After visiting my family in NC over Spring break, I was mortified by the amount of plastic just my mother & sister threw away each week – they don’t offer curbside recycling there and the water isn’t drinkable from the tap. So, every drink of water comes from a plastic bottle or jug. The stores there don’t have plastic bag recycling, either. Which equals a ton of plastic going into landfills. It literally made me feel sick.
After we got back from our trip I went eco-crazy and refused to buy anything in plastic if there was an alternative. We are already very conscious about what we purchase and the only time we every ended up with plastic was packages from grocery stores, but I
went psycho took it to another level. And you know the wild part? Our grocery bill is down by 25%! If anything I thought it would skyrocket, but we are actually saving money not buying plastic wrapped food.
Keep reading to find out how I am going green AND saving green!
I don’t buy any produce that is plastic wrapped, in a plastic bag or in a plastic container.
I always start my shopping in the produce section because 70-80% of the food we purchase every two weeks is fresh. First up, I have never ever bagged my produce in those plastic bags. I just stack it in the front of my cart & have the clerk load it separately into my reusable bags. Rather than buy a bag of carrots, I buy green top bunches of heirloom carrots that are held together with a reusable twist tie. I started buying loose leaf organic lettuce, kale, spinach & collard greens for salads. In this picture, I have a bag of clementines, but usually I buy loose oranges & clementines – they were out of the loose ones, though. Rather than buy the plastic wrapped four pack of peppers, I buy them individually – it’s actually usually $1-$2 cheaper to buy them individually, at least at my store! It takes a little effort but by purchasing items individually & out of plastic containers, you save money because the you aren’t paying for the packaging.
We don’t purchase sodas, bottled water or individual drinks for my son’s lunch.
We all have our own water bottles, that we take everywhere with us. I add lemon or other fresh fruit juice to my son’s water to give it some flavor a few times a week. We even buy Shatto milk in a glass jar rather than a plastic jug – you get money back when you return the jug! Even the coffee creamer I purchase now is in a non-plastic, recyclable cardboard carton. Not only is soda not good for you & bottled water not good for the planet but it’s unhealthy for the wallet, too! One bottle of soda = the cost for a reusable water bottle.
We avoid purchasing individually wrapped snacks, bags of chips, packages of cookies & other junk food.
Since we buy so much fresh fruits & vegetables each week, there is always so many fresh options for snacks that there is no need for processed, over packaged junk to come into the house! Apples, pears, star fruit, clementines, oranges, kiwis, bananas, snap peas, grapes carrots, cucumbers, berries & melons, just to name a few. For my son’s lunch, I use a reusable container to put fresh fruits & vegetables in his lunch box daily.
It’s so easy to bring fresh produce into your home, change your quick snack habits, (slicing cucumbers & squirting some dressing on a plate takes less than two minutes, which is about the same amount of time as a plastic wrapped bag of microwave popcorn!) & reduce your plastic consumption but it does take a little more commitment & awareness when shopping. Next time you reach for a bag of salad mix, remind yourself to look for loose leaf options first. Skip the plastic bags at the store & bring your own produce bags instead. Grab some grapes instead of a box of fruit snacks. Make it a game to see how little plastic you can come home with each shopping trip!