What do you do with all of the plastic you accumulated before going zero waste?????
I get asked this question all the time.
Throwing all of your old plastic away and getting all brand new eco-friendly items would be contrary to the zero waste lifestyle. However, I completely understand wanting to ditch plastic around your food for health reasons.
I would highly recommend that you remove the plastic that touches your food. That doesn't mean that you have to completely get rid of your plastic Tupperware though. Instead, I would focus on a way to repurpose them.
You can use plastic tupperware in so many places that don't involve holding food. I didn't get rid of my plastic tupperware when I went plastic-free and I didn't get rid of it when I went zero waste. Here's how I still use it around the home.
I keep a compost bucket in my freezer both at home and at work. I use large old tupperware containers to hold it and transport it to my backyard compost.
I brought several of my tupperware containers to work for the kitchen. They often get used for leftovers and people take them home.
We use several of our old tupperware containers in the garage where they hold all sorts of odds and ends. They can be used in the bathroom to hold bobby pins and hair ties. I even have two that hold jewelry in the bedroom.
Don't foget about the junk drawer too. Yes, I still have a junk drawer to hold important do-dads like batteries, wires, and miscellaneous office supplies. I use a small container to hold expired batteries, so I can take all of them at once down to the battery recycling box at best buy.
On top of all of this, there's still a lot of plastic in my life in general.
I don't think plastic is horrible. I think plastic is very important and without it, we would not have made the strides we have in science and in medicine.
Plastic has a place. Plastic belongs in our society, but it does not belong to supplement our laziness.
Plastic will never go away. Every piece of plastic ever created still exists. It's important that we remember that and treat it as such. It has its place, but single-use disposable items are not one of them.
I think it's best to use the plastic items already in my life until they break or are no longer useable. If it's not around my food, then I don't view it as a huge health concern.
When I went plastic-free for health reasons, I had a lot of single-use plastic disposable items in my kitchen like plastic baggies.
I did give those away to friends who would have bought them anyways. I didn't hold onto and use everything up. Somethings I did part ways with. But, here are a couple of the plastic items still in my life.
I use this plastic bucket in my shower to catch water. I use it to haul the water out to the garden. I use it for mopping, and I hand wash delicates in it too.
plastic storage containers:
I have had six large plastic laundry tubs that have traveled with me for over 10 years. They've always managed to store lots of stuff. They're stackable which makes them really convenient for hauling items during a move.
Especially since we've moved (6 times in the last 4 years.)
plastic organization boxes:
I have several of these under the bed, under sinks, and in the closet. I've had a lot of these travel with me all over the country.
plastic toilet brush:
Once this one goes, I'm pretty excited about upgrading to one of the cool bamboo toilet brushes.
I am currently typing this on a plastic computer. I have a plastic tv with a plastic PlayStation and plastic controllers. Plastic is still a part of my life and that's OK.
This one is probably a shocker, but I have a set of melamine plates in my picnic basket. I use them for outdoor parties, camping, and occasionally a picnic.
My goal in going plastic free is first and foremost for health reasons. My second goal has always been to reduce my consumption of plastic to rely less on the oil industry and to vote with my dollars.
It doesn't mean plastic is going to magically disappear from my life. It's about being a conscious consumer and being mindful of my choices.
Each choice we make has an impact. We get to choose what that impact is and what it says. Each purchase is a vote for the future you want to live in.
What plastic pieces do you still have in your home?