A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about some of the bulk bins at a local grocery store finally having ingredient lists added to the labels. I'm pleased to report that ingredient lists are now available for even more bulk bins, including those containing chocolate raisins and bulk energy bars.
Now that I can buy chocolate raisins without packaging, I'm faced with a dilemma. I'm a big believer in buying only fair trade certified chocolate. I'm also a big believer in avoiding packaging. Assuming that I am going to buy chocolate of one kind or another, should I buy fair trade chocolate that comes wrapped in plastic or non-fair trade chocolate from a bulk bin?
There are a couple of other dilemmas I've been grappling with lately. One is what to do about items that are theoretically recyclable, but that aren't accepted locally for recycling. I feel like I should save these recyclables and take them with me whenever I visit places with better recycling programs. However, my little home is already cluttered, and I don't want to clutter it further with boxes of aluminum toothpaste tubes, plastic bottle caps, and polystyrene packaging. How does one balance the need to recycle with the need to rid one's home of trash?
My final dilemma is what to do about the freebies at work. I'm not paid nearly as much as I should be, and it's difficult to make ends meet. One thing that helps is that various freebies are available. For example, there's often cider in the refrigerator at work that I can drink without paying a penny. The problem is that the cider comes in plastic bottles. Should I save money by drinking free cider, or save the planet by eating whole apples from the farmer's market? If cider was the only freebie, I'd ignore it and feel virtuous about my avoidance of plastic, but there are many other freebies and they make a significant difference to my standard of living.