Other children of the 80s surely remember the commercials about the three R’s: Reduce, Re-use, and Recycle. Is it me or did we go through a period of time where we kinda forgot about the first two? I certainly did.
We ran into a quandary last winter when we switched to canvas bags for getting groceries. What were we supposed to store our recyclables in, and how to schlep them out to the curb, without piles of extra paper grocery bags?
Our solution: we had a broom closet in our kitchen which we measured carefully. We found some baskets at Target that were a good fit — bonus that they happened to be those cheap plastic crates — and Adam screwed some thin strips of wood to either side of the closet. The crates slide in. It’s not super elegant or even smooth but it works just fine. Recycling day comes, the crates go out to the alley. I just try and make sure we bring them back in same day so that they don’t get taken by any of the many scavengers recyclers who walk through our alley every day. And yes, I feel very lucky to live in a community with a strong curbside recycling program.
So that’s all cool and everything, but bringing my own bags to the grocery store started to help me be more conscious of packaging. At the same time, we are striving to cut down our grocery bill. One solution: buy large percentage of groceries in the bulk section. An easy way to do this is to bring your own containers and fill them at the store. Not really a big deal as long as I’m hauling all those bags anyway.
So ironically, I’ve actually had significantly fewer items in my recycling bin lately. All thanks to those other two R’s.
By the way, I’m tracking my grocery expenditures for this year and will do a big post about it at some point. I really want to try and prove that I can still eat healthy, organic, humane food even when on a budget. It’s a work-in-progress, that’s for sure.