Another week, another shop

Another week has flown by and it’s time to stock up for another week ahead.

We swung by the Country Market again this week and picked up lovely potatoes, leeks, a bunch of carrots and a cabbage that’s so beautiful it reminds me of a bouquet of flowers!

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Then onto Morrison’s.  It was a relatively small shop this week (33 items) and there were only 3 products were I had no choice but to buy non-recyclable (I did spend probably 5 minutes looking at packets of museli before finding ONE (one!) that’s in a recyclable bag!).  (Note:  I don’t normally buy museli but my mum is visiting next week, I’m sure she’ll appreciate the amount of time spent perusing the cereal aisle this week!!)

On the naughty product list this week…

Indian snacks.  We’re having some homemade curry from the freezer and I do love a bhaji/samosa/pakora (preferably all three) to go with it!  Yes, the cardboard sleeve is recyclable, and the plastic tray can go in the recycling.  But that layer of film, NOT CURRENTLY RECYCLABLE.  Damn!

Ciabatta rolls.  Is there any bread available in recyclable packaging?!  I will fess up here, in last week’s post I did say I was going to make some bread.  This hasn’t happened!  Hence why I bought some.  Can I console myself with the fact that it was reduced?  At least buying it meant it will be eaten and not wasted.  The plastic wrap was not in vain!  That was my logic whilst making my choice.

Brunch bars.  What did we snack on before brunch bars?!  Working at a nut free site and being dairy-free means I mainly buy them for my husband as an extra snack to keep him going between his pre-work gym session and his very late lunch.  We have cut back!  He used to take two, but now takes one plus a home made snack.  I purposely chose bars with as little packaging as possible and although at first glance they’re recycling friendly thanks to their cardboard box, the little monkeys are wrapped in plastic!

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To the check out!  I was served by a wonderful lady who commented on my brown paper bags for my loose fruits and vegetables.  I  told her that I bought them with me from home.  “Good for you!” she said.  Yes, I agreed, good for me – but even better for the planet, I thought later.

She told me that she takes her tupperware to the butcher each week.  I have read about doing this but haven’t tried it yet.  She then went on to say that Pedigree Foods are next on her list to write to about their packaging.  Good for you, I thought!

If not me, who?  If not now, when?

 

 

 

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What a lemon!! New week, new change.

Convenience.  We love it.  It runs through every part of our lives.  Anything that makes things faster, better, easier – sign. us. up.

Unfortunately, doing what’s best for our earth isn’t always convenient.

But maybe doing the responsible thing isn’t actually that difficult.

Take an apple.

Every day I take an apple to work.  So does my husband (his is smothered in peanut butter, mine is sadly not because I work at a nut free site!).

This may be a little odd but I find apples incredible difficult to eat as they are.  So every day I cut my apple up and chuck it in a tupperware – ready to snack on around 11am.

To stop it going brown, I put some lemon juice on it.

For a time, I would buy lemons but then I found a bottle (plastic, of course) of lemon juice.  Perfect, that will save me precious seconds as I’m getting ready in the morning, into the trolley it goes.

The other day as I was prepping my mid-morning snack, I was holding the plastic bottle and I thought, “what am I doing?!”  What’s wrong with a lemon?!”

My convenient bottle of lemon juice has come to it’s end.  The bottle has gone into the recycling, and a real whole lemon is in the fridge ready for today!

And if I’m not going to get through a whole lemon before it’s passed its best?  Cut it up and put a couple of slices into each space of an ice cube tray, top with water and then you’re ready for a mug of hot honey and lemon in the winter (just add boiling water) or a nice “ice and a slice in the summer” (just add drink of your choice!).

If not me, who?  If not now, when?

 

Recycling – am I doing it right?

Turns out there is a right and a wrong way to recycle.  In fact, how I recycle (in Herefordshire) is different to how my in-laws recycle (in Middlesex) and different again to how my brother and his family recycle (in Lancashire).

This seems crazy, we’re one country and yet within our country each council sets it’s own rules for recycling, depending on the resources they have.

Even if you’re already a recycler, it’s a good idea to check what your council does and doesn’t accept.  After all, knowledge is power!  So, geek up my friends – it’s up to us to make sure we’re recycling responsibly!

Herefordshire Council have a handy list (you know I loves a list) complete with downloadable guides:

https://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/info/200138/rubbish_and_recycling/60/what_to_recycle

 

I’ve always recycled but sometimes I’ve held a metal lid and thought “can I recycle this?!”. I also didn’t realise aerosols can go in the recycling, husbands deodorants will be going in now!  And I must be the kind of recycler that they hate at the sorting facility – I often put glass jars inside plastic pots inside cardboard boxes inside …. you get the idea!  Not any more, everything is going in separate.

