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Blogging about giving up single use disposable plastic


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Ziplocks are my issue. I just can't seem to get rid of them. I've replaced my other storage with mason jars of various sizes or other glass. But, sometimes glass isn't practical. I'm thinking of sandwiches in lunchbox type thing. Suggestions appreciated

I use wax paper. My boys use plastic reusable sandwich containers. It's plastic but better than zip locks maybe. I think these look fun too. http://www.montessoriservices.com/wrap-n-mat-eco-print?m2k_source=bing_prod&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=NB_PLA_MSAllProducts_BING&utm_content=D50&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=bingshopping&utm_campaign=NB_PLA_MSAllProducts_BING&utm_content=Rb4brTWo_dt%7Cpcrid%7C12152174448%7Cpkw%7C%7Cpmt%7C%7C

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Has anyone found a good substitute for thin plastic produce bags for lettuce and other greens? I've given up most plastics but this is one area where I have not found a decent alternative.

 

And I agree about packaging--so much comes in plastic, it's nearly impossible to avoid.

 

Amy

I store my farmers market greens in a square of doubled up cheesecloth lightly tied. I suspect brown paper lunch sacks would also work.

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My plastic rant for the day:

 

It's my 10 yo's birthday today. She got a chess clock. The (plastic) clock was wrapped in plastic, the battery was separate. The battery was both shrink-wrapped and in a bubble wrap baggie. These pieces were put in a cardboard box which was then shrink-wrapped.  :willy_nilly:

 

batteries are somewhat understandable...for one thing they can leak.

 

not that I disagree that packaging can be excessive for toys...I one bought a My Little Pony set that was so excessively packaged I think even fine China wouldn't need such good packaging.  It was the craziest thing I ever saw!

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I just googled cheesecloth produce bags, an idea from a previous poster, and found a nice tutorial by a homeschooling mom.

 

http://thegirlbythesea.com/tutorials/cheesecloth-produce-bag-tutorial/

 

Thanks for starting this thread OP. I ordered some Lush shampoo bars to try and will make these cheesecloth produce bags so you have already inspired change in the world. Keep it up!

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I just googled cheesecloth produce bags, an idea from a previous poster, and found a nice tutorial by a homeschooling mom.

 

http://thegirlbythesea.com/tutorials/cheesecloth-produce-bag-tutorial/

 

Thanks for starting this thread OP. I ordered some Lush shampoo bars to try and will make these cheesecloth produce bags so you have already inspired change in the world. Keep it up!

Kalmia,  

 

Thanks so much!  

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Ziplocks are my issue.  I just can't seem to get rid of them.  I've replaced my other storage with mason jars of various sizes or other glass.  But, sometimes glass isn't practical.  I'm thinking of sandwiches in lunchbox type thing.  Suggestions appreciated

 

 

There's several different products from Mighty Nest which might work for you.  I subscribe to the "Mighty Fix" and I did get lunchskins for one of those.  I've also just ordered one of the silicone sandwich bags to try out, and then I'll probably order more of whichever one we like better.

 

By the way, that brings up a question.  I get that using a silicone sandwich bag is better because the silicone can be washed and re-used, whereas ziplock type bags are disposable.  But is silicone itself an eco-friendly, biodegradable product?  It doesn't seem like it would be, but I've never actually looked into it.

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We try to keep bags and/or our Clever Crate in the trunk (mainly for frozen/cold food), but yes, I do use disposable bags for bagging up the cat litter and lining my household trashcans like in the bathroom. I guess people that don't use bags don't line their little trash cans?? I mean in all seriousness, if you don't get grocery bags what do you use?

My mother, who is a first-rate seamstress, made me several fabric small can liners. (Think the type of fabric that a washable table cloth is made from.) I do not have one for ever single trashcan I own, but I have them in several (my bedroom, my bathroom, DS' bedroom, boy's bathroom and two in-house recycling bins.) I do have to wash them from time to time, but it is not hard to do.

 

With that said, I do use plastic bags for cat litter, and to line the other cans I don't have a liner for. Kitchen trash bags are standard plastic bags, too.

 

If my mother had not made them for me, the other way to obtain them would have been to buy a nylon diaper pail liner from a cloth diaper vendor. These are practically the same thing my mother made.

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My mother, who is a first-rate seamstress, made me several fabric small can liners. (Think the type of fabric that a washable table cloth is made from.) I do not have one for ever single trashcan I own, but I have them in several (my bedroom, my bathroom, DS' bedroom, boy's bathroom and two in-house recycling bins.) I do have to wash them from time to time, but it is not hard to do.

