Author Topic: Plastic-free July  (Read 3861 times)

Hirondelle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 977
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #50 on: July 08, 2018, 09:55:03 AM »
This is so flipping hard. Plastic is everywhere. I'm getting so disheartened.

I feel the same :( There's not a lot of bulk available where I live so it's hard (e.g. no loose nuts in supermarkets, only at the Saturday market that I can't always go to).

Wins: stocked up on some more bell peppers now they were still on sale. Also tried to make my own bread using some bread mix I'd bought a while ago (it was OKish, not great flavor-wise, need to work on that).

Failures: Carrots in plastic, nutella in plastic pot, cashew nuts in plastic, cookies for co-workers in plastic, little yeast sachets that are packed by 5 in.. plastic, shredded cheese in plastic.

An easy one would ofcourse be to cut out all the unnecessary foods in the first place (nutella, cookies) or bake them myself. The latter is a strategy I often apply, but still requires me to buy all the loose ingredients that are also often packed in plastic, sigh.

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5711
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #51 on: July 08, 2018, 10:25:31 AM »
This is so flipping hard. Plastic is everywhere. I'm getting so disheartened.

I feel the same :( There's not a lot of bulk available where I live so it's hard (e.g. no loose nuts in supermarkets, only at the Saturday market that I can't always go to).

Wins: stocked up on some more bell peppers now they were still on sale. Also tried to make my own bread using some bread mix I'd bought a while ago (it was OKish, not great flavor-wise, need to work on that).

Failures: Carrots in plastic, nutella in plastic pot, cashew nuts in plastic, cookies for co-workers in plastic, little yeast sachets that are packed by 5 in.. plastic, shredded cheese in plastic.

An easy one would ofcourse be to cut out all the unnecessary foods in the first place (nutella, cookies) or bake them myself. The latter is a strategy I often apply, but still requires me to buy all the loose ingredients that are also often packed in plastic, sigh.
It is super hard. I'm trying to figure out the bread thing.  For awhile I baked bread for the family, but I don't eat it (no wheat for me).  My spouse didn't like the bread machine bread for sandwiches.  So...do I put more effort into it?  Or do I try and find a way to recycle bread bags?

Yesterday I went down to Lush and bought a shampoo bar and a conditioner bar.

I bought these bags last year - they are great for produce and I will start trying them for dried beans.  For things like rice, I use the plastic bulk bin bags, but save them to reuse them.

https://www.amazon.com/purifyou-Reusable-Double-Stitched-Lightweight-See-Through/dp/B01ISYOL40/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1531067097&sr=8-2-spons&keywords=purifyou+bags&psc=1

chaskavitch

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 502
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Fort Collins, CO
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #52 on: July 08, 2018, 10:31:03 AM »
This is so flipping hard. Plastic is everywhere. I'm getting so disheartened.

I feel the same :( There's not a lot of bulk available where I live so it's hard (e.g. no loose nuts in supermarkets, only at the Saturday market that I can't always go to).

Wins: stocked up on some more bell peppers now they were still on sale. Also tried to make my own bread using some bread mix I'd bought a while ago (it was OKish, not great flavor-wise, need to work on that).

Failures: Carrots in plastic, nutella in plastic pot, cashew nuts in plastic, cookies for co-workers in plastic, little yeast sachets that are packed by 5 in.. plastic, shredded cheese in plastic.

An easy one would ofcourse be to cut out all the unnecessary foods in the first place (nutella, cookies) or bake them myself. The latter is a strategy I often apply, but still requires me to buy all the loose ingredients that are also often packed in plastic, sigh.
It is super hard. I'm trying to figure out the bread thing.  For awhile I baked bread for the family, but I don't eat it (no wheat for me).  My spouse didn't like the bread machine bread for sandwiches.  So...do I put more effort into it?  Or do I try and find a way to recycle bread bags?

Yesterday I went down to Lush and bought a shampoo bar and a conditioner bar.

I bought these bags last year - they are great for produce and I will start trying them for dried beans.  For things like rice, I use the plastic bulk bin bags, but save them to reuse them.

https://www.amazon.com/purifyou-Reusable-Double-Stitched-Lightweight-See-Through/dp/B01ISYOL40/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1531067097&sr=8-2-spons&keywords=purifyou+bags&psc=1

I have cloth reusable bags for bulk items.  Something like this (I don't remember exactly which ones I have, sorry.)

https://www.amazon.com/Augbunny-Cotton-15-inch-Produce-Drawstring/dp/B00UOTFDO0/ref=sr_1_4?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1531067370&sr=1-4&keywords=linen+produce+bag

They work really well for flour, oats, rice, lentils, etc., things that wouldn't be fully contained in a mesh bag.  I just tie the top shut on itself to help prevent leaks, then transfer to a larger container once I get home.

Hirondelle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 977
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #53 on: July 08, 2018, 11:02:58 AM »
The problem I have isn't that I don't have anything to put my bulk items into, it's mostly that they're just not available that way. Even at the eco/organic (expensive) supermarket their offers are very limited. It's considered revolutionary if you can bring your own box to get eggs in...

chaskavitch

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 502
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Fort Collins, CO
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #54 on: July 08, 2018, 11:05:22 AM »
Ha, I'd never think to bring my own box for eggs.  I don't know if you're allowed to do that at any of the stores I go to.  On the other hand, I have chickens, so I rarely buy eggs at the store.

