My journey towards a Plastic Free future – part 5

It has been a little while since I last gave you an update on my progress with reducing plastic and overall waste reduction generally, so here’s my latest news.

No more junk mail

The “no junk mail” sticker on the front door seems to be working very well. The only things we now seem to be getting in addition to our post are the local monthly village magazines. That is if you don’t count items for the previous resident and I’ve been labelling those “moved away, return to sender” for years now! I’ve started considering each piece of post, as to whether we actually do need it or whether we can ask the sender to cancel. I was impressed that National Trust have started using compostable wrappers for their magazines, but even so I decided this fell into the category of unnecessary post. I’ve therefore mostly unsubscribed, although apparently we will still receive the Autumn edition due to it including AGM voting papers. Can’t say I’ve ever looked at the details of their AGM or plan to in the future either, but never mind, I’ve made a step in the right direction. Also it took two attempts to unsubscribe as apparently the request had to come from member 1 and I was member 2 in our household.

National Trust compostable packaging

However I did fail on trying to unsubscribe from the mail shots our local garden centre send out. I have a loyalty card with them and when I asked on my last visit, apparently you can’t have one without the other. She said “it’s only 8 times a year”, but that is 8 unwanted pieces of post. I did try to suggest they move their mail shots to email, and she did say that they would think about that. So I’ll just have to wait and see.

And on the food shopping front, I’m still guilty of bringing more plastic into the home than I wish. Some things we have been going without in the hope that I will soon find a plastic free alternative. But others are key to our regular weekly shop, particularly biscuits, crackers and fruit bread. I’ve been trying to bake these more often, but as I work full-time, sometimes there just isn’t the opportunity. And when I think I’ve baked a large enough box of crackers to last all week, I then find son1 has managed to polish them off in a couple of days. He’s like a bottomless pit when it comes to food. Today I made a large bowl of popcorn and he alone ate almost the entire lot in less than 5 minutes.

I’m gradually finding plastic free alternatives, so I now get yoghurt in glass jars from the milkman, along with my other deliveries. But unfortunately the milkman seems to have reverted to putting things inside plastic bags. It was all paper bags in January so I don’t know why. I keep asking the dairy to tell him that I don’t want the plastic bags, but the message doesn’t seem to have got through. I haven’t actually met him yet, as he usually delivers well before we wake up.

However some of my successes like plastic free butter and houmous have been discovered in other towns rather than my local high street. So this brings into debate, the question of my carbon footprint. I don’t feel I can justify driving over 5 miles just to buy some butter.

Plastic free butter

One trip I do plan to make further afield is to the new zero waste store which has just opened. I need to get all my containers lined up and ready. I’ve heard it even has freezers, which is excellent news as we have run out of some of our staples like frozen peas and sweetcorn. We much prefer the frozen variety to tinned.

I’ve also continued to keep a careful eye on what goes into my food waste bin. We have two of these, a small kerbside bin and an even smaller windowsill one. Previously I would always chuck everything into the windowsill one initially and then transfer it outside every couple of days. But now I’ve started putting anything like chicken bones straight into the outside bin. This way I can choose to tip the windowsill bin into our garden compost bin, along with some of the compostable paper waste I’ve been saving for this purpose. A mixture of green and brown each time, although I’m not sure how long it will take to decompose for use in the garden. But hopefully this will reduce the number of bags of compost we purchase in future.

Also I’ve made my own equivalent of marmalade, out of orange pulp saved from our juicer along with orange peel.

Zero Waste Marmalade

Marmalade

Ingredients

250g orange pulp
40g chopped orange peel
200ml cold water
50g fruit sugar

Method

Chop the orange peel into small strips.
Place orange pulp and peel in a large saucepan.
Cover with water and add sugar.
Bring to the boil.
Reduce to a simmer.
Cook for a further 10-15 minutes until it has thickened, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile bring another saucepan of water to the boil.
Carefully place jars in the boiling water for about 5 minutes to sterilise.
Remove with tongs.
Spoon marmalade into hot sterilised jars.
Allow to cool.
Serve on buttered toast or bread.
Enjoy.

Zero Waste Marmalade

This made about a jar and a half. Naturally I used jars that I had saved. This marmalade looks a different colour to regular marmalade and I believe that to be due to the pith also being present in the pulp. It also had a much more bitter flavour as I had used less sugar, plus the cooking time is shorter so the peel is a more dominant taste still.

So overall gradually moving in the right direction. And I’d love to hear your eco friendly suggestions and tips please.

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24 thoughts on “My journey towards a Plastic Free future – part 5

  1. Wendy Lam-Vechi

    It is so hard to find eco friendly stores where I live. I love zero waste stores but sadly to get there (we don’t drive) we would have to travel quite out. I always try and buy fruit and veg boxes from Lidl because they’re expiring and would go to waste otherwise. Too Good to Waste is also a good place to go to save food. But otherwise to find paper wrapped butter and plastic free yogurt it is quite hard unless I’m willing to pay triple the price

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    1. mumjd Post author

      I did both the sticker on the door and filled out a form on Royal Mail website. The postman can only stop delivering fliers once the form has been processed which takes about a month. But the sticker has been great for avoiding all other junk. I’ve only had one flier since

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    1. mumjd Post author

      I’ve never tried making yoghurt. The brand of this one is River Cottage – website river cottage.net if you wish to see if you can obtain locally

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  2. fionajk42

    One thing you may want to consider for your meat waste is feeding your local foxes. I have been feeding foxes for years, first in Kingston where I used to live and now in Birkenhead where I currently live. The foxes get all our meat and fish scraps, including both human food and cat food that my fussy cats won’t eat if it has dried up in the bowl! Foxes will also eat pasta with meat sauce, but they don’t like rice. My cats will readily eat left over eggs and small bits of cheese, and if they leave any then the fox gets those too. I even have a resident fox now at the bottom of our garden who will come when I bang a metal plate against the stones of our patio. The key seems to be to start off with just meat scraps, as the scent will attract foxes, then when they are habituated to coming to a regular spot, you can start to add some additional food scraps. Beware of initially putting out pasta until you know you have foxes, as you don’t want to encourage rats.

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  3. Susan B

    Another very helpful and informative post. Thank you. We all need to do better – and that includes businesses, too.
    I started buying compostable bags to dispose of my pet litter last year but was shocked to find a large increase in price when I last bought them. I cannot justify spending £2.50 on 20 little bags so am on the hunt for an affordable alternative.

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  4. Chloe Taylor

    Brilliant effort – really like the sticker on the door. hopefully it will deter plastic waste and magazines you don’t reallly want. x

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