Saturday, September 8, 2007

Shopping at the farmers market

First, a quick story about product packaging. Normally we purchase Tidy Cat litter in the large plastic bucket. Trying to avoid the plastic, we checked for the same brand in a bag. Safeway had a 20lb bucket for $8.99 on sale vs. 20lbs in a bag for $4.99. The exact same product, just priced differently for different packages. Ridiculous. We grabbed the bag, only to see that the bag material is woven plastic. *sighs* We just can't win.

We also purchased a dozen quart-size jars for canning which came wrapped in plastic, and a tube of toothpaste. The jars are for our own spaghetti sauce, and will be reused for years to come. The toothpaste comes in a foil tube but the cap is definitely plastic. Is there any toothpaste that comes without plastic? Can we actually make our own toothpaste?

Carl and I drove out to the Redmond Saturday Market. We used our own bags to pick up 10lbs of apples, 4 huge onions, carrots, peppers, and basil. One stand loaned us two large boxes to carry the 23lbs of tomatoes we purchased, as long as we promised to bring them back next weekend.

Each stand we stopped at had plastic produce bags for consumers to use. I found it odd that many did not have paper bags as an option. I found it even stranger that many consumers used their own shopping bags, but placed a single apple or cucumber in a plastic produce bag first before placing it into their Trader Joe's canvas bag. Doesn't that defeat the purpose somewhat?

I also wanted to pick up a bouquet of flowers, but each bunch comes with a plastic bag strapped to the stems to hold water. While we would reuse the bag, I don't need flowers that much. Our cat will also just knock the vase over when we aren't looking, which is annoying to clean up. We do have 3 small vases that hang on the wall. I could possibly pick out a few individual stems of flowers sans plastic bag and arrange them myself.

Tomorrow, we plan on busing down to Pike Place Market. (Normally, we would walk the 2 miles down the hill, but my knee is still swollen.) We need to pick up some ginseng tea, a glass jar of honey, and I want to check with the butchers about either bringing my own plastic or if they will just wrap their product in paper.


Lori E. said...

Hi Wesa! I'm working toward similar packaging-reduction goals, and I am in the same boat regarding cat litter. I am going to have to switch my cat litter, because my preferred brand, World's Best Cat Litter, only comes in plastic bags. My store carries a couple of brands that come in paper bags, so I'm going to try one called Swheat Scoop next time. Hopefully my cat won't rebel.

I'm not even thinking about all the cans of cat food. At least they're recyclable.

Wesa said...

We're set on litter for a bit. I like the big bags because of the savings, though I know the smaller bags are packaged in paper (probably treated with plastic, oy), so I might switch to that before the end of our 30 days. Kitty only eats dry food, so I can get around buying canned food for her.

Buying everything without packaging is much harder than our experiment! Please share what you've learned!

Kirsti said...

Petco sells a litter in bulk. I think you have to buy their bucket, but you reuse it on future trips.

Wesa said...

Oooh great tip! That's going to have to be one that we plan out ahead, since I do not have a car and Petco is a bit far for me. It's definitely do-able!