This whole month has been dedicated to Plastic Free July. All that means is that I’ve been making a special effort to avoid plastic this month. I’ve been sharing some of my wins and fails here on the blog, and on instagram. The point of the #plasticfreejuly challenge is to find out if there are places in your life where you can make a change, and keep making that change long after July. You can read more about why going plastic free is important for our planet along with some really basic tips for reducing your plastic consumption on my post from day one.
For most people, starting out going plastic free is an endeavor in eliminating the big four: single use coffee cups, plastic grocery bags, single use water bottles, and plastic straws. In my post from day one I showed you how I’ve worked to find reusable options to combat all of these things. It’s easy, and you can too!
Honestly though, I don’t live a lifestyle that involves the big four on a daily basis. Partly because I’ve worked to build habits around bringing my own (#bringyourown – it’s a thing) water bottle, shopping bags, and coffee cups. Straws are getting a lot of attention right now, and I was excited to learn that lots of people are refusing straws all of the time! Because I’ve got the big four mostly eliminated from my personal life already, I focused my plastic-free-ing on something else this month.
My biggest focus was on our grocery shopping and where I could work to reduce plastic waste from the grocery store. I explored our bulk options more thoroughly, shopped around at different stores, tried new brands – it was a great experiment! It took a lot of effort at the store to branch out and try new staples. Don’t you always buy the same peanut butter? We get stuck in a rhythm of buying the same brands over and over because it makes grocery shopping easier. But it only took a month of exploring the grocery stores for me to make some easy changes to our usual purchases. I found three plastic free things that I buy on a regular basis (normally in plastic). Now that I’ve found the plastic free way to buy these things, I’m going to be sticking with it! They are: coffee, peanut butter, and yogurt.
Coffee is a big deal at our house. We don’t drink it at home every day, but when we do we like fancy local stuff. We were buying coffee that comes in small plastic bags, as most coffee does. Instead this month we tried a couple of types of coffee from our bulk section at our nearest grocery store. Some wasn’t great, but we lucked out and found Mountain Bird Coffee (local and amazing) at our local co-op. I bring my own container, get what we’ll need for the next couple of weeks, and save $$ (it just happens to be cheaper in bulk).
Peanut Butter is another thing we always keep on hand (who doesn’t?). I was super into the Natural Grocer’s in-store made peanut butter. It has a great texture that falls somewhere between creamy and crunchy. Unfortunately, it also comes in a plastic container. I do reuse them as tupperware, but in an effort to truly go plastic free we switched to a peanut butter that’s available in bulk at Ozark Natural Foods. Most natural food stores have some kind of bulk peanut butter. The stuff we’ve started buying is extremely creamy and extremely delicious. They have crunchy, almond, etc. and we haven’t tried those yet, but I expect that they are all delicious. This is not cheaper, it’s expensive peanut butter – but it’s also high quality (no added sugar or anything weird).
Yogurt is notorious in our neck of the woods as a sad plastic package because you can’t recycle a plastic container that’s opening is bigger than it’s base even if it’s the right number. Finding yogurt in a recyclable container has been a mission of mine for a while. I lucked out big time on this one because in mid-July yoplait launched their new french yogurt line that comes in adorable little glass jars. Glass jars you guys! I’ve only tried the plain (I don’t eat refined sugar which can be found in all of the fruity ones) but I really like it. I already have a line of the jars on my kitchen windowsill holding little plants. Silly that I wanted something recyclable only to hold on to it! Eventually though, I’ll recycle them.
Comment below and let me know how you buy your coffee, peanut butter, and yogurt! I’m super curious. Would you be up for trying a switch to buying it from the bulk section? Coffee is actually something that most grocery stores have in bulk even if they don’t have dedicated bulk sections. Check the coffee area and you should be able to find it! Have you ever bought that peanut butter that you grind in the store? Is it good? Have you ever made your own yogurt? Is that as intense as it sounds? Tell me all about your stuff!