Vered's Plastic Free Journey continues

Read the first post here.

At the beginning of the month, I pledged to reduce the amount of plastic waste I generate from food shopping, mostly fresh fruit and vegetables. I shared my frustration with the fact that work and family obligations had previously undermined my determination, so that I stopped paying attention to this issue. 

Simple everyday shopping in a 'regular' supermarket will always result in a vast amount of single-use plastic packaging. In fact, 67% of the plastic waste in the UK comes from packaging. This is higher than the share in other EU countries. It is most likely due to a much stronger market for convenience food in the UK, from takeaway or pre-packaged food in supermarkets1. Worldwide 95% of plastics' value as packaging is lost after a very brief first use2. Determined to reduce my share in this gloomy statistic, I was looking for alternatives within my budget and time limitations. 

My first attempt, at the farmers market, failed.  When I went to my long-time favourite fruit and vegetables stand, it was closed due to COVID restrictions. I planned to try another farmers market in town, but I ended up too busy that day—the usual story.

Following recommendations from you, dear readers, I looked for an alternative with one of the online vegetable-box services.  With my picky eaters at home, I needed a service that will allow me to tailor my own list of items. There’s no point in creating food waste by buying items that no one will eat. Even though it is not listed on their website, it seems that some of the well-known local services do allow a customised package. One just needs to ask. This is what I ended up getting:

Photo taken from above of assorted loose vegetables arranged on a table

Recorded results:

 

"Regular" supermarket

Farmers markets

Online Ordering

service

Time

Approx. an hour a week.

Didn't have the time.

It took some time to set it up, but tafter that orders are straightforward.

Budget

Approximately £60

 N/A

It isn't easy to compare, but it is not more than 10%-15% more expensive. The plus side - it is delivered to my home.  

Variety

Regular consumption of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and seasonal fruits. More flexible about the greens and roots.

 

Everything I asked for with additional surprises. They support local growers and commit to zero air-flown items.  

Plastic waste

50-litre container, full but not packed.

 

Two little film covers from the raspberry package. All the rest is paper and shredded cardboard.

 

Absolutely brilliant!

 

This experience has raised the issue of resource use in general as part of our daily life. I consider myself a well aware and fairly conscious person, and yet the abundance of so many everyday items around us, often without a second thought to the resources they require, is overwhelming. 

Here are two old-time clips that make this point much better than I can:

 

So what now? We are in a journey to make things better. Join us.


  1. Source: WWF, Plastics Consumption and Waste Management, 2018. Prepared by Eunomia Research and Consulting Ltd. https://www.wwf.org.uk/sites/default/files/2018-03/WWF_Plastics_Consumption_Report_Final.pdf
  2. Rajni Hatti-Kaul et al. Designing Biobased Recyclable Polymers for Plastics, Trends in Biotechnology (2019). DOI: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2019.04.011

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