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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….

Dripping 

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? 

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!

Buy

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!

More 

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

Look out for these other sneaky plastics

 

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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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Rapeseed Oil

Rapeseed (Brassica Napus) or rape, oilseed rape, rapa, rappi, rapaseed is the bright yellow flowering plant grown in swathes all over the U.K. It is grown for its oil which is obtained from the tiny black seeds. It grows very well and is the only reliable vegetable oil crop we can produce in large quantities.

And yet it is new to our landscape and our diet. Before vegetable oils became popular and we bagan importing them in large quantities, most of our fat came from animal sources in the form of lard.

While rapeseed has long been grown as soil conditioning crop it was not harvested for oil because the older strains of plant contain around 40% of erucic acid. Euric acid is extremely toxic. Not suprisingly these strains were banned and some desperate genetic modifying went on. The old sort. Plants were cross bred with each other till the erucic acid was reduced to less than one per cent

“In 1977 a law was also brought in limiting the erucic acid content of foods to no more than 5 per cent of the total fatty acid content in products that contain more than 5 per cent fat. In truth however, most British produced cold pressed rapeseed oils contain less than 0.5 per cent.

Quick rapeseed facts…

The oil comes from the seed.
It is used in food and cosmetic products.
Also as lubricants, penetrating oils, fuel, soap, biofuel and paints
It has emollient and potential anti-oxidant properties for the skin (Source: British Journal of Nutrition, May 2002, pages 489–499).
it is found in facial moisturizer/treatment, bar soap, anti-aging products, body wash/cleansers, shampoos, conditioners, sunscreens, moisturizers, facial cleansers and baby soaps
It is generally classified as non-toxic or harmful. Even the EWG says so.
is also called ‘Canola’ which stands for Canadian Oil, Low Acid.

Extracting The Oil

Solvent extraction
Most commercially produced oils are solvent extracted. This involves a chemical solvent like the petroleum-derived hexane and heat up to 500 degrees. Once the oil is dissolved, the solvent is removed by distillation.
This technique is used for most of the “newer” oils such as soybean and cannola oils. Many of these products do not give up their oil easily, it has to be forced from them.
For this reason I would reccomend you go for a cold pressed oil. Read about the importance of cold pressing here

Buy Oil

Plastic Spoiler
It is available in supermarkets (certainly Tesco’s), in glass bottles with plastic lids and security seals. I have yet to find it plastic free but like the fact it is grown and processed in the U.K.

You can buy it in 5 liter cans online.

More

Go back to the oil index to find out about the plastic free oils and butters we use

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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.

I use it….

to remove eye make up and clean crusty eyes.
as a conditioner. I have very oily hair so I rub it on my hair before showering, leave for 5 minutes then shampoo off. Afterwards my hair is lovely and silky. Village boy has very dry hair so he applies a little after showering. His hair is nice and smooth.
as a general moisturiser. Just slap it on, it is nice and light.
in my homemade creams
as an after sun treatment use it neat or with a few drops of lavender essential oil to help heal sun damage
as a lubricant with these biodegradable condoms

More

Other people use it to do rude things, for cooking and lots of other stuff.

Buy

I buy mine great big glass jar at Kadims, the Asian Supermarket on Blacker Road Huddersfield. You can also get it in a glass bottle from Tescos and of course on line. You can get organic coconut oil from the Half Moon Health shop in Huddersfield.

NB Not quite plastic free as the lid is plastic lined, but as close as you will get.

Buy Online

Biona Org Odourless Coconut Oil 610 ML x 1
Biona Org Odourless Coconut Oil 610 ML x 1
£10.00
Amazon Products

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. But sometimes you can’t buy local so I have put together an Amazon catalogue.

Yes we do get an affiliation fee for this, and 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.

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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 is basically a safari park, a bit of preserved jungle.  I was also  lucky enough to see one in what was left of the  wild outside – along  with some big nose monkeys. When I say wild, I mean a tiny strip of jungle left straggling along the river bank. The rest of the area, that had once been wild and wonderful rain forest, was now covered with palm oil plantations. Acre upon bloody rolling acre of palm trees. The only reason we got to see so much wild life was that it had been pushed right up to the river by  farmers encroaching on their habitat. Those monkeys had no where to go and no where to hide.

Palm oil comes from Malaysia and Indonesia. Both countries have cut down hundreds of acres of rainforest to make way for huge mono crop farms. While Malaysia appears to be finally taking a more considered approach Indonesia is still tearing down trees and destroying ancient peat land at a frightening rate.

“The average annual rate of forest loss in Indonesia was 498,000 hectare (ha)  (FAO, 2010) from 2000 to 2010 or the equivalent of over 55 rugby fields per hour.

The expanding palm oil industry has been a key driver of this deforestation.  In the decade to 2010, Indonesian plantation area nearly doubled to close to 8.0 million ha and is expected to near 13 million ha by 2020 (PWC, 2012).”

Indiginous people have  been expelled from their land and the loss of habitat has obviously resulted in a  reduction in wildlife some of which, like the orangutang,  is now endangered. This has caused international concern and calls by many for palm oil to be boycotted,  So much so that in  2004, an industry group called the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was formed to work with the palm oil industry to help mitigate some of the worst impacts and rehabilitate the palm oil brand.

