For whatever reason, figuring out how to NOT use Ziploc bags was my number one no-waste-save-the-environment priority. I think it’s because I knew it would be easy for me and have an immediate impact on producing less trash.
I wouldn’t recommend re-using the Ziploc bags (because PLASTIC! and DYES!).¹ There are several more sustainable options.
1.Let’s start with organic beeswax food wraps. They’re made out of beeswax (duh), organic cotton, organic jojoba oil, and resin. They last for about a year and can be composted once they wear down. You use the heat from your hands to form the wraps into whatever shape you want. However, they aren’t recommended for liquids or raw foods, as they’re not airtight. They must be hand washed in cold water.
2. Vegan food wraps are the same as beeswax, but use animal free waxes, like soy. Instead of using the heat from your hands to mold, the vegan wrap clings to itself. I purchased the beeswax before I learned about the vegan option. Live and learn! You can also make both beeswax and vegan wax yourself. These also must be hand washed in cold water.
3. Silicone bags are considered part rubber and part plastic.² They’re 100% reusable and airtight, as well as dishwasher safe. So, a bit better than Ziploc bags, but not perfect. I wouldn’t purchase, especially since you’ve got so many other options!
4. & 5. Stainless steel and glass containers. These ones came to me later. I think I have a literal brain and couldn’t move away from only thinking about replacing a bag with a bag. Why did I not just use a glass or stainless steel container? Lightbulb. Anything I’d put into a Ziploc bag I could put into re-purposed glass or stainless steel container. Re-purposing deserves its own post. You’ll see your pantry, fridge and grocery store in a whole new light, I promise.
I’ve got a whole shelf in my cabinet dedicated to available glass bottles and jars. Now every time I purchase a Costco sized glass jar of artichoke hearts I’m just as excited about eating them as I am about re-using the glass jar after! It’s ok if you don’t feel that joy yet. You will.
I’ve noticed one reoccurring theme in my journey into being a better human. One door always opens ten others. In learning about what a product is made out of, I see a reference to composting. Flashforward to 3 hours later and I’m on my 11th article, 7th blog and 4th video about how composting works and how I can do it too. I now also know a lot about worms.
This leads into another theme, which is becoming self-sufficient and making things instead of buying them. Also, on not feeling bad when you decide not to make something and just buy it. Don’t feel bad, not everyone has arrowroot powder or tree resin lying around.
Separately, for tips on how to get rid of sticky labels on your glassware, check out this post. I gave up and just use them with whatever label they came with. Because not everybody got time for that.