Zero Waste

Toothbrush packaging

This packaging is incredibly shameful. I bought this set of two electric Oral-B toothbrushes from Costco, on sale. For two skinny brush handles and heads, two small chargers and two plastic carrying cases, so much packaging! And all that packaging is totally not needed. These are not extremely fragile items. The packaging could have been half to two thirds less and still provided safety to the the items. I feel outraged and disgusted.

Look how wide and deep the plastic molding is for these small items! I kick myself for seeing, but not really seeing, the packaging I was buying. I say it that way because we were in a hurry and it was one of the items wanted to pick up. As I put it in the cart I had a flash of thought that it seemed rather large packaging but I didn’t think it through anymore than that. I did, ironically, waffle over whether to buy grapefruits, avocados, limes and apples all in various kinds of plastic packaging. It wasn’t until I got home and opened the box for the toothbrushes that my brain kicked in to seeing just how much ridiculous packaging there was. And this was the day after watching the Marketplace episode on CBC about how only 9 percent of plastic we recycle actually gets recycled. The show showed mountains of plastic in dumps here and around the world, often being incinerated. This was two days after Friday’s world climate strike.

The worst part, I felt so disgusted with the packaging I felt I should return the toothbrushes to Costco, however I have been told that returned items often just get thrown out, and that would be a double waste. So I question again whether or not I should continue my Costco membership. The manufacturer, Oral-B, should not over package items; Costco should take responsibility and not purchase over packaged items from their suppliers. Customers should not buy over packaged products. Everyone has a responsibility at every level.

P.S. Another discussion, of course, would center around manual vs battery operated vs rechargeable vs other option: which is more environmentally friendly. Also where the balance is between what is best for our health vs the best for the environment.

Be mindful when you are out

We had been doing so well lately. One bag of garbage per day or two days, very few containers or recyclables or paper or non stinky garbage or single use plastics. I am making my own bread, yogurt, salsa, guacamole; we are eating more beans and lentils and less meat so less meat packaging. How exciting. And then…we biked to see family and picked up bbq items on the way – two packages of ground beef each on a styrofoam tray wrapped in plastic, two salads in single use plastic containers (separate bottoms and tops), three plastic packages of salad dressing that come with the salads, two packages of buns in plastic bags with plastic fasteners, package of hot dogs. Wow, 16 items of garbage, none of it recyclable. Good job! Not! We were in a hurry, trying to do quick and convenient, which almost always means it’s bad for the environment. It was a bit of a shocking experience after being so in control at home these last couple of months. So the lesson is to be very mindful when I go out. Picking things up unplanned, running into the corner store, going on a road trip, all potentials for creating more waste.

Getting better

It has been a few weeks since I have posted. Here is the update on my progress:

I am in a routine of making yogurt now. About every 10 days I make two litres. Yum. As stated in an earlier post, I have eliminated yogurt containers but increased the number of milk bags which are not recyclable unfortunately…but I am regularly washing and reusing the milk bags instead of using baggies. So I am okay with this for now.

I started preparing to make my first loaf of bread today. Hopefully that means I won’t be buying bread in plastic bread bags…we will see how successful I am first, LOL. I also cooked my own chickpeas today so I don’t have to buy canned chickpeas, one less thing in my recycle bin.

My husband and I are mostly set up in the condo now so in the last couple of weeks we have had very little non-food packaging to deal with, which feels good. Paper and container recycling is so little now we take just a few things down to the bins once a week. Non-smelly garbage is so little now that it can build up for a couple of weeks in a small bag. And we throw out one small bag of other garbage a day – consisting of mostly food scraps and bathroom type garbage. If we had composting in this building then the throw out garbage would be very little right now.

I have been buying most produce at the ByWard Market at the fresh produce stalls so I haven’t had to deal with store packaging. I did check out the local butcher in the ByWard Market but I was not very impressed so I am still buying meat at the grocery store. However, in the last couple of weeks I make black beans, lentil koftas and chickpea falafels so we have been eating less meat. Less packaging and less meat is better for the environment.

I can’t help be a bit discouraged that even as I make my own food and have less packaging, I am of course using more energy.

