Gardening Can Curb Plastic Pollution

By Maria Price

Instead of reading, writing, and arithmetic, the Rs of modern living are reduce, reuse, recycle and re-purpose.

According to the UN, the amount of plastic we produce each year weighs about 300 million tons—almost the weight of all humans combined, writes Tenley Haraldson for

Plastic has been found everywhere around the globe—even in the Arctic and Antarctica. We can help to minimize plastic waste that ends up in landfills and oceans by choosing eco-friendly refill packs for things like soaps, detergents, and cleaning products. Buying products in disposable bottles just constantly makes more trash. Keep household cleaners in glass bottles. Buy reusable water bottles and personalize them. One million water bottles are purchased every minute—think of the amount of trash from that. When you go to the grocery store or farmers market, carry a reusable tote bag for your purchases.

One of the best ways to reduce plastic is to grow a vegetable garden.

Pictured are vegetables that I picked out of my garden. If I had purchased those from a grocery store, I would have quite a pile of various plastics used for packaging. The tomatoes are usually wrapped in rigid plastic, the cucumbers in shrink-wrapped cellophane. The herbs might be packaged in rigid plastic containers, too. The peppers and the beans would also have been placed in plastic bags. Those veggies would yield a few nights of dinners, but multiply that by weeks and months worth of plastic. Eliminate all that packaging by growing your own.

Cook at home more often with what you grow in your garden. Try canning and freezing vegetables. Canning uses recyclable glass jars that can be used over and over. 

There are so many ways to prepare homegrown veggies. Try a Thai cucumber salad. Cut a large cucumber in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Cut into small chunks. Mix together one small red chile, one green chile, thinly sliced, 1 shallot finely chopped, 2 teaspoons finely chopped lime peel, 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice, 2 teaspoons fish sauce, 1 teaspoon palm sugar. Pour over the cucumbers and add 2 tablespoons of chopped peanuts and parsley.