Here is all of our plastic waste for the month of May, 2018:
The carrot bag highlights the difficulty of traveling. We were on a road trip, for which I had diligently prepared food beforehand. But then we hit traffic and a 6 hour trip became 11 hours. For supper, we stopped at a Publix and ended up with that plastic carrot bag. My best advice for zero-waste traveling is to plan ahead as much as possible, and not sweat it when your plans don’t work out.
Also, speak up about being zero-waste. I’ve found “the customer is always right” is pretty true. I often tell store workers that we live a zero-waste lifestyle and ask how to get “X” without plastic packaging. This makes it their problem to solve, and I have repeatedly found they come up with creative and accommodating solutions. At that same Publix, there was a deli that made wraps. I told them that we live a zero-waste lifestyle and asked how to go about ordering a wrap without any packaging. The awesome staff member made a custom vegetarian wrap for us, and wrapped it in an empty tortilla package which was going to be thrown away anyway! My husband tells airline stewards that he tries not to make trash and they happily refill his travel mug with coffee. If you don’t speak up about a problem, the solution will never come.
We found zero waste solutions for toothpaste and floss quite a while ago, but I didn’t want to put the old containers in this blog until I had a good solution. And we found it! In the words of our dental hygienist, “toothpaste is a sham.” The only reason it is promoted is that it makes toothbrushing more pleasant. As long as you are getting fluoride from your water, and don’t have a particular tooth problem that requires a prescription toothpaste, you don’t need it. The physical removal of plaque from the toothbrush is what actually cleans your teeth. So what do we use now? Baking soda! Just a small dab on a wet toothbrush does the trick of deodorizing bad breath. We have been doing this for 6 months and all 4 of us got A+ reports from our dentists! If you miss the minty flavor, try this easy 3-ingredient recipe from Trash is for Tossers. I searched Chattanooga for an plastic-free floss and came up empty handed, so we order this silk one online from Life Without Plastic. The Dr. Mercola brand has one that is made without silk if you are vegan. Another reason to avoid plastic floss is all of the chemicals used in it. Many brands still use Teflon stretched really thin to make floss–yes, the same Teflon in non-stick pans that people are now trying to avoid due to links to infertility and cancer. To learn more about floss, read this article.
The red glob you see at the top was from a cooking disaster when I put dough in the oven to rise in a glass bowl with a plastic lid. I left the oven on and it melted the lid! 😦 I know other zero-wasters use a bees wax cloth with a rubber band to cover bowls, so I’ll just have to do that too now.
As for the mini bag of chips, that came home with my daughter from school from another student who gave it to her. Its hard to resist plastic-packaged treats when you’re 4!
Need more reasons to reduce your trash, especially plastic? Watch this video below. Literally every single shellfish had microplastic in it!