Reduce Your Use Challenge

Earth Day is about two weeks away.  In the last few months, I have been working on reducing my use of plastic.  I wish I can say that I have reduced my use by a considerable amount.  I have been phasing out the plastic food containers in my home.  I have been using glass containers, mason jars, and metal containers.  We do use reusable water bottles instead of purchasing water bottles.  Unfortunately, I am still guilty of using plastic sandwich bags, not bringing my reusable shopping bags when I go shopping, and not bringing my many reusable travel mugs when I buy coffee.

We can turn a blind eye to this plastic problem, or we can face some of the facts (1):
     - at least 8 million tons of plastic enter the oceans yearly,
     - there is more mincroplastic in the ocean than there are stars in the Milky Way,
     - more than 60% of marine litter is plastic based,
     - the average U.S. citizen consumes 167 plastic water bottles each year, and only recycle 25% of
     them.

It doesn’t stop there.  Most of our clothing is made with synthetic fibers which is made with plastic. And these fibers go into the ocean when we wash our clothes.

Plastic doesn't just impact our environment.  Plastic is also toxic to our health.  There have been links to plastic and many health issues such as cancer, birth defects, encodrine disruption, and so much more.  These fibers that go into the ocean are eaten by the fish which we consume.  Plastic has contaminated not just the oceans but has crept into other food sources. I urge you not to take my word for it and do your research.

Plastic is so convenient, but I think it is time that we think about whether or not the environmental and health effects are worth the convenience.  We are called to be good stewards- of the world around us as well as our own health.  When God created the earth, it was good.  Yes, we live in a fallen and broken world and we cannot completely be free from the use of plastic but each of us can do our part and be responsible for the "Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of the Earth," (Genesis 1:26, MSG).


In the next two weeks, I am working on reducing my use of plastic even more by using reusable sandwich/ storage bags, my reusable shopping bags, and using my reusable travel mugs when I get coffee outside of my home.

Here are some ways I will be reducing my use of plastic.  A HUGE shout out to my friend, Christa, for her recommendations (the straws, bamboo toothbrushes, water bottle).

1- Reusable coffee mug.  Even paper cups are lined with plastic.  Stay away from plastic tumblers and instead go for glass or stainless steel tumblers (not aluminum).  This is my favorite travel mug which was given to me by my Secret Santa this year.


2- Reusable water bottle.  I love my 32 ounce Klean Kanteen, 24 ounce MyBevi water bottle, and my 17 ounce S'well yoga bottle.  These are all insulated stainless steel bottles and keep my water cold all day long.  Although I have links to these for Amazon, I suggest that you check out the clearance section at Target.  I paid about $7 for my MyBevi.  I also paid under $5 for son's MyBevi.    S'well bottles are pretty pricey.  I found mine at Target's clearance section for under $10.

Christa loves her Life Factory water bottles.  I had one of them but lost it somewhere.  My boys can't bring glass to school and this is why I opted for the stainless steel bottles.

3- Store food in glass or stainless steel containers and mason jars.  You can get these from Amazon, Target, Walmart. I love these because they are sturdier than their plastic counterparts.  I purchased these stainless steel containers for my boys' lunch.

4- Reusable shopping bags.  Almost all retailers sell shopping bags.  These bags usually cost no more than $1.99 depending on the retailer.  You can also purchase insulated shopping bags, which are even better for cold or frozen food.  At one point in my life, I was a shopping bag hoarder.  I loved buying them whenever I go to a store I haven't been in. I haven't purchased a bag in awhile but I have over a dozen of them.

ImageCredit: Amazon.com
5- Reusable covers by Beeswrap.  You can purchase a pack with one small, one medium, and one large wrap.  You can use them to wrap food and even to cover containers.  They last a little over a year and can stick to most containers.

6- Packing regular utensils instead of plastic utensils for my lunch and the kids' lunches.  I love these cute utensils with chopsticks since I sometimes make makis (Japanese rolls) for my boys' lunch.

7- Reusable stainless steel straws. I have not used these yet but this is one of the items that I plan on purchasing these when we do eat out.

8- Bamboo toothbrushes. Plastic is used for EVERYTHING.  Replacing your plastic toothbrush with a bamboo one is one less plastic that ends up in the ocean.

There are SO MANY WAYS we can reduce our use of plastic.  It can be overwhelming to go cold-turkey with your plastic usage.  That's why I urge you to pick two or three items that you can replace with non-plastic alternatives.  Let's be good stewards of God's creation.  Which of these are you committing to use?

<3,
Marie


1- McCarthy, J. (2017, June 12). 9 Shocking Facts About Plastic in Our Oceans.  https://www.ecowatch.com/plastic-oceans-facts-images-2436857254.html

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