I just got back from a trip to the store, where I tried to purchase as little packaging as possible. I bought a lot of stuff in bulk, and plan to re-use the plastic bags on my next trip.
I was surprised at how many things were available in the bulk section of one of my local grocery stores. I had only ever known it as “the corner of the store that smells like yogurt covered pretzels.” Turns out they have cereal, flour, organic cane sugar, pasta, a dozen different kinds of nuts, everything!
Similarly, I had only known the meat counter as “that thing that’s always closed by the time I get there.” I managed to get to the store early enough to actually purchase meat at the meat counter. The butcher laid my fresh ground beef on a little flimsy plastic sheet, and wrapped it inside paper.
I can compost the paper, so that’s (one flimsy plastic sheet) versus (plastic wrap, plastic meat tray, and funny sponge thingie that goes in the bottom of the meat tray).
The deli counter had several kinds of cheese for sale. I bought half a pound of some really good swiss cheese. She wrapped the slices in waxed paper (fine) then slipped it all into a little baggie (not so great). That’s only about a 25% waste reduction over the plastic wrapper from the loaf of Tillamook cheddar I usually buy.
But man, the cheese is tasty! And it seems so ritzy to buy pre-sliced cheese. And, to my surprise, it was quite a bit cheaper than the equivalent amount of Tillamook.
That was my biggest surprise: how much less this all cost me. I compared prices versus the pre-packaged equivalents, all of which were at least 50% more expensive.
I guess they don’t call it waste for nothing. You’re paying for that packaging. If you can buy the same thing without all the packaging, you’ll save a lot of money. That’s a pretty good argument right there, if you ask me!
The best news of the night: Food Pavilion in Anacortes has started carrying milk from a local dairy in glass bottles, with a $2.50 deposit. Fresh! Local! Organic! Happy cows! No waste! Amazing!