Sunday, February 10, 2013

Going green... and the Tetra Pak

As you know, I am trying to change my lifestyle to become more green this year.  As a result, I have been looking into buying only humanely raised meats and eggs.  Yes, not only can this be expensive but it can even be difficult to find.  That said, on a daily basis I have been eating a lot more plant-based proteins.  In fact, this has become so normal to me that I have recently been considering going mostly vegan.

I started by picking out one daily thing that I consume and changing it to a vegan alternative.  Lately, I had been using cow's milk much more than I even used to, so I am starting there.  I am heartily against consciously adding any soy into my diet because soy is in just about everything, and since I already drink almond milk on a semi-regular basis I chose almond milk as my main milk alternative.

The only problem is the more closely I looked at what I was purchasing this week, I realized that I am now purchasing my milk exclusively in tetra paks, and when I was buying locally sourced milk it came in returnable glass jugs.  Now, I wouldn't be completely against making this switch permanent if tetra paks were recyclable.  Problem is though many people are under the assumption that this kind of packaging is made from paper therefore mistakenly throwing these containers in their recycle bins every day, they ultimately are a hybrid of paper, plastic, and in some cases even metal and are currently not able to be recycled.

So, I started to try to solve the wasteful packaging issue by possibly making almond milk myself. As I researched how to make almond milk from scratch I saw that it requires a high-quality food processor or blender and that it only lasts for about 3 days, unlike the store purchased almond milk which allows me 7-10 days to use it. Being a single gal that honestly doesn't always use a lot of milk shelf-stable almond milk has become a kind staple for me. Until now.

So, here I am at my first sustainable-living impasse of the year.  Do I continue to purchase cow's milk though it is sometimes expensive and ultimately I don't actually know if the cow's from that local farm are pasture-raised, or do I keep throwing tetra paks into the landfills?  Obviously, that is hyperbole, my intention is to do neither but that is why I need your help.

Today, I am not posing solutions or recipes as much as I am asking for your input.  I am still thinking about how to transition myself into a mostly vegan lifestyle (i.e. I may still eat eggs occasionally since I can buy those directly from the farmer, and I will on occasion eat meat that I know has been humanely raised, and I am never strict about what I eat when at another person's house).  But, I can't continue to use almond milk in good conscience knowing the packaging is simply going to the bottom of a landfill, and frankly I just don't have the high quality blender I would need nor do I have time every three days to make fresh almond milk. So, I need your help figuring out a solution.  Here are my questions for you, is there a way to can homemade almond milk in mason jars?  Do you know of any inexpensive sources for pasture-raised cow's milk?  Or are there uses for empty tetra paks, so that I can reuse them on my own?  I am open to any and all suggestions. Thanks for your help.

1 comment:

Geoffrey Arnold said...

Great questions, but I'm not sure of any solutions out of this beside continued use of cow milk at higher prices. I'll ask Wirzba if he know of any alternate solutions.