Little by little and week by week, we're making gains in our quest to be less wasteful. Sure, we could still do better (isn't that ALWAYS the case?) but today I was especially proud of our grocery purchases for the week. Not only were we able to knock out about the half of our list at the farmers' market (yay for local!) but we also made a few discoveries at our grocery store of choice (Sprouts) that enabled us to omit to gross packaging items that we've been struggling with (styrofoam - boooooo).
Limes, peaches, cherry tomatoes and avocados in reusable produce bags. The peaches and cherry tomatoes were sold in paper bags at the farmers' market, but we simply transferred them into our bags and returned the original container to the stand workers.
Onions, bell peppers, cabbage, corn and carrots all from the farmers' market.
Eggs in compostable egg carton. The farmers' market didn't have any eggs available, so we opted for a compostable-friendly container from Sprouts. And, while we don't have composting onsite at our home, we're fortunate to have the option through the city of Denver's composting program.
Sliced turkey and cheese from the deli in reusable silicon baggies. We had talked about asking the deli if they could use our containers but just never pulled the trigger -- until today. Not only were they more than happy to oblige but because the items are weighed before going into the bags, we didn't have to worry about tare weights. Bonus!
Coconut sugar in a plastic bag with twist tie. :-( We underestimated our bulk purchases today and didn't have enough reusable containers with us. We do have a TerraCycle membership, so at least we can include the bag in that but still some room for improvement.
Chicken broth in recyclable carton. Yes, we could make this but we're not there yet.
Black beans in aluminum can. The can be recycled but we did talk about purchasing dry black beans from the bulk section but they were out.
Milk in glass bottle. We paid a $3 deposit for the bottle and swap it out each week for new milk. We only really use milk in coffee and a few breakfast recipes (the husband is currently a little obsessed with waffles) so we're able to easily keep our consumption at a bottle per week.
Block of cheese in plastic wrap. This is an improvement over our old habit of purchasing pre-shredded cheese in bags but now that we know we can use our reusable bags at the deli, next time we're going to go that route.
Rice in our reusable zipper bag. We take advantage of our grocery store's bulk section as often as possible. Not only does it allow us to use reusable containers, but it's also usually cheaper.
Bread and peaches from the farmers' market.
Jicama and cilantro from grocery store. We didn't use packaging or a container for either.
Multi-color quinoa from the bulk section in a container intended for single use, but we're probably on 10+ uses with it.
Blueberries in a one-time use container -- but recyclable. We couldn't resist these in-season beauties.
Peaches from the farmer's market. If you've never heard of Palisade peaches, I feel bad for you because these babies are delicious. We've been taking advantage of our close proximity to Colorado's Western Slope, where they're grown, and purchasing a few each week. As an added bonus, this week the stand worker threw in a handful of "ready-to-eat" fruits that we promptly devoured when we returned home after shopping.
Spelt sourdough bread from the farmers' market. Being from California, my husband is always on the search for good sourdough bread, which he discovered at our local farmers' market and now purchases each week. Next up is his goal to make it at home. Stay tuned for how that goes.
Bacon and pork shoulder in freezer paper from the grocery butcher. Despite us still not having a clear answer as to whether freezer paper is recyclable (until we know for sure, we've been including in our TerraCycle contents), we did have a big win today in regards to meat packaging. We always complain about the fact that our grocery store uses styrofoam in their meat packaging but have never really done anything about it -- until today. My husband told the meat-counter employee we needed pork loin but really didn't want to purchase any that included the styrofoam packaging. His first offer was to remove the styrofoam from an already-packaged piece of meat. However, we both knew the discarded packaging was just going to end up in the trash so we declined. After a bit of back-and-forth (and my husband stating a few times what a shame it was they used styrofoam), the man told us he would have the butcher cut off a piece for us. Yes, it still came in freezer paper, but we're still counting it as a win. Plus, it reaffirms something we're realizing more and more each week -- if you just ask, most of the time it will work out in your favor.
While it's clear that we still have some areas of improvement, I'm happy with our progress in drastically reducing single-use as it pertains to our grocery list. It's all about progress over perfection, right?