Plastic-Free Food at University

In August, I moved to Guelph, Ontario to go to the University here. So far, I’ve found it more difficult to live without producing plastic waste here. There is a store that sells bulk foods called Bulk Barn, but they require you to use their single-use plastic bags and containers to buy their stuff. The store I shop at in California for bulk foods allows reusable bags and containers. They even sell reusable bags in the bulk aisle made just for bulk foods! I don’t see why Bulk Barn can’t do the same thing. The other grocery stores here are regular grocery stores that package most of their products in plastic. The good thing is that there is a really nice farmer’s market that runs year-round in Guelph, even better than the one I go to in California. It’s easy to get food without plastic packaging there. I’m guessing that as I explore the city more, I’ll find more places to buy plastic-free food.

When I first got here I had a meal plan so I didn’t cook at all. But I love cooking, and eating pizza and burgers all the time really aids the freshman 15. So I started cooking my own food. I am slowly figuring out how to get food without plastic (or at least with less plastic) in Guelph. I don’t think it’ll be entirely possible to avoid plastic here, but I’m going to try my best. One thing I’m doing is reusing my bags from Bulk Barn until they wear out. I just wash them out and hang dry them. My suitemates set up a laundry room in the fusebox room, so I hang my bags in there.

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Another thing I’m doing since I don’t have very many glass storage containers is storing my bulk foods in my suitemates’ yogurt containers that would be thrown out otherwise. My grandma gave me a tupperware with Thanksgiving leftovers so I’m using that too. I know storing food in plastic isn’t the best thing, but I think it’s better to reuse plastic you have than to throw it away where it will pollute the environment. I’m also using the few glass jars I have for bulk stuff.

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This is a post about trying to find plastic-free food in a new place, but it’s also about trying your best. Some people can’t reduce their plastic footprint as much as other people can. It depends on your circumstances. But most people can do something to reduce their plastic footprint, even if it’s as simple as carrying a reusable water bottle or reusable shopping bags. Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something!

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