Environmental lens

I am trying hard now to purchase things through an environmental lens and balance that out with budget. But the fact is I just moved into this condo and had to completely furnish it right down to even having to buy a garbage can. I could not take the time to buy everything through an environmental lens. There was packaging everywhere. I had the kitchen ripped out when the cupboards were still in good condition because the cupboard space was not enough, I needed cupboards right up to the ceiling just to have enough (it is very small in here). What a waste. The sink is being changed and the faucet and the ugly counter top. I really did it to maximize space, but could I have made do instead? The counter and bottom cupboards had to be changed as well because I wanted a bigger fridge so I can make more of my own food. Could I have made do with the old fridge? Just swapped out the ugly counter for a new one? Does ugly matter? I didn’t pick the most expensive kitchen cupboard material, I didn’t need fancy quartz counter tops, I just wanted functional. But should I have just made do? Fashioned some increased storage out of baskets or something? Things like that get dusty and greasy, and it doesn’t look nice. There we have looks again. Although I don’t want fancy, I still want my space to look nice. So instead of making do and it not looking as nice in here, I ripped out good cupboards. But, I looked for a non synthetic area carpet! How pathetic. And nothing is second hand in here. It would have been nice to buy second hand, to reuse. I guess my own hope is that from this point on, now that my home is furnished, that I buy only through an environmental lens and I use everything until it is worn out or broken and can’t be fixed. To not buy more than I need and to try to reuse what I have, see if things have more than one functionality. I don’t have a car so I use my own steam (walking and biking) or public transportation, and occasionally a small fuel efficient rental. I have to change my attitude to see that looks don’t matter.

Pandering to the self centered

I am suddenly struck by just how much I am part of the environmental problem, despite my increased self awareness of late. What I am doing, like reducing my use of yogurt containers and carrying around my reusable bags, it is such a drop in the bucket it is almost pathetic. The issue is so pervasive, I just can’t get away from single use plastics and styrofoam trays, from packaging, synthetics, plastics. At the level of the individual, as long as people continue to buy based on “wants” rather than just “needs”, and “needs” only when their stuff is completely broken or worn out, then things won’t change. People all over the world have to change their whole perspective for change to happen, real change, away from new, convenient, fashionable, away from wants as opposed to needs; towards what is best for the community, for the future. They have to value life over things. Here in Ottawa the city is now allowing residents to put plastic shopping bags into the green bin. Shameful. And why? Because residents don’t like the ick factor of using the green bin. The city wants to increase compliance so they will allow plastic bags into the compost bin. Despite the environment being an important issue today, a crisis issue, selfish, self centered residents can’t even bring themselves to deal with the green bin. It is so shameful that residents can’t do this for the common good. Not everything in life is pleasant. Get over it. Composting, putting things in the green bin is such a easy way to help the environment. I am dying to have a green bin in my building, composting is the least we can do. I don’t know who I am mad at more, the city for pandering to selfish residents or the residents for being so selfish they can’t deal with a green bin. The environment affects everybody but it is not important enough for a large number of residents to actually propel them to do anything about it. A sorry state. And I am upset at the city for not requiring condo and apartment buildings to compost. It is only on a voluntary basis. So I read that out of 1700 buildings in the city, only 500 compost. So thousands and thousands of residents prepare food every day and all that compost goes into the land fill. Shameful. I understand provincial rules may be coming in the next year or so requiring buildings to compost (I will believe it when I see it) so I wrote to my condo manager to ask what our building is doing about moving towards composting and that we should be proactive and start now. The manager wrote back that the board is looking at the issue. That was it. I need to find a way to follow this up with the board.

Plugging along

My non-smelly garbage today: a bag of peppers from Costco, two mesh bags of avocados on sale, the usual cherry bag, one rubber glove and the bag my new rubber gloves came in (with 50% off stickers), packaging from my food processor, meat tray from a whole chicken and the plastic wrap and pad.

I feel guilty shopping at Costco now. Almost everything is packaged (not the pineapple, lol). Two bags of coffee, a bag of orange yellow red peppers, a bag of nuts, six boxes of baking soda so I can make my own cleaning products but they were wrapped in plastic. All a good deal cost wise, but all packaged. I am wondering if I should phase Costco out of my life.

Having a hard time getting a handle on zero waste because we are still getting new items for our condo so there always seems to be packaging. Of course the answer would be to stop buying things. I don’t see these things as frivolous though, for example I just bought a food processor and a grain mill to help make my own food so I don’t have to buy food in packaging and cans. In the long run I think I will lessen my garbage but in the short term I have the initial product packaging to deal with.

Shameful at all levels

Here is the newest shameful packaging example. I ordered a new kitchen sink faucet on-line from Home Depot. The faucet itself is packaged in a box about two inches thick. That box was put in a box for shipping three times it’s thickness and the extra four inches of space was filled with AIRplus plastic “air pillows”, about 14 feet of it!

