Earth Positive, Lifestyle

One Bag Less

How’s your plastic intake this week? Have you tried to go with one bag less? Maybe used a multi-use, non-plastic bag instead? If you are reading this, then most likely you care about our environment. As any news watcher knows, attention is being given to the negative impacts of daily used products or beloved pieces of clothing. Scientists are highlighting how plastic is found in more aspects of our lives than we tend to imagine. On top of that we are learning how plastics are wreaking havoc on our oceans, water, forests and animals. Stories range from the plastic grocery bag at checkout to plastic straws, to the microscopic fibers in our fleece and nylon clothing.

More and more often we are seeing these types of photos in the news:

Plastics on beach
Greenpeace protesting in the Philippines on a beach. Photo credit from this article:

Depressed Yet?

Yes, but I can’t be someone who sticks my head in the sand and hopes that someone else makes a change? But it’s hard to change, I know. For instance, just yesterday, I was at REI (love REI) picking up some earth-positive products for my upcoming trip to Merida, Mexico. We will be out in the sun a lot and most likely in water often. I wanted to make sure I had sunscreen that was protecting me AND the ocean. They had an assortment of 5 sunscreens to choose from. Only three of which had zinc oxide (the good stuff) as their active ingredient. So I focused my search to which was the better bargin.

AGAIN – I found an earth-positive product on the inside, but chose the cheaper of the three that was in a plastic tube. Ugh. I actually came all the way home, took it out of my bag and then it hit me. I had just brought another one-use, non-recyclable plastic into my home. Apparently, I am so normalized to seeing all types of products packaged in plastic that I truly didn’t see it.

So back I go to exchange for the marine positive sunscreen that was packaged in a tin.

President John F. Kennedy once said, “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.” I am going to try…again!

Where to Start?Reuseable Bags

In order to not get overwhelmed or go broke, I have decided to take my efforts one step at a time. First – future purchases. When I go out, I bring my own reuseable bags that roll up into tiny bundles (One Bag Less!) These are great because they do not take up much room in my purse. I take these on trips as well for all sorts uses: dirty laundry, wet clothes, farmers markets, gift purchases etc. You can find these at most grocery store checkouts now – yay!

The more time consuming and challenging part is sourcing products that are packaged in biodegradeable material, glass or metal and contain ingredients that are earth-positive. I think co-ops are soon going to be my go-to as they often sell in bulk and you can bring your own jars and bags to fill.

One Bag Less

An immediate area that I wanted to focus on was the various plastic bags and wraps I use in my kitchen. I’ve loved the little zipper pouches that make life so easy. But although I re-wash and re-wash until they fall apart, eventually they are headed to the landfill to sit there and photodegrade for 500 years (some scientists are estimating 1000 yrs!). Then as they degrade, they fragment into microscopic granules – yikes! I’m not going to continue as the information is overwhelming and very depressing. So back to making a positive change.

I spent lots of time searching for sandwich bags and wraps for taking food to work, or covering unused food (half an avocado…). There are actually a lot of different options out there to choose from. Then I found a company, etee that creates their wraps and bags from sustainably harvested organic cotton and hemp. They incorporate this material with sustainably harvested beeswax or tree resin and create these awesome wraps and bags that I have found are great for my daily use.

etee reuseable bags

picture of the etee founders, one bag less
etee family

Plus etee is a small, family owned company – yay three times!

But I wasn’t sure if they would work. When the etee wraps arrived they were stiff and unfriendly. The colors were great, but they felt odd. I followed the instructions and ran some cool/lukewarm water over them and then they became wonderfully pliable. They just needed some warmth to get them excited to work, don’t we all? When wrapping up a bowl or around a piece of fruit or nuts, I’ll warm my hands by rubbing them together a few times and then fold over the end or sides that I want to seal and voila.

This video shows it well:

They have nearly replaced all my plastic needs for the kitchen. I realized I needed a bunch more than the initial 3 I purchased. I use them on everything now. Hopefully I’ve got you thinking about your plastic intake. Together we can make a big difference. What do you say, is it time to go One Bag Less?

Interested? Join me in making a change. Head over to etee and grab a few.

Have a great day!

~ Gretchen

*affiliate links included in this post.

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