Zero Waste & deli stickers?

Another week of weighing my non recyclable trash for the enjoyment of no one but me (tongue firmly in cheek).  Last week I weighed in with 195g and this week I’m down to 138g. (You can check the progress since I started this at Easter 2013 on my Zero Waste page)

138g for this Wednesday 2 October 2013
138g for this Wednesday 2 October 2013

For my American readers, I did something funky, just for you…

Imperial for those readers who prefer this
Imperial for those readers who prefer this

Look at that – imperial measurements!!

What’s in there?

  • two meat trays ($5 per kg mince… the world’s fattiest)
  • stickers from the deli
  • band aids
  • a cracked lid with moisturiser all over it (I just couldn’t be bothered washing it, and recycling it, and given what I learnt reading Plastic Free, it might not actually BE recycled)
  • thermal receipts

So ingenious readers, I ask you, how could I get around the pesky stickers the deli adds to my Pyrex containers each week when I buy chicken, bacon and salami (and sometimes feta cheese)?  By the way, this week’s grocery shop was great, both deli staff were helpful (after initally being worried that the weighted self serve scales couldn’t handle the Pyrex, I assured them I could get around it, and just went to a normal check out).  Even the check out lady said ‘wow, you brought your own containers? I’ve never seen that, what a great idea’ It’s so nice to not be met with opposition like I was last week in Harris Farm.  Anyhow, back to the challenge, I’ll show you a photo of one of the stickers they put on my purchase, this time on my ice cream container:

Pesky deli strickers

I know Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home book (which I’ve reviewed) and blog fame reuses a label for her baguettes, but I assume that’s cause it’s a multiples of an item, rather than a weight based idea.  Any bright ideas out there?

18 Replies to “Zero Waste & deli stickers?”

  1. Oh, that would be annoying getting the label on the container! My butcher doesn't stick anything on, he just adds it up on the till. Could you do a single purchase and ask them just to ring it up, not stick it? Explaining that you re-use the container? Tricky though – it adds more layers to what you are asking them to do. Are there any butcher shops close by who might at least have regular staff who would know you and know the routine?

    1. You're right – my butcher didn't either. I am tempted to move to the butcher, but the BF is a little more resistant. I think the butcher within our shopping centre probably isn't that competitive, but I like butchers cause you can get what you want and how you want. There's nothing stopping me going back to my old (neighbouring) suburb and the butchers who knew me there, and didn't add labels.

  2. If I would go to one of the meat only stores, a butcher would wrap the meat in butcher paper and seal it with a piece of masking tape, then they write the price on the paper. At a grocery store where everything is computerized I don't think there is a way around the sticker, but maybe you could just cross it out and have them put the next label over that one? After a while it would probably need to be removed or come off when washing, but I can't come up with a solution for you. Btw, congrats, even with living with your BF you are doing great on the trash.

    1. You're right, I could just layer them up, saving up a batch at a time. It's not a huge thing, but I like to see what ingenious ideas readers have, and it seems to mainly be to go to the butcher shop, and skip the modern stickers on convenience!

      Thanks for the encouragement, the BF may not love the waste situation, but he puts things where I ask, and he never has to take it out, so he can't really complain… except for the stinky bench side compost transfer container… Even I think that needs replacing pronto with something less smelly!

  3. I thought of you today while reading the book on the cost of cheap fashion, Sarah. Another hidden source of plastic! In our clothes. All that polyester. That can't be recycled. And even worse, apparently, is mixed fibres, eg wool and polyester, as the fibres cannot be separated. So no more poly cotton for me, not that I buy it, preferring pure cotton. But I will certainly refuse it and look for alternatives from now on.

    1. Oh my – though there's really no escaping plastics if you want stretch, like in bras or gym type clothes. Thankfully my work uniform is all natural fabrics, due to the risk of flashover fires working with electricity!! Scary but at least it's natural fibres.

  4. It sounds like putting a new label over the old one would be good enough? I'm curious – it seems like there is no waste from other foods – do you use any packaged foods, Sarah? I have to throw away the liners from cereal and crackers because they are not recyclable here.

    1. Good question! I bulk buy oats in my container that they are usually stored in. For corn chips, and the occasional biscuits, windows from the pasta boxes, cheese wrappers and all the wrappers and trays that are similar to these, are taken back by the grocery store in their plastic bag recycling program (I took a photo a while back when I discovered it). I dropped off a little collection to the bin in their store today – it was full! Usually it's close to empty.

  5. I also use my containers but can't get away from the labels. We used to have 2 butchers here and I went in search of them and they have both shut down. We've been buying grass feed beef, chicken and port and try not to getting it in trays but sometimes it happens. When we buy from the farmers market or the farms, the meat comes in plastic (FDA regulation BS) but if I buy it from the Whole Foods, I can use my own container with just a simple label.

    I also try not to use twist ties on the bulk bags (if I don't bring enough containers from home) and I go up to the counter with a list of PLU's on my hand. Sometimes, I'm met with opposition, sometimes not. I try to remember the cashiers who know so that I can run through their line next time.

    Tim is still opposed to bring a pillow case for bread. He does most everything else, include take our recycling to the dump…but he wont take a pillow case for bread. I'll have to work on that.

    1. That's sad that your butchers have shut down. But at least Wholefoods is allowing you to use your own containers – I've had grief at one store, and I'm not sure if I should fight, or just shop in the 'easy' store!

      Weird that Tim draws the line at the pillow case! You could just reuse paper sacks for a while? The BF often stands to the side whilst i get meat in the pyrex dishes, and I'm ok with that. Sometimes I'm embarrassed to be me too!! But when it goes seamlessly, it makes my day!

  6. Hi there, I love seeing what kind of crazy food shopping everyone else is doing – I use nice neat, washable calico bags to pick up the bread in. Maybe that would be more acceptable than a pillowcase?

    1. It is nice to share your journey online (cause I'm yet to see anyone else 'like me' in the store). Together, we'll work out how to conquer it all (or amuse each other trying and stumbling!)

  7. I’m so proud of you for taking your own containers. You rock! I’m stuck with the same sticker issue. 🙁

    Thank you so much for your comments on my blog. You will never know how much you inspire me by writing this blog and weighing your trash for us to see. Warm hugs,

    Jennifer over at militaryzerowaste

    1. Thank you Jennifer, everyone of of us zero waste/eco bloggers help to spur one another along. It's not always easy being the salmon swimming against the current! I'm glad we've found each other's blogs to share the journey.

  8. P.S. with the other bulk products, I can use the same bag or container and even the same twist tie and label but not with the weighed meat. Many tell me to give up the meat, but I’m just not there yet. 🙁

    1. Meat with a pyrex dish is working for me – save for the sticker every week! But it's less than a meat tray. Actually, we can't get mince as cheap as in a tray, but I did ask the bin man, and he said you can recycle the trays that are foam, so that's encouraging…

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