Plastic Free July 2018: Grocery Shopping

Day #8 of Plastic Free July was my first grocery shopping trip and what did I learn? Thank you Lord for Bulk Barn! No, seriously, they have everything, and they allow you to bring your own containers!

Shopping Prior to Plastic Free July

A typical shopping trip in the past is sometimes going to Bulk Barn, but this was mainly for supplies that assisted my wonder husband to bake bread (great way to skip the plastic of store bought bread). Most trips I would go to Superstore because it is close to us, they price match, and we collect PC Optimum points, which cashes out to about $100-ish worth of groceries per year. Our budget for groceries per month was $250, although since we now have a 1-year-old we have recently brought it up to $300. And my sense now with Plastic Free July we may have to up it a little.

Of course summer is different as we normally grow a lot of our own produce and shop at the farmer’s market or local farms. We do canning and make jam, which costs upfront for the produce involved in that.

July Shopping Trip #1:

I still went to Superstore, but only got a few items there like tuna, and a bit of produce. I wanted to buy bagels, but realized I didn’t have a bread bag so I put it in a produce bag, which is not super hygienic, but it works until I figure out what to replace it with (pillow case maybe?).

And then there was Bulk Barn, where I bought much more than I normally do and I took my time to look around the store more. Wow – they have everything from pasta to Parmesan, from candy to peanut butter, so awesome.

Although it was a good trip, it took a lot of forethought and planning (hmmm…I think this is going to be a theme here). I had to bring enough containers, so I had to know what I was buying. I did bring a couple extra just in case, but it doesn’t leave a lot of room for a surprise purchase.

Package Free soap!

Plastic free shopping also has me visiting many different places instead of being able to visit just one grocery store, which for some people would be difficult to do. There’s produce at the Farmer’s Market or grocery store, meat and cheese at the deli/butcher, dry goods at Bulk Barn, and for us any other product that we buy locally (like honey we buy from a neighbouring farm).

Shopping at Bulk Barn can also be more expensive. Even on sale their peanut butter is twice the amount that we normally buy ours on sale, and we go through a lot of peanut butter in this household!

In Summary….

  • Plan ahead and know what I’m buying and where.
  • Ensure I have the right supplies to make plastic free shopping easier (i.e. produce/bread bags, and containers (bring extra).
  • Resisting the temptation of sales is difficult
  • This may end up being an expensive month.

Plastic Free July 2018: Plastic Emergencies

Well, it’s day 7 of Plastic Free July, and here’s an update.

I’d like to say that we have been 100% on goal and have not bought plastic at all. But unfortunately i cannot say that. Day 3 my son ran a super high fever and we took him to the hospital (he’s fine now, fever broke later that night). I was going there straight from work, and my husband did not have time to pack much. Long story short, I stopped to get some take out so we would have some food (good ol’ 4 hour wait). And some packaged food for my son as he was not eating very well (those squeeze packs are SO convenient) and wanted something on hand in case.

I knew this would happen at some point….something unexpected this month that would lead to plastic consumption, just didn’t expect it so soon! Emergencies happen, and this was a good reminder that of that. If you are dehydrated and have zero access to clean water, don’t drink out of a puddle to avoid a plastic water bottle 😂 It took me a LONG time to get in the habit of taking a reusable water bottle with me when I left the house. Now it’s second nature and is as natural as grabbing my car keys.

31 days is not a long time to all of a sudden live completely plastic free, but this is also a good reminder to think trough emergencies and plan ahead. Practice leads to progress. Habits take time to form.

Tomorrow is another day, and it is also grocery day for us, the first one during plastic free July, so I must start my planning ahead…

Breaking Free From Plastic: Can it be Done?

Happy Canada Day!


Happy 1st day of Plastic Free July!

My husband and I decided to participate this year in Plastic Free July! We would love to eventually live zero waste, so this is our way of jumping in to see how it goes. During the month of July we are committed to going completely plastic free (eek!), with the exception of a few items**, and I will be documenting our journey here on this blog. If you want to read more about why we are targeting plastic, you can read about it here.

I am excited about this, but also a bit hesitant. I am hoping a lot of my questions about how possible it is to be a zero waste household living in small town Ontario, Canada (since a lot of zero waste information seems to be coming from places like California) will be answered this month. For example:

  • FINANCES. We are a very frugal household, so we are quite nervous that zero waste means increasing our grocery/toiletries/etc. budget. This is a major reason that leads us to buy items in plastic, as unfortunately our temptation to save $$ often overrides our ethics.
  • If the option is not there, does that mean I have to make it? I mean, we love yogurt, but if I can’t find it in a plastic-free alternative, do I have to make it?
  • And if I am making things, how will that impact my time? All you busy mamma’s, or full-time students, or anybody, knows the anxiety this question brings.

I guess I’ll just have to live it and see….

Some other things I am hoping to discover and accomplish this month:

  • A tour of our regional recycling facility. What exactly gets recycled and what ends up in the landfill?
  • What are some local businesses attempting to be less wasteful?
  • Other than bulk barn (yay bulk barn, finally!) where can I bring my own containers?
  • Where can I buy plastic free alternatives?

If you feel compelled to join us in this, let me know, it would be great to share the journey and get some tips and tricks as I am certainly no expert!


**Now we do have a couple of exceptions to participating in Plastic Free July, as we do have a 1 year old so these things we will be buying during July:
1) Cows milk – we will be recycling the container, but unfortunately we can’t go to a farmer and request milk in a glass bottle anymore (booooo!). Unless anyone knows where I can get milk in glass bottles? Does that even exist in the Niagara Region anymore?
2) We do cloth diaper during the day, but not overnight (momma needs her sleep!). We use 1 disposable diaper, 2 diapers if he randomly has a leak, which rarely happens.

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