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My zero waste grocery shopping challenge continues. And you know what, it is beginning to leak over into other parts of my life too. But for now, I’ll just do a grocery shopping update.

We’ve been doing really well. I love the shampoo bar I bought a month ago and my curly hair loves it too. It is not technically soap and it has so many moisturizing ingredients in it that I no longer need to buy conditioner. Inexpensive, long lasting, completely natural, comes wrapped in paper—it’s an all around win.

Waldo and Dickens are just fine with the Okocat pine pellet litter. It seems to last longer than the clay litter we’ve always bought too. So another big win.

The latest obstacle will take some work to figure out. Lip balm. I need to get some soon and I spent a lot of time at the co-op on my last visit looking at my options. Everything comes in plastic tubes. There were two that did not, they were in little aluminum tins, but they both had beeswax in them. Since I am vegan, beeswax made them a no go.

So I am wondering if just plain cocoa butter (food grade) would liquify in my pocket or would it just get a little mushy? I am okay with mushy. The melt factor is why lip balms all have wax in them. The one I currently use that I will need to give up on has candelilla wax which comes from a plant. I checked online and can buy candelilla wax if I need to. But I am going to first try melting some cocoa butter with a little coconut oil and see if maybe I can get away without using any wax at all. I will let you know.

Our other conundrum is happening with pasta. We love buckwheat noodles and they are all in plastic packaging. We are going to venture over to a nearby Asian market in the next week or two to see if they might have some non-plastic encased options. If they do not, we will need to decide whether we give up on buckwheat noodles or learn to make our own. We can buy elbow noodles and spiral noodles in bulk without packaging. And we can buy spaghetti, lasagna and brown rice noodles in a box so we just have to go in search of buckwheat noodles. Of all the silly things.

We have changed our kitchen trash bags to compostable plastic. The bags come in a box.

James and I are fans of sriracha sauce and while our co-op carries a couple different brands, they are all in plastic. Granted, all of the plastic bottles are recyclable, but as this zero waste thing has progressed, I would like to avoid as much plastic as possible even if I can recycle it. So we are considering trying some hot sauce in glass from the salsa aisle, or give making our own a try. We have not yet decided.

Something else we are mulling over: ketchup. All the ketchup comes in plastic and we are considering whether it would be more economical and earth friendly to make our own. We would have to buy the tomatoes and sauce in cans this time of year so I am not certain how it might all balance out. Must think about that some more.

Looking ahead to a time when the snow has melted and the world is growing again, we decided to join a CSA. Sin Fronteras is a little different than the usual CSAs around here. The produce has a Latin flare. We will be getting jalapeno, poblano, and other peppers, cilantro and some other herbs and spices I have never heard of in addition to the standard CSA staples. They also have add ons that include 40 pounds of tomatoes for canning, salsa ingredients, pinto beans, black beans, and traditionally made corn tortillas. We opted for the black and pinto beans and the tortillas.

While the produce will not start until June, the tortilla delivery already has. These are the best tortillas I have had since leaving California more than 20 years ago. They are wrapped in paper and when James picks them up Saturday mornings they were still warm. We get a dozen every week and they do both yellow and blue corn.

I recently found out some exciting news. A new shop called Tare Market is opening a few blocks away from me in April. Tare Market is a zero waste store. Not only will the store be selling zero waste products, but they also strive for zero waste business practices. I will be biking over to check them out when they open.

And, according to Smithsonian Magazine zero waste grocery stores are becoming a trend. They even suggest that conventional retailers will soon be picking up on this trend and offering zero waste aisles. Of course an entire zero waste store is ideal, but an aisle is a foothold that will bring more awareness. After all, I remember when organic was a tiny aisle at conventional grocery stores and now I can go to the the small store a couple blocks from my house and find organic integrated into the regular food selections.

Zero waste is popping up all over the place!