Fresh Bread

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1509
  • Location: Australia
  • Insert dough/bread/crust joke
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #55 on: July 08, 2018, 06:18:27 PM »
We get our milk delivered in glass bottles, and yesterday I made yogurt with the inevitable overage.  We only drink about .75 of the gallon we get every week, so after a few weeks we have an overage of almost a gallon, and then I make yogurt.  I've considered changing our delivery schedule to get rid of the extra (1 gallon one week, then a half gallon the next week, etc), but I like having a reason to make yogurt once a month or so :)  It turns out quite well, actually - I've figured out how to make greek yogurt out of it, and if you want it to be sweet, just add some fresh fruit or some jam and it ends up being really tasty.

Also, I had a coupon for Yoplait Oui French style yogurt from Kroger, so I bought one.  It comes in an adorable little glass pot with an aluminum foil lid.  I'm keeping the little pot, obviously, but it seems odd that it would be better overall to have a half dozen little glass pots to recycle every week than six plastic ones.  I know it is better, but they're just so sturdy and hefty that it feels like you're getting rid of something that should be saved and reused. 

I've seen some articles lately about how a lot of the glass that is put into recycle bins in the US isn't actually recycled.  Apparently here in Colorado, a majority of our glass recycling is just put in the landfill because we can't afford to recycle it, or the facilities are overworked or something.  I almost wish I could toss our glass straight into the ocean for it to become pretty beach glass and eventually sand.  Probably a bad plan, but better beach glass than buried in a landfill for a zillion years.

Recycling is so different depending on where you are. The glass recyclers here can't get enough glass to meet the huge demand created by increasing beer sales, so I'm happy to choose glass over plastic where possible. I just can't fathom how it can't be cost effective to recycle it elsewhere. Have you tried giving them away in the community on FB buy/sell/swap or freebie sites? I'm thinking someone might have a craft use. Normal jars, like for peanut butter and jam are given away frequently on mine, people use them for rustic wedding set ups, crafts, making jam etc etc.

It's great that you can get milk in glass bottles delivered. Are they also collecting and reusing the bottles? I wish we could go back to that here.

------

I went to get bulk oats where a friend had seen them in a cotton bag - it turns out they were $12/kg, so we are talking about ten times the price of the supermarket. Crazy stuff. Luckily I've also been made aware of a cash and carry that has 15kg in a paper sack for about $3/kg so I'm going to go get those when I have a reason to drive in that direction (30-40mins away!). I'll see what else they've got in paper sacks and massive containers. I had a quick look online and mostly they just sell multiples of the normal packaged product on a tray.

Who goes to Costco - do they mainly bulk sell the multiples of a normally packaged item or do they also have big catering sized sacks of oats, flour etc? I've never been, it's a 3hr round trip.
 

chaskavitch

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 502
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Fort Collins, CO
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #56 on: July 08, 2018, 09:19:57 PM »
We get our milk delivered in glass bottles, and yesterday I made yogurt with the inevitable overage.  We only drink about .75 of the gallon we get every week, so after a few weeks we have an overage of almost a gallon, and then I make yogurt.  I've considered changing our delivery schedule to get rid of the extra (1 gallon one week, then a half gallon the next week, etc), but I like having a reason to make yogurt once a month or so :)  It turns out quite well, actually - I've figured out how to make greek yogurt out of it, and if you want it to be sweet, just add some fresh fruit or some jam and it ends up being really tasty.

Also, I had a coupon for Yoplait Oui French style yogurt from Kroger, so I bought one.  It comes in an adorable little glass pot with an aluminum foil lid.  I'm keeping the little pot, obviously, but it seems odd that it would be better overall to have a half dozen little glass pots to recycle every week than six plastic ones.  I know it is better, but they're just so sturdy and hefty that it feels like you're getting rid of something that should be saved and reused. 

I've seen some articles lately about how a lot of the glass that is put into recycle bins in the US isn't actually recycled.  Apparently here in Colorado, a majority of our glass recycling is just put in the landfill because we can't afford to recycle it, or the facilities are overworked or something.  I almost wish I could toss our glass straight into the ocean for it to become pretty beach glass and eventually sand.  Probably a bad plan, but better beach glass than buried in a landfill for a zillion years.

Recycling is so different depending on where you are. The glass recyclers here can't get enough glass to meet the huge demand created by increasing beer sales, so I'm happy to choose glass over plastic where possible. I just can't fathom how it can't be cost effective to recycle it elsewhere. Have you tried giving them away in the community on FB buy/sell/swap or freebie sites? I'm thinking someone might have a craft use. Normal jars, like for peanut butter and jam are given away frequently on mine, people use them for rustic wedding set ups, crafts, making jam etc etc.

It's great that you can get milk in glass bottles delivered. Are they also collecting and reusing the bottles? I wish we could go back to that here.

------

I went to get bulk oats where a friend had seen them in a cotton bag - it turns out they were $12/kg, so we are talking about ten times the price of the supermarket. Crazy stuff. Luckily I've also been made aware of a cash and carry that has 15kg in a paper sack for about $3/kg so I'm going to go get those when I have a reason to drive in that direction (30-40mins away!). I'll see what else they've got in paper sacks and massive containers. I had a quick look online and mostly they just sell multiples of the normal packaged product on a tray.