 

With that said, I do use plastic bags for cat litter, and to line the other cans I don't have a liner for. Kitchen trash bags are standard plastic bags, too.

 

If my mother had not made them for me, the other way to obtain them would have been to buy a nylon diaper pail liner from a cloth diaper vendor. These are practically the same thing my mother made.

 

What a cool idea!

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There's several different products from Mighty Nest which might work for you.  I subscribe to the "Mighty Fix" and I did get lunchskins for one of those.  I've also just ordered one of the silicone sandwich bags to try out, and then I'll probably order more of whichever one we like better.

 

By the way, that brings up a question.  I get that using a silicone sandwich bag is better because the silicone can be washed and re-used, whereas ziplock type bags are disposable.  But is silicone itself an eco-friendly, biodegradable product?  It doesn't seem like it would be, but I've never actually looked into it.

 

This is the same argument with a lot of the reusable shopping bags. They are made in such a way with such materials that you'd have to use some of them more than 100 times to have it work out better (in terms of environmental impact) than just using the regular ole plastic bags they give out.

 

I don't know the answer to your question.  I suppose the other aspect is it probably saves you money. 

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This is the same argument with a lot of the reusable shopping bags. They are made in such a way with such materials that you'd have to use some of them more than 100 times to have it work out better (in terms of environmental impact) than just using the regular ole plastic bags they give out.

 

But that's not hard -  100 uses is just one year of two shopping trips per week.

 

The two bags I currently use most for my shopping have been serving me well for at least 4 years.

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But that's not hard - 100 uses is just one year of two shopping trips per week.

 

The two bags I currently use most for my shopping have been serving me well for at least 4 years.

Yeah, mine seem to be holding up well so far. I've had them for a few years now. They only cost $1 to purchase, and my grocery store gives me 5 cents back each time I use one, so they are more than paid for. They're made of plastic, though, so I had thought about replacing them with canvas when they wear out. But then I read that cotton is one of the most ecologically destructive crops. So, I don't know which is better. The harder I try the more confusing thins get! But I'll keep trying anyway.

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Yeah, mine seem to be holding up well so far. I've had them for a few years now. They only cost $1 to purchase, and my grocery store gives me 5 cents back each time I use one, so they are more than paid for. They're made of plastic, though, so I had thought about replacing them with canvas when they wear out. But then I read that cotton is one of the most ecologically destructive crops. So, I don't know which is better. The harder I try the more confusing thins get! But I'll keep trying anyway.

I just started reading Beth Terry's book Plastic Free and she mentions that hemp bags are better because they take a lot less resources to make.  She also talks about several different entrepreneurial bag companies:  EcoBags   and another called Chico Bags

 

She also talked about the need to wash the bags.  Someone mentioned somewhere in this thread that they were on immune suppressing meds and that is why they used plastic bags, but apparently if you wash your bags you can keep them bacteria free.  A lot of people apparently don't think about washing them.

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I just read a good tip on how to remember to bring those bags in with you to the store.  This is a really common problem.  One person though just had the groceries put back into the cart after she had bought them, rolled the cart out to her car and bagged them right at her car!  And this had the benefit of breaking the cycle of forgetting the next time.  She remembered having to do this and it spurred her to remember to bring the bags in with her.

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I just started reading Beth Terry's book Plastic Free and she mentions that hemp bags are better because they take a lot less resources to make.  She also talks about several different entrepreneurial bag companies:  EcoBags   and another called Chico Bags

 

She also talked about the need to wash the bags.  Someone mentioned somewhere in this thread that they were on immune suppressing meds and that is why they used plastic bags, but apparently if you wash your bags you can keep them bacteria free.  A lot of people apparently don't think about washing them.

 

 

Thank you so much for this information!

 

My bags all have different colors/designs on them, so I do keep one as a designated bag for raw meats.  I just ask them to put all of the meat in that one when I check out.  And I do wash them.  Perhaps not as often as I should....

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I just read a good tip on how to remember to bring those bags in with you to the store.  This is a really common problem.  One person though just had the groceries put back into the cart after she had bought them, rolled the cart out to her car and bagged them right at her car!  And this had the benefit of breaking the cycle of forgetting the next time.  She remembered having to do this and it spurred her to remember to bring the bags in with her.

 

Right, but will the store allow that?  The store I usually go to wigs out.  Seriously.  They insist on putting stickers on everything that isn't in a bag.  So if I said I want everything thrown back into the cart...I'm wondering if they would do it.

