photo credit: Maliz Ong (public domain)

I decided to give up plastic for forty days yesterday, and it turns out, it’s not something you can do cold turkey. I had already ordered something from Amazon before I made that decision, so I know that a box full of plastic bags of air will be showing up tomorrow. Oh, well, it’s a journey, not a destination, I guess.

We were hosting an event last night for our son’s school, so I went shopping with an eye toward minimal plastic usage. I brought reusable shopping bags. I bought bread, crackers and cheese, chips, salsa and guacamole, olives, cookies and flowers. I was able to get one cheese and a salami that was wrapped in wax, and the bread came in paper bags. Otherwise, there was plastic wrap, bags or containers for the others. Very frustrating. To avoid all this in the future, I will need to bring my own containers for cheese, make my own salsa and guacamole (and chips?!) and buy flowers somewhere that wraps them in paper instead.

Instead of buying plastic containers of sparkling water, I broke down and bought a sparkling water maker (I’m not going buzz market it for them by telling you the name). I read quite a bit about it online and it will definitely be more cost-effective in the long run. I made two flavors of water for the party and they were good. I used a tablespoon of fruit juice instead of the premixed flavors (that come in plastic), and they tasted just like LaCroix.

We used glasses (made of glass) for drinks, and we used up the last of the paper cocktail napkins I had. Since this is a plastic free challenge and not a zero waste challenge, I decided not to sweat that the paper gets tossed out. It can be composted in our curbside green bin anyway, so they aren’t bound for the landfill. Everything was finger food so I didn’t have to use utensils, but I did buy a bunch of silverware at IKEA for parties so I won’t have to use plastic anymore. We put all the extra cheese and stuff that was left over in reusable containers in the fridge.

When I announced this yesterday, a friend asked if I would continue to use plastic garbage bags, and to be honest, I hadn’t considered it. Another friend (who lives in my city) says they skip the garbage bags and empty their bin directly into the trash, so when this bag is full, I will try to do the same. This is relatively easier for us because we have a separate compost bin for all food scraps and wet paper, but if you don’t compost yet, you can always throw the food scraps in a paper bag and throw it in the freezer. This cuts down on odors and then you can throw it into the outside bin before trash pick-up day.

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