Who goes to Costco - do they mainly bulk sell the multiples of a normally packaged item or do they also have big catering sized sacks of oats, flour etc? I've never been, it's a 3hr round trip.

They do pick up the bottles and reuse them, yes.  It's a big part of why we chose to do delivery instead of regular milk containers.  I have a huge excess of glass jars now.  I like to to keep certain ones that match - different kind of jam or salsa, baby food jars, etc - so I don't keep most of my spaghetti sauce jars, or some of the oddly sized ones.  I'm trying to learn to make more of those things myself so I can just reuse my Ball jars instead of finding a new place to stash more jars :)

haypug16

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 693
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Boston, MA
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #57 on: July 09, 2018, 08:54:18 AM »
Update: this is much harder than I thought :( but it's a wake up call as I thought I was really good about not buying too much stuff in plastic. I'm trying to focus on small changes at a time. Asking for no straw when out to eat, etc. On that note I went to RI this weekend (Newport and Block Island) and when I said no straw with my water the waiter at the first restaurant said they never give straws unless they are asked and even those are not plastic they are made from something I can't remember but totally compostable. Hooray!!! Then every other place I went to eat and got water automatically came without a straw!

Also I just read somewhere that Starbucks is getting rid of their plastic straws! This is great progress. If we all just keep at it we can make some real change!

krmit

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 46
  • Location: Portland
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #58 on: July 09, 2018, 06:59:08 PM »
Had my first shopping trip of the month. Brought along glass jars to refill with oil, peanut butter, and coffee beans. I also brought a Ziplock bag to fill with spices that I'll wash and reuse. I'll remember that trick for one of the other grocery stores that has lots of bulk bins but nowhere to weigh and tare containers.

Abe

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1044
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #59 on: July 09, 2018, 08:52:36 PM »

Who goes to Costco - do they mainly bulk sell the multiples of a normally packaged item or do they also have big catering sized sacks of oats, flour etc? I've never been, it's a 3hr round trip.

They sell large containers for some things, and multiples of small for others. Unfortunately, nearly everything sold at Costco is covered sold in plastic containers or covered with plastic wrap. Even the apples are in plastic crates! I'm sure it reduces the amount of damaged fruit, but just seems excessive. Not a viable option if going plastic-free. 

SunnyDays

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 178
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #60 on: July 10, 2018, 01:25:02 PM »
Well, more failures today.  First off, specialty light bulbs, 2 in a cardboard and plastic container; then a body pillow and case in plastic, dish soap, ice cream cones, which come in a box AND plastic, and lastly cookies and chocolate covered almonds in plastic.  Oh, and also a little plastic cone around some flowers I bought for someone who recently suffered a loss.  Everything else came in cans - dog food, soup, and pop (finally on sale).  However, while at a hardware store, I found out I can buy vinyl cable off a reel and also the clips needed to make a dog tie out.  I bought my last one already made and while I think it came in cardboard, there were those plastic fasteners around the tie out itself.  Also cheaper to make it myself.

Fresh Bread

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1509
  • Location: Australia
  • Insert dough/bread/crust joke
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #61 on: July 11, 2018, 07:22:14 PM »
Good news from Australia! My local-ish co-op has just started selling bulk milk (byo container). This is a game changer! It's $3.50 / litre so 3 times the supermarket price but hopefully we can cut down a bit and maybe spend only twice as much?

HappierAtHome

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8744
  • Location: Australia
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #62 on: July 11, 2018, 07:36:28 PM »
Good news from Australia! My local-ish co-op has just started selling bulk milk (byo container). This is a game changer! It's $3.50 / litre so 3 times the supermarket price but hopefully we can cut down a bit and maybe spend only twice as much?

Wow, that's awesome!

nessness

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 258
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #63 on: July 11, 2018, 09:59:49 PM »
People who bring their own containers for bulk purchases: do you just pay for the extra weight of the container, or do you bring an extra container and ask them to tare it, or...? I've been wanting to try this, but I mostly buy bulk stuff at WinCo, and they're a pretty low-service grocery so I'm guessing they'd be less accommodating than somewhere like Whole Foods.

Fresh Bread

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1509
  • Location: Australia
  • Insert dough/bread/crust joke
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #64 on: July 12, 2018, 01:25:59 AM »
People who bring their own containers for bulk purchases: do you just pay for the extra weight of the container, or do you bring an extra container and ask them to tare it, or...? I've been wanting to try this, but I mostly buy bulk stuff at WinCo, and they're a pretty low-service grocery so I'm guessing they'd be less accommodating than somewhere like Whole Foods.

So at the packaging-free stores I visit, I go to the counter first where the staff weigh them and write the weight on the containers. I then fill them up myself and go back to pay - I get a discount for using my own jars. At the co-op I have to weigh them myself and there's no discount.

At the butchers there is supposedly a discount if I use my own containers but I don't know that I've actually received it. They just tare the scale with the container on.

