Recycling Plastic: Reduce Plastic Use in Your Everyday Life

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Don't buy water! If you must, be sure to recycle your plastic water bottles.

Soft plastics used to wrap food expose us to DEHA (diethylhexyladepate), a carcinogen that’s meddlesome at room temperature and more hazardous when heated. Here are ways to reduce plastic use in the kitchen.

1. Buy foods in bulk, using paper bags or containers from home.

2. Recycle plastic tubs such as yogurt or cottage cheese containers. Check with your local recycling company as to which items it accepts.

3. Store nonperishable foods in jars.

4. Refrigerate or freeze chopped or cooked foods in stainless-steel bowls, jars, or other glass dishes such as Corningware and Pyrex. Cover bowls with fitted lids, dinner plates, or saucers.

5. Pack lunches and snacks in plant-based cellulose bags; wax paper (you can also use wax paper liners from boxed herbal tea); wide-mouth, stainless-steel Thermos bottles; stainless-steel bowls; and food tins with fitted lids.

6. Reuse existing plastic, including zip-locking baggies and bags saved from frozen fruits and vegetables. Line garbage pails with old plastic shopping bags rather than buying trash bags.

7. Invest in organic cotton, canvas, or hemp tote bags for grocery shopping. They also work for storing vegetables in the refrigerator.

From The Garden of Eating: A Produce-Dominated Diet & Cookbook by Rachel Albert-Matesz and Don Matesz (Planetary Press, 2004).