Not long ago I was restocking some of the spices on my spice rack. Being the grocery-store shopper I am – and former employee of one of those supermarkets – I knew exactly what aisle to go to, to find all of my spice needs.
Anyway, as I’m leafing through the packages of spices, I was taken aback by the fact that as soon as I got home I was going to put the various ground substances into a reusable container, creating plastic waste in the process.
Here on P.E.I. we have a ban against single-use plastic bags. That means if you don’t have your reusable bags and bins you’re handing out change for paper bags (if they’re even available) and sometimes $1, depending on the store, so you can walk out with all of your items in one sac rather overflowing from your arms.
Even though that’s in place, when I found myself at the Bulk Barn the other day, I was reaching for their very convenient plastic bags to store my loose products until I got home.
But while I was there, I filled my cart with some reusable food storage options, so that way, when I got into Bulk Barn another day, I’ll be equipped to the nines with options to avoid creating plastic waste.
Here are some options:
- Beeswax wrap rather than cellophane/cling wrap
- Use glass jars with seals to keep things fresh and store dry goods
- Have everyday plastic containers that are microwave safe for leftover meals
- Use material bags like linen sacks or other options to store small snacks or dry products like nuts
- Keep a metal straw in your purse/bag, at your desk and in your kitchen so as to not use disposable straws
Now, food friends, after making these purchases it got me thinking about what items I have in my pantry regularly that I could likely buy loose or in bulk (ya know, anything at the Bulk Barn):
- Seeds and grains
- Flours, powders, and soup mixes
- Dried items like pastas, cereals, rice
- Spreads like coconut oil, nut butters
- Soaps and shampoo bars
With that list of items in mind, there are a few other things to consider when travelling down this road of reducing plastic waste:
- Keep reusable shopping bags, containers, and bins in your vehicle so you’re not left high and dry when you go grocery shopping, making it necessary to shell out money for bags.
- When shopping, check if the establishment has its own BYOC (bring-your-own container) policy. For instance, Bulk Barn offers a program for people to bring in their own containers for their products. Bring in your jars, containers, etc. and a staffer there will weigh the container, mark the weight with a chalk marker, and then give you back your storage item. Then when you’ve filled them to your liking, proceed to checkout as normal and they’ll subtract the weight of the storage vessel from the total weight, so you know how much your product will cost.
- Are there bulk stores/packaging-free stores you can frequent that provide you with more opportunity to buy products that aren’t pre-packaged? Personally I can’t wait for the first time I take a look around Unpacked, a packaging-free store in Charlottetown (eeek!).
If nothing else, food friends, I’m hoping this provides you with a little bit of inspiration to try to reduce your single-use plastic consumption.
Here’s hoping we all find a habit that sticks.
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