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shadows of echoes of memories of songs
A load of wrap
Day 2 of plastic-free July involved a trip to the Co-op to buy potatoes for dinner and anything else from the shopping list that I could find in the 3 minutes or so before Img got tired/bored. This was never going to go well, because the Co-op (despite its supposed commitment to the environment) wraps pretty much everything in plastic, to the extent that I'm always slightly surprised to find myself not plastic-covered when I leave. So here's my shop:

Yes, literally everything I bought is plastic-wrapped. :-( But hey, I only said I was going to try this, not succeed.

Yoghurt and cream are, as far as I can tell, basically impossible to buy plastic-free. I bought the biggest pot I could get, i.e. the best yoghurt-to-plastic ratio. (Img particularly asked for the little Peppa Pig yoghurts.)

Potatoes: now this one was annoying. I specifically wanted big potatoes for doing jacket potatoes, and normally I don't need a plastic bag for those: I only buy 3 at a time (one for each of us), they're not squishy or wet or falling-apart-ish, there doesn't seem any reason to pack them. The Co-op had some loose potatoes, but these were the only baking potatoes in the shop. I could have just bought something different, but I was relying on getting these for dinner! (Although in fact in the end we had the quiche which I'd forgotten we still had in, and that came in a cardboard box, so the potatoes were not only unnecessary plastic but the cause of an unnecessary shopping trip. FAIL.)

The fish cakes were super-cheap (67p!) because they're nearly at their best-before date (I'll stash them in the freezer). I buy a lot of stuff that's nearly at the end of its shelf life because a) it's cheap, and b) I feel as though I'm saving it from getting thrown away. This is probably a bit irrational. (The strawberries were also reduced.)

Naan bread always comes plastic-wrapped. Even in our local shop which sells about 20 different varieties of naan, they're all wrapped in plastic so they last longer.

Now for the things I didn't buy. I had a long list of fruit and veg to buy but just couldn't bear to buy it all plastic-wrapped since I didn't need it right then; I'll try to go to the market tomorrow on the way home from work or at lunchtime. I was going to buy some bread but the Co-op only sells plastic-wrapped bread (and most of it is a bit plastic-tasting too, to be honest) so again I decided to wait. They didn't have any Coke in cardboard boxes, or any Shloer (glass bottles and bonus 80s nostalgia!), or in fact any non-alcoholic drinks I could see anywhere in the shop that weren't in plastic bottles or tetrapaks (apart from a few individual cans).

So what are the answers?

  • don't buy any dairy products
  • don't buy naan bread
  • be more organised about planning meals
  • don't give in to pestering (and/or don't take Img to the shops)

I guess nobody said it was going to be easy...

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nou From: nou Date: July 3rd, 2014 09:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh yoghurt :( I haven't missed yoghurt yet, but I know I'm going to.

I'm starting to think I'm in the best possible place in the entire country to undertake this challenge. Fruit and veg shops (there's one within 5 minutes' walk that's open until 3am), local bakery that'll sell me sliced bread in my own cloth bag, local butcher that'll sell me meat in my own compostable bag, Weigh & Save shop for nuts/dried fruit/rice/couscous/etc, Lush shop for solid shampoo and deodorant etc (and all of these open on weekends too). There's even apparently a shop at London Bridge (I can get there in 30 minutes door to door if I time it right) that sells wine in reusable 1-litre bottles.

But it's still really hard. Kate got it absolutely right when she said this is a structural problem, not an individual one.
j4 From: j4 Date: July 3rd, 2014 09:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
I suspect yoghurt is something I could make at home if I had the time and energy. Can you freeze it? (I mean, freeze and defrost? I know FroYo is a thing but it's not the same thing!)

And yes, your local shops sound brilliant! Especially Weigh & Save, we could do with one of them (SESI is OK but it's not exactly convenient).

I agree it's not an individual problem, and to be honest I'm not sure how much use it is as an individual exercise for me (I mean, I already agonise about this stuff more than is healthy) but I'm hoping to contribute to more general awareness-raising. Hopefully without making myself more depressed in the process...
nou From: nou Date: July 4th, 2014 08:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Not sure about freezing yoghurt, but it's worth a try! I tried to make it myself a long time ago (as in, I was still living in Wales) but it didn't work, not sure why.

General awareness-raising is one of the things I'm hoping for too. Apparently I got a mention in one of the local papers last week! I didn't find this out in time to buy a copy, though (I'll have a look at the library copy next time I'm there).
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