Thanks to current media, including the most recent Nat Geo cover, concerns around unnecessary plastic use and disposal is in our face now more than ever. Awareness makes me
1. Bee's Wrap/Abeego Wrap: Full transparency, I struggled with Bee's Wrap when I first received it in my MightyFix subscription (subscription information below). I had a hard time getting it to stick to itself, especially when comparing it to aluminum foil. This does take some practice and patience, but eventually these alternative wraps do wear in and work well. Pro tip, warm the wrap with your hands for better adhesion. Bonus, these wraps do not absorb smells and are really easy to clean - be sure to hand wash them with lukewarm water (not hot, to preserve the wax).
2. Silicone lids: I don't know what rock I have been living under to have just discovered these, but these work REALLY well. My silicone lid was a freebie from a Norwex party that I hosted, but I thoroughly love it. It suctions to bowls really nicely and can be a much quicker solution than warming a wrap. Also, it is super easy to hand wash. Again, mine is Norwex and I can vouch for the quality of it, but there are a lot of silicone lids on the market.
3. Food containers: Ok, you can obviously use any type of container, but I prefer glass (cleans better and I don't have nightmares over chemicals leaching into our leftovers). This may sound obvious, but take an honest peek into your fridge and take inventory of what you are storing in either wrap or baggies when a basic container would have sufficed. I highly recommend keeping your stash well-stocked with several sizes of containers to make your life easier, which will make your less likely to reach for the plastic wrap/aluminum foil.
4. Mason jars: If I can be honest (and slightly shameless), let me just say that I was on the mason jar train long before it became a trend. I think mason jars are SO multi-purpose, whether it is food storage, smoothie transfers, hummus preservation, fermentation vessels, or just to simply use to enjoy a glass of water/kombucha/iced coffee/beer. Mason jars are incredibly easy to find for cheap (Target is NOT the place to get them cheap), so be on the lookout for jars at Goodwill/Savers/Consignment shops. I HIGHLY recommend investing in these plastic lids - they are much easier to clean than the standard metal ones and have been life-changing (not over exaggerating).
Plastic baggies: Ugh, plastic baggies. They seem like a necessary evil and a really hard habit to break, but are incredibly detrimental to the environment. Let's cover both food storage baggies and grocery bags. For the last 8-10 months, I have paid close attention to how we have used plastic bags go and here is what I came up with: human food (duh), transporting food for Penny, TSA travel baggies, poop bags (woof), groceries and produce at the grocery store and here how I combatted it.
1. Reusable baggies: There are A LOT of options on the market for reusable baggies including bumkins, rezip, general silicone, and the Cadillac of reusable baggies, the Stasher bag. I mean, reusable baggies are so trendy right now, they are even being sold at Anthropology! I have a variety of bumkins (with a bike design) and 1 prized Stasher. The bumkins work really well, do not absorb flavor or smell, are are easy to clean. I have used our bumkins for food storage, toothbrush protector (uhm, the mouth of my tooth brush canNOT be exposed while we are traveling) and snacks on the go (popcorn, always popcorn). I have used my prized Stasher for several things including as a transparent 3:2:1 TSA liquid baggie. As soon as I am gainfully employed, I plan to increase our Stasher stock aaaaaand they may be on my birthday list too (Leo season is approaching). Reusable baggies can seem like an investment, but just imagine not having to buy plastic baggies EVER again - I see a quick financial ROI and an immediate environmental VOI (value on investment, peeps).
2. Reusable grocery bags: I won't say much about this because I would be very surprised if every single one of you do not have a stash of these as they seem to be a consistent freebie at various events. I can tell you that I will not go grocery shopping unless I either have my bags or know that the store will have a paper option (which will then be reused our house). I tend to have a stash of bags in my car (they fold up and tuck really nicely in any compartment) as well as a stash under our kitchen sink (also, neatly folded up and easy to access, mainly for Mr. L). This is BY FAR the easiest switch you can make, please do it. My hearts shimmers every time someone thanks me for bringing my bags and yours will too. To touch on produce bags, I just don't use them. I honestly do not see the point in transporting 5 apples or 3 lemons in a plastic bag when I am going to have the wash the produce when I get home anyway. I will say that I have noticed Trader Joe's started stocking compostable produce bags - thank ya, baby Jesus!
3. #2 doggie bags: OOOOOK, this is absolutely a necessary evil, but dogs are worth it. I fell in love with Mr. L all over again when I came home to an awesome metal pooper scooper for the house, so we could stop using baggies to pick up Penny's #2s with baggies. Simple switches, people. However, we do walk Penny outside of our yard and we happen to be responsible dog owners - yes, I have lost a bag on a walk, walked home to get another one and walked back to take care of my dog's business. The bags we buy are Earth Rated, which are made out of 100% recyclable materials including the cardboard core and box. They also offer a 100% plastic-free option made out of vegetable-based materials that can be composted (fun fact: I didn't know they had this option, so we will be switching to these like yesterday).
And let's be honest, there are just somethings that you may need to use these items for. For us, it's pre-making breakfast burritos for camping trips to throw on the fire or using plastic baggies to disperse scobies (literally, the only thing I use baggies for!).