on of my goals for next year is to dig further into the zero waste lifestyle and see what else we can implement here.
we’ve had a pretty good start this year: added our laundry line for use in good weather, started relying on our bikes as our main transportation during good weather and worked on our food system and grocery shopping. I think i’ll break it into two posts, this one being about modified containers and the second being the actual food itself.
of course the first step is to start eating more fresh foods – the whole shop the perimeter concept. but this made me cringe at how many plastic bags i was adding to the cart. so i bought these reusable mesh produce bags. no more coming home with 10 extra plastic bags inside my reusable grocery totes. they are very inexpensive and worth the peace of mind.
my next step was to visit the deli counter more. i knew i was against getting pre-packaged sliced cheese bc it would get under my skin every time i had to deal with the packaging and extra pieces of paper and think to myself “what a waste.” so i started getting our sliced cheese and meat at the deli counter and bringing our own containers.
i know for a fact that every house in america has an abundance of tupperware containers. so why not put them to use? I just have the deli counter salesperson put the barcode receipt on the paper, where it is clearly visible and scannable under the lid, and skip the plastic bag. plus it’s a lot easier to stack and store in the fridge that way. on occasions that i have a more opaque top container i just have them put the sticker on the outside. it peels off very easily when i’m putting groceries away.
this also enables me to get a larger amount at one time instead of like 8 measly slices of cheese wrapped in 1 pound of plastic packaging thus less waste.
i also did this for the olive bar because i have to have a daily ration of olives.
the last step is a fairly new one for the year. I have started shopping the bulk items section and reusing the containers. one of our local grocery stores has an abundance of bulk items and i kinda went into a crazy reverie of zero wasting.
granola, cranberries, oats, snacks, trail mix. these are all things we use on the reg and we can avoid the packaging now thanks to market district. they have all kinds of grains, pastas, nuts, even honey. i filled up a honey bear that we can reuse from now on.
they have machines that you can print out the stickers for them but we happened to have an erasable crayon that I brought along to write the PLU #s on the top. this wipes off easily to be re-branded the following trip.
now, i know this might sound like it’s a lot of extra effort. i thought so too when i first started reading up on zero waste efforts. like anything else, it just becomes a habit. yes, there are times i forget but most of the time we are reusing our containers and reducing our waste. even just a little bit helps.
do you take your totes with you to the store every time? if you don’t then you are a rotten human being….just kidding. but really you should. if you do then all you need to do is store your produce bags and a few chosen containers in your tote to ride along to the store next time.
next post i’ll talk about food choices – which i did touch a bit on here. I am REALLY interested in hearing about new tricks. what do you do? please tell me. i want to change what i can. thanks!
ps. my main resource and place of information = here. feel free to add any other websites that are good resources and inspirations in your life :)
6 thoughts on “zero waste efforts”
Good job! I like your erasable crayon idea for the PLU numbers. We have those crayons too. I also like your idea for bringing tupperware for the deli items. That’s one form of packaging I hadn’t thought enough to avoid before. I really like getting as much from the bulk bins as possible. Instead of purchasing re-usable produce bags, I just use a lot of the muslin bags we already have. I’m not especially fond of the quality of TOM’s shoes, but that little bag they include with the shoes is also great for grains and produce. Every once in a while I find myself with a plastic grocery bag and I try to re-use them for produce or groceries in perpetuity.
thanks for your tips. i’m glad to have this exchange! i hadn’t thought about the uses for tom’s bags. they usually become play purses or satchels around here.
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