By Deb Koteras, Mother Nature Foods
When bagging your groceries or wrapping your sandwich, it may be convenient to grab a plastic bag. But the environmental cost of doing so is becoming astronomical. “It’s estimated that Americans use over 380 billion plastic bags and wraps a year. A report by the World Economic Forum and Ellen MacArthur Foundation found that currently the equivalent of one dump truck of plastic litter is entering our oceans every day. That is expected to increase to three dump trucks per day. The report estimates there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050.”1
The Last Plastic Straw Movement reports that “over 500,000,000 plastic straws are used each day in the United States. In only the past twenty years, people have come to expect plastic straws in every drink, in an example of extreme waste being generated for minimal convenience. These short-lived tools are usually dropped into a garbage can with no further thought, instantly becoming a source of plastic pollution.”2
Mother Nature’s Foods in Eau Claire has many reusable bags, containers, water bottles, and utensils. Here are a few of the Earth-friendly reusable items they carry:
These multi-styled, many-sized bags fold inside of a pocket that is about the size of your fist when it is all stuffed inside. They also have a D-ring that comes with them so they can be attached to anything. Keep one in the house, the glove box, your purse, and carry one to work every day.
- Bamboo utensil sets (adult- and child-sized) in a holder with a D-ring. Great for a lunch box, purse, and camping!
- Collapsible 100% silicone food containers in 1-, 2-, and 4-cup sizes. BPA-free and oven-, microwave-, and dishwasher-safe.
- E-cloths (reusable cloths instead of paper towels).
Polished Stainless-Steel Drinking Straws
Deb Koteras, owner of Mother Nature Foods, says, “My eighteen-year-old daughter thinks these are the coolest! She loves to make smoothies and uses them all the time!” Dishwasher-safe, or a pipe cleaner works well to really get it clean.
But What about the Cost?
Yes, there is an initial cost to buy a reusable item, but in the long run you will save money by not having to keep buying disposable plastics. Koteras notes, “Reusable items are cost-effective if you even think remotely about the effects of all these things that we use and just throw away!”
Changing to Reusables
Reading about the plight of the oceans and other environmental effects of plastics can, and should, motivate us to make a change to using all reusables. But how? Koteras advises, “I think it is easier for most to change things out a little at a time, but for some, it is all or nothing! Do whatever works best for you. But I think we just really have to make that mindful decision to change. Our world is in big trouble, so the sooner people make a change, the better chance we have that there will be a world that we want our children to actually live in.”