Monday, March 24, 2008

the great milk debate

There's a debate raging in our household, and we're not sure how to solve it. We drink a lot of milk (probably about 16 litres every 10 days between 3 people). We're concerned about the environment, and we're also increasingly concerned about what hormones and chemicals we ingest. At least my husband and I are. The Lima Bean generally goes along with whatever we decide in that department, as long as the end result is a glass of milk at the table, and a bottle of milk at bedtime.

Four litres of milk cost approximately $5 when it comes in the 3 plastic pouch bags and $8 if we buy it in two x 2L milk cartons. We haven't checked the price on a 4L plastic jug yet. Now, if we shift over to organic milk, the price changes to $8 for 3 plastic pouch bags and then goes up from there.

In Ontario, the cartons and plastic jugs are recyclable, but the plastic bags (the cheapest alternative) are not. We can wash, dry and re-use them, but eventually, they will end up in a landfill.(For all we know, the other options will as well, but I prefer to remain optimistic on that front that they are indeed being recycled). And then there is a bottled milk option where we are....which is probably the best of all options since it is produced locally by what I perceive (but am not entirely sure) is a smaller dairy farm. And I have no idea how much that option costs at all.

So here's our foodie dilemma. How do we remain cost and health conscious, but at the same time environmentally responsible? Should we suck it up and plunk down whatever it costs for the organic milk that has the best recycling possibility? Do we sacrifice the environment, or our health? How much of a danger really is non-organic milk in Ontario?

We're starting to pay more attention now to what we buy, and eat. Our meat is all antibiotic-free and free-range, if it isn't organic, and I do buy organic when I think it makes the most sense. All the jarred foods we buy for the littlest monkey are organic. I like the idea of eating locally, but only if I am sure their practices jive with what I think is responsible (ie no pesticides, no chemicals..)

I find this issue to be such a quagmire, and there is only so much time I can devote to researching it. I will have to do some reasearch. I'll try and publish what I find here, but if anyone out there has any comments or feedback in the meantime, I'd love to hear it....

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