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L is for …

Loose food in
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 know how long it took me to track down some plastic free cocoa? But I did.

To save you the stress of cocoa free nights,  I am putting, together a list of stores that sell loose products (of the type that normally come packaged), that allow you to use your own (plastic free), packaging to take it home in.
Just to reiterate… these shops do provide bags – plastic ones. You will need to take your own plastic-free /reusable bags & packaging. Find out where to get them, here.

Liverpool

Many thanks to Vicky for this….”I have been trying to reduce my plastic use, and struggling to find places local to where I live, on the Wirral. I have managed to find a weigh & save shop in Wallasey, it goes by the name Cake Creations, 216 Liscard Rd, Wallasey CH44 5TN
It would be great if you could list this on your site as I really struggled to find it. The lady is lovely and weighs my own jars first, notes the weight then lets me fill them and weighs again. They have a range of cereals, lentils, nuts, dried fruit, sugars, spices, there really is quite a lot. “
This is a “weigh & save shop” – you can read more about them here.

Lincoln

Gaia Wholefoods in Lincoln
Central Market
Lincoln, Lincolnshire

07891 370197
Nicola, the proprietor sells whole food that she bags up but is willing to weigh out into your own containers if you give her enough notice.
Thanks to Not Quite A Vegan for that

London

London & Environs Loose Foods

More

You can find out  how to shop plastic free, here 
Other loose food outlets here.
More plastic free products over at the A to Z

Help Me

Please add any shops you know of in the comments below and I will incorporate them into the post.
Links to reviews and blogs particularly welcome. Don’t have a blog? Love guest posts…

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Inhalers Homemade

Seems you can buy refillable inhalers. You soak the cotton wick in essential oils of your choice, put in the inhaler and sniff away.

If you live in the States you can buy these rather nice ones in glass and aluminium from Amazon.com  3.5 inches x .75 inches, outer shell is aluminum.

If you live in the U.K. you have to make do with these ugly plastic ones from Ebay. Yes, I know, plastic – but reusable rather than disposable.

More

To clear stuffed noses try Eucalyptus oil

Eucaplyptus Oil

Find more #plasticfree personal care products here

 

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Compostable Plastics

There are some biodegradable, compostable plastics.

What is biodegradable? Biodegradable products break down through a naturally occurring microorganism into simple, stable compounds which can be absorbed into the ecosystem. More about biodegrading here

What is compostable? To be classed compostable, items must biodegrade within a certain time (around the rate at which paper biodegrades), and the resulting biomass must be free of toxins, able to sustain plant life and be used as an organic fertilizer or soil additive. For a man-made product to be sold as compostable, it has to meet certain standards. One such is the European Norm EN13432. You can find out more here.

Most compostable plastics are bioplastics. Bioplastics are made from natural materials such as corn starch. However not all are compostable. Find out more here.

There is research being done into developing a compostable, oil-derived plastic. Watch this space BUT don’t fall for the old *biodegradable plastic bag trick see below.

Compostable Plastics include

Composting PLA Plastic At Home
While most agree that PLA plastic is indeed compostable, many say that it can only composted in large scale municipal schemes. As we don’t have many large scale municipal schemes this they say is a pointless advantage.I say the days of large scale municipal schemes is fast approaching as governments aim to divert biodegradable rubbish from landfill sites.
AND I have been composting my PLA plastic for years. We have used and composted a number PLA plastic products (including Biobags , Deli pots  and disposable Cutlery)

It does take longer than other products and  sometimes I have found shreds of it in my compost but I dig it into the soil where it quickly disappears.