So an item already in a box is placed in a much bigger box and filled with plastic as a space filler to protect the item already in a box! AIRplus claims right on the “pillow” “reuse, reduce, recycle” and on their website under advantages of using this protective shipping product that it can be recycled. Today, a claim that a plastic product can be recycled is just not a good enough claim anymore. First of all, most plastic that can be recycled is not. Secondly, many places like where I live don’t have recycling facilities to recycle this type of plastic. That is definitely an issue I have with the city I live in, but it is also very irresponsible of a company to try to make itself and its product look good by claiming a product is recyclable. True, it may be recyclable, but it probably rarely is recycled. And shame on Home Depot for using a plastic packaging product in a box to protect a box, and so much of it.

And maybe shame on me for buying on-line and having the faucet shipped to me. Let me think this through: So I could not find a faucet design in any brick and mortar store that I liked. Had I bought from a brick and mortar store the original box the faucet comes in would have been the only packaging (which did have a plastic bag inside, by the way, but was mostly cardboard). So I looked on-line. I found a faucet design I really liked. This faucet could only be bought on-line, which means it came with shipping packaging as well as the original box. So, buying on-line means the addition of shipping packaging. Buying on-line is often thus not environmentally friendly. Let’s move on to look at why I wound up buying on-line…because I didn’t like the style of faucets in the store. Because I don’t like the style of something, I wind up with 14 feet of plastic packaging that I cannot recycle so it will wind up in the landfill, in the stomach of an animal or floating in the ocean. Humans put style, and convenience, over the health of the earth. It actually shouldn’t matter what my faucet looks like, as long as it works. Functional should be what matters. Love, family, community, nature, a healthy earth and future for our children, these should be what matter, not the style of a faucet, fashion or anything else. I could go even further and ask why I even bought a new faucet. The faucet I have now is leaking and it has no sprayer so it is not convenient for washing large cookware. But, could I not try to fix the leak? Could I not just make do without a sprayer? I have been in this condo for three months now without a sprayer and although it takes a bit more work (and splashy mess) to rinse large items I have actually gotten along fine. Now I am also putting a faucet into the garbage. Should we humans not try to make do more? We always want everything to be smooth, stylish, convenient, perfect. Despite the consequences. Something to think about.

Rethinking bulk with an environmental lens

Grocery stores (and manufacturers) need to rethink their bulk items strategy with an environmental lens. Grocery stores often sell single and loose items at a higher price per unit than when they sell them in bulk. Either way they make money, customers buy less but pay a lot or they buy more. What grocery stores are unknowingly doing, I assume unknowingly, though is encouraging customers to buy more items in single use plastic. Many single and loose items come without packaging. Bulk items almost always come wrapped in packaging. Why can’t buying in bulk mean getting a deal on buying x amount of loose items? Like instead of a bag of ten apples, pick your own ten apples. Or instead of a six pack of kleenex wrapped in plastic, pick six boxes of kleenex. I would like to see how the Metros that are allowing people to bring their own containers are dealing with this issue.

A bad reducing day

This was a disappointing zero waste project day. First of all it was time to throw out my non stinky garbage. Almost everything in the bag could have been recycled elsewhere but instead it went into the garbage. I felt so reluctant to take it to the garbage room, it felt so wrong. But of course I am aware that even with a recycling program it may not have even been recycled so I also felt equally bad that I was not able to reduce my non stinky garbage more. I feel like many of the items in the non stinky garbage bag should not have been bought in the first place. But things got worse later in the day. I went grocery shopping at Superstore. I bought six boxes of kleenex, all six wrapped together in plastic; a dozen rolls of toilet paper, of course all wrapped together in plastic; an organic chicken on sale (yay!) wrapped in plastic and sitting on a styrofoam tray (boo). And then I walked past the shelf with produce items on for half price, reduced for quick sale. Half price is good for the budget and often the produce is still good, maybe just bruised or funny looking. However, as I mentioned before, they are all bagged in plastic to differentiate them from the non reduced produce. Budget minded I picked up several of these and put them in my cart. Then I counted five plastic bags and a plastic mesh bag. Environmentally minded I gasped at what I had done. Then the battle raged in my brain: these are perfectly good items that might wind up in the garbage, they are half price; in order to buy these items I wind up throwing away six single use plastic items when I am trying so hard not to bring them home, I can buy other produce without a bag. Budget…zero waste…budget…zero waste… In the end, I took with some guilt reduced carrots in a bag, reduced beets in a bag, reduced grapefruit in a mesh bag, reduced turnips in a bag. I also had grapes which always come in a plastic climate controlled bag. Then of course there was the kleenex and toilet paper both wrapped in plastic. So, I did not do very well today at all and I don’t feel good about it. In the end it will be all about balance, what I items I can accept in plastic packaging and what items I won’t accept. But right now I feel bad because my project it to try for zero waste and then on days like this I let myself falter, and this was after throwing out the bag of non stinky garbage full of plastic bags and styrofoam trays. There are always alternatives. I didn’t need turnips today, or carrots, even at half price. I could have said no. I didn’t.

