|My haul of bagged grocery items; condiments, yogurt, milk, OJ and sauces.|
One of my pet peeves about cruising is the lack of recycling we find along the way. With the exception of Europe, (and a few places in Colombia) we have found very few places to recycle anything. We try to be conscientious consumers and buy as few plastic receptacles as possible, but UHT milk, juice boxes and yogurt are staples in our diet and its hard going without those (note to self, get off your butt and figure out how to make yogurt at sea). At sea we can deposit tin and paper products over the side, so that definitely reduces the garbage, but in port we generate at least twice as much garbage as we do at home with the abundant curbside recycling options. The beaches are littered with single use plastic bottles, so we try really hard not to buy those, and although I schlepp several liters of water around every time we go ashore, in hot climates we still end up buying the odd bottle here and there. The reason I write this blog while we are in Colombia is because I have been pleasantly surprised with some of the packaging options there are in the stores in this country. The single use plastic bottles are still prevalent everywhere, but the fresh juice vendors along the streets will fill a glass you bring one from home (yes, they give you a funny look, but they do it). In the stores many of the items that would be boxed or in plastic are packaged in extra touch plastic bags. Everything from milk, orange juice, cream, pickles, condiments, yogurt, and dish soap can be bought bagged. Of course it is a little more work because you have to have a receptacle to empty the contents of the bag in when you get home from shopping and then clean it when you are finished, but I for one have the time, so I like the tradeoff. I keep the UHT bags of milk in the shower because Mike will kill me if one ever breaks in the boat (spoiled milk in the tropics would be a hard smell to get out of a bilge). In fact, the bags are easier than recycling because you don’t have to store a bunch of recycled material separately on the boat.
Our garbage has reduced considerable in Colombia and along with it, my guilt.