Five steps to a plastic-free shop

CUTTING down on single-use plastic can seem like an enormous task if you try to tackle it all in one go. Sometimes when you are trying to avoid it, it seems to be everywhere! Where do you start?

If you are feeling overwhelmed, the most important thing is not to worry about cutting it all out at once. It’s much easier to start with some small changes and then keep going from there.

One way to do this is to tackle daily tasks one by one. As a start, here are five simple steps to plastic free food shopping:

1) Refuse single-use plastic bags in shops. It’s a great idea to keep a set of re-usable bags to take to the shops whenever you go. Try keeping some handy by the front door, a small one in a handbag or a few in the car so that they are always on hand. Or use Boomarang bags if they are available locally.

2) Use your local greengrocers, farm shop, market or veg box delivery scheme. These will usually be plastic free and have the added advantage of supporting local businesses.

3) Buy milk in washable, re-usable glass bottles – either the old fashioned way from the milkman, or local shops offering refill schemes like Mulberry Manor. There are quite a few of these available via vending machines – this article has a list of those available in Dorset:

4) Use your local zero-waste shop – there are many shops now offering refill services, like The Monmouth Pantry, for many dried food items and toiletries. It’s easy to take along your own containers and re-use these time and time again. You can choose the amount you want, which can also cut down on food waste.

5) Choose products packaged in paper, cardboard, tins or other plastic alternatives over those packaged in plastic. If your favourite brand has not switched to an alternative, write and ask them to change their packaging so that they know that is important to their consumers in making their produce choice.

Avoiding single use plastic is the best solution, but if you find that the item you need is only packaged in plastic, it is usually best to try to buy the largest size available rather then lots of small packages.

If you find that no matter how hard you have tried, you end up with a piece of unwanted plastic packaging, it is still possible to re-use or recycle most plastic items. Take them home, wash them, re-use them, find a new use for them or if that’s not possible, recycle them responsibly.

Alison Johnson
Plastic Free Lyme Regis & Turn Lyme Green

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