Green Book Fairies #2: Let’s Talk About Food Shopping

Our second instalment as part of “Plastic Free July” and our aim to spread the zero waste message!

Welcome to the second day of the #greenbookfairies! As part of #plasticfreejuly we are sharing 31 ways to be more green. We hope that there are some nuggets you can pick up along the way.

A farmer’s delivery box – package free and locally sourced!

One super simple way to lessen a negative impact on the environment is to aim for zero waste with your grocery shopping!

The problems:

Convenience is something we are all made to be accustomed to – whether this is by offering us plastic bags to carry our shopping, netting around citrus fruit, or packaging up food in ‘ready to cook’ microwaveable dishes. These are just three examples – if you look around you with plastic in mind, you’ll see it like litter all around the shops. Plastic is now the norm, and we have to push back against this as it is dangerous to wildlife both in the sea and on land, toxic in the environment and lives for thousands of years. Even when it breaks down, the microfibres are damaging to all sorts of ecosystems.

Take a weightless bag (this one is made from recycled bottles but you could take a paper one) when buying tomatoes / grapes etc. Choose brands that use paper/cardboard/glass packaging!

The solutions:

  • Take your own bag to the shop, and always carry a spare bag in case. Paper bags are useful for smaller loose fruit and veggies
  • Go to open markets where possible, to buy loose groceries. Often these are grown more locally too – better for you and the planet!
  • Make conscious decisions to switch from brands that use plastic to ones that use other materials – like changing from honey in a squeeze bottle to in a glass jar. These can be re-used! And even if it ends up in the sea or landfill, glass doesn’t leech toxins.
  • Where the plastic wrapping is unavoidable, you could unwrap the items after paying and leave the plastic with the shop staff
  • If available and affordable, sign up for a farmer’s veg box to be delivered to you
  • Write to the HQ of the supermarkets in your area about their plastic use – we will put together a draft for this purpose
  • Where possible, find zero-waste shops that encourage refills in the containers you take with you. Sites like zerowastenear.me in the UK help you find shops
  • See if there is a milk delivery service in your area – they often use milk bottles which they collect when you’ve finished, and sometimes they even have local made bread, honey, and other things!

Top tip! 

So many items that we buy in plastic, such as hummus, chocolate, biscuits, can be made at home.

Store-cupboard recipes

While researching this subject, we found some INCREDIBLE recipes with store-cupboard ingredients!

Peanut Butter Cookies – 3 ingredients

You might have to look up the different amounts and temperatures 🙂

260gcrunchy peanut butter
200gcaster sugar
1egg

Preheat the oven to 195ºC/175ºC fan.

Put the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well until combined. It should all come together into a ball of dough. If the mixture is still quite gooey (this depends on the type and temperature of your peanut butter), use a pair of teaspoons to complete the next step.

Take chunks of the dough and roll them into balls the size of a 50p piece. Place these on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper, around 5cm apart. Use a fork to fl atten each ball of dough to around 1cm thick.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes (a few minutes less if you prefer them squidgy).

Cool on a wire rack before serving.

Tip: If you don’t have peanut butter to hand or want something that tastes a little less obviously nutty, try the cookies with almond or cashew butter instead. These won’t be as strongly flavoured but will do the same job – buy the crunchy variety if you can get it.

Useful links:

A blog entry about going zero-waste with your shopping: https://familyedventures.com/zero-waste-shopping-list/

Another blog entry from a ‘zero-waster’ about their journey: https://goingzerowaste.com/blog/my-best-tips-for-zero-waste-grocery-shopping/

Some incredible recipes to make at home: https://thehappyfoodie.co.uk/articles/three-ingredient-store-cupboard-bakes

Fairy verdict:

“By bringing your own bag you help the environment and you also save up for each plastic bag you don’t pay for! I try to buy local veg to support the local economy but also to reduce my carbon footprint from air miles! It can be hard to change a lot too soon from our habits but I started slowly and gradually built it up to make it feel less daunting.

Very much worth it”

Lou, Ipswich UK

Please comment with any tips YOU have!

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