Zero Waste Essentials at Target
One thing that makes going zero waste difficult is that it seems just about every product that's zero waste you need to buy online. And when you're used to being able to pick up some toothpaste or deodorant on your weekly grocery run it can be really frustrating to change to ordering everything online. Not to mention the cost of shipping, extra carbon emissions to ship something to your door, more packaging, etc. This is why I'm super happy to see that Target is starting to have a lot of zero waste options in their stores. And not just something that happens to be no waste or low waste either but products that zero wasters constantly rave about.
I had a few gift cards to Target after my birthday so I went to take a look at what they currently had to see if I could save myself a few online orders. It's probably been 4 months since I was last at Target so seeing all the new stuff they had was really exciting!
This is what I got at Target (& some things I had bought at Target back in December as well):
What other zero waste items have you found at Target? I would love to know! I definitely plan on trying to come here more often to buy my essentials vs. ordering everything separately online.
My mom recently found out about a sustainable grocery store that was in my area called Mom's Organic! And they're not just in Philly either (also in NY, VA, DC, MD areas!) On their website it seemed like they were truly committed to sustainability and had a huge offering of bulk bins so I was immediately excited to check out their store. I ended up heading there this weekend to take a look around and see what they had to offer. I went to the Bryn Mawr location just outside of Philly for anyone in the area who might be curious.
The bulk bins they had were amazing I was so impressed to find things even like honey, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Apple Cider Vinegar and more to be refilled! I also loved that they had a nut butter grinder. Even more too, below that were tons of jars of various nut butters that were all packaged in glass *chefs kiss*.
They had a huge array of bulk herbs and spices, as well as some looseleaf teas that were in bulk too, which I noted for a future visit.
The process of getting bulk was made pretty easy. I had to go up to the cash register for them to weigh my jar, and then I was free to go fill it. The cashier who helped me also wrote the weight of my jar on the bottom in a sharpie so I wouldn't have to worry about remembering. I ended up just getting almonds for a recipe (check out the Mediterranean bowls I made here) but I was making notes of everything they offered because I will definitely be coming back!
You can learn more about Mom's Organic's commitment to sustainability on their website here, but I was blown away by how well they were able to implement sustainability to their store. For one, in the parking lot they had chargers for electric cars which was awesome. Inside, they had a huge recycling area at the front of the store where you could recycle almost anything from batteries, to old shoes, or even bring your compost!
I also loved that majority of their produce was not in plastic packaging and I was able to use my reusable produce bags to get just about everything I needed!
In addition, I found that they sold bamboo toothbrushes - no plastic options available! I also found an entire aisle stocked with every kind of non-dairy milk you could possibly imagine, I was in shock! They also had plenty of great sustainable swaps like Stasher bags, glass jars, and stainless steel water bottles. Not to mention, at the end of checking out I got $0.10 off my total for bringing my own reusable bags!
I'm so glad that I discovered Mom's Organic because I am going to become a regular here after seeing their amazing offerings.
I've talked a lot about how shopping secondhand is one of the biggest ways we can reduce our carbon footprint on the planet. However, there are certain items that I prefer to buy items firsthand. I want to start this as a recurring series where I highlight any companies that are truly ethical and sustainable companies where I feel good about buying first hand and what I look for in a company before purchasing. So let's talk about the Girlfriend Collective!
During this pandemic I haven't really shopped for clothes. But the one item of clothing I find myself wearing day in and day out are leggings. And most of my leggings have been around for quite some time. After finding the third hole in my most worn pair of leggings I decided I needed to buy a new pair for myself. The reason I didn't want to thrift leggings is because so often they are made cheaply and don't hold up for a long period of time. I assume that most of the legging donated to thrift stores are not going to be in great quality either. And I want something I can wear all the time.
That's when I found Girlfriend Collective. They have sustainability as a priority and all of their leggings are made from post-consumer recycled water bottles (25 bottles go into one pair of leggings.) In addition their packaging is sustainable and recyclable as well. Not to mention they have pockets!
I also bought a sports bra from them which is made from 11 recycled plastic water bottles and was just as comfortable as the leggings!
