A few weeks ago I was asked to team up with some of my favourite bloggers to share some Earth Day tips on how to #breakupwithplastic. Using less plastic and repurposing household items is definitely something I think about daily. But it can seem daunting and overwhelming a lot of the time. Below I've shared a few of my favourite ways I like to say 'no' to plastic each and every day. It's by no means an easy task. But it's something each and every one of us can take on to make a difference, no matter how small.
In the spirit of talking about amazing blogging friends, I recently spent a couple of days with Sasha in Seattle. We cuddled puppies, took photos of our meals, and made copious amounts of milk for our morning lattes. Making homemade nut and seed milk is one of my favourite ways to reduce the amount of plastic and waste I produce. Moreover, it's so much better for you, and all around tastier than the store-bought versions. One of the delicious concoctions we whipped up with our milk was this rich and creamy adaptogenic rooibos latte with the Ayurvedic jam, chyawanprash. Just think a gingerbready version of Mexican drinking chocolate, which basically sounds like the best thing in the world to me.
Hope you have a happy Earth Day and be sure to share your tips with #breakupwithplastic
WAYS TO REDUCE PLASTIC
- Look for bulk. Each large city has a couple of great bulk store options, some for food and some just for soap and cleaning supplies. Use this guide to find a bulk store near you.
- Buy fashions to last. Fast fashion doesn't last, is imported (with a lot of packaging), and are often made out of synthetics which are detrimental to the water supply. If you can, buy more used clothing or look for investment pieces that are locally made ( I love Bees and Bones, Korinne Vader, and Beaton ), and switch out your old Lululemon and Girlfriend Collective synthetic yoga pants for hemp or bamboo when the time comes.
- Try making your own cleaning products. Beyond looking for bulk refillable cleaning products, you can also try making your own from bulk items like this all-purpose cleaner. So good on the budget too.
- Find power in saying "no". If you eat out often, practice saying "no" to everything but the food. No plastic cutlery, plastic bags or little soy sauces. Some restaurants even allow you to bring your own containers from home to refill so call ahead and check.
- Skip the straw. While some places are banning straws, not everywhere has taken that on yet. You can do your part by saying "no straw" next time you're out and ordering a drink.
- Sit and savor. It's great to bring your own cup with you (this one is my favourite) but sometimes we forget. If you can, try staying in a cafe for a few extra minutes so you can sit and relax and drink your beverage in a ceramic cup. In Vancouver alone, 2.6 million disposable cups wind up in the trash every week! Just think, most of the world's cities don't have the facilities to recycle all those Starbucks cups that get tossed each day.
- Swap the toothbrush. Next time you're in the market for a new toothbrush, look for a bamboo one that will compost over time.
- Used recycled. Choose recycled toilet paper over non-recycled and look for bulk varieties that aren't wrapped in plastic.
- BYOB. Bring your own bags. It's the simplest one to tackle, but despite that, a lot of us have trouble remembering to bring them. I've found the best solution is to use a large wicker bag (something like this) as a purse as it can hold so many groceries and is perfect for those times I'm not organized.
- Bring your own jars! Not all grocery stores allow this, but check with your local one and see if they'll tare your jar so you can use it for bulk items. Most grocery stores will allow you to use your own glass containers for deli items. Fine mesh cotton bags are also great for bulk items.
- Skip the plastic. One thing I got in the habit of doing 15 years ago was to never take the plastic bags in the produce section. Even on days when I don't have cloth produce bags, I just toss all the veggies into my cart or basket and it works perfectly. No need to waste a bag. When you can, try to avoid any product that's wrapped. Baby greens in clamshells, cauliflower in plastic, and sprouts are all guilty.
- Choose glass. An easy swap if you're not ready to start making everything from scratch is to switch from plastic to glass. Items like mayo, mustard, vinegar, beverages, and hot sauce all have options that come in both glass and plastic, so choose the glass one over the plastic.
- Make your own single servings. Items that come in single serve packing make a lot of extra waste (think yogurt cups for example). Opt for larger containers then fill up your own single serving sizes at home.
ROOIBOS LATTE with CHYAWANPRASH
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Small pot
- High-speed blender
- Wooden spoon
- 2 tablespoons loose leaf rooibos tea
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk see note
- 1 date pitted1 teaspoon cashew butter
- 1 teaspoon chyawanprash optional. For a vegan version add a pinch of cinnamon + cardamom and ½ tsp. coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of sea salt
- Steep the tea in 1 cup boiling water for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile warm the milk in a small pot over medium heat until just barely simmering.
- Strain the tea and add to the container of a high speed blender with the warm almond milk and remaining ingredients.
- Blend on high for 30-60 seconds. Serve hot.