Hello, my name is Cate and I’ve been using plastic for most of my life. I set myself the challenge last Easter to go plastic free as much as I could. I’d become increasingly aware of the damage it caused. After watching Blue Planet II, I couldn’t ignore the problem of plastic any more.
I’d already done the easy plastic free options. I’ve been taking my own shopping bag to the supermarket for years and I’d bought a travel coffee mug to avoid using the disposable ones.
I started to think about what else I could do.
The Changes I’ve Made So Far:
Looking around the aisles in my usual supermarket for plastic free food was a challenge. It seems like everything is wrapped in layer after layer of the stuff. Even some items that appeared to be packaged in cardboard, then turned out to have an inner sleeve of plastic.
Fortunately for me I’m able to shop for fruit and vegetable in a greengrocers that uses paper bags, as does a local bakers. I’ve also discovered a cheese stall at a weekly market that sells cheese wrapped in wax. I’ve cut down on my milk consumption and now get it delivered by a local milkman in glass bottles. However, I’m still stuck with the supermarkets for everything else.
For some food items, it’s about looking for alternatives to the convenient, plastic containers. For example tomato sauce and mayonnaise can still be bought in glass bottles instead of the plastic squeezable bottles. Or choosing baked beans in a tin instead of the microwavable plastic tubs and canned pet food rather than the plasticised foil pouches. Unfortunately if you eat a lot of ready meals, it seems almost impossible to avoid plastic trays and quite often they’re the black ones that can’t be recycled, sigh.
Overtime, as I got more into my challenge, I’ve found it’s affected the way I eat – for the better. Most convenience food is covered in plastic. So it’s easier to avoid plastic if you make the food yourself. I’ve started bulk buying staples like rice, pasta, beans and pulses which minimises the plastic at least. It’s also cheaper and helps with my food budget as unfortunately buying fresh local food can be more expensive than the supermarkets.
I then try and make a bit pot of chilli or curry at a time to freeze into individual portions. Old takeaway tubs are good to store these and great alternative to buying plastic freezer bags or cling film too. I’ve even started to make my own cereal to avoid both plastic and palm oil and I can really recommend this recipe for the perfect granola.
If you have the time and like cooking, making your own food is one solution to minimising plastic. It’s also generally cheaper, you know exactly what you’re putting into it, and you can make it just how you like it.
My New Year’s resolution
My New Year’s resolution is to continue to look for ways to avoid plastic in my life and encourage other people to do the same. I think a lot of the time we get stuck in old habits and just don’t consider how we can do things differently.
This last year has shown how many other people want to change their plastic consumption and have been putting the pressure on companies and the government. I believe things will change. We just need to keep trying.