Can you be an ecologically responsible consumer in today’s wasteful society?

I’ve been overwhelmed with wasteful behaviour lately.

And I keep thinking, just let me get through this day, this week, this stretch and I’ll change for the better. I’ll make better choices AFTER this happens or that is over with.

It never works out that way.

The last time I was at Costco I bit the bullet and bought one of those huge multi-pack paper towel rolls. It was just days prior when I had a need for paper towels and used up the last of it.

We use them sparingly. I don’t typically need 8 rolls of paper towels stored on the basement shelf. But, my week was full, the price was right, and I thought “I’m here, I may as well get it, it’ll last us forever”.

I feel like the woman in Honey Boo Boo…what’s her name? Mama June?


Then one day I had to get one specific thing I knew was cheapest at Walmart. I cannot tell you how much I hate this store, but for some things, the price of certain brands simply is much better. So I drive through sleet and weather to get there and they didn’t have it. I had to go to another store and pick it up from there, later.

But, while I was at Walmart, I thought to myself: I still need to pick up five or six grocery items, and since this store has a grocery department…

Lettuce was one of the products I needed. They had both limp, and fresh-looking lettuce available. The fresh lettuce was packaged like this:

It hurts me to purchase stuff like this. It hurts me to look at the plastic and think of the poor whales who wash up on beaches whose stomachs are bloated with trash, mostly plastic bags.

And yet…I was there, I needed it, it saved me another trip to a third store in this ridiculous weather and it was coming up on the time to get back home to get dinner started because one or the other kid had an activity…

Sometimes time is more valuable. That, and practicalities. It was much more efficient for me to just get my stuff at Walmart than to do a third trip elsewhere (after detouring to PetSmart for the item Walmart didn’t have that time).

Sometimes it’s discouraging to play the part of an ecologically responsible consumer. The society we live in certainly doesn’t make it easier on us. It is those times when I must focus on what I typically do, and leave the exceptions out of my brain. That day at Walmart was an exception, not a typical trip.

Most of my produce does not get purchased at big box stores, but rather at smaller grocery chains who service the local farming community. If for once I pick up some greens from Walmart well so be it. It’s not a habit that I buy food packaged this way. It was just one of those things that happens, occasionally.

Tell me, am I spending too much time focusing on this? Do you always make proper ‘green’ choices or are there times when you cheat, just a little, for convenience sake?

20 thoughts on “Can you be an ecologically responsible consumer in today’s wasteful society?

  1. It’s so hard when everything you buy is drowning in packaging. I am glad they are bringing in laws in the Uk to ban Things like plastic straws and cups etc. A shop is just about to open next to me which sells food which has NO packaging at all. I’ll let you know what it’s like!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We do our best to reuse and recycle (the produce containers make great planters as we germinate seeds) and I try to be careful when choosing what I buy but other factors including cost and convenience come into play. Imagine if we weren’t being cognizant of our choices.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As a classic over thinker, I can’t possibly tell you you’re spending too much time thinking about this….but sometimes you do have to let it go….time really is more valuable, and if it saves you a few steps, you’ll probably be a better mom, partnerand friend….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Like gardening season is upon us…and I look around and see plastic plastic plastic everywhere! Everything gardening related is packaged in plastic.



  4. Let me just tell you, I LOATHE Walmart with the burning hatred of a thousand suns. But it’s the only “one stop shop” nearby. The local groceries are either shady at best with clientele or scant with selection or completely overpriced that I couldn’t afford to buy all of my groceries there.

    So, I put up with Walmart hell, lo these many years.

    And then, I started back on this low carb train. And I made a 30 minute drive to a large chain grocery but it is a GROCERY. And their produce is lovely and fresh and the selection is endless and I found Coconut Flour and Flaxseed meal and Xanthan Gum to experiment with and when I leave I’m happy. And I’ve spend less than I do at Walmart. And I have lots and lots of fresh, good things to put in my body. And it helps me stay motivated to eat healthier and actually COOK instead of making another drive thru run when I walk into a grocery and the first thing to greet me is a sea of colors that are fresh fruits and veggies. Reasonably priced.

    So, to provide a lengthy answer to your question, you are not the only one who obsesses over things like what you discuss in your post.

    I could get talk about the recycling and eco stuff, but I’m not because in my podunk little town, we haven’t progressed. Mama Junes are everywhere…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I get it. We recently got a FarmBoy grocery about 7 min drive from my house which is AWESOME and has reputable meat and produce sourced from nearby farmers and I do most of my shopping there…

      Walmart has great boys clothes. So there’s that. And if I’m there and out of milk….

      I get it. 🙂 Thank you for weighing in!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My belief is that we should do the best we can with what we have to work with. I think you did the best you could with what you had to work with: going to get another store would have involved more gasoline burned and therefore more greenhouse gases emitted, and on a shit weather day it would have risked your safety also.
    We do the best we can with what we have to work with.

    Liked by 1 person

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