Two weeks ago, to kick off Clean Up The World Weekend and the Ocean Conservancy’s Coastal Cleanup here in New York City, I thought I would watch “A Plastic Ocean” which was recommended to me by a friend on Instagram who lives in Australia. Needless to say, the film had a profound effect on me. While I have always been eco-conscious in that I bring my glass water bottle and my own bags everywhere to go shopping; I frequent the farmers’ market and am a member of a local CSA (community-supported agriculture); I recycle my packaging; and I compost my food scraps, the movie made me realize how much MORE I need to do, as does the rest of the world. When I traveled to Asia this summer, it broke my heart to see in a supermarket, that less than a dozen food items were free from packaging of any sort. We live in a downward spiral of a “disposable” world. What can we do to change this?

Ocean Smoothie

An ocean smoothie

As an Instagram influencer @conscious_cooking, I was motivated to share the awareness and call for action with my 87K+ followers. This social media platform has always been an amazing way to create community and share inspiration. After watching “A Plastic Ocean” and encouraging my followers to do the same, my daily posts and stories have all mentioned going plastic-free and collectively have had 238K+ impressions, The message, with the hashtags I created #plasticfreefoodie #foodiesfortheworld has been shared and viewed on numerous accounts (with a collective following of over 703K+) The positivity and awareness is effectively contagious.

As a cook and a mom, the chemical properties of plastics has always been worrying. And the recent articles about plastics being found in tap water around the world as well as in the sea salt is more than disturbing, especially when these are cooking essentials. I’ve always made it a point to cut out the “junk” of processed foods by cooking at home, but how do you avoid microplastic fibers now? Using fresh ingredients from the farmer’s market and dry food items from the bulk food section of the supermarket, the meals I prepare have always been predominantly plastic free, as far as I knew. However, looking through my kitchen pantry/fridge/freezer, somehow I’ve accumulated over 50 single use plastic-packaged items. As I also don’t believe in food waste, I’m going to finish using these items up, but from now on, my kitchen and cooking will be free of plastic. I am 100% confident that this is can be done, and be equally delicious without the “convenience” of plastic packaging. I’m excited to share this journey, and to inspire others to join me to eating our way into a better, and cleaner, world.

Christine Wong is a NYC healthy chef, freelance content creator and social media consultant. She is the founder of Yommme and @conscious_cooking, platforms that celebrate the beauty of plant-based eating.