Of course one can bring a re-usable cloth bag, or re-use a plastic bag that they acquired some other way (in an ideal world such plastic bags would cease to be acquired but alas they still find their way into our homes for now...) and I did that up until today when I decided it was time to funnel it up a notch. And funnel it up I did.
The thing for me was - not only was it ridiculously messy to transfer spice from a cloth bag to a container, I also felt I was wasting precious spices when I would re-fill a cloth bag. If you've ever done this (and I hope you have :), then you know. Invariably the spices stick to the bag, then one has to either rinse or wash, and when we're talking hydrophobic powders, this can be tricky mess, resulting in water, energy waste and spice waste. Not to mention you paid for that, so why you be wastin' brah?
1. Bring you spice container(s), and funnel to the store
2. Get the cashier to weigh the empty container and write down that amount *Disclaimer*: you will get some funny looks by standing in line with seemingly nothing in hand, and then placing an empty container on the belt, but what is life if not for funny looks and shifting people's paradigms
3. Once you have the empty weight, select your spice, grab your funnel, and work it in the bulk isle
4. When done, proceed to check-out, explain the situation*, and chat it out -every opportunity, and interaction, can be one of shared connection, and shared experience
*Now, in Calgary, at Community Natural Foods (one of my favourite stores in Calgary), they are quite familiar with this task because they have a soaps and shampoos re-fill station, so they are used to pre-weighing the empty container, writing that weight on it, then they will deduct that weight once at the till with your full container. It's pretty standard. At Save-On (where I was today), they were a bit in the dark about this concept, and claimed their tills couldn't do this. I imagine they can, as I imagine there are not too many systems that grocery stores use? I could be wrong. Either way, the cashier took a calculator and manually did it for me which I commend...plus, who doesn't like an excuse to use a calculator ;) In time, this will be the norm, for now, we're re-setting that norm.
You know, for now, this is a "weird" thing to do. Actually I don't think it's weird, but supposing it is. It's only as it is because we as a society have not yet taken and accepted this action into our daily discourse.
I won't lie, at first I felt bad and also intimidated - taking time to explain my issue, confusing the cashier, and people in front and behind me in line. But, sometimes you just have to do these things. How else do things change? And, why is it that I feel bad for trying to protect something that effects all of us - not just me. I suppose when these types of things are not at the forefront of our minds, or at the tips of our feelings, (i.e. - refusing plastic and why it makes sense, why we feel the urge to do so), I'm seen as merely some person who is causing ruckus, and taking up time. I'm the one thing standing in the way of the next person in line to get back to their day. Perhaps. But also perhaps not. And either way, I can't be worried about that because what's more important than time, is respecting mother nature. And anyway, it's all a mind-set, who knows how the other people actually felt. Maybe those behind me are those who have already realized that there is no such thing as "waiting", that every moment is a chance to reflect and be present in our life. Bottom line, we can't worry about these things, we must simply act in a way that feels right, for us.
It may seem like I took up more time than I would have had I bought a bag of cinnamon, I will agree that likely it is quicker to run in and buy a bag, but as I mentioned above - it's not about time, it's about doing what feels right, and to just buy a bag doesn't sit right inside my soul.
Let's get real - it was also cheaper $1.10 total, and I now have zero waste from that transaction. But again, it's not about all the logical reasons why it makes more sense, it's literally about how I FEEL.
Or, as the nice woman behind the customer service desk suggested before I told her that it was actually in an attempt to avoid plastic, I should just fill a plastic bag available in the bulk isle, then transfer it to my container once in the comfort of my home. This, arguably, would have taken more time, as I would have now had a task upon arriving home, whereas otherwise, I was free to go about my day. So, I explained my reasonings to the customer service woman, and while she was a bit confused at first, the message reached her because when I came back, she then explained to another cashier (who rang me in) what I was doing and why. So that's pretty cool. :)
The cashier who rang me through said she had never seen this before. To which I responded "Well, that's no good, because there is an awful lot of plastic in this universe already, and we don't need more!" So, maybe I was the first person she ever saw do this. Does that mean it didn't help because I'm only one person?
No. Absolutely not.
For one, every bag counts, every act counts. But for two, I interacted with three people at Save-On directly. I also indirectly interacted with all those who saw me funnel my cinnamon into my container in the bulk isle and thought "what the heck is she doing?" or maybe they thought "hey, what a great idea"... or maybe they didn't think, but they still witnessed it, and maybe when they see it again it will trigger a thought. Who knows how it may all unfold. I also interacted with the people in line, who saw me with an empty container, and watched as I got it weighed. Who knows how many people saw this random act, and that is only one level of the impact.
The point is, and what Charles Eisenstein has taught me is we can't possibly know the full effect of our actions. It's crazy to think we have no impact at all, that much is true. I think we all know we have some, but what we don't often realize is the ripple effects of our actions that go deeper, and speak louder than our current mind-set would have us believe. Trust in that even if it doesn't make rational sense to the thinking brain.
At the end of the day though, I don't do it for the external impact, though it's nice to consider what that might be (and I think we have a tendency to consider such things). I do it because it feels weird, and out of alignment with my core self, to do otherwise. To get a plastic bag when I know the repercussions of that bag, and how it will last in our universe forever? To get a plastic bag when I have viable options and alternatives? Not only does it not make logical sense, inside, it literally hurts inside to do otherwise. And I hope that isn't seen as a bad thing. To me, it's a beautiful compass that directs my actions. If it hurts, I don't do it, and if I listen, I can be in utter alignment, and true to myself. The trick is, to really listen, and really feel.
I believe it isn't until it hurts that we can truly, and honestly, move beyond, and forward, into actions that speak from the heart. After all, as many have alluded to - we don't hurt what we love. And I love mother nature, the universe, and all the beings in it.
That's my thought process - what's yours?