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


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 shopping experience. By which I mean a cluster of huge supermarkets snarling at each other across an enormous expanse of tarmac dotted with a huddle of tiny trees at least one of which was sporting a plastic bag. Village Boy leapt out of the van and bounded off shouting, white hare like, about time. I was following rather more sedately when Whole Foods Market caught my eye. I had never seen one before and I admit I snorted at the messages plastered on the windows…. but I went to have a look anyway.

I have numerous issues with supermarkets which I won’t go into here. Suffice to say I use them when I have to but they deeply irritate, even anger me. The packaging, the waste, the plastic are just a few of the niggles.

And yet, I was about to have a supermarket epiphany. Yes Whole Foods Market are my idea of supermarket heaven. If there have to be supermarkets,  then let them be like this.

They have 

  • Unwrapped lettuce and unpackaged olives… beans featured shop Whole Food
  • Loose grains, rice beans and pulses
  • Loose tea & coffee beans.
  • Loose spices, herbs, dried fruits and nuts
  • A peanut butter making machine
  • oil on tap so you can refill your bottle

All of the above you can buy by weight in your own containers. This is  common in the U.S. and Australia. They have  bulk stores or  bulk foods aisle in a grocery store. In this case it doesn’t necessarily mean buying huge amounts but buying loose and unpackaged.

BYO Bags

While the carrier bags at the check-out are paper, the rest of the packaging, the produce bags and bottles they provide, are all plastic so you would have to take your own compostable pots and reusable bags. Easily done – find out how here.


The weight of the bag will make a difference at checkout in the price per weight.  The tare weight is the weight of the empty container. Whole Food Markets have weighing machines that allow you to do this yourself. It is very easy.


Whole Foods Market as it name suggests also has a organic eco criteria. This isn’t some giant Weigh & Save shop but a plush, lush shopping experience


Since then I have taken the opportunity to visits as many Whole Food Markets as I can.

Find A Store

They have stores in London, Cheltenham and Glasgow

I have taken photo journals which I have posted up on Facebook. Follow the links for

Please check that stock is available before you visit – the photos are quite old now and NOT ALL STORES ARE THE SAME. For instance Glasgow does Ecover refills Cheltenham doesn’t.


This American company have recently opened some flagship stores in the UK It is funky, good looking and challenging. It boasts impressive eco credentials. I wanted to know more so I emailed ahead asking if it would be OK for me to take photos next time I visited. Not only did they say yes, but Renata Rees, Marketing Team Leader, offered to meet me. An offer I eagerly accepted. You can read about it here


Find more loose food shops here






Peapod Grocery – Fruit, veggies, fish & jam!

In between the blustery walk to the post office and putting the stew on, I need a break; a cup of tea and some bread & jam  would see me through  as supplied by the fantastic Peapod Grocers, Marsh Huddersfield

Peeped do

  • lovely fresh and mostly unwrapped fruit and veg (they supply paper bags),
  • Vegeboxes delivered to your door
  • artisan bread of all kinds. Very tasty!
  • home made jam
  • Fish(take your own biobag)


The jam is homemade and  comes in glass jars with metal, plastic-lined lids. So some plastic. But get this…. you can return the jars. They get reused! Plastic reused is not rubbish plastic.

Plastic Notes

After years of dealing with me they are quite used to plastic free requests!



Huddersfield, Khadims

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

Loose unwrapped foods

  • Pistacheos  and walnuts
  • Ginger, garlic and chiles
  • Basmati rice  loose
  • They do a wide range of unwrapped fruit and veg including
  • Small UNWRAPPED cucumbers,
  • They also do halal meat unwrapped. Take a bio bag.
  • Metal pan scrubs.
  • The ever useful coconut oil and some weird vaseline  rip off in tins.


You have to take your own cotton produce bags, scoop up as much as you need and they weigh it at the counter at the counter. Smashing.



Meat & Fish

You want flesh…. you want it now. Sadly you are not a Zombie so you  have to use the normal channels.
Shops – where so much of the meat comes plastic packed. So what to do?

First find some unpacked meat or fish.
Sadly butchers and fish mongers are becoming rarer and I would urge you to support your local shop if you have one. Need to find a butcher – try this site.
But if you don’t a lot a supermarkets have fish and meat counters.

Having sourced the meat you now have 2 options

Bring your own reusable container or tub
I take my own tub to the butchers and ask them to use that. I use a plastic tub because it is water proof, lightweight, I have had them for ages and there is lots of wear in them yet.
If you are worried about chemical leaching you might not want to use plastic tubs. As you know, if you wash plastic at hot enough temperatures to clean the container properly, it is more likely to leach chemicals. And that plastic leaches more chemicals as it ages.
You can get metal or glass dishes and use those instead. Glass is heavy so I would recommend metal dishes.

Disposable Bags

And some times, it doesn’t matter what I take, I get refusals.Supermarkets especially are not keen on this and will argue long and hard. Even some local butchers will refuse. Their argument is if there was a bug in the tub that made you sick, their product might be blamed.
Keep calm and read on.
After being turned away from a supermarket meat counter I decided to see what they did in Modbury the plastic bag free town. Modbury is as as I am sure you know, the first town in the UK to go plastic bag free. I spoke to the lovely Simon Wilkinson – the Modbury butcher. He told me he used biodegradable  corn starch bags made from PLA plastic  -made from vegetables they are fully compostable.
So I went online and got myself some 6 litre bio bags, the right size for a medium size chicken.


Since then compostable PLA bags have become available everywhere. You can buy them in most supermarkets and there are lots of online shops to choose from. There are more details here on what bag to buy and from where.

Disposing Of Bags

I recommend finding reuses for your disposable packaging, (for example using the bio bags to line your compost bin). And then I compost them.

NB Some say that PLA plastic bags do not break down in home compost bins. THEY ARE WRONG. We have used and composted bio bags for years now.


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.

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.

Read more about compostable plastics here


And never forget that bio-degradable plastic bags do not biodegrade where as compostable plastic bags do compost. Not all bio-plastics (plant derived plastics) are compostable. Read more here.

Need to find a butcher – try this site.
Other plastic free packaging