Not made of (milk) money

I am trying to make decisions that will affect my child in a positive manner. I was environmentally conscious before she was born, I’m even more so now.


But this?

This is why folks choose the easy way (and often cheaper way) out. This is why people complain that living green doesn’t really make that much of a difference, that it’s just too expensive and too unsustainable a lifestyle on their pocket purse. This is why people reach for the styrofoam egg carton rather than the paper board one. Why they grab for the plastic gallon of milk rather than the old timey glass ones.


Local farm, made in my state. Glass bottle, returnable bottle. Sounds right up my alley. Right?


Now look at the prices. These prices are for 64 oz. of milk.
A gallon of milk at the same store is $3.35.
And if I drive 30 minutes into the bigger town here, I can find it for $1.86 a gallon at the discount store.

So, what’s the difference between this store and the discount store?

1. Piggly Wiggly sells name brands. The discount store (Aldi in this case) sells off brands.
2. Piggly Wiggly bags your groceries and will have a teenager carry them out to your car. At Aldi, you’re on your own.
3. Piggly Wiggly askes, “Paper or plastic?” Aldi doesn’t offer anything. You bring your own bag, and if you’re lucky they might have a few boxes lying around. If I forget my bag, I put the groceries directly back into the cart and then into my trunk.
4. Piggly Wiggly pays someone to collect the carts and bring them in. Aldi charges  a quarter to get a cart. In order to get your quarter back, you have to return it to the queue and it will spit your quarter out at you.
5. Piggly Wiggly allows check, cash, debit or credit. Aldi accepts cash or debit.
6. Piggly Wiggly has various employees working each department. The woman at Aldi who rings you up, also stocks the food and cleans the floors.
7. Did I mention Piggly Wiggly is the ONLY grocery store in the entire town? Aldi is one of many, 1/2 hour away.

But the tragic thing about the milk?


Out of this lot, if I remember correctly–four of these bottles expired a week and a half ago. Three of them expired last week. Look at all that milk wasted because it’s priced too high.

I stood in the milk section for ten minutes on the phone with my mother trying to figure out whether or not to be environmentally kind or financially rational.

Why should we have to choose one or the other?


Do you run into a rock and a hard place when you’re trying to do right by the environment and for the future of your kids and grandkids?


8 responses to “Not made of (milk) money

  1. I feel exactly the same way- and then, when you get into trying to avoid certain chemicals or hormones: it gets EVEN WORSE. I’m really grateful that I can grow my own things, but for those I can’t- it’s a logistical nightmare.

  2. So I wonder what decision you made. It is very difficult to balance between money and green….where does the fresh milk come from, maybe you could go direct to farmer or cow..take your own container…then if the price is right, buy as muvh as possible then freeze it

  3. This is a constant struggle–I hate that the healthy, environmental products are so much pricier. But, with two small children, I swallow the bitter pill and spend more for the organic milk, organic apples, safe sunscreen, etc. I know not all people have this “luxury” and I agree with you that it shouldn’t have to be a luxury for anybody to be safer and greener. Thanks for the thoughtful post.

  4. Yes, frustrating!! What would I do? Most of the time I do what I shouldn’t and that is buy less expensive and what I like best in taste and that usually means “brand”. However with that being said; I do shop around. Some things I can handle if outdated but never dairy products. I remember growing up with my brother milking the cow and mother churning to make our own butter, ice cream and even buttermilk for baking. Nothing wrong with that. It was all good! Sometimes I long for those days. I guess all in all convenience is not everything. Oh did I forget to mention…I’m only 19~~~~not!

  5. I know this feeling exactly! I take forever when I shop anyways, and I can’t even count how much time I’ve spent agonizing over decisions like this! If organic, environmentally friendly is just a little bit more expensive, it’s an easy decision, but usually it’s quite a big difference and then I agonize!

  6. Here in Ontario, our milk is sold in either bags or cartons – we buy the bags – you get three litre bags inside another bigger bag. I wash the bags out and reuse them instead of buying baggies for storing food – and the bigger bags get sent to the schools, who send them away to be made into braided mattress pads and sent to Haiti.

    I haven’t seen glass bottles here as an option since I was a kid..

  7. I like the glass milk bottles. Papa Bob

  8. The “container” is a very, very small part of the waste created in extracting milk for human consumption. When you wean your baby, WEAN her. That is, don’t simply switch from your milk (which she needs) to another’s (which she doesn’t). The environment — and your child, and your wallet — will thank you for it.

Tell me what you think. I don't get to answer comments like I did before baby but I read every single comment. And they really make my day!

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