Monday, March 1, 2010

One Small Change : March

Well, technically this is our change for February, but I didn't get a chance to post it, and we haven't decided on a change yet for March.


Glass jars holding supplies in my studio

Our change was pretty simple and one that we had already made in the past but fell back on a bit... get rid of plastic. When I was pregnant with K, I discovered the damage plastic does to our health and the environment and swore to keep it out of our house as much as possible. Granted, we could never be 100% plastic free with plastic being in appliances, cars, my camera, this computer, etc... but we could make the change wherever it was possible. Bit by bit we replaced our plastic belongings, starting with the most important area - food storage. We became plastic free and it felt good.


Glass jars holding some bulk food

But over the past year or so, some plastic has snuck it's way back into our home. I'm not even sure how it infiltrated our walls, but it did. This challenge seemed like the perfect time to hunt it down and kick it back out. We rounded up the few rascals we had and either recycled them or donated them (depending on the type of plastic it was), and if need be, replaced them with a plastic-free version.


Some of my favorite Pyrex

I found that my vintage Pyrex (that I love oh so much!) is perfect to replace plastic Tupperware, as well as plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Now when I need to cook a casserole type dish I just cook it in the Pyrex and store the leftovers in the fridge with the glass top. I can then heat it right back up in the same dish, too, which saves on dishes and water. (another added perk.) I have smaller Pyrex dishes, too for all kinds of leftovers and snacks to store in the fridge. For storing food items in the cupboard and for taking food on the go we use old glass jars of all kinds. Some are canning jars not currently in use, some are pickles or applesauce we bought and then reused the jar it was in, and a few are jars I bought years ago. We really use these jars for everything, even as drinking glasses, flower vases and to hold the girls craft supplies, the possibilities are endless. Saves the environment, our health and money!


A shelf in the girls' craft cabinet

Some other ways we bring food on the go are with reusable cotton bags and sandwich wraps. The cotton bags we currently have are perfect for the girls when we go out. They like to have veggies or fruit in them and sometimes some dry cereal or chips.
I bought these bags a couple of years ago off of Etsy and they are just simply cotton fabric sewn together with a velcro closure. I plan on making some of our own in the future.


Our cotton snack bags

Speaking of making our own, I finished up the reusable sandwich wraps I was working on last month. I made four, total, one for each of us. To make them I basically just looked at my wrap-n-mat I had and followed it's construction but made a couple small changes.



The first change I made was to make ours bigger. It was too small for my homemade bread. So I made it slightly bigger to hold our larger pieces of bread. The second, and most important change, was omitting the vinyl in the wrap. I was thinking of just using organic cotton on the whole thing but I wanted the sandwich to be able to stay fresh for a few hours in the wrap and if I just used cotton air would get to it and make it stale. After a little bit of research I found some fun phthalate free oil cloth. I still didn't feel comfortable with it touching our food so I choose to make the oil cloth the outside of the sandwich wrap and then put two layers of organic cotton on the inside. They work wonderfully and we love them!



Thank you again, Hip Mountain Mama for this wonderful challenge! Now to figure out what our next change is.... What is your change? Every little bit counts!!!

I hope you are all having a fantastic Monday. Don't forget to enter for a chance at a beautiful playsilk from Desert Dyeworks, if you haven't already.

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34 comments:

boatbaby said...

Fabulous ideas for change! I love the sandwhich wraps you made! You should sell them on etsy...
:)

Kelly and Kelly said...

your sandwich wraps turned out really pretty! great job on your one small change.

Hallie said...

I just love the feeling I get when I open my fridge to see all the glass dishes full of food don't you? I have really enjoyed this change too!

Beth said...

Do you find the sandwiches stay fresh enough in the cotton wrap? I also have seen cotton bags you can make for holding vegetables in the fridge...do they stay crisp enough? love, Beth

Grace said...

We eat about a jar of salsa a week and I've found that the large openings of salsa jars make them perfect for storing leftovers.

Andrea said...

Great post! My change has been (trying) to eliminate plastic too. Last month, I started with the bathrooms (cleaning and personal care products); this month, on to the kitchen! I love your pirex!

Rose said...

I love them! I was just thinking the other day of making some velcro bags for snacks.

Would you care to share your source for the oilcloth? That looks like Anna Maria Horner fabric...

FillingMyQuiver said...

Nicole, can you share where you got the oilcloth from? I've been wanting to make some wraps, but like you, hadn't found a suitable alternative to the vinyl. Thanks :)

tulsileaf said...

We are trying to go plastic free and paper product free( paper towels most importantly). It would go swimmingly if my husband wasn't ADDICTED to paper products and tupperware.

I need to get him one of those metal tiffins. http://www.happytiffin.com/allprods.html

Also, I spy japa beads!

Joy said...

I love your vintage pyrex. So cute! I need to reorganize our art supplies like that. Other than Finn's wooden art caddy, the big kids' art supplies are in plastic...eek! I love the wrap-n-mats you made! What a great idea! We use the regular ones, which are at least pthalate and pvc free. I should do something like this though. We just need so many with how many lunches I pack every day!

renee ~ heirloom seasons said...

Hooray for no plastic! Yes, of course we never allowed it into our home, yet still it is there, especially lingering in the kitchen. We now have only glass jars for storage and cloth bags for bulk food shopping, also trying to limit the amount of packaging that accompanies the food we buy.
I will confess though, I have no idea what you are talking about with the wrap/mat thing...
Love the Pyrex.. that turquoise/rooster design is on my wish list. (The wish list in my head...)
Love your dedication to natural materials. I totally share your fear of plastic!
xo

Julie said...

