We all know that plastic isn’t good for the planet, you don’t need yours truly here to tell you that but sometimes it can feel near impossible to avoid it, no matter how hard you try. I find this is especially true when it comes to food shopping and the kitchen. If, like me though, you’re trying to be a little more sustainable where you can, or you’re making a conscious effort to cut down on plastic consumption then here are five simple swaps I’ve found to be a good move in the right direction…
Ditch the teabags and brew up with some loose leaf tea
Believe it or not, I was only last-year year’s old when I found out that teabags contain plastic. Yup, Twinings, PG Tips, Yorkshire, and Tetley teabags are all made and sealed using a small amount of oil-based plastic which ain’t exactly doing the environment much good. This teeny tiny amount of plastic may seem like no big deal – especially to those who love a good brew as much as I do – small quantities of plastic like this often end up as microplastic which will never break down.
Most of these companies are now looking to release biodegradable teabag alternatives (thankfully) but the simplest way to cut out plastic (and to save yourself some money in the process) is to switch to loose leaf tea. Treat yourself a tea strainer, add your leaves, steep ’em good and then throw the leaves straight in the compost when you’re done. That reminds me…I must be about due a breakfast date at LEAF West Kirby some time soon…
Buy your 5-a-day loose rather than pre-packaged
Picking up a multipack of avocados might be convenient and those plastic-wrapped broccoli can seem all too tempting in the midst of a global health pandemic but it’s best to avoid packaging where possible. Supermarkets use an extortionate amount of plastic to package up multi-packs of fruit and vegetables when the items could just as easily be purchased as singles – and better yet, purchased as singles from your local farm shop or independent grocery store.
BYOC – Bring Your Own Container
There’s nothing I love more than a good mooch around a deli counter or farm shop – even the ones that most UK supermarkets have but boy, are these rife with single use plastic. Rather than buying your goods in the plastic pots provided, think about taking your own reusable container and ask the attendant to weigh it out and fill it for you.
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Times are so hard for so many businesses right now but it gives me the warm & fuzzies to see how many of them are adapting and how the local community is responding ☺️ We placed an order for some fresh fruits, veggies and meat at our local farm shop @claremontfarm yesterday afternoon then went to pick it up, where the box was placed straight into our car boot by a member of staff after contactless payment via the phone 👏🏼 Supporting local businesses, reducing trips to the supermarket and staying safe 💚🥦🥕🍓 (the guys were even able to pick us a bangin’ bottle of red off the shelf after a full brief of what we liked! 🍷)
Stock up on your cupboard staples in bulk
Whether it be oats, rice, flour, spices or, in my case, Lotus Biscoff spread, if you use an ingredient regularly, then buy it in bulk. Buying multiple smaller packets of ingredients means using more plastic packaging as the surface area of the product is larger. Do the math. I had a bit of an epiphany when I was buying some pots of greek yoghurt recently – why buy a whole stack of individual pots when I could buy a big tub with dramatically less packaging on it? No brainer. If you can’t find bulk items in the supermarket, then check online or use it as the perfect excuse for a trip to Costco.
FFS, don’t forget to recycle!
Sadly, for the time being, it is virtually impossible to avoid plastic altogether and I truly commend anybody who manages to do it. Sustainable shops with refillable bulk sections are growing in popularity but remain isolated to certain areas and are often priced way more highly than conventional supermarkets. So, if cost and budget is a huge factor for you then the eco-friendly option isn’t always the most viable. If you can’t avoid plastic then just make the extra effort to dispose of it responsibly and recycle wherever you can.