*Compostable versus biodegradable plastics

You might see some plastics labelled described as biodegradable. You could be forgiven for thinking that this is the same as compostable plastic. It is not. Some “biodegradable plastics” are oil derived plastics with a degrading initiator added to make them fall apart (degrade) more  quickly. Unlike compostable plastics they don’t always break down into harmless substances and may leave behind a toxic residue. Read more here

More

Want to know more about plastic? Read up here
See our big list of plastic types here

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January

In this post you can read about
News & Events
To Do…This Month
To Do…Next Month

News & Events

A Bit Previous
And we have moved again and once again our wifi connection is very poor. Apologies in advance for poor response times and posts at random times. New year has come early because I can get online now. Talking of which…..

Need A Really Easy & Effective Resolution? 

I suggest that anyone in need of a new years resolution should try reducing their plastic trash by just one piece. Perhaps say no to straws in drinks, maybe buy, (and remember to use), some reusable produce bags or find a milkman with refillable glass bottles.This has to be the easiest New Years resolution ever. And so effective. Immediately you are making the world a cleaner place!  Just think if every one of Britain’s 64.1 million people did this!
Try reading quick tips to cut your plastic trash for more ideas and of the Cut Plastic Index for alternatives to plastic products.
Go on give it a go! Just say no.
And do tell me about your plastic free action, here or on any of our social media sites
I will of course continue to boycott plastic and source more sustainable alternatives.

To Do…This Month 

Garden
While it is still a bit cold to be out there, thoughts now turn to the garden and the seeds that need to be sown for the coming year. You need to start planning ahead for plastic free seedlings.
You can buy plastic-free seeds and find instructions on how to make your own paper seedling pots here. Plus other great plastic free garden related products.

Keep On Kissing
Stop chapped lips with this home made lip balm. It really works! With refillable tubes or metal tins.

Next Month 

As ever we are planning ahead as plastic free events need some organising.
February 
Pancake Day
Valentines Day

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Tea & Coffee Merchants

Since the bad news about Twinings tea bag (compostable packaging but tea bag part plastic), I have been drinking loose tea or rather cake tea which we bought in Malaysia, wrapped only in tissue paper. But one tea can never be enough! And Malaysia is rather too far to go for some tea – think of the air miles! So we are putting together a list of loose tea merchants.

You will need to take your own bags

New Boys

Leeds

The Teapot has  coffee beans and leaf tea from all round the world. Really lovely stall in the food hall. Also makes coffee to drink. See what else the market has to offer, here.

Nottingham The Roasting House – coffee

Aberystwyth with love….

Huddersfield
Coffee Evolution
Coffee beans from the superlative Coffeevolution  our independent coffee shop. The boys there import their own fair trade beans and roast them themselves. I give them my own bag they give me fresh beans

Lancaster
Lancaster tea merchants http://www.thecoffeehopper.com/ I promised I would tell you the name of the Lancaster tea merchants where I got loose tea last summer. Also loose coffee. The shop has been there years – I used it back in the early 70s. Lyn Bull x

Leaminster
Nitty Gritty Wholefoods  do loose spices and tea.

Todmorden
Loose tea can also be found on Todmorden Market.

London
Cheltenham
Glasgow Tea & Coffee beans from Wholefood Market who are happy for you to use your own bag.

Help Me

I will be researching  other plastic- free, loose teas available in the UK . If you know of any please do leave a comment.

Make

How to make plastic-free tea – it’s all in the tea balls

Need a splash of milk – you need to get yourself a milk man who delivers milk in glass bottles (details here)  and possibly a milk jug!

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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 or plastic liner on inside and maybe a plastic seal. Plus the bottle will almost always have a plastic pouring widget in the bottle top.Like I can’t pour oil out of a bottle??? Buy in  cans and they have a plastic lid, perhaps a handle and the can is of course  lined with plastic. You can read more here

On Tap
But if you are very lucky you might find a place that sell oils on tap that lets you use your own refillable bottle. Do you need me to explain that? They sell oil from the can and you take your own bottle, which they refill with oil. Whey – plastic free oil!

