Shopping without plastic waste
This week’s ‘Change the World Wednesday’ challenge sounds nigh on impossible to me.
Small Footprints has said “This week refuse to buy anything which is, or which comes in, plastic. Instead, opt for Eco-friendly items and packaging … or do without.”
You know how much I love a challenge, particularly one which involves reducing waste, but I don’t think I can achieve this high target.
I’ve been reducing packaging waste as much as possible over the past 3 years, but I still buy things in plastic which is then recycled. I know that recycling is the least of the 3 Rs we should be using, but it’s oh so easy to recycle the packaging rather than give up a product you love isn’t it?
So here’s a photo of a typical week’s shopping for us:
All fruit and vegetables are bought in paper bags from a local organic farm shop – how lucky are we!
You’ll see tinned beans and fish – the tins are recycled after use and picked up from the kerbside.
There is butter in a paper wrapper along with olives and cheese bought in our own containers from the deli.
The honey comes in a glass jar with a lid that can be recycled or kept and reused. We sometimes buy products such as mayonnaise or tomato puree and I always buy these in glass jars.
So far so good.
However, chicken and sausages (not pictured because we buy those at the weekend) are bought, yep, you’ve guessed it, in our own reusable plastic containers! We do this to reduce disposable plastic waste. How could I improve on this? Well I could purchase some stainless steel containers which I would love to do but first these types of containers are virtually impossible to buy in the UK and second, we all need to remember that NO purchase is the most eco friendly of all. I still have perfectly usable plastic containers, so to me, it’s right that I use them until they wear out.
We’ve bought juice and soya milk in tetra pak cartons – altought we can recycle these too, they have a layer of plastic inside so are not plastic free.
Mr Green has cows milk in his coffee which comes in a plastic jug – recycled, but still plastic.
Pistachios are in laminated PP; ie foil with plastic bonded onto it. This is currently very difficult to recycle but we no longer have a local bulk buy bin store so it’s either throw away the packaging or go without.
Yogurt pots are washed out and recycled, but they are plastic. I could make my own yogurt but the milk comes in a plastic jug!
There are three other items too which come in plastic packaging – rice cakes, sprouted seeds and ryvita. Sprouted seeds we have done ourselves in the past, but hey, the seeds come in a plastic bag and the sprouter itself is plastic! Rice cakes I can’t even see a way around – I wouldn’t have a clue how to make them at home and erm, rice comes in plastic bags. Finally ryvita, one of Little Miss Green’s favourite foods; I guess I could make crackers in the oven, but you know what? I don’t think I’m going to.
So this week is a definite fail from Mrs Green; but it’s been insightful, if not a little scary, to see just how much plastic we are still using…
What about you – can you do a weekly food shop without buying plastic?