The Old and Trashy way to Shop for Fruit and Vegetables
Picture this: Go to the nearest large supermarket, enter the “fresh” produce section, now look for seemingly good value; don’t really give a crap where in the world the produce comes from, not really our concern is it? Put my two oranges in a plastic bag, then grab a pre-wrapped and weighed sweet potato, now place the plastic sleeve of 3 pre-packaged capsicums into my basket. That process continues until we’ve gotten all the goods.
Get to the checkout, realise that I’ve left my cotton reusable bag at home… again! So yeah, I’ll put all my plastic bagged produce into another bigger plastic bag thanks. This is the normal way to shop, the way most people in Queensland, Australia shop.
If someone was disciplined, they may hold onto their plastic bags and take them to a special drop-off site for recycling, but let’s face it; the kind of person who isn’t prepared enough to bring their own bag to a supermarket, isn’t likely to go out of their way for plastic bag recycling. The most probable fate of my plastic bag is landfill: crude oil, gas and coal went into making that bag- now Brodies 15 minutes of convenience is in landfill (good job Brodie).
Worst case scenario: a series of unfortunate, careless events means my bag ends up in the ocean contributing to the Great Pacific garbage patch, or in an estuary suffocating a beautiful marine mammal.
Who cares though, wouldn’t even matter if the entire ocean was paved over, at least I’d have somewhere to park my car.
TrashLess Fruit and Vegetable Shopping
Fruit and vegetables come in their own natural wrapping to seal in the freshness; the plastic wrapping that is so generously applied is unnecessary for most produce items. Fortunately, it’s also easily avoidable as a consumer.
The solution is to shop at your local farmers markets with your own produce bags.This is where I buy most of my fruit and vegetables (sometimes bread, eggs, spices, honey and essential oils too). When compared to the supermarket giants, the local farmers market comes out on top. All the time!
Environmental benefits: Less carbon miles on the produce, and a larger variety of food not wrapped in plastics. Farmers markets are an excellent opportunity to build rapport with the people who sell your food, let them know you’re trying to make less waste and can’t buy veggies with plastic or throw away wrapping. Smaller businesses genuinely value their customer base, and value your feedback.
Personal gain: The quality is so much better, and my cash goes way further. Plus, less bombardment with advertising, so I’m less likely to buy impulsively.
Community support: Supporting farmers and their families; more directly giving the money and power back to the local community.
BYO grocery bag & smaller produce bag: I already had enough reusable cotton and mesh bags around the house, but if you don’t, the second hand store will always have something- aim for quality over quantity. The smaller bag is good for beans or smaller fruit. If you can sew, making your own out of old sheets is an awesome way to go. If you’re anything like me, and sewing is still a struggle they can be purchased at most health food stores or online.