This topic is near and dear to our hearts because we want to make the world as safe and beautiful as possible for our little ones. As progressive as Vancouver is, there is always more that we can do as individuals. We’ve got 8 ways to reduce plastic in your daily life. (Sometimes plastic is unavoidable. But did you know that almost everything can be recycled, including flexible plastic, such as chip bags and zipper bags that grapes come in. Check the website to your local recycling depot for details.)
Produce bags can accumulate quickly and because they are meant to hold produce from the store to home, they are only good for 1-2 uses. One alternative is to not use any bags when shopping for your produce. If you prefer to separate your produce, mesh string bags are great and don’t had additional bulk.
Five years ago, alternatives to plastic straws were hard to come by but now they are so widely available, there’s no reason not to go plastic-free! There are many options including paper, glass and stainless steel. Stainless steel straws are the most durable and can be found locally at Pomme Natural Market, Coastal Collective, Nada, and Whole Foods. Paper ones are compostable and available at most dollar stores.
Pro tip: keep a couple straws in your car for when you pick up a drink on the go.
Take Out Containers
If you order take-out or dine out and require a doggy bag, restaurants often use styrofoam or plastic containers. An alternative is to bring your own food containers to the restaurant and ask them to place the food in there. PS: Styrofoam containers can be recycled at the London Drugs at Olympic Village.
Pro Tip: Take it up a notch and skip the plastic cutlery that comes with take out meals.
Get Refills! Buy Bulk!
A few shops have popped up recently that lets you fill your own containers for products like shampoo, soap, laundry detergent and even frozen berries! This isn’t your typical bulk section at the supermarket. It is an entire store dedicated to package free products. The Refillery, The Soap Dispensary and Port Moody Refillery are just a few located in Metro Vancouver. When purchasing products this way, you save money and leave less of an environmental impact.
Some small shops have also jumped on board and are offering refills on your favourite products! Sola Skincare offers their customers refills on their ever popular coconut deodorant when you bring in your empty tin.
Who doesn’t love plastic wrap? It can keep your sandwiches and cookies fresh and portable for your hungry littles. If you like plastic wrap, you have to try beeswax wraps! They are fabric coated in beeswax that you can wrap your food in and stay wrapped! They are reusable, washable and when the beeswax wears away, all you’re left is a piece of compostable fabric. Beeswax wraps can be found at East Van Bees, Port Moody Refillery and at LocalBloom.ca.
Ditch your plastic toothbrush and opt for a package free bamboo toothbrush! These ones by Nelson Naturals and Brush Naked can be found at The Local Space and online.
Coffee and Tea Cups
Disposable coffee/tea cups fill our landfills. Though reusable tumblers are being used, more can be done. One of the more common reasons for not using a reusable tumbler when getting coffee to go is forgetting to bring it with you so keep one in the car for those thirsty afternoons.
We are so lucky that Vancouver water is as fresh and safe to drink as it gets. And it’s FREE! Find a water fountain in public parks, community centres and avoid buying bottled water. Or better yet, buy yourself a reusable water bottle with a cute design and take it everywhere with you.