It’s official – plastic packaging has gone mad! I don’t know about you, but the idea of a pre-peeled satsuma in a plastic pot gives me heart palpitations and seeing fruit wrapped in unnecessary plastic drives me bananas!
Earlier this year, I was shocked to realise that most of the food I bought, especially the fruit and vegetables, came in single-use plastic wrapping which was not recyclable.
I was also frustrated that I was wasting food that went off before I had time to eat it.
In an effort to change this I did three things.
1. I used recipe books / known recipes to plan my meals for just one week at a time.
2. I only bought the food I needed for one week.
3. I bought as much food without single-use plastic packaging as possible.
By simplifying in this way, I could focus one week at a time and make sure I didn’t over-buy (or over spend!) Yes I’ll admit it took a while to look through recipe books to get inspiration and make decisions about what I wanted to eat that week, but as time went on, it hardly took any time to make a quick plan for the week and know what ingredients to buy. (It was also fun trying new recipes and shopping for different ingredients!)
I started shopping for my fruit and vegetables at a greengrocers. I chose one on Gloucester Road so I could combine a Saturday morning food shop with going to a café / having brunch! (Living the dream!)
I made sure that I went prepared with my own bags and little tubs to ensure I didn’t need to use the plastic bags in the shop.
After a few trials of different recipes, I realised what worked well for me (and which meals were most cost effective and which tasted best!) I was so pleased I was making progress. I also realised I was eating healthier overall because it was such a joy to have all these beautiful, colourful and wonderful ingredients to cook with! #eattherainbow
I wanted to improve my shopping even further. What other items from my shopping list could I buy without plastic packaging? Well living in Bristol, I had to take advantage of the wonderful bulk-food shop ScoopAway which specialises in natural and organic wholefoods.
This could actually be my favourite shop in Bristol. This shop has enabled me to slowly transfer to ‘zero-waste’ living. To avoid any plastic packaging here, I take my own boxes and tubs. The food is sold by weight here so all you need to do is get your tub weighed when you go in so they can take the cost of the weight of your tub off at the end. (This is easy to do and not awkward at all, I promise :D)
I kept some of the packets I used to have to see the progress I have made over the year. I feel so pleased that I am now getting so many items packaging free! In the picture on the left are many packets of different spices, nuts and healthy grains and pulses. In the picture on the right are just some of the items I now get packaging-free. Right to left, top to bottom they are black beans (great for chilli/burritos/making bean burgers), bulgar wheat, sundried tomatoes, quinoa, corn for making popcorn, chickpeas (for making hummus and falafels), red lentils, brown lentils, risotto rice, plain flour, brown flour, museli and brown rice.
Also from ScoopAway, I now get pasta, all different types of nuts and loose tea!
Although many of the things I buy from the greengrocers and ScoopAway are organic and from the UK, I realise not everything I buy at the moment is. This is something I will be looking at improving in the future, but for the moment I am really pleased with how many things I can now source packaging-free. I am also really pleased that I am no longer wasting food because I don’t over buy – I only buy what I need.
If you know any other wonderful shops in Bristol and beyond that sell food by weight or packaging free, please let us know. 🙂
Love Lucy x