This July was going to be “plastic-free” until I went to a new grocery store. Instead, it just became “less plastic.”
The first time I had been to this grocery store was when I first moved here. I was excited to see reusable bulk food bags for sale, but due to the pandemic, bulk food itself was not being sold at that time. So I made a mental note for when California had finally reopened, that I would go back to this wonderful store even though it was a trek. Right then, I officially aspired to the idea of 100% “plastic free” grocery shopping
The Monday after the fourth of July seemed like a good day to begin. I researched the route on Google Maps and wrote down the directions for public transportation. I brought both of my reusable shopping bags. I made it to the bus in time. I got a nice vegan lunch and a cup of dark roast coffee in a paper cup. I even noticed a bookstore in the same shopping center that I could visit on my next trip. Things were going well!
I got into the grocery store, walked up the bulk foods section, and “Oh no!” I was thoroughly dismayed to find those thin plastic one-use bags. “What?! No way,” I thought. My hopes came crashing down. I thought seriously about leaving, but I decided to try to make the best of it. I’d done all of that planning and I’d gone all that way.
So I would grin and bear it, and use the plastic bags. I actually reuse them for my trash; one of those flimsy bags holds two weeks worth of trash in my minimal vegan lifestyle. After this trip, I would have enough trash bags for the rest of the year, which is a great thing. At that moment, I vowed to purchase washable produce and bulk food bags online before my next trip to the grocery store. I just bought organic cotton mesh and cloth bags earlier today. It feels good to cross that off the list. I only wish I had done it sooner, but then I also realize the pandemic made it unlikely anyhow.
Two additional steps forward in my “less plastic” journey include switching to plastic-free deodorant in cardboard push-up tubes. I also decided it was time to buy soap with no packaging. When thought about it, I realized packaging for solid soap is silly because if it gets yucky at all, well, it’s soap; it can be rinsed! I actually didn’t need these two items right now but I decided to buy them in advance so I will already have them when I need them. Next time, I will add toothpaste tablets to the list.
My last really-terrible-use of plastic is when I get frozen treats at a local dessert place. A quick scan online just produced a number of acceptable paper alternatives to single-use plastic. I’m not really sure how to go about suggesting the idea of asking the business to switch, but I could devote the rest of July to it. I think, at this point, I’m on a roll. Why not, right?