At bigger stores like supermarkets I'd only use my mesh produce bags for things like nuts and dried fruit - they only weigh a few grams so it's no big deal to pay the extra. I've never actually bought anything at the loose section in the big supermarkets because it doesn't look all that hygenic. There is a new loose section at a smaller supermarket I go to (they are trying to remove as much plastic as poss) and it's a bit higher up away from snotty grabbing hands :)

krmit

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 46
  • Location: Portland
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #65 on: July 12, 2018, 11:04:11 AM »
@nessness I haven't tried this yet, but I have a huge stack of plastic produce bags and ziplock bags that I plan to bring to Winco for bulk items. It's not perfect, obviously, but it's plastic that has already entered my house so I might as well use it up before throwing it out. Washing ziplock bags is my LEAST favorite chore, but it's also good incentive to never buy it again and move away from using it.

haypug16

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 693
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Boston, MA
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #66 on: July 12, 2018, 01:31:16 PM »
Re: Bringing your own containers. I started doing this this year. I brought a bunch of mason jars to Wholefoods and had them weighed empty. I then put stickers on each with their tare weight. When I go and fill up the jars I point to the sticker and say this is the tare weight. Never any issue and I get lots of complements on my waste reduction. :)

nessness

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 258
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #67 on: July 12, 2018, 07:33:44 PM »
Thanks for the container tips everyone! I think mesh produce bags are probably the best bet for WinCo. Which reminds me that I bought some mesh fabric like two years ago with the intention of sewing some and haven't done that. Oops; I guess I'd better do that.

Fresh Bread

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1509
  • Location: Australia
  • Insert dough/bread/crust joke
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #68 on: July 12, 2018, 11:17:47 PM »
About nut milk...

Although it's reasonably easy to make almond milk, you are supposed to strain it through cheesecloth or mesh to remove the almond meal. Given I have one piece of cheesecloth and limited kitchen bowls, jugs etc, it was not something I could do easily enough to keep us supplied. Then I had an epiphany - if it's just for our morning oats, don't strain it and just have almond bits in the oats. Plus, the milk rises to the top of the jug anyway so if I did want it in coffee, I could just pour it carefully off the top. Now nut milk is something I can actually face doing on a regular basis.

I've tried cashew milk too as it supposedly doesn't need straining but it ended up very chalky/ grainy (might be my blender).

Hula Hoop

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 682
  • Location: Italy
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #69 on: July 13, 2018, 09:10:15 AM »
The problem I have isn't that I don't have anything to put my bulk items into, it's mostly that they're just not available that way. Even at the eco/organic (expensive) supermarket their offers are very limited. It's considered revolutionary if you can bring your own box to get eggs in...

Here in Italy, we don't really have 'bulk food stores' either.  But my local old fashioned food markets (rather than supermarket) sells a lot of things loose in huge bins.  Maybe you have something like this in your part of Europe too?  The local food markets is the old fashioned place to get food where all the grannies go.  There are butchers with enormous meat cleavers chopping up entire cow carcasses, a baker, some fish stalls, some specialty "ethnic" food stalls and lots and lots of fruit and veg.  The places that are good for bulk foods are mostly run by immigrants and they have huge tubs of different type of rice, beans, dried fruit, spices, rolled oats and other things for cheap.  They usually put the stuff in plastic bags but I'm sure if would be fine to bring my own cloth sack next time.

Hirondelle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 977
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #70 on: July 13, 2018, 01:08:15 PM »
There's a Saturday market right around the corner of my house which has indeed better options than the supermarket. Veggies and fruits are less frequently (but still often) packed in plastic. I don't really eat any meat so that doesn't matter although our market doesn't have the authentic experience as you're describing. Fish is still often packed in plastic but they would probably be fine with bringing your own container. Fresh herbs come packed/unpacked depending on their origin (foreign vs local). Cheese and nuts are usually paper-packed I think but I only buy those occasionally. I also only buy those very occasionally (Mustacian, nuts and cheese are pricey!) so that's not a big source of waste tbh. Many ethnic products will be put in plastic boxes but for those you could probably bring your own as well.

I'll go to the market tomorrow for veggies anyways and will check out what other options might be feasible for bringing my own bag/container.

JoshuaSpodek

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 226
  • Location: Manhattan
    • Leadership, values, meaning, purpose, importance, passion
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #71 on: July 13, 2018, 03:20:11 PM »
Here are some role models:

Bea Johnson's family of four fits a year of garbage into a jar.

She has many videos and TEDx talks: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=bea+johnson&bext=lcl&atb=v116-4&ia=videos

Plus her web page: https://zerowastehome.com

Also Lauren Singer fits years of trash in a jar: http://trashisfortossers.com and her videos: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=trash+is+for+tossers&atb=v116-4&ia=videos

I happen to be practicing stand-up comedy and have performed some open-mic stuff about avoiding polluting. I don't guarantee you'll laugh since I'm just starting, but it's about plastic: http://joshuaspodek.com/open-mic-stand-performance-4.


Fresh Bread

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1509
  • Location: Australia
  • Insert dough/bread/crust joke
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #72 on: July 13, 2018, 05:57:21 PM »
It sounds like there is a gap in the market in Europe for packaging free options, I can see why you guys would struggle there. Someone is missing a trick, business wise. We have two chains now (maybe three?) offering this plus the co-ops that are volunteer run and NFP.  Even if you are avoiding milk and dairy you still have to get nuts, pulses etc. I would suggest buying the biggest bag of whatever you can get through and checking online too - at least then it's less plastic per kilo of product overall.

