The 'Freebruary' challenge
In the second instalment of our Love your Planet series, Amy Casey, our Waste and Recycling Education Officer, talks us through the first week of her month-long pledge to give up single-use plastics. This week, she's focused on food...
I’ve done it! I’m one week into my Freebruary challenge and I’ve remained single-use plastic free. Although there’s been a few bumps in the road, it’s been easier than expected so far, however, it has called for much organisation, forward planning with my shopping and cutting out some of my usual foods - which I appreciate doesn’t always fit in with people’s day to day lives.
This week I’m going to focus on food, as to be honest, this is where the majority of single-use plastic comes from.
The top 8 supermarkets produce 800,000 tonnes of plastic waste every year in the UK. Instead of contributing to this, why not turn to more local shops to support a local business and potentially find loose products?
The means to my success and why this has been possible is because I’ve been utilising Bare Bazaar, the packaging free store in Park Mall. Opening back in August last year, it’s SUCH a great asset for Ashford to have and more people should make use of this facility in my opinion. It’s run by a lady called Kati, who is also passionate about the plastic crisis we’re currently in. It offers us a chance to buy nude food by taking in your own container and simply paying for the food you fill up.
I started visiting a couple of months ago but only for the odd item here and there. Now, I’m much more prepared. I had a fun but stressful trip to IKEA (it seemed the whole of the South East were also there) where I stocked up on various sized jars for all my plastic free goodies! I’m also a big fan of Facebook marketplace and struck gold as there was a lady only three streets away from me selling 5 big jars for £4. Cheap for me and it means these get re-used rather than thrown away - win win!
All my jars are now gorgeously full of rice, pasta, couscous, oats and other essentials like herbs and spices. Aesthetically pleasing and no plastic in sight. Pasta is my favourite food and I eat it nearly every day, so it’s brilliant to go through the volumes I do without going through volumes of plastic as well.
If you're looking to do the same then I’d definitely recommend visiting The Zero Waster website as it lists all the bulk stores/packaging free stores in the UK.
One of the trickiest places to avoid using plastic is the workplace, and for me it was because of the amount of snacks I need throughout the day. By choosing healthier snacks and doing a bit of home-baking I’ve managed to overcome this. For over a week now I’ve skipped the packets of crisps and the foil/plastic wrapped cereal bars. I’ve been snacking on bananas, satsumas and carrots - all of which were bought loose. Sadly, I loved snacking on cucumber but I’m yet to find somewhere selling them without they’re ‘protective’ film - if you know of somewhere do let me know! I’ve been munching on banana chips and spicy chickpeas bought loose at Bare Bazaar. I’ve also turned completely domesticated and been baking my own oat/snack bars and have even made my own crisps! (Recipes to follow).
I’m proud of how well it’s gone so far, and I have much more to share with you in the coming weeks, but for now I’m going to go back to my research of how to make my own household cleaner…