at any local market for sure. I need to get my hands on some more wraps, because it does take a decent supply of them to make it easier to avoid plastic wrap. Beeswax wraps are also pretty easy to wash, just a little soap & water (never hot water) & a scrub, air dry & they are good as new. After a lot of use they may need a pick-me-up, but you just need to refresh & re-set your wrap (Click here for information on that)
When it comes to avoiding plastic, there are so many ways to do it, it just comes down to putting in the effort. To quote C.S. Lewis, "You can't go back & change the beginning, but you can start where you are, & change the ending." So, let’s change the ending. I am challenging you to make change, make a change, big or small this month. Maybe you will start new habits that are better for our planet, better for our future, maybe you won’t, but there I no knowing until you try.
Throughout this post you will find links to some products I use, but here is a link from the Plastic Free July website with resources & tips on how you can reduce plastic waste.