My journey towards a Plastic Free future – part 6

Since becoming more conscious about plastic, I’ve found that I’m making much more frequent small shopping trips to our local high street to visit the butcher, greengrocer and baker, plus going further afield to a zero-waste store. However my purchases do still need to be topped up by a visit to the supermarket from time to time. So I thought I’d share with you what I’ve managed to find plastic-free at the supermarket. I’ve tried Sainsburys and Tesco superstores and a much smaller Co-op.

So starting with the obvious – fruit and vegetables. Although a lot is bagged in plastic, they all have some loose, which I take my own produce bags along for. However I have heard rumours that the sticky labels on loose produce like mangos and avocados may be plastic. Anyone know if that is true? Also it then depends on the supermarket, as to whether you have to weigh the produce yourself and get a barcode price label or if it can be weighed at the till, needing no label. These labels are paper but again you shouldn’t put them in your recycling bin, as the stickiness could jam the recycling mechanism. I didn’t know this until recently. Previously I assumed any paper could go in the recycling bin. I’ve now learnt that quite a few shouldn’t. I may feature this in a future post.

#plasticfree shopping

Another obvious one is the likes of eggs, flour and sugar in their paper packaging. And up until now, I had thought tins, drink cans and jars were a safe bet, apart from those jars with an annoying plastic lid or the superfluous plastic seal around the lid. Totally unnecessary in my opinion. So I had been pleased to find items like passata and coconut oil in jars. But sadly today I read here that the tins, drink cans and metal jar lids are mostly coated on the inside with plastic to avoid corrosion, and not just any plastic but BPA. I’m now getting alarm bells ringing, with regards to potential health risks. Sounds like I will need to rethink my shopping.

#plasticfree shopping

Moving on to the deli counter at the superstores. Sainsburys were not obliging at all, but Tesco will wrap the deli produce in paper for you if you ask them. More sticky labels again. However they wouldn’t go one step further and let me put it loose into my cooler bag. I’m not sure whether this type of paper is either recyclable once washed or compostable. It feels very smooth as if it may contain some type of coating. Anyone know?

#plasticfree shopping

And another partial win is the bakery counter. Larger items seem to be already packed in cellophane window bags, but the smaller items like rolls and croissants I put in my own produce bags.

#plasticfree shopping

Now for some of the items that you may not know about. In the freezer section, items like these veggie burgers and kievs in the picture, along with fishfingers and potato waffles are just in cardboard with no hidden plastic. And i’ve found that Boursin cheese is packed in foil inside cardboard. And Gü desserts are in glass ramekins inside cardboard. I’ve been taking the ramekins to the charity shop.

But then there are items I’ve bought, which look like cardboard, but I have a feeling that they may be mixed materials. Unfortunately the packaging gives no indication. This applies to quite a few brands of ice cream tubs. I’m still searching, so does anyone know of an ice cream that is definitely in just cardboard?

What plastic free foods and drinks have you found at the supermarket?

And here’s a recipe I promised to share for crackers, an item I haven’t managed to find plastic free in the shops. The same story with biscuits, so if anyone has located either of these, please do let me know.


Crackers

Crackers

Ingredients

200g wholemeal plain flour
Salt and pepper
50ml olive oil
100ml cold water

Method

Preheat fan oven to 180 degrees celsius and grease baking trays.
Weigh flour into a mixing bowl.
Season with salt and pepper.
Mix in the olive oil.
Mix in the water to form a ball of dough.
Cut small pieces of dough and press each piece onto greased baking tray as thin as possible.
It will probably make more than you can fit on your baking trays, so cook in batches.
Cook for 10-15 minutes in preheated oven until crackers are crisp.
Cool on cooling rack.
Serve cold with cheese or your choice of accompaniment.
Enjoy.
Store in an air-tight container.

Crackers

Crackers

As always, I’d love to hear your eco friendly suggestions and tips please.

I’ve subsequently seen a great zerowaste idea for using up leftover dry hard wraps to make crackers over on Jacqui Paterson’s blog, although I have to say we tend to get through my homemade tortilla wraps too quickly for them to go hard.

