Today's grocery trip was a bit of an experiment. I read on another blog (sorry, I can't remember which one, so no credit here, just not my original idea) that they were trying to reduce their dependence on plastic. So my goal was to buy the least amount of plastic that I could.
Well, this was a more daunting goal than I anticipated, because once you start paying attention to how much plastic there is at the grocery store, it's virtually impossible to make a regular trip without it.
I have some plastic produce bags saved that I reuse, so that reduces one section of the store. However, it is more difficult to find organic produce. Normally Wegmans has organic lemons, but today I couldn't find any, so I had to buy a regular one. Next dilemma: organic tomatoes in a plastic container, or local tomatoes from a bin? That's a tough choice. This also comes up with milk. We have several great dairies around here, that sell milk in glass bottles. Not organic milk though. So today I bought organic tomatoes & organic milk, both in plastic. Sigh.
Next stop, the aisles. Here are some items for which a consumer has no choice but to buy plastic, at least at the store I was in:
-cheese (except shredded parmesan, which I managed to find in a glass jar!)
Now I realize that there are certainly alternatives to many of these items, and today for various reasons I wasn't able to utilize these alternatives. However, it's to my advantage to have learned this firsthand, so next time I can plan a little better.
One of the reasons that I want to reduce our dependence on plastic is that it's not all recyclable. Last week a friend watched me put a plastic container in our recycling box and asked incredulously, "You can recycle 5s here?!" Another suburb where she housesits only takes 1s & 2s. I told her that I wasn't sure if there were restrictions on the plastic numbers, but the truck picks up whatever I put out. It doesn't get sorted by the guy driving the truck. So I'll have to look into that. What do you do with the plastic that your town won't recycle? Any ideas out there?
Same goes for styrofoam. That doesn't come through too often, but occasionally a package will get delivered with styrofoam packing. I just unpacked a box of dishes we got for our wedding (a lot of our wedding presents were in storage because our apartment had no space for them) and there was styrofoam between the dishes, so right now there's a small pile waiting for someplace to go that's not the garbage.
So today's lesson, plastic is everywhere. Tomorrow, getting an estimate for a new efficient furnace, and converting to gas from oil. I'm sure there'll be a post to come from that experience!