One day, I dream of having a kitchen completely free of plastic. In the mean time, with a small budget and no car, I will continue to buy my groceries at Trader Joe’s.
Unfortunately, Trader Joe’s finds a way to package most of its produce. Brussel sprouts, broccolini, garlic, citrus… They wrap so many products in plastic or mesh netting that don’t exactly need packaging at all!
In the meantime, before I can afford to buy all my produce at farmers markets and dry goods at bulk stores, I will just make sure I know how to recycle all the Trader Joe’s packaging I do buy.
Mesh Vegetable Bags
All sorts of produce come in these bags, especially at Trader Joe’s! You’ll commonly find garlic and potatoes wrapped in this nylon material.
Be warned! Some citrus fruits – like cuties – come in a different type of mesh that resembles fish netting. This material gets caught in recycling machinery, so you can’t recycle it.
However, you can recycle sturdier mesh vegetable bags! Typically, the mesh consists of plastics 1, 2, or 4 or polypropylene plastic #5. Double check whether your area recycles those specific items, but typically, most areas do!
Trader Joe’s mesh bags have a thick paper label on top, which you can also recycle.
Plastic Bread Bags
As it turns out, most bread bags don’t advertise what type of plastic they’re made of. This can make recycling challenging!
According to my research, you can recycle the plastic bags your bread comes in wherever you recycle plastic grocery bags. I previously discussed in this post that in Evanston, I can recycle plastic bags (along with bubble wrap and other plastic films!) at Jewel-Osco or my local library.
In short, you can’t send the plastic bread bag off with your regular recycling, but you can still recycle it!
So far, I’ve only investigated these two types of Trader Joe’s packaging. I’d love to hear what recycling questions you have about your grocery store runs!