5 ways to avoid using a ziploc baggie

Most of us grew up in households where plastic baggies were a staple–they held our carrot sticks, our PB & J sandwiches, and now while browsing Pinterest we’ll find 50 recipes claiming to be the “best chicken ever,” marinated in disposable plastic bags. We may have made the switch to reusable grocery bags, but giving up the convenient Ziploc proves more difficult. As with most changes, we have to force ourselves to think beyond what we know–and maybe do a little research, too.

I have my own stash of Ziplocs that I’ve been simultaneously using up and weaning myself off. I like to think that once I nail down my zero waste lifestyle, I’ll have two lonely baggies that forever sit in my kitchen drawer as a reminder of days past. Here are some tips for how I’ve slowed down this particular trail of plastic waste in my life:

1. Collect glass jars
From pasta sauce, thrift stores, wherever you can find them. You can use these for leftovers, marinating meat or tofu, and freezing produce. Tupperware containers also work, though they are more likely to warp in the freezer and take longer to clean if they aren’t dishwasher safe. Your best bet will be to collect glass containers and jars in a variety of sizes. Avoid putting hot liquids in a jar right before freezing it (you wouldn’t do this with a plastic bag either, because it would melt…whereas the glass jar might break due to extreme temperature change).

2. Reuse baggies for the same purpose
Since I already own plastic baggies, I’ve started using them for non-perishable items such as bulk flour and oats. They work great for stores without a tare system (which allows you to use glass containers and subtract their weight) and the bags could conceivably last for years if I treat them nice. No, you shouldn’t buy more baggies for this purpose, but you might as well use what you have!

3. Use cloth or mesh bags
Some items we store in Ziplocs don’t actually need to be air-tight. You can use reusable produce bags (or anything similar) in these cases. For lunch snacks, order some cute snack baggies on Etsy. These can be easily thrown in the wash after each use, or just dust out the crumbs from those mini pretzels and call it good.

4. Embrace the slow life
Sure, foregoing the plastic baggie means more dishes and a bit more mess. But consider this: if you feel like washing that extra cutting board or glass jar is just too much for your busy life, maybe it’s time to cut back and slow down. Take some time to realize that convenience is not always better. I like to meditate on this principle while chopping my veggies by hand, knowing that my perfectly good food processor is sitting just a few feet away in the cupboard. Life can be quite beautiful when you’re slicing a ripe red pepper to a slow rhythm.

5. Your ideas
Is this cheating? Okay, maybe a little, but I’m not the only one with good ideas. (Plus, five ideas sounds so much better than four.) Can you think of new (or old) techniques to replace your need for disposable baggies? Please share, even if you’re stumped, and we’ll brainstorm together!

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