Photo: Composed by the VICE team
Your car is plastic. Your Nalgene is plastic. Hell, even those stretchy synthetic fiber pants that give you the ass of an angel are partially plastic. And although some plastics are better than others, all of this [points to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch] makes the dolphins shed a heavy collective tear and prompts us to ask ourselves what we can do to lessen the destructiveness of the situation. (The ocean was just on fire, after all.)
What’s a lonely jabroni with a limited budget to do? “We must act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time,” says Angela Davis— and rightly so. Easier said than done, perhaps, but still a great line to tattoo inside your eyelids to be a better person.
The reality is that the transition to sustainable, multi-purpose products is not always easy or instantaneous. Single-use plastic is often the most affordable and accessible option for receiving and storing our food. So before you buy anything else, remember: these modifications can also start with what you already have. Ask the restaurant you are ordering from not to use the plastic utensils or to throw away the plastic straw at the counter. if you forgot a bag at the grocery store, opt for a paper bag (and use it to store your mushrooms on the top shelf of the fridge). Reuse what you can, subdivide what is doable, and be patient with yourself. Multipurpose non-plastic items for food storage are not just another purchase, but an investment that will take time. These are the ones that worked for me.
Jars, jars, jars
Do you like marmalade? (Of course you do.) Plant propagation? Lick the pickle jar clean? Glass jars and containers are one of the best gateway items to non-plastic storage, as you can often reuse these Bon Maman babies or find them at the thrift store (as well as sexy cookware sites as Food52). Tip: Try storing your herbs and veggies in the fridge in these bad boys with a little water, like a flower arrangement, to keep them fresh longer. Don’t be shy with your storage experiments either; there are lots of beautiful ~glass containers~ that could serve as art and a place for your brown sugar.
Beeswax wraps are worth the hype
I saw a former roommate buy a pack of these and was pretty skeptical because like all 90s kids I thought tech had reached its peak with Glad ClingWrap. Then I saw how she was able to perfectly mold these wraps (which are just fabric coated in beeswax) onto literally any shape or object. I wrap mine around avocados, cheese and half-empty wine bottles; I clip it onto bowls and pack snacks in it for my purse; and I send them to family members as stocking stuffers and accessories to add to a food-themed gift.
Damn, the ‘Tupperware’ glass is getting sexy
To all the millennial marketing elves who realized they hadn’t touched the Tupperware-y industry yet: yes. That works. You made it look sexy, and it got us excited to keep our leftovers in the fridge. (You can also find glass storage containers in many supermarkets.)
Take those fabric vegetable bags to the store…
… And then back to the fridge! No more putting your parsley in those sweaty, suffocating bags of vegetables at the supermarket. Either way, they always end up turning into a soggy layer in the fridge. These boys, however, are like a day at the spa for your herbs.
These are still plastic, but better than Ziplock bags
But… is it plastic? Yeah. But this is where it’s important to be patient with yourself and know your habits. Additionally, silicone is BPA-free while many plastics are not. If you rely on Ziplock bags a lot, opting for a reusable silicone bag is a realistic and less expensive solution. (It’s also made of food-grade platinum plastic, for what it’s worth.) Hint: Give these to your Libertarian Boomer parents as a catwalk product to give a damn.
If you don’t like most reusable water bottles
The stainless steel and metal water bottle containers hurt my teeth, and I’m not great at Nalgene’s taste when it bakes in my backpack. Instead, I fill glass bottles from my home’s Topo Chico cemetery and fly. Mountain Valley also makes smaller bottles with screw caps for a lighter bottle (and, yes: it’s worth buying their still spring water; it tastes like a buttery breeze). I buy them in bulk so I can give them to my friends at my house (classic) and make it look like I have my life together, then I put them in the dishwasher to reuse. (Hint: Glass gods also make bells with handles.)
Are they already in your kitchen cupboards? Don’t worry, we have a few more durable exchanges for you.
Rec Room staff independently curated all items featured in this story.