Well, I knew my week wasn't going to be Plastic Free. That's why I also like my alternate title: Plastic Awareness February. Makes me feel less bad about myself. Here is the rundown of my week.
Saturday: Farmer's Market
There are only 2 organic vendors at my Farmer's Market. One sells several things already bagged in plastic. I buy the baby lettuce and spinach in the plastic bags, but decide not to get the bagged mushrooms. He also has unbagged mushrooms, but I don't have enough bags to get the variety I want. Everything else I buy I put in my own reusable mesh and cotton produce bags. Next week I will bring even more bags so I can buy 3 different varieties of mushrooms for my farfalle with mushrooms and peas. I could ask the vendor about bringing some non-plastic greens, but I don't feel like bugging them to do this when I have plenty of other ways to eliminate plastic in my food that don't inconvenience others.
I decide to put away all my kids' toys made of plastic and see if they notice. My husband points out that all the beloved Hot Wheels cars have plastic wheels. So I decide to put away all the toys that are predominantly plastic. With the exception of the Fisher-Price garage purchased on eBay and handed down from my sister's kids. It's just like the one we had when we were little. I wish I had a wood garage, but they are pricey and are never on Craig's List. So far no one has noticed the missing plastic toys. We have too many toys. I am inspired to put some of the junkier plastic toys in the donation box. This is about my 100th purge of plastic toys.
I observe Sunday as my Sabbath, so I make no purchases this day, which makes it easy to follow Rule #1 (No buying or acquiring new plastic).
Monday: Trader Joe's
I use my new 100% recycled cotton bags and my PET grocery bags. I love them. So at least my bags are nearly mostly plastic-free (I have 4 cotton bags, and one PET bag). I buy the following items packaged in plastic (all non-recyclable, except the milk jugs):
- Corn Flakes
- Deli ham
- Deli turkey
- Block of cheddar
- Buttermilk (that paper carton must be lined with plastic)
- Flour tortillas
- Onions in plastic mesh bag
- Lemons in plastic mesh bag
- 1 gallon 2% organic milk
- 2 half-gallon containers of whole cream-top organic milk
- 2 packages organic drumsticks (styrofoam tray with plastic wrap)
In honor of Plastic-Free February, I forgo the following items (due to their plastic packaging) that I normally would have purchased:
- ABC Cookies (I have already gotten push back on this from the spouse).
- Sliced cheese
- Breakfast cereals: Raisin Bran, Shredded Wheat, Shredded Oats
- Bag of small organic apples (my kids love eating these)
- Dried mangoes
- More cream-top milk: I'm trying to switch to non-homogenized milk, but TJ's only sells it in half-gallons and that's a lot more plastic since we use 2 gallons per week. So I compromised. One gallon homogenized and two half-gallons non-homogenized. Next week I may venture to Whole Food's for cream-top milk in returnable glass containers.
Trader Joe's is my weekly grocery store. I very rarely make it to Whole Food's (which is farther away) or the regular grocery store (across the street, but carries few things I want). I am going to try shopping at Trader Joe's and Whole Food's next week. One thing that does bug me about Trader Joe's is the plastic-wrapped produce (not everything, but a lot) that allows them to not weigh anything. I will be able to get almost all the produce I need plastic-free or at Whole Food's, plus they sell non-homogenized Straus milk (locally produced) in glass jars which they will reuse when I return them. Milk is a huge source of my plastic waste, although the containers are recyclable at least.
Tuesday: Pick up the CSA bag
Several things in the CSA bag come in corn-derived biodegradable/ compostable (note: I do not compost) plastic for protection and ease of sorting, but I believe they reuse all the packaging you give back to them. And I do return almost all my packaging. I could ask about non-plastic bag options, as I've seen packaging choices come up in emails before.
All those plastic covers on the books. I wonder what kind of plastic that is. My library card is plastic too, of course.
The play equipment at the park is a mixture of metal, plastic and rubber. The surface is some kind of recycled tire stuff. I've read bad things about it, but sand and wood chips have issues too.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the plastic we use or buy in a week, of course. Just a little sampling. At least Plastic-Free February is helping me to pay more attention to my plastic use and plastic waste.
Tomorrow: My Plastic Rules (not just for February)
I violate these plastic rules all the time too.