Going Green: How to avoid sneaky plastic

Published 4:38 pm Friday, December 27, 2019

If you’re like me, the new year snuck up on you much faster than you expected it to. It seems like 2019 had barely begun before it was over. And now somehow we are almost in a brand new decade.

Thinking about how the year seemed to sneak by so quickly got me thinking about something else that’s very sneaky: plastic.

We’ve only had plastic for a relatively short amount of time, but it’s proven to be so useful that it has become ubiquitous — it’s used almost everywhere for every imaginable purpose, and as a result we don’t even realize just how often we use it.

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So many things these days come in plastic wrappers that we don’t even notice anymore. Unfortunately, whether we notice it or not, plastics are piling up around the planet and they won’t be going away for a very long time.

We often use plastic to make intentionally “disposable” items such as wrappers and packaging, but the plastic itself is hardly disposable. Plastic sneaks through our lives in brief, un-notable ways, and then into the world around us where it will live on for centuries.

One of the areas of my life where I’ve found plastic can be the sneakiest is when it comes to food, especially when I just want a quick snack.

One of the best ways I know to cut down quickly on this sneaky plastic is to avoid single-serving packages. I know this is hard, really hard, but it really makes a big difference. When I’m traveling or need a quick bite to eat in the morning, I like to have snacks available. There are many snacks offered in “snack-size” bags that are very convenient for this purpose, including granola bars, muffins, crackers, chips and more.

These snacks are already portioned out in individual bags, which makes it so convenient for me to toss them in the car and have them ready to go. Unfortunately, if I do that, my plastic use shoots through the roof. 

The better option is to buy snacks in bulk and then divvy them up into reusable storage containers when I get home. A good option for breakfast is to make your own muffins or granola bars and go ahead and put them in reusable silicone bags for the week. Some people meal prep in order to eat healthier during the week but I think it’s worth it to meal prep so you don’t have to use a lot of plastic throughout the week. One of my favorite things to meal prep is English muffins with Canadian bacon, eggs and cheese.

Here is a recipe for the breakfast sandwiches that you can make ahead of time and freeze https://bit.ly/2sp2oZi

Here is a recipe for some make ahead no bake energy bites that are like little granola bars. I really like this recipe because it’s quick and you could portion these out in little bags for a week full of breakfasts. https://bit.ly/2seOARj

I have never made my own granola bars but I have friends who do and they rave about them. In 2020 I’m going to try and make some of my own granola bars and I’ll let you guys know how it goes.

Sometimes the lazy side of me says “but that is so much work.” But the environmental side has to remind the lazy me that it’s only five minutes of work in order to avoid using plastic that will still be polluting the planet when my grandchildren have kids. How can I not opt for the environmentally friendly option at that point?


Amanda’s Animal Fact of the Week:

Polar bears give birth in the winter, often to twins.


About Amanda Wheeler

Amanda Wheeler is the children and teen services librarian at the Lincoln County Public Library. She has a master's in zoology education from the University of Miami and has taught as an educator at the Cincinnati Zoo.

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