Yes, Quite, Quite Mad

And it seems crazy, after only a few months, to buy something in a container that is used only once, to carry an item from one place to another, after which the container is put in a landfill until roughly the end of time. It is something I had never considered before this year, and now it seems like madness.
Dorie's website


So after my little panic attack the other day about the environmental impact of my reheated left-overs lunch, I have decided to evaluate our food one product at a time, to prevent a total manic breakdown. I am going to start with meat. We like meat here at Chez Blueday. We don't want a lot of meat, but we want some. We like meat from animals that have been raised humanely and kindly treated until the end of their lives.

Sometimes that meat arrives in our house on plastic trays, always in a plastic bag (inside my 'green' carry bag, of course!). I will make the trip to our local butcher next week, and discover the simplest way to get our meat without a plastic bag being involved. Maybe I will need to take a glass container to put it in. Because even if it is just wrapped in paper, that paper won't be fit for recycling. Maybe it could be composted...

The marvellous thing about plastic bags is that they are so easy.
But so precious, made with all that million year old sunlight.


Anonymous said…
Could you not use some of those plastic trays to get the butcher to put your meat on Jo? At least that way you won't be putting them into landfill and I am sure he/she would be happy to do so :). Our local butcher (in Exeter) Nigel's Gourmet on Tamar are wonderfully accomodating to their customers. I dare say any butcher worth their weight will help you out :). I don't eat meat (vegan) and Steve doesn't eat a lot of it because we are penniless aging student hippies and meat isn't cheap. We are very inventive with what we do buy and most of what we get doesn't involve packaging. Have you discovered the best healthfood shop in town? David and Lee up at Wholesome House in Mowbray are the best full stop. If you want something they will get it for you. You can bring your own containers and they will fill them for you and they are those rare brand of retailers who actually know about what they are selling and make it their business to go out of their way to look after their customers. That's where I get all of my beans and lentils and crazy flours etc. Steve goes there once a fortnight (we only shop once a fortnight) to pick up my needs. I make my own non-dairy milk (from almonds and oats) and I use various frozen beans (I buy them dry and cook them myself on our 4 oven woodburning stove) to add texture, fibre and protein to my morning green smoothie. I collect any plastic tubs or trays and am going to crochet bright coloured (read rainbow...I am a magpie ;) ) covers for them and take them from being something to get rid of, to something to prize :). I have patterns for how to make "plarn" to turn plastic bags into something that can be knitted and crocheted and there are so many patterns out there for really great things to make with plastic bag yarn like back door mats and dog mats and outdoor slippers. It's amazing how proactive people are becomming with all of this "waste". It really is true that one mans trash is another mans treasure, we just have to hunt around a bit more than usual to find out how to use it to give us back our ability to be proactive, rather than reactive :)
Heather said…
It would be great if your butcher accommodated you like that. He could save money if his regular customers came with their own containers to take their meat home. A win-win situation.
Anonymous said…
You are so good, and I thank you for looking after our planet.

Having read a few of Dorie's posts (thanks for the link), I feel anxious and worried about our waste - toxic nail polish! Lolly wrappers! Plastic containers.

For my efforts I will continue to minimise our food waste, refuse store packaging, use old towelling and sheets as cleaning rags, make my own yoghurt, not buy clothes this year. I will follow your steps with interest.
Jo said…
Yes, Heather, I am sure my butcher will be accomodating, but I hate being the fussy customer. I get very self conscious!I think I will try a time when they won't be very busy. And it means never buying from the supermarket again. They have conveniently packaged Tasmanian free range chicken... sigh.
Lucinda, I love what you are doing - your clothes fast is great! And you make yoghurt? I have never done that. When I get up to yoghurt, I will consult you.
Anonymous said…
I cheat. Easiyo Greek yoghurt in the Easiyo maker is the best. And so easy. Buy the thermos type Easiyo maker for $20 at the supermarket. Refill powders (have powdered milk and starter) are about $4.80 and give you the yummiest, thickest one litre of yoghurt ever. My whole family don't want bought yoghurt again. If I haven't made any, we are always disappointed with bought product. And on the up side, the litre of yoghurt doesn't seem to go off like bought stuff. It lasts in my fridge for ever, well until it gets eaten. I want to experiment with adding passionfruit as I don't want to buy any yoghurt at all.
Jo said…
Fran, so sorry, your comment got eaten by my spam folder. Yes, I love David and Lee at Wholesome House! I go there all the time and buy from their bulk bins, and they are super helpful sourcing products, and looking up ingredients for me.
I have seen pictures of bags knitted out of plastic bag strips. What a good idea to make them last longer, and be given a new life.
I'm still in that place where I'm trading things out--like, I buy packaged meat, but I reuse plastic bags for produce (I have tried knitting with plastic bags, by the way, and didn't have much success. My hope is to get my act together soon and buy/make mesh bags to use weekly). There is so much to relearn/figure out/do better. I get overwhelmed. But it's inspiring to read what other people are doing. Let us know what happens at the butcher's!

Jo said…
Hi Frances, I hear you on the 'overwhelmed' bit, which is why I'm going with one thing at a time! I doubt I'll ever knit with plastic bags, but I have been looking up those produce bags on etsy, and I've offered to pay The Girl to make some for me!
Anonymous said…
My butchers' know me and my blue ice cream container. It's plastic but re-use trumped recycle, for now. The younger butcher is more supportive (but then I think he's hoping he's in with a chance with me ;). Usually butchers and delis are on board when you say "I hate rubbish" (cause I'm yet to meet anyone that likes it!)
Jen's Busy Days said…
Not very good for the miles they travel but I love the sturdiness of my LLBean totes from the US. We even high pressure hosed them clean the other day. I really want to get a set for grocery shopping. I like the idea of waxed paper for wrapping things. I would hope it composts ok. Can you ask a grandma what the butcher used to do back in her day?

Waiting to see what others say,
Jen in NSW
Jo said…
Sarah, I like the ice cream container idea. Hope you smile nicely at that poor young butcher!Do you freeze the meat in the ice cream container too?
Jen, I have seen some good reviews of the indestructibility of the LLBean tote. I imagine butchers used to use just the old 'butcher's paper'. I think the glossy paper they use now has a plastic coating.. anyone know? I will look into it (puts it on mental list as head begins to implode from information overload).
Anonymous said…
No I buy meat as I use it (usually once a week with leftovers stored cooked in Pyrex)

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