This evening, however, my husband and I took a small step in the zero waste direction. The other night we shared an ice-cream at the ByWard Market which came in a single use bowl with two plastic spoons and with several napkins. Garbage cans in the market were spilling with single use fast food packaging. Tonight we decided to share our ice-cream in a cone – the only garbage was four small napkins.

I am giving up chocolate wrappers

I love a few squares of dark chocolate after dinner (and sometimes lunch, LOL). It takes about 2-3 days to go through a 100 gram chocolate bar. But if I do that all year it means throwing away 121 chocolate wrappers. Gasp. When I have found myself unexpectedly out of chocolate bars, my husband has whipped up his own simple remedy, like chocolate sauce. It is yummy but not as…convenient. It has to stay in the fridge, it can go bad, you can’t just break off a piece since you need a spoon, you can’t take it with you anywhere.

What I think is that when we try to become more environmentally friendly a large piece of what we are giving up is convenience. We are so used to convenience. Advertisers have long preyed on our desire for convenience. The convenience of small portion-controlled packs; convenience of processed so the product does not spoil; the convenience of a micro fiber cloth that is easy to wring out and dry out; the convenience of not having to make your own…anything, even dinner. Non-stick cookware means you don’t have to scrub; bathroom cleaners eat away at soap scum so you just have to wipe it clean; Swiffer dusting cloths mean you just sweep and throw the cloth away, easy and convenient; baggies – take your food out and throw the baggie away, no cleaning necessary. If our phones or computers are slow (not convenient) we buy new faster ones, despite the fact the computer or phone is still in great condition. It is almost like if something is convenient it likely means it is not good for the environment. It is full of chemicals, processed, packaged, energy using or it is a single use product.

Well, not having these convenience items means more work for me – like making my own food, including chocolate, and putting elbow grease into cleaning stainless steal cookware without a non-stick coating and bathtubs, etc.

Of course, like in my previous blog “Like a big ship turning,” my brain feels resentment at times. Why do I have to give up my chocolate bars (or convenience) when so many other people don’t care about the environment, or have less awareness of the impact on the environment, or don’t have the time for giving up convenience, and they get to continue with all these convenient things. Why do I have to give up, make do, spend my time making and scrubbing? Well, I give these things up because most of me feels it is the right thing to do. There is a much bigger purpose here (save our planet) then my self-indulgent wants (chocolate, convenience, etc). But it is very important for me to acknowledge the feelings of resistance, resentment and reluctance so I can really look at where these feelings come from and challenge them. When I challenge my feelings and habits, I bring them into awareness and then consciously decide whether each is something I feel is reasonable to continue or something I feel I need to change. I have a lot of challenging to do! LOL.

Like a big ship turning

New in my garbage: Cracker bag, cereal bag, coffee bag, raisin bag. I was talking with my dad who lives in Beaconsfield, QC, yesterday and these kinds of bags, and styrofoam trays, are recyclable in Beaconsfield. It strikes me that my garbage here in Ottawa destined for the landfill could be close to zero if I could recycle these bags and trays and if I could compost here in this condo building. Of course we know that things that are recyclable don’t always end up being recycled, but technically speaking, if there was the ability to put these things into the recycle bin and compost then my garbage would be near zero.

So what do I do about the recurring cracker, cereal, coffee and raisin bags? Find some of these things at a bulk store and use my own containers; not buy some of them at all; or make some of them myself.

