Sunday, June 17, 2012

hippie guilt

went to target today to get a few things and had a real struggle... after i'd talked about reusing and recycling, i was trying to be conscious of what all i was buying that was plastic. it turns out it was a lot more than i'd hoped.

we went to target to get some toiletries, but then i thought, well, we're here and they have groceries, let's just get it all done in one trip. 1st pang of guilt: i had only brought one reusable bag with me. next, we went over to get some bleach. knowing i had a plastic container at home from my hair dye, i wanted to just buy a small jug of bleach. turns out, there's no such thing. not at target anyway. i then looked in the cleaner section and there started a debate in my mind. i could buy the much too large bottle of bleach to put into the small container from my hair dye i already had at home for bleach, or i could buy a cleaner with bleach in it specifically for the bathtub grout. they were both in plastic containers. the bleach was larger and cheaper, but the spray was more space saving (we have a small apartment, i don't need costco sizes of things) and convenient (that's a dangerous word, right jello biafra?). if they're both in plastic what does it matter? i decided on the bleach. i figured with the spray, the spray part was not recyclable and the bleach on its own was more versatile anyway. 

that brings us to the next issue: laundry detergent. i had 3 reasonable choices. 1. the regular old bottle of generic (i almost always buy generic anything for cost) 2. seventh generation detergent in a cardboard, not plastic, biodegradable container, or 3. method brand concentrated detergent in a small plastic bottle which i would later buy a flat plastic refill container for. here are how they each measured up. 1. cheap, $7.00 for like 60 loads or something, came in unscented (which is important for me, i'm allergic to everything and a lot of scents make me ill) 2. i liked the seventh generation cardboard container, but it was $15.00 and it was not unscented and 3. the method brand which was unscented and $7.00, but not as many washes as the cheap generic stuff. also, the refill containers are $20.00, but they are good for like 90 washes or something ridiculous. so, i opted for the method starter bottle. now, my struggle was with, ok, the method has the flatter plastic bag, but it's not recyclable, ugh. in reading the container they made me feel better by saying it took less energy and plastic to make it originally. 

shopping should not be this hard. these were real struggles i was having. so much so that i was taking these items off the shelves, walking away and then going back and re-thinking my decision 2 and 3 times. and this was just the toiletries part. groceries are in nothing but plastic! plastic yogurt containers, plastic lunch meat containers, plastic around the lettuce, around the bread, plastic everywhere! by the time we left the store i was guilt ridden, exhausted and cranky. my poor husband.

so, i guess the moral of the story is: i can only do so much, right? i recycle and reuse as much as i possibly can, i pick up random trash when i see it and i make a conscious effort to not buy overly packaged things. i'd be happy if everyone did that much, i should be happy i do.


  1. I was just making lunch for tomorrow and washing up some berries. OMG there's a lot of plastic waste when one is trying to each healthily. It just seems wrong on a few levels.

    1. right? eating healthy often means 2 things: lots of plastic and lots of money. i try to get over to the the local farmer's market to help with both of those aspects, but don't always make it. when i buy produce at the grocery store i use reusable produce bags instead of the supplied plastic ones, but you can't help it when it's all packaged up already.