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My friend Colleen is so awesome all the time! She’s been posting cool memes on social media that influenced me to start making moves toward a less wasteful impact on the environment … starting with my kitchen.

Believe me, I’m FAR from perfect! I still buy instant ramen noodles, store-bought soy milk, and many other convenience foods, but like my approach to vegan living (which took me years of gradual change to commit to), I believe that making a small positive change is better than making no change.

Here are my easy swaps that have dramatically reduced my single-use plastic consumption:

  1. These reusable bulk and produce bags have been a real game-changer! When I shop, I buy mostly bulk staples (like quinoa, rice, beans, etc.) and produce, which can use A LOT of plastic! The first photo posted below is my grocery shopping trip in October 2017 and the other photo is from June 2018. What a difference! I bought 3 sets of these reusable bags and keep them in a reusable grocery bag in the trunk of my car. They’re washable and a set of 9 bags is $14! Check them out! 
  2. When I get home, I stick my pantry items in mason jars. I have a mixture of jars that I’ve collected from Ikea and thrift stores, but I also bought some of these! I use them for overnight oats, smoothies, leftovers, and bulk pantry items. 
  3. I’ve stopped buying plastic ziplock bags, and have moved on to these reusable silicone ziplock bags! You can put them in the dishwasher, in the freezer, and you can even boil them (just make sure to remove the plastic ziplock). Over time, this will also be saving me $$, which I LOVE!  
  4. When I am traveling with my lunch, I use these sandwich and snack bags. They work really well! Plus, have tons of different cute patterns!
  5. Lastly, the thing that helped me reduce plastic the most was buying an Instant Pot! Before I had one, I tended to buy more expensive convenience items, like frozen packaged individual servings of brown rice. I didn’t want to spend 40 minutes making brown rice on the stove top, but now I have all my staples in half or 1/3 fraction of the time. Plus, I don’t have to sit around the stove to make sure I don’t burn down my house.If you don’t want to dish out the cash for an Instant Pot, my parents use this one and love it. It’s half the price!

Hope you’ve found these tip helpful! What are some of the ways you reduce your use of plastic?

Also, I made this video when I was housesitting at Colleen’s house! It’s What I Eat in a Day: Zero-Waste Edition! Enjoy!

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Toni Okamoto

“They say you are what you eat, so I strive to be healthy.
My goal in life is not to be rich or wealthy,
‘Cause true wealth comes from good health and wise ways…
we got to start taking better care of ourselves ” – Dead Prez

More about Toni Okamoto

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