This One Product Saved Me Money & Cut Down On My Plastic Waste
Ray Bass is the associate movement and wellness editor at mindbodygreen and a NASM-Certified Personal Trainer. She holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Pennsylvania, with honors in nonfiction.
The U.N. warned us: We have 12 years before the damage we've done to the Earth becomes irreversible. Instead of letting reports like this paralyze us, let's use them to empower us. The experts are saying it's going to take a mix of large-scale change AND individual action to save our planet—and we want to help you do what you can. Consider our new series your no-excuses guide to cleaning up your act, one step at a time. Today, we're sharing a tip to help you forge a new relationship with plastic.
A few months ago, I went plastic-free for a week to see how much I was contributing to our planet’s footprint. I realized how much plastic I was using, throwing out, and recycling (even though, as we know, most plastic doesn't get recycled). Once I started being mindful about plastic, I realized how prevalent it really is.
The problem: Everywhere you look, you'll see plastic.
No secrets spilled here—our planet is in danger, and the statistics surrounding plastic pollution are particularly distressing. Did you know there are now a whopping 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean? Or that shoppers worldwide are using approximately 500 billion single-use plastic bags per year?
We can't all adopt perfect habits overnight, but we can take small steps to stop playing into the problem. There's one that I took over my plastic-free week that was simple to implement and—dare I say?—fun to keep up with.
The "one small thing" solution: Replace single-use plastics in your kitchen with reusable bags.
In simplest terms, Stasher bags are a reusable alternative to single-use plastic bags. You have probably seen them scattered across Instagrams of health and wellness influencers or hanging near the kitchen tools at Whole Foods Market. They're eco-friendly, environmentally safe, and, unlike typical plastic bags, you can reuse them again and again. I tried my experiment with them, but there are tons to choose from—check out Bees Wrap, Abeego, and Eco Bags for other options.
I thought washing bags would be a huge pain, but I found them to be super easy to use and lightweight (read: They don't add weight to my bag like glass or metal containers), and the Stasher ones are even self-sealing, so you can use them for snacks, leftovers, meal prep, anything. I love using them to pack snacks when I'm traveling, and recently I've been storing single servings of protein powder for my breakfast in them (it can get a little messy, but these are so easy to clean that there's no excuse).
But the absolute best benefit of these bags for me is that they're endlessly reusable. Once I ordered some bags, I vowed to use up the single-use ones I had left, properly recycle them, and refuse to buy any more. Finding a reusable solution to disposable items has since become a positive challenge for me, and I'm starting to experiment with replacing paper towels, aluminum foil, the works.
Remember that 500 billion single-use plastic bags statistic? Now I'm counting myself out of that group. Our best chance of saving the planet is one step, person, and plastic bag at a time, and that, my friend, includes you.
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