10 Tips for buying food plastic free

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how to avoid plastic food packaging

how to avoid plastic food packagingSue wrote to me about plastic packaging.

She said:

“The thing I struggle with is buying food that is not wrapped in non recyclable plastic. Where possible I buy loose fruit and veg, unfortunately we don’t have a market nearby where I could buy more loose produce. I have thought about veg boxes but they do seem quite expensive. Our council is very good at recycling so lots of plastic does go in the recycling bin, but not enough.
I would appreciate any tips on reducing plastic waste.”

I put this to our Facebook community and here’s what they said:

Put your money where your mouth is

Emily offered a different perspective on the price of veg boxes. She wrote ” Veg boxes aren’t actually that expensive if you consider the amount you’re getting and how far it can go. We used to get a small one for 3 and we struggled to finish it every week and would give extras to friends! I don’t mind spending a little extra sometimes to reduce my waste.”

Cheaper than you think

Amy offered a brilliant suggestion for cheaper veg boxes. She wrote”I get a veg box from a local greengrocer and it’s very reasonable – they even have local eggs at a much cheaper price and are looking to expand their range. If you check greengrocers in your area you may be surprised.”

Kelly-Ann had a similar experience. She wrote “Our local green grocer does a veg box. It’s not organic but it all arrives loose apart from the cooked beetroot. Worth asking as they may just put something together for you”

Change your habits

Shona wrote “My local council collects food waste for composting, not that we have a lot, I would go naked over plastic every time and just not buy as much. I go to the butchers with tupperware, have a local pyo veg box, buy glass/tins over plastic and have learned to either give some stuff up (crisps esp) or trawl the internet until I find what I want!!”

Community gardens and allotments

Scotty shared his experiences of UK veg boxes. He wrote “I have tried 5 different box schemes and the quality has disappointed me each time. Riverford ( if you’re in the UK) has been the best. They also now have a 100% UK veg box. Any other time they will do their best to get food from as close to UK as possible. They do a lot for ethics and sustainability too and always trying to do better.

I now get the 100% UK box and a fruit box. I also supplement with stuff from community garden and soon from stuff in my allotment”

Buy loose

Rose asked “does your grocer have bulk bins of grain/lentil beans/dried fruits? You could bring your own linen bags to help you bring those types of items home instead of buying them in packaging.

Does your grocer have a meat and/or fish counter ? Maybe you could bring your own container to purchase meat at the counter?

If you really are limited I always try to choose paper based, glass, or can packaging over plastic. Its still packaging, but those items are more likely to be recycled in your area.”

Grow your own

Emma wrote “Maybe sign up for an allotment or could you grow at home?”

Ashton agreed, he wrote “Grow your own or join a local crop share program so you support local farming and reduce your overall carbon footprint.”

Use smaller suppliers

Vicky wrote “If you don’t have access to a market maybe you still have access to some local independent shops who seem to be more accommodating to you using your own containers. In supermarket you may be able to do this for self serve items such as bakery.”

Wonky Veg

Crystal reminded us of a fab way to buy loose veg at a reduced price. She said “ Asda were doing a wonky veg box. 5kg of veg for £3.50.

Petition supermarkets

Vicky reminded us “ keep letting the supermarkets know you are unhappy with their packaging. If we all keep telling them perhaps they’ll eventually realise there is a significant part of their existing or potential customer base that wants an alternative.

Forage for free!

Stephanie wrote “Don’t forget to forage for free unwrapped food from the wild too. Blackberries are great at this time of year. Richard Mabey has a book about the subject called Food For Free which you can probably borrow from the local library. Also you can sprout beans at home even if you have no garden. Plenty of guides on You Tube.

What about you? How do you buy food without excess plastic packaging?

Pinnable image below:

7 ways to reduce plastic packaging on food - Zero Waste Week

Rachelle Strauss
Rachelle Strauss
Rachelle Strauss is founder of MyZeroWaste.com and ZeroWasteWeek.co.uk Both are leading websites for helping householders reduce landfill waste. Her work has attracted media stories and engagement in documentaries, film and radio both locally and abroad.

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