Justin, stand up is a great idea, I think comedy is the best way to spread a message. will check it out later! 

Plina

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 59
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #73 on: July 14, 2018, 01:58:51 AM »
It sounds like there is a gap in the market in Europe for packaging free options, I can see why you guys would struggle there. Someone is missing a trick, business wise. We have two chains now (maybe three?) offering this plus the co-ops that are volunteer run and NFP.  Even if you are avoiding milk and dairy you still have to get nuts, pulses etc. I would suggest buying the biggest bag of whatever you can get through and checking online too - at least then it's less plastic per kilo of product overall.

Justin, stand up is a great idea, I think comedy is the best way to spread a message. will check it out later!

Actually I think it is also a bit country dependent. Here in Sweden a lot of our packaging is paper or cardboard as we have a big paperpackaging industry. Milk for example is in packaging that are mostly made of cardboard with a plastic opening. Meat though is something that is always in plastic but I have noticed a reduction in packaging lately Due to new players on the market.

Hula Hoop

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 682
  • Location: Italy
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #74 on: July 14, 2018, 02:40:01 AM »
Hmmmm - might be an idea to open a "packaging free" store here in Italy.  Anyway, I'm going to try to find some reusable cloth bags for my next market trip.  Or I could just reuse the plastic bags I already have.

In my city in Italy, we also have lots of subscription organic food services.  Basically, people buy stuff in bulk from farmers near our city and bring it in and distribute it to members who subscribe the service.  The member just receive a big cardboard box once a week containing organic fruit, veg, meat, wine, cheese etc. I have a friend who does this and all the food is divine.  Even the organic boxed wine is delicious.  I've been told it isn't expensive but the only problem is that the one in my area is volunteer run to keep expenses down.  Since I don't have a car, I wouldn't be able to drive out to the farms to pick up the food and deliver it to the members.  Also I work full time and have 2 kids.  But I definitely want to participate if I ever make it to FIRE.  It would be a nice social outlet too as the people I know who do it are great people.


Hirondelle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 977
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #75 on: July 15, 2018, 02:01:06 AM »
There's been packaging free stores in the NL bus so far none of them has been successfull. I guess their target group of customers is still too small. It would be better I guess to have more packaging-free options in regular supermarkets as it will have a bigger impact. Especially if you'd have to pay extra for using a plastic container it would probably stimulate lots of people to bring their own container (just like what has happened with plastic bags).

I went to the market yesterday and got:
Plastic-free: Zuchinni, bananas, avocados, lemon (those are also plastic-free in the regular supermarket though) and some nuts.
With plastic: strawberries (however saved the 2nd layer of plastic that you'd get in the supermarket as they use paper on the market) and bread.

I went at 5 PM so the bread was prices down to Ä1 which now got me a much fancier bread than I'd normally get. If I'd gone earlier they'd probably still had unpacked breads, but now they only sold their leftovers.

Hula Hoop

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 682
  • Location: Italy
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #76 on: July 15, 2018, 03:40:39 AM »
Here in Italy, plastic supermarket bags as well as the produce bags must be made of this type of "biodegradable" plastic.  i'm not sure if the bags are really biodegradable but at least it's a step in the right direction.  You also need to pay for both the supermarket and produce bags.  There has been a big stink about the produce bags though as apparently even if you bring your own produce bags the supermarket still charges the extra few cents for a biodegradable produce bag.

Anyway, at least people are talking about these things here now.

chaskavitch

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 502
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Fort Collins, CO
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #77 on: July 15, 2018, 06:25:28 AM »
The differences in packaging among our locations blows my mind. 

Other than berries (which are in plastic clamshells for avoiding squishing, I imagine), I haven't found one vegetable/fruit that regularly comes in plastic, or is only available that way.  Maybe English cucumbers?  Last week I couldn't find any naked cauliflower, but that's unusual.  And the extra expense you have with bulk food @Fresh Bread , really sucks, I'm sorry :( 

On the other hand, all of our cheese comes in plastic, unless you buy it somewhere fancy or straight from the deli and ask them to put it in your own container.  Pretty much anything that is pre-portioned has some amount of plastic - meat from the deli plastic wrapped in a polystyrene tray, plastic bag inside the box to contain your crackers/cereal/cookies, plastic bag of chips, big plastic window in your pasta box, plastic bags of chocolate or nuts or dried fruit. 

What really needs to happen is we all need to combine the best parts of our homes - unwrapped lettuce, paper wrapped cheese, cheaper bulk food, milk in glass/paper, employees who are totally cool with pre-tareing your containers.  It'd be super awesome.

On that note, we just had a butcher shop open in our local shopping center, and I'm super excited.  I'm tired of buying most of my meat in plastic, and it looks like everything in his shop is really fresh and amazing.  I'm looking forward to being able to buy a whole chicken to roast without also getting a yard of plastic around it.  Their advertising says they try to buy "local" (within a 200 mile radius), too.

Fresh Bread

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1509
  • Location: Australia
  • Insert dough/bread/crust joke
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #78 on: July 16, 2018, 11:49:10 PM »
I did a reasonably successful packaging free shop today. Note to self: always take one or two more containers than you think you need. I had to get the meat wrapped in paper and could not get sultanas.

