What to do with plastic when you’re plastic free
So you're stocked up on your reusable grocery bags, you got a reusable water bottle and your ZippNada travel kit, of course, it kind of makes you want to… ditch every plastic thing you have because now you have all these new fancy gadgets to substitute them right? No! As much as you might be tempted throwing out a perfectly good plastic spatula because you bought a bamboo one is contradicting to the Zero-Waste goal.
My rule is this: Once it is used up, or at the end of its life- then and only then do I do my best to properly dispose of the item and replace it with a sustainable alternative. Use what you have- Aside from storing and cooking food in plastic containers, see Personal Health and Plastic blog post on why this is a big no-no.
Besides the food element, there IS still plastic in my home:
- I use a plastic hair comb, the same one I've been using for seven years and the same one I will continue to use until It no longer serves its purpose
- I still have some plastic storage bins I bought before going plastic-free that I use to store my unpaper towels.
- I bought tomatoes from a farmers market and they came in this plastic basket- I use it to store the tomatoes I pick from my garden or any small loose fruit.
- I reuse the little zip lock bags that I bought sunflower seeds in, I save my garden seeds in them for next planting season.
The point is, social media puts this image in our minds that “Zero-Waste” means never touching a plastic item ever again. That is not true, what zero-waste truly means is you are reducing the amount of garbage you throw out this is generally done by avoiding future products you cannot reuse indefinitely or properly dispose of. But more importantly, it is using up what you have in a responsible manner and not throwing out perfectly usable objects because it doesn't fit the look. Even in regards to Tupperware for example, I don't use it for food storage or cooking, but I used them to store other miscellaneous things. When they are no longer useful they can be donated or recycle in other ways so that they aren't being thrown into the landfill.
What are some ways you reuse plastic?