2011-10-31

Jars at the deli counter are the current challenge

We went out for groceries last night. Had to get some things at Target before Whole Foods this time.

Here's what we'll end up throwing away from this trip, Target first.

  • Cat food bag and bags from kitty treats
    We'd like to find a way to get edibles for the cats that are worthy of being called "treat" but don't involve paper, foiled, or plastic pouches, bags, or bottles. Also, though the Merc in Lawrence did have dry cat food in a bulk bin, we're at least conscious of what we're feeding our kitties and don't want to give them something we don't know the ingredients of.
  • Sprayer lid from the pet stain remover bottle.
    I'm a little less optimistic about this but we would also like to find some sort of homemade pet stain remover. Until then, we'll be using this. I did just realize that the refill bottle, which is exactly twice the amount as a new spray bottle, at least doesn't have the sprayer lid. As such, I suppose it'd be the less wasteful option. Trouble is, it's also fifty cents more expensive than buying two bottles with sprayer lids.
We also got some tomato soup and enchilada sauce at Target, but we at least get to recycle tin cans, so for the moment I"m ok with that. Now on to Whole Foods.
  • Milk bottle caps.
    I don't know if I've mentioned it but I asked Shatto if there were any other options for lids for them to use. There are not, though they have looked into it.
  • Hand soap refill bag.
    The bag brags about being made from recycled plastic, but the trouble is we can't recycle this bag. It gives the lame idea to cut off the top of the bag and use it as a vase for some flowers, but, like I said, that's a bit lame.
  • Saran wrap from a couple blocks of cheddar.
    We're not sure what to do about cheese from the deli. There's the theoretical possibility of putting it directly into our jars, but ultimately there doesn't seem to be much cheese at Whole Foods that isn't wrapped in plastic at some point, so I'm not sure the result wouldn't just be they'd uunwrap it and drop it in our jars.
  • The lid and protective plastic wrapper around the lid of a bottle of Annie's Caesar dressing.
    Someone help me convince my wife that my homemade Caesar dressing is the way to go. That's one homemade item that predated any of this no-waste stuff.
We got a bunch of other stuff at Whole Foods, but the rest is at the worst recyclable.

Yet again we're not sure what to do about paper used by the butcher. There were two sheets of waxed paper wasted this time, like last time. The first to weigh our beef on and the second because the guy grabbed a new sheet before I managed to tell him we could very easily just fold the sticker in half and didn't need a piece of paper to stick it to.

Why not put the beef directly in the jar? We found out from the girl at the deli counter just moments before getting the beef that their scales don't seem to be able to remove a tare weight greater than one pound. Our 1 L jars are 1.4 pounds. At the deli counter the girl was friendly and helpful and we came to a compromise of using a sheet of un-waxed paper that she said they could compost. After the relatively delightful deli experience, we moved on to the butcher counter, where the guys there didn't seem to have any sort of knowledge that the store contained un-waxed paper.

What can we do better?

Since we seem to be getting the same bread for spaghetti each time, we're going to come up with a somewhat durable place to stick one bread UPC to use on multiple trips. We'll be able to use the same board or whatever to stick our beef or ham stickers to, and just build up a layer of them. Eventually they are trash, but if we can't just give the cashier a PLU, it's the best we've got. The irony is if we could do the PLU method, the cashier can handle any tare weight we give them.

I'm also wondering if there would be the option of using a half liter jar for deli and beef. The half liter jars are right at one pound, so they'd work on the scales. I'm just not sure a pound of beef would fit in one of those. The other thought I've had is to bring something like a Silpat to weigh things on before transferring to the jar. Then we can roll up the mat to wash when we get home.