Goodness, is it already time to tally up our monthly accrual of plastic waste again?
More milk caps, a lollypop wrapper, a plastic lined macaroni and cheese packet, some wrapping from something or other, rubber bands and plastic tags from produce (you can safely bet that there were a few more of these that got swept away during dinner cleanup).
Now is as good a time as any to bring up the butcher paper quandary. It’s surely plastic lined. We’re eating a lot less meat these days, but still, it’s not something we’re ready to give up completely (and no store will let me bring home raw meat in my own container). So that’s one area where I’m compromising. You don’t see that here because saving paper with raw meat juice on it would be a health hazard.
One other slip I had this month was buying fresh local lamb at the farmer’s market before I realized it came in a plastic vacuum sealed bag. Did I already tell you about that? It was a bummer.
Other than that, and the mail ordered yarn with plastic labels (it was wholesale!), we seem to be doing well.
Now this pile is from our CSA. It has been an ongoing challenge for me to find ways to make the CSA experience a waste free one. This winter our CSA, which we otherwise love, has gone a little plastic bag crazy, pre-bagging just about everything. I end up carefully emptying the food from it’s plastic bags and putting it into my cloth ones. The plastic ones I give back, but sometimes they aren’t reusable–torn or dirty. Yes, it’s wasteful-ish. But I want to make the point that this is unwanted. The plastic shown in this picture is from things I couldn’t do that with — they had frozen veggies or fruit in them. I could have turned the food down, but I’d already paid for them and it’s a strange grey area for me. Would you say no to pomegranate apple juice with your name on it? On the bright side, a CSA is a great place to actually have an influence about changing wasteful practices. My voice has been heard and they are slowly making changes. And the benefits of the local, seasonal fare are worth fighting for. Besides, each of those baggies will get re-used about a hundred times around here, so they aren’t really trash yet.
Please note: This doesn’t represent all the plastic we threw out this month, only new items we purchased post 1/1/10 and have already used up. Not included are pre 2010 yogurt containers used to freeze food, many times re-used bread and produce bags that are just too funky to keep around, toothpaste caps, and other things from our pre-fast days that are just now leaving the home. Also not included are things given to us by friends–if someone brings a pint of fresh olives or a bag of chips to the house, we follow No Impact Man’s lead and enjoy the generous gesture and camaraderie, and take a break from tallying.