Buying Tea-turtle plastic free tea is a great start the drive to cut down on disposable plastic and food waste. Traction is gaining and 2018 is shaping up to be the year that plastic became a dirty word.
Earlier this year, Marks and Spencer pulled its cauliflower ‘steak’ after a backlash over the ‘excessive’ plastic packaging and inflated prices of trendy, pre-prepared vegetables, and then Lidl got into hot water for selling pre-peeled onions (at double the price) coated in protective plastic.
Iceland supermarket announced that it aims to go plastic-free by 2023. Beyond our supermarkets, Brussels has launched its first EU-wide strategy to fight plastic waste.
Much of this newfound enthusiasm for cutting back on plastic waste comes from a growing awareness of the scale of plastic in our seas, after Storm Eleanor left behind swathes of waste on the Cornish coast.
China’s ban on disposing of millions of tonnes of waste is also causing a build up of rubbish at recycling plants in the UK. But while going entirely plastic-free is a tall order, there are plenty of surprisingly small changes and swaps you can make to cut back.
So, how can you take the first steps to cultivating eco-friendly habits in your own kitchen at home – changes that won’t necessarily break the bank?
- Buying loose fruit and vegetables is one of the simplest ways to cut back on plastic. “Purchasing loose fruit not only cuts down on plastics but also reduces food waste, by encouraging you to buy the amount you actually need for the week,” explains a Whole Foods Market spokesperson. Often, it pays to plan a trip to a larger supermarket, market or greengrocer for more choice when it comes to loose fruit and vegetables. Just remember to bring your own re-useable bags.
- The way you store your food also has an impact. Try the Fresher for Longer disc from EcoEgg, which lasts for three months, and keeps food fresh by absorbing ethylene gas, which slows down the decay process. If you’re swapping to loose produce, it pays to shop around for the best prices. Grease proof paper or Bee’s Wrap is an alternative to disposable plastic clingfilm. Bee’s Wrap is reusable, biodegradable and compostable, and is made from organic cotton, sustainably harvested bees wax, organic jojoba oil and tree resin.
- Coffee / Tea – A more “conscious” cup of coffee in the morning is another way to make a difference. The mixed material coffee capsules and pods found in single-serve coffee machines, for example, are notoriously bad for the environment – but you can still source biodegradable options. However, as with vegetables, loose Tea is the best way to go and we definitely here at Tea-turtle promote this . It’s also becoming more widespread, especially among those who prefer to experiment with flavours and blends e at home. With MPs calling for a 25p “latte levy” on disposable coffee cups, and Pret now offering 50p discounts on coffee if you bring your own cup, there’s a real buzz around reusable options such as the fashionable Ecoffee cup, made with natural bamboo fibre, is dishwasher safe and has no nasty plastic aftertaste.
- Cleaning products Re-thinking everyday cleaning products such as machine washable dishcloths and scrubbers is another good place to start. If you seem to get through a disproportionate amount of non-recyclable, grubby washing-up sponges and scrubbers, it might be time to clean up your act. A silicon dish scrubber makes for a good swap, and since it’s washable and reusable, it’s also cost-effective. Furthermore, it isn’t such a breeding ground for bacteria as traditional sponge or wire scrubbers – so it’s a means of improving kitchen hygiene
- Buy in bulk. Buying in bulk saves on unnecessary packaging, and also works out cheaper – it just takes a little more planning, and requires space for storage. The industrial-sized bags of rice in Asian supermarkets spring to mind, and you can buy everything online from cereal to almonds, lentils to apricots from Suma Wholesale and Planet Organic – but you’ll find bulk buys in most supermarkets across the country.