Since December, I have been bringing my own containers when shopping for meat and cheese at the store. It only takes a few minutes of planning at home, the health department hasn’t caught me, and since I’m not throwing out styrofoam or plastic trays, there’s a minimum of foul-smelling chicken juice lingering in the trash mid-week.
But while gleefully holding my Pyrex container and weighing my meat options last week at Hy-Vee, I peeked down at the yellowy-fluorescent-lighted display of chicken breasts that looked far too settled in their places to be “fresh.” Oh no. Was this the only poultry available to suit my eco-value of having as little packaging as possible? Would cooking this rubbery, squeaky batch of meat be worth the money and landfill space I would save?
I couldn’t do it. I instead bought the always-delicious Just Bare chicken, which was a fabulous deal (the same quality meat would be $3 more at Whole Foods). Though it was glistening in plastic, deciding to buy that product instead of something more green-friendly was the best option for me. Consider it my values veto. In this case, what is better for the environment is not necessarily as healthy for me. That can sound a bit selfish, but right now, it’s where I am on my green journey.
And perhaps this values veto will encourage growth in other areas, like writing to companies to improve packaging. Or buying healthier food from local farms. Or growing my OWN food.
Oh, the possibilities.