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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

waste not, want not

grocery shopping day...hand in hand, on guard with my plastic kit!

This is what I bought:

I couldn't buy: Yoghurt, asparagus, broccolini, a head of lettuce.

I went to the deli section and saw some yummy looking veal stuffed with prosciutto, bocconcini and rocket. Got my plastic container out of my bag and said: 4 pieces please and please use my container.
The shop assistant said: I'm sorry ma'am, but we cannot use your container. I am sorry but it's due to our hygiene regulations. See(she picked up a plastic container from her side) we know that this is not contaminated but we cannot be sure that your container is not.
So, out of weakness and wanting the damn veal I almost said "yes" to her container...but thought I can not do this half hearted.
I said in response: I understand, look I am trying to cut down my plastic use, I will leave it, thanks anyway.
She said: Ma'am it's nothing to do with you, I am sure you are very clean, It's just some other customer might be really dirty and come in with a mouldy container and we would be responsible for the contamination. It's regulation.
I said: I understand, that's fine but I am making some lifestyle changes and this regulation doesn't fit in with me?!
She said: Ma'am it's nothing to do with you....

At this point I felt like an alien, all the shop staff were looking at me and it started to become a little scene, that people were taking notice of. So I let the "ma'am, ma'am" shop assistant have her last say and went off with a smile: Thanks anyway!

What can we do? Maybe if we walk around with contracts stating that we are 100% responsible for any contamination that arises from our own plastic container?
Any suggestions? I would love to hear!

So today's waste from my shopping trip was:

and I am proud as punch!


  1. Hi,
    Environmental concerns r important 2 everyone. I live in North East India where these concerns are paramount. Hope we can talk more. visit my blog
    Regards, Erwin

  2. nice work! great transmission of the exchange with shop assistance ma'am:) it does highlight what you are up against - yes! a little personal disclaimer! seriously, great idea! youth law can maybe help with the disclaimer idea? they are nice organisation of lawyers who help young people negotiate legal stuff and are generally 'right on':)

  3. Wow Yumi - What an ordeal... I'm so proud of you for saying N.O. loud and clear (and very politely)... hopefully you've created such a fuss that they'll mention it too the manager and then they'll mention it to someone who can make a difference! xEmma

  4. Hi Erwin, thank you for your comment! I would love to know what is happening with sustainability in India?

    iinekore and feeling fuzzy, thanks for the suggestions. I have posted up about co-op's and I spoke to them about it. They said that it's an issue everywhere and that they have troubles with the council about the self service and bring your own container aspect...we just have to continue supporting stores like this!

  5. oh yumi-chan! you are so gorgeous! I think YOU should win the prius! Good on you Yumi-chan! I am very impressed!

  6. This wouldn't happen in a country town.. Cities have become so terrified of humanity..terrified of the germs that might exist on the strange person sitting next to them on the bus, or the container-girl in the deli..and the fact that she kept saying "its nothing personal ma'am" highlights that she anticipated you to take it personally and get angry and cause a scene.. which says a lot too..
    Anyway - you're diet is doing wonders for you (and humanity) my dear.

  7. Hi Yumi... Liane Rossler put me on to your site! :) It is great! I really admire your determination!

    I was going to suggest perhaps if there is a legal problem with potential 'contamination', maybe in all shops serving take-away food there could be a 30 second sterilising machine thingo. Ie like a small dishwashy-type machine which sprays your container with boiling water or steam or something to 'de-contaminate' it. You know, like how Mums sterilise babie's bottles and dummies? This would take a few moments and then your container could be used! I am sure there are actually machines a bit like this already in hospitals etc.

    Hmm.. Maybe this idea needs to be patented!

  8. Thank you Lucy! That is a great the meantime I have had to abandon these stores and stick with the co-ops and home cooking!

  9. hello yumi san
    I am in queensland and I am taking brown bags and that seems to be fine. Have not tried taking containers but I have seen my friend filling soy sauce in a bottle that she had brought. I wonder if it is an issue here as well or just over there?
    Or queensland people are a bit more laid back?
    I am going to a local health food store tomorrow so I will find out what they think.