Zero Waste Grocery Shopping at HEB Plus!

Hey everyone! I have been gone for awhile but I talked to a food blogger today and felt inspired to share my shopping trip with you here. I usually do my family’s grocery shopping on the weekend, and this time I was determined to really do it zero waste. One of the best practices in zero waste grocery shopping is to go prepared- know what you’re going to make for the week, know what ingredients you need to prepare those recipes, and of course bring your reusable bags!

One thing that frustrates me to no end is that most of the zero waste bloggers I follow live in cities like SF or Vancouver- even Austin has a zero waste store. But San Antonio doesn’t have a dedicated zero waste store. Whole foods is actually about 45 minutes away as well, which makes it not an option for weekly shopping. With a google search I found out that HEB off 1604 and Bandera has a bulk section so I decided to give it a shot!

I documented my entire trip in photos so that you can both see and read about my experience. Would love to answer any questions you may have 🙂

My trip wasn’t completely zero waste but it was about as close as you can get at HEB anyway.

Come along and experience HEB from a zero waste lense with me!

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HEB Plus on 1604 and Bandera Rd. in San Antonio, TX
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First thought: This place is huge! Nice landscaping 🙂

 

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Don’t forget your bags!
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I have them all separated neatly in one bag so they’re easily accessible
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got my produce! Putting them at the end so they don’t get crushed at the bottom of the cart! Some things didn’t have stickers like the tomatoes and potatoes. They also had heads of broccoli without stickers as well. My bags are hodge-podge and all different sizes and materials, some I sewed myself with scrap fabric.
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plenty of good bulk options, be sure to look on both sides because their bulk section spans two separate aisles which I didn’t realize at first
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lots
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plenty of bulk coffees as well
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Kambucha on tap- it was out of order when I was there
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Dr. Bronner’s bar soap in paper packaging
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Washing Soda and Borax for making your own laundry detergent (they also had citric acid in the bulk section with the spices)
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home!
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unpacking all the bags within the bags 🙂 This time I actually got complimented on the bags by another shopper and the checker thought my avoiding plastic was really cool as well!
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unpacked all the little bags. Some things are in paper/cardboard packaging or glass like the vinegar as HEB doesn’t have wet bulk items 😦
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this is how I store my ingredients – Mason jars or empty jam, sauce or spice jars
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Sometimes you have to get creative with storing odd sized items, the lid it’s sitting on will seal them up so they won’t get stale.
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Unfortunately you have to print out the sticker for you bulk items at HEB, but this is still way less plastic than buying everything in packaging completely. Also shown are the stickers for the produce, the beets and the kale ties and rubber bands, as well as the plastic lid from my Kambucha I bought in a bottle. I plan on using the stickers instead of tape.

There you have it- $128 to feed, shower & launder a family of 3 for a week (almost) zero waste at HEB! If you don’t have a zero waste store close to you this may be a good option for your family. Hopefully one day HEB will not require you to print out stickers for the Tare on the bulk items. If anyone knows a way they have gotten around this let me know! I will make a separate post with my ingredients and recipes so you can replicate this weekly shopping trip and grocery run soon 🙂

 

Thanks for reading and let me know what you think!

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How to Make Decisions (Uncomplicated)

When I describe the KonMari method to people it is so simple it seems stupid at first. “Make a pile of like-objects, hold each one in your hands and as yourself, ‘does this bring me joy?’ Discard the nos and keep the yesses.”

This is as basic as addition (subtraction?) and is a method that has proven effective for both me and millions of others around the world.

I would never attempt to say that I have an idea as amazing as the KonMari method, but I can’t help but wonder, “what if there were a similar method, not for objects, but for making decisions on how we spend our time?”

