July 21, 2017

Plastic Free July 2017, Ep 2

Well I lied about being back in one week. But I made it. Better late than never.

One of the huge things I try to do all summer long, is get as much produce as possible from farmers markets. Not only can you get most items plastic-free, but the items have a lower carbon footprint due to not traveling as far as super market produce does. 

The most important thing to remember: BYOB (bags) or else you will be putting un-packaged items into plastic bags...
Not sure if it's just the ones in my area, but you might have to be pushy about them not automatically putting your purchases in plastic bags. Surprising that they aren't more used to BYO. My strategy that works pretty well is to just start grabbing and putting in my bags instead of pointing at what I want.

I have small lightweight bags for individual bagging of some items (like lettuce), and larger bags for putting everything in together.

Another is paying a little extra for glass. Glass recycling doesn't lower your carbon footprint that much, but it does reduce plastic. 

We have a local dairy that reuses glass bottles. This lowers my carbon footprint AND reduces plastic!

This is one of the more ridiculous endeavors I have taken: toilet paper. Unless you want to by individual rolls of Scott toilet paper for $1 per roll, you can't really find it plastic-free in stores. I perused the internet and found industrial supplied toilet paper that comes individually wrapped in paper (better than plastic), but in a large quantity to get a good price. 
You may recognize Georgia-Pacific as a public-bathroom-quality paper product, but I found this "embossed" variety that is preferable to that giant-roll-of-dispensed-tp we all know and hate. AND it's 25% recycled! Yes, you will need a decent amount of storage for this one. 

Last for today, is buying bulk items at the super market. I have two super markets near me that have loose mushrooms in addition to the pre-packaged ones. Get some light weight produce bags to buy mushrooms (where available) and all other packaged produce items.
I've found a tiny amount of reusable produce bags in stores, or you can find a million options online. It's best to buy natural-fiber ones (usually cotton) but those will cost you more on by-the-pound items. To me, it's a fair compromise to buy the lightweight nylon ones since they will last for years and greatly reduce the amount of single-use produce bags to ultimately come out ahead. 

If your supermarket has a bulk section (usually found in a back corner, unless it's Whole Foods which features it more prominently), buy oats, popcorn, nuts, candy, chocolate, and more(!), using your produce bags. 

That's it for me this year. Come back next year for Plastic Free July 2018.

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