If you entered a grocery store today majority of produce and goods are wrapped entirely in plastic! Items that do not even require packaging like oranges or avocados. It is seems that the idea of keeping items fresh and free of germs is it wrap it in plastic. Yet plastic is known to leech harmful chemicals, one commonly known chemical is BPA which is an endocrine disruptor.
After watching that documentary and reading some articles I walked in to a grocery store and I was so upset at the amount of unnecessary packaging. Many of my zero-waste inspo's like Bea Johnson and Beth Terry talked about bulk shopping.
Bulk shopping in these terms is not going to BJs Wholesale and purchasing a bulk of goods in plastic at a reduced price, but rather purchasing the exact quantity of good you would like from freely packaged options. So there will be a bin of dry beans with a scoop, you would use you mason jar or your cloth produce bag and fill it your preference.
If using a mason jar be sure to tare the weight of your jar so you are able to deduct that from that actual cost of the beans. You do not want to pay for the weight of your jar. It is great way to save money because SOME bulk items are relatively inexpensive compared to purchasing prepackaged goods. Below is a video of youtuber Audrey Holmes and how she avoids plastic waste by shopping for bulk items:
In the area I reside in is sort of a food desert. We have chain grocery stores, but none offer bulk items. Along with the grocery stores, we have farmer's markets that offer freely packaged produce like apples, peppers, and greens! I have to drive about 20 minutes to reach my nearest Whole Foods that offers a limited selection of bulk items. So opt to take the drive to purchase things like quinoa, banana chips, oatmeal, and granola, just to name a few. I find that I save an exponential amount of money. The 47 items I purchased cost $100 at Whole Foods and could have easily been double the amount if I purchased those items in packaging.
Sometimes I do not have a jar or enough produce bags for my items so I use the brown paper bags which are then recycled and/or reused to store my compost in my freezer.
So with limited options. I do my very best to avoid ringing up plastic packaging at the checkout line. I am not a vegan and do believe I will ever fully become a vegan, but I try to reduce my consumption of animal products. There stainless steel containers you may purchase and bring the butcher where they can place your poultry and meat. Some will give you a tough time about it, but many are accommodating.
Adopting this low impact lifestyle helps to make healthier meal options because so many of the snacks I love are package in plastic, but luckily the snack section at Whole Foods is expanding! Can't stop, won't stop snacking!
This photo is my most recent food haul and I have since used majority of the goods purchased and that lasted me about two weeks!
It is not entirely zero-waste, but it is low waste and low impact. This a combination of trip to Whole Foods and Home Goods. I love going to Home Goods to purchase hand towels that are 100% cotton and tied together with a cotton string, purchasing little jars, and especially my spices! They have a great selection of spices in glass for a very affordable price! This haul in total came out to $150! I could have saved even more by purchasing my produce at a farmers market, but I did not have the energy to run to a third store. So I opted to do the best I can at Whole Foods.
There is another great option outside of farmers market to purchase your produce in and I was a member for some time and looking to get back into is supporting CSA's. Purple dragon is a great way to save money, get produce in bulk, and it is seasonal items and local farmers! Although some items may still be wrapped in plastic it is still a cost effective way to support community farmers and get quality produce for a fair price!
I hope that after reading this you have gained some insight into small and incremental changes you are capable of making. Please continue to research your options and more about this lifestyle. I am still on a journey to reducing my carbon footprint and I hope that you join me! There is so much to learn and so many ways we can be like our ancestors and reconnect with food and learn about where it comes from and who grows it.
Stay green and avoid plastic, my friends!