Fresh Bread

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1509
  • Location: Australia
  • Insert dough/bread/crust joke
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #79 on: July 20, 2018, 04:56:48 AM »
Good news from Australia! My local-ish co-op has just started selling bulk milk (byo container). This is a game changer! It's $3.50 / litre so 3 times the supermarket price but hopefully we can cut down a bit and maybe spend only twice as much?

More good news - a local organic veg delivery service has added a milk in glass bottle optional extra, and the bottles are returnable / refillable. I used to use these guys a while ago to force us to eat veg and when they were a fledgling business but stopped when we had a lot of food coming out of our garden. Now it's winter I think I'll try it again for a couple of months. The bad news is that it's very expensive, but I'm paying for convenience.

CaliGirl

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #80 on: July 20, 2018, 12:14:51 PM »
I love this challenge, but I get a mini-panic attack when I think of ALL the damn plastic we use on a daily basis and how to replace that. My biggest challenge is not getting caught in 'analysis paralysis' and giving up. I'm a little bit of a perfectionist, so I'll have to challenge myself to do my best and not be discouraged I won't be able to score 100%.

Plan of attack for July (excepting 1 week of holiday):
1. Buy fruits & veg at a nearby farm every Saturday
2. Make a loaf of bread from scratch
3. Buy a Divacup - I've read and heard rave reviews!
4. Meal plan according to what's available plastic free
5. Buy (plant based) yogurt and milk in glass bottles at local Ekoplaza

Advanced stuff like making your own shampoo/soap/cleaning supplies etc isn't necessary yet, but I'll try that when my regular stuff runs out.

I'm in the same boat as you! I heard about the plastic free July challenge from another blog "treadingmyownpath" and I have been trying to reduce plastic in the same ways you are! As for #3 - have you done this and are you happy with the results? It is literally the one thing that I'm very nervous about but have decided just to bite the bullet and do it.

TassieFI

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #81 on: July 21, 2018, 05:17:19 AM »
Iíve used a diva cup in the past and it worked really well and I really liked it especially as I do a lot of cycling and running-which it was brilliant for (I was never really a tampon user except on rare occasions).  Never had any issues with regards to any type of infections or discomfort.  Highly recommend it!

Fresh Bread

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1509
  • Location: Australia
  • Insert dough/bread/crust joke
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #82 on: July 21, 2018, 05:35:40 AM »
I tried out a different packaging free store today, it was pretty good but I nearly fainted when I saw the oats were $7.50/kg. 

Also managed to do a supermarket shop without plastic apart from a plastic bottle of painkillers - at least it's recyclable unlike the blister packs.

Forgot the beer growler though so we bought a six pack instead of getting a refill at the brewery that was on the route home. Not plastic but unnecessary waste... There's just so much to remember and plan for!!

JoshuaSpodek

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 226
  • Location: Manhattan
    • Leadership, values, meaning, purpose, importance, passion
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #83 on: July 21, 2018, 01:24:19 PM »
Forgot the beer growler though so we bought a six pack instead of getting a refill at the brewery that was on the route home. Not plastic but unnecessary waste... There's just so much to remember and plan for!!

Since I find pain teaches effectively which I hear research supports, I've taught myself that when I don't bring a container, I don't get the bulk food.

Your beer sounds like my peanut butter. The bulk food section has a machine that grinds peanuts into butter. They give out plastic containers to store it in, but I bring mine. If I forget the container, no peanut butter.

A couple times forgetting the container taught me two things: to remember it more and to sweat it less when I forgot it.

Fresh Bread

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1509
  • Location: Australia
  • Insert dough/bread/crust joke
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #84 on: July 21, 2018, 03:14:54 PM »
Forgot the beer growler though so we bought a six pack instead of getting a refill at the brewery that was on the route home. Not plastic but unnecessary waste... There's just so much to remember and plan for!!

Since I find pain teaches effectively which I hear research supports, I've taught myself that when I don't bring a container, I don't get the bulk food.

Your beer sounds like my peanut butter. The bulk food section has a machine that grinds peanuts into butter. They give out plastic containers to store it in, but I bring mine. If I forget the container, no peanut butter.

A couple times forgetting the container taught me two things: to remember it more and to sweat it less when I forgot it.

Yes we do that with plastic packaging, for sure. Can't see it happening with hubby and his beer though!

Fresh Bread

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1509
  • Location: Australia
  • Insert dough/bread/crust joke
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #85 on: July 22, 2018, 11:07:28 PM »
I was on the plastic-free July website looking for something (best alternatives for freezing bread slices) and saw this link to plastic-free online shops:

https://treadingmyownpath.com/2017/01/12/online-zero-waste-plastic-free-stores/

You've got to scroll down a fair way to get to USA/Canada options, and even further for Europe. I did see Netherlands on the list.

In Australia I've used Flora and Fauna and really like them. If you tick minimal packaging you literally just get the items in a cardboard box with no superfluous paper. And you can reuse the postage box easily if you turn it inside out (ie disassemble and then reassemble by folding the other way).

The answer to the bread question is fabric I think.