That said in 2015  Defra  banned ‘On tap’ olive oil. The following is taken form their website….”These oils mustn’t be sold ‘on tap’ in their pure form: extra virgin olive oil, virgin olive oil, olive oil composed of refined olive oils and virgin olive oils, olive pomace oil. Today (2016) seems oil is back on tap. So,  for now you can buy olive oil on tap from a variety of store.

Using your own bottle?
It would seem that some stores allow you to refill your own bottle. Whole Food Market do and I refilled my glass bottle there.  But I cannot vouch for the others listed below! Any information on the subject is much appreciated.

Oil refills in the U.K.

The Bear Co-op, Todmorden, West Yorkshire.
The butchers St Agnes, Devon
Wholefood Supermarket Cheltenham & London

And (thanks to Carol Henshaw) the following in Scotland
Demijohn – Victoria St, Edinburgh refill oil & vinegar (and spirits at Demijohn).

There there was this conversation on Facebook….

Lyn Bull Olive oil Stoneygate, Leicester http://www.deliflavour.net/

DELIFLAVOUR.NET

Lyn Bull Their deli in silver arcade in the centre of Leicester may also do refills but not checked

Sheena Hatton Claremont Farm in Wirral (oils and vinegars) and Spar in Llanfyllin.

Lyn Bull Vom Fass (oils, vinegars, spirits etc) have two shops in Cardiff and Milton Keynes . The rest are franchises but not found their locations.http://www.vomfassuk.com/storelocator

 Sarah Seferi Ah there’s one in Dartford in bluewater shopping centre but that’s now call il gusto but exactly the same

Lyn Bull ‘Oil and Vinegar’ Inverness http://www.oilvinegar.com/

 Amanda Evans Holland and Barrett in St David’s 2 shopping centre in Cardiff has a lot of different varieties of refillable oil, but they don’t like you bringing your own containers I just insisted that as the bottle I already had was theirs I should be able to use it again, but they got grumpy about “hygeine issues” so I just did it anyway XD

Ruth Jennaway Went to this cafe/deli at the weekend. Lots of oils on tap.http://www.eynsham-emporium.co.uk/giftsplease

Gifts to savour | Eynsham Emporium

With stunning flavours, perfectly stored and beautifully presented our Ex-Virgin Olive Oils and Sweet…
EYNSHAM-EMPORIUM.CO.UK
Åsa PamphilonHoland andBarrer in Chelmsford. I havent yet refilled but it is clearly two different prices for their bottle and oil/vinegar or just a refill so I assume I will have no problems. Maybe I had better leave some oil in the bottle so it is clear it has been used!

More

Please share your oil buying experiences in the comments below and I will incorporate them into the post. The more detail the better!
Theres more on buying vegetable oil here
Or you could try lard!!!!
http://plasticisrubbish.com/2016/07/02/lard-dripping/
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Milk & Milkmen

British consumers got through nine billion pints of milk last year. 90% of that milk was bought in a plastic container. That’s a lot of plastic trash only a percentage of which gets recycled. See some recycling stats here.
Glass milk bottles can be re-used up to 20 times. By my calculations that means that 1 bottle lasts 20 days that equals 18 bottles a year as oppose to 364 plastic bottles a year.So I got myself a milk man with real glass bottles.

Do you want one? Course you do!
Are they expensive? I pay £1.70 for 2 pints of organic semi skimmed delivered to my door.

This his website can  help  Find Me A Milkman does exactly what it says on the tin. Type in your postcode to find who is delivering in your area. N.B. Not all deliveries are in glass – you will have to check

Milk and More Dairycrest  also deliver nationally. However they were looking to phase out glass bottle and replace them with plastic. You can read more here

Local & Glass

These companies are smaller and usually local businesses. When last checked, the delivered milk in glass bottles – BUT DO DOUBLE CHECK

In The North

Darlington

Darlington Acorn Dairy, do doorstep delivery in glass bottles. They deliver to Darlington,South Durham and the Dales/North Yorkshire.

Huddersfield

Ian on 0795 829 0246 delivers.

