One step forward, two steps back (and a decision to shop the neighbourhood for one month).

Our quest to reduce garbage and packaging was going so well…the trash can became the recycling bin  and one week’s worth of garbage could fit in a small unlined bin under the sink.  We made produce bags and hankies from old t-shirts that were too far gone for donation, bought compostable toothbrushes and compost like fiends.   I had also been trying to reduce recyclables. We even switched grocery delivery companies to a company which uses re-usable shopping bags instead of cardboard boxes (this came with other problems…more on that in another post). So, off to a good start, right?

Well, maybe not.  One day I got lazy and decided to use one of the many online courier services to get a huge pack of toilet paper, some marshmallows and chocolate almonds (free shipping over $39!).   I was expecting the toilet paper to come with one of those carrying handles and the rest in a small bag as it had before.   I’m embarrassed to say it came in the biggest box ever, with a bunch of plastic packaging (you know, in case the tp or marshmallows break?)….and it was shipped from California!  To NYC!  And it was “cheaper” than going next door and buying it.   But that’s not the true cost, is it?

IMG_5039
Made a castle with the humongous box shipped from California.  Both my son and I can sit in the castle.

We love to love New York City, the walkability, the cute independent shops and restaurants that make up the neighbourhood, the fruit stand man from whom we buy bananas and grapefruit and avocado.  We also love the convenience of having everything delivered.   Online shopping, which was a necessity when we had an infant and literally couldn’t get out of the house except on his schedule, is now a convenient pastime which also “saves” us money.   The reality is that shops in our neighbourhood are closing.   Part of the blame is that rents are too high, but one of the closing retailers blamed online shopping directly.   So, in addition to continuing to reduce the amount of waste we produce, for the month of October, I will resist online shopping (that box gave me serious guilt!).

Yesterday, Oct 2, was Day 1.  I was on a quest to find:

1) New bike helmet for O (a “want” not a need, he doesn’t like his current one but it still fits).

2) New scooter (he is outgrowing his)

3) Baby gift for a friend’s newborn

4) Birthday gift for an upcoming party.

5) Groceries

I found success for the bday gift and groceries.   Fail on the other counts.

One of the local independent bookstores sells kids bike helmets and scooters, but they didn’t have the right size/color.   The kids toy store doesn’t sell either one. Will check a local bike store this week or look in sporting goods.

Our neighbourhood baby store is closing and didn’t have anything good left.  Found another cute baby clothes store that just opened near the Museum of Natural History, but was surprised by the concept:   They have a room-full of clothes for display only.  If you buy something, they ship it to you in 2 days…you can’t actually take it home with you that day!  So much for that.

I have a feeling this month will be an eye-opening education and I will be doing a lot of walking.


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