1. the past few weeks, i've started asking for cheese behind the cheese counter to be put into my container from home. i just ask for what i'd like and hold out my container asking, "and would you mind putting it in this?" with a smile. the people look a bit puzzled, but always oblige. soon they'll be used to me, and hopefully not dreading the sight of me. :) previously, the bulk cheese was only wrapped in a scant amount of plastic wrap, and i felt a bit odd asking at the counter. the cheese now comes all packaged in thicker plastic packages, so i found the courage to ask at the counter. small victory for me, not for the packaged cheese.
2. we've taken to collecting pizza and bread crusts that don't get eaten (i know we should eat all of them or make breadcrumbs), butter wrappers, compostable parchment paper (i know...silpat- but does that work for roasting vegetables?)...to be put into the more heavy-duty compost at whole foods. some items are compostable, but need a bigger compost pile to break down and/or not attract pests (rather than our backyard compost heap). we get additional free compost (rich soil) from the this source each spring, so i feel good about adding to their pile. :)
here's the thing:
i've been asking for my bread to be put into a cloth bag for years now. it would be lovely to say that i have a friendly chat with the woman behind the counter each week, but i know she doesn't like trying to manipulate the sliced bread into the bag. she's not really happy to see me. i just give her a big grateful smile and sincere thank you and go on my way.
while i have no problem doing things a bit differently and getting a few strange looks along the way, i don't like to put other people out. i have a hard time asking for favors. i'm not good with small talk. i'm a bit shy. it can take a bit of nerve to walk up to the counter and ask for something different.
when i started making an effort to move toward zero-waste grocery shopping a few years ago, we were so blessed to encounter an enthusiastic check-out woman and a cheerful bagger who offered encouragement and acceptance. these two slowly became friends that we looked forward to seeing each week. as the years have passed those cheerleaders have gotten promotions and had babies (so happy for them!)... and some of the ones that are left sometimes make us feel like we are nuisances. i pick my check-out lane carefully. :)
i just want to say, if you face resistance along the way...take courage in knowing we are pioneers, we are educators, we are part of a community, we are doing what we feel is right and good. the earth and i are your cheerleaders, and you are not alone! :)