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Plastic is bad.

Well, it’s not entirely bad, but on a scale of The Calculator to another obscure Batman reference, it’s not the greatest.

But it does have its uses; it keeps weather out of basements and cars, it keeps you dry when you’re camping, and it holds all of our food…even when it doesn’t need to.

A lot of plastics are recyclable, sure, but have you ever seen that little triangle with the number 6 on the bottom of your to-go salad container? Those are called clamshell containers, and you can’t just toss those in the recycling bin. They’re comically hard to recycle, and so are those Styrofoam containers you bring home the left over French fries in that you swear you won’t eat because reheated fries are ‘sad,” but then you just end up eating them for breakfast the next day. Those containers are even harder to recycle.

But that’s for another post. Now, I’m going to talk about (the now is tentative, though. Time is subjective and simply not real) how to reduce your plastic use!

This is a pretty broad topic, so I’ll have mini posts for each area in life where you can save on plastic and other non-recyclable and recyclable things.

Plastic bags

These things. They’re everywhere. They’re like modern tumble weeds, advertising supermarkets and convenience stores. Most supermarkets have recycling bins for these guys, but since they’re so light, they blow away easily and can end up in unsavory places. Plus, they build up really quickly.

An obvious way you can cut down on plastic bag use is to use cloth/canvas tote bags. Most grocery stores carry them, and I bet you have at least three right now. “But Katherine,” you might be saying (but probably not), “they’re so inconvenient. I always forget about them!” It’s a habit you have to get into, yes, but once you get into the swing of things they’re a life saver. You can keep some in your car, by the front door, or wear a baby holder-thing around for the rest of your life and stuff them in there (FYI: you can keep groceries in the baby holder-thing for extra hands-free holding). You can also just carry around a large bag as your normal purse to hold things, too.

Also, you can buy a cinch bag that folds into itself. Here’s an example of one. I have one that my sister gave me that has a cute little dog/teddy bear head (I’m pretty sure it’s a dog). They’re easy to carry in your purse, bag or pocket, and you can also store some of these in the glove compartment of your car.

If those above options are too [insert negative adjective here] for you, you can also try carrying around plastic bags. You can fold the bags into small triangles and rubber band them together. Here’s instructions for that.

A lot of stores will give you a discount for bringing your own bag, by the way. *nudges*

Another kind of plastic bag that builds up are those ones you get from the produce section of the supermarket. This is an easy fix: buy some reusable cloth produce bags. Here’s a cheap pack from Target. They’re usually made out of cotton, washable, and some weaves are tight enough that you can carry dry goods such as seeds, nuts and oatmeal, further cutting down on plastic use (a lot of the plastic zip lock bags you buy trail mix in literally aren’trecyclable)!


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