Reducing Plastic: It’s EASY!

by Tammy Taylor~

Y’all know I hate plastic.  A LOT.  Is our home plastic free?  Oh no, of course not.  Yeah I’ll push back against plastic waste wherever possible but there’s certainly no perfection here at the Taylor Household!  Is it the same for you?

Sometimes the very magnitude of the problem makes you wonder “why bother?”.  Whelp, there are as many reasons as there are points of view.  But here’s why I make the effort in our home.

Reducing Plastic is important in the Taylor household. But the plastic problem seems so big - why bother?? Don't worry, it's easy to be mindful of plastic waste! #TxHomesteader

Each of us Can Make A Difference

That picture says it all.  “What difference does ONE plastic bottle make?” said 7.6 BILLION people.  This speaks to me.  We can all make a difference in our own homes.  As an added bonus, it oftentimes saves a little cold, hard cash too!

“But how do I even start to reduce plastic in my home?” you wonder.  Well I’m so glad you asked!

Pre-Cycling

Now recycling is an important part of reducing waste.  So is repurposing.  But to me, much more importantly is PRE-Cycling (ie: not bringing it home in the first place.)  Sometimes all it takes is asking if there are un-wrapped items in the back as I learned recently when visiting my local grocery store.  Never hurts to ask!

Reducing Plastic is important in the Taylor household. But the plastic problem seems so big - why bother?? Don't worry, it's easy to be mindful of plastic waste! #TxHomesteader

PRE-cycling is more important than recycling or repurposing

so my sights are always set there first.

Make instead of Buy

There are a few things I’ve learned to make myself instead of buying and this has reduced my plastic in my kitchen quite a bit.  A biggie is my daily yogurt that no longer comes in that dang plastic tub I used to buy it in.  My homemade Yogurt is now made at home in reusable 1/2-pint single serve canning jars.  No more plastic yogurt tubs to try to repurpose or recycle.

I’ve also learned to make my own Corn Tortillas,  CakesBrownies,   Pancakes & more quickly & easily. And recently I even learned to make Graham Crackers.

You may not have time to make all your food at home, but attempting one or two of your faves could yield surprising (and delicious) results.  It will also reduce your plastic waste and save ya a few bucks too.  And who doesn’t love homemade??!

Repurposing

Living out here means we don’t have the same bulk-food options as someone living in a city with more options available to them.  Oh of course when we trek to a bigger city we always make sure to stop into a bulk store & buy what we need, but most of our shopping is done a little closer to home.  So for instance the bag that contained those dry beans I purchased will still come home with me from time to time.  When plastic does come into our home I always attempt to repurpose it to another use.

For instance, that bag that held dry beans?  It’s used to section off single-serving-sizes of entrees from my cook-once, eat-twice cooking to tuck into the freezer.  I simply section off meal-sized servings & place them into these small plastic bags that seem to find their way into our home.  Then to protect them from freezer burn I tuck them into a gallon-sized freezer bag.  I also add a piece of paper identifying the contents (because all frozen food looks the same #amiright??)

Now a quick homemade meal is always as close as my freezer.  Plus I don’t have to buy all those individual plastic bags to hold my dinner-sized entrees in the freezer.  The one gallon-sized freezer bag can be used over & over again (as long as it’s not held raw meat) because since the food was actually contained in my repurposed bag, food really never even touched the freezer bag.  A quick rinse & it’s ready for action again.  And again.  And…  Hey you’ve got plastic bags coming into your home, might as well put them to use!  (see saving money statement above)

Recycling

I’m mindful of my purchases and where possible I choose options either without plastic or with the least amount of plastic. But living out here we only have the options that we have.  Oh sure it’d be great to visit the bulk section of a store, loading up my glass jars with bulk purchases.  But that’s not possible for us without driving great distances, which would not be an environmentally responsible thing to do.

