While COVID-19 has stopped a lot of our daily routines; it has also made being green just a little bit harder. As a grocery store employee, I have seen the sad look on your faces as I let you know that you are no longer able to bring your reusable bags into our store. This was mandated by Governor Sununu. It especially saddens me when it is the regulars who ALWAYS bring their bags. They seem a bit lost without them; like a tea cup without a saucer.
The good thing is that their are alternative ways to “bag” your groceries without using reusable bags. The first and best option is asking the cashier to put all the groceries back into the cart. This allows you to keep your reusable bags in your car and do your own bagging. Alternatively, you could also keep a larger basket/box in the back of your car for reloading as well. The other two options are using paper bags or asking for a box. Not all stores may have boxes, but the majority typically do and are happy to grab one for you. You can reuse the box for storage or even as a cat toy?
Reusable bags aren’t the only shift we have been forced into at this time. Many recycling centers have closed down temporarily in regards to accepting recyclables or are no longer allowing certain items. For many, recycling always seemed like the answer, but I think that this very weird time may offer up a new perspective for us. It forces us to think more about reusing and buying less. For example, we recently purchased a number of canned goods to restock our pantry. Instead of recycling these cans, I am hoping to use them to either grow some herbs or maybe I can get crafty and make a wind chime.
The shining light amongst this crazy pandemic has to be the much needed break that nature has received as a result of human beings staying home. According to Classic FM, Venice canals are now running clear and dolphins have appeared in the waterways. I studied abroad in Italy whilst in college and I can tell you that I certainly did not see any dolphins in Venice while I was there, nor was the water even particularly clear. This is amazing.
Let’s be honest with ourselves – how many times a week did you go to the grocery store prior to the Stay-at-Home order? Once, twice, even three times some weeks? Were you just picking up one item, or was it an actual shop? How many times a week do you go to the store now? Going to the store once per week reduces your carbon footprint and is probably saving you money as well. I don’t know about you, but I always spend more money at the grocery store when I don’t plan a list in advance. Meal planning/creating a list both saves me money and decreases the amount of times that I have to shop. Given that we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel just yet, this is the perfect time to adapt a new habit.
How about the actual items that we are purchasing? In my house, we have been doing our best to buy whole foods without packaging. However, we are far from perfect and have plenty of guilty pleasures. Sometimes I just want pasta, and most stores are currently not allowing you to bring in your reusable containers for bulk shopping. When we do buy processed food, we do our best to buy it in cardboard or preferably, glass jars. Over the past year, we have collected several glass jars ranging from marinara sauce and peaches to preserves and peanut butter. The peanut butter can be especially annoying to clean out, but we have overall found them quite helpful. They end up being drinking glasses or the perfect size for leftovers without having to use our glass pyrex.
My one guilty/weird pleasure is Ken’s Italian Dressing. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried it, but I am obsessed. I grew up with it and for some reason, I just can’t get enough of it. All my life Ken’s Italian has come in a glass bottle. Now in 2020, Ken’s has changed it to a plastic bottle and I just don’t understand why. Are they trying to torture me?! Seriously though, I haven’t purchased it since it has been produced in plastic and I really miss it. If you have seen it at any store in glass, please reach out to me ASAP on social media so I can purchase it immediately!
Being green is always on the top of my mind, but this pandemic is admittedly a little scary as well. So many small businesses have been forced to close down and many are left trying to figure out how to keep things going while also remaining safe. As you would imagine, our business, Bona Fide Green Goods, has also had to close down during this time. While our storefront is not open, we are still doing business online as well as local delivery, pickups, and shipping. Local delivery has allowed us to save the business a little bit of money on postage, as well as saving the environment. We have been delivering any orders within walking distance of our neighborhood on foot instead of driving. This has been great because it’s a walk for the baby and a bit more exercise for me and my wife. I plan to incorporate this positive change into our routine even when things go back to “normal.” This is a change that is great for both us and the earth. Lastly, while I cannot speak for any other businesses, I can say that we have been overwhelmed with the community support that we have received. Whether it be sharing our website on social media or shopping our online store, our community continues to support us each day. YOU are helping to keep us afloat and we are more grateful than you could ever know. The community keeps us going and we hope not to disappoint.
On my way to work each morning, I drive through Main Street Concord. Although it’s still dark, I can still see the signs on each door explaining why they are temporarily closed. While these signs sometimes feel a bit eerie, I also see signs for curbside pick-up, “we are still open,” or shop us online.