As a side note: the leggings I originally purchased were too small and their exchange process was so easy. All I had to do was enter my order number, select which item I wanted to exchange and which new size I wanted and then print my shipping label and bring it to a FedEx near me. And I got free shipping both ways too even though I was the one exchanging something!
One potential con is that their factories are located in Vietnam, however they have a certification that states they pay their employees fairly and their factory adheres to strict guidelines making it a safe place for their workers.
Lastly, I love the fact that at the end of their life you can send your clothes back to Girlfriend Collective and they will recycle them at their facility. This system is called a circular economy and is what is truly necessary for us to move to in order to solve our climate crisis!
While the leggings were a little pricey at the end of the day I felt that it was worth it to know I was supporting a sustainable mission and that the workers who are making my clothes are being treated fairly and paid a living wage. Plus I've heard from others who have bought from Girlfriend before and they say that their clothes last years, making it truly "slow-fashion".
Overall I'm so happy with my purchases from Girlfriend and my experience with their exchange process. I will definitely be purchasing from them again in the future as I need more items.
Are there other sustainable companies you shop at that I should know about? Comment them below and I will check them out :)
A few weeks ago my aunt who lives in Massachusetts told me about a Wholesale Produce Market near her that has everything packaged in cardboard boxes. She said I should find out if there was anything like that near me. Lo and behold I found out that there is a Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market and this weekend I went on an adventure to check it out!
I wanted to put together a blog post on our experience at the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market and include some tips to know before you go shopping at a wholesale produce market too.
The way these wholesale markets work is that you buy things by the case instead of just one or two single items. Oftentimes this involves no packaging or just cardboard box packaging, making it a zero-waste dream, however this also means you have to buy a larger quantity of produce than you may be used to buying.
This was essentially a giant warehouse, it felt like we were in the back of a BJ's or Costco. There was a guardrail too with a pedestrian sidewalk so that we could stay out of the way of workers on forklifts. Outside of that it was set up with different vendor stations similar to a farmer's market for bulk buying.
My Tips Before You Go:
We didn't bring any bags with us since we assumed we wouldn't need any and we were right, they did have carts that customers could grab and fill up with boxes as they went. But nothing we bought would have fit into a bag.
For this trip we didn't really have a list with us because we weren't 100% sure what we would be able to find. However, we knew that we wanted to get a case of broccoli because anytime we have broccoli in our dinners for the week we never seem to have enough. Well, we found broccoli alright. A case of 18 crowns of broccoli and it only cost us $8 which was huge!
We left happy with our purchase and went home to immediately begin blanching our broccoli. It took us 3 days of batches to work through but now we have broccoli for probably at least 6 months. If you also have a small household or live alone, one idea is to see if any of your friends or neighbors would like to go half/half with you on the produce you get. This way you can split the cost and not have quite as much produce stored away if you're worried about not getting to it all on time.
Have you ever shopped at a wholesale produce market before? What was your experience like? Some photos from our trip are below!
Today I went to Sprouts Farmer's Market, a grocery store chain I had never been to before but it was high up on my list. I'd heard that they had a lot of bulk bins for package free items, and that a lot of their produce was package free as well. I decided to go check it out outside of my normal grocery shopping this week because I wasn't sure how expensive it would be. I went with a small list of things I needed but also weren't urgent so I could see how zero-waste they really were.
At the front of the store they had bread in paper bags with small plastic cut-outs saying you could track their bread from grain to loaf. They didn't have any more information but the bread did look to be made locally. On their website, I found this article about how their bread ingredients are all completely traceable, but it didn't provide more information than that.
In the produce section, I found almost everything could be bought package-free. With exceptions like green beans and brussel sprouts that were in small plastic bags. While other produce items were in packaging, it seemed that there was always a package-free option as well. One example I found exciting was package free potatoes because I can't get those package free at my local Walmart. I also found spinach package free which was exciting because spinach is my favorite vegetable!
