Earth Day Reevaluation


| 4/13/2016 3:45:00 PM


Tags: recycling, reducing plastic use, Sheila Julson,

Sheila JulsonSpring is a time of rebirth and renewal, and April welcomes an unofficial holiday that really makes me want to take stock and start fresh — Earth Day. During this time, I take stock of sustainable lifestyle choices that I’m proud of and also look for ways to improve.

At the beginning of the year, my household made it a priority to further reduce plastic waste. (A Google search of “Are plastics really being recycled?” turns up countless articles about how some plastics, especially #3 through #7, are not.) While it’s difficult to avoid all plastic in today’s world, in the spirit of Earth Day, I figured that now would be the ideal time to take stock of what has worked well for my family over time to reduce plastic use, how we’re succeeding, and in what areas we can improve:

Things we’ve eliminated/reduced:

Shampoo bottles: I gradually switched from commercial shampoos to homemade liquid shampoo crafted from castile soap and essential oils. But even castile soap is sold in a plastic bottle. I went a step further and found a locally made, small-batch artisan bar shampoo, packaged in nothing but a biodegradable paper wrapper. It has that luxurious lather, as well as a pleasant scent and no harmful added chemicals.

Condiment bottles: For a minimal time investment of making our own condiments, we’ve not only created tastier, healthier foods, but we’ve also reduced excess plastic bottles. Our homemade barbecue sauce, salad dressing, jams, salsa and more are stored in Mason jars or repurposed glass jars.

Plastic wrap/food storage bags: I think we’ve all fought with plastic wrap and have either ended up with a wadded useless clump, or with bandaged fingers from that wicked serrated metal edge on the box. I also can’t help but wonder how many single-use food storage bags and discarded plastic wrap is clogging the earth. We reuse grocery produce bags or wrappers that tortilla shells are packaged in as our “baggies”. We also cover a half-eaten bowls of leftovers with a saucers or plates, thus saving money and plastic waste.




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