Oils, Fats, Butters and Marge

These are the plastic-free/reduced oils and butters I eat.

Vegetable Oil

Pre-packed oils always have a plastic element – if it comes in bottles it will have a plastic lined cap and probably a plastic pouring widget in the bottle top. Buy it in cans and there will be more plastic caps plus the cans are plastic lined. Read more here.
If you are lucky you might find a place that sell oils on tap. Then you may be able to use your own refillable bottle. You can find a U.K. wide list of places that sell oil on tap here
Cold pressed oils are a better option

Buy & More
Plastic free oil details here

Lard & Dripping

I have gone back to lard as the most economical plastic-free, frying option.
I also make pastry with it
It is of course an animal fat.
It is U.K sourced.
It comes in what is (possibly), plastic-free, greaseproof paper. It’s really hard to tell!  Read more about that, here.
Buy & More
Plastic free lard details here

Butter & Margerine

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.
Turns out I love butter.
I use it for spreading and cooking
It is of course an animal fat.
It is U.K sourced.
It comes in what what is (possibly), plastic-free, greaseproof paper. It’s really hard to tell!  Read more about that, here.
I have to buy the paper option because foil is definitely  plastic lined!
Buy & More
Plastic-free butter details here.

Ugh! Not so keen on marge any more now I know it is a hydrogenated fat. But I do use it occasionally for cakes. I buy  the stuff in  (possibly), plastic-free, greaseproof paper. It’s really hard to tell!  Read more about that, here.
I have to buy the paper option because foil is definitely  plastic lined!

Buy & More
Plastic-free margarine  details here.


Lots more plastic-free food here.
What are  oils, waxes and butters?

Look out for these other sneaky plastics

Oil we don’t eat
Oil we don’t eat…. palm oil

Lard & dripping

I am a lard eater! Yes, I know... sounds strange right? Until now I have always used a liquid vegetable oil ...
Read More

Oil Vegetable Cooking Refill

Vegetable oil is difficult to source plastic free. Buy in glass and the metal caps will have a little plasticized disc ...
Read More

Rapeseed Oil

Rapeseed (Brassica Napus) or rape, oilseed rape, rapa, rappi, rapaseed is the bright yellow flowering plant grown in swathes all over ...
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Coconut Oil

Is a hard oil which has a very low melting point. When the weather gets warm it will get liquid ...
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Palm Oil

While I was in Malaysia I got to see some orangutangs. Most of them were in the rehabilitation center which ...
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Oil Vegetable

Pre-packed oils always have a plastic element – if it comes in bottles it will have a plastic lined cap ...
Read More


Back in my more innocent days I used to think that butter wrapped in foil was plastic free. Till the ...
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So I gave up margerine in plastic tubs and scoured the shelves for an alternative. Back in my more innocent ...
Read More

Nottingham The Roasting House – coffee

We’re a micro coffee roastery based in Nottingham. We roast all of our coffee in very small batches to order. Our environmental and ethical values guide us in how we run our business. We have a zero waste to landfill policy informs our purchasing decisions and use only 100% recycled and recyclable paper packaging and labels for our coffee. At events when serving hot coffee, we use both ceramic reusable cups and fully compostable takeaway cups.


Twitter: @roasthse

Please note..

This post was written by the contributor and  is  a PfU.K. Directory submission. We have not tried this product but it sounds great! Would love to see that packaging…
And the Pf U.K. Directory is…?
…a directory of UK-based groups, organisations businesses and individuals who are responding to the problems presented by the misuse of plastic. That does not mean anti-plastic necessarily but certainly plastic-problem aware.
The DIRECTORY is to promote their fantastic work. Read more here…

Got a project?
It is very easy to get a project featured. Each contributor submits a short synopsis of their project, focussing on the plastic aware element and I post it. You can read the submission guidelines here.


Find  more plastic free coffee & tea here…



Did you know that simply by steeping herbs, peel and fruit in alcohol you can make extracts? I discovered this quite by accident when researching what to do with an excess of leggy lavender from a rampant bush. I found a post about lavender vodka and because I refuse to follow recipes, I used far too much lavender.  Rather than a delicately flavoured beverage I ended up with a murkey liquid which, lucky for me,  turns out to be an extract.