 

 

Recycling is all about taking responsibility for your own waste.  It’s so easy to blame someone else – maybe the government should be acting faster and bolder, maybe food manufacturer’s shouldn’t be using non-recyclables to package, maybe supermarkets are the culprits for making it all so super easy – but at the end of the day, we bought it.  We should dispose of it responsibly.

If you’re gonna do it, do it right – right?

(Who knew Wham! would offer inspiration for a blog post about recycling?!)

If not me, who?  If not now, when?

 

“No one can change everything – but everyone can change something”

Yes!  Someone is thinking the same as me!

And double yes that that someone is Monty Don.  I know, I’m probably about 20 years younger than his average fan and I’m probably one of the few who is more interested in him than his dogs!  (For those of you not familiar with Gardener’s World, he has two dogs called Nigel and Nellie, who get almost as much screen time as Monty).

I was delighted to read that Monty and I have the same plans for 2018.

So hes’ coming at it from a gardening point of view but less plastic is less plastic in my book.  Good for you Monty, I hope it’s going to be mentioned a LOT on Gardener’s World when it returns in the Spring.

Growing our own is something me and the husband can’t wait to do when we have a garden.  In my mind, I’ll come home from work, grab my wicker basket and head out into our abundant garden to gather fresher than fresh produce for supper……

But it’s true, growing your own food will still involve plastic.  Pots, compost bags, liquid feed etc.

I love the line “no one can change everything – but everyone can change something”.  When you try to think of everything it’s easy to think “this is impossible!”, but if you think of something, it’s reachable.

What something can you change?  Go on, think of one thing and make it happen!  Feel free to share below – no change is too small, every change counts.

If not me, who?  If not now, when?

 

This Week’s Shop

This week I’m reviewing what I bought and what packaging it came in.

As a starting point, I’ve created a ranking for my preference for packaging.

The best thing would be no packaging at all.  Second best, reusable packaging or recyclable packaging such as glass, metals and paper/cardboard.  Next best, recyclable plastic (excluding black plastic that can’t be recycled in my area, this goes under the next category.).  The worst, packaging that can’t be recyclable – let’s face it, it’s probably going to be made of plastic!

Saturday morning and we headed into town to the Ross Country Market.  This was their first week back since the Saturday before Christmas – and we were glad they were back!

We picked up celery (no packaging), purple sprouting broccoli (no packaging, held together with an elastic band), onions & brussel sprouts (sold in a plastic bag, not ideal, but I can take them back and they reuse them),  leeks (no packaging, held together with an elastic band).

I took my own bag for life.  Minimal packaging here – a good start!

Next we picked up a bottle of wine from Ross Wines (check it out!), with our own bag.  Glass bottle, metal cap so all recyclable.

Our last stop before the supermarket was Wyedean Health Foods.  I wanted to look at what they offered, packaging wise, and saw a few things that I will be switching to next time I need them.  I also picked up a tub of dairy free ice cream – choosing a white plastic tub over one with a black lid.

Then it was onto Morrisons…

I took my own paper bags and was able to buy apples, pears, clementines, new potatoes, tomatoes and mushrooms loose.  I also picked up ginger, sweet potato, courgettes and peppers loose with no packaging at all.  I had one option for a lettuce in a recyclable plastic bag so that went into the trolley.

Cucumber and beetroot – no plastic free option here.

A good start I thought, although very time consuming to bag everything up myself!  And when I got to the checkout I found out that buying loose is more expensive than pre-packaged.  Why is this?!

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A pack of mozzerella – this was in a plastic packet but to my surprise it says recyclable (number 7 – which from memory is tricky to recycle.  Note to self – look this up!)

Apple juice – plastic bottle with lid.  I suppose I should have looked for a Tetrapak fresh apple juice but husband went to get this item because he was getting bored in the loose fruit and veg section – can’t blame him, even I was getting bored!

Soya yoghurt & oat milk – no choice on the packaging but all recyclable.

 

Ginger ale – these are plastic bottles but recyclable.  I did look at Fever Tree as they use glass but at nearly 4 times the price, it’s too expensive.

Sweetcorn, black beans, tomato pizza sauce and self-raising flour – all in tins/glass/paper containers.

Shower gel and mouthwash only plastic options, but recyclable at least.

Handsoap – in the whole soap section there was one refill option.  This pouch has 2 refills worth inside and is made from recyclable plastic (number 7 again).  Why aren’t there more refills?

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Noodles & risotto rice – not one single non-plastic option.  I found a bigger pack of noodles than what I usually buy so I consoled myself that at least the plastic was going further (twisted logic?!)!!  Surely these products could go in paper bags – we know what noodles and flipping rice look like by now don’t we?!

Streaky bacon & parma ham.  No non-plastic options here.  I wonder if I can buy parma ham at the deli counter and if they’d let me take my own container… has anyone tried this?

Frozen fruit – it all had plastic in some form or another.  I went for 1 kg bag of “wonky” fruit as this will last me longer than the other options.