 

Which I think is absolutely ridiculous of course.  I would just hate to have to debate it with them every time I go there. 

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Right, but will the store allow that?  The store I usually go to wigs out.  Seriously.  They insist on putting stickers on everything that isn't in a bag.  So if I said I want everything thrown back into the cart...I'm wondering if they would do it.

 

Which I think is absolutely ridiculous of course.  I would just hate to have to debate it with them every time I go there. 

 

 

Do they have someone at the door who checks to make sure that things are bagged and/or stickered?  (Is "stickered" a word? because spellcheck does not seem to recognize it!)  The only place I've been to here that checks you at the door is Costco, so I'm a little surprised that a regular supermarket would bother.  I live in a pretty high crime city, and even so I've never encountered a grocery store that bothers with that.  

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Right, but will the store allow that?  The store I usually go to wigs out.  Seriously.  They insist on putting stickers on everything that isn't in a bag.  So if I said I want everything thrown back into the cart...I'm wondering if they would do it.

 

Which I think is absolutely ridiculous of course.  I would just hate to have to debate it with them every time I go there. 

Well, if the store wigs out, hopefully that will help you to remember to bring your bags in!!!  Nothing like creating a scene to help change our bad habits!!!  

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They're made of plastic, though, so I had thought about replacing them with canvas when they wear out. But then I read that cotton is one of the most ecologically destructive crops. So, I don't know which is better. The harder I try the more confusing thins get!

 

Every choice we make has ecological cost. Ecologically, the best would be to commit suicide and have a  green burial. Next would be not to procreate; bringing children into the world consumes more resources than all our individual efforts to lead an environmentally friendly life save.

 

Don't overthink what the shopping bags are made of. The amount of fabric needed pales in comparison to our clothes, and the amount of fossil fuel used to make our reusable shopping bags is negligible compared to the amount we use to drive our cars.

One can only do so much if one chooses to live and have a family.

Edited by regentrude
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I just read a good tip on how to remember to bring those bags in with you to the store.

 

 

Or you could simply pick up a cardboard box AT the store, repack groceries, and take them to the car. For people who shop by car and not on foot, boxes have the advantage of standing more stable in the trunk and holding more than a bag.

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Yeah, mine seem to be holding up well so far. I've had them for a few years now. They only cost $1 to purchase, and my grocery store gives me 5 cents back each time I use one, so they are more than paid for. They're made of plastic, though, so I had thought about replacing them with canvas when they wear out. But then I read that cotton is one of the most ecologically destructive crops. So, I don't know which is better. The harder I try the more confusing thins get! But I'll keep trying anyway.

 

 

Are they maybe made of recycled plastic? If so, then you're not only reducing the amount of plastic you consume, but you're also helping to re-use the plastic that others consume. 

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Do they have someone at the door who checks to make sure that things are bagged and/or stickered?  (Is "stickered" a word? because spellcheck does not seem to recognize it!)  The only place I've been to here that checks you at the door is Costco, so I'm a little surprised that a regular supermarket would bother.  I live in a pretty high crime city, and even so I've never encountered a grocery store that bothers with that.  

 

No.  Only places like Costco does that.

 

You know, I'm going to try it out.  I want to see what they will say about it.

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Or you could simply pick up a cardboard box AT the store, repack groceries, and take them to the car. For people who shop by car and not on foot, boxes have the advantage of standing more stable in the trunk and holding more than a bag.

 

Aldi is the only place I know of who leaves cardboard out for people to take.  I don't see that anywhere else.

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Every choice we make has ecological cost. Ecologically, the best would be to commit suicide and have a  green burial. Next would be not to procreate; bringing children into the world consumes more resources than all our individual efforts to lead an environmentally friendly life save.

 

Don't overthink what the shopping bags are made of. The amount of fabric needed pales in comparison to our clothes, and the amount of fossil fuel used to make our reusable shopping bags is negligible compared to the amount we use to drive our cars.

One can only do so much if one chooses to live and have a family.

 

 

Yes, I want to be smart about it, but not obsessed.  I also had the thought that all of this pales in comparison to the driving that I do.  And I read somewhere that while we tend to think more about turning off a light switch when we leave the room, the amount of energy that uses is insignificant compared to that extra minute we spend in the shower, which we usually don't think twice about.  I do want to know things like that so that I can be aware and not be wasteful.  But I also want to live and enjoy my life.

