Grocery shopping is full of choices. You choose between your favorite brands, you check which toilet paper is on sale, maybe you squint at the pricing to see which product is cheaper per unit.
I’ve been found staring at cauliflower.
Back in July, on a visit to my sister’s house in Georgia, we went on a Whole Foods field trip, to give my sis a leg up on plastic-free shopping. She has four small kids running around, so it’s hard to even make it to the store, let alone sort through plastic-free options.
We were feeling pretty good about ourselves in the produce section: we had reusable produce bags to avoid the plastic ones on rolls at the end of the aisles, we were putting produce straight in the cart without bags at all sometimes. Easy.
But then we came to the cauliflower. We had a particular recipe in mind, and we needed a few heads. For most of the produce, there was no plastic wrapping at all. Broccoli, free as a bird. Carrots, loose and ready. But cauliflower. An anomaly on the shelves: only the cauliflower was wrapped in plastic. No other choices.
She asked me what I would do in this situation, and I confessed I’d probably pass it by and save the recipe until I found it plastic free.
What a bummer.
Plastic wrapped produce is completely unnecessary when it comes down to it. Why wrap things that are already in their own “natural wrapper” that we wash and often peel?
Despite this rare cauliflower-roadblock, shopping for plastic-free produce is one of the easiest adjustments you can make to reduce your plastic footprint. A big part of using less plastic is consuming more fresh foods, so finding them unwrapped is an easy second step towards reducing waste.
Mesh and fabric produce bags are widely available; we even saw them at our local Publix recently! If you don’t have them, you don’t really even need any bags to sort them. We arrange them at checkout to make it easier for the cashier, and then they put them all in our regular reusable shopping bag.
Most stores offer many options in the produce section - there are loose tomatoes next to tomatoes in a plastic clamshell; loose greens are just a step away from bagged; choose apples separately instead of pre-bagged; same for potatoes and just about everything else. At Whole Foods and other more “natural” stores, you can get produce in the paper cartons as well.
The only produce I can’t seem to find plastic-free are berries and grapes. When farmer’s markets are up and running, you can buy berries loose, especially when you bring your own bag. If you need to get them anyway, you can recycle the clamshells!
Take this month to pause when shopping for your fresh fruits and veggies and choose plastic-free; it’s one of the easiest plastic-free habits to add to your life. Give it a try and see what changes you can make to step away from single-use plastic one day at a time!
Take the #12challengePLASTIC and join us today!
Pay attention to your produce options.
Don’t reach for the plastic produce bags; bring a reusable bag or go bag-free.
Keep trying out different choices and see how far you can go.
Share about your journey on The Clean Up Project Facebook page!