Make Your Own

Extracts are strongly flavoured plant extracts. They used to flavour drinks and food. They are a great way of using up a glut of something and preserving it for use later in the year. They are incredibly easy to make and have to be the easiest way of preserving.

The alcohol used is usually vodka and the general rule of thumb seems to be to buy mid range. Too cheap and the nasty flavour intrudes, too expensive and it is a waste of good vodka. Some recipes also suggest rum.

The method is the same.

Take the herb put it in a jar cover it with vodka and leave in a cool dark place remembering to shake occasionally. Time steeping varies with the herb and the recipe.
Once done you strain off the liquid through a sieve and them some fine cotton.
Here are some steeping guidelines.

  • Lavender – flowers steep for 4 weeks
  • Vanilla use the beans steep for two months.
  • Mint leaves one to two months.
  • Citrus Extracts use the rind of the fruit but not the bitter white pith. Use organic unwaxed fruit. steep for 5 to 6 weeks.
  • Cinnamon bark (sticks) steep for two weeks.
  • Berries  6 to 8 weeks or longer.
  • Apparently extracts will keep for  3-5 years.

    Interesting articles
    Three main reasons for using alcohol 


    Water carbonated / fizzy drinks

    I have long wanted a Soda Stream to make my own fizzy water for soft drinks and, more importantly, mixers for gin -the best of all spirits. For now I am buying tonic in tins (but they of course come plastic lined), or bottle (plastic-lined, metal cap and very expensive!).

    But it has to be a SodaStream Crystal Sparkling Water Machine ( see one here) because these take glass bottles rather than plastic.

    Until now there have been 2 drawbacks to this scheme. Recently I have been traveling… a lot. No fixed abode means no large kitchen appliances. Extended travel also results in limited income and those things cost around £110.00 pounds. Yes I am sure I would make the money back in the long run but in the short term I simply don’t have the cash.

    Recently however the planets have aligned. I now have a kitchen and I got a bargain on Ebay. A new Soda Stream machine in original packaging for less than half price. Given my gin drinking habits, I will soon make that back!

    Yes the machine is plastic but I consider this to be plastic that ultimately cuts my plastic consumption. And of course it is cutting my consumption of  disposable plastics while it is a reusable item.


    The Soda Stream itself was well packaged. The box is shiny cardboard (maybe plastic coated) with one little plastic carry handle. Inside it was all brown card protective units. Yay!

    The Ebayer I bought it off sent it wrapped in bubble wrap, corrugated cardboard and plastic tape.

    If I had got it from a shop it would have been almost plastic free… but when you are skint you often have to compromise. Sigh.

    Bottles & Gas

    It was so cheap because it came without a bottle. At least that is what I understood the blurb to say. So I bought some gas and a glass bottle from Amazon. I know it was wrong of me and I wont do it again but they too were bargains.

    The Amazon packaging was cardboard with plastic tape and the original soda stream gas and bottle packaging were (plastic coated?), shiny cardboard.

    The gas bottle itself had a plastic cap and a seal. And a plastic sleeve with information printed on. I see no reason why this could not be paper.

    Not In My Bin….

    The tape had to go on my monthly plastic tally but the boxes I free-cycled. There’s always Ebayers who need packaging.


    To make fizzy drinks you need to mix the carbonated water with concentrated cordial. You can buy a range of Soda Stream mixers to make all manner of beverages from cola to tonic. They come in plastic bottles and while this represent a massive cut in overall plastic consumption, I think it is avoidable.

    You can buy cordial in glass bottles from most supermarkets but it is really easy to make your own and you get to control how much sugar and other nasty additives go into them. I find commercial soft drinks, even tonic, to be way too sweet.

    To date I have made raspberry fizz and ginger and lemon sparkle. Both taste great with gin!

