Reducing the need for plastic
A positive start to the year has been the elimination of single use plastic bags for carrying our supermarket supplies home. This change has helped to bring into focus, well for me, the amount of single use plastic that is used in packaging by supermarkets. In the fruit & veg section, 'deals' are often prepackaged in plastic containers. In addition, we are offered plastic bags to keep the produce nice and tidy in our trolley or basket. In the meat section 90% of the produce is prepackaged on plastic trays with plastic wrapping, a double whammy. We have not even got onto to the subject of all of the other plastic containers although most of those are at least recyclable. Having said that, not everyone recycles, we have someone in our neighborhood who burns their plastic.
As an exercise, we have sat down and looked at how we could start to eliminate some of this plastic. In the fruit and meat departments we decided that the packaging was for convenience and by inconveniencing ourselves, just a little, we could largely eliminate it.
We no longer bag our fruit and avoid prepackaged offerings. While the 'gold star' with regard to meat would be to eliminate it from our diets we have reduced the frequency of consumption. So we still wander into this department, mainly for fish and the occasional bit of meat. We could either switch to the local butcher or, select from the meat and fish counter. It will still be put in a plastic bag but at least we eliminate the tray. Hopefully, at some point, we will be able to take our own container for transporting produce home. I know that this option is being trialed in some supermarkets, I am not sure if either of ours in Kerikeri are participating.
We are not trying to do too much all at once but for the next phase, we have been given some great tips on plastic free food storage by fellow carbon neutral Kerikeri participants, Terry and Ali Goodall. The image (below) that they supplied to Carbon Neutral Trust is a nice self explanatory guide.
We will check in later in the year with an update you on how the plastic reduction challenge is going. In the meantime, it probably does not hurt to comment on a Supermarket's Facebook page about how you feel about some of this packaging. The links to the two major supermarkets chains operating in Kerikeri are:
New World: https://www.facebook.com/newworld/