 

It was not my choice (husband's choice) to limit ourselves to one child.  So perhaps because we are "replacing" the two of us with only one person in the next generation, I can let myself off the hook about some other things?  :D

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No.  Only places like Costco does that.

 

You know, I'm going to try it out.  I want to see what they will say about it.

 

 

I wonder why they bother giving you stickers, if no one is checking for stickers!  Maybe it's just a psychological trick to make the customers aware that the store is being careful about theft.

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I wonder why they bother giving you stickers, if no one is checking for stickers!  Maybe it's just a psychological trick to make the customers aware that the store is being careful about theft.

 

Well there are cameras..maybe the security ppl look out for it?  I really don't know.  Seems stupid.

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They're not.   :(

 

Ah well. When you finally need to buy new ones, maybe buy recycled plastic ones. I have a few and I've even thrown them in the washing machine, inside out. I just don't machine dry them. They're slightly rumpled but otherwise work just fine. 

 

You've still made a net positive change overall  :cheers2:  We have to do what we can, where we can, but some things we have to let go or we'll go crazy and give up altogether. I've almost exclusively used re-usable feminine products for years, but now that I'm getting older and things are getting...unpredictable, I use a total of two-three disposable things each month. It bothers me, but overall I'm saving many more than that (plus probably some excess water and detergent, ahem) with each cycle. 

 

Don't make yourself nuts over it.

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This is the same argument with a lot of the reusable shopping bags. They are made in such a way with such materials that you'd have to use some of them more than 100 times to have it work out better (in terms of environmental impact) than just using the regular ole plastic bags they give out.

 

I don't know the answer to your question. I suppose the other aspect is it probably saves you money.

Mine are canvas. I've had them for about 4 years.
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Yes, I want to be smart about it, but not obsessed. I also had the thought that all of this pales in comparison to the driving that I do. And I read somewhere that while we tend to think more about turning off a light switch when we leave the room, the amount of energy that uses is insignificant compared to that extra minute we spend in the shower, which we usually don't think twice about. :D

Helped my dd do an AP Environmental Science project this weekend about electricity usage. This site seemed to have good info http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/general.html

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Mine are canvas. I've had them for about 4 years.

 

I'd love to find some decent canvas ones.  The Aldi ones are good.  The older ones.  Just bought one of their newer ones made from recycled plastic.  Flimsy.  I doubt that thing is going to hold up.  But the other ones.  Love those.  Except you cannot wash them.  Which I hate. 

 

And I know..we've had this whole washing discussion.  I hate that I cannot wash these bags.  They get gross.  Why did nobody think to make washable ones?

Edited by SparklyUnicorn
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And I know..we've had this whole washing discussion.  I hate that I cannot wash these bags.  They get gross.  Why did nobody think to make washable ones?

 

There are washable ones. Canvas bags are washable. Mine are all washable - the cotton bags, the heavier canvas ones, the plastic ones.

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Machine washable?  Do you have a link?  I need to buy some of those.

 

The fabric ones are machine washable. At least that's how I wash them. I don't have a link; I acquired them over the years - some cotton bags from Germany, some heavier canvas totes from a publisher and Natl Geo. The plastic ones I wash with a rug and hot soapy water; they have a glossy surface. 

I would assume any canvas bag you can find on amazon to be machine washable.

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The fabric ones are machine washable. At least that's how I wash them. I don't have a link; I acquired them over the years - some cotton bags from Germany, some heavier canvas totes from a publisher and Natl Geo. The plastic ones I wash with a rug and hot soapy water; they have a glossy surface. 

I would assume any canvas bag you can find on amazon to be machine washable.

 

I washed some of the Aldi fabric ones.  They started falling apart shortly after. 

 

I have some cotton ones from Germany, but they are way too small. 

 

I did at one point look high and low for good bags that can handle being washed in a machine and oddly they are not easy to come by!

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Ah well. When you finally need to buy new ones, maybe buy recycled plastic ones. I have a few and I've even thrown them in the washing machine, inside out. I just don't machine dry them. They're slightly rumpled but otherwise work just fine. 

 

You've still made a net positive change overall  :cheers2:  We have to do what we can, where we can, but some things we have to let go or we'll go crazy and give up altogether. I've almost exclusively used re-usable feminine products for years, but now that I'm getting older and things are getting...unpredictable, I use a total of two-three disposable things each month. It bothers me, but overall I'm saving many more than that (plus probably some excess water and detergent, ahem) with each cycle. 

 

Don't make yourself nuts over it.