Lancaster
This is thanks to the students of Landcaster who gave up plastic for Lent. May be out of date but worth a try.In case anyone is looking for a Lancaster Milkman, here is a useful list compiled by Emily! Milkmen in Lancaster (April 2009)
Raymond McDougall tel: 01524 36158 – covers Fairfield and the Marsh.
Hey & Sons tel: 01524 770343 – covers Primrose, Greaves, Scotforth, Piccadilly and Lancaster University.
Martin Edwards tel: 07739 486357 – covers Hala.
Colin Johnson tel: 01524 36222 – covers Aldcliffe, Ashton Road, Torrington Road.

Leeds
Mc Queens Diaries  deliver to Headingly Leeds and perhaps other places too

Manchester
Cream Online is a great doorstep delivery service that does milk in glass bottles. But also juice! And it delivers a veg box which when I asked they told was very much plastic reduced. I didn’t actually use the veg box service so you might want to double check.It also delivers all kinds of other essentials. Not plastic free stuff but not from a chain either. Rather it is a local, family run company.

Midlands

Moofresh – loads of different milk in glass bottles. They deliver round Birmingham and Tamworth – you can find a full list of places here on their website

The Cotteswold Dairy serve:
Tewkesbury
Cheltenham
Shrewsbury
Colony Bay
More info here 

Kirby & West  https://www.kirbyandwest.co.uk/

Family run dairy business delivering milk and other products to doorsteps around Leicester, Market Harborough and Lutterworth.

South

London

Parker Dairies is a small independant dairy situated in Walthamstow, supplying milk and other goods all over east london and the city. parkerdairies.co.uk

Suffolk

£1 for 1L bottle £1 to fill it from a vending machine.

North Oxfordshire

North Aston Dairy

  • North Aston
    Somerton
    Upper Heyford
    Lower Heyford
    Steeple Aston
    Middle Aston
    Duns Tew
    Deddington
    Wolvercote

We deliver the milk late afternoon onto doorsteps in glass litre bottles. It is pasteurised but unhomogenized so has a lovely layer of cream on top. We also attend East Oxford farmers market every Saturday. Follow us on twitter @northastondairy Enquiries – northastondairy@phonecoop.coop

Ongar Dairy

Epping
Loughton
Chigwell

@ongardairy

Milk delivery across Epping Loughton and Chigwell. Our product range includes local and organic produce delivered by 7am ongardairy@gmail.com

Essex

Essex Dairys @essexdairys Twitter Says YES they deliver in glass!

Milk, eggs, cheese, yogurts and much more delivered to offices, restaurants and homes across Essex and guaranteed by 7am!! Contact us at essexdairys@gmail.com

Felsted, England

U.K. Wide

And this website can  help  Find Me A Milkman does exactly what it says on the tin. Type in your postcode to find who is delivering in your area.
N.B. Not all deliveries are in glass – you will have to check

Milk and More Dairycrest deliver nationally. keep the glass featuredDairycrest is a big company that deliver nationwide. However they were looking to phase out glass bottle and replace them with plastic. You can read more here 

Milk Dispensers

If you can’t find a local milk man why not petition your supermarket to set up a milk dispenser where you can refill your own bottles. 

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Oil Vegetable

Vegetable oil is difficult to source plastic free. Here are the options…
Glass Bottles
Buy in glass and the metal caps will have a little plasticized disc or plastic liner on inside and maybe a plastic seal. Plus the bottle will almost always have a plastic pouring widget in the bottle top.Like I can’t pour oil out of a bottle???
Buy
You can buy these oils from every supermarket in the UK. They can be expensive though.

In Cans
And who can afford to use such expensive treats for making chips? Not me. I need a plastic free source of cheap  veg oil. Thought cans might be the answer. sadly not. The cans have a plastic lid and handle and are almost certainly lined with plastic. Nearly all cans are to prevent the cans corroding. You can read more here
On the plus side the can has a high recycle value.
Buy
If I need vegetable oil in quantities I go with the can which I buy from . Khadims the  Asian Supermarket on Blacker Road Huddersfield. Many supermarkets also do oil in cans.

