There’s been lots of talk about going plastic free since Blue Planet. I have to admit that we’ve been trying to reduce our plastic waste for several years, with mixed success. But I thought I’d share some of our simple swaps.
Plastic-free or waste free?!
The first thing I would say is do not go throwing away things to replace them with an eco-alternative! If you already own it, keep it and use it until it can no longer be used – then re-purpose it! When it needs replacing though, think about more eco-friendly options to replace it with – so perhaps stainless steel or bees wax wraps.
We have moved away from clingfilm, and switched re-usable food wraps. Currently we haves Vegan food wraps in use – although I have some beeswax ones to try to (I’m not Vegan – yet). The only problem with re-usable wraps is that you can’t wrap meat in them (not a problem if you are a vegetarian or vegan). But they’re easy to use, and once you get into the routine of using them you forget about clingfilm! For wrapping meat, we now use a pyrex dish with a a plastic lid – yes not strictly plastic free, but we have no intention of throwing it away anytime soon!
Grocery store swaps
Ever thought about the single use plastic you buy at the supermarket? Let’s talk tea and coffee. Ever thought about the plastic you throw away when you buy tea and coffee? I’m not talking about coffee shops, I’m talking about the way your tea and coffee is packaged in the supermarket for you to use at home. Lots of tea bags contain plastic – yes the actual bags. The boxes are also wrapped in a thin plastic which cannot be recycled. There are alternatives, but are they easy to find?! PG Tips sells a loose leaf tea in a cardboard box, with no plastic wrap – so look for that in your local supermarket. If you think loose leaf tea is complicated to make, it really isn’t! We were given a fabulous tea pot with inbuilt tea strainer by a friend, I believe it is from Whittards and I cannot recommend it enough!
Coffee, I love a good cup of coffee! Percol filter coffee is now packaged plastic free – so that’s a great one to look out for! There is also illy coffee, which comes in a tin, but is not Fairtrade, they do however suggest that they do many other things to support growers. I digress, I re-use illy tins for all sorts of things around my home, and they can also be recycled!
It takes about 5 minutes for me to make a “proper” coffee in the morning, that includes 4 minutes brewing time, so I get on with packed lunches while it brews. Filter coffee always looks expensive, but you get a great cup of coffee and when you work out how many coffees you get from one packet it is actually really reasonable!
Things I avoid in the supermarket…
One thing I have struggled to find a plastic free alternative too is biscuits and cakes. There are some in the “bakery section” of the supermarket, but very few. Instead I’ve opted to start making our own, and we regularly make biscuits and cakes ourselves. It is so much easier trying to find the ingredients plastic free than ready made cakes and biscuits. This weekend I’m trying out this simple carrot cake recipe, which I’m hoping will survive for after school tea on Monday! I do struggle with an alternative to baking paper, at the moment I just butter then flour the baking tray, but I wonder if there’s a green alternative to baking paper?
There are some products I struggle to find plastic free, pasta is one! I’ve started buying a brand which has a mostly cardboard packing with a tiny plastic window. I think it is a better option than the plastic bags of pasta? I should really have a go at making pasta, but I need to investigate how easy it is! And is it cost-effective?