Food without plastic

Fred­dy has joined a group of col­leagues who will try not to use sin­gle-use plas­tic dur­ing Lent. This Plas­tic Chal­lenge start­ed on Wednes­day. So, in the com­ing weeks we will not buy any­thing that is pack­aged in plas­tic. Because plas­tic is main­ly a prob­lem when it ends up on the street, I also intend to pick up a piece of lit­ter every day.

The chal­lenge is a good oppor­tu­ni­ty for a bit of research. The plas­tic waste that ends up in the sea comes main­ly from Chi­na, India and Africa (Schmidt et al., 2017). We can’t do a lot about that in the UK and the Nether­lands. Here, waste is neat­ly col­lect­ed, and a lot of plas­tic is even recy­cled. But what exact­ly hap­pens to that plas­tic? Is it recy­cled into sim­i­lar prod­ucts, or is it down­cy­cled, mean­ing that the new prod­uct is less use­ful and is not recy­clable itself? And what is the envi­ron­men­tal impact of alter­na­tive pack­ag­ing? It will be inter­est­ing to learn more about this in the com­ing weeks.

I had to over­come some embar­rass­ment, but today I have already found three plas­tic bot­tles on the street, only one of which had a cap. Oth­er insights:

  • Because we have a veg­an diet, we eat a lot of fruit and veg­eta­bles. Our super­mar­ket packs all of these in plas­tic, so we end up buy­ing a lot of plas­tic as well. This is nec­es­sary for leafy veg­eta­bles that wilt eas­i­ly, but if you go to the green­gro­cer or the mar­ket, you can buy most oth­er veg­eta­bles with