Drinking Water

Published on August 9th, 2011 | by Vivian Nelson Melle

7

5 Ways to Wean Off Plastic

plastic bags

Plastic bags clutter landscape

{cc photo courtesy of Zainub on Flickr}

Water bottles were one of the first items that got people thinking about the connection of containers to the environment. Reusable water containers are now readily available with a wave of change is moving away from plastic bottles. With so much still to do you can keep it going by following these 5 other simple ways to wean off of plastic.

1. Replace Plastic Bags

Plastic bags clog landfills and endanger wildlife but there are alternatives that work just as well if not better. Shopping bags have a myriad of replacements on the market which are stronger and hold more. Sealable cloth bags are finding their way into lunch boxes offering storage for sandwiches, crackers and even fruit. Cloth storage bags are even available for pantry items and most can be purchased by indie artisans and small business owners.

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About the Author

Vivian Nelson Melle is a former educator and community counselor who decided to follow her dream of writing. She balances work to home school her daughter and enjoy crafting, photography, gardening, natural healing, cooking and anything that helps heal the earth and its inhabitants. She also writes for Green Living Ideas, Ecolocalizer, Mamita’s Creations and Phoenix Neighborhood Blogger. She is a writer for hire with a soft spot in her heart for non-profits and indie businesses.



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  • Fountain pens? You’re not a southpaw, are you. When I meet a fellow lefty too young to have grown up with fountain pens, I call them “Lucky Lefty” because they didn’t have to live through that hell. Must be a better alternative. Bic and other stickpens without the ink stem make good straws and are recyclable. since the ink is soy-based, at least we’re no longer using lead-based ink. Why make us go through fountain pen hell?
    Torture is not green.

  • Sorry, forgot about the lefties. There are a lot of alternatives but I’m one of those nostalgic types who fell in love with fountain pens. I’ve actually even made them from feathers. I hear you though, I was a teacher and oh the suffering my left-handed kids would endure.

  • I like the idea of the glass jars, but like you said they break easy especially if your house is built on a concrete slab and you have a ceramic tile floor…ouch! The idea does, however, provoke a question. If the items you purchase is already in a plastic container (bag, box, etc.) then how does the jar reduce the plastic? There will still be plastic to dispose of or recycle. Just a thought.

    • Most canning jars come in very simple packaging, usually cardboard trays. However, the best way is to simply reuse glass containers. I have found that most hard plastics break and crack if dropped on our tiled kitchen floor so the glass is at least a more sound eco-choice.

      • You have a great site here, so keep up the good work! Thanks for the quick response! However, I think maybe I didn’t make myself clear with my comment. My point was if you are going to store items such as pasta, rice, etc. in glass jars, won’t there be plastic packaging from those items that will have to be disposed of as well. I’m still unsure of how the jar method reduces the plastic. The real problem is when we purchase the items. What we need to know is there a way we can purchase the items without the plastic packaging?

        • Gotcha! Yes, there are a few supermarkets that sell bulk pantry items and allow you to bring in your own reusable bags to fill up. There are quite a few artisans on Etsy that make and sell light and see-through bags which can be used to purchase your bulk pantry items. You need to choose bags which are light because they will be weighed and you don’t want a heavy material causing your price to go up. You also need it see through or with a least a piece that’s transparent so the check out person can make sure you’re purchasing what you say you are. Then I just use the paper and wire twisty tops they offer to write down the product number. If your store doesn’t offer this, there are usually a few choices for pantry staples that come in cardboard containers or even cloth bags. I find buying in bulk is usually cheaper though which is a nice bonus when it’s available. Hope that helps and thanks for reading.

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