Pearly Whites

The last few months have really forced me to look at my space a little differently. All of a sudden, everything I saw in my household was just a big giant “PLASTIC” sign. I am fully aware I will never be plastic free. I will most likely continue to throw things away (albeit less) vs trying to re-purpose. All I can do is try to make changes where I can.

Aside from the kitchen, my bathroom also houses a ton of offenders. Floss, hair care products, skincare products, etc. Toothpaste seemed like the easiest shift.

Most toothpaste tubes are not recyclable. Because they’re made from a mix of aluminum and plastic, most local recycling centers cannot take them. That, and most people aren’t able to get rid of all the residual toothpaste in the tube and that automatically makes it non-recyclable. For those that care to to clean out the tubes, there’s a company called Terra Cycle that will recycle your toothpaste tubes for a fee.

After some research I came across toothpaste tabs. Most brands come in paper or glass packaging which make them the perfect candidate. I settled on Unpaste because a lot of the other brands didn’t include fluoride.

I wanted SOOOOO badly to like this product. I loved everything that it stood for and the impact on the environment seemed so significant. The flavor was fine and the price was more than fair. What I couldn’t get over was the chewing. You put the little tabs between your teeth, chew, and then brush. I tried to wet the tab before chewing, hoping that it would make the whole process more palpable but I just didn’t like the sensation of things breaking apart in my mouth. I think this has also ruined mints for me permanently….

For those that don’t mind the texture of this, I would still highly recommend. The flavor is good and my teeth definitely felt clean.

Food Chain : CSA vs Imperfect Foods

As I mentioned in previous posts, the more conscious I am of my choices, the more I struggle with making the “right” call.

I am currently looking into switching my source of produce. I consider myself moderately healthy (greens at every meal, small portions of meat…with the occasional binge of pizza or french fries). I tend to visit Sprouts for the convenience and it’s advertising schtick of being like a farmer’s market. While I am blessed to live in Orange County where farmer’s markets are aplenty, I struggle to find time to go as the schedule is really inconvenient for me. So I’ve narrowed down my options to two contenders:

CSA Boxes or Imperfect Foods.

I love that CSA boxes come from the local farm. Tanaka farms in Irvine is such a gem. Family owned, amazing strawberries, and a really awesome CSA program. A friend of mine gifted me her box one week and I was pleasantly surprised with the selection and quality. As a logistics professional I definitely understand the “carbon savings” achieved by buying local. Less trucks, less gas, less mileage. The other benefit is that by buying CSA boxes, you’re also buying in season. Produce that’s grown in season tends to use less resources and is really a nod to our origins. My only complaint is that they do use plastic packaging. If i could bring my own produce bags the CSA box would be an immediate win!

Imperfect Foods : My impression of imperfect foods is that it’s selling produce that would otherwise be trashed. Not only is throwing food away a tremendous waste of the energy that went into growing the produce (water, energy, etc), it’s also contributing to the amount of methane produced at landfills. High methane levels are one of the things responsible for climate change. Imperfect food is thoughtful about their plastic packaging. They use it mostly for items that require it (green beans, peppers, etc). I listened to a podcast that featured the Director of Sustainability from Imperfect Foods and I love how their other grocery products make use of waste from the manufacturing process. Chocolate covered broken pretzels? Sign me up!

So really I’m struggling between trying to buy local/seasonal or diverting trash. Does any one else have ways to weigh in?

Sustainable Kitchen – the liquid villain

Ever since quarantine, the hubby and I have taken up running. I am definitely more of a “follow you tube videos” and spin class type exerciser – running just does not appeal to me. With every trot on the pavement I feel my soul leave my body. Okay, so that’s incredibly dramatic but seriously, I hate running.

The only thing that can lighten my mood after a tortuous run (and by torturous I mean anything more than half a mile lol) is a nice refreshing beverage. My mother in law had had brought home a Costco pack of the G2 Gatorade. Score!

….until I realized that we were throwing away a plastic bottle every single day. As I watched that recycling bin fill up with bottles, the guilt gnawed away at me. So much so that I almost decided to give up running altogether. Hah, JK.

I ended up looking for sport drink alternatives. Gatorade does sell big cannisters of bottles. It’s definitely less waste, but the cannister itself is not recyclable. The G2 cannisters also did not come in as many flavors. Coconut water was a popular choice and they usually come in paper cartons – but I don’t particularly care for the taste of coconut water.

As I searched for “sports drink” and “sustainable packaging” I came across two brands.

YogaLyte and Liquid IV.

At the time I started looking, and at the time of this post, YogaLyte is sold out with no indication of when they would be back in stock. I’m a bit sad because their packaging is compostable. Hopefully I’ll get to try it soon.

Liquid IV was the next find. Long story short – I thought all their product came in compostable packaging but it turns out it was only one product in their line. Of course, I realized that after I had bought the non compostable version and started drinking it. That being said, their mission is sustainably driven and I hope that they end up shifting all their products to the same packaging. I am generating trash still but if we take into account the space the sticks take up compared to the Gatorade bottles, and the amount of energy that goes into transporting the sticks vs bottles, I think we still come out on top!

Looking for more sustainable sport drinks solutions if anyone has some!

Sustainable Kitchen -Enemy number one

Photo courtesy of Earth and Friends Store

I live in a 3 person household – cooking food for three people is kind of frustrating. Halving a recipe is not enough for three but using a full one is too much. My cooking adventures usually end up with one extra serving or part of an ingredient like a quarter of an onion or 1/3 cup of something that came in a can. Now at the rate that we had leftovers I just didn’t have enough tupperware. So what was my solution? Plastic wrap. I’d wrap an onion in plastic wrap and then put it in a ziplock bag. I would put the one egg yolk missing its egg white buddy in a small bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. The Costco pack size plastic wrap was one of my most heavily used “ingredient” in the kitchen.

Every time I had to use plastic wrap I felt a little part of me die. Plastic wrap is hard to recycle and because they’re made of harmful chemicals they can leach into the environment. Marine life can either get caught in it or eat it. One company has estimated that an average household goes through 24 rolls of plastic wrap per year and spends roughly $90 a year!

One day I was scrolling through my instagram and this ad popped up. (Guys, I’m 100% sure my phone is listening to me). The awesome zero waste lids have been so handy! They come in 6 sizes. While I’m so disappointed I haven’t been able to use one that fits a watermelon, I’ve definitely been able to use it for my leftover eggs, avocados, and onions.

I ended up buying two sets because one of each size wasn’t enough, but it was well worth the price. I haven’t had to use any plastic wrap in months! Win for the environment!

I am not paid by Earth and Friends and I have not been offered free product.