Back in my more innocent days I used to think that butter wrapped in foil was plastic free. Till the day I didn’t have a butter dish to hand (!) and butter was served, as bought, in the wrapper. Over time the foil wrapping began to crack, crack but not break.  Strange I thought …  and closer investigation showed it was  not breaking up because it was foil  lined with plastic.You can find out more about plastic lined foil here

So began the search for paper wrapped butter.
This is what I have found. Salted butter is more likely to come wrapped in paper than unsalted. Why? I have no idea.
The greaseproof paper used to wrap the butter  may not be what it seems. Rather it could be plastic lined or  chemically treated rather than natural greaseproof paper. You can read about that here.

But taking all of the above into account, paper wrapped butter and margarine is the best we can do.

Buying Paper Wrapped Butter

More companies are switching to foil wrapped butter. Many that used to supply paper wrapped no longer do so. Consequently this info may be out of date. The Plastic Is Rubbish Facebook group is good for updates and latest info.

this is what we got…

The Cheese Stall in Queensgate, Huddersfield, (only salted)
Barbican in Chorlton Manchester, (only salted).
Sainsbury’s,  Huddersfield Town Centre do unsalted butter in paper but you can only find it on the cheese counter not in the self service aisles. The wrapper definitely has a paper component but is marked mixed materials which means it is probably plastic lined. See above notes.
MArks & Spencers sell some very expensive butter in paper.
Waitrose – Not personally confirmed.
Iceland – apparently still sell butter in paper – salted.

Many thanks to the Plastic Is Rubbish Facebook group for their input and updates


Sainsbury and the Co-op used to wrap their cheap, salted, butter in paper.  I have recently heard that they have stopped doing this.

Morrisons – I heard they used to sell some butter in paper. There are now reports that this has been discontinued.


I have found myself falling out with margarine – it is slithery, weird and synthetic so I only use it very occasionally. This information may well be out of date.
Sainsburys & Tescos do paper wrapped.


You can often use vegetable oil in place of margarine or butter. Cheaper than butter healthier than margarine.  It  isn’t  entirely plastic-free either but I do what I can


Before the boycott I ate margerine because I thought it was healthier option but you cannot get decent margarine plastic free. It all comes in plastic tubs.
So I went back to butter. But what about the risks? You ask? seems butter is not so bad for you after all and some margarines are poison!
” there never was any good evidence that using margarine instead of butter cut the chances of having a heart attack or developing heart disease. Making the switch was a well-intentioned guess, given that margarine had less saturated fat than butter, but it overlooked the dangers of trans fats.”
And this
“butter is on the list of foods to use sparingly mostly because it is high in saturated fat, which aggressively increases levels of LDL. Margarines, though, aren’t so easy to classify. The older stick margarines that are still widely sold are high in trans fats, and are worse for you than butter. Some of the newer margarines that are low in saturated fat, high in unsaturated fat, and free of trans fats are fine as long as you don’t use too much (they are still rich in calories).”
From Harvard Health 


Go back to the oil index to read about the other fatty acids we eat.
What are  oils, waxes and butters and which do we use.?

Lots more plastic-free food here.

Find more sneaky plastics here….

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3 thoughts on “Butter

  1. Pingback: 6 January – plastic and butter – 100 Mile Diet – the Cambridge version

  2. Since reading that I have been using that method to check out all sorts of plastic covered paper – thanks for the tip.

  3. Yeo Valley butter is wrapped in foil lined with paper. It is a bit of a fad to separate the two, but possible if you leave it to soak in the water after washing up.

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