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Alternatives to Using Plastics at the Grocery Store

Dare you to buy something without plastics! 
This will be worth the wait. 🙂 
Every day we are seeing more and more products that are wrapped and packaged in plastics for no reason. There is not one good reason to wrap a banana, lemon, watermelon, etc in plastic. Not a single one. Don’t even try. Please. 
Ok. So how do we avoid buying things in plastics and what can we do about it? 
If you don’t want to read anything here’s an entire set available by Simple Ecology: 
First – I wish I had somebody following me around with a camera when I go grocery shopping. 😃 To me it’s a time of purpose and spreading the information, especially since I mostly do my grocery shopping in NYC. I am one of those believers that a big reason for why we ended up in this situation is because shopping became a “convenient” and “impulse buy” thing knocking out the mindful experience our grandparents used to have. But anyway, I digress. 
During the winter I get much of my fruits and veggies from Door to Door Organics. They provide local produce and take back all packaging material the following week – eliminating waste! Just be careful when shopping to select the items that are in season and local. Don’t look for red seedless grapes in December – then they come in bags. 😔 
Below is a list of products that are always with me. Let me know if you need any other type of products that you find yourself using plastic versions of all the time. I will gladly help! 😃 
Reusable Produce Bags
For all of the produce that I buy I use the reusable produce bags – Simple Ecology – they are netted 100% cotton, washable and very sturdy. They also come in handy for picking up “to go” stuff from shops like bagels, croissants, sandwiches etc. 
If there are any special codes to take to the register, a photo on the phone is perfect. 
Since watching the film A Plastic Ocean, I do what the Director Craig does and leave all the plastic bags produce are wrapped in at the store. Sometimes I give it back to the cashier, sometimes take it to the manager and sometimes just leave it there for them to ponder. Cucumbers on a foam plate wrapped in plastic is my specialty. Not only is it not necessary but they are also “suffocating” the cucumbers. It does definitely get the attention and turn into an informing session. 
Simple Ecology Cotton Mesh Produce Bags – I love these because they are breathable, easy to clean/wash and made up of 100% organic cotton! Your food doesnt smell, they dont get wet and icky. 
Reusable Canvas Bags
For many items I find myself buying bulk – quinoa that normally comes in plastic packaging, nuts, grains, legumes, rice, etc. 
For these finer items – I use canvas bags – again, taking a photo of their code and having them weighed at the register rather than printing out non-recyclable stickers is the next level up. I have also used stickers where all stickers are stuck to each other rather than on the bags. 
Reusable Shopping Bags
I personally use my shopping bag that I had bought from Guam in 2015 and a collapsible one from Strand practically everywhere I go – I dont think we need to have too many of them. Though I realize when you’re shopping for a bigger family you need to have multiples and fit them in your trunk, and make sure it’s easy to carry. See below for suggestions!
You can find some of your favorite non-profits who provide reusable bags – OR all of the grocery stores also provide them for at most $2. 
The point of reusable bags is to only have a couple of them that you use and re-use (duh) until the end of its time, then recycle them into something else. IF you have no other option, then they should be disposed of as organic material – hopefully they are 100% bamboo or 100% cotton. 
The ones I use most are from The Strand – well that was the one place I used to “impulse” buy and not have a bag with me to carry the books out. And that’s my nerd confession. You’ll now never see me without it. It’s traveled the entire world with me in the last 15 months. 
For liquids: 
Liquids, admittedly, have been my biggest challenge to go plastic free. Especially living in the city without a car, finding places that sell liquid detergent, shampoo etc. in bulk that I can use is difficult. So I’m breaking this into just two levels. 
This is totally made-up, so break it down into smaller steps or further levels if you wish – anything you can do to be aware of the waste and reduce the amount of plastics that you use is a step in the right direction.
Level 1:
Products that are in recycled ocean plastic containers. 
Seventh Generation – one of my favorite companies, just after my own heart – just because the government doesn’t demand something that is ethical doesn’t mean companies can’t do it! ❤️ 
Mrs. Meyers – another wonderful company – using only naturally derived ingredients and essential oils in their products. My preferred scents! But their winning side is that the majority of their bottles (read the bottom) are made of recycled ocean plastics! ❤️ Just be sure to recycle properly if you choose to go this convenient way. 
Choose products in cans and glass over plastic. 
Especially for oils – I reach for anything that is in a glass bottle/container with an aluminum cap rather than plastics. 
A level up:
Go bulk online. Use the Refill Shoppe website! 
This is genius. A breath of fresh air – a first of it’s kind creating a much needed way of shopping to reduce waste. Though it is online, hence still will include shipping etc. – all of their items are sent in eco-friendly and refillable pouches/containers. Once your pouch is empty you send it back in their prepaid envelope, they sanitize it and reuse it. 0 waste. ❤️ 
Amazing the things we can achieve when we all come together! 
Two Levels Up:
Mason Jars
For majority of liquids I use mason jars. Obviously this requires more planning and I make a point of buying these items on a day where I set to do so, so I have the mason jars with me. It’s quite easy but at first requires some planning.  Will get into the details of this type of shopping for NYC only – in the next post. 
Thank you for reading, please leave a comment if you have any specific questions and suggestions. Stay with love with mother nature and our beautiful blue and wishing you a plastic free day! 💙🐬💙


Next: Alternatives to Other Single Use Items in Our Lives

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