I laugh at myself as I think this zero waste project through: even as I examine my garbage and acknowledge that I need to change my behavior my brain initially resists change and feels resentful that it has to give up convenience. “What, I can’t eat crackers because it has plastic packaging? Am I not supposed to eat cold cereal either? What will I keep in my bike bag for emergencies if not granola bars or crackers? It’s not fair! I don’t want to give up these things!” Well, yeah, maybe I shouldn’t eat things with such packaging, and it is not the end of the world. There are lots of other things to eat for breakfast besides convenient cereal. In fact, whoever said that breakfast had to be cereal? That was an enduring marketing strategy by big greedy cereal companies. I shake my head at myself. Change can be like a great big ship trying to turn around.

Examining my recycling containers

Yogurt containers: I finally made my own yogurt yesterday and it is yummy. I have been excited to start making my own yogurt so I can reduce the number of yogurt containers going into my recycle bin. But alas, as so often happens with this environmental issue, what I thought was a good move is actually not. Yogurt containers are recyclable, if they make it to a recycling plant. Milk bags, which I will buy more of making my own yogurt, are not recyclable here in Ottawa. So I am actually moving towards more plastic waste not less. That makes me sick. However, I will continue to make my own yogurt because I think it is healthier for me. Maybe for yogurt I will buy milk in the recyclable two liter container, despite the higher cost. Milk bags I do wash and try to reuse but I can only reuse so many. Geesh.

Coconut milk: Can’t live without coconut milk based curries. At least it is a can and recyclable.

Applesauce containers: My husband likes applesauce. I often make it myself and freeze it in small containers. However, since we just moved into our condo I bought apple sauce. Initially I bought it in the easy and convenient six individual pack. Then I bought it in the bigger containers from Costco for vastly less in cost and divided it into my own small containers to freeze. Now that I am settled, I will make my own again when I can and reduce these containers in my recycle bin.

Beer can: A necessary evil, LOL.

Surprisingly few things in the recycle container bin over the last few days I am happy to see.

Examining my garbage

Over the last couple of weeks my garbage output has been reduced, in general, to one small compostable bag of stinky garbage (like food scraps) per day, or sometimes every two days. I have one plastic bag that goes out maybe once a week with non-stinky garbage that is not recyclable. About once a week I take paper/cardboard and recyclable containers downstairs to the recycle room so I don’t need to tie them up in a bag. Not bad. I can improve.

What is in the non stinky garbage? Things I hope to reduce more. Let’s take a look:

Carrot bag: Can’t always get loose carrots at the grocery store. Unfortunately the carrot bag comes with climate control holes in it so I can’t even try to reuse the bag. I can buy some loose carrots at the ByWard Market, but what will I do in winter?

Plastic mesh bag with a plastic tag: Balderson Cheese from Costco, 20 individually wrapped single servings. I used to buy them this way so the cheese stays fresh and they are easy to transport for picnics. I won’t be buying them this way anymore. Not only is there a plastic mesh bag to dispose of but 20 plastic wrappings too.

Chocolate wrappers: I should make my own chocolate…but until then?…

Cherry bags: Cherries don’t seem to come loose anymore. I am not sure I can give up cherries (and grapes…they come in those bags too). It’s a short season… But I could lodge a complaint with the stores.

Styrofoam meat tray: There is a butcher in the ByWard Market, I need to check it out.

I can reduce some of these things. Already today I gave up the less expensive bag of avocados in plastic mesh and bought a couple of loose ones. I have been buying a lot of my veg and fruit at the ByWard Market and just having the sellers dump the produce loose into my reusable grocery bag. Again, in winter it will be more of a challenge to go plastic free. I buy strawberries in a wooden box from a seller and return the box to be reused. And, for the first time, I took a container to the Bulk Barn to fill with oatmeal instead of using one of their plastic bags. I also took a couple of old Bulk Barn bags in case I needed to buy anything else, at least I can reuse the bags.

Lots of progress, lots of room to improve.

Micro Fiber and Cotton

After learning about micro fibers from synthetic material winding up in fish I decided to buy natural fiber clothing and cloths when possible. For example, I needed more underwear and bought cotton ones. I also needed new dish towels and bought cotton ones. I will put aside my micro fiber cloths and use my old cotton dish towels as cleaning rags. Sounded like a good plan, until I watched a documentary on the Passionate Eye, “Fashion’s Dirty Secrets“, about how the fashion industry, including growing cotton, is causing environmental devastation. So what is one to do? I don’t want to use micro fiber material if I can help it, my washing machine does not have the special trap to catch the micro fibers from synthetic materials, I don’t want to participate in the devastation caused by growing cotton…

Well, as usual, reduce is my answer. For now I think buying natural fiber material is better than buying micro fiber material. Just buy less and less often. Cotton and cotton growing is not inherently bad. It’s quantity, a greed, that is bad. A lot of people buy way more clothes than they need, changing fashions with the seasons and the whims of fashion industry. People want new and people want more. And companies want more money so they produce more cotton. More more more. But if I buy a few pieces of natural fiber material, only what is needed, and I use them until they are worn out then I am not contributing to devastation and I am not sending more microfibers into the environment. This is my solution for now. And really thinking carefully before buying anything. Do I need it? Will I use it? Is it of a quality that will last a long time so I don’t have to buy more? How will it impact the environment?