Fresh Bread

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1509
  • Location: Australia
  • Insert dough/bread/crust joke
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #86 on: July 24, 2018, 05:50:30 PM »
It's plastics/glass/metal recycling bin day tomorrow and the bin is empty! Well, except for a plastic cup that was on the street outside my house, a meat tray from meat bought in June and frozen, a contact solution bottle and a milk bottle. And a tuna tin. I'm going to be really smug and not put it out.

Any superfluous jars are welcomed as donations at the local co-op so that cuts out any glass recycling. 

The general bin is also pretty empty. I will put it out anyway because my neighbour will need to put her overflow in it ;)

Fresh Bread

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1509
  • Location: Australia
  • Insert dough/bread/crust joke
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #87 on: July 29, 2018, 01:31:54 AM »
So I said I'd recycle our July plastic milk bottles into a green wall... We collected 5 in total and I did it today and planted some strawberry runners. It looks a bit shit tbh, so here's a photo of someone else's :)
Same design though - there are holes drilled into the bottom (ie the lid) so the water drips through the whole system.

chaskavitch

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 502
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Fort Collins, CO
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #88 on: July 29, 2018, 06:27:10 AM »
So I said I'd recycle our July plastic milk bottles into a green wall... We collected 5 in total and I did it today and planted some strawberry runners. It looks a bit shit tbh, so here's a photo of someone else's :)
Same design though - there are holes drilled into the bottom (ie the lid) so the water drips through the whole system.

This is such a cool idea!  I hope yours grow into themselves so you like them more :)

Hula Hoop

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 682
  • Location: Italy
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #89 on: July 29, 2018, 10:36:39 AM »
I'm finding my mustachianism conflicting with my environmentalism when it comes to plastic packaging.  For example, at our local supermarket, milk in plastic bottles in 98 euro cents a liter and in cardboard milk cartons it's Euro 1.63 a liter.  I find it hard to force myself to pay more as we drink a ton of milk.

Fresh Bread

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1509
  • Location: Australia
  • Insert dough/bread/crust joke
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #90 on: July 29, 2018, 03:13:25 PM »
I'm finding my mustachianism conflicting with my environmentalism when it comes to plastic packaging.  For example, at our local supermarket, milk in plastic bottles in 98 euro cents a liter and in cardboard milk cartons it's Euro 1.63 a liter.  I find it hard to force myself to pay more as we drink a ton of milk.

Dairy is BY FAR the hardest category to cut plastic / packaging. I have gone without hard cheese for a couple of weeks rather than try to find a deli counter that will use my container, because everything else has taken my energy, ha!

Mustachian is as much about sustainability as it is about money, so I wouldn't worry too much about the extra cost of a better option. Having said that, cardboard milk cartons use quite a bit of energy/ material in production - if you can recycle your plastic bottles it might actually be the better option. There's an article somewhere I can dig out that compares milk packaging. It probably varies depending on location, too.

Are there any glass milk bottle options near you? They are as rare as hen's teeth in Sydney generally but I think consumer demand has brought three options now in my local area. I keep hearing about more dairies introducing glass so I think change may be afoot, in Australia at least. But yes, my cheapest option is nearly double the price of the cheapest milk. But it's comparable to the cheapest "farmer friendly" milk. (In Au, we have a duopoly in the supermarket sector and they are able to beat down prices paid to suppliers, causing much angst amongst farmers. The farmer friendly brands pay the suppliers a fairer price.)

Fresh Bread

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1509
  • Location: Australia
  • Insert dough/bread/crust joke
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #91 on: August 01, 2018, 06:28:17 PM »
Ok it's over! Thank goodness.

Did anyone have any wins, any changes they think they can keep up?

I officially became a member of our local co-op, which gives me a discount on packaging free products. I need to spend a few hundred dollars to make it worth it in a year so there's an incentive to keep it up. Things like lentils and nuts are pretty easy to buy there, and I can try and make it there once a week so I can get a couple of litres of milk.

I've lined the bin with newspaper again today, and I think I can more or less keep that up. Anything really messy can go in the compost. I've been heaps more conscious about composting mucky paper that I might have stuck in the bin if it couldn't go in the recycling. There are a few convenience type frozen foods that come in card only and now I've identified them (breaded fish, salmon wellingtons, a certain brand of meat pie) that just makes a plastic-free life more realistic.

It now seems to be impossible to buy dishwasher powder in card boxes so I am buying it from the packaging free store from now on. It is v v expensive but highly concentrated so in theory should not add too much cost.

I'm going to call the Council today and ask if I can reduce my bin size for $ savings. I don't know how much I'll save but the standard waste service is $580 a year. If it's only a few bucks I will leave it as is to ensure good relations with my neighbour that borrows my half empty bins most weeks, but if it's more than $100, I'll take it and that will counteract the increased food budget!

Things I know I'm going to buy:
- A big 1kg block of cheese! But I'll keep my eyes open for a deli counter that will sell it to me plastic-free.
- Cartons of nut milk - it's expensive and messy to make my own twice a week! I can't wait to buy some.
- The odd chocolate bar and bag of crisps, iced coffee.
- Frozen peas.
- A frozen pizza for emergencies.

Things that didn't come up this month but I'm planning on changing:
- Coffee beans - I'm going to try to buy them loose at a local roaster every so often.
- Liquid handwash - will try and refill the bottle at the co-op. I didn't check yet that they have it.

Good luck everyone with your future waste reduction!



