I hope to be back next week with more regularly scheduled programming, but I wanted to give a quick update on my vegetarian eating efforts, and some good news about Trader Joe’s!
First, partial vegetarianism. As discussed here, the single biggest contribution an individual can make to reducing carbon emissions is to cut back on meat consumption. I’ve been keeping track of my meals in terms of their meat content since the beginning of the year. I’ve been able to keep my count of meat-containing meals under four per week, and I’ve only had beef twice since I started keeping track. We haven’t purchased meat at the grocery store in that time either; any meat we’ve eaten has been either out or something that friends cooked for us. And I’ve been prioritizing chicken over other meat products, since it has a slightly lower carbon footprint than many other options.
The one thing that I’ve been struggling with is incorporating vegan meals; I totally default to cheese as an option for adding flavor and fat to meals without meat. Suggestions on other ways to incorporate healthy fats and flavor would be welcome! But overall, I feel that this experiment has been a success; I will continue to track my meals. It’s easy for me to keep log, and having the record of what types of meals I’ve been eating has helped motivate me to prioritize vegetarian meals.
Next up, Trader Joe’s news! I’ve made some good steps towards reducing my consumption of single use plastics; I have metal utensils at work that I have been using to eat my lunch (rather than disposable, compostable utensils) and I’ve been better about carrying a water bottle with me to avoid plastic cups and bottles. But reducing plastic consumption while grocery shopping has been extremely difficult. Food packaging is absolutely our number one waste stream from our house, even with our efforts to recycle as much as possible. So, I was VERY excited to see this announcement from Trader Joe’s earlier this year (which is our primary grocery store). To quote:
“Taking into consideration our customer feedback and our desire to be great neighbors, we have been taking a careful look at our packaging and the opportunities that exist to make improvements, with respect to sustainability. “
I recommend reading the full press release, which outlines the specific changes that are in the works, but Trader Joe’s will be making efforts to change packaging plastics so that they do not contain known harmful chemicals (ie. BPA), stopping the use of styrofoam trays and reducing the amount of packaging used for produce items. I’m very happy about this, and excited to see how these changes will manifest themselves in my shopping experience!