541.787.4395 (Pacific Time Zone) kristen@kristenoneillart.com

Reducing Plastic Use – Grocery Store

by | Apr 27, 2016 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

reducing plastic grocery store

Somewhere in all this plastic are some peas.

If you read my prior blog post you know that our family recently decided to do something about all this plastic in our lives.

Today I went to the grocery store. Whoa. With my eyes wide open on plastic use, boy did I notice a lot of it!

Today I wanted to make some small, easy changes to get us started. There is nothing like immediate success to keep oneself motivated! My first goal was to use my reusable bags (which meant putting them in the car, and taking them into the store. Easy sounding, but this is real life folks!) My second goal was to not use plastic bags inside the store. Today I shopped at the new Winco in town.

I headed into the store, went right over to the produce section, and thought, “How do I get this in my cart?” Sure, I could just gently lay it down atop my reusable bags, but then I thought the checker might kill me. A friendly produce guy showed me that they had brown bags next to the mushrooms, so I did that for the mushrooms. Then I grabbed a few extra bags. I headed over to carrots. There were baby carrots in plastic, large carrots in plastic, a ton of juicing carrots in (you guessed it) plastic….I spied the organic section a bit further down and found some loose carrots. Success! I threw them in the brown bag. I grabbed some zucchini, into a brown bag. I found avocado and thought, “Hey, these are already wrapped!” and put them in the cart sans bag. I put the cilantro and parsley into the bag with the zucchini. (I later pulled it out and put it on top of other food at the check out line).

reducing plastic grocery store

Paper bags – In Plastic…

I quickly realized I needed a lot more bags. I checked with the bulk food guy and they didn’t have any in that section. I asked if it was okay to use paper bags instead of the plastic they supplied.  He wasn’t sure. I headed up to the customer service desk, they thought it was a neat idea and mentioned that I could find paper bags next to the ziplock bags. So off I headed to that aisle. I found a lot of plastic in that aisle (of course). I did find one option for paper bags. It came wrapped in plastic. Go figure.

The cashier actually loved the paper bags. I wrote the bin # on each bag and she said that it was so much easier than the searching for the tag “in all that plastic mess.” (And here I had been concerned that I was causing trouble for everyone!)

reducing plastic grocery store

Substituted Paper at Bulk Bins

Successes and Failures

Success: I was able to use paper bags in the produce and bulk sections of a major chain store and there were no issues. In fact, the employees really liked the idea.

Failure: I should have brought my own bags so that I could know where they came from (sustainably sourced/recycled post consumer).

Success: I remembered my reusable bags. And I remembered to put them back in my trunk when I was done putting my groceries away.

reducing plastic grocery store

My not-so-successful items

Failure: How do I get these items in the photo without plastic? Or with less plastic?

Success: Although the mozzarella cheese does come in plastic, it was a lot less plastic than buying the cheese sticks, which is what I had originally planned.

growing peas

Hey this food looks like food!

Future Success: 

I am growing peas, a few different kinds. This looks a lot better than the freezer section!

reducing plastic grocery storeFailure: I did manage to successfully bag all my bulk items in paper bags except for the pasta. The sign explicitly said to use plastic. I could probably just follow the spirit of the law instead of the letter next time. Why am I such a stickler for the rules? Silly me.

I hope I’ve given you inspiration to make a few small changes to your next shopping trip. Feel free to leave me tips in the comments section.