I heard of Rodale’s Plastic-Free Challenge on the blog My Plastic Free Life.

Like Zero Waste, Plastic-Free is an aspiration, not a reality. For example, I posted something on Facebook about the plastic-free challenge this morning while wearing my plastic retainers. Am I going to give up my retainers and let my teeth go crooked again after spending thousands of dollars on them? No.

Plastic-Free Challenge Rules

1. Don’t acquire more plastic (and that includes packaging).

2. Don’t cook food in plastic or store food in plastic. (The first one seems pretty easy, unless Teflon contains plastic—all you have to do is remember to take your food now stored in plastic and microwave it on a plate or in a china bowl. The second is a little more difficult, but you can store your food in Pyrex and cover it with foil. I have Pyrex microwave-safe storage dishes with plastic lids. I’m going to use those because they are cool!)

3. Minimize other plastic use. (So what, I’m not supposed to type on my laptop?)

You see the problem here. Plastic is so pervasive in our lives that the best we can do right now is pay attention to how much plastic we use and start to remove it from our lives.

Beth’s Tips for Minimizing Plastic in Your Life and in Your Food

1. Consider whether buying frozen vegetables in plastic bags (a few brands come in paper bags, but they may be lined with plastic) is better than buying canned veggies. The cans are lined with plastic, and that lining will leach chemicals into the veggies. It’s possible that plastic bags can leach chemicals into the frozen veggies, but it seems less likely to me.

2. Buy condiments in glass jars.

3. Buy cosmetics in glass jars. Yes, I know they’re hard to find, but there are a few. Also, try buy Aveda’s makeup brushes. For a while there, they were selling some with handles made of renewable materials. Aveda also used to sell metal eyeshadow and blush containers made from recycled metal.

4. If you need to buy something plastic (say, a spray bottle), ask if the store sells any made of recycled plastic. These goods are a lot more common than they used to be.

5. If the item you need comes in plastic, buy it in bulk (less packaging).

6. Buy items based on their packaging. For example, do those socks you want to buy hang from a plastic hanger or a cardboard hanger?

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