In the past few years I have become more aware of my footprint on the environment and have strived to reduce it as much as possible. I have changed my spending and eating habits to create as small of a footprint as possible. To save money my weekly grocery shopping would usually take place at Walmart because of the low prices of all of the food I needed. Watching documentaries like Food Inc. and many others opened my eyes to how many food miles the food I buy goes through before it gets to my plate, and how little nutrients it has left in it because of all of the chemicals that are put into it to help preserve it. After our discussion one day, I realized how many pieces of clothes I have worn once and never wore again; that week I picked all of the pieces of clothing I wear regularly and made a pile of all of the items I was never going to wear or even skeptical to wear again. During the discussion, what opened my eyes was someone’s comment about how all of the stuff we have is more than what a lot of people are able to own, and that the fifteen different types of shirts I have is a luxury.
I always carry around a reusable water bottle wherever I go and haven’t used or bought single use water bottles for months. Sometimes I feel like little changes in my life, like not buying plastic water bottles doesn’t seem like it’s going to make that big of a difference but when I take a step back and think about all the plastic that would be produced if I continued to purchase them, it’s a reminder to keep making small changes in my life to help reduce the waste in the environment. Plastic waste is a huge problem because although it can be recycled sometimes, certain types of plastics are not recyclable and end up in landfills. A lot of plastic that was in my life was coming from my groceries, whether that was from the packaging or the bags they were putting the item in. I slowly bought more reusable bags and made an effort to buy items that were in cardboard packaging instead of the non recyclable packaging.
When I used to shop at Walmart a lot of the fruits and vegetables I would buy would be in plastic wrapping or containers depending on if they were already sliced or cut up. A way I eliminated this factor was by changing where I spent my money on groceries. When the weather was warmer I went to the market to get a lot of fruits and vegetables, and although the price was higher than the big shopping center, it didn’t bother me because I knew who was going to be getting my money when I bought the produce. In Marion Square, it is an open air market and almost none of the vendors wrap their produce up, which allows me to place the food right into a reusable bag. When the weather got too cold and the market closed for the winter I started to go to a small local store, The Veggie Bin, which is a part of the Lowcountry Local First movement. The owner has vegetables that are in and out of season but the in season produce is labelled by where it was farmed in South Carolina and what the name of the farm is. You’re able to tell when certain produce is in and out of season because the prices start to go up and down when the seasons change. I always suggest that my roomates shop at local businesses, like The Veggie Bin, to help support them instead of the big name corporations but they still don’t want to pay the extra amount at the local stores or markets.
My weekly budget for groceries would be much higher if I still ate animal products, but because I am mainly eating fruits and vegetables I am able to keep my budget very low because I base it off of which produce is in season. I have tried to grow my own vegetables but I move around alot and the plant always dies before I am able to plant it anywhere, a hope I have is that one day I will be stationary enough to have a small garden of my own to plant fruits and vegetables. I became more informed on how consuming animal products is affecting the environment and thought it was an easy enough change in my everyday life to cut out all of those products.