A co-worker recently introduced me to the Zero Waste Chef, opens a new window, a blogger who follows three rules in her kitchen: "No packaging. Nothing processed. No trash." Buying food without packaging has essentially led her to buy unprocessed foods which means a simple, healthier diet. She shops in the bulk food aisle or at farmers markets where she brings her own glass jars for small produce like blueberries or nuts. Her lifestyle may seem out of reach for most right now, but she offers many tips and advice that you can't help but feel inspired to make a zero waste lifestyle your end goal.
Plastic Free July
If you're just as inspired to reduce unnecessary waste, pledge to take on the Plastic Free July Challenge, opens a new window with me! The Plastic Free July Foundation is a not-for-profit charitable organization that encourages a global movement toward recycling improvements and eliminating plastic waste. They offer tips on day-to-day lifestyle changes you can make, resources on alternative products, case studies, events for social awareness, and more tools you can use for yourself and to help spread the word.
Opponents to plastic bans may argue that banning plastic will have a detrimental effect on manufacturers and retailers. I believe by being more aware of what we are consuming and how we consume it, our behavior will influence manufacturers and inspire innovators to come up with ideas that offer the convenience of disposable goods while maintaining green practices. (See wheat bran plates you can eat, opens a new window! ) It may feel impossible to give up plastic now but being more conscientious at the point of sale is a good start.
We probably already bring our own bags when we shop, carry our own insulated water bottles or ceramic coffee cups, and maybe some of us already have reusable straws on our shopping list (since we might see an end to disposable ones, opens a new window in the near future). But taking on the Plastic Free July challenge will help us go a bit further in our efforts.
During this challenge, I intend to:
- plan all meals around the seasonal produce I find at farmer's markets, opens a new window
- shop from the bulk bins at grocery stores, opens a new window
- experiment with homemade bread from Michael Pollan's Cooked
- make my own nut butter, opens a new window
- make my own reusable food wraps, opens a new window to avoid buying plastic wrap
- List of certified farmer's Markets by county, opens a new window (PDF)
- Pacific Coast Farmer's Market Association, opens a new window
- Grocery Stores with Bulk Bins, opens a new window
- Project tutorials to sew your own tote, opens a new window
- Sew your own produce bag, opens a new window
Need a sewing machine? Check out Woodside's Makerspace: Sewing Machine Open Lab on Saturday, July 28 from 11:00 AM - 3 PM.
Are you taking the pledge to go plastic free? What zero waste practices do you plan to adopt? Share with us in the comments!