In Store

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Plastic Free Challenge Day 35

Plastic Free Challenge Day 35

Since I last wrote it seems that the momentum is increasing for the fight against plastic and after losing my way a bit halfway through I am feeling motivated and inspired again to make those more difficult and expensive changes. 
In our house the cupboards are bare as I have been buying a lot less in the supermarket especially snacky items - not sure the other household members are too happy with me, but then again there has been a lot of home baked bread, cookies and cakes so it's not all bad. 

There has been a lot of hype about fruit and veg sold in plastic bags which has been easy to avoid on this challenge but what about more one off random items like frozen vegetables or bird seed for the garden? You really have to stop yourself in the shop before you buy but in these cases you tend to need it there and then. So maybe its a case of making a mental note to yourself - Do I really need this? Is there an alternative? Or how can I avoid this in the future and sourcing an alternative before you buy again.

I had been holding off on buying breakfast cereal other than porridge oats until I sourced it elsewhere without the plastic inserts. At the weekend I ordered a large delivery from including muesli but also dried cranberries, walnuts and chocolate chips for future baking projects. I have also included a natural scrubbing brush to do away with the synthetic washing up sponges. Oh and a batch of toilet rolls that aren't wrapped in plastic which are a bit more expensive than the supermarket but has to be done really to a) send a message and b) to do the right thing (anyway with my next project below we won't be using so much now).
Today I found a small single sheet from which to make a bundle of handkerchiefs to reduce the need for tissues in our house. Pleased with how they turned out but would love to be able to embroider some initials on them for fun...

Did anyone see Sir David Attenborough's speech for the premier of his new TV program "Our Planet"? Definitely worth watching - the man is going to leave such a strong legacy when he moves on to new adventures. I sat down with my daughter to watch the first episode in the series. It was both epic, inspiring, funny and sad and I hope it will inspire many to take action whether it be reducing plastic, your carbon footprint, avoiding the use of palm oil, adopting snow leopards or polar bears, boycotting certain manufacturers or writing to your local MP.

Hurrah for Tesco for trialling plastic free fruit and veg in...wait for it...two stores! It made headline news in my Facebook feed from multiple sources but in the fine print it was only for 2 stores which seems a but pathetic considering they have nearly 4000. And why is it just a trial? (Sorry rant over)

On a final note - I have not emptied our (small) kitchen bin since my last entry which feels like a small accomplishment.

The truth is: the natural world is changing. And we are totally dependent on that world. It provides our food, water and air. It is the most precious thing we have and we need to defend it - SIr David Attenborough

Sunday, 24 March 2019

40 Day Plastic-Free Challenge: Day 19

40 Day Plastic-Free Challenge: Day 19

How's everyone's week been? It's been seven days since my last confession blog. I'm happy to say that changes I made at the beginning of this challenge are still going strong and they are simple changes that everyone can make with a bit of forethought:

  • Saying no to plastic bags - which means always having your own bag for life or one of those "fold away to virtually nothing so can fit in your pocket" bags with you. You know the ones I mean?
  • Saying no to disposable tea/coffee cups and bottled water - again it means taking one with you. Soon it will become the norm - just another thing to pack.
  • Saying no to fruit and veg in plastic bags - whether this means changing where you shop or taking your own paper produce bags.
  • Making your own lunch box snacks and biscuits - fortunately I'm a keen baker but cookies and flapjacks are probably some of the simplest things you can make so go for it!
  • Doing away with clingfilm and using paper sandwich bags instead - bulk buy from Ebay.
  • Buying waste free toiletries - this will be a slow process as you finish what you have already before gradually buying packaging free alternatives.
  • Making home baked bread - I'm still doing this despite my earlier reservations. Today I made white baps for a BBQ pulled pork and home-made apple sauce filling. Before anyone criticises my choice of filling, we probably eat meat 2-3 times a week and make an effort to eat vegetarian meals regularly.
This weekend we went to a local farm shop at Stanhill Farm (coupled with an afternoon at the neighbouring park) as I had heard that they offered a packaging free service on dried goods. So off I trotted with my bag for life stuffed with containers of all shapes and sizes.