When it came to the bulk section I was a little disappointed. Their bins were still there but instead of having all of the products package-free, they were in small plastic baggies already. I do think that this was due to the pandemic, and I want to come back afterwards to see if I am able to get any nuts completely package free. They had signs up still that said "Scoop Your Heart Out" so I am certain that these were once true bulk bins. While it was disappointing, it makes perfect sense given the times that we are living in. However, I didn't end up buying anything from there.
Two things that were still package free though were spices and coffee. I want to keep this in mind the next time I'm out of a spice. I always keep the old spice jars so when we mix up our own seasoning blend we have a jar for it. But I'm excited to be able to bring my own jar and refill it here with what they had!
It was great to see the package free coffee also, although I didn't purchase any either since I don't have a coffee grinder. I have a post coming soon on my low-waste coffee routine, but if I ever move away from my coffee shop down the street I will definitely get a coffee grinder and come back here to get coffee package free.
The last thing I saw that was really cool was both almond butter and peanut butter stations! I didn't try it today, even though I was tempted, because it wasn't entirely clear if you could use your own jar or not, and since I wasn't running low on peanut butter I didn't feel like asking. But I will definitely call in advance and find out for sure before I go next time.
In the end, I'm definitely glad I made the trip out to Sprouts and I will come back in the future. However, due to the bulk bins being temporarily packaged goods, I probably won't make this a regular trip. Do you have a Sprouts in your area? And if so, let me know your thoughts!
Last Friday I went "zero waste" grocery shopping at Walmart. Soon I will start trying out some different grocery stores soon but it was a Friday morning before work so I just wanted to be in and out as quickly as possible!
Our list this week was rather short, we were feeling lazy and decided to make a favorite in our household for dinner: burrito bowls! This this is one of those meals where we already had most of the ingredients on hand so we also usually keep our grocery bill cheap on weeks where we do this. This week our bill was under $30!
In addition to burrito bowls I also wanted to try out a kale smoothie recipe and some of those ingredients are on here as well!
Here's what I bought and was able to get zero waste:
Second Breakfast = Kale Smoothies:
Lunch = Budda Bowls
While my bowl is heating up in the microwave I like to cook the spinach on the stove and poach an egg to top it all off!
Dinner = Burrito Bowls
I hope these Shop With Me's can help give you ideas on easy zero-waste meals to make! What were you eating this week?
January 2, 2020: Walmart
Today I was shopping for lunches for myself for the week. I found a recipe for a vegan Thai Sweet Potato Curry that I wanted to try (I'm not vegan but I do like to keep my lunches and snacks throughout the day as plant based as possible).
Here's what I needed to find:
Personally, I would have just skipped the carrots but I kept them because Kyle had something he was also making for lunch that he needed carrots for.
Olive oil I found in a huge tin! We go through a ton of olive oil so it was not a problem to buy more and have it be in an aluminum tin over a plastic bottle. The Thai curry paste came in a glass jar with an aluminum lid and the canned coconut was in an aluminum can!
Everything else I needed for this recipe I already had on hand at home so I didn't need to find any alternatives for those yet.
I made a huge batch of this today with one cup of rice and it was delicious! Plus it made 5 huge bowls which is perfect for me for a week of lunches. Will definitely make this again in the future.
FULL RECIPE: VEGAN SWEET POTATO THAI CURRY
Recipe from Salt & Lavender Blog
Heat olive oil (1 tbsp) in a large soup pot, add the onion and saute for 5-7 min. until slightly browned.
Add in 3 cloves garlic minced and 1 tbsp of ginger to the pot, cook for one minute stirring until fragrant
Add in 2 cups of vegetable broth, 1-2 tbsp of Thai red curry paste and 1 sliced carrot
Stir together and increase heat to high to bring to a boil. Then reduce to medium-low and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
While simmering, put on a pot of white rice.
Add in 1 13.5 oz can of coconut milk, 1/2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 red bell pepper sliced, 1 tbsp lime juice and 1/2 tbsp of brown sugar to the pot.
Increase heat to medium-high and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes (reduce heat if it begins to boil)
Add on a handful of cilantro and 1 cup of rice into the pot (or keep rice separate if you would prefer).
Join me as I document my journey to becoming zero-waste through this blog as a resource to others.