We're working on ridding our house of plastic, too. It is frustrating when you think you've got it all and you turn around and some more has snuck in.

Tab said...

This is great. I have also wanted to make the wrap mats. We have some now, but I'd love to know where you got the oilcloth. I can't seem to find any anywhere. Thanks!

Linda said...

Your sandwich wraps are wonderful and I love your Pyrex:)
Warmly
Linda

Hip Mountain Mama said...

Those pyrex are really cool...love the baby blue! I have been slowly becoming more aware of the plastic food containers and trying to eliminate this as much as possible!
The sandwich wraps are great..such cute designs!
Suzy

Julia said...

How awesome! I love your pyrex, we have a pantry full of the same glass jars and they really are wonderful....so much easier and less messy than the regular bag of flour that I used to struggle with.

Wendy said...

Love your ideas! Those jars are great!

Jessica said...

I'm swooning for your Pyrex! Oh my! I need to get sewing some snack bags and sandwich wraps, pronto!

5orangepotatoes said...

YUCKO on plastic! Totally agree with you, we go glass as well.

Saw your little egg how to on ROTH. Thanks so much for the tutorial. I've always wondered how to do that!

lisa

kendra said...

i so love your root children and felted eggs in rhythm! and hey, i'm in portland too! yay!

Jennifer Sullivan said...

Vintage Pyrex? Nice! Ebay here I come!

Theresa said...

Awesome. Love it. We are headed in that direction as well.

Laura said...

I love the redesign of the wrap n mat I find my bread doesn't fit in too many "normal" places like our bento boxes.

Really enjoying your blog, usually a lurker.

jademondin said...

this is so cool and very inspiring. i am also trying to reduce plastic. i might steal the ide of sew the sandwich wraps.

Naturalearthfarm said...

We are also working on eliminating plastics here in our home. We have not bought plastic bags or wrap for years now. I love your sandwich wraps - those are on my to-do list too.
Your pyrex is great!
Warm wishes.

healing hillary said...

love the wrap mats...sans plastic. covet!

granolamama said...

We love pyrex at our home too! I will say though that I do have the new ones that come with the plastic and glass tops. I am not too worried about the plastic lid though since none of the food really touches it. (Same rationale for the plastic coated metal mason jar lids.

When my sewing machine arrives, I will be tackling the wrap-n-mats. They seem easy enough for a beginner.

For our snacks on the go, we use the 8oz mason jars. Not as lightweight as a sack, but they keep the food fresh and they are good if you want to pack fresh fruit. Another option (although a bt more wasteful) are those waxed paper bags (I think Natural Value makes them) Our city composts them so I don't feel so bad the once in a blue moon when I use them :)

Thanks for sharing and as always, a delight to read your blog!

kyndale said...

Plastic is everywhere. Hard to avoid. I love your pyrex!

Diane said...

What wonderful ideas. I have recently started saving all our glass jars(spaghetti sauce,etc.)to use for dried herbs this summer. After reading your entry their are so many other things I want to use them for also.
Blessings
Diane

Nicole Spring said...

Thank you everyone.
I have a secret love affair with vintage pyrex, especially that turquoise...oh my!!!

The oil cloth is, indeed, anna maria horner. I ordered a half yard off Etsy (it's cheaper on there) and that was just the right amount to make four sandwich wraps.

Beth - Yes, the sandwiches stay fresh long enough, at least, for us to eat them so about half a day to a day, but I would think if in the fridge overnight they would get hard and crispy. I haven't tested that though ;) For the veggies, I am not really sure on that one. We have a cotton bag for our lettuce and it seemed to go limp really fast but other veggies seemed ok. I am still on the fence on that.

Tulsleaf - Ha,ha - I know how that is! It too my husband a long time to get used to no paper towels, etc, too. We have some of the metal containers and I totally forgot about them, thank you for that, I am going to go dig them out... and yes,yes, those were my husband's japa mala <3

Renee - I meant to take a pic of the wrap-n-mat in action, I will try to do that soon. :)

Lisa - Thank you! I loved your tutorial, too!

Kendra - Oh how funny!! I'll have to chat with you ;)

Back to work for me, thank you again everyone. Your presence and words always mean so much!!

Christine said...

your sandwich bags are great. i hope to make some soon!!

Shay S. said...

How do you eliminate all plastics? I think that is great to eliminate plastics where you can like w/ dishes. I have a plastic keyboard I'm typing on now. I have a plastic ink pen I just used, too. Yes, you can buy hand-carved wood or metal ones, but the ink is in a plastic piece. There is plastic in my car. I just don't know how it can be completely eliminated from your life.

Nicole Spring (Frontier Dreams) said...

Thanks Christine!

Shay S. - It would be impossible to be 100% plastic free in these modern times (unless we lived i nthe middle of nowhere). I wrote about it a bit in the post:

"Granted, we could never be 100% plastic free with plastic being in appliances, cars, my camera, this computer, etc... but we could make the change wherever it was possible. Bit by bit we replaced our plastic belongings, starting with the most important area - food storage. We became plastic free and it felt good..."

HTH! :)

Shay S. said...

Yes, that does help. In regards to storing items... we keep our Christmas decorations in plastic storage tubs. I don't want to use boxes in case mice or bugs get in them. Do you know of an alternative for this to keep them safe & dry?

Personal care items...do you not have a plastic shampoo bottle in the tub? I'm far too clumsy to keep mine in a glass jar. I'd surely be standing in the tub w/ a broken jar every week. LOL

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