As you may know, if you read my post: Choosing to Compost, this year I am striving to live a more conscious lifestyle. The areas in which I really want to make a lasting change is in my food waste, hence the composting, and my use of disposable plastic.
In recent years, plastic has basically been deemed the devil. What once was a product celebrated for its multitude of uses and longevity, is now the bane of our human existence. It has been used to make, build and create, pretty much everything in our modern world, because it is so durable and lasts forever. But as we have learned, this is a problem when plastic products end up in the landfill....they continue to last forever. They do not break down, they pile up, they cause harm to both land and marine species. We've all seen the video footage of the sea turtles getting caught in plastic bags and the floating garbage islands that now exist in our oceans and the micro-plastics that are making their way into our drinking water. It's disgusting and straight up shameful.
There was a time when maybe we didn't know any better. But now we do, and thankfully, the Canadian Government does have a plan in place to have zero-plastic waste by 2030 (that hopefully they achieve) and there are already many people dedicating themselves to living zero-waste lifestyles.
But true zero-waste, is difficult to attain and can be overwhelming, when almost every product you purchase, seems to somehow have plastic. I didn't realize how much plastic I was going through until I started to pay attention.
Our family has always made sure to recycle what plastic we can, but I recently read that only 9% of plastic gets recycled in Canada. NINE PERCENT of over 3 MILLION TONNES PER YEAR. While the other 91% ends up in our landfills. Therefore, recycling just isn't enough. We have to reduce the amount of plastic that comes into our homes in the first place. If we aren't buying it, companies might be swayed to find more sustainable ways to package their products.
One way that I am reducing my use of single-use plastic is by shopping in bulk. So much of my plastic waste was coming from food packaging, and I realized that I could easily get many of the same products from Bulk Barn and store them in re-usable glass containers. Not only would I be able to cut down my plastic waste, but I'd also be able to re-purpose glass jars that I would have otherwise sent to the recycling depot. My pantry would also look more organized and be aesthetically pleasing, instead of having little piles of miscellaneous bags all over the place.
The cost seems comparable as well. You can purchase nicer glass jars from Bulk Barn and other refill stores that all match for a few bucks a piece, but that adds up quickly and I figure why not re-purpose containers that I already have, while saving some money?
I have found that the easiest way for me to make the switch to bulk shopping, was to do so gradually. This way, I could use up what I have in my cupboards, and when I run out of something that I know I can get at Bulk Barn, then I find a spare jar and go buy it. This takes time. I have a lot of food in my pantry.
So far I've made the switch with black beans, peanut butter, sugar, nutritional yeast, granola, coffee beans, prunes, spaghetti, chia seeds, honey, beans and lentils. It doesn't sound like much, and it isn't, but, it's a start and I'm going about it in a way that is manageable, attainable and affordable. I'm looking forward to when we run out of pasta, rice, nuts and more so that I can continue making better choices for our environment.
Do you already do this? If so, please give me some more ideas on what food products I can shop for in bulk in the comment section below!