A little over a month ago I decided to make a significant change to my shopping and dietary habits by ditching unnecessary waste, that is, the stuff that can’t be composted or recycled.
How hard could it be?
Well, very, actually! Unfortunately I didn’t meet my goal of a carrier bag of waste for the month. It was more like a bin bag. Still, that’s much less than normal. I reduced my waste by swapping my shopping (hehe) for items that are better for the environment where possible, as shown below:
The stuff on the right is what I used to buy, and the stuff on the left is what I’ve found to replace it. See how much plastic we wrap meat in?! None of that stuff is recyclable in Jersey (if anywhere?) and neither is the tetra-pak.
In Jersey, we can recycle the milk bottles, the tin can, and the cheese comes in one piece of cling-film (better than commercially produced cheese packaging, at least). The butcher at Holme Grown is happy to place meat directly in a box from home if you ask 🙂
I need to get a couple more boxes so I can get things like cheese and whatnot from the deli counter.
I have taken to buying all my fruit and veggies form places that offer paper bags instead of plastic, or putting them right in the basket if plastic bags is all that’s on offer. Still working on grapes, though, they all seem to come in plastic 😦
Lastly, some of the things I haven’t found substitutes for yet, not without going full-on Amish anyway and making crisps from scratch every week!
I can’t seem to find kitchen roll, bread, crisps, or some baking sundries like chocolate chips in better packaging yet. There is an awesome grocers in the Central Market here (Molloy’s) that has things like blanched almonds, nuts and stuff to buy by weight in my new favourite thing…paper bags!! haha. They’re open to stocking other things like chocolate chips, so, here’s hoping.
I haven’t been able to avoid crappy packaging and non-fair trade products completely, and I’ve fallen victim to the need to convenience buying due to some poor planning on my part. The most important thing I’ve learned is something we seem to have forgotten since the days of our grandparents – planning and work. If you plan the things you’ll need for the week, you can make it in advance, or source it in a responsible way without having to run to the nearest convenience store on a Sunday night! Our modern reliance on convenience and making everything super quick can be really damaging for everything but the store’s profits.
The other upside of shopping ‘the good old fashioned way’ is it helps your diet. You’re more likely to buy fresh meat, properly cut from a butcher, instead of plastic wrapped, water infused meat that’s been on a shelf for a few days. You’re more likely to eat fresh fruit and vegetables, and do more home-baking. Less plastic wrapped cakes with preservatives and hidden sugar. I hate sounding like a health nut (because I’m really not!), but if you think about it, you can eat so much better AND have the smug self-satisfaction that you’re helping the environment 😀
If you managed to read this far, please comment if you have any shopping swaps I can try out.