Some of you may or may not know that the Marine Conservation Society have set up a challenge for people to go plastic free for June.
I think this is an amazing challenge for everyone whether it be one day, one week or the whole month you can go without buying disposable plastic. Even if you can only manage a day, it will really open your eyes to the plastic problem we have on our hands. So if you’re ready to take on a new challenge then I’m here to help and I myself will be challenging myself this month also…
I am pretty set now that I will not buy ANY disposable plastic on my food shop and I’ve got it down to a T now. I know where to shop, how to shop, what to cook and how to find alternatives I never knew existed, all whilst saving the planet from disregarded plastic (don’t worry I will share these tips with you below).
I’ve had a few disastrous shops on my journey, where plastic has been forced upon me by shop assistants (who say they will use my paper bag and sneak plastic in anyway) so this month my challenges are:
- I am determined that for the whole month, if I’m given plastic when I specifically ask not to have it, I will refuse to buy. I will not feel embarrassed about this, but proud of my decision.
- I will also be venturing out to more local shops to try and find some things I’ve been longing for but can not find without plastic, so have been living without.
- Get in touch with more companies in my local area about their plastic use and suggest ways they can reduce their plastic use (I will keep you posted on these as I’ve had some great responses so far).
- I will also be making my boyfriends lunches every day for the month to completely cut out his plastic use (he’s pretty damn good already) and show him how some quick prep the night before can make a huge difference and save him a lot of money. This will also challenge me to branch out and find some more recipes to share with you all.
- Motivate my mates/family who are also up for the challenge!
Step 1 – Preparation & Inspiration
When going plastic free, you really have to prepare yourself and motivate yourself before you go shopping. This is going to be the key to your success, because if you don’t, you will walk into a supermarket and be hit by a room full of plastic and feel like you’ve been set mission impossible.
- Sign up to the Plastic Challenge and download your Plastic Challenge Pack
- Watch A Plastic Ocean whilst you prepare for your challenge to motivate yourself
Step 2 – Make A Meal Plan
This doesn’t have to be calorie counting, crazy diet meal plan, but planning what meals you want to make for your breakfast, lunch and tea for the week will be amazing when you head out shopping! You can mix the days around and pick things off your weekly ‘menu’ and it can actually be quite fun rather than having the age old debate of what to have for tea.
Top tip – When you write a meal down, also write the ingredients so you can make your shopping list really easily at the end.
Step 3 – Bags & Tubs at the ready
Get your reusable bags in the car ready to go. If you always have bags handy you will never be ‘caught out’ again and have to resort to a plastic bag!
If you have paper bags for fruit and veg, get those in the car too and make sure you have a reusable tub ready (don’t worry if you have a plastic one you can use this!) for meat and cheese.
Step 3 – Shop Local Before the Supermarket
Do a quick Google search of local farm shops, butchers and deli’s in your area (if you’re lucky you may have all three in one) and make a plan on what you will need from each shop.
Head to these shops before the big supermarket so you’re only left with the cupboard essentials to buy you may not be able to get from the smaller places.
Step 4 – TIME TO SHOP
You’re all set and ready to shop! My top tip when out shopping is when you ask for something over the counter, like meat or cheese, make sure you specify you DO NOT want anything in plastic and you have your own tub/bags etc. before asking for what you want. This may cause a bit of confusion to the person but just explain again and they will hopefully be on board (especially at local shops).
If you’re shopping in the local farm shops and e.g. want to buy strawberries in a punnet, you can still buy these! Just ask to put them into a paper bag when you pay and give them the plastic back, as they can re-use and it will save them money so they are more than happy to do this!
Plastic Free Essentials – What I Buy
I’ve spent a while nailing down some plastic free alternatives to the essentials you have, so check out my list below to see where and what I buy to help:
- Bread – Warburtons in wax wrap (save this as sandwhich wraps afterwards too) or make your own!
- Pitas – Make your own with this recipe – They are SO easy to make and super delicious, you can freeze them too!
- Vegetables – All from the farm shop
- Meat – From the butchers and take your own tub
- Veggie – Linda McCartney is all in cardboard
- Cheese – Any deli counter in supermarkets or a local deli as they will be more likely to completely ditch the plastic (I will be trying this week)
- Rice – Uncle Bens 1kg – in cardboard from all big supermarkets (Tesco, Morrisons)
- Pasta – There is LOADS of pasta available in boxes for as little as 40p in all the big supermarkets (Tesco, Morrisons)
- Cereal – Granola in boxes (I am also going to make my own this month)
- Milk – Set up a local delivery – super easy!
- Juice – You can also get this delivered with your milk (I am going to be making my own juice for my smoothies this month too)
- Coffee – Get some from your local coffee shop for paper packaging (Cedarwood Coffee are delivering mine tomorrow!)
- Olives & Sundried Tomatoes – Take your own tub to the deli or buy in jars (Aldi olives 59p and tomatoes 89p)
- Hummus – Make your own and try this recipe – IT’S AMAZING
- Cordial – Farm shops always have some tasty cordial
- Fizzy Drinks – Tonnes of cans available and glass bottle alternatives to plastic
- Beer & Cider – Any without a plastic ‘4 pack’ holder
- Spring Rolls – Head to the deli counter in any supermarket with your own tub, buy them in bulk and freeze
- Chinese Packet Sauces – Make your own in bulk (SUPER EASY) and put in a jar ready for use or check out some at your local farm shop
- Nuts – Apparently Lidl do bulk buy nuts that are loose so I will be checking these out this month
Remember even one day without buying plastic, when you would normally go and grab something in a rush, is a HUGE achievement with how much plastic is forced upon our every day lives.
I will be keeping you all posted on my own and friends challenges as the month goes by to share inspiration and appreciation for what everyone is doing so PLEASE tag me in posts @plasticfreehobbit so I can see you’re journey too!
Don’t forget I’m here for any tips and help you need just drop me a message on Facebook!
GOOD LUCK GUYS! 🙂