Given the current state of our environment, we need to start making some change sin our day-to-day lives. This may seem like a daunting task to many, but not to worry as we have prepared a concise guide for you all to follow to get you started. Something as simple as
Places are starting to ban single-use plastics, and for a good reason. Plastics are exceedingly bad for the environment and are usually not recycled. Plus they tend to clutter our homes and create more waste. Sustainable food storage tools are necessary to get rid of clutter and save the environment.A majority of the single-use plastics that are part of common usage are plastic shopping bags. Most people use containers, shopping bags, zip locks, and plastic wrap to gather produce and food from the grocery store and to carry it home and store it. But there are several non-waste alternatives to these things, which, in the case of zip locks and plastic wrap, can even save money in the long run!
It is not just about reducing plastic waste, it is about shopping consciously to protect the environment. Here are some tips to keep in mind the next time you are out shopping.
How to Shop Sustainably
Most of the items at the grocery store come from far away places and have to be transported on planes, trucks, ships, etc. With longer transportation, the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere increases. Since 1990, the transportation sector emissions have increased quite a bit. A majority of these greenhouse gas emissions comes from carbon dioxide emissions from the combustion of things like gasoline.
“In 2019, greenhouse gas emissions from transportation accounted for about 29 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, making it the largest contributor of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.”United States Environmental Protection Agency
So whenever you get the chance, shop local. When you purchase local products you not only help decrease food transportation but also support local farmers. Try and find your closest farmers market for affordable, local produce and goods. Another great thing about these markets is that they they don’t waste plastic on packaging, so you can bring your own reusable bags from home.
Buy Seasonal Produce
Local goods and seasonal produce have similar ecological benefits. The local foods that are grown in-season do not require as much transportation. And because their journey is short, fewer preservatives are used to keep them fresh. It is better to buy produce within a few days of harvest as they still carry many of their nutrients. before you hit the grocery store, look up the crops that are in-season. Here are some examples:
- Summer – Blueberries, plums, apples, garlic, cucumbers, watermelons, okra
- Fall – Grapes, ginger, spinach, mangos, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, carrots
- Winter – Kale, beets, grapefruit, pears, oranges, pumpkins turnips
- Spring – Carrots, limes, lemons, broccoli, avocados, celery
Check the Sources
For those of you who are unable to shop locally, this is a great alternative. Before you but any products do some research on where the product comes from and who manufactures them. This will help you understand what types of practices they use and whether or not they are environment-friendly. For example, with seafood look for labels/seals like Aquaculture Stewardship Council or Best Aquaculture Practices.
Check the Plastics
It is no secret that plastic items are everywhere. However, that does not necessarily mean that you have to give up plastics all together. When you are more conscious of the types of plastics you are using you know which ones actually get recycled and which ones end up in the landfill. When you purchase anything with plastic, check its resin identification code which is a small number inside of a triangle. Here are seven common types of plastics:
- Polypropylene (PP)
- Polystyrene (PS)
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
- High-density polyethylene (HDPE)
- Low-density polyethylene (LDPE)
- Polyethylene terephthalate (PETE)
- All other plastics, including acrylic and nylon
Use Sustainable Products
Reusable Mesh Produce Bags
Whenever people go shopping for produce, it seems like you have to use little plastic bags from the given roll beside the fruit. Depending on how much produce you buy, that could be a lot of plastic waste. Mainly because most people just throw away those little baggies, never to be used again after returning home from the grocery store.
These adorable mesh bags are perfect for storing produce without generating plastic waste. And they are quite durable, so you can continue using them time and time again! You can just pop them in your purse in case you need to make an emergency run to the grocery store.
Mason Jars for Dry Ingredients
Mesh bags are best for produce, but not so much for dry ingredients. Dry ingredients have more potential to produce crumbs, so they need something secure and non-porous to contain them. That’s why mason jars are perfect for this! All you have to do is shovel whatever dry items you need into the mason jar, and checkout with them. You may need to bring an additional empty mason jar to weigh for reference at checkout to ensure that you’re charged the correct amount, so be wary of that!
Set of 5 Reusable Shopping Bags
Quite a few places around the world have been charging for additional plastic shopping bags or eliminating them all-together. These compact, stylish, and sturdy bags are perfect for all of your shopping needs. Just put them in your trunk so you always have one at hand at the grocery store.
Reusable Silicone Food Storage Bags
One of the best sustainable food storage tools are Ziplock bags, but rather than using Ziplocks, which, will get thrown away after one use, try out these washable food storage bags. However, while you will need to continuously wash them, unlike Ziplocks, you will never need to repurchase them. Additionally, you can feel proud that you are doing your part to reduce plastic waste!
Silicone Suction Lids
These are an excellent alternative for plastic wrap! If you ever want to store bowls, cups, or pans with food in them in the fridge and don’t have a cover, these are perfect. You just press them onto the tops of the dishes. And they suction on to whatever you need until you take it off again!
Glass Food Storage Containers
These are great for meal prep or left-over storage in general. Glass is a lot easier to clean than plastic Tupperware, and there’s no risk of there being any BPA in these!
While it can be challenging to bring mason jars to the grocery store, getting the rest of these devices are extraordinarily convenient and brilliantly sustainable and cost-effective! So, do your part in saving the planet one step at a time.
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