 

I appreciate the encouragement!  I'm trying to gradually make changes, and be aware of which changes are priorities, but not, like you said, make myself nuts about it.  Hey, I'm doing better than I was a few years ago, so that's something!

 

Helped my dd do an AP Environmental Science project this weekend about electricity usage. This site seemed to have good info http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/general.html

 

 

 

Thank you!  

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I have some cotton ones from Germany, but they are way too small. 

 

I hear you- but keep in mind that those are mostly used by people who carry their groceries home on foot :)

My 75 year old mother walks 1.5 miles, a hill, and 76 stairs, with her shopping. The German cotton bags are a good size for that.

I have made the mistake of taking too large bags shopping, and packed them full... oh my.

 

Have you looked on Amazon? I put in "canvas bags" and got lots of hits. They looked sizable to me.

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http://www.ecobags.com/Canvas-Shopping-Tote-Bag-Natural-Cotton?sc=2&category=4

 

I wash my Ecobags, I just don't dry them. They work just fine. 

 

That said, though, I've also machine washed plastic and fabric grocery bags too. Gentle cycle, hang dry, no problem. I don't do it a lot, but when I brought home meat or something leaked, I wash the bag. No big deal. 

Edited by ILiveInFlipFlops
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I love all the brainstorming going on.  Who would've thought grocery bags could get so complicated!  I have some bags I wash and some I don't.  It really depends on the material.  But the bags I don't wash I usually put stuff in that doesn't get it dirty, jars, packages of pasta, canned foods, stuff that is in its own bag already, etc.  The bags that touch the food like produce or bread, those I wash.  

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I hear you- but keep in mind that those are mostly used by people who carry their groceries home on foot :)

My 75 year old mother walks 1.5 miles, a hill, and 76 stairs, with her shopping. The German cotton bags are a good size for that.

I have made the mistake of taking too large bags shopping, and packed them full... oh my.

 

Have you looked on Amazon? I put in "canvas bags" and got lots of hits. They looked sizable to me.

 

Yeah but wowsers on the price.

 

I dried one of those cotton Germany bags in the dryer and it shrunk!  Oops 

 

My BIL sent me a very large shopping bag.  Guess what it had on it?  It was New York themed basically.  LOL  I live in NY!  He's so goofy. 

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http://www.ecobags.com/Canvas-Shopping-Tote-Bag-Natural-Cotton?sc=2&category=4

 

I wash my Ecobags, I just don't dry them. They work just fine. 

 

That said, though, I've also machine washed plastic and fabric grocery bags too. Gentle cycle, hang dry, no problem. I don't do it a lot, but when I brought home meat or something leaked, I wash the bag. No big deal. 

 

The price is killing me.  I feel like I could make these bags for less.  But maybe I'm wrong.  I'll have to price material.

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The price is killing me.  I feel like I could make these bags for less.  But maybe I'm wrong.  I'll have to price material.

 

$8 for a bag that lasts several years? Looks nice and sturdy.

How long would it take you to sew the bag? I mean, material is one thing, but there is also time.

Edited by regentrude
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$8 for a bag that lasts several years? Looks nice and sturdy.

How long would it take you to sew the bag? I mean, material is one thing, but there is also time.

 

Time is definitely part of it.  I agree there.

 

I guess.  I'd want about 10 of those things. Or maybe 8 of those and 2 larger ones. 

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I have mesh produce bags, but the guys at our outdoor fruit and veg market give me such a hard time about them. Some weeks I can't make myself take them and have the endless conversations in my terrible toddler Turkish. I do use canvas shopping bags. Most of them I've had for ages and I do wash them. We use reusable water bottles and I don't buy coffee to go unless it's an emergency. My local coffee guys now know I like an actual mug if I'm on the premises. I've moved to glass containers for leftovers and storage, though most have plastic lids of course. I wash and wash ziplocs over and over so one box lasts a really long time. I don't line trash cans. Just empty and wash. (Kitchen trash the exception.) Next on my list is the cling wrap I use for daily packed lunches. I've seen these: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01CJFYSWE?psc=1 but I'd need about three sets and I'm having a hard time with the price tag.

 

So my question: what kind of material are these made of if I want to attempt something like this myself?

 

I think the other big thing we need (my family) to tackle next is just reducing the amount we buy in general. Also making the choice NOT to buy something convenient due to the packaging. Yesterday I passed by strawberries on a styrofoam tray wrapped in cling wrap, knowing I could get strawberries at the open air market on Thursday without the packaging. I just need to do more of that.

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