If you hadn’t heard this month is #PlasticFreeJuly.
Caring for the environment became important to me a couple of years ago as I considered how much waste our family produces. I didn’t understand too much about recycling but I knew I wanted to do my part to protect and nurture creation. Yet, the green world of “zero waste” and all things “eco-friendly” appeared to be intimidating and downright inconvenient.
#PlasticFreeJuly sounds impossible. And maybe it is at the moment! But what if — in these final days of July, or the following months — we work to slowly reduce our plastic consumption and work towards #PlasticFreeFridays or #PlasticFreeWeekends?
As a follow up to this post, here are some small steps where we’re learning to reduce unnecessary plastic or waste:
Alternatives for Food Storage
For the fridge or freezer: We’re getting better using glass food storage containers regularly, including reusing glass jars for lunches or longer freezer storage. (Here’s a few tips on freezing food in glass jars.) By freezing leftover food items we’ve been able to cut down our food waste.
For the leftovers: My dear friend sent me a pack of bees wax wraps and they’ve replaced my plastic wrap use! (I still have the same small box of plastic wrap that I bought a few months after getting married almost three years ago! What?!)
If you still have plastic tupperware, don’t throw it away! That would defeat the point of producing less waste. If you choose to store your food in non-plastic containers, try finding other ways to use the tupperware around your home. I use them for organizing smaller tools or screws.
Choosing Less Plastic Waste
In the produce aisle: While shopping for groceries, specifically produce, I try to steer clear of items wrapped in plastic that are available plastic-free, even if at another store. Sometimes I use a compostable bag or cloth bag and other times I skip the produce bag altogether.
In your Amazon order: Did you know you can reduce the extra packaging in your Amazon orders? Find the how-to here.
In your gift wrapping: I recently used an old J.Crew bag for a gift bag. I took a moment to recreate it by arranging a fun collage of left over scrapbook paper and magazines over the brand name.
In the laundry: I’m sure you’ve heard about water waste? I try to remember to turn off the water while I brush my teeth or scrub dishes. (I’m working on it, I promise!) I’m also learning about micro plastics in our regular laundry cycles. These tiny plastic fibers are washed into our water sources. I haven’t made much progress in this area, but it’s on the list.
Soap & Household Cleaners
For the floor: Once I ran out of disposable Swiffer Sweeper cloths we created our own reusable cloths from an old towel. Aaron cut the towel in similarly sized squares and tada! An effective, reusable, and eco-friendly solution!
For everywhere else: We’ve used bar soaps or good old fashioned white vinegar and baking soda to clean up in the shower or around the house. A glass bottle can also allow you to mix your own cleaners with concentrated cleaners. (Here’s a great guide to natural/non-toxic alternatives for household cleaners.)
Care for the Environment as a Christian Responsibility
I’m still learning everyday. I still buy plastic, I’m still intimidated by composting in our apartment, and I often “forget” to do things I know I should. Reducing waste and consumption is arguably better than recycling. And with one step at a time, it’s not too difficult and has a meaningful impact upon our earthly home.
“The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.”Wendell Berry
In my own experience, Christians haven’t been fond of climate change or even keeping track of their earthly footprint. There’s a few reasons for this, I suppose. Some believe it’s merely political, others believe the “end times” won’t allow for the earth to survive anyway, and even more have yet to consider the issue in the first place. Especially in the US, our society is highly individualistic, materialistic and consumerist. More often than not, our faith (theologically and practically) mirror these traits.
If you’re still on the fence about your role in caring for the environment, or creation care or “ecojustice” as some like to say, this article may offer you a few points and scriptures to consider.
How have your habits and routines been impacted by creation care?