There's a lot of great information in this post and I encourage you to read through it ... however, if you don't have the time right now, you might find the following quick links helpful:
Last week was a fun challenge ... we gave up food which typically comes in plastic packaging and opted, instead, for food in Eco-friendly or NO packaging. While that sounds easy enough, one stroll down a supermarket isle will reveal just how difficult it is. If a market has bulk foods available, it is a bit easier ... provided one uses their own containers. Farmer's markets are good choices but again ... one must bring their own bag or container. The challenge becomes more difficult when we look for foods which aren't available locally ... things like dried beans and lentils which are typically grown in centralized locations and are often packaged in plastic bags. And what about the cooler months, when local produce is less abundant ... fresh veggies can be found but they tend to come in "clam shells". Avoiding plastic food containers isn't easy! But as you'll see in this post, it is doable.
The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing an article about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments. Here's what they had to say:
Janet Botes shared this: "I'm in for this week's challenge, there's a farmers market walking distance from us every Saturday from 10am to 2pm, if I remember correctly. In Hope street, Cape Town, South Africa. I've bought food, especially veggies there before, just haven't made the effort again in a long time. I'll start doing that, taking my cloth bags for all my purchases!" How did it go, Janet?
Argentum Vulgaris has talked, before, about the challenges he faces in Brazil when buying food. Supermarkets, there, package most everything in plastic. Still ... he's found a way around it for certain items. So ... he took the challenge this week and headed off to the market to see what he could find. How did he do? Find out HERE.
Hannah shared a link for some Organic Cotton Produce EcoBags ... great for loose items at supermarkets.
Here's a good idea! Baked goods, drinks, cookies, etc., often come in plastic. One way around these items is to simply make them at home. Check out this recipe from Kristina for Fabulous Chewy Granola Bars!
Green Gal had this to say: "I'm shopping for my first round of college foodstuffs for my new apartment, and yesterday when I went shopping, I tried to get the healthiest and most environmentally friendly options--ie avoiding high fructose corn syrup and getting a glass bottle of apple juice instead of a plastic carton. I still have plenty more to get this week, so when I'm at the store next, I will pay attention to products that come in plastic and in another form, photograph the different kinds, and post about a few of the most ubiquitous or often-used ones! Perhaps I'll realize in doing so that there are non-plastic alternatives to something I consistently buy in plastic. Looking forward to the challenge!" By the way, Green Gal posted a terrific article about furnishing her college dorm room in an Eco-friendly way ... she offers a ton of tips. Check it out!
Ann shared our banner in this POST which shows how city officials "mow" a park's grassy areas in a fun way.
In Focusing on the 3 R's Jen talks about reducing rather than recycling, which is really at the heart of our challenge. She offers us a strategy and makes an interesting point ... sometimes the changes we make to live healthier and "greener" end up missing the mark. Check out what happened when she bought a GMO-free product.
Mrs. Green chose to tackle a non-food item this week. She's been on the hunt for a laundry detergent which is both environmentally friendly and effective. She recently found a product, purchased it, tried it and was one happy little camper with the results! And then ... she read the package! What she found motivated her to put pen to paper. Curious? Read Are the Co-operative helping protect the environment? I can't wait to hear how this one turns out!
I love CelloMom's comment this week: "Our big step this week was when I got CelloDad to get us some olives - in our glass Mason jar. He was reluctant to be an oddball about this, and was much relieved, and amazed, when nobody at the deli counter batted an eye. He later confided that he considered buying it in the plastic container, and then transferring the olives to the glass jar before coming home. But he didn't: what a cool dude!" He is a cool dude!!
In Keep Calm and Carry On? Tina shares that her household has been trying to avoid all plastic containers. In her opinion food is the easiest and that's where she suggests people start. She also talks about the other items which she's finding alternative packaging for ... and wow, pretty impressive if one can do it! Could you?
Alicia mentioned, in last week's comments, that she was concerned about buying organic spinach and spring mix in those large plastic "boxes". In fact, her comments contributed to this week's challenge. So ... was she able to find alternatives? Here's what she had to say: "Well I have been on the hunt for fresh spinach and spring mix lettuce in bulk and am happy to say that I have found it at several locations. Buying it this way will eliminate a lot of plastic containers that we have to recycle as of now. This challenge has gotten me all excited to check other ways to eliminate plastic containers that some of our other food comes in. Thanks!" Yay ... way to go, Alicia!!
Kris is frustrated ... and I would be too! She tries hard ... she makes the effort ... only to find that the stores where she usually buys bulk products are now changing their policies ... for health reasons. Check out Plastic at the Grocery Store to find out what's happening. I'm not sure how to battle this one. Have you got a suggestion?
In Say No To Plastic Campaign Ctww Gang Melandria offers us her perspective on eliminating plastic and why it's important. She lives in the Philippines and the use of plastic has resulted in some unique problems. Want a hint? Think floods.
Our Twitter friends shared their thoughts this week:
- Buying organic produce at the farmer's market means you get a healthier local product without the unnecessary plastic packaging
- Packaging-free grocery store opens in Austin, Texas: http://www.foodmag.com.au/news/packaging-free-grocery-store-opens-in-austin-texas
- Reduce, reuse, recycle: http://www.guampdn.com/article/20120815/OPINION02/208150305/We-all-must-reduce-reuse-recycle
- Love this challenge! I use my reusable produce bag for nuts, beans, etc.
- Some Small act could make a big difference in someone else's life today. It's #CTWW so do something that sparks greatness today.
- A difficult challenge this week but we had a fruit basket delivered to work-only disposable packaging is banana peel.
- Why I'm cutting down on the plastic habit RT @PlasticPollutes #Plastic poisons our food chain: http://plasticpollutioncoalition.org/learn/basic-concepts/
- This week's #CTWW challenge - stop / reduce buying food in plastic packaging. Sure, do the obvious stuff - but how to improve?
The #CTWW Gang are those folks who share our challenges on twitter using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I highly recommend following them ... they have a lot of great things to say. Let's meet them:
My Final Thoughts:
When plastic food containers first hit the market, I'm sure that they were considered a modern-day marvel ... convenient, cheap and could be easily manufactured by the billions. Plastic grocery bags may have even been considered Eco-friendly since they eliminated the need for paper bags thereby saving trees. What wasn't recognized is the negative impact they would have on the environment and our health ... how plastic would be the cause of dead zones in the ocean ... how chemicals from plastic would leach into our food and cause health problems ... how it would destroy wildlife when it was mistaken as food ... and how it would turn into huge mountains of landfill waste. It turns out that plastic isn't a modern-day marvel but rather a bane on society. It's something to think about when we reach for that seemingly innocent plastic bag of food.
Thanks, everyone! If you wrote an article, I have Stumbled, Tweeted, Facebooked and posted it on Google +. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share feature at the bottom of this post.
This Week's Challenge:
We've worked hard on CTWW lately so this week let's do a little reflecting. Our challenge comes from Steve and I think it'll be an eye-opener! Here you go ...
This week, perform a SWOT analysis (modified for green living). Looking at your own green living efforts, analyze the following:
|(your own strengths)|
|(again your own)|
|(external factors that might allow you to be even greener)|
|(external factors that threaten your green living)|
And then ...
Report back with your results. Did the analysis surprise you? Will you be making any changes based on the results? We'd like to know all!
Until next time ...
WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!