Having signed the pledge earlier this month, I last week received an email from Story of Stuff, asking me to give feedback on my plastic-free efforts for that month. And here is a nice link featuring some hints and tips on going zero plastic: worth looking at, even if you didn’t sign the pledge!
I had another read of them myself just now, to refresh my memory as to how I started out a month ago.
Since then I have learnt a few things:
I’ve become more organised around managing my plastic consumption in the last 4 weeks or so; for instance I carry reusable bags with me at all times and have even taken to arriving at restaurants with my own packaging for ‘doggie bags’/leftovers in case I don’t finish my meal.
Here’s another thing worth doing:
Ordering reusable Fresh Produce Bags online from Faithful-to Nature.co.za
“Tiptoe Totes are a nifty waste-free solution to help you cut down on your household’s plastic use. These cleverly designed reusable bags are perfect for storing your fresh produce at home. They’re also a great replacement for flimsy grocery store plastic bags when you’re buying and weighing your fruit and veggies.”
It’s important to note that reusing where possible is always preferable to acquiring more of an item, and this also applies to re-using your plastic where possible. So don’t be too quick to chuck out plastic bags in favour of new ‘greener options’ if they are still OK to be used again. The idea is to phase out over time the plastic that you are using and to gradually introduce healthier options.
At the Crazy Store in Norwood Mall, Johannesburg I found these:
They look like they’d be suitable for fresh produce, though obviously not suitable for small grains, sesame seeds and similar. And the fact that they are packaged in plastic is not lost on me! Remember not to aim for perfection, at least not immediately! 😉 While zero plastic may be possible to achieve in my home, my activities will still produce waste indirectly elsewhere. Even if I manage to bring home zero plastic, the shops and stores that I buy from are generating their own waste in order to fill their shelves and dispensers with the food and other items that I buy there. The nuts, seeds, grains, spices etc, all arrive at the store packaged somehow, and very often in plastic containers and bags.
Something else that’s new to me:
freezing food in glass jars!
Just a few tips:
- The following glass jars can be reused for freezing: honey, jam, pickles, mustard, mayonnaise etc.
- Use wide-mouth jars, not narrow neck bottles.
- Never fill all the way to the top, leave a gap for expansion: at least a half a pinkie finger length, I would say 🙂
- Make sure its a solid jar, not thin glass, and check for cracks and chips before freezing.
- Never put drinking glasses or other thin glass in the freezer.
- If you are freezing cooked food, allow the food to cool before freezing. Don’t put warm or hot food in the freezer.
- Never place glass jars in the microwave to defrost. Defrost naturally overnight, or else rinse the jar in warm water and then allow it to stand in hot water (not boiling).
A few tips on freezing cooked rice:
- Freezing cooked grains and pulses, such as rice and lentils, requires a slightly different approach, if you don’t want to end up with an Impenetrable Mass….
- Use a tinfoil pie dish or metal baking tray.
- Wipe it with a thin layer of cooking oil (this will help prevent the grains from sticking)
- Place a layer of cooked, cooled grains on your dish or tray (don’t make your layer too thick or you may struggle to remove the grains once they freeze)
- Cover your grains (or not) with a plate or clean cotton dishtowel, and put the plate into your freezer compartment.
- Once the grains are frozen, use a flat spoon or spatula to carefully remove them from the plate.
- Place the frozen grains straight into a glass jar, close the lid and give the contents a good shake.
And there you go! 🙂 Loose, separate grains or beans, (see above …my frozen chickpeas…ready to go into a veggie bake later)
So, yes, July 2017 is at an end but we press on. Remember that every little bit helps. anything you can do to help reduce the plastic onslaught is better for Health all round, for yourself, your home and your world.
Suppliers( ZA) featured in this post: