Back to Basics: How to ditch the plastic habit

We all have that draw or cupboard in our kitchen which seems to have a never ending supply of plastic bags. We chuck out tones of unnecessary plastic every day and we know it's bad, but what can we do about it? This week our columnist Lydia Harvey gives us her tips on reducing the build-up of plastic in your home.

Plastic, it's everywhere. In fact we have normalised it so much we tread through it not blinking an eyelid.

What we don't realise when we use that plastic item for what seems like a short amount of time is that it will actually stick around and outlast us, our children and even their children.

The good news is there are steps we can take to, if not eliminate plastic, at least reduce it.

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Bag it up
This is the first basic step to get into the ditch the plastic habit - take your own reusable bags to the grocery store.

Use smaller sized bags for the bulk bins in the supermarket. I even use clean pillowcases for fresh loaves of bread.

Some stores will let you tare weight your own packaging for deli items. 

Bring your own packaging to the supermarket
Make your own "supermarket survival kit". As soon as you get in the door you will be bombarded with fancy packaging, "weekly specials" and other distractions. By knowing what you need and pre-packing essential items beforehand you will save bringing home a pile of packaging and plastic.

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Carry reusable items for impulse purchases
In your bag keep a little kit with a stainless steel straw, reusable cup, napkin spork and store it all in a small stainless steel jar, for putting takeaway food in.

Shop at thrift stores
Most store bought or online items are shipped in individual plastic bags before even getting to the shelf or your mail box. Try and shop second hand when you can to reduce plastic waste.

Ditch the disposables
If you can only use it once re-evaluate getting a reusable equivalent.

Bring your own coffee up to work, use a stainless steel straw instead of a plastic one at cafes and take your own cutlery to work.

Get your bake on
If you purchase your ingredients from the bulk bins then take your own bags not only are you reducing plastic you are also going to be eating a better quality of food and avoiding hidden nastiness. By baking home made goodies you'll also reduce unnecessary packaging that comes along with biscuits and cakes.

From Lydia's Garden: Silverbeet and Feta Pie

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This week Lydia has a quick and easy recipe for a hearty warm winter pie to get you through those chilly winter nights.

8 large leaves of finely chopped silverbeet

1 jar of tomato relish (or relish or your choice)

8 free range eggs

1/2 a block of feta

1/2 a cup of milk or 1/2 a can of coconut cream

In a large bowl combine the silverbeet, relish, eggs, feta and milk or coconut cream.

Stir until the mixture becomes slightly runny. If you find the mixture too thick add an extra egg or milk.

In a pie dish lay out a roll of filo pastry (or homemade pastry) before pouring in the pie filling.

Place in a pre-heated on fan bake at 180 degrees Celsius for approximately 25 minutes. Check egg is set with a skewer.

Let cool before cutting.