5 Easy ways to reduce plastic in your food shopping

We don’t need a few people to do Zero Waste perfectly, we need loads of people to do it imperfectly.

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You know what it’s like, you’ve seen the media footage, you don’t want to see suffering animals, find packaging from your purchase ending up in the sea or a landfill site on the other side of the world. You’ve heard of Zero Waste, but think these people must be on a completely different planet to you and in the haze and stress of it all, somehow, you have to work, live and shop somewhere. – Here’s 5 easy hassle free ways you can do just that, as well as feel better that you are helping to reduce the overall consumption of plastic!

#1 Glass bottles and jars & more Glass bottles & jars !

When you start shopping in your supermarket, start thinking in terms of bottles and jars. Most products will also come in a bottle or jar alternative. Tomato ketchup, pasta sauces, mayonnaise, cooking oils. If you swap as many of your products as you can to glass versions, you will stop bringing so much plastic even into the house. Glass is much easier to re-use in the house . For ideas on What can i do with my glass jars? another post I have written click here .

#2 Consider Tinned

If there’s no glass alternative – is there a tin version? We are so used to picking up plastic, sometimes we just don’t think about it. Tin is more Eco-friendly than plastic and ideas of re-use coming soon. I’m now using them in my garden! Also consider tinned for drinks in preference to particularly single use plastic drinks bottles.

#3 Look for Cardboard

Open any freezer at the supermarket and your likely to fill your trolley with a tonne of items in the worst kind of plastic, unlikely to be even recyclable. Some companies are moving to more cardboard packaging, and some don’t have plastic around the items inside either. Frozen is a good way of using items, as you want them and creating less wastage. But it is also worth considering the packaging here.

Same with cleaning and clothes washing items, lookout for cardboard options. You can even totally re-think these items, but more on that in other posts.

#4 Fruit & Veg – seriously!

It seems that veggie shops, food markets and bulk stores, happily manage to sell most of their fruit and veg without plastic. Walk into a supermarket and the chances are you’ll struggle to pick up the family fruit and veg without 70% of it being in some sort of plastic packaging.

Buy what you can package free

Try and buy what you can without the packaging, but remember most supermarkets are wanting you to buy more food not less. For example you only want 1 or 2 courgettes, however they are sold to you in a packet of 3! Unless you are organised with your cooking, or love courgettes! The chances are your 3rd courgette is looking less appetizing by the time you get to it, its then binned, and you’re looking to purchase another?? I think we can see where it’s going here!

Other veg options you might want to think about for the future:-

  • Shopping for fruit and veg at a market/ fruit and veg shop on a different day if need be.
  • Veggie box deliveries – often can be sourced online or in your locality
  • Start growing your own ? See my post gardening-for-non-gardeners
#5 Try One

Just chillax and try one change. When you really start to see the plastic and wonder where it will all end up, it can be overwhelming. It’s great that you want to make those changes but if you go at it too hard you’re more likely to frazzle and burn. Get one thing under your belt and then start with the next. If you’re doing really well then something happens and its all gone out of the window, don’t worry just start again. Don’t give up! You can do it!

For further reading ideas, I like the books by Martin Dorey (See below). His compact books No More Plastic & No More Rubbish Excuses are to the point, explain situations and dilemmas clearly and simply, and offer solutions. I love in No more rubbish excuses , just inside the front cover he has an area for annotating the passing on of the book to someone else. I thought this a cool idea, in following its journey.

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