Last week, I spent $15 on a salad during my lunch break and was left a hole in my pocket, a pile of plastic utensils, and a huge clamshell container to deal with. Why is grabbing a quick lunch so damn expensive and wasteful? Well, packaging is costly for restaurants and you're also essentially paying people to make your food. It's a pretty penny to pay for a quick bite and an eternity of plastics breaking down into our water and food systems.
That said, I challenged myself to get a fresh lunch that is plastic-free and only $5.
@cliffset Five. Five dollar. Five dollar baaaaagel. #elfitup #food #plastic #plasticfree #sustainablefashion #sustainable #fresh ♬ Lost - Album Version - Frank Ocean
The thing is, fresh ingredients are usually plastic-free and most sustainable. Better for you and better for the earth. Most grocery stores have a bakery inside as well as a produce section. So, today I decided to walk a couple blocks to my store and got a fresh bagel served in a brown paper bag which was $1.29. The person behind the counter had to print out a plastic barcode sticker, unfortunately. Avocado prices are ridiculous but so am I, so I found a sticker-less one for $2.99. Then, I grabbed a roma tomato which weighed out to $0.58. The salt and pepper packets are free but was skeptical about whether or not they're lined with plastic. I've found that most sachets, such as tea bag wrappers, are.
At the park, I used my personal, portable Cliffset cutlery to cut the ingredients and assemble a pretty tasty everything bagel with avocado and tomato. I used the alcohol-based spray and cloth to clean my utensils so they're ready for tomorrow. Bringing your own utensils has been a lifesaver and has definitely felt better than using disposables.
The avocado scraps and non-lined paper go in the compost (if your city has compost or you have a yard to do it yourself, please do). I consolidated the sticker and salt packets and threw those into landfill. Though, just a gram of landfill waste is definitely better than nearly half of a pound of non-recyclable plastic waste.
The total cost was just $4.86 which is a screaming deal for San Francisco. Best of all, I had a nice break from the office to enjoy some outdoor time.