HappierAtHome

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8744
  • Location: Australia
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #92 on: August 01, 2018, 06:56:38 PM »
How much is dishwasher powder at your co-op? It's $14 a kilo at The Source, but I don't know if you have one of those near you.

Can you collect your soft plastics for red-cycle? It helps to soften the blow when there's something I need (or feel I need) in plastic.

Fresh Bread

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1509
  • Location: Australia
  • Insert dough/bread/crust joke
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #93 on: August 01, 2018, 07:44:55 PM »
How much is dishwasher powder at your co-op? It's $14 a kilo at The Source, but I don't know if you have one of those near you.

Can you collect your soft plastics for red-cycle? It helps to soften the blow when there's something I need (or feel I need) in plastic.

Yes I'm buying The Source one. I used to pay $2 for a kilo I think so it's a huge leap but I'm using maybe a third or a quarter of the amount so that helps. The other option is Earth Choice tablets in a dissolvable wrapper that I assume is corn starch. It's $16 a box though!

Yep I'm lucky in that I can recycle or compost pretty much everything. Redcycle is great for the unavoidable things. The only things going in the bin are bits of greaseproof paper with foil on from Massel stock cubes (I will get the tin I think) and cheese. And if I got to the butcher without my tubs, that comes in greaseproof paper too. I just threw out the rubbish from 2 weeks - it was maybe 2 litres in volume so really nothing.

Did you manage to avoid any plastic or did the food thing make it a bit too much extra work?

haypug16

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 693
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Boston, MA
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #94 on: August 02, 2018, 08:05:26 AM »
That was tougher than I expected.

My big win for the month is that I now purchase a bushels of Kale instead of cut up Kale in one of those plastic containers.

Yesterday I finally picked up milk in a glass container but it still had a plastic top and handle. The plus side is that I can use this glass jug after the milk is gone for when Mr. Pug and I forage our spring water. :) I plan to keep my eye out for other places that sell milk in glass without any plastic oh and the milk is local so that's good too.


HappierAtHome

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8744
  • Location: Australia
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #95 on: August 02, 2018, 06:58:07 PM »
Did you manage to avoid any plastic or did the food thing make it a bit too much extra work?

We did indeed avoid plastic more than usual, and I consciously made some environmental choices unrelated to plastic. My big wins this months were really more about getting Mr Happier on board with spending more to waste less.

Fresh Bread

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1509
  • Location: Australia
  • Insert dough/bread/crust joke
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #96 on: August 02, 2018, 07:51:29 PM »
Did you manage to avoid any plastic or did the food thing make it a bit too much extra work?

We did indeed avoid plastic more than usual, and I consciously made some environmental choices unrelated to plastic. My big wins this months were really more about getting Mr Happier on board with spending more to waste less.

One of the reasons July was easier than when I tried in Feb was because hubby was on board, so the workload felt much reduced. He suggested we join in fact.

Sistema clipits are half price in Coles this week btw. As are some of the plastic Decor range. Pyrex decor storage is half price in Woolies.

I got a little clipit tub for tiny freezer portions plus trail mix transportation to avoid plastic wrapped muesli bars. I think that might be my biggest win of the month - realising I didn't need to buy or make muesli bars, I just needed a better way of transporting the raw ingredients.

Fresh Bread

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1509
  • Location: Australia
  • Insert dough/bread/crust joke
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #97 on: August 02, 2018, 07:57:08 PM »
That was tougher than I expected.

My big win for the month is that I now purchase a bushels of Kale instead of cut up Kale in one of those plastic containers.

Yesterday I finally picked up milk in a glass container but it still had a plastic top and handle. The plus side is that I can use this glass jug after the milk is gone for when Mr. Pug and I forage our spring water. :) I plan to keep my eye out for other places that sell milk in glass without any plastic oh and the milk is local so that's good too.

That's good news on the kale! I've no learnt which supermarkets wrap the bunch in plastic and which don't, which is handy.

I'm struggling to imagine the plastic handle on the milk bottle, how odd! I guess it's more than a litre so needed a handle. Good idea on the re-use. I've given some away to a Kombucha brewer and retained 5 for my new refillable milk option (I'm filling 2-3 at a time!)

haypug16

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 693
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Boston, MA
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #98 on: August 03, 2018, 08:09:18 AM »
It looks like this;

The handle is kind of needed but I would have been fine carrying it without.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2018, 08:15:21 AM by haypug16 »

SunnyDays

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 178
Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #99 on: August 03, 2018, 02:01:58 PM »
Well, I started out the month stronger than I finished it.  There are just so many things I normally buy that come in plastic that I would have to overhaul my diet to be more successful.  Not that that would be a bad thing, it just would take a lot of awareness and I have to admit that I'm lazy and frankly like my current diet!  After being aware of plastic packaging for a month, I can see why there are huge patches of it in the oceans.  Almost everything comes in some degree of it.
Fresh Bread, you mention keeping a larger garbage bin in part to accommodate the neighbour.  Is this good, as in they don't pay for any service, so are saving money, or bad, as in they can't fit all their trash in their own bin?  If it's the former, maybe you can split the cost.  If it's the latter, they might be motivated to reduce their garbage quantity if they have nowhere to put it!  So you might be doing the earth a favour by downsizing.