One last thing. When I bought new cotton tea towels I thought the packaging was great. Four tea towels tied up with a ribbon. I can use the ribbon to tie up other things so that works under “reuse”. However, it wasn’t enough to have ribbon holding the towels together. The ribbon had to be secured to the towels with…plastic.

Two plastic hooks and all those little plastic fasteners right in the middle of the picture. Amazing.

Here’s a good one…

I bought a lamp from the furniture store EQ3. The lamp was mostly packaged in cardboard, but check this out:

The single piece of paper with instructions was fully WRAPPED IN PLASTIC! Really?

As I notice these things I write the companies. I wrote to Canadian Tire about their fliers being wrapped in a plastic bag. Canadian Tire responded with a thank you and that it would be passed on to the authorities. A pat answer but at least making an acknowledgement. Unlike Rexall. I had also written to Rexall about the same issue but they just passed the buck stating it was the flyer distribution company that was responsible. Well, I think a responsible company would ensure that whatever company they are farming work out to is also environmentally responsible. I will be responding to them to let them know how I feel about their answer.

Cleaning solutions

I have started looking into making my own cleaning solutions, from body soap to dishwasher detergent. As I run out of store bought solutions I intend on replacing each with my own. I am totally fine with doing this for solutions such as an all purpose cleaner and window/mirror cleaning solution. I am even okay with thinking about making my own body soap and dish detergent. But I am really skeptical that homemade shampoo, laundry and dishwasher soap will work. Of course one step at a time. I will update my blog as I go along. So far I cleaned all my windows with a homemade solution and it worked well.

Micro fibre cloths…and clothes

I recently came across the website “The Story of Stuff Project” and their video “The Story of Microfibers“. I was devastated to find out that the microfiber cloths that I use (and a lot of my clothes) are putting little bits of plastic into the water system that are too small to be strained out and therefore go into the ocean and our fish. I didn’t realize that the synthetic cloths, and also a lot of my clothes, are really just a form of plastic. The lint from these materials are technically bits of plastic. When I wash my cloths and clothes that lint is going into the water system. Of course I use microfiber cloths because they are so convenient. They are multipurpose, they wring out well, you can use them wet or dry, to dust, to clean, on and on. That goes for synthetic clothes as well – quick drying, non wrinkling, wicking technology…all modern and convenient…and harming our oceans and our own health. I am not sure where to go from here. Do I keep using the cloths until they are falling apart and continue to put microfibers into the water system? Or, do I throw them into the landfill and buy new cotton ones (or use old t-shirts etc)? How about my clothes? Do I throw out all my clothes and buy new ones that are natural fibers or just replace my clothes with natural fiber ones as they wear out? Meanwhile putting microfibers into the ocean? Not sure what to do.

One of the lessons here is that there is a lot of focus on reducing packaging and reducing energy consumption, for example, but our negative impact on the environment is so pervasive. Every part of our daily activity has the potential of harming our environment from what we wear to cleaning materials and solutions to packaging to what we choose to eat. Maybe the easiest change to focus on is packaging. But we need to do things differently in all aspects of our lives.

Clearance produce and packaging

I bought a few items of produce from the clearance table at the grocery store. Produce no one else wanted to buy for one reason or another, bruised, not the perfect colour, and now nearing its shelf life end. I bought a pineapple, a bunch of carrots and a bunch of asparagus. Normally these three items do not have packaging, except maybe for an elastic to hold them together (at least I can collect and reuse elastics). However, to distinguish these clearance items from the rest of the produce the store puts each item in a plastic produce bag, ties the bags up and puts a discount sticker on them. So I think I am doing a good thing by buying the less than perfect produce and keeping them from being thrown out needlessly, but to do that I have to buy them packaged in plastic when normally they wouldn’t be. I can’t win…or the environment can’t win. There must be a better way.