I Gave Up Plastic Plates for A Year (Here’s How it Went)

I Gave Up Plastic Plates for A Year (Here’s How it Went)
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Last year my cabinets stayed stocked with plastic or foam plates, sitting on top of my ceramic plates that rarely got used. I purchased the large package from the wholesale store to ensure we always had plenty. After all, they are just so convenient. I can’t recall when I started relying on them so heavily, but my best guess is I picked up the habit when I was a college student and it stuck.

April 2019 when I noticed I was low on plastic plates, I made a conscious decision to not buy anymore. I had been making many lifestyle changes over the last decade, but somehow this one had flown under my radar. At this time I had a 5-year-old and a 2-year- old, so we could go through quite a bit of these plates in a week. I informed my husband that from now on we would no longer purchase plastic plates, instead use the dishes in the cabinets. I have never liked washing dishes, therefore my husband does a good portion it. But I do the majority of the cooking, so I think it’s a fair trade. Fortunately, I didn’t get much push back from him, and our foam-free plate journey began. When I hosted my parents for Easter dinner I announced my intentions that we were no longer going to use plastic plates.

My top 3 reasons for ditching plastic plates:

  • Plastic is not the most environmentally friendly product.
  • Heating plastic in microwave is likely harmful to my health.
  • Minor cost-savings, as I was buying it to use once then throw away. What a waste.

This past year has been way easier than I thought it would be. I never had that moment of weakness where I felt the need to turn back. This is our new normal, and the only way I want my kids to remember eating their meals. They love helping to set the dinner table and placing their dirty dishes to the sink. My dishwasher got put to work after being on an extended vacation. Did you know it saves water by using it versus running a bunch of water to hand wash? The cost savings isn’t a big factor, but a dollar saved is a dollar earned, right? Depending on how often you buy them you could save anywhere from 50-$100 + dollars a year. My estimate is we probably saved around $80 from not purchasing them.

Now in full disclosure, I have purchased disposable plastic plates twice in the last year. Once in preparation for a hurricane, I bought a small pack from the dollar store for emergency preparedness. The second time was when I hosted Thanksgiving for around 30 people, I purchased the clear cut crystal Chinet plates because I didn’t have enough of my dinnerware. But when I tell you I was looking for alternatives and made several trips to stores to see if there was a better option.

Are you still using plastic plates every day? If so, here’s my advice if you still using paper plates. Quit cold turkey. Don’t buy anymore when run out, and you’ll get used to it in no time. You are special enough to eat on the “good” plates. If giving up plastic plates is not for you, review your lifestyle and consider what you can do to be more environmentally friend