Burger rolls – this was on my list but as all the bread is covered in plastic and I’m not using them until later in the week so didn’t want to get fresh ones, I’ve decided to make my own (may regret this Sunday decision later this week, we shall see!)

Sea salt – looks good from the outside, recyclable cardboard box, but the salt is in a plastic bag inside.

Dishwater tablets – bit of a fail here.  Last time I bought Ecover brand because they were on offer.  But this time they weren’t so I picked up the box of “Savers” next to them.  I’ve never bought these before and when I moved the box it sounded like they were not individually wrapped.  However, when I got home and opened them they are individually wrapped so next time I’ll get the Ecover ones because at least the plastic wrappers are recyclable.  (WHY do dishwasher tablets need to be individually wrapped?!  Why don’t they make the box smaller and pack them in two rows so they don’t move about?!

Nurofen – cardboard box, I don’t actually know if the plastic/foil can be recycled.  I’ve never even looked before!

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Before I left, I put my plastic packaging that said “recycle at stores” in the bin – I’m not sure if that was the right place to put it as it said it was for carrier bags only.  By the way, how small is that bin?!  I bet you couldn’t fit 1 day’s worth of recyclable plastic bags in that bin if everyone took them back.

I left feeling a bit cheesed off.   Why is it so difficult to shop avoiding plastic?  And why should I have so little choice if I don’t want to use plastic?  And why am I paying more for un-packaged goods?

Well, I guess I should ask Morrison’s these questions.  Let’s see what they say.

If not me, who?  If not now, when?

My shopping habits

I’m a London girl and my husband a London boy.  I was born and raised in South West London.  When we lived in London, we did all our shopping at supermarkets.  Over 6 years ago, we moved out of London to Ross-on-Wye, a market town in Herefordshire.

We kept our supermarket habits up for a while when we moved here.  But gradually over the years our habits have changed.

Our food now comes from a number of places.  We have a vibrant Country Market in Ross – we go every Saturday when we’re home and we pick up eggs (from nearby Ledbury) and delicious locally grown fruits and vegetables.  The people who grow the produce are there every week and proudly tell us that they do not use pesticides.

(Side note – if you live in Ross and haven’t been to the Country Market yet, you must!  It’s in The Venue which is up from the Sainsbury’s car park.  They’ve been on their January break but they were back this weekend.  If you don’t live in Ross, there are Country Markets across the country – why not see if there is one near you?).

The Market House at the top of town hosts a market on Saturday.  We often pick up a loaf of bread from here.

There is also a Food Hub in the Forest of Dean – it’s an online farmers market where local producers put what they have for sale online and you go along adding things to your basket, then collect your order from a designated pick up point at a set time.  This is an amazing project and I try to place an order once a month.  Good news – they’re working to set one up in Ross!  Check it out – Dean Forest Food Hub.

And then I’m sorry to say, pretty much everything else comes from the supermarket.

I am a list maker.  I meal plan the week’s lunches and suppers and I make a list of what we need to pick up.  This way we reduce our food waste as I know exactly what we need and can plan meals that will use everything up.  Also, by the time I get home after work, I don’t want to think about what to make – I want to put on my apron and cook and eat!

Last week, I did my weekly shop as normal but was mindful of the packaging.  I realised just how much of a minefield trying to shop without packaging is going to be!

One step at a time… a lot of “top ways to cut packaging” lists say “buy loose”.   All well and good for some items, but some loose items you really need to put in a bag of some description.  So my first change – taking small paper bags with me for my loose items!  They’re in with my bags for life and ready to go.

Next I’ll be reviewing my weekly shop to see just how it looks when I have my eyes wide open to the packaging!

 

 

“Nearly all the plastic ever created still exists in some form today”

What?

Is that true?

Really?

And then it hit me like the 8.3 BILLION tonnes of plastic produced to date – of course.

The thing about plastic is that it is built to last.  Because I’ve put something in the bin or the recycling, doesn’t mean it’s gone.

It’s gone from my life, my house but it’s still somewhere.  And where is that somewhere?  The environment.

I’m nearly 30 years old and I’ve only realised this very simple fact.

Thank you BBC for your seven charts that explain the plastic pollution problem.

Throwing away is rubbish, but is recycling really any better?  The best option is to not use it in the first place.

Reduce.  Reuse.  Recycle.

I’ve been skipping the first two and heading straight to the end without a second thought.

Time to make some changes – I’m adding another R to the beginning of this slogan that we’ve all heard – REFUSE.  When it comes to single use plastic, I’m saying no as many times as I can.  When it comes to recyclable plastic, I’m taking a closer look and checking for alternatives.

Since I’ve started looking at stuff with fresh eyes I’ve already thought of loads of changes I can make.  And now I’ve tuned in to this journey – signs and clues are cropping up everywhere.  It’s like the world has been trying to get my attention.  Well, I’m listening.

If not me, who?  If not now, when?