So I do the best with the options I have.  The plastic that does end up here at home not suitable for repurposing is recycled along with any other recyclable materials. But I fully realize that recycling is only the last resort, not a solution.

So there are a few simple ways I’m able to reduce plastic in my home.  Reducing plastic is important to me so any extra steps I take are insignificant in my mind.  Plus as I said, it’s often a money saver too!

~TxH~

 

 

 

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7 thoughts on “Reducing Plastic: It’s EASY!

  1. Nancy

    I have been looking up patterns for making cloth bags and came across a few interesting ones. One is to go to a coffee shop that grinds their own beans, (I don’t think any other state can compare to Washington for coffee shops) they give the bags away and they can be made into wonderful bags. The other is, and I was actually searching for something like this, is to go to a second hand store and get a sheer curtain. You can make several bags for the fruit and veggies, and they would work for the dry bulk foods, too. They would be light (for the weight), reusable, and washable.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I love reusable bags, and I love my handmade basket too for shopping, Nancy. Every single plastic shopping bag you don’t use is one more that doesn’t need to be disposed of – good for you!! Every step we take makes a difference. And I’ve got some of the sheer-curtain bags yo mentioned, they work beautifully. Go for it! ~TMH~

      Reply
  2. Evelyn Edgett

    I wash out and reuse plastic bags all the time. When I was married to ex years ago, he saw me do this, and came completely unglued, forbidding me to ever do it again. The Redneck on the other hand, asked me why I did it, had me explain my process of doing it, saw how much I save by doing it, and said, “Okay baby, go for it!” *SIGH* Cute AND brilliant–I like that in a man!

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Ugh, it’s so hard when spouses aren’t on the same page #amiright Evelyn?? Good for you for finding your cute, brilliant, on-the-same-page Prince Charming! 🙂 ~TMH~

      Reply
    2. candace

      Cute and brilliant, what a great combo. I’ve got that with the bird man who has lived with me for the past 20 or so years. Not so much my children’s father who said “If God had intended for people to can their own food he would not have invented grocery stores.” He was great in a couple of other ways tho.

      Reply
  3. candace

    Hi, Yes, the 3 R’s and of course the first is reduce. Years ago when I had home delivery of the newspaper they started putting it in long skinny plastic bags. I saved them one and all. I gave them to friends who had to pick up after their dogs, I still have some and find uses for them. I also saved paper grocery bags, triple bagged them and we are using paper bags that might be 10 or 12 years old (a little duck tape now and then helps hold them together just fine) We drive about 50 miles once a week for food, supplies, banking, the Good Will stores, etc so we can shop at a store that has a big bulk section and I have saved their plastic produce/bulk bags and reuse them all the time. As you said, anything that had meat in it is not rinseable to me. I have a bazillion cloth bags, people seem to give them to me. They live in the car and only get to come in the house when they have shopping in them. On a related note, when I first started taking my own bags to the store (not just grocery but hardware and everything) I’d forget to put them in the car (they live there now) and or forget to take them into the store. I had to leave my cart full of paid for groceries at the desk, run out to the car for the bags – gaak – It only took a couple of those trips before I could remember to grab the bags. One other thing I have started doing involves olives etc from the olive bar. Now, along with my bags I keep a couple (from my collection of hundreds) of the tubs and the lids with the produce bags that I have saved so whenever I am feeling the need of some goodie off that olive bar I don’t have to add to my collection of those tubs. It all really takes so little effort and if 7.9 billion people even did one little three r activity on the regular maybe we could reduce those big floating islands of plastic trash in the ocean, save a few more sea birds and fish and mammals.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I’ve heard that remembering to bring those reusable bags into the store is a challenge for lots of people, Candace. But good for you for going through the effort of leaving your purchases and going back out to get your bags! I’d think many would just sigh and resign to do better next time but not you – oh no! You did what it took to use ’em! But as you said, that step helped ingrain the habit for you. And I love your zero-waste olive bar solution. Clever woman, you are!! ~TMH~

      Reply

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