“Right now 8 million tons of plastics end up in the ocean every year.”
I am a huge fan of the BBC series Planet Earth and Blue Planet. David Attenborough is someone I respect, admire and follow. He and his team know about the health of our planet and the sea. So when I hear a data from them that impacts the earth or ocean world it deeply moves me and makes me feel responsible. This is 21st century – you must learn to reuse, recycle and reduce!
We all know plastic can have a huge negative impact on other species as well as us – humans. On Episode 7 of Blue Planet II, David Attenborough shows us how the Albatross population can suffer from plastic in their feed (feed that they get from the ocean). It was heart wrenching to the impact on the Albatross population. These are plastics that were dumped as a waste product in the ocean by us – the human’s.
“In some parts of the ocean it’s estimated that there are now over half a million pieces of plastic for every square kilometers. Our modern lives are having far-reaching effects on life in the oceans. But around the world, there are people now devoting their lives to saving some of the most threatened sea creatures. “
My dearest reader – let’s make some effort towards joining them! Even if you start with a few changes it will have a huge impact in the world. And we all know from an Ayurvedic or Yogic perspective it is important to aim for Sattva and what more can be more Sattvic than to reduce waste, reduce harm to the planet and its dwellers? Ayurveda and Yoga always promotes good health and well being not only for humans but animals and plant kingdoms.
Note that, plastic also have huge impact on our reproductive health – including estrogen dominance, cancer (breast and prostrate), anxiety, early puberty, loss of body hair and fertility etc. Plastic has impact on women, children and men at various ages.
A little disclaimer before suggesting some products, I buy many of my products from either Amazon.ca or Etsy.ca. I will be providing links from my Amazon vendor account. You can purchase these products anywhere else but I just wanted to share what I choose. And if you are crafty you can make many of these products yourself to save money. I will also provide a few YouTube links.
Let’s find some sustainable swaps so you can be more eco-friendly
- Cloth or Paper Based Shopping Bags: Imagine how many times a week you visit the grocery store or a local mom and pop shop of a quick pick up. How many plastic bags do you accumulate in a week? I am also an offender but learning from others and friends to remember to bring my own shopping bag whenever I go out. You may need this anywhere. If cloth bag is not an option for you there are paper bags that you can store and reuse many times. The following are the ones I found most useful
- There are also reusable grocery tote bags that are foldable and easy to carry. They are lightweight, washable and durable. I just pop them in my purse or pocket before I leave home. They are made with polyester and are reinforced with double stitches which make them hold heavy things safely. The squared bottom holds products in place. Check them out here.
- Beeswax Wrap instead of Plastic Wraps: Keep your food fresh and covered without using any plastic wrap, plastic food storage bags! These Beeswax wrap is something I absolutely adore. Both my close friends Laura and Colleen reave about the quality of the products when they also got their own! Wrap foods that are fresh produce especially fruits and vegetables, cover for left overs or left over dry foods such as sandwiches. Beeswax wraps work like a charm, they allow air circulation and are natural anti-bacterial therefore food does not spoil quickly. Beeswax is safe and all natural. They are washable and therefore can be reused for almost over a year. Since it’s a natural product it will crinkle easily but gently handwash and dry them. And YES! Its biodegradable!
- If you want to make them at home here is a link of a YouTuber called Simply Klaire who teaches you how to make your own.
- Reusable Produce Bags:Leave the plastic behind when walking through the produce aisle at a grocery store. Why buy fresh or organic foods and add plastic to it? These produce bags are not biodegradable and made with toxic crude oil. By using produce bags we can have an impact on reduce non-renewable energy that is required to produce and ship the plastic bags. The reusable produce bags are durable, reusable and require very little space in your kitchen.
- Stainless Steel Lunchboxes: There is NO EXCUSE for not using stainless steel or glass containers as lunch boxes. Why take lunch at work in plastic and reheat in the microwave? Instead for dry lunches take the stainless steel container or glass containers for lunches that need to be reheated. There are also insulated thermal food containers. Two other options are using HotLogic or a mini crock pot.