    Raspberry Fizz

    Go to Bently Grange PYO fruit farm and get some raspberries. Boil them up with some sugar. Strain. Add fizzy water. Yay!

    Ginger & Lemon Sparkle

    Boil ginger pieces, lemon juice and sugar. Strain. Add fizzy water. You can save the ginger to flavor other stuff with. Goes great with melon!

    Grapefruit & Lavender Blush

    Juice of the grapefruit, few heads of lavender the last dollop of jam. Add some sugar, boil.


    If you put enough sugar in I guess these cordials would last a long time. I don’t use much sugar so I make small batches and keep them in the fridge for a few days. If I make a lot I  freeze the cordial as cubes of icy flavour.

    Find more recipes in the plastic free cookbook


    Lard & dripping

    I am a lard eater! Yes, I know… sounds strange right?
    Until now I have always used a liquid vegetable oil for cooking thinking it was better for me.
    Now I am not so sure. But health benefits aside, it is the plastic element of oil that bothers me.
    Pre-packed oils always have a plastic element – if it comes in bottles it will have a plastic lined cap and probably a plastic pouring widget in the bottle top. Buy it in cans and there will be more plastic caps plus the cans are plastic lined. Some places will do refills but they are few, far between and very expensive.
    And apart from rapeseed oil, most oils are imported. Product miles and plastic!

    Read more about vegetable oils here. And here is something on product miles….


    It started with dripping – that’s the gateway fat!  I saw some beef dripping, in a paper wrapper, on the shelves in Tesco’s. I didn’t know beef dripping still existed.
    And it was made in the U.K. ….. but I felt uncomfortable with the idea! We have been told for so long that animal fats are bad for us. Even now, when it turns out that hydrogenated vegetable fats are probably worse and soya is something of an environmental disaster, the prejudice still holds. I could not shake the idea that cooking with lard would lead to an instant hardening of the arteries but it was cheap which always sways me.
    So I  bought it and cooked my way though a block of dripping using it where I would have cooked with oil.
    I thought it might be heavy and greasy but it wasn’t. And it fried really well.  So I went to buy some more. They had run out. All they had was lard.


    LARD!!! now that has to be piggy… (it is of course made from pigs), and oily and.. well,  lardy?!
    It wasn’t. It was fine, better than fine it was really easy and made great roasties.
    I have cooked with it for months now – but in secret. Then the other day I got caught and the kitchen rang with squeals of horror. But, quickly forgetting my own early misgivings,I leapt to lards defence.
    I told them if we eat meat so we eat the rest of the animal including the fat, we hardly ever shallow fry, never deep fry and for weeks no one noticed.
    It’s really cheap, plastic-free, made in the U.K. Plus it may even be better for you.
    So now we eat lard and dripping. And we are happy!


    You can get lard from Tesco’s and the Co-op and everywhere else I bet. It comes in what is (possibly), plastic-free, greaseproof paper. It’s really hard to tell!  Read more about that, here.

    N.B foil is definitely  plastic lined!


    Lots more plastic-free food here.
    What are  oils, waxes and butters?

    Look out for these other sneaky plastics



    Chewing Gum

    I don’t do chewing gum because not only does it come packed in plastic, it is actually made from plastic. Yes, while there are a few natural gums on the market  most chewing gums are actually synthetic…. plastic in fact.

    As I am sure you know, chewing gum is a non-nutritive, non-digestible, water-insoluble substance that can be chewed, (duh!), without disintegrating, for a long period of time.

    And that it consists of an elastomer, a chewy base, with added sweeteners and  flavours to make the experience more pleasant.

    Up until WWII, the chewing gum base was usually made from chicle  a latex sap that comes from the sapodilla tree –  a  natural rubber. This has since been replaced with synthetic rubber, a plastic.

    Which Elastomer

    Elastomers in gum are what give it the chew.

    These used to be and occasionally still are natural latexes such as couma macrocarpa (also called leche caspi or serve), loquat (also called nispero),tunu, elution and the most popular, chicle.

