Sunday, July 17, 2011

Buying Nothing Plastic Update - A Change The World Wednesday Challenge #ctww

Groceries without plastic?
I'm learning stuff from this week's Change the World Wednesday Challenge is going to take some preparation to succeed with:
"This week refuse to buy anything which is, or which comes in, plastic. Instead, opt for Eco-friendly items and packaging ... or do without."
TSaturday I needed a few groceries: oatmeal, fruit, peanuts and something to drink. Most of these I could get in cardboard but the economy size of peanuts was in a plastic container.
I pondered. I reuse plastic peanut containers for many thing: holding staples for example. But sooner or later all my pantry shelves will be full and they'll be waste.
In the process of pondering, I saw a 2-for-1 sale on a smaller size of peanuts, which incidentally came in glass jars. With a coupon, this deal netted out slightly cheaper! So I went for it. One lesson: stopping to think can pay off! So the exercise of trying to go plastic free actually saved me a tiny bit of money because it took me out of my everyday path of thinking.
When I opened a jar to enjoy the peanutty goodness, it struck me: the lids are plastic! I don't know when I last saw a peanut jar with a metal lid. I basically failed to be 100% plastic-free, which is unfortunate but it's important not to be discouraged since this effort DID result in some improvement. In any exercise program, perfection is nice to aim at but the goal is to improve.
I'm not sure it's possible to get shelled peanuts without plastic around here; if I buy in bulk, they go into plastic bags. It may be necessary to accept a tradeoff: the plastic in a reusable bag is probably less than the plastic in a lid (...and buying in bulk is almost always cheaper than by the jar.) I believe that if I get organized, I can buy in bulk using leftover plastic bags from my last bulk buy, and store long-term in these glass jars, for zero net plastic use for the next transaction. This will involve an increased labor cost on my part, which can be offset by cost savings. This will never be enough to make me rich, but frankly, it's a fun game to work out in my head!
Let's see if I can make it to Wednesday with no more plastic, or at least, no more net plastic!


Jessica | Cloth Diapering Mama said...

GREAT start!!!

Those lids really irk me... I love when I find an item with a metal lid... I think I actually have heart

Bulk is the way to go for me to avoid new plastic. As you saw on my page I made some great new bulk bags. I'm NO seamstress, at all...and they came out just perfect!!

GREAT effort...I'll give it a gold star ;)

Small Footprints said...

I agree ... I don't know if we can ever totally eliminate plastic from our lives but the effort is worth it. "Thinking" ... imagine what the world would be like if everyone took the time to think before acting. Ahhh!

mrs green @ littlegreenblog said...

I love your quote about perfectionism and improvement - that really struck a chord with me. Thanks for sharing about your adventures and your shopping success.