Sunday, September 7, 2014

Zero Waste at the Grocery Store [#CTWW]

Zero Waste challenges are one area where I can improve. These challenges are always difficult for me. I am not sure why. I few years ago, I made a huge switch to green and eco-friendly products, including reusable grocery bags, reusable menstrual products, cloth diapers, etc. I still feel like a lot of packaging gets thrown away, recycled, and in some rare instances, reused. My focus on this round of the Zero Waste challenge will be the grocery store.

This week's challenge:

This week, look for one more way to reduce the amount of waste you generate. Need some inspiration? Check out the Zero Waste Week Facebook Page and scroll through the posts for tips and ideas. Perhaps buy "naked" produce (items without any kind of packaging), carry a reusable bag at the market, or find creative uses for leftover food. If you have a baby in the house, try cloth diapers (nappies) and reusable wipes rather than the disposable varieties. Consider reusable menstrual products instead of single-use items. Find creative ways to upcycle "trash" or donate used items to charity. The idea, this week, is to find one more way to reduce waste.

There are two Whole Foods Markets in our city. We shop at the second one every couple of months if we are around that area, usually after Sunday morning church.

One of my favorite aisles at the grocery store is the bulk bin aisle. The Whole Foods Market that I frequent most often has a big bulk section. Shopping in the bulk bin section allows me to purchase exactly how much product I need or want. Let's say I need 1 cup of a specific type of bean or I want to fill up my quinoa container. Though the bulk bin allows reusing of your personal container (have the cashier weigh your container before you fill it), most people, including me, use the plastic bags and containers that are provided. Usually, the plastic bags and containers are reused another time, but I ultimately throw them away or recycle.

I have not been able to bring myself to lug my glass containers to the store when they empty. I cannot even remember to take the recycling that Rumpke does not accept to Whole Foods. How do I reduce my reliance on plastic bags and containers??? The second Whole Foods Market in our city has solved this problem, or at least made it better! No more plastic bags and containers for the dried bulk bin goods. These have been replaced with brown paper bags! Take a pencil, write down the name and the number of the product. The brown paper bags can be reused, recycled or composted. My plan is to reuse for lunches and then compost. While recycling does require energy, composting is a more eco-friendly option that requires no energy.

I hope my preferred Whole Foods Market switches to brown paper bags. I will speak with an employee next time to see if they have considered this option. In the meantime, I will be reusing the small brown paper bags in the bulk bin aisle.

>> How do you reduce waste during your grocery shopping trips??

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