    These days most elastomers are synthetic rubbers such as butyl rubber

    The raw materials for making butyl rubber are isobutylene and isoprene. Isoprene is a byproduct of  naphtha or oil, and as a side product in the production of ethylene.

    Other Stuff

    Other ingredients according to Wikipedia  may include the following:

    • Resins: provide a cohesive body or strength, and are most often glycerol esters of gum, terpene resins, and/or polyvinyl acetate ( more about the latter below).
    • Waxes: act as softening agents and are most usually paraffin or microcrystalline wax.
    • Fats: behave as plasticizers and mainly come from hydrogenated vegetable oils.
    • Emulsifiers: help to hydrate, the most common being lecithin or glycerol monostearate.
    • Fillers: impart texture and the most commonly used are calcium carbonate or talc.
    • Antioxidants: protect from oxidation and extend shelf-life; the most common type is BHT.

    The Gum Association says

    Gum base ” is made of a combination of food-grade polymers, waxes and softeners that give gum the texture desired by consumers and enable it to effectively deliver sweetness, flavor and various other benefits, including dental benefits.

    What are polymers?

    A polymer is a string of molecules (monomers) that usually contain carbon and hydrogen. Polymers are found naturally in the human body, animals, plants, and minerals. For example, DNA is a polymer, as are the proteins and starches in the foods we eat.

    Man-made polymers can be identical in structure to those found in the natural environment, but in many cases, these polymers provide guaranteed consistency, quality and purity that are not always found in some natural materials. This quality is particularly important for food-grade polymers used as ingredients.

    What are food-grade polymers?

    Food-grade polymers have been rigorously tested and have been determined to be safe for use in food. In chewing gum, polymers are what provide gum with its basic elastic properties. All polymers used in gum are food-grade and are legally permitted for use by international/national regulatory agencies, including those in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

    You can read more about synthetic polymers here.

    Safe To Chew?

    So are these food grade plastics gums with their paraffin and  yummy vinyl acetate additive  are safe?  Well plastic and paraffin certainly don’t sound appetising and vinyl acetate was once  classified by the Canadian Government as a “potentially high hazard substance.” This was later overturned (2010) under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). The decision was based on information received during the public comment period, and  from the risk assessment conducted by the European Union.

    Environmental Hazard?

    YES!!! Because it is plastic, gum doesn’t biodegrade – which means it has to be carefully disposed of – either landfilled or incinerated. If it ends up on the street as much of it does, it sticks like mad to the pavement and looks really ugly. It needs to be specially removed – which costs a lot. “The LGA (Local Government Authority points out that the average piece of gum costs about 3p to buy – but 50 times that to clean up (£1.50). Most chewing gum never biodegrades and once it is trodden into the pavement this requires specialised equipment to remove. “

    Natural Gums

    If you cant give up gum there are some natural gums out there. I have not tried these so please let me know how they taste. And I guess they come plastic packed. Again do let me know.

    Peppersmith U.K. do a natural based gum.

    It contains Xylitol (wood sugar), Natural chicle gum base, Peppermint oil, Calcium carbonate, Gum arabic (thickner), Rapeseed lecithin (emulsifier), Vegetable glycerol (humectant), Carnauba wax (glazing agent).Suitable for vegetarians.

    You can buy it at Holland & Barrett, other stores and of course on line.

    Here is a review of 8 of the healthier chews available in the U.S.

    Sneaky Plastics

    Here are some more products that surprisingly contain plastic.


    Truffles made with plastic free cream

    Yes I know you need cream to make truffles and being plastic-free we don’t have any. Cue squeaks of joy when I bring you this ….

    How to Replace Cream in Truffles

    Melt 1/4 cup of butter in a small saucepan. Add 3/4 of cup milk and bring to a boil to replace 1 cup of heavy cream in your favorite truffle recipe.
    Add three cups of good-quality dark chocolate and you can have chocolate truffles.
    Thank you Livestrong. You can find the full recipe here.

    And plastic free ingredients here…..

    Find more recipes in the plastic free cookbook


    Pancakes & Pancake day

    To make plastic free pancakes in a plastic free non stick pan …
    you will need:
    Eggs in a cardboard box. (If you buy them from Queensgate Market Huddersfield you can reuse the box and get a discount.)
    Milk in a glass bottle from a milk man. Find one here
    Flour in a paper bag
    Unpackaged lemons bought in a cotton produce bag
    Sugar in a paper bag
    Butter in paper

    Plastic free frying pan


    Make your batter. The BBC cookery website have a great range of recipes and
    exciting pancake related information.

    Heat the plastic free frying pan
    Add a knob of butter
    Swirl in the batter
    Serve with lemon juice and sugar


    Here is some exciting pancake related information.

    Check out the plastic free cookbook here

    Smoked Salmon

    How I love it! It has been up there on guilty pleasures list (the plastic wrapped food I can’t give up!). The sad thing is it doesn’t need to come like that. Up in Scotland I found 2 places that smoked their own salmon and were happy to sell it to me in my own containers

    Wester Ross Fisheries Ullapool

    The Loch Torridon Smokehouse

    OMG it was fantastic. But it is rather far to go – so I am going to try this….

    “Tim Hayward visits London’s Billingsgate fish market, a builder’s merchant, sources some electrical equipment on eBay … then shows us how to combine his unusual purchases to produce the finest home-smoked salmon ”

    … and it looks really easy!

    Find more plastic free food here


    Chocolate – Original Beans

    Oh my….. this company is leading the way. Their chocolate has to be the greenest I have yet come across.

    Original Beans was founded by Philipp Kaufmann who,has worked for both the the WWF and the UN. He wanted to develop a business that would drive conservation.

    So for every bar you buy, Original Beans plants a tree in the rainforest. They help conserve the rainforest and the bean farmers livlihood plus pay them a decent wage.


    Original Beans helps establish tree nurseries, creates conservation training programs, and helps with planting buffer zones around rainforest reserves. New cacao trees generate income for farmers after three years; the other diverse plantings secure future food and firewood.

    “Original Beans obligates itself to pay the farmers more than the sixfold of the official fair-trade premium in exchange for high quality and ecological commitment. This way we can convince smallholder famers to refrain from slash-and-burn pratices – the number one climate killer – and instead convert to a more sustainable semi-wild cultivation of mixed crops.”

    They work with international agronomy institutes, such as the CATIE and the CIRA. Full traceability is guaranteed of all cacaos And they encourage the growing of unusual and rare cocoa beans for example they rediscovered and replanted a long forgotten and almost extinct bean , the Piura Porcelana.

    The chocolate is organic which means the cacao beans have been grown in pesticide-free fields and free of preservatives.

    The finished product does not additives or lecithin, raw cane sugar is used as a sweetener.

    Plastic Free Packaging

    There is so much more of interest But it is the packaging that really gets us going over here at PIR.

    They use bio-compostable carton packaging made from FSC paper and printed with low-migration, natural inks from Lessebo Bruk.

    They use  “Natureflex foil for the chocolate sector. Made from renewable FSC wood, with a thin metallised layer (0,02%), it guarantees a  high barrier to moisture, yet is garden-compostable by EU & US standards.”

    And finally “To protect your chocolate, we use FLO-PAK Green packaging chips, made from 100% recycled material. They will be biologically reduced to carbon dioxide, water and humus without any residues within 1–3 years.”

    Sadly I havn’t actually got to try any and at up to £4.45 A BAR IT IS NOT CHEAP.  

    If any one else has tried it, please let me know how it is.

    You can find places to purchase here.

    And more plastic free sweets & chocolates here


    Refill/Bulk/Zerowaste Stores

    Bulk buy or refill stores are places you can buy all kinds of food like rice, suet, even soup mix – loose and unpackaged.
    You take as much as you want/need from a larger container, weigh and pay.
    You can usually use your own packaging.
    The advantages for the #plasticfree shopper hardly need stating!
    These are common in America and Australia, far less so in the U.K. But we do have some.
    I have put together a list of stores that sell loose products, listed alphabetically by the location / place name.

