Have you heard of Plastic Free July? You must have. If you’re on social media then I’m sure you would have been bombarded by posts this month with the hashtag #plasticfreejuly. The idea behind this campaign is that we refuse single use plastic in the month of July as a way to clean our streets; our oceans; our planet. So why am I only writing about this now, at the end of the month? Well, it’s because I don’t want Plastic Free July to end in July. I don’t want this to be a fad and then we all move on to the next trendy thing to do and go back to buying plastic packets when we shop.
I strongly believe that we WANT to help. We WANT to do our bit. The issue comes in when our good intentions are hampered by price tags or time restrictions. The trick is to not try and do everything.
Find what works for you
There are so many ways that you can live a life that is less harmful to the environment. You don’t have to live completely plastic free. In fact I think that would be almost impossible to do anyway. All you have to do is make small changes that will then have a knock on effect to big improvements. The Food Lovers Market team very kindly sent me a goodie bag with a few items to get me started on my (mostly) plastic free journey. This is what I received:
- A reusable Seattle Coffee coffee cup (reusable cups will give you a 10% discount off your coffee if you visit a Seattle Coffee! There’s usually one next to Food Lovers Market or Fresh Stop.)
- A glass jar
- A reusable bread bag
- A fabric shopping bag
- Reusable fresh produce bags
- A washable soy wax wrap (to replace cling wrap)
- A bamboo straw kit
I took all of this shopping with me (a few times now) and this has been my experience:
- I LOVE my Seattle mug. Besides all the environmental benefits, it’s really very pretty. After using the mug, it comes home and gets washed then I put it straight back into the car so that the cup is there when I need it.
- Glass jars are my new obsession. I plan on popping into the Consol store soon and stocking up because having my snacks weighed in the jar is saving me decanting time and it looks great on my kitchen counter. Though my yoghurt nuts keep getting swiped because they’re so visible. Sigh.
- I do not love the bread bag. The bread didn’t stay fresh and the bag was oily by the time I got home. I would say rather use the brown paper bags.
- Fabric shopping bags are the easiest way to cut down your need for plastic packets but people always say that they forget to take the bags to the shop. Here’s my trick, I keep one very thin bag in my bag. This bag folds into a teeny tiny square and takes practically no space. The rest of my shopping bags are kept in a freezer bag in my boot. When I go shopping I take a few out and head into the store. The trick is to not take ALL the bags out of your car. There should always be one or two lying in the boot that you can grab if you make a quick stop.
- The fresh produce bags didn’t really work for me either. I felt that it was unnecessary because Food Lovers Market gives you free farmers boxes (yay! None of the other big grocery stores does this!) to pack your groceries in. If your fresh produce is packed carefully then there really is no need to separate them into bags.
- The soy wrap has me a little stumped for now. Apparently the trick is to warm it in your hands before wrapping whatever you want to preserve, especially now in Winter when the room temperature is relatively low. Your hands warm the wax which makes the wrap stay sealed. I will persevere with this.
- The reusable straws are a great idea for kids. If your children are two and older though, you can start teaching them to do without straws completely. It’s one less thing to think about.
My shopping experience
I challenged myself to shop as plastic free as possible for the recipes at the end of this post (yes, I do have some actual food content coming up) and it opened my eyes to how pervasive plastic is in our lives. From the cucumber that is individually wrapped to the pack of eggs that’s on the shelves. These are all single use plastics that will stay wherever they are discarded for up to 1000 years. Take a moment and think about that.
One thousand years! It’s insane. Even though I tried to substitute ingredients as much as possible so that I could shop from the nude fruit and veg shelves, I still had a few things that I had to buy in plastic. (The meat and seafood have to come wrapped in plastic because of hygiene reasons). All in all it was an eye opening experience and has trained me to be more conscious of my choices when I shop which is the real point of all this isn’t it?
And now for the food!
Being plastic free got me thinking about reducing waste which to me also means less dishes to wash in the kitchen! Hello One Pot recipes!!!! I did a quick search online and found these two delicious dishes. I have chopped and changed them a bit so I will give you the link to the original recipe and then my changes.
Penang Prawn and Pineapple Curry
Original recipe – here.
This is what I would change:
- Use a quarter of a pineapple as opposed to whole one and leave out the sugar. The sweetness of the pineapple can overwhelm the curry.
- Add in more veg. I added chopped mange touts but this curry would taste great with some thinly sliced carrots and baby corn.
- Also, this is not a quick meal. It took me about three hours from start to finish so definitely a weekend meal.
Sausage and Butter Bean Stew
Original recipe – here
I really enjoyed this meal. It was incredibly easy to make and really so comforting. I will definitely be making this again and the only thing I would change is that I would slice the sausage much thinner so that it is bite size.
There you have it. Two very different recipes to keep your tastebuds singing and your tummy warm this Winter. I also hope you feel inspired to tweak your shopping habits and cut down on the single use plastics.
(Hats off to Food Lovers Market who have removed plastic bags from their checkouts completely!)
This post is sponsored by Food Lovers Market. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. #FoodLoversCo