I've been on a 'buying freeze' for a few weeks...and our refrigerator and freezer are quickly emptying! I started with drawers full of produce and am now down to a few carrots and 2 bell peppers. Our drinks are almost gone. I made 3 quarts of homemade iced tea this week, so we still have that...woo hoo! I've been checking out options for different things we use a lot of and trying to find better alternatives to single-use plastics. One thing I found an alternative for is the regular skim milk container with the plastic ring and cap. I just discovered that Whole Foods sells its 365 brand of skim milk in the 'old-fashioned' type of container with no plastic cap! Unfortunately, most of the family drinks soy milk, and the 365 brand of soy milk HAS the plastic cap...not sure why, but I'm guessing it's the producer that makes it for them...another letter-writing campaign! So I'm still on a mission to find plastic-free soy milk because making it from scratch is a task I don't feel ready to take on at the moment. Until I find it, I will definitely cut back and use less.
Our son, JD, is a cheese-aholic. If he could live on one thing alone, it would be cheese. I don't buy Kraft singles anymore...thinking about individually-wrapped slices of cheese can set me off on a whole other tangent...but we still get a plastic bag from the deli counter. I already get made fun of for my voice at the deli counter, so I'm not sure I'm brave enough to ask them to use my cotton bag to put my cheese into, but I'm hoping to gather the nerve to do it soon. I know, I know...I need to stop worrying about what other people think...it's still a weakness. If only there were a self-serve deli....
The next thing we eat a lot of is apples and oranges. I used to get the pre-bagged oranges, but now I will take the time to bring my cotton bags and load up my own. Same for apples...luckily, we even have organic apples cheaply priced at our local ShopRite, right across the street, so that's an easy one for me.
I'm getting used to grabbing a head of lettuce and putting it in my cotton bag instead of getting the pre-bagged or packaged lettuce. It's a little extra work, but it's worth it to me.
My boys love tomatoes and it's hard not to grab those little clamshell containers full of cherry or grape tomatoes....This Saturday, we'll visit our local Farmer's Markets to see what's available and I'm hoping to be pleasantly surprised...look for my post about that next week! We also started our own garden, thanks to Whole Foods who supplied us with a free 10'x10' plot of ground to grow on this year. I will do a post on that sometime soon, too.
Beth Terry (Fake Plastic Fish) posted this really awesome guide to storing fresh fruits and veggies from Berkeley Farmers Market (which has gone plastic-free!). Check out her blog this week for lots more great tips:
Slowly, but surely, I'm finding ways to reduce my plastic use and it feels really good. I was digging in the sandbox with our almost-3-yr-old the other day and was saddened to find some little chips of plastic mixed in with the sand...this in such a tiny space of sand...imagine what the beach is like with all of the plastic trash it is bombarded with on a daily basis. I want the beach to be here for my grandkids and their grandkids to enjoy....so all of my plastic-free efforts feel like a step in the right direction!
So, back to the buying freeze.....do you have a stockpile of plastic in your fridge, freezer or cupboard? Are there plastic-free alternatives readily available? If yes, take inventory, phase out your plastic and make your voice heard with your purchasing power! Let me know how you are doing! Give me your ideas! Have a great week! :)