    If you know of others please add them, with as many details as possible, in the comments box below and I will incorperperate them.

    While these shops provide bags and they are almost always plastic ones. You will need to take your own plastic-free /reusable bags, tubs and bottles.


    The weight of the container may make a difference at checkout. Some shops  subtract the tare weight but other don’t. The tare weight is the weight of the empty container.

    Latest finds

    Not yet filed

    The Uk’s only Zero Waste, organic, bulk-buy, plant-based, wholefoods shop. Visit our family-run shop in Totnes, Devon.

    A to Z

    Find refill stores in Aberystwyth Also check the comments below for latest stores. Know of a store, or a plastic free blogger in a town beginning with B? Add the ...
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    Find refill stores in Barmouth Bath Brighton Bridlington Brixam Bristol What Are Refill Stores? Bulk buy or refill stores are places you can buy food loose.You take as much as you ...
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    Kingsmouth Devon Free local delivery – spend £7.50 and we will deliver free – within a 7-mile radius of Kingsbridge. Great for bulk buys. Good review here. Reapers @ReapersTiverton 18 Bampton Street, Tiverton, ...
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    is for refill Stores in Edinburgh Emsworth What are refill stores? Bulk buy or refill stores are places you can buy food loose.You take as much as you want/need from a ...
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    Pain Au Chocolat - home bake Pain Au Raisen - Home Bake Yorkshire Puds Fruits of the forest and other soft fruits Roast veg - peppers to potatoes Uncooked Vegetables ...
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    Whole Foods Market are my idea of supermarket heaven. If there have to be supermarkets,  then let them be like this. 124-134 Fenwick Road Glasgow G46 6XN 0141 621 2700 ...
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    A surprise discovery on a day trip to Horsham! Town & Country Weigh is at 7 East Street, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1HH. It has bulk food bins for rice (long grain, ...
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    I try not to be bitter I really do but sometimes I think the yanks have it easy with their bulk buy shops. Sounds like you can buy just about ...
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    Queensgate Market is a covered indoor market in the center of Huddersfield. It is home to over one hundred shops open six days a week. Bus Stop • Town Centre ...
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    Liverpool Lincoln London Loose Foods? Anyone who lives in the U.K.  knows how hard it is to buy staple food like rice, pasta or cocoa loose and unpackaged. Do you ...
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    Village Green Co-op Prestwich Village Greens is a Community co-operative grocery in Prestwich with fresh, local, organic, affordable produce . For the plastic free amongst us it has some loose, self-service ...
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    Vegetable oil is difficult to source plastic free. Buy in glass and the metal caps will have a little plasticized disc or plastic liner on inside and maybe a plastic seal ...
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    Welcome to SESI We are Oxford's longest serving refill station of food products and household detergents. SESI has its own range of laundry and household detergents which create no packaging waste from ...
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    15B Causewayhead Penzance Cornwall TR18 2SN One of the incredibly eccentric loose food outlets that can occasionally be found huddled under the idiosyncratic Weigh and Save umbrella. You can read ...
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    We always recommend shopping local and of course lots of shops sell stuff loose. Vegetables and meat are easily obtained loose and packaging free, even from supermarkets.  But anyone who lives ...
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    Find refill stores in Tiverton Todmorden Totnes Find towns beginning with w different letterhere ... What Are Refill Stores? Bulk buy or refill stores are places you can buy food ...
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    Long time ago when I was young we used to visit the Weigh & Save shop in the precinct down the road. In it were a number of  big bins ...
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    Watford Wimborne Have refill stores that sell loose/unpackaged/zerowaste food of the type that normally comes plastic packed. What Are Refill Stores? Bulk buy or refill stores are places you can ...
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    Seems like a trip to York is in order... and not just because the Minster is lovely. Ruth tells me of in York. They have bulk bins of Rice, museli base, ...
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     U.K. Wide

    Scoop & Save, Weigh & Save ….and lots more related names
    The nearest the U.K. has to bulk food buying. As far as I can tell, these shops run as individual unit. They go under a variety of names – Weigh & Save, Scoop & Save, etc. They are extremely idiosyncratic and vary greatly in presentation and  range.  Some go the whole hog with corporate green and yellow displays with a range of stuff to choose from, others a are little more than a few dusty bins at the back of the shop. You can read more here including a list of shops that have closed.