I had a list of what we needed so I wouldn't go crazy. At present it is still a very small concession within the farm shop but hopefully they will add to it as demand grows. We bought sultanas, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and couscous but they also had pasta, rice, pinto beans and lentils. We also bought rolled oats and bread flour in paper bags. The other cereals were a bit pricey so we passed on that but bought some veg we needed instead. Might have to rethink our breakfast menu as most cereals come with plastic inserts and many are very sugary anyway. Avocado on toast perhaps?

Who remembers Ready steady cook? The photo above reminds me of what they used to pour out of 
their bags for the chef to create something magical with. Aubergine and rhubarb flapjack anyone? 

I took out my general rubbish bag this morning - 2 weeks of rubbish in the picture below consisting of film lids, freezer bags and wrappers. There's probably a lot of kitchen towel in there too which is another change I want to make as using washable cloths and hankies will cut down on the waste levels in general and save money. Let's see if I can make it to 3 weeks before I have to empty my kitchen bin again.

I had to laugh when I saw this post on Morrison's facebook page promoting their wonky veg selection. 

Who at their head office thought that this was good PR? All the feedback in the comments criticised them for all the plastic packaging. Let's hope they listened and went back to the drawing board. Imagine how much extra attention and popularity they could get if they did it without the packaging. If you want to find out more about what they have and plan to do then check out their page here .When I searched for an image of wonky veg I came across some articles about veg box schemes that Morrisons offered - but I have not seen this in store, on their Facebook page nor on the page about their UK Plastic PACT - you'd think that they would push this wouldn't you. 
Morrisons is a 2 min walk from me so I do not tend to shop as Asda's, Tesco's or Sainsbury's but if you have seen something worth mentioning then do comment below.

A couple of vegetables we love and can't get packaging-free are lettuces and baby spinach so I will be looking at the cut and come again varieties that I can grow on the patio. We have just brought some strawberry plants today to fill an upcycled wheelbarrow that we have. 

Head up everyone- Spring is coming!!

Have a great week and thanks for reading.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

40 Day Plastic-Free Challenge: Day 12

40 Day Plastic-Free Challenge: Day 12

A few days break from blogging for a couple of reasons; it might start getting a bit tedious reporting every day (for you I mean not me), there's not a lot to report each day and I have relations staying so today's blog entry will be a summary of the past few days ...but it does not mean that, although I have been out of site, the thought of cutting out plastic has been out of my mind - far from it. 

Stir fry was on the menu for Saturday night so I needed to make a trip to Morrisons. Instead of buying bagged stir fry mixed vegetables and another bag of beansprouts I bought a few loose veg in paper bags and tinned bean sprouts instead. I also stopped at the deli counter with my container and asked for a few pieces of chicken breast. So far so good! Knowing that I could recycle crisp packets and Pringle cans I bought these as snacks for my family to to eat whilst watching the big rugby games. I had a very patient Mum and Daughter with me who waited whilst I checked various packaging and tried to find alternatives in the shop... on a Saturday lunchtime... so thank you...

I would maybe have prepared some homemade snacks for the ruby game but I had a big celebration cake to decorate before the end of the day. 

Fortunately the packaging for most items I need for baking can be recycled e.g. egg cartons, paper flour bags and some butter wrappers (which I need to look into further because on the Morrisons label it states that it is foil but in Sainsbury's it is mixed packaging and therefore cannot be recycled). But the fondant icing is a different matter - all these are wrapped in plastic and I believe that when they are opened any left overs are best rewrapped in plastic to maintain the softness until next time. I might have to find a recipe to make my own fondant icing especially if I want to be baking more cakes!

One other thing I wanted to top up on was porridge but in the supermarket many of these are in plastic bags or with inserts. However a bag of Morning flake porridge looked like it was a paper bag. 

But when opened it it was lined with plastic so I have emailed them as it was not clear after reading through all the small print on the back. I did not know what the Mobius Loop symbol meant - do you? So here is a link to an explanation of all the different symbols you may find - now I just have to memorise them for my next shopping trip......

Today we had a trip to the softplay and I had the forethought to take a water bottle for my daughter and a reusable coffee cup for me. At the cafe they were serving tea and coffee in disposable cups. They did not bat an eyelid when I asked if I could have it in my reusable cup even through it was twice the size of their disposable ones - so double points there.  My idea of a family cinema voucher for my nieces and nephews went down well as it made a nice change to more toys and more boxes and packaging strewn everywhere. I think we may start saving up theatre vouchers to create some special days out especially as the family orientated West End shows are probably the most expensive.

