10 Things Only People Trying to Avoid Plastic Packaging Will Understand

Plastic Free January

Blue Planet 2 highlighted the major problem plastic is to our oceans. How plastic trash is infiltrating every corner of our waterways and oceans. That fish and marine mammals are dying from our obsession with all things plastic. Those images have shocked me into trying to change my buying habits; avoid plastic and think more about recycling.

If you’re in any doubt spend five minutes watching this video from the BBC on Facebook. It shows the harsh reality of what rubbish is floating in our oceans.

Wales has a target of zero landfill waste by 2050. Currently we are second in the world for leading recycling, only behind Germany. The Welsh Government is doing great things on the eco front. With the news yesterday that China is banning the import of plastic waste, it will become even more important to recycle plastic and avoid more needlessly ending up in landfill.

Can You Avoid Plastic at the Supermarket?

I will try not to rant. I can only promise to try though because my first attempt at this in a supermarket was a bloody disaster. You can read about the campaign plastic free July, which was my first attempt. Ask yourself. Why? Why does everything come in plastic containers or with a plastic bag around it? It was much harder than I imagined to avoid plastic packaging. I’m trying again this new year.

  1. All fruit is in a plastic sealed bag or a bag and plastic container. Even if you avoid the pre-packaged items they give you… Yes you guessed it; a plastic bag to put it in.
  2. The situation is no better with vegetables. Apart from the big sacks of potatoes they are in a brown paper sack but I can’t lift those!
  3. Why not change the fruit and veg to strong paper packaging? Forget the pre-packaged stuff, select you own and put into a paper bag.
  4. Butter – your choice is plastic or unrecyclable foil. I stuck with plastic in the hope it might be recycled in my locality.
  5. Milk – only plastic.
  6. Bread – all plastic bags. Even some bakery product in paper packaging had plastic windows.
  7. I chose cleaning products with the recycled logo on the bottles but whether they do actually get recycled I don’t know.
  8. I bought a massive bag of pasta to reduce the amount of plastic wrapping I was throwing away, and then stored it in Tupperware. Tupperware is made of plastic. A face palm moment on my behalf.
  9. If you shop in a supermarket it is nigh on impossible to avoid plastic packaging.
  10. If supermarkets had to pay to recycle all that packaging I bet they would find an alternative pretty damn quick.

So I hang my head in shame!

So I have failed this week. My only positive was I remembered my carrier bags so didn’t have to buy anymore of those. What shocked me most was the fruit and veg aisles – very few products are not packaged in plastic.

I’m trying something different with my food shop next week. I’m going to the nearest small high street to where I live. I am only going to shop there, so local butcher, green grocer, pound shop. That way I should be able to reduce the amount of plastic packaging I’m taking home.

But if that is what it takes how difficult does that make it for working people? Those who might not get to the small shops before they close.

I’ll keep you posted on my small business attempt to avoid plastic packaging!