First off, planning to go on vacation and not create waste is certainly a challenge. There are many factors to consider and much planning to avoid the convenience of disposable products. I started with the shopping and packing before we even left. In the past I would buy easy to cook things that usually come in lots of packaging and are cheap (to save money for other things of course). But this time I shopped just like I would for our home, except that I had to consider what wouldn't be on hand since it wasn't our home. I made sure we had things like oil and tamari and lots of local eggs and milk in glass bottles (yes, it was heavy). I made a lot of granola (finally hit on a recipe that everyone loves!) and made sure we had popcorn and rice and noodles, maple syrup and cheese and juice in glass bottles... all of the basics for an enjoyable trip with a family.
Here is what our fridge looked like when we got to the house in cape cod:
bug spray, but it was certainly super expensive there. Too bad. I know that most natural food stores that are privately owned are this expensive. I like to support them, but there was no way that I could afford to shop there all week. In the end, we ended up at st*p and sh*p for some of the products that we usually buy at our co-op. It's great that more people can access good products at their supermarket, but it's too bad we had to go into one to buy them. HOLY CRAP those gigantic stores are so overwhelming! How does one shop there on a regular basis?? There is SO MUCH stuff and it's everywhere. And everyone is just wandering up an down isles like there is just too much to choose from. There is something to be said here about simplicity for sure... but I digress.
All in all, we ate really well. We brought our own napkins and dish towels to avoid the disposable options in the house (I'm thinking that the owners are glad we didn't deplete their supply as well). We ate outside for almost every meal, which was great.
Instead of souvenir shops, we hit thrift stores for special cape cod finds. We searched and found some hit or miss style.
Things we found:
- crocs for daughter
- unused coloring books (an awesome Mayan one that I claimed for myself!)
- beautiful dress for daughter
- tennis balls, unused in package, $1 - perfect because we needed new tennis balls to play tennis on our trip and didn't want to buy them from some chain store
- a few other essential clothing items for my boys
- the next size in "skinny" jeans for my already clothing obsessed 4 yr old... I blame his older siblings on this issue, but that's another post
- nice new condition pillows for our sofas, we definitely needed more
- an awesome stainless steal breakfast set with a syrup, milk and sugar container in a cute little wicker serving tray... for $1 total
- much needed shorts for my partner
We did of course enjoy the local seafood and other delicious treats that are mandatory on vacation. Don't worry, we didn't deprive ourselves of very much at all.
But since this post is going to end up going on forever, I will simplify with photos and a little something about each photo.
Mmmm. These delicious crab cakes and fresh shrimp came from Mac's Seafood, just about the best place to get your fish from on the cape. The people at Macs were awesome - they happily put my crab cakes and shrimp in my own containers. The one guy did admit that he had never been asked to do it before, but he liked the idea.
Hole in One donut shop. We went to their shop in Orleans and they happily put our donuts in our own container. I explained that we were trying to reduce the packaging that we use and the girl who helped me thought that was a cool idea. She did a great job squishing our donuts into the container so they would fit without any issues.
Anyhow, the guy scooping the ice cream was super interested in what we were doing by the end and was telling us all about the classes he's been taking in college about how people are buying differently now and thinking more about the consequences of their buying habits... Let's hope this becomes more of the norm.
In Povincetown, we opted to eat at this really nice little upstairs farm to table restaurant called tinys. It was a little pricey but the prices made sense and we were happy to support them in exchange for a great meal. I loved how they put their menus on upcycled pieces of wood.
The kids got this amazing french toast, made from Provincetown Portuguese sweet bread and maple butter.
This was what my partner got, a 100% chemical, hormone, antibiotic free pasture raised local beef burger.
And the cucumber was actually homemade pickles.
I am also not going to lie: we bought some packaged items. Had I been thinking, I would have traveled with a gigantic container and gone to the cape cod potato chip factory and asked them to fill our bucket... but I wasn't thinking. So we bought cape cod potato chips in bags. And they were good.
Ok, enough about food. I wanted to also share that we successfully only filled one trash bag half way for the whole week - there were the 5 of us, plus our dog, plus 3 guests throughout the week. Not bad, even if it is much more than we have been producing at home. The trash and recycling guys tried to come and pick up the trash mid week, but were very confused. They were looking everywhere for our trash but gave up and left. I bet they were REALLY confused when they came yesterday and found almost nothing to take... However, we did have one full trash bag of recycling and one paper bag full of paper recycling (we brought this home because I wasn't sure that they would take everything that we recycled).
And now for some of the fun shots of my family enjoying themselves on the beach:
Conclusion: it is possible to continue living a conscious, low impact lifestyle and take a fun vacation without missing out.