Sunday, September 6, 2015

September 6

Today I threw out: an empty bag of frozen mixed pepper strips. 

Could this trash have been avoided? Well, I could have spent twice the money on a quarter of the food and bought fresh bell peppers, made sure to use them before they went soft, spent time and energy chopping them up and composted the rest, but I have the suspicion that when all is said and done, it is more energy-efficient to buy frozen, even if a plastic bag is involved along the way.

I also threw out: packaging from a box of fake bacon. A tip about fake bacon: use sparingly. (Did not throw out the cardboard box, which I recycled.) Could this trash have been avoided? Yes, I could have not eaten fake bacon. It wasn't exactly critical to any of my meals, but it did add a welcome salty, crunchy element.

I threw out this cardboard(ish) insert in the lid of a peanut butter jar, and saved the jar for... actually, I use peanut butter jars a LOT. They are perfect for overnight oats and leftover soup, sauce, broth—the messier and liquid-ier, the better. Could this trash have been avoided? Maybe if Shop-Rite would go back to using metal lids on their peanut butter jars, AHEM.

I got to talking to a woman at the farmers' market today, and it turned out she was something of an expert on what is recyclable in Jersey City! Turns out, a lot more than I thought. Basically any kind of plastic can go in recycling, including plastic shopping bags. And those milk cartons can go in with the plastic recycling. And straws. Now that I think about it, maybe I jumped the gun by throwing the frozen pepper bag in the trash?

Reuse: I remembered to bring the flimsy plastic bags for produce to the supermarket—a small triumph. We keep them in an empty tissue box, and for a while I was just stuffing them in and stuffing them in, telling myself, "I'll reuse these bags someday!" That day has finally come. Of course, I didn't bring anything to the farmers' market and had to get a plastic bag there, but those are recyclable now, so I guess even that is not as bad as it could be. IF plastic bags really get recycled, about which I still have my doubts.

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