 

With that thought, I created this diagram a long time ago, when I was at the height of my Mustachian fandom. I wanted to illustrate the idea that making educated, controlled decisions, no matter how minor they may seem, add up to a more meaningful life over time. A great example of what a best choice might be is probably the most Mustachian activity imaginable: riding a bike. It saves you money by not using gas or increasing the wear and tear on your car (Increases Wealth) it gives you an opportunity to exercise (increases endorphins=Increases Happiness) (increases heart health and muscle tone= Increases Health). Some examples, such as riding a bike, are universally obvious. Others are more personal and depend greatly upon your specific situation, personal values and circumstances.How to Make DecisionsStarting a side business, for instance, could easily end up costing you money if you’re not careful. On the other hand, if your business requires little in the way of overhead and is flexible enough for you to keep your job, it would end up satisfying the goals of increasing health, wealth and happiness- making it a best choice for you. Off the top of my head the idea of walking dogs could be perfect for someone who loves dogs. You would get outside, get exercise, spend time with fluffy animals who are always happy to see you, and increase your wealth by making some extra money. Even if your side business does not satisfy all of these requirements, it is still worthwhile even if there’s only a chance it could meet all the requirements in the future.

Selling jewelry, for instance, may not increase your health and it may cost you a lot to buy supplies, meaning you’d just break even. If the happiness it brings you is worth it however, it might be something to stick with because it is quite possible in the future to have enough business to increase your wealth through it. Overall, I’d say even if your choice only includes two out of three criteria, it is worth pursuing if it’s not possible or practical to make a choice that includes all three.

If the choice meets one requirement, it’s a “good choice.” If it meets 2, it’s a “better choice,” and if it meets three, that it’s the “best choice.”

Though it may seem obvious at this point, if a prospective choice doesn’t enhance your health, wealth or happiness it should no longer be something for we should consider at all. Like the possessions you need to ‘let go’ when you’re tidying, there are choices in life that we have to decide for ourselves to walk away from. Leaving a time commitment, hobby, job or relationship can be a painful decision- especially if we have invested a great deal of time, money and energy on the endeavor. If the choice affects someone else, it can be downright scary to even consider abandoning the commitment. As a motivating thought there is a fundamental defect in staying in these scenarios that are solely for the benefit of other people.

The problem is that all the little choices we make for other people will slowly accumulate into a life that doesn’t advance us to our true destiny.

On the flip side, the more we examine each choice we make in the present moment and evaluate its potential to propel us forward, the closer we come to living to our true potential. No one else can decide for us what it means to be healthy, wealthy, and happy- although there is a great deal of research that points to what can statistically contribute to a higher quality of life for most people. If you’d like to learn more about this topic, I’d highly recommend the documentary “Happy” on Netflix instant. It is a captivating film that I am positive will be worth your time.

To give a quick recap in case I lost you:

We make choices at almost every minute of every day.

The choices we make affect our mood, our health, and our financial freedom (or bondage).

When we make choices that increase our health, wealth, and happiness we generally become better people over time.

We can think of it like a software program that mandatorily updates to the newest version every day. Do you want your newest version to work well, to be fluid and run at optimal performance or do you want your newest version to run slow, have kinks and crash all the time? Of course you want it to be better than before! This philosophy and diagram is simply an external cue for being present in every moment; having awareness of our own free will and life force.

Simply trying to feel happy in the moment actually can backfire, but as this wonderful article points out, we can make an effort to plan our time out in a way that incorporates our most rewarding activities.

I’m currently choosing to use mine to spend time with my family and close friends, to make art and music, to learn web development, garden, eat well and move closer to a more minimal, intentional and eco-friendly environment in my home.

How will you use yours?

 

 

Introducing: The Scratch Paper Saver

I’m so very excited to present to you a new look, a new name, and a new blog. I wanted to be able to share something that was easy to say and remember, that I felt described me but also appealed to a wider audience. As the gap between the upper and lower class gets smaller and smaller, the landfills become bigger and bigger. There is a huge concern among the families that I come in contact with about both saving money (or being able to live on what little money can be made) and saving the environment (or at least not exacerbating the currently growing list of ecological disasters that humans have instigated on this planet.

Of course I also share these same concerns. There are many many great solutions to these troubles, and the more individuals that make more positive decisions and proactive choices, the closer we all will come to peace, prosperity and individual freedom. Welcome new friends, and thank you so much to my followers.

I look forward to helping you all to grow, lean and thrive along with me. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

(Photo credit: Blackzheep at freedigitalphotos.net)