Friday, April 10, 2020

A small step in the green direction

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

A lot of people don't believe we have a problem with plastic. I don't happen to be among them. For years, I've been trying to cut down my use of plastic, and the worst offender of all is those plastic "carrier" bags from grocery and other retailers. That's why, more than a decade ago, I started using cloth totes. Believe me, back then I was in the minority. Oh yeah, sometimes I'd forget to take them out of the car and settled for the plastic bags, but unless they ripped or had big holes, I'd reuse them. (And still do.)

Back in March, my state (New York) had a ban on them. Unfortunately, because of the corona virus, they are not enforcing it for fear that people won't wash their reusable bags. Well, that's not me. The minute I unpacked my cloth bags, they went straight into the washing machine (even the plastic ones--only they didn't go in the dryer).

Mr. L and I played snowbirds during January, February, and March. Our rental home did not have any plastic wrap. That gave me an opportunity to totally switch to waxed paper. I've been using it (and waxed bags) for about a year now, but I figured when I ran out of the plastic I'd go waxed paper 100% of the time. So, how did I make out?

I'm home now, but still exclusively using waxed paper to wrap stuff for storage in my fridge (mostly leftovers) in it. It does not cling like plastic. So instead, I bought a bag of rubber bands. Yup, rubber bands are my new best friend for both things wrapped in the paper or the bags.

FUN FACT: The waxed bags I bought came in a white cardboard box that looks like a bakery box. Like it should contain a little cake, or a dozen cookies, or maybe a small pie. It gives me a start every time I see that box. I want that cookie, or cake, or pie that isn't there!

I also use reusable plastic containers. I store leftovers in them and I also have a dedicated bag with 3 plastic containers that I take to restaurants. (Oh, I so miss going out to restaurants. And I worry my favorites may go out of business because of this virus--putting good people out of work and crushing the dreams of their owners, workers, and customers.) I've been doing this for well over a year and that means I'm not responsible for using any Styrofoam containers.

Have I totally given up plastic bags? Not exactly. I am still using freezer bags. Waxed paper does not work in the freezer.  But when I empty one of those bags, I use them again. Not necessarily for food storage, but to toss out things that might stink up the trash. Like chicken skin, bones--icky stuff. And I fill them up before tossing. (Oh, and they also work for pet waste.) But my plastic use has dropped by probably 75%. It's a small step, but one I like taking.

Would you consider giving up plastic wrap?


ryannaward said...

I have been using reusable bags for over a year & rarely use plastic wrap. Like you, I love waxed paper. But there is so much stuff that you buy in the stores that is wrapped in plastic which is disheartening.

carol weston said...

I am with you 100%. It is so hard to limit those plastic bags in our lives though, but every little bit helps.

The Happy Whisk said...

I don't have wax paper on hand at the moment but back in the day, I found that wax paper worked wonderful in the freezer. Found it worked great to hold out the freezer burn.

Fun little bags you have there. Groovy.