Can you buy lentils without plastic packaging?

Julia wrote to me about plastic waste; which has been troubling her for years.

She felt no one cared, but finding Zero Waste Week helped her realise there are MILLIONS of us who care!

Julia had a particular query about plastic packaging on the foods she buys.

She wrote, “I loathe plastic packaging on foods like lentils, pasta, rice, crisps, dog kibble etc.. and it really upsets me. I hate putting it in landfill.

I was recycling lots of plastic( shampoo, bleach, milk etc) and thought I was doing my bit but I realise it’s better to not buy it in the first place!

I would first of all like help with getting my favourite foods without plastic packaging, lentils are my favourite food so that’s my first question to you.”

Lentils aren’t easy to buy without plastic packaging and the sort I have seen are in the non-recyclable plastic.

So here are four suggestions each with pros and cons:

Packaging free

You may strike lucky in a store like Unpackaged, or Wholefoods where you can buy loose goods in your own containers. Unfortunately there aren’t many stores in the UK offering this service at the moment so it’s a bit of a postcode lottery.


You can buy lentils pre-prepared in tins, which can be easily recycled. However these work out more expensive to buy and if you want red lentils are not easy to get hold of.

Reduce plastic

You could join (or set up) a food co-operative from a wholesaler like Suma.

From there you can buy huge bags to decant; yes the lentils come in plastic but it’s usually a thick plastic you can either reuse or can be recycled at some stores with carrier bags.

Grow your own!

I’ve never tried it, but it’s possible, right?

Have you found lentils without non-recyclable packaging?

Posted in

Rachelle Strauss


  1. kate on April 4, 2016 at 10:51 am

    Yes, here is a list of shops that do bulk food loose including lentils
    And you can find lots more plastic free products here

  2. Zahra on April 4, 2016 at 11:54 am

    I’ve recently moved to the Uk (Norwich) from Canada. And bulk shops are everywhere in Canada: smaller cities in the UK often have markets. In Norwich I buy my lentils/beans/etc from the market – or from Kuzma (in the Earlham shops), the owner nicely allows me to buy by weight from his bulk shopping before it’s packaged.

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