Saturday, September 9, 2017

Plastic plastic everywhere

Pardon me as a ramble.  I've been thinking a lot about plastic and packaging lately. It's no secret that California has a lot of tree huggers.  It's one reason I love this state!  And a lot of decisions that I make are based on the environmental impacts - today and in the past. Some of those things I have lapsed on, because they are hard.

In any event, I've been reading a bit more about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.  I've also been reading more from Bea Johnson at Zero Waste Home.  Her book has been on my wish list forever, so I finally just bought it for myself for my birthday.

I took it all the way to Colorado on vacation and brought it back, unopened.  I finally started reading it.  The trip to Colorado was interesting.  We were meeting friends there who are definitely more environmentally conscious than we are.  We were all a bit disappointed in the lack of recycling in town (it's there, in some places...just not very many places).  As our friends drove there, they simply tossed all the cans and bottles in the trunk to take it back home to recycle.

We were relatively green there.  We ate breakfast at the hotel (which has real dishes).  We had our water bottles with us.  I packed lunches in reusable tupperware.  But there are some things that are just harder.

To start, I've been thinking a lot more about the packaging in food.  Which is probably what you'd expect, as this is a food blog.

In my own life, this boils down to a few big things:
- Gallons of milk
- Plastic bread bags
- Frozen veggie bags
- Plastic egg containers

All of this plastic just gets tossed.  The milk containers and egg containers get recycled, but it's really "down-cycled".  It's just better to avoid stuff in the first place.

What we DO do correctly
- Use reusable water bottles
- Buy wine in refillable growlers (yes I get bottles too)
- Drink bubbly water that we make using a soda stream
- Get most of our fruits and veggies from a subscription box, which means they just come in the box, no containers.  (We store them in ... our old bread bags.)

But there are more things that we can do.  I have to think about this more.  It's no secret that I try to keep the food budget down, and budget and environment will war with each other.  For example, I also buy boxes of lettuce heads to supplement our delivery.  You know, in a plastic box.  I also eat a lot of beans and rice, that we buy in bulk.

By "in bulk" I mean, in 5 to 10 lb bags. Plastic bags.  I could use the bulk bins at one of the many stores that have them, and simply reuse the bags.  Of course, the cost per pound is often double.  A little googling tells me that one of the stores will, for sure, let you bring your own containers if you measure their weight/ tare on the way in.  That may just be the way to go.

Then there are things like cheese and tortillas and salsa and marinara.  Frozen veggie burgers.  Meat. And those pesky eggs.  I'm not interested in getting chickens (my neighbors have them though.  And maybe we should get them.  We eat a lot of eggs.)  I could get 2 doz with our box, but then the cost for 2 dozen goes from $5 to $16.  (Of course the eggs from the box are local and of much higher quality.  And better for the environment.  But that's still 10 bucks a week, just on eggs.  $520 a year.) On the other hand, it's only $520.  What am I saving it for?  Oh yeah, college.  2 kids.

Stay tuned for my attempts at reducing waste!

No comments: