When determining if something is plastic free I sometimes have to apply the not-in-my-bin rule.
A cheesy case study
Please note there are other cheese options but for the purpose of this study we are going with the cheaper mass produced cheese!
We buy cheese unpackaged. Sometimes from a market (try Queensgate in Huddersfield), sometimes a supermarket will have the block uncut,(Tescoes are good for this). We take our own packaging and ask for the cheese to be wrapped in that. However the big block of cheese is usually wrapped in plastic. It’s how they pack and keep mass-produced cheese in the UK.
So, does this counts as plastic free?
Yes and no. I cannot control the supply chain or how others choose to use plastic. I can only control my own environment and what I use plastic for. That might sound like dissembling but consider this;
- many products even if they are sold loose will arrive to the shop plastic packed. That includes meat to the butchers, boxes plastic film wrapped onto crates, crates secured with plastic webbing.
- You can buy an unwrapped sandwich in a bakers but what of the ingredients? did the baker buy them plastic free? Same can be said for dining out.
The only way I could be sure my food was plastic free would be to grow and butcher it myself – and never eat out or buy in. This is a blog about living plastic- free in the everyday world. For sure I do what I can but I cannot greatly affect how the supply chain operates – yet, (you wait till the movement gets more powerful).
However I can say not in my bin. I can show that at the user end at least, products do not need to be plastic packed and that some consumers will not use plastic packaging. By choosing biodegradable forms of packaging I can massively reduce my plastic waste. I can also dispose of my own rubbish by composting. It doesn’t resolve all the issues of plastic packaging but it reduces the problems at my level of use. And that is a pretty big contribution.
In the UK alone we generate 3 million tonnes of plastic waste annually, 56% of which is used packaging, three-quarters of which is from households. (waste on line)
Imagine if the 65 million UK residents cut the plastic that goes in the domestic bins and started composting. Looks wistfully into space…