How to go Plastic-Free
We are so reliant on plastic in our everyday lives that going plastic-free can be quite a challenge, but it is achievable. We set out to become a plastic-free household a year ago and it took a while to tackle everything. Here are a few tips about food.
My advice is to take it in stages and celebrate each achievement. Start with the obvious – always carry a reusable cup, shopping bags and water bottle. Make your own packed lunch, or, if you buy lunch to go, take your own container – most traders will be more than happy to fill it and it leads to some interesting conversations.
Think about your food shop. Switch to loose fruit and veg rather than packaged. Remember that there is still an environmental cost to paper bags. I made some lightweight cotton bags which I take to the greengrocer, but I often put larger veg such as parsnips and carrots straight into the shopping basket – they don’t actually need to go in a bag. I have also made a separate washable cloth bag for my bread. For meat and fish, find a butchers and fishmongers who are happy to weigh their goods straight into your own containers. I plan my shop in advance, so I have the right number and size of containers. I also take my own jars and small containers to the deli and have olives, cheese and cooked meats weighed straight into them. It may feel a bit strange asking at first, but I have found that small shops are more than happy to help.
Try to find a local milk delivery. We live in quite an isolated spot and the local milk lady wasn’t keen to come out to us at first, but I contacted my neighbours and once I had a small group wanting deliveries, she was willing to extend her milk round. Now we have milk delivered in returnable glass bottles.
I found dried food such as pasta and nuts the hardest problem as there was nowhere to buy them loose – which is why we set up Another Weigh. Now you can bring your own container and fill up with what you need.
There is no doubt that refusing single-use plastic takes a bit more effort. There aren’t many convenience foods that don’t come wrapped in plastic, so it does mean making more food from scratch, but that tends to be cheaper and healthier, so it is worth it. The first few months can be daunting and often demoralising, but it gets easier once you know where and how to shop.
Watch our website for further tips on how to switch from single-use plastic.