Sunday, January 4, 2009


The most important thing I learned this summer was how to be explicit about tradeoffs. They're everywhere, especially in public-policy-land, but also in life. Plastic Dieting forces me to be explicit about my tradeoffs and at least make honest decisions.

Yesterday, my mom called and asked if I wanted to go on the South Beach Diet with my parents. I do want to shed a few holiday pounds, but really what sold me was her offer to cook me dinner for the next 2 weeks. I mean, how can you say no to that?! So I'm in. But South Beach-ing can conflict with Plastic Dieting since lots of the things they advocate involve wasteful plastic. String cheese, for example. Jello-cups. Salad in a bag. This is interesting because the South Beach Diet is supposed to be about a healthier lifestyle. And plastic never feels healthy. String cheese is made of things so scary that a friend who used to work for Kraft would never go near it. I know they are trying to make the diet accessible and low-work for people, but these things should not be mutually exclusive. I'll just pack my own slice of cheese, thanks!

I went to the grocery store today. I did ok. Here are some of my adventures in the veritable mine zone that a grocery store is for a plastic dieter:
  • I managed to find salad dressing in a GLASS bottle (Ken's), but when I got home, I realized that the lid is plastic. :(
  • I took my own tupperware to the deli to get sliced turkey and cheese. They kindly used my containers, but some cellophane was wasted in the process. Next time, I'll have to take paper towels to catch the products on so they won't use plastic on me. But still, I saved those thick plastic covers you usually get with sliced meat or cheese. The friendly employee didn't even look at me like I had 3 heads. Maybe there are other Plastic Dieters in my neighborhood. Plus, this turkey is YUMMY!
  • I used no plastic bags, even for produce (took old ones with me), but did cave and buy some cherry tomatoes (in plastic containers).
  • I canNOT find plastic-free nuts. I got the can with the plastic lid but paper sides. All the others came in plastic BAGS. Maybe this is a Whole Foods item...I could take my own bag and get nuts there.
All in all, a decent performance. Now we'll have to see how this South Beach thing works.


tangledhair said...

Hi Jessica! We have a trust store on my campus-- a whole bunch of snack foods in various types of plastic packaging. I avoided it for a long time, but was sold on a little baggie of mixed nuts for 50c. one day. And then the next day. And the next... eventually, I went hunting for my own mixed nuts to bring, and luckily found two grocery stores within walking distance from my place that have bulk bins for nuts and dried fruits and things. It was expensive to buy it all at once (as opposed to 50 cents at a time), but it is definitely saving both plastic and money in the long run. I hope you're able to find some bulk bins close by.

JMcK said...


Great idea on the bulk bins. I think I can make it to Whole Foods to get some. Good point! Thanks.