My husband and I were at a casual dinner the other night with my step-daughter, Megan. The food server asked what we all wanted to drink and when Megan said “just water, please” he directed her to the water station over in the corner of the room (it was a self-serve type of restaurant). When she noticed that there was a stack of plastic cups next to the water, she asked the food server for a glass cup instead. I was so impressed by her and by this one simple action she took that has a large impact on our environment.
Her quest for reducing the use of plastic is the practice of ahimsā, which is Sanskrit for non-harming, and is the foundation of the yoga practice. We avoid doing harm not only to ourselves, others, and animals—but in Megan’s example, to the planet. Everything is interconnected and our actions do matter. Even using a glass instead of a plastic cup! This simple act inspired me to think of other simple ways we can reduce our use of plastic.
It’s so encouraging to see certain practices already being adopted into our society, such as using recyclable water bottles instead of plastic water bottles, using steel or paper straws instead of plastic straws and bringing your own bags to the grocery store instead of using plastic bags. Great improvements! Besides these ways to reduce the use of plastic, and my step-daughter’s idea of using a glass instead of a plastic cup, here are 3 more practices that are so easy to incorporate into our daily lives:
1. Use Glass Jars Instead of Ziploc Bags
Use glass jars to store food instead of plastic sandwich bags or even Tupperware. I love using the old mason jars---they look cool and are good for the environment! I also reuse jelly jars, olive jars, spice jars, etc. Not only do they serve as great storage containers, they are perfect to take your lunch to work too. While I’m still in the habit of using plastic bags sometimes, I’m now motivated to use more jars!
2. Store Produce In Reusable Bags
Put fresh, organic fruits and vegetables in a reusable cloth bag instead of using the plastic bags provided in the produce section. Alternatively, don’t put them in anything at all! Especially the produce that has skin you have to peel in order to eat---such as bananas, avocados and grapefruit. Their skins serve as a natural protector from dirt and germs. Such an easy practice to implement!
3. Pick Up Your Clothes From the Cleaners Sans The Plastic
Ask the dry cleaner to return your clothes free of plastic wrap---I’m going to on my next visit! I’m at the dry cleaners once a week and I know this will save a lot of plastic! Plus it saves the dry cleaners a little money and gives us a little more space in our recyclable bin at home! I also bring them our hangers so they can reuse those! Every little bit helps!
Thanks to Megan for inspiring me into action to reduce my use of plastic. I hope this inspires you to make a few changes of your own! Namaste.