Last month while visiting Rochester, I popped into the local market my parents have shopped at my entire life. Only having purchased 3 items, but realizing I’d forgotten my re-usable shopping bag, I opted to go bag-less and carry my stuff out. Before I could get the words, “no bag thank you,” out of my mouth, the young man behind the counter had begun dropping my stuff in a plastic bag. I quickly said, “oh no thanks, only 3 things, no need for a bag, give it to the next person.” To my astonishment he pulled my items out, handed them over, and threw the un-used bag into his garbage!
I can’t wait until the chap behind the counter asks, “hey, how are ya?” instead of, “paper or plastic?” like some robot-drone! Excess packaging and the waste associated with it simply causes my skin to crawl! When I first moved to California, a decade ago, it was amazing how much organic produce was readily available at all times. I was continually baffled at the plastic mess it was packaged in though.
While reading the future thinking Dec/Jan issue of Dwell magazine I lit up to their piece, The Future of Groceries. Here reviewed were three brilliant, yet simple processes to enhance our entire method of procuring and storing the foods we love. Summing it up, creative concept idea machine, Marti Guixe says, “food design, if properly done, should eliminate superfluous packaging.” Complimenting this sentiment is Food Probe’s Home Farming Unit, a biosphere containing live seafood with the ability to grow vegetables. Imagine how wonderful it will be to maintain just what you need, excess free!
Until then though, consider every action you put forward with whole conscious thinking. Buying organic? Great job! Now consider, where am I purchasing my food; from a sustainable source? Go online or ask neighbors where the local farmer’s markets are located. Some area farmers offer a twice monthly service you come to pick up at the farm, chock full of the season’s best.
The next time you’re shopping, or if you’re a letter writer perhaps; compliment your grocer on what you see them doing best. Politely suggest they offer re-usable shopping supplies or perhaps leave produce un-wrapped, free of plastic packaging.
Don’t forget to get an update from your waste management company of the items you may recycle each week with your other trash. At the end of the week our recycling bins are absolutely over-flowing. Almost all materials you consider garbage can and should be recycled. If your company doesn’t take certain items, find an alternative resource for your garbage. We save any plastic bags that might come into the house via guests to be later taken down the street, where our local market will recycle them for the public.