As hard as I try there are some instances in which I cannot avoid plastic packaging. As I point out in my (controversial) Why the zero-waste movement isn’t sustainable post, not everyone has access to bulk stores and other eco-friendly options near them. The nearest bulk store I have is over an hour away.
There are many reasons why I and a lot of other people still buy things in plastic. Accessibility is probably one of the biggest reasons. Whatever the reason, I want to normalize it in this community.
Yes, plastic is bad. It doesn’t break down, pollutes our landfills, contains harmful chemicals and harms wildlife. However, almost everything these days comes in plastic or contains plastic in some way. And unless you’re living somewhere really earth-conscious, it will be impossible to avoid plastic 100%.
Here are 15 things I still buy in plastic:
1. Cat food – I know that some places offer bulk cat and dog food but for starters, I only want the best for my cat. She’s spoiled, I’m obsessed. It’s a whole thing. Second, she’s n prescription food that I can only get at the vet and that unfortunately comes in a plastic bag. nothing I can do about it and I accept that.
2. Cat litter – I haven’t even heard of bulk litter. Perhaps it exists but cats go through so much litter I don’t think I’d have a container big enough.
3. Vegan cheese – Being gluten and dairy-free has really impacted the way I shop for food. A lot of the food I can eat inevitably comes in plastic packaging like vegan cheese.
4. Vegan butter – The same goes for vegan butter. While I try to live as low waste as possible, I also want to enjoy life and that means not giving up everything I enjoy just because it comes in plastic packaging.
5. Bread – I have yet to find a (gluten-free) bakery that doesn’t use plastic packaging for their bread.
6. Tofu – While I’m not vegan, I do try to cut back on my meat consumption and one of my favorite ways to do so is with tofu. Tofu comes in plastic.
7. Protein bars – I have a lot of food restrictions and health issues that I’m not going to go into here. But I need food and snacks that are portable and safe for me to eat. Protein bars are the perfect answer although they do come in plastic wrapping.
8. Protein powder – Same thing here. Though I opt for the plastic tubs as opposed to the plastic bags so I can try to reuse them in some way.
9. Medication – Last time I checked you couldn’t (and shouldn’t) get prescription meds in bulk. When it comes to health I don’t care what kind of packaging is used.
10. Electronics – I don’t buy new electronics often but when I do and I need them they often come in plastic packaging.
11. Skincare/cosmetics – I try really to find conscious brands that I love to support but even so some of these brands use plastic packaging. While they are recyclable most of the time, it’s still plastic. But I do believe in doing the best you can and making the best conscious decision possible which is what I do for each and every product I purchase.
12. Lotion – I have really bad eczema and need eczema specific body lotions that still come in plastic packaging.
13. Deodorant – I recently switched to Native deodorant and I am a huge fan! I bought my first stick right before they launched their plastic-free deodorant so I’m looking forward to purchasing that next time around!
14. Special treats – Around the holidays I love purchasing vegan marshmallows and other fun gluten-free dairy-free goodies as a treat for myself and others. These goodies still come in plastic packaging but like I said I don’t purchase them often.
15. Packaging – While I don’t specifically purchase plastic packaging a lot of companies still use it when shipping items. I mostly support businesses with eco-friendly packaging but during the holidays it’s really hard when Christmas shopping and the odd plastic packaging still get in there.
So there you have it. 15 things I still buy in plastic. I’m not perfect and I don’t pretend to be. Being sustainable looks different for everyone and it’s not a straight line. Things happen and some things are unavoidable. That’s the world we live in, unfortunately.
I just believe in making conscious decisions and efforts to help better the lives of those around us, ourselves and the planet.