Sunday, September 14, 2008

Some are low-plastic days, and some are no-plastic days.

More of the former than the latter.

I look around my apartment sometimes and think 'Wow, there is a lot of plastic here.' Then I remember much of it I acquired before I became aware of how dangerous plastic is for me and the environment. If I were to just rid my life of all the plastic I already owned I would be wasting plastic. So, of course I don't. I use what I have and try not to acquire more. I try to have as many low-plastic and no-plastic days as possible.

On days I buy food this is particularly hard. Meats and dairy products are by far the hardest items to find sans plastic! Meat always comes in plastic, at the store or the farmer's market, cooked, uncooked, jerky or frozen. I cannot find a way around this. Even the really good meat like grass-fed bison and free-range chicken that I buy because it is healthier for me and better for the environment paradoxically still comes in plastic...even if I get it at the meat counter or butcher or directly from the grower. I am at a loss here. Other than meat most of my protein comes from dairy products, which also almost always seem to come in plastic! I buy milk in glass bottles, but they have plastic tops. I thrive on cheese but it is almost inevitably wrapped or sealed in plastic (except that one time I bonded with the cheese man). Often butter comes sans plastic (but sadly this usually means it is not raw or local which I prefer). And ice cream, oh ice cream, you too come in containers that sadly also use plastic. (See the picture of the milk carton-this layering of paper and plastic is the same for ice cream containers and most water resistant 'paper' food containers.)

plastic is forever

This is not easy! But the saga continues...

Crunchy carbs of all kinds also come in plastic…bread, crackers, cookies, pasta (pasta you can often find plastic-free most of the time, but not at Whole Foods of all places). I gobble up these carbs when I am out to dinner or over friends, because I miss them due to the fact that to reduce my plastic intake I have not bought bread or crackers in plastic since June 1st! I am starting to make my own bread-thank goodness, why did I wait so long to make this move-but this is not up everyone’s alley, thus it is not a solution for everyone. Most of my plastic reductionist solutions in fact require a lot of forethought and planning and are homemade solutions.

So, some days I find it hard to see how this plastic wrapped food system will change. One day at a time I tell myself. Plus I get inspiration from the other plastic-less bloggers out there (see our 'Get Inspires' area).


Anonymous said...

I guess your Whole Foods doesn't offer it but ours has pasta in bulk bins so you can bring your own container to the store and take it home in that. They also let us take meat home in our own containers they just put the sticker on the container. Perhaps you should ask if the butcher could do the same for you.

If you want plastic free cheese you could try making some of your own. If you google Cheese Queen you will find kits for various cheeses. Obviously some things like cheddar would have to age but you can make and eat mozzarella immediately.

For ice cream we make our own, it does involve plastic because the bowl attachment contains plastic but it's significantly less by ice cream in containers. You could also find a local place that makes their own and offers it in cones or real bowls as opposed to styrofoam or plastic.

plasticfreela said...

Thanx for all the helpful ideas! I will definitely be bringing my own container to the butcher from now own! My Whole Food store does have a sparse bulk section, but I have been researching local fresh pasta places and have some good leads :)
I have made mozzarella a la Cheese Queen's recipe and it is good but I love those sharp cheddars and I have been reluctant to try making my own cheddar. Maybe now is the right time to start! I'm worried about the mold and remembering to turn the cheese frequently, I remember turning the cheese being involved in the aged cheeses... We'll see how it goes.
Also, I'm a huge fan of homemade ice ream. Vanilla with maple syrup is a nice simple treat that is pretty o' natural and delish.
Thanx for reading and for your helpful hints!

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