I just finished a 2 week ecochallenge of not eating or drinking anything that comes out of a package. Why ? First of all, I like to do life experiences and especially ecological experiences. In the past, I did a vegan challenge; we lived off of food from our refrigerator (nothing from our pantry) for a few weeks. Once we took the garbage can out to the garage for few weeks and we become much more conscious of what’s going in to the trash. Last summer, I took the bus to work once a week to reduce my carbon print, and finally this one; not eating or drinking anything that comes out a package.
The U.S produces a quarter of the world’s waste despite the fact that its population is less than 5% of the world’s population. 1/3 of the solid waste in US is generated from packaging waste. That’s why I wanted to see my contribution to that packaging waste and how I can reduce it.
The first few days were easy because this challenge overlapped with my last days of juicing, and obviously I didn’t consume anything that comes out of a package.
Between Kroger and Whole Foods, I was able to find pretty much everything to live without eating “anything that comes out of a package”. http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/cincinnati
Well.. there were few law-breakers:
1) Tea : The very first morning I broke my challenge using a tea bag as I realized I didn’t have any loose green tea at home. Then I remembered the wonderful Reiki tea I had and that took me through the next few days until I went to Teavana
and stocked up on loose tea. Boy that store is expensive! I paid $45 for 4 oz of tea. Ordering online is the best. Also Coffee Emporium and Essencha have bulk teas. Next time I’ll order from Elmwood Teas online, yes they have a Reiki tea too! http://store.elmwoodinn.com/ayurvedic.aspx
2) Olive oil: I guess there is no way to find olive oil that doesn’t come in a package. I usually buy it in a 5 L container and transfer it to a smaller glass one. That one was a law-breaker!
3) Tomato paste: If you want to use tomato paste that doesn’t come in a package, you need to make your tomato paste. It’s that simple. I buy mine in a recyclable glass container from Halal Market in Tylersville, but this was one other outliner in my challenge.
4) B12: Because I was just out of a 7 day juicing diet, I thought I should take some supplements so I took the liberty of getting B12 daily, and that comes in a package L
Few things that I craved but I couldn’t find in bulk:
- Milk/yogurt/eggs: Thanks to this challenge and my eco-conscious friends, I learned that you can order raw cow’s milk online. Highland Farm offers weekly deliveries to downtown Cincinnati, in recyclable glass containers! http://www.highlandhavenfarm.com/. I don’t drink cow’s milk anyway but not being able to eat yogurt and eggs was tough. Oh well, I survived.
- Grapes and all berries only come in a package unless you buy from the farmers directly, so I had to pass on those.
- Agave, I guess there is no such thing as bulk agave, well there has been so much debate about it lately anyway.
- Tofu: I didn’t search if I could find bulk tofu but that must be a hard one.
- Salt: I found Himalayan salt in a large container at Patel brothers. There is also bulk salt at Whole foods.
- There are lots of bulk snack options at Patel Brothers if you like Indian snacks.
- I learned that you can make your own Almond milk (no I didn’t try it).
So, just to give you an example, my daily diet was something like this;
Breakfast: Bulk oats, bulk hempseeds, bulk chia seeds with fruits, loose tea
Lunch: Soup and salad
Snack: Fruits, bulk nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts), bulk raisins, bake pumpkin seeds with little salt and it makes a great snack (I didn’t do this one but I sure will next time).
Dinner: Vegetables, salads, bulk beans, bulk lentils.
The most price efficient way of living on bulk foods is shopping online. At Frontier, an online coop store, you can find herbs , spices, teas, bulk products, at http://www.frontiercoop.com/. You can even stop by and fill in an order form at Grace Tree Yoga Studio!
I also learned that you can find vitamins, minerals and raw local honey at Ell Farm in Sharonville. http://ellfarm.com/index.php?customernumber=834757213362425&pr=Online_Store&=SID
My family didn’t participate in this challenge, so it was just me. It would have been more complicated if they had joined in. Also, in two occasions I had to take a boxed salad at work. That was my only packaging waste in 2 weeks.
So, it can certainly be done, it just takes more awareness, time and effort but it sure is worth to relieve Mother Earth’s burden, just a little bit.
Love & Light,