- Stainless Steel Water Bottles: I am a proud owner of S’well bottle as I worked for a distribution company that sold these infamous eco-friendly bottles. There are many designs, shapes and sizes of S’well Bottles available in the market. Even CostCo carries them. They keep hot beverage hot for 12 hours and cold beverages cool for 24 hours. Coffee cups, water bottles etc. are made with plastic. If you love Starbucks just take your S’Well bottle with you and they will fill it up with your favourite beverage. I heard if you bring your own there is a slight discount in some coffee stores.
- Stainless Steel or Glass Straws: I am not really a straw person unless you give me a huge “green smoothie” to drink. The ONLY drawback is you need to purchase one with straw brushes and wash them properly. If you are someone who have children who loves using straws or you yourself prefer using straws please do get one of these! They have a huge environmental impact. I prefer the glass ones as they are transparent so the debris will be clearly seen.
- Glassware for Storage Container: This is something I religiously follow. All my herb and spice containers are made from glass. All products I create for Conscious Health are put into glass jars. This is important as storing spices, herbs, grains, legumes, lentils, nuts and seeds in plastic will only increase plastic in your life. Start with one category of food such as, spices and then slowly change to other ones. Glass or ceramic bottles keep food fresh for long.
- Stand-Up Leakproof Silicone Reusable Storage Bag: It is now easy to replace am air tight zip sealed or locked plastic bags that are used in the kitchen with Silicone storage bags. They are ideal for food preservation, meal prep, storage, and sandwich bags. I bought these from Amazon last month and they are super user friendly for weekend meal prepping. I can buy large quantities of various vegetables and fruits, then peel and chop them and in the end combine them for various dishes such as, stir fries and keep them in the fridge. According to the Amazon store these eco-friendly silicone bags can be washed and re-used for up to 30 years. It is made from food safe material that is BPA, BPF, PVC, BPS & Latex Free. YAY. I also wash them inside my dishwasher.
- Microfiber Cleaning Clothes: Can we really replace our kitchen towels? The answer is YES! OUI!! No harsh cleansing chemicals are required when usingMicrofiber cleaning cloths. It can eliminate lint, streaks and other food strains. These clothes hold up to 7 times in weight in liquid, dirt or grime. In addition to the Microfiber cloth link I am also providing a link of a Etsy Seller – Anne Riggs who makes handmade kitchen towel with cloth that you can roll up and they are snappable! See what I mean by that when you click below.
Etsy Shop Link: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/AnneRiggsDesigns
- Tea Infuser: What can I say? I am a Herbalist and a Herbalist’s favourite tool for self and their clients is a Tea Infuser. Avoid purchasing empty tea bags or making an effort to boil the tea and using a strainer. Instead – put your herbs inside the tea infuser, pour hot water in your cup and walk away while the tea steeps! And of course they are reusable. The one I am sending link to is stainless steel with silicone edges to avoid burning your fingers. A must have to tea lovers.
- Silicone Baking Mat: Say goodbye to aluminum foils and parchment papers. They are not reusable and sometimes pricy if you want to get the eco-friendly version. So try this Silicone baking mat that is oven safe (up to 480 F) and requires no oil or oil spray for baking. They are also super easy to clean
- Reusable Cutlery Set: For those who chooses frequent takeout meals. Please say “no” to plastic cutlery, napkins and chopsticks. There are reusable cutlery set available that are great for traveling, camping and if you do frequent take outs. These sets are made from bamboo, stainless steel or titanium. They come as a set in a bag or box that is super easy to carry. And of course it is eco-friendly when you bring your own napkin.
- Handkerchief: Say no to “Tissues” or “Kleenex” and use your own handkerchief. Especially if you buy cotton! It is NOT ONLY eco-friendly but its skin friendly and makes you not look for tissues when you are in desperate need.
I am not sharing all the links to encourage you to buy everything but for you to see what are some of the best options. If it seems too many changes to begin with then start small. If you want to make ONE change then go for the shopping bag. These plastics are not worth it. I also understand that it is not possible to get rid of all of your plastics in a day but one step would reduce your carbon footprint and work towards benefiting the planet.
Please write a comment on how you contribute towards this planet’s health? What are your top choices to becoming eco friendly? Are there tips that you too want to share with us?
My upcoming blog is about eco-friendly product swaps for self-care (especially Women’s health). Stay tuned!