Local Shopper Selfie: Green Family Living
By Suki Wessling
My main goal in this column is to feature local people who are doing their little bit to improve our community and our world. By chance, I noticed a Facebook post by Canaan Sasha, who detailed a few of the ways she is trying to improve her shopping habits. I need to talk to this person, I thought! And I did.
Canaan has lived and worked in Santa Cruz most of her life, and her enthusiasm for our little corner of the universe is infectious. Here is an edited version of our conversation about how to save the world, one little purchase at a time.
What is your project?
I started doing this a little over six months ago, trying to commit fully to being as green as possible and consider the waste that comes from a lot of food products. I have lived in Santa Cruz almost my whole life. We have a lot of stores that make waste-free shopping possible. I am so surprised when I go into stores in other places that have things like zucchini wrapped in plastic. I think that’s so unnecessary!
Which local stores make waste-free shopping easier?
Small grocery stores like Staff of Life are really great. They have bulk beauty products, even things I’d never bought before in bulk like massage oil. I like shopping local farmers markets as well, though sometimes things get busy and I’m not able to do it. I like going during the summer to get my berries because one thing I see in my local grocery store is that berries are in plastic containers. At the farmer’s market they will have them in paper boxes. If they come in plastic green boxes I can bring them back to have them reuse them.
Why do you think some people are hesitant to do this?
I think sometimes for folks who might be wanting to do a more of a reduced-waste living, it can seem like an awkward interaction. ‘I brought my own box, will they think that’s weird?’ But that’s not something I’ve found. People are used to it. When I go to buy my meats, I have them put the meat directly into a Tupperware that I brought. Not only are they really cool about it but they also give a 50-cent discount!
Is waste-free shopping more expensive?
I’m trying to be more mindful about the money I spend in general—it’s expensive to live here. But I got rid of my Amazon Prime account, and I’ve vowed to shop local as much as possible. It’s great to support local businesses, that helps the local economy. You can’t beat the convenience of doing it online, it just shows up at my house. But it’s important to try to minimize the environmental costs, too.
If you can find things in a non- chain store, that’s best. That’s not necessarily economically viable for everyone in the community, but I take that responsibility pretty seriously be- cause I know it’s not going to be possible for everyone.
Thanks to Canaan and to all of you who are doing your little bit to generate less waste in our community! If you or your business is doing something to pro- mote Green Family Living, please contact us. We’d be happy to feature you.