In my last blog post (Plastics-Is It Worth It?) I suggested you watch the documentary, Plastic Wars. If you did your homework, you may now feel discouraged. Is recycling plastic worth it? Yes, BUT…the better solution is to reduce use of Single Use Plastics (aka SUPs) so there isn’t so much to recycle. Sure, plastics are convenient, usually cheap, and in some instances necessary (like medical sanitation or environmental emergencies like hurricanes). So what’s an ordinary, conscientious citizen to do?

Grocery Shopping
Let’s start with grocery shopping. Food is a necessity, but many of our foods are now packaged in plastic. Last week I counted all the items packaged in plastic for one week’s groceries – and that’s after trying to trim plastic consumption for a while and buying apples, peppers, oranges loose.

I carried my own reusable bags for lettuce and asparagus and 3 items were in plastic bags (bread, lunch meat, and flax seed) which Krogers accepts for recycling so they didn’t make my challenge list. But 9 items remained

2 items in plastic coated bags that cannot be recycled (chips, rice)
3 items covered with plastic that cannot be recycled (fish, sausage, bacon)
2 items in plastic trays (tofu #5 and mushrooms #1)
2 clam shells (raspberries and alfalfa sprouts)

Clam Shells
I want to focus on the clam shells since that has been a marital bone of contention. Clam shells are a common SUP product for fruit and vegetables. We both like berries on our cereal. During the summer we can get some strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries from our garden or farmer markets. But for the other seasons, it’s mostly clamshells. I default to raisins but Jim really likes fresh fruit. There’s no good compromise other than to move to Florida.

BUT, in my research I heard about a radical solution. Apparently some grocery stores allow you to empty clam shell fruit into your own bag, as long as you put the price tag on it. You then leave the clam shell in the store and they will recycle it. I contacted the store ahead of time. It sounded promising. Bottom line – it didn’t work. (Contact me if you want the sordid details.)

However, I did have one success. Since we regularly buy alfalfa sprouts in clam shells, I learned that you can easily grow these sprouts indoors all year round. To watch how to do it in a Mason Jar, click here. To do it in a Two-Tiered Seed Sprouter, click here. Tofu will be harder to grow at home. 🙁 

For additional ideas on how to reduce not only SUPs but also paper towels, napkins, carry out Styrofoam containers, and name tags, click here or check my Tag cloud at the bottom of the right column, or check out this YouTube video on avoiding SUPs.

So, how have you reduced SUPs in your life? Curious people want to know.