Day 8 – So Shaw’s Doesn’t Completely Suck at Sustainability

During my first trip to Shaw’s last week some employees gave me a hard time and I then proceeded to give it right back to them (albeit passive-aggressively through the safety of my blog post).  After more investigating, this week’s trip turned out to be a little bit better.  Starting out in the fruit/veggie section I took the time to look at the vegetable bags, turns out they are indeed recyclable (#2 high density polyethylene if you remember my previous post):

Then I decided to check their a la carte section.  Last week they refused to let me use my own container which makes sense for sanitation reasons so I agree with them on that point.  However, their take-out trays and boxes are all made of #6 plastic (polystyrene aka Styrofoam).  So ultimately this is a fail on their part because of the hugely negative impact #6 has on the environment.  They could easily choose to use #1 or #2 plastics but #6 is simply way cheaper so from a dollars-and-cents perspective it’s a no brainer.  However, it seems like the cost is inversely proportional to how good it is for the environment.

Speaking of #6 plastic, the entire meat section at Shaw’s is full of it and nothing but it.  With all of the animal treatment issues aside (there are many other blogs/best selling books out there that address this far better than I could), the mass production of Styrofoam and plastic wrap for meat is kind of gross when you think about it.  All of this packaging material ends up in our landfills and cannot biodegrade.  This also doesn’t mention the toxins that it can leach into your food from the #6 packaging.  Looks like I’ll have to continue going to the butcher.

So this is what I ended up going home with:

Bananas, sweet potatoes, soy sauce, apples, broccoli and pasta. All compostable or recyclable materials.

Also, here are a couple of other cool things that I reused when normally I would have probably just thrown them away:

$Big Soap = $Little Soap and you get 5X more soap! Great for refilling so I don't have to buy a new dispenser every time it runs out.

Normally would have thrown out the remains of my travel toothpaste but today I managed to refill it with my day-to-day toothpaste. Be careful it's messy and can get everywhere (S.L.M.F.T.)

Would have also normally thrown this out but I'm recycling it instead. #1 Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE)

I’ll have to try a different grocer next week to get a different experience (Whole Foods, local grocer, farmer’s market etc).  In the mean time I’m going to return about 100 plastic grocery bags to Shaw’s because they’ll recycle them for you which is cool.  We’ve kept about a year’s worth of them in our pantry because we didn’t have the heart to throw them out.  However, we still have sitting in the pantry because we didn’t have the foresight to recycle them back at Shaw’s.  So they are just in limbo until we get our act together.

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