A couple of years ago, a friend added me to a discussion board on Facebook about Zero Waste Week. What a hoot it was! And I got some new ideas about reducing what I was putting in landfill.
Two years on, I have pledged specifically to reduce the amount of plastic food packaging which ends up there. While I wouldn’t say that my bin is burgeoning on a weekly, a monthly basis even, I still feel dismayed that single-use, non-recyclable plastic is there at all.
One of the prime plastic culprits is the packet for ground coffee. Of course, the more processed instant variety would come in an easily recyclable glass jar. So, why does the less processed have to be packaged in a less environmentally friendly way?
Whatever the reason, I had a hunch that Whittard would be a high street company with better packaging credentials. And indeed they are!
The first alternative the shop assistant showed me was a paper packet, albeit with a thin plastic lining. The second was a metal caddy which I could fill with the coffee of choice – and refill, yes refill, to my heart’s content!
I’ve gone for the packet first time round (it’s really nice coffee but, of course, until you’ve tried you never know). Then next time I go into town, I will get the caddy and fill up from there.
After that major achievement, I ran out of ideas for solving the issue of where to source lentils and other foodstuffs which needed some kind of packet to keep them together and not all over the handbag, kitchen floor etc. My original plan had been simply to buy the food at our usual wholefood shop and then remember to reuse the bags before throwing away, which I tend to do anyway with non-recyclable plastic, where possible. Could be worse, I know, but that seemed pretty much like a non-solution really.
However, when we were on the hunt for school socks (okay, bleached and non-organic cotton flown in from abroad but at least they can be passed on, reused as dusters and composted), we walked past another wholefood store, Millies of Leeds, where they still had plastic bags. But this time they were…. recyclable! So, still not a perfect solution but moving forward.
Also, not only do they do refills of more environmentally friendly products such as washing up liquid but these refills are cheaper than the usual shop. And the staff are friendlier!!!
© Helen Butt, August 2014