I tied in the trip to the softplay with another trip to Lush - this time for a moisturising bar and a shower gel bar,  It does seem pricey compared to the £2 bottles from the supermarket but at least you also know that you are using 100% ingredients too and there is no palm oil used. I'm touching on another environmental issue there which I may tackle after this challenge.

“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.” ― Rumi

Thursday, 14 March 2019

40 Day Plastic-Free Challenge Day 9

40 Day Plastic-Free Challenge Day 9

If you read my article the other day you might remember I had ordered some paper sandwich bags with a request to send them with no plastic packaging following my husband's online order for trainers. So they arrived in the post in a box and I thought cool that can be recycled but I opened the box only to see a grey plastic mailing bag inside! I was mildly annoyed to say the least. But onwards we march even though it has been a frustrating day. 

I went to Sainsbury's to check out the deli counter and the lady was not too confident about putting stuff in my own containers despite my email from their social media team last night, She even proceeded to insert a layer of plastic between each slice of ham after I told her what I was doing - just goes to show that many of us are on auto-pilot when it comes to relying on plastic. I was not impressed either when shopping their for fruit and veg as they still use plastic bags for their loose produce and I was determined not to purchase them there. Instead I made a slight detour on the way home to get the few things I needed at a local greengrocers. I talked to him about what I was doing and we had a good natter and a moan and we were joined by another customer too. Felt quite good really - not sure I would get that with the supermarket cashier or self service tills!

So I have a dilemma, when it comes to gift giving - why should my attitude change towards plastic and waste when it comes to giving gifts? I have 3 lovely nieces and nephews to buy for this week and I know their place is full of stuff already so have opted to buy them a family voucher for the cinema so they can enjoy an afternoon out on me. We did something along these lines for our daughter last Christmas and made up a voucher book which she could cash in over the year - picnics, ice cream trips, baking days etc etc which would encourage us all to spend quality time together.  
Hand made cards without the cellophane would also help cut down on waste too - I have a stash of those I have received over the years with a plan to recycle them at some point. I just need to clear our room of requirement to take back my crafting space and get crafting again.

Since starting this challenge my daughter has really got involved and is quick to point out what plastic we are using and how bad it can be which makes me think it would be easier to encourage a sense of stewardship towards our planet in the next generation especially as we seem to be slow on the uptake so there is hope for us yet.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

40 day plastic-free challenge: Day 8

40 day plastic-free challenge: Day 8

Does anyone use any of the Terracycle drop off locations? 

These look like a great idea and you can recycle lots of different items but through different drop off locations. I would probably need a small bin or bag for life to store these in and then drop them off every month or so. I will make a list and pin it on the message board so everyone in the household remembers and see how full it gets by then end of this challenge. Products include toothpaste tubes, pet care, crisp packets and more.

If you are in a a position to, you can even set up your own drop off point and earn money for your chosen charity or school. As I'm part of the school PA I think I'm going to see if we can invest in one...imagine all the crisp packets and biscuit wrappers we could collect.

Baking bread every other night is not really turning out to be very feasible and one of the items I can recycle using Terracycle are bread wrappers. If I'm not in the evening before or go to bed early then it won't get done, which we learned last night, so had the remainders of the loaf today but it was touch and go really and it may not be cost effective at this rate. So maybe going back to fresh bread for the weekends would be better unless we can cut it a lot more thinly to make it go further.

I received messages back from Sainsbury's and Morrison's regarding their Deli counters. Sainsbury's confirmed I could take my containers to my local superstore but Morrisons said that they are still looking into these options but could not divulge any further information at this stage. Fortunately Sainsbury's is on my way home from work so not out the way. Just a bit of planning and my Nectar card at the ready and we will be good to go.

Another message I got last night was from Greenpeace after I cheekily put a link to my blog on a post they made about plastic - someone out there is listening and reading this after all.😃

Back to tonight, we grabbed some cheeky fish and chips on the way home from a school meeting and discovered too late that they had put the chips in a polystyrene box. We thought we were being good when we took in our own bag and declined their plastic bag - only to realise the error too late. But the next time we go we will make the request for the food to be wrapped only in paper when we plaice 😂 our order.

Thanks for reading and happy recycling!