On Tap
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.
Buy
You can find a U.K. wide list of places that sell oil on tap here

Where From & Made How?

Other things to consider when choosing which oil to buy are product miles and how your oil was extracted.

Product Miles

Product miles  are of course how far a product has to travel and the environmental costs attached. The carbon cost of importing heavy glass bottles full of olive oil is high. If choosing an imported oil you might prefer to buy a can over a bottle. Cans are lighter and costs less to transport.
Or you could choose a locally sourced oil. The only oil grown in the U.K. in any quantities is rapeseed oil. You can get this in glass bottles in store or 5 liter cans online.

http://plasticisrubbish.com/2014/02/20/replacing-tinned-tomatos/

You also might want to consider how your oil has been extracted.

http://plasticisrubbish.com/2015/10/25/get-off-the-bottles/

More 

About product miles
About rapeseed oil
About cold pressed oil and why you might prefer this
About oils, waxes and butters

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Fruit

You can buy loose fruit easily at a  shop or supermarket. BUT when you commit to buy unpackaged fruit, your choice may (will!)  be  reduced. Often  soft fruits like strawberries are almost impossible to find unpackaged and you have to wait till Summer and pick your own. Organic fruit is very often packed in plastic to make sure no one tries to pass it off as cheaper non-organic. Sometimes you may have to choose between packaged, fair-trade or unpackaged, not. You have to decide which criteria are more important to you.
Bearing in mind all the above, It is possible to have a varied fruit diet – but you may not be able to have what you want whenever you want. If you choose to buy local fruit in season you will find it tastes better, is more likely to come unpackaged and is less likely to be waxed. In short be flexible, buy local(ish), see what is on offer and think what you can with that.

Waxed Fruit

Wax is added to fruit to make it last longer and /or look better. Coatings manufacturers guard their trade secrets and are tight-lipped about their ingredients. There is a big science in wax coatings. Fruit wax can be either natural, like carnuba wax, or they can be petroleum based. Some are also coated in shellac resin which is secreted by the female lac beetle. A lot of vegans are very vocal about this, as it is an animal based product being sprayed on produce. Read more here….

Get Fresh Fruit

You can buy fruit loose at a shop or supermarket. Don’t forget to  take your own plastic free bags. to carry your fruit home in.
Try a Fruit Box – similar to a veggie box where seasonal produce is delivered often from local farms.
Grow some.

Pick Your Own 

co fo produce bagsSoft Fruits  Summer, a time for soft fruit strawberries raspberries and blackcurrants. Hurrah….but of course they all pre-packed in plastic tubs.

If you want them plastic free, in England at least, you have to grow your own. We are lucky – we do have an allotment and do grow our own. But what with the slugs and the greedy guests we never quite have enough to see us through so we on a hot, sunny weekend we drive off to our local pick you own farm Bently Grange
Find one near you with this great farm finder website.
Notes of interest and wonderment In Berlin you can buy your soft fruit in biodegradable cardboard boxes …..grrr.They are even more hard-core in Poland and Helsinki. Here they pile the fruit up in heaps and shovel what you want into bags. Fair enough we had to take our own bags but what wouldn’t I give to have that option in England.

In the city 
Urban Harvest, Leeds: This group harvests unwanted apples and juices them. You can join in or just buy the juice. More details here
Abundance, York is a similar urban harvesting project but it gives the fruit to community groups.
It “identifies fruit growing that would otherwise go to waste, and redistributes it to charities or community groups that will make good use of it.

Foraged Fruit

Check out mother natures bounty – elderberries and blackberries are free, wild and so almost certainly organic.

