Week Without Plastic- Let's (sort of?) Do This!

by - Sunday, April 23, 2017

This week is the Week without Plastic, and when I first saw this, I knew we had to participate. I talk a lot about plastics here, and for good reason. They are absolutely terrible for the Earth, for sea life, and more and more we learn plastics are messing with our hormones and our health. Not to mention, plastics are just another product of Big Oil. All in all, not great.

So, today is the big first day. It is also grocery day for our house, so we are starting off on the hardest foot. I was pumped. I knew it could be a fun challenge...



Oh boy, it sucked. I mean, it sucked a lot, and I couldn't believe just how terrible we were at it. I mean, I talk about this stuff EVERY DAY! How could I have not noticed just how plastic-dependent we were when we grocery shopped?

We haven't gotten that bitter with each other since the Lamp Battle in Lowe's of 2009. We honest to goodness gave up and left before we were done.

It all started at the Farmer's Market. It's supposed to be the promised land of healthfulness and eco-friendliness, right? Well, they still sell all their meat in plastic wrap. Yes, it's local and better for you (and better tasting), but it's wrapped in plastic. So we bought some fruit and bread to replace the normal Franz cut loaf we usually get. We had a plastic-free lunch (pot pie and veggie quesadilla- both delicious).

But when we walked over to a QFC nearby, it became clear just how kicked our buts truly were. A few testy exchanges later (mixed with a hungry baby) and we called it.

Maybe I shouldn't tell you this. I feel like the point of the blog is to be relentlessly positive. It can be done, right? But I want to be honest, and today was not great. It isn't always easy, and sometimes even the best intentions won't get you over every obstacle. I haven't given up, but today was a huge slap in the face that we still have lots to do. My thoughts so far:


What Already Helped


We have mostly given up those treacherous middle aisles. Most of our shopping is produce, bakery, and meat. A lot of what we do buy is canned (black beans, crushed tomatoes, etc).

 We also only eat meat at dinner, and even then, we skip meat at least one day a week.

We bring our own produce and grocery bags. All good.


What We Need to Figure Out


Pasta

Someone explain to me why every box of noodles needs the stupid little window on it? Do people mistrust noodle companies so you have to see it is really bow ties not rotini in there? Come on. Not necessary.

Potential solutions- I did find noodles in our local co-op store's bulk bins, so I guess it is time to try those out! Kind of excited for that, just to see how they are. Feels more like a fun experiment and less like an insurmountable challenge.

Yogurt and Cheese

 Oy. I thought we were doing pretty well, because we re-use all our yogurt containers as tupperware for our food storage. I know this isn't safe longterm, but it felt like a consolation anyway.

Potential Solution- We do store our cheese in cheese bags at home, so maybe we can bring them to the store at places with cheese counters? For yogurt, you could just stop eating it because it is gross (ok, maybe only I think that). I know you can make it yourself. I just read today that a friend of a friend sous vides in mason jars and that it is super easy. Considering how much I can harass her for more info.

Milk

 We usually buy Darigold which is local without being fussy or self-congratulatory. We mostly buy the cartons, but they still have the plastic spout. WHY. Why even do that? Grown ass people don't need a spout.

Potential Solution- Our local co-op sells cartons without the spout, so that is optin one. I also know lots of grocers around the US are offering glass container options that you can return to get money back. We tried ours and it was not good, but we may be due to try it again.

Tortillas

Always wrapped in plastic.

Potential Solution- Does anyone know how to make tortillas? Pleas teach me.

Meat and Seafood

This is why so many zero-waste people are also vegans. It is just too darn annoying to figure out how to get meat without plastic (ok, probably not true, but you know what I mean). We feel victorious that we mostly avoid those terrible styrofoam bottoms by buying at the counter, but we could not figure out how to sidestep the plastic bag wrapped in paper. Trying to buy shrimp was the straw that broke our grocery back.

 Potential Solution- My friend had the genius idea of bringing a container with her, but apparently she was shot down, so you have to check with your grocery store. But if you can do this, easiest solution. You could also become a vegan, but if we do that my husband will leave me. Other suggestions were buying bulk meat (like a side of beef) from local farmers, so you can cut out the middleman. All good ideas. We will be working on these ideas, but today, we bought our shrimp and sausage wrapped in plastic and defeat.

The rest of the week should be easier than today (no amazon shopping, no Scone Time! on Thursday) At least I hope it is, and if nothing else, our disaster shop was a good reminder that to keep making progress, you have to keep facing down those demons.


You May Also Like

2 comments

  1. It's great to show the struggle, makes it all more plausible. Cutting plastic is not cut and dry its an adjustment and knowing you are not alone in your struggle keeps up encouragement. Thanks for the honest share!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Shopgirl! Some of these changes are so hard to make, but they are worth it!

      Delete