I know I have brought up some of these points before and frankly I think the best way to really get something is by repeating it. As annoying as that can be. :) So I wanted to share with you on how I shop, or maybe it what I shop with. I know a lot of people have finally bought some of those recycled plastic shopping bags, which I personally am disgusted by. You cannot wash them effectively. I have made some of the mesh shopping totes. I don't like them, all my stuff pokes out.
Being "Green" is definitely not always convenient. But I personally think it is worth it to put this extra work in. Mind you, once something becomes a routine, it really doesn't seem like much work after a while. Not to mention I do feel a large sense of responsibility as a citizen of this planet to invest my time and a bit of money into trying to preserve it.
So what do I use? My favorite bags, which I sometimes get funny looks for, are the ones made from recycled T shirts: http://www.etsy.com/shop/fashiongreentbags?ref=pr_shop_more
Why do I love them so much? They reduce plastic consumption, they are reusable, recycled themselves and they are handmade! They are washable!!! Whoooohooooo!! I can dry them in the dryer, or on the line. They stretch to hold lots and lots of stuff. They cute sayings or logos that get peoples attention. They are handy, I keep them in the car.
Oh, please don't think that my post will end here. I think there are 3 more areas where we really need to crack down on our plastic consumption while grocery shopping.
My next item is my set of 3 hemp/organic cotton blend produce bags. I don't often use these for produce, but mostly in the Bulk Section or for storing your bread. If you are going to use them for produce, I find for items like lettuce and celery its best if to dampen the bags and then store your items in the fridge. They are washable, handmade, handy ( I just stash them with my grocery bags), and reusable. They are naturally antibacterial, and anti-fungal. The only downside is the Tare weight aspect, you are slightly increasing the weight of your purchase by using this bag, but I frankly think its a small price to pay to live greener. Sadly, I have found that most cashiers are not trained to subtract the tare weight of items. My advice is if you can keep an extra one handy than the cashier can use it to zero in the scale. I find that Organic/or Farmer's Markets are really a lot more friendly to this. You can find them here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/ecomum
A special Note on Bulk shopping. Here are just a few of the up sides to bulk shopping: you save $$$, often times you can buy the brand names in bulk with out all the plastic packaging waste. You buy what you need, no more, no less. Bulk is cheaper in price 9 times out of 10. Also, I really think it helps me not get drawn in to feeding my family "instant food". It helps me keep our meals home made.
My last area of shopping is I often look for items with less packaging. Yes, some packaging can be recycled but what if we never had to use it to begin with?
Consumption. That's something that has made me really start to think about. How much water, electricity, gas or petroleum products and bi-products does it take to make highly processed items? How much pollution does that therefore cause?
I wish I could offer my family a more just world. A world where I have the choice to work or not work and choose to take care of my family. Truth of the matter is most of these items are not new fangled items, they are forgotten items that many of our ancestors used until the second half of the twentieth century. Your sandwich would have been wrapped in cloth and carried in a metal bucket or cloth sac with the rest of your homemade lunch. You would have brought your groceries home in handmade bags or baskets.
Truth is I am beginning to find items designed for convenience are really not so convenient when it comes to our health and our future. There is no convenience in the Pollution we are doing to the planet, animals or ourselves.
Namaste, Shanti and Shima,