Nothing goes to waste in the Rummel/Parker (soon to just be Rummel) household. Well, actually not ‘nothing’, we do take the trash out from our one 8-gallon trash can about every four to six weeks. This is pretty major for me, because I used to have to empty a larger trash can than that far more regularly.
So how have we reduced our contributions to landfills by so much? Well, I believe the biggest factor has been buying food and other products with far less or no packaging. And anything that we do get that has some packaging must be non-plastic and recyclable.
We are able to get most of our food without packaging, because 1) we make all of our food from scratch and 2) we do our grocery shopping at places like Whole Foods and Central Market which have bulk bins for many things we enjoy like dried beans, nuts, oatmeal, rice, popcorn, and more. The Kroger at Legacy and Independence here in Plano, TX, also just redid their store and added a whole bulk bin aisle. Sprouts is also a good store for bulk bins here in North Texas.
So a typical shopping trip will include our taking our homemade cloth produce bags and grabbing yummy, mostly-organic produce and then swinging by the bulk bins and loading our produce bags or other containers we brought from home. If Melanie hasn’t prepared homemade bread, which she often does, then we’ll also slip by the bakery and pickup some freshly baked, packaging-free bread.
So what about this no-new-plastic pantry? Well, as you can see in the picture to the left, all of the food, with the exception of the cornmeal and wheat flour, is in a reused container. Many of the containers are plastic, but those are containers we had before we started our no-new-plastic project. You can see rice and dried black beans in old orange juice bottles, oatmeal from the bulk bin in a reused Quaker Oats container, mixed nuts and freshly smashed peanut butter from the bulk bin aisle in reused plastic container, pasta and rice behind the Quaker Oats container in Rubbermaid containers, and my favorite, popcorn in old wine bottles. Other than the wine bottles, my other favorite containers are our glass mason jars. These are containers from things like spaghetti sauce. The glass jars are just so sturdy and display our food beautifully (we just didn’t have any of our food in a mason jar at the time of my writing this article).
You’ve probably heard of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ and that is exactly how we have created our no-new-plastic pantry. We have ‘reduced’ our consumption of foods that come in packaging, we ‘reuse’ our old containers and new ones we get, and if we do end up getting something in packaging, we assure you it is going to be recyclable and we will ‘recycle’ it.
What about you? How have you been able to reduce or eliminate new plastic from your food purchases, cooking, and storage? Or maybe you are still using more new plastic than you would like to, post your questions and we’ll help you come up with no-new-plastic solutions. We’d love to hear from you, so join the conversation by leaving a comment.
P.S. In case you were wondering about the smell of our home, we can wait so long before taking out our trash, because we don’t throw any food scraps in the trash that could go bad. They used to go into our compost bin, but since we are getting ready to move we have stopped our composting for now and been disposing of them in different ways.