6 On Your Side: Consumer Confidence, Earth Day at Home

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(ABC 6 News) – Most of us can agree that plastic products have changed our lives, but they’re also polluting the planet. The same goes for food scraps that are not only wasteful but can end up in landfills.

So with Earth Day celebrated on Friday, here is our 6 On Your Side: Consumer Confidence Report with some simple ways to cut back on both

Five trillion plastic bags are used worldwide every year! Even after you throw the bags out they can last for as long as 500 years.

If you’d like to reduce your impact on those numbers, try reusable silicone bags. Consumer Reports’ Perry Santanachote tried out a bunch.

“The baggies we tried out are meant to replace your plastic sandwich and snack bags. They’re made from silica, a natural and abundant element found in sand and rock," Consumer Reports Editor, Perry Santanachote said.

The bags do cost more up front, but you’ll be reusing them by tossing them in the dishwasher or washing them by hand.

These top-pick W&P Bags are easy to open and close, leak and stain resistant, great for freezer storage and can also be used for sous-vide.

But before you go out and buy more, CR says see what you can reuse.

“You can just use whatever you have at home already so reuse those plastic tupperware containers, reuse your mason jars," Santanachote

Like with all food storage, the idea is to reduce your food waste. For the inedible parts of our food, composting is an option. CR checked out several indoor composters; helpful if you’re short on outdoor space.

“Many of these require worms and microbes that help break down the foods you’re scrapping. But there’s also the ick factor, they smell, they can attract pests," Santanachote said.

The Vitamix Food Cycler skips the worms and just grinds and breaks down your food in about three to eight hours. After that, it will break down faster in landfills.

“For the most high-quality compost, the kind of stuff that you want to use for your plants and your garden, you’re gonna want to go with worms," Santanachote said.

CR said an Urban Worm Bag is convenient and easy to use and can handle 6 pounds of food scraps.

Before you spend any money on a composting system, aim to reduce your overall edible food waste. That’s because composting doesn’t eliminate the much bigger upstream environmental impacts associated with growing food.