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31 thoughts on “My journey towards a Plastic Free future – part 6

  1. Wendy Lam-Vechi

    It’s not been easy to find plastic free things from the supermarket. Lidl have started to sell loose tomatoes and cherries. I haven’t seen in icecream in cardboard in any supermarket either. I have heard that for frozen food, Iceland is the best place to go as a lot of their own brand ready made meals are now without plastic and they’re planning to remove all plastic from their range by 2023

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    1. mumjd Post author

      Lidl is also good for its bakery products plus loose nuts. I too haven’t found plastic free ice cream in the supermarkets but my tip is to take a container to an ice-cream parlour and ask them to fill it. I don’t have an Iceland near me but I will bear them in mind when out and about thanks

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  2. fionajk42

    We buy almost all our fruit and veg from our local greengrocer, who uses paper bags. However, annoyingly, some items such as celery and cucumber are supplied to him in plastic sleeves, so it’s hard to avoid getting some plastic in our shop.

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  3. mummywantsitall

    Wow you are very thorough! I have just about eliminated using plastic bags but hubby and in laws tend to use it a lot and quite a few ends up in our house… no plastic cutlery though… I think at the supermarkets most fresh produce can be wrapped up in brown paper bags except for the freshly made food which would be put in plastic … that’s my experience from shopping in our area of northwest london

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    1. mumjd Post author

      Yes we now avoid getting plastic carrier bags by always having cloth bags with us, but I still have a bundle of plastic bags under the stairs that we had already accumulated

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  4. Jeanette Leighton

    Such a great thing to do I’ve been looking into this more , I haven’t been to McDonalds for ages went today and noticed they have got rid of plastic straws now

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    1. mumjd Post author

      I think things are slowly changing, but from what I read, it is apparently too late and that the initiatives needed to have happened about 20 years ago

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    1. mumjd Post author

      Nice and tall, although not tall enough for spaghetti. I’m still looking for something I can put my spaghetti in from the zero waste store, other than just leaving it wrapped in paper

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  5. Susan B

    Oh, gosh. Every time I think I am improving by recycling both more and better, I read one of your posts and find that i am not! I had no idea that I shouldn’t be putting paper stickies in the paper recycling. Thank you for sharing,, I wish I could share great finds or tips but I cannot – at least not yet.

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    1. mumjd Post author

      I was exactly the same. I used to put absolutely everything paper and plastic in my recycling bin, but now found there is quite a bit that shouldn’t go in. Some like tissue and kitchen roll, because they are too low a grade to be worth trying to recycle. Also it varies from council to council, so all depends where you live

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  6. Chloe Taylor

    Great tips & more sustainable ways to live, good for you! We recycle all the time, and try to use reusable shopping bags and paper bags for fruit and veg xx

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. mumjd Post author

      I’m trying to reduce my paper bags as well as plastic bags, as have found out a lot more carbon footprint in manufacture of paper. So I’ve got a selection of reusable produce bags inside my reusable shopping bags

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  7. kayleigh watkins

    I recycle so much plastic each week, my fiance has nurishment drinks off the dr and they fill my bag without all the milk bottles we go through, I shop at Lidl and they have started adding plastic wrappers to 4 tins of beans, and the lager packs used to have the plastic rings around them now they have covered them all in plastic and put the price up by 50p xx

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    1. mumjd Post author

      I know some shops already have this unnecessary plastic around tins and cans, but I can’t believe a shop that hadn’t would introduce or increase it now. Sounds like time to tweet Lidl asking why? And I’ve switched to glass milk bottles from the milkman but it is significantly more expensive

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  8. Nikki - Thrifty Green Life

    Sainsburys make me so angry! You should tweet them! I don’t see why you can’t take your own tubs! Let me know if you are allowed to do this as I haven’t tried for this reason. Lidl are really good for loose bakery items and I put them in the paper bags I get from the local farm shop. I also just found out that bottle tops have plastic underneath and some tea bags.

    With regards to the passata jars I just keep mine and reuse them for rice, raisins, vases etc 😊

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    1. mumjd Post author

      Sounds like the bottle tops are similar to jar lids. I had heard about teabags, but haven’t got round to researching yet, as waiting until we run out. Only tend to use them when we have guests as I prefer just drinking water. If I fancy an occasional hot drink, I will probably infuse a fresh sprig of sage or mint.

      All my jars are ending up in a box in the garage for future reuse. Currently I’m only partway through phasing out existing store cupboard purchases bought in plastic last year. What I need to do though is find out how to get the old labels off the jars.

      I will try contacting Sainsburys. I did have a discussion with counter staff who said it was policy due to health and safety, but that was back in January so they may have changed, although I doubt it, as Greenpeace say Sainsburys are bottom place in tackling plastic. Did you see the Greenpeace spoof April fool about Sainsburys?

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    1. mumjd Post author

      Yes so frustrating. I thought that frozen breaded chicken might be similarly packed to fishfingers, but found it was in a plastic bag inside the box

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