recycling plastic bags santa cruz
February 2020

Avoiding Plastic Bags

Green Tip February 2020

By Meredith Keet

Americans throw away 100 billion plastic bags annually.  That’s 307 bags per person per year!  Recycling for these bags was estimated to be around a measly 1%.  With plastic bag bans becoming more prevalent, you may be finding it easier to avoid them, but for most of us there may be places where we are finding them hard to avoid.  Here are a few suggestions that may help you skip the bag then next time around: 

recycling plastic bags santa cruz

Trash Bags: Composting is key! Once you eliminate all that yucky food waste from your trash you’re left with very little (if anything) that actually needs to be contained in a trash bag.  Rinse out your trash can after emptying, maybe sprinkle a little baking soda at the bottom for odor control.  Done.  

At the Grocery Store: keep totes everywhere. And reusable produce bags too. These can be made from old t-shirts or found for sale in a variety of sizes.  You may even choose to skip the bag for your produce entirely by placing your produce loose on the conveyor belt (gasp!).  Don’t worry, you can wash them when you get home to ensure they’re nice and clean!

Bulk: use your stash of reusable produce bags or bring your own containers.  Just head to the customer service desk for a tare weight before you load them up. 

Freezing: We’ve recently become huge fans of Stasher bags for freezing.  While not huge proponents of silicone because it is difficult to dispose of, Stasher will take back their bags if broken or damaged for recycling into playground material.  Another freezing option-mason jars.  Just don’t forget to leave a little extra room for expansion of liquids to avoid cracking.  

Kids Lunches: Years ago we made the investment in Planetbox lunchboxes for our kids.  Stainless steel, indestructible with separate bento-style compartments, you can send your kids to school with the perfect amount of food for their lunches. These also took away those early morning quests for matching containers and lids. 

Takeout: bring your reusable tote and ask the restaurant if they can pack your order in your bag instead of a plastic bag.  We’ve never had anyone refuse to do this, though we have forgotten a million times and ended up with the plastic bag.  Again, the key is having those totes on hand ALL THE TIME!

Come visit us at Ethos (formerly The Zero Shop)!

Located in Capitola Village on the corner of Capitola Ave and Monterey

www.ethossantacruz.com

Follow us on Instagram @liveyourethos  

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