The World Wildlife Foundation has approved the  RSPO efforts  in “providing assurance that valuable tropical forests have not been cleared, and social safeguards have been met during the oil’s production” of Certified Sustainable Palm Oil.

What’s Palm Oil Used For?

Almost everything from food to cosmetics. You can see a big list here.

How Do I Know?

That’s not so easy. Many products that use palm oil don’t clearly label the fact. Palm oil and its derivatives can appear under many names.

The WWF lists includes the following:

INGREDIENTS: Vegetable Oil, Vegetable Fat,  Palm Fruit Oil,  Glyceryl, Stearate, Stearic Acid, Elaeis Guineensis, Palmitic Acid, Palm Stearine, Palmitoyl Oxostearamide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3, Sodium Kernelate, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Sodium Lauryl Lactylate/Sulphate, Hyrated Palm Glycerides, Etyl Palmitate, Octyl Palmitate, Palmityl Alcohol

And here are some more

  • PKO – Palm Kernel Oil
  • PKO fractionations: Palm Kernel Stearin (PKs); Palm Kernel Olein (PKOo)
  • PHPKO – Partially hydrogenated Palm Oil
  • FP(K)O – Fractionated Palm Oil
  • OPKO – Organic Palm Kernel Oil
  • Palmate
  • Palmolein
  • Palmitate – Vitamin A or Asorbyl Palmitate (NOTE: Vitamin A Palmitate is a very common ingredient in breakfast cereals and we have confirmed 100% of the samples we’ve investigated to be derived from palm oil)
  • Sodium Laureth Sulphate (Can also be from coconut)
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulphates (can also be from ricinus oil)
  • Sodium dodecyl Sulphate (SDS or NaDS)
  • Elaeis Guineensis
  • Glyceryl Stearate
  • Stearic Acid
  • Chemicals which contain palm oil
  • Steareth -2
  • Steareth -20
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulphate
  • Sodium lauryl sulfoacetate (coconut and/or palm)
  • Hydrated palm glycerides
  • Sodium isostearoyl lactylaye (derived from vegetable stearic acid)
  • Cetyl palmitate and octyl palmitate (names with palmitate at the end are usually derived from palm oil, but as in the case of Vitamin A Palmitate, very rarely a company will use a different vegetable oil)

*Disclaimer: Through research we’ve found that Vitamin A Palmitate can be derived from any combination of vegetable oil such as olive, coconut, canola and/or palm oil. Though in all the cases we’ve documented, companies use palm oil to make derivatives like Vitamin A Palmitate, it can be tricky to know for sure.

Join The Plastic Boycott & Go Palm Oil Free

Being plastic free means our palm oil consumption is cut to  a minimum because we

  • eat little processed food as processed food is usually plastic packed food.
  • cook from scratch and the only oil we use is olive oil or sunflower seed.
  • make most of our own cosmetic and cleaning products. We know what goes into them and that is the tiny amount of palm oil in a cosmetic emulsifier. Really we are talk maybe 25g And is certified sustainable.
  • clean using bicarb and palm oil free soap
  • using butter not margarine
  • don’t shampoo

When we do buy we try to buy palm oil free using this great data base of palm oil free products for guidance.

You can read why Lush stopped using palm oil in their cosmetics here.

Considerations

The palm oil industry provides a lot of work. While a boycott might help some it will of course impact on others. A meaningful dialogue and alternative work opportunities need to be developed.

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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 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.

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. More about  rapeseed oil here.

Petrol In My Vegetable Oil? Most commercially produced oils are solvent extracted. This involves a chemical solvent like the petroleum-derived hexane and heat up to 500 degrees. Once the oil is dissolved, the solvent is removed by distillation.
This technique is used for most of the “newer” oils such as soybean and cannola oils. Many of these products do not give up their oil easily, it has to be forced from them. Cold pressed oils are a better option. You can read more here. 

 

More 

About oils, waxes and butters

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Butter

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

Disputed

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.

Margarine

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.

Alternatives

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

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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 

More

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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Margerine

So I gave up margerine in plastic tubs and scoured the shelves for an alternative. Back in my more innocent days I used to think that marge wrapped in foil was plastic free. But that foil is lined with plastic.You can find out more about plastic lined foil here

You can get cheap Marge wrapped in what looks like greaseproof paper. Even that may not be what it seems. 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 margarine is the best we can do.

Buying Paper Wrapped Margerine

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. Last time I looked Sainsburys & Tescos do paper wrapped.

Alternatives

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

and then of course there is butter. 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?  Isn’t that an instant heart attack?  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.”
“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 

ANd some more research revealed that margerine is Hydrogenated Oil and these are not so nice.
Hydrogenated oil is made by forcing reactive hydrogen gas gas into oil at high pressure in the presence of a palladium catalyst.
Hydrogenated oil is more stable, does not go rancid as quickly
It has a higher melting point, so can be used for frying.
It is used to make liquid oils more solid. Margarine is oil solidified.

Concerns
Hydrogenating oil modifies the chemistry significantly.
The fatty acids in oils are unsaturated fats. They are unstable.
Hydrogenating oil turns these unstable fatty acids into new more stable fats known as trans fats acids.
There are concerns that trans fatty acids may increase LDL, or bad cholesterol, and decrease HDL cholesterol, the good cholesterol.
Because they are not natural the digestive system does not know what to do with them. They may actually bioaccumulate in the body.
Read more here

More

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….