Environmental Hypocrisy

True confessions time. I am an environmental hypocrite. Yes, your wonderful opinions of me have been dashed, I know. All the things I write about are true but I do have my Achilles heel: Wards Chicken Salad. Every week I go to Wards on NW 23rd Ave. in Gainesville, FL. I love Wards. Local produce, dairy, meat, and eggs. Lots of organic EVERYTHING.

Check out their website here

Anyway, they make the best chicken salad and it’s in a single use plastic container. I can make my own chicken salad without the extra waste but every week I succumb to weakness and buy it. It’s hard not to accumulate a bunch of plastic waste when you go shopping.


I will wash and use the plastic container again when I share food with a friend or family member. Still, I wish I could keep it from ending up in the land fill.

I’ve read articles about a supermarket in Belgium that has eliminated single use plastic but I don’t live in Belgium! How to do it here, at home?

The first thing to do is bring your own shopping bags. Mine are over twenty years old. How’s that for reusing? Occasionally I will toss them in the washer and dryer then they’re ready to go again.

Some of you are saying, “My canvas shopping bags are in the car. I just forget to take them in the store.” I feel your pain.

My sister taught me a useful trick. When you forget your bags, as you pay for the groceries, have the bag boy put them back into your cart, wheel them out to your car and pack your own bags. A little bit of self-punishment goes a long way. After doing this a few times you will remember.

Believe me.

Some stores give you a discount when you bring your own bags. Whole Foods gives ten cents per bag. Not much, but I’ll take it.


Lots of stores that have dried foods in bins let you bring empty containers to fill up thereby cutting down on plastic waste.

I bring a plastic container, with a lid, when I buy nuts from Wards. They weigh the empty container. This is called the tare weight. After you’ve filled it up, they weigh it again, subtract the tare weight, and you pay what’s left. Whole Foods will let you do this too. I don’t know about stores in your area. You can ask.

Another thing to do to avoid excess waste and save money is to refill your spice jars. I feel bad about using the little plastic bags but it must be. Yesterday I bought dried oregano. Look what I saved. Okay, it’s hard to see what I saved but I bought oregano for $1.29. It filled up my glass spice jar that originally cost me about $5 and I’ve done this many times in the last two years. It took me that long to wise up. There’s lots of ways to reduce your carbon footprint and it’s never to late to start.



Sara Nussel