On my Journey to Freedom from Plastics

A Selection of Bulk Items from my Pantry

I’m making a concentrated effort to remove plastics from my kitchen. It is definitely an uphill battle, with much choice making and re-making, and more thinking than I am used to.  

I just returned from a trip to the grocery store. I visited Central Market, a store with an ample bulk section, just right for a foray into plastic-free grocery purchasing. I was armed with three glass jars and my shopping basket. On my list today, herbs, flour, turkey and chia seeds. 

First up, the easy bulk purchase- flour. However, my jars have round openings (reused large pickle jars) and the scoop is made for more of a rectangular opening. I asked for help with a funnel or some wax paper to make a funnel. The ever-helpful staff produced a “jar filler” for me to borrow. It was a metal version of the type I use for canning. I filled up two jars with very little mess. Next up, chia seeds. I again used the jar filler to assist with my purchase. No big deal. 

For the seasonings, at home, I use baby food jars re-purposed to my spice rack. However, they were not completely empty for me to take to the store, so I used the plastic baggies for this purchase. I felt bad about it because I wasn’t able to be plastic free. One thing I did notice is a place for re-use. I could have brought my own bag ties, those plastic clips from the bags of bread to close these bags instead of using the twist ties provided. I will add those to my basket next time. 

Bag ties. So many bag ties.

I also stopped by the deli for some sliced turkey. I meant to bring a container, but I forgot it. Luckily, this store uses butcher paper to wrap deli items, so no more plastic was consumed.

Here are some more ideas for Greening up your Grocery shopping.

  • Use your own boxes and bags. My favorite is a large African basket, advertised as holding up to 80 pounds. It holds about 4 grocery bags worth of food.
  • Re-use the mesh bags (from bulk apples and lemons). Make these your new produce bags. Or just stop using produce bags! Your produce does not need to be swaddled in plastic! Re-use berry clam shell containers for produce. Just mark out the UPC symbol with a permanent marker so you don’t confuse the grocery clerk.
  • Buy bulkier packaged items. Not the single use. Repackage at home for school lunches. Example: applesauce. I buy the jug and put individual servings into small containers for my kids. Avoid buying overly packaged items. I have yet to find a head of cauliflower that is not wrapped in plastic, and I don’t understand why. More on that another time…
  • I won’t buy produce that is wrapped in plastic.

What other ways do you green up your grocery shopping? Do you have any creative reuses for packaging? Please share in the comments section.

My favorite shopping basket
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