With food prices skyrocketing, it takes paying attention to stretch your dollars the farthest. One easy way to do this is to pay attention to whether packaging styles and “convenience” factors add to costs.
I discovered this the other day when restocking my lettuce supply.
Turning over a new leaf
As big salad eaters and sandwich stuffers my family goes through a fair amount of lettuce each week. We’ve really come to love the gourmet spring and baby lettuces, Mesclun, and herb-lettuce mixes. The problem is, in my rural community there’s no place that sells these in bulk, like in those big bowls at Whole Foods.
I confess that for a while now I’ve been buying either the bagged lettuce varieties, or those big plastic boxes full of lettuce. But as part of my reinvigorated focus on conservation it dawned on me what a waste these are. And with rising food prices, it became clear that all those pre-washings for my convenience, and the excess packaging, add significantly to cost.
In comparison, organic red leaf lettuce at my grocery this week was a fairly reasonable $1.88 a head. Yes I’ll have to cut it up myself — egads — and wash it — how I’ll toil— but the washed and bagged variety was $2.89, a full dollar more. The boxed version was $3.59 for the smaller size, and over $5 for the larger. So in addition to what buying an unpackaged head of lettuce can do for energy conservation and the environment, I can save my family about $100 a year going with unpackaged options.
Sure washing could add to my water bill, but given my conservation on that front, not only in low flow spigots but also in never letting the water just run, I don’t think it will break the bank or come anywhere near to equaling the higher priced lettuce cost.
Trash the bags
Moreover, this means no bag and no box, both of which are made of petroleum, that increasingly more costly and rapidly declining fuel source.
I’m not going to be the one using up our fuel on disposable plastic lettuce boxes, nor do I wish to contribute two extra bags or boxes per week to the landfill.
But how will I carry that lettuce? Or other produce for that mater? Tune in tomorrow for a column on convenient, reusable produce bags.
–Lindsay Curren, Lindsay’s List