Frozen Fruit

you can buy  frozen fruit loose from these suppliers 

Fantastic Things To Do With Fruit

Got a glut? Over picked at the farm? Storing seasonal fruit for the hard times ahead? Here are some things you can do:

Dried Fruit

Sometimes whats on offer is so boring you might want to turn to dried fruit. There are a few places you can buy  dried fruit loose and unpackaged.

B – Plasticless Towns, Areas & bloggers

Shops Barmouth - read the review below Brighton - Hisbe - link here Bridlington – Weigh & Save Brixam Weigh ...
Read More

Penzance Loose Foods

15B Causewayhead Penzance Cornwall TR18 2SN One of the incredibly eccentric loose food outlets that can occasionally be found huddled ...
Read More

Whole Food Market U.K. Chain

Rushing through the Cheltenham suburbs, had to buy wine so lurched into the huge carpark of an out of town ...
Read More

Lidles

Lidles is a chain of budget supermarkets. It offers some plastic free surprises. (Click the links to see a review ...
Read More

Huddersfield, Khadims

Here in lovely Huddersfield, we buy much of our stuff from Khadims, the Asian Supermarket on Blacker Road, including; Loose ...
Read More

Nuts, spices, dried fruit & cake making supplies

Strolling round the delightful Gotham City like splendour that is Leeds Market I came across the NUT SHOP the most ...
Read More

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How to…menstruate plastic free

Why?

Along with cotton buds, tampons, applicators and panty liners make up 7.3 % of items flushed down the toilet in the UK.
For every kilometre of beach included in the Beachwatch survey weekend in 2010, 22.5 towels/panty liners/backing strips, and 8.9 tampon applicators, were found.
About 90% of the materials used to make sanitary pads and liners are plastic and include polyethylene, polypropylene and polyacrylate super absorbents.
Every year, over 45 billion feminine hygiene products are disposed of somewhere.
Read more here

How

There is no doubt menstruation can be a grubby business. So three cheers for the mooncup using, reusable wearing, all green and lovely ladies of clean. Here’s what they use

Resuables

Because of the nature of the product, where it has to go and what it has to do the options do contain some plastic. Shop bought reusable pads may be made of synthetic fibres and have a waterproof backing (though some don’t). Silicone is non biodegradable and very plastic like.  But they are reusable and so cut your plastic consumption by massive amounts. You can find out lots more via the product links.

Reusable menstrual pads / sanitary towel. They are as they sound. Reusable pad you wash after use. You can buy them ready made from smaller suppliers on Esty to bigger  mainstream companies. You can even make them yourself. Read more here – buy or make Reusable menstrual pads / sanitary towel

Internal / Menstrual Cup  –  This is  little silicone or rubber cup that you use internally. It collects the flow and is then emptied washed and reused. Before you squeal and scream read this

Disposables

Not only do towels and tampons come wrapped in plastic, the fibres used to make them are often synthetic plastic. About 90% of the materials used to make sanitary pads and liners are plastic and include polyethylene, polypropylene and polyacrylate super absorbents. Natracare to a great range of  almost plastic free menstrual products. Try these

Tampon with applicator made from organic cotton with a cardboard applicator in a paper wrapper.

Other Interesting Options 

About which I know very little

Sea Sponges 

There’s an interesting read  here with instructions on how to make your own  and  reviews of ready made here.

Buy Local First

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.

Buy from independent online traders

If you can’t buy local please do check the links above to the suppliers and buy direct from them and support their online businesses.

