In honor of Earth Day, I’ve partnered with some of my favorite bloggers to raise awareness about the environmental impact of plastics and to share some ways to reduce plastic waste (be sure to follow the hashtag #breakupwithplastic to see all the other posts). There are so many ways to have a positive impact and I know it can feel overwhelming at times, which is why I’ve put together a list of simple tips to get you started. What’s important is to commit to something that resonates with you and that feels achievable. Don’t try and change too much all at once and remember that nobody’s perfect, but we can all do better.
One thing I’ve been working on lately is reducing the amount of plastic packaging I bring into my kitchen. Last week I went through my fridge and pantry and pulled out everything in plastic packaging. I was surprised by the amount of packaged food I still regularly buy (miso, frozen fruits and veggies, ketchup, sriracha, nori, pasta etc.) despite my best efforts to eat whole foods and mostly plants. Laying everything out on the counter served as a powerful visual reminder that I can do better. For me this means making more of an effort to source ingredients in bulk, buying extra produce like rhubarb, peas, corn, and berries in season and freezing them for the rest of the year, and making things from scratch as much as possible. One of my favorite things to make from scratch is nut milk. Store bought nut milks often come in plastic bottles and contain harmful additives. And the homemade stuff tastes so much better. So today I’m sharing the recipe for my homemade almond milk and this Adaptogenic Chyawanprash Rooibos Latte made with floral rooibos tea, vanilla, and spicy, sweet chyawanprash. Continue reading for the recipe and some more tips to reduce plastic waste…
NOT SO FUN FACTS ABOUT PLASTIC
- By mid-century, the oceans will contain more plastic waste than fish.
- Only nine percent of the plastic produced ever gets recycled. The vast majority (79%) ends up in landfills and the ocean.
- Nearly half of all the plastic produced is used for plastic packaging.
- Eight million metric tons of plastic end up in the oceans every year.
- The production of plastic uses around eight percent of the world’s oil.
- It takes 500-1,000 years for plastics to decompose.
- One million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic debris in the ocean.
- Chemicals in plastic can be absorbed by the body, altering hormones and causing long term negative impacts on human health.
HOW TO REDUCE PLASTIC WASTE
- Refuse plastic straws and lids.
- Carry a reusable water bottle or mug on the go.
- Bring your own grocery bags, bulk bags/jars, mesh produce bags etc.
- Shop at the farmers market whenever possible (grocery store produce often comes wrapped in plastic, tape, or covered in stickers).
- Buy in bulk whenever possible.
- Reduce online purchases to avoid items like bubble wrap, tape etc.
- Pay attention to packaging and opt for paper, glass or aluminum when possible.
- Swap out plastic wrap for Bee’s Wrap or something similar.
- Invest in glass food storage containers for leftovers and lunches.
- Buy clothing made from natural fibers and/or wash your clothing made from synthetic fibers less often (microplastics from synthetic materials end up in the ocean where they poison marine life).
Have a tip to share? Comment below with your favorite way to reduce plastic waste…
*This post contains links to some of my favorite sustainable kitchen products. Please consider using these links for informational purposes only and purchasing items from local retailers whenever possible.
ADAPTOGENIC CHYAWANPRASH ROOIBOS LATTE
2 tablespoons loose leaf rooibos tea
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (see recipe below)
1 date, pitted
1 teaspoon cashew butter
1 teaspoon chyawanprash
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Steep the tea in 1 cup boiling water for 5 minutes. Meanwhile warm the milk in a small pot over medium heat until just barely simmering. Strain the tea and add to the container of a high speed blender with the warm almond milk and remaining ingredients. Blend on high for 30-60 seconds. Serve hot.
For homemade almond milk, soak 1 cup raw almonds in water with a pinch of salt overnight, drain, rinse, and blend with 3 cups water. Strain through cheesecloth, reserving the pulp for another use. Store in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Homemade almond milk will keep refrigerated for 3-4 days.