Using green alternatives is about making smart choices in your life about the simple things. Many times it's the simple choices we make that can make the most difference...recycling with the blue container instead of just throwing the plastic bottle away, choosing less toxic alternative products to clean your home, ridding your life of junk mail, learning to compost, choosing to shop in local stores and buy locally produced products that reduce carbons and emissions in the transportation of products.

Learn to live sustainably – Sustainability is is an idea and a movement that focuses on meeting the needs of those of us living in the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Monterey County residents and businesses can find even more tips, facts, and resources on every day ways to reduce waste by visiting the Protect Your Central Coast web site.

The New Word on Plastics

Plastic film, plastic bags, and plastic packaging have become a large part of our daily lives. There are many plastic items that are labeled with recycling numbers 1-7. These numbers indicate that the items are technically recyclable. However, recycling markets have changed drastically over recent years. Many of the recycling markets that would once take these items have now strictly limited what they will take and have placed strict conditions on the cleanliness of recycled materials. This means that now, more than ever, we all must work to reduce our consumption of single-use materials and do better to reuse everything that we can.

While there are many crafty websites that promote the upcycling and reuse of single-use plastics, many people just don’t have time for these activities. So how can you be part of the solution? We suggest that you start thinking of ways you can reuse single-use plastics to replace plastics you might otherwise purchase. Here are some simple ideas to get you on that path:

  • Bread, produce & tortilla bags: Don’t purchase expensive rolls of pet waste collection bags. Instead, give these bags one more purpose before sending them to the landfill by using them to collect waste from the kitty litter box. If you are a walker, these bags make great bags for picking up after your dog and picking up the litter you find in your path.

  • Laundry & dry cleaning bags: First, ask your dry cleaner if they will consider not bagging your laundry. If you end up with these bags, save them to use as trash can liners. Tie a knot in the open bottom of the bag and use to line your kitchen and bathroom waste bins (this can save you money on purchasing trash can liners).

  • Bags that come as part of a purchase: Use large bags to collect clothing and other items you donate to charity. Save that heavy plastic packaging that comes with new linens and bed sheets. You can repackage the old set you are replacing and send them along for a donation to a charity or pet rescue organization (they are always looking for old sheets and towels to assist them in caring for animals).

  • Plastic food containers: Don’t spend your money on expensive plastic wrap or plastic storage containers! Containers that once contained food items such as cottage cheese, margarine, and sour cream can be washed and saved to store other items in your refrigerator. The same goes for glass jars. A piece of tape and a permanent marker can help here. Think about rinsing these out and storing in a cabinet for times you want to send dinner guests home with those delicious leftovers.

Just a few of the smart ways on how to store food without using plastic

Just a few of the smart ways on how to store food without using plastic