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

Gladrags Menstrual Color Cotton Pads - 3 - Pack Mooncup Menstrual Cup Size B 1pieces Mooncup Menstrual Cup Size A 1pieces
Gladrags Menstrual Color Cotton Pads – 3 – …
£18.67
Mooncup Menstrual Cup Size B 1pieces
£19.99
Comes in 2 sizes – check before you buy you can read a review on http://plasticisrubbish.com/2010/01/03/lady-stuff/
Mooncup Menstrual Cup Size A 1pieces
£19.99
Natracare Regular Pads Natracare Organic All Cotton Tampons With Applicator - Regular 16 Reusable Hemp Sanitary Towel
Natracare Regular Pads
£1.90 – £18.27
Natracare Organic All Cotton Tampons With A…
£2.59
see review on our website http://plasticisrubbish.com/2014/06/26/tampons-with-applicator/
Reusable Hemp Sanitary Towel
Reusable Cotton Sanitary Towel - Flowers & Birds The Busy Woman's Guide to Cloth Pads GladRags Color Day Pad
Reusable Cotton Sanitary Towel – Flowers &a… The Busy Woman’s Guide to Cloth Pads
by Tracy Puhl
GladRags Color Day Pad
£6.00 –
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, we have always found their service to be good and their packaging usually compostable.

If you buy a product via this link we do get an affiliation fee for this. This  is not why we do it.

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Coffee Beans – Coffeevolution Huddersfield

I love my morning coffee,
Can’t do with out my brew,
But Lavazzas wrapped in plastic!
So whats a girl to do?

Done got myself a bean grinder and I buy my (fair trade), coffee beans from the superlative Coffeevolution, Huddersfield, an independent coffee shop, run by the owner. They import their own fair trade beans and roast them themselves. I give them my own bag they give me fresh, loose beans. Happy days.

You can also buy the coffee  ready ground  in a paper looking bag but it has a plastic lining.

There are many other good reasons to go to the café. It is not a chain the ambiance is great, and they have home made biscuits stored in glass jars. There are murals on the walls. and they have a great notice board. Smashing.

More

You can find more coffee suppliers here
Other biscuit related posts here.

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Tea

Tea bags are a problem because tea bags, the actual bag that you thought was paper, does in fact contain plastic. This came to light when keen composters found fine plastic mesh in their  compost bins. It was the plastic web that holds the teabags together and that doesn’t biodegrade.

The following was taken from the  Guardian  A report published today by Which? Gardening reveals that teabags produced by top tea manufacturers such as Tetley, PG Tips, Twinnings, Clipper and Typhoo are only between 70-80% biodegradable. As a result, gardeners are finding the net part of teabags – caused by the inclusion of heat-resistant polypropylene – left on their compost heaps. Which? Gardening contacted the major tea manufacturers to check the content of their products. PG Tips responded: “‘Like most of the teabags in the UK, our teabags are made with about 80% paper fibre, which is fully compostable along with the tea leaves contained in the bag. The remaining packaging includes a small amount of plastic which is not fully biodegradable.”

Then there is the sealing. Wikipedia claims “Heat-sealed tea bag paper usually has a heat-sealable thermoplastic such as PVC or polypropylene as a component fiber on the inner tea bag surface.”

Loose Tea 

The only alternative is loose tea. Initially this might seem like a lot of faff. First you will need to source some loose tea. There are tea merchants who specialize in fine teas. Health food shops also are good for a go. Wholefood Market do a good range and here in Huddersfield you can try Choosy’s Tea Merchant in town or the stall on Todmorden Market. You might want to take your own bags.

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

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.

Milk

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

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. Pour milk into a nice cup, pour tea, sit back and enjoy.

Tea Bags

tea-bags-2 If you cannot do without teabags you can try these from Twinings. Yes like the others the bag contains plastic but the box is not wrapped in plastic and bags come in a gold shiny packet. It looks like plastic but it is biodegradable and compostable. Teapigs do plastic free teabags though the packaging appears to contain some plastic. Also they are very expensive. You would have to really hate the idea of a tea pot to use these on a regular basis.

Buy

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…
£5.50
Tea Ball Infuser 2″ 18/8 Stainless Steel.
£0.71
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…
£1.65
Stainless Steel Spoon Tea Leaves Herb Mesh …
£1.60
2 Cup Glass Tea Pot with Infuser
£21.63
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 …
£4.99
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…
£6.99
Designer White Ceramic Tumbler Brewing System
£15.00

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