Cero Waste Cindy

#PlasticFreeJuly During a Pandemic: My First Blog Post

Hola a todos! Welcome to my new home! I continually get asked if I have a blog, or website, so it’s about time I finally have something for you all! This blog will consist of things related to how my husband and I live a low waste lifestyle. From camping, to cooking, and gardening, there is nothing we can’t make low waste! A big shout out and thank you to my dear friend Elena Lopez for putting together this website for me! Also thank you to Latasha Dunston, who designed the logo!

So #plasticfreejuly has come to an end and I wanted to share how we had an imperfect month this year, and some other tips to continue #plasticfree past July.  I know many of us haven’t been able to use our reusables because of COVID-19, so we are all just trying to make the best of it! Some of the tips that I will be sharing may or may not work for you. Remember, don’t feel discouraged and just start where you can!

When grocery shopping and for stores that do not allow your own grocery bags, let the cashier know, very kindly, you want everything back in your basket or cart and you can bag it in your car. As a common courtesy, kindly return the carts or baskets back to the store after loading your car.

Bulk is no longer an option for you? Consider buying bulk bags yourself and sharing the cost with friends, families or even your neighbors! In North East LA we are extremely lucky to have a bulk shop like TARE that allows reusable containers, or compostable paper bags. So, if you are local to the LA area, go check them out!

See what fruits and vegetables you can get package free at the grocery store or at the farmers market and plan a meal around what’s available to you. Or if this option is available to you, get a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box that comes with fruits and veggies from local farms. They usually come with little to no plastic.

Can’t use your reusable cup to get coffee or tea? Consider making your own at home. We use a French press with all reusable parts, and only takes about 5 mins to make! I will say I did end up going to get coffee at local coffee shops about 3 times this month, but was happy to be able to support a small local business.

Missing the days I could take my reusables to coffee shops!

Getting take-out? We sure have! And one thing we continue to get is single-use things!! So, when we do order take out, I always say “please no eating utensils, napkins or bags” or “Please no condiments”, sometimes it works, and sometimes the note is ignored. One thing I also look for when ordering for take-out is burritos and sandwiches because they are usually wrapped in foil which you can recycle if cleaned, or some kind of parchment paper which tends to be compostable.

Consider growing your own food if you have the space. Even if it’s just herbs, that way you don’t have to buy them in those little plastic containers. Now, I know this may not apply to everyone, as not everyone may have the space or is able to do this. But if you do, it’s something to consider. When growing your own food, you don’t even have to worry about the plastic packaging since it’s not there! Plus, it’s local! Did you know the average plate of food you sit down and eat travels about 2,000 miles to you? That’s a lot of energy and resources!

Purple Jalapeno in a forest of beet greens in our patio garden.

Compost! There are many different ways to do it! There’s vermicomposting, the use of a compost tumbler, a regular compost bin, dropping off your food scraps at your local community garden, and even digging and burying your food scraps into the ground.

Replace certain things around the house with a more sustainable option once you are done with what you have. You can replace common things around the household like single use paper towels for reusable towels. Consider making your own with old t-shirts or other fabric, or supporting a local business that uses deadstock fabric like, Suay. Replacing plastic loofahs or kitchen sponges with compostable ones. Instead of a plastic shampoo bottle, try out shampoo bars and conditioners. My favorite is from No Tox Life .

When looking for, let’s say, a new piece of clothing. A pair of pants or a dress, or even furniture to bring into your home, consider buying it secondhand even if it takes a little bit longer to find. Many furniture pieces in our home are from Facebook Market, but there’s also offer-up, and a few other online apps.  In general, buy less unnecessary stuff!

Like I mentioned, this Plastic Free July was not perfect, we still ended up with some plastic, even when we were purposely avoiding it. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you end up with a piece of plastic.  After all, the oil companies, plastic companies, and companies like Coca-Cola are the biggest polluters out there. So even though our individual actions may not make a big dent in the plastic pollution crisis, I do believe that when many of us strive for a plastic free world, push for plastic free products, share with others about the plastic pollution crisis, push against oil companies and hold them accountable, that together we can make a change.

Other ways that you could help that don’t necessarily have to do with packaging is by getting involved in your local community politics and using your voice. Maybe you can voice the banning of Styrofoam in your community.  Or you get so involved with your local community that you were able to stop a Plastic Manufacturing Plant from being built in your community. Those are just two examples out of many things we can possibly do.

I encourage everyone to go watch The Story of Plastic. If you want to get more involved, I recommend checking out breakfreefromplastic.org where they have many resources and toolkits for you to use!

Look forward to continue sharing with you all!

Hasta Luego,

Cindy

 

Photos in this blog, except the coffee ones, were all taken by Kate Rentz, an amazing photographer and artist!