10 Ways to Reduce Plastic Use in 2021

A great goal for 2021 is to reduce the use of plastic. Plastic is a product the earth cannot digest. Did you know that it takes years for a plastic bottle to even begin breaking down? Combine that with the estimate that Americans use 50 billion plastic bottles and 500 million straws annually and considering how much other plastic is used, we can see why plastic is a world wide problem.

The other problem with plastic is that it leaches from the packaging into our bodies and can keep our hormones from working properly.  These plastics (also called neuroendocrine dysrupters) are linked with reproductive problems, changes in thyroid function, increased risk of certain types of cancers and can have a negative effect on immune function.

How can you use less plastic in the kitchen? Start with these 7 tips:

Shop at your local farmer’s market. Lots of fresh produce is packaged with plastic.  Pick up non wrapped produce in the store or farmer’s market –  make sure to bring your own bags!

Stop heating food in plastic containers. Heating plastic can release chemicals into the food. For the same reason, only drink cold liquids from plastic containers.

Use beeswax wraps instead of plastic wrap. Beeswax wraps use a coated resin on cloth that can be reused up to 150 times and are easy to wipe clean. Purchase from one of our local connections here: https://beekindrerind.com/

Drink filtered instead of bottled water. Find a stainless or glass container for water instead of purchasing bottled water.  You can also find glass or stainless steel straws instead of using plastic straws at home and in restaurants.

DIY (do it yourself) with grocery bags and take out containers. It may take a bit of getting used to but an easy way to forgo plastic is to bring reusable bags when grocery shopping, and your own “to-go” containers when dining out. Keep reusable bags in your trunk and have enough in case you forget to put the bags back in your trunk!!! You can

Watch out for canned veggies. Cans are lined with the plastic BPA (biphenol A) to keep the can from corroding. Choose fresh, frozen or boxed foods instead of canned to decrease plastic intake.

Be particular with food storage. Consider switching to glass or stainless storage containers since plastic containers can leach chemicals into the environment and your food as they age and become used.  Instead of cling wrap plastic try out reusable bee’s wax wraps made from cloth treated with beeswax and resin.

Reuse plastic take out containers. If you order take out and it comes in plastic containers, instead of throwing it out, wash and reuse plastic take out containers instead of purchasing new plastic ones. Put some in your trunk to use if you go out to eat.

Ask restaurants not to put plastic utensils with take out orders. If they do or you forget, wash and reuse.

Stay mindful of plastic use. It may take a little time but using more earth friendly products and less plastic can help the body and the planet stay healthier!