    Whole Food Market – if we have to have supermarkets let them be like this. They have loose food aisle and you can take your own containers which they will tare for you. They don’t have many branches in the U.K. yet but if there is one near you your problems are solved. Reviews here.

    Other Supermarkets & Chainstores
    Sometimes supermarkets can surprise you – check out the plastic-free and reduced packaging products here.

    While these shops provide bags and they are almost always plastic ones. You will need to take your own

    Find A Milk Delivery Service With Glass Bottles



     Bulk Buy In Polythene

    Ok some things you can’t find plastic free and can’t give up. So which plastic packaging has the least impact? The best advice here is avoid the fancy graphics and shiny films and go for the simple, easily recyclable polythene. Find suppliers here

    Help Me

    Please add any shops you know of in the comments below and I will incorporate them into the post.
    Links to reviews particularly welcome.
    Dont have a blog? Love guest posts…


    You can find a list of all other plastic free products over at the A to Z


    Tea; leaves, pots and strainers

    These days most of us automatically reach for the teabags but is that really the best choice? Certainly not from a plastic free zero waste point of veiw.

    Nasty Bags

    Whats in your tea bag? Paper and tea you wish but actually no.
    Firstly is your bag made from paper? Are you sure? Because when you think about it if it really was made from paper why doesn’t it go all soggy when you submerge it in boiling water?

    Well it could be because the actual bag that you thought was paper, does in fact contain plastic and so are only between 70-80% biodegradable.
    Then there is the sealing. Wikipedia claims “Heat-sealed tea bag paper usually has a heat-sealable thermoplasti
    OR the paper may have been treated with Epichlorohydrin to make it stronger
    Andthose bags are so white because they have been bleached with chlorine.

    Plastic Free Tea Bags
    There are plastic / chlorine free bags out there but they are very expensive and often come individually packed in plastic bags.
    You can read more HERE.

    How To Use Loose Tea 

    So to conclude most teabags are rather nasty, containing both chemicals and plastic. The few that don’t are fearfully expensive and come plastic packaged.
    In short, loose tea is a better option. There now follows a guide on how to buy and use loose tea to make the perfect cuppa.


    First you will need to source some loose tea.

    U.K. wide

    PG Tips are selling tea in a cardboard box. In supermarkets! Way to go PG.

    This photo is thanks to the lovely Plastic Is Rubbish FB group who came up with these reccomendations. They are a great source of personal experience and up to date information.

    PG Tips is “Unilever is a British-Dutch transnational consumer goods company co-headquartered in London, United Kingdom and Rotterdam, Netherlands. Its products include food, beverages, cleaning agents and personal care products. Wikipedia”

    Whittards are. U.K. wide chain that will sell you tea loose.this from twitter
    “Hi there, yes if you visit our store with your own container, we can fill it with either tea or coffee.”
    They have over 50 shops. You can find one
    NB you will have to take your own plastic free or , better still, reusable packaging. See below for links.

    “The company was founded in 1886 by Walter Whittard. It expanded in the 1980s and 1990s, and was bought by the Icelandic Baugur Group in 2005 for around £21 million.”


    There are tea merchants who specialize in fine teas. Health food shops also are good for a go.
    You can find a list of tea and coffee merchants here.

    Loose Food A to Z

    Find out if a shop near you sells bulk food loose. This is stuff that that normally comes plastic packaged ie rice, pasta and salt. And yes these shops do exist in the U.K. There’s just not many of them.
    Heres alist of towns with shops selling loose food.

    You might need to take your own bags.

    Pots, Strainers & Balls to you Mrs!

