So, I'm doing the full challenge this year, and so far so good. My dilemma bag includes the following:
- Cheese wrappers. There is a little cheese shop near me that sells cheese in paper, but it is insanely expensive artisanal cheese, and I can't bring myself to pay that much for cheese, especially for my kids who eat a lot of cheese. Instead, I have been buying big bricks of cheddar or huge bags of shredded mozzarella at Costco where at least the packaging ratio is decent. I do sometimes buy sliced deli cheese in my own container at the Whole Foods deli counter, but I've noticed that those big blocks they slice from are packaged in plastic and wrapped with plastic wrap between slicings, so it doesn't seem a whole lot different to me than buying at Costco.
- Half & Half/heavy cream. In Omaha, I was able to get milk and heavy cream in returnable glass bottles from Burbach dairy, and I mixed my own half & half. Here in Chicago, we have Oberweiss milk in glass bottles, but they do not sell heavy cream. I think they use it all in their creameries to make ice cream. So, I'm still searching for a source for cream in returnable glass in IL. In the meantime, I am buying half & half in the half gallon cartons from Costco. It's ultra pasteurized, so it lasts a month, which is about how long it takes me to use up that much in my coffee. This month, I also bought a small carton of heavy cream to make whipped cream for a 4th of July dessert. Those cardboard cartons are lined with plastic and have the plastic cap/spouts.
- Almond milk. My kids and I prefer almond milk over cow milk in our cereal and for drinking, so I buy this about once or twice a month. I can only find it in the same cardboard cartons as mentioned above. I have made almond milk in the past, and it is delicious, but it doesn't keep very long, it is expensive to make from almonds, and it's a little too time consuming for my current life in this moment with 3 kids under 5.
- Olive broke her leg a few weeks ago and got her cast off this month. She was very upset by the experience of getting her cast off and wanted a lollipop. I took pity on her and was about to run into a store to get her a lollipop. I considered the challenge and decided to get her a cake pop from Starbucks instead. The barista handed it to me in just a square of waxed paper, and it totally did the trick for cheering her up. Treats like this are very rare around here, but it was nice to find a plastic-free solution even for this unique circumstance.
- We have this fun dine around town event once a week in our neighborhood. You buy a book of tickets, and the restaurants have special items that you can get for a ticket. It's heavily focused on take out food, and then one of the streets is shut down and tables are set up in the street with live music. Last week, I packed some reusable dishes and silverware, and we were able to enjoy the event without any plastic waste. We chose some items that were packaged in paper or foil, and in some cases, certain items were normally packaged in plastic, but the restaurants were wonderfully accommodating and served us on our plates instead.
- Yogurt. I was in the habit of buying yogurt in large plastic containers at Costco, but I found it in returnable glass at Whole Foods from a creamery in Indiana (Traderspoint). It's a lot more expensive than the yogurt at Costco, but I decided to splurge for plastic-free July, and we'll see what happens after the month (I might be hooked–it is super yummy!). I'm also stretching it by mixing in more granola and fruit than I normally do, so a little is going a long way.
Anyone else doing the challenge? How's it going for you? What's in your dilemma bag?