If I had money and time in abundance, then being plastic free would be a doddle. I’d spend lovely days sourcing ethically produced Kilner jars and pottering around zero waste shops. In reality, although Bristol has a few places that sell in bulk, they are all a car or bus journey away. I make do with Lidl, who sadly have just been announced the worst supermarket for recyclable packaging.
Some of this is not all bad though. Lidl sell oats in paper packaging and I made oat milk, which is incredibly easy and works well in smoothies.
Another easy swap for me is to use fabric instead of paper for wrapping presents. I always thought it was a very difficult thing to do but in reality, it is easy and very effective. You can use a scarf to wrap up bottles and it protects them much better than a paper bag would. I had a practice with a hanky and it is quite addictive.
Then a a couple of game changing silver linings came along:
Cellophane is compostable
Some of the crinkly plastic that wraps some biscuits is made from natural products. That means it will compost. The problem here is that not all plastics are marked so it might be a bit of a trial and error finding out which ones work. I have 2 compost bins though so I can start adding some cellophane to one of them and see what happens. The worst case scenario is that I have to fish it out in a couple of years and send it to landfill. At least I’ve tried to reduce it. You can do a burn test on it, if it shrinks up, there is plastic, if it burns like paper and turns crispy black at the edge, it is cellulose. It might be plastic coated cellulose though. If you do a burn test please do it in a sink so you can put out fires easily, try just a little bit of the packaging, not big bundles of the stuff!
Supermarkets recycle stretchy plastic
The Rubbish Diet say
“As long as the plastic bag is stretchy it can be recycled at most major supermarkets including Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, The Co-op and Waitrose. That means sandwich bags, toilet paper wrap, bake beans wrap, frozen veg bags, most bread bags and the wrap you get on cucumbers can all be recycled.”
This might be an urban myth though because I have yet to see a plastic bag recycling area at my local large supermarket. I have not asked though and I’ll do that next time. I know for sure they do not do this at Lidl.
Onwards ever onwards
Working through part of the Sustainable Summer book as part of the free course I’ve put on with The Frugal Family has really helped. We have chosen little things to try out and I feel no pressure to do it all at once.