    Next you will need a teapot and, unless you fancy taking up fortune telling, something to stop the leaves getting in your cup. You can get great teapots from charity shops. I favor the stainless steel 70s version, good for traveling in the van with. You can get all metal tea strainers if you look. Try the market, Ebay or  Amazon. I am not a big fan of tea strainers. They dribble and you need a saucer to put them on. And you have the icky job of removing the tea leaves from the pot afterwards, a soggy business at the best of times. No, I like these mesh balls. You put the tea in them then put them in the pot. At the end you empty them in the compost bin without worrying about nasty plastic mesh. Easy as!  You can even get some teapots that have integrated diffusers built in.

    You can find a full list of loose tea merchants here. If you know of any please leave details in the comments.

    Just One Cup?

    If you are brewing up for the WI, a teapot is fine but what when you want a quick cuppa for one?
    You can get cotton bags that you can fill to make your own reusable teabags but really who can be bothered with that kind of faff.

    I have found that a steel mesh single cup infuser works perfectly. It sits on your mug, you fill it with loose tea, let the brew, brew then remove. Really no effort at all and very easy to empty into the compost bin after. Mine was given as a gift but I have found something similar on Amazon

    Brewing Up

    So now we are good to go. Put the leaves in the pot (or the mesh ball first) add boiling water and let it brew.

    and again…

    Don’t be so quick to empty the pot. You ca muse those leaves again to make a fresh pot. Even keep them in the fridge and reuse the next day.

    When the tea gets a bit weak you can ad a pinch more.

    Honestly. I learnt this from the Chinese tea shop where they sell 50 year old tea for a hundreds of dollars a gram. Yes apparently tea, like wine, does improve with age. Who knew?


    If you take milk, you will need to get yourself a milk man who delivers milk in glass bottles and possibly a milk jug!


    Find other sneaky plastics here….

    Buy Teapots & Strainers

    Being committed to local shopping I prefer to buy that way whenever possible. I would encourage you to do the same. One of the joys of living plastic free is mooching round the local shops seeing what you can source.

    If you can’t buy local, please do check the links in the posts.  They link direct  to the suppliers.  Do consider buying from them and support their online businesses.

    If you can’t do that then I have put together and Amazon catalogue. Yes I know…

    Amazon is a very dirty word at the moment and I thought long and hard before suggesting them.  Heres why I went ahead….. No we are not entirely happy with Amazons recent history. However these links are for 3rd party sellers, we have always found the Amazon service to be good and their packaging usually compostable. In the absence of anything else we feel we can recommend them.

    Kitchen Craft Stainless Steel Double Handled Tea Strainer- boxed Tea Ball Infuser 2" 18/8 Stainless Steel. Tea Ball/Strainer Mesh Tea Infuser Tea filter Reusable
    Kitchen Craft Stainless Steel Double Handle…
    Tea Ball Infuser 2″ 18/8 Stainless Steel.
    Tea Ball/Strainer Mesh Tea Infuser Tea filt…
    £1.52 – £2.19
    Kitchen Craft Le'Xpress Tea Strainer, Stainless Steel Stainless Steel Spoon Tea Leaves Herb Mesh Ball Infuser Filter Squeeze Strainer 2 Cup Glass Tea Pot with Infuser
    Kitchen Craft Le’Xpress Tea Strainer, Stai…
    Stainless Steel Spoon Tea Leaves Herb Mesh …
    2 Cup Glass Tea Pot with Infuser
    Glass Stainless Steel Loose Tea Leaf Teapot With Infuser 750ml/500ml --- Size:L VonShef Modern Stainless Steel 600ml Glass Infusion Tea Pot Loose Tea Leaf Coffee Infuser Sabichi 750 ml Glass Teapot with Infuser
    Glass Stainless Steel Loose Tea Leaf Teapot… VonShef Modern Stainless Steel 600ml Glass …
    Sabichi 750 ml Glass Teapot with Infuser
    VonShef Satin Polish Stainless Steel Tea Pot with Infuser. Available in sizes Small, Medium & Large Designer White Ceramic Tumbler Brewing System
    VonShef Satin Polish Stainless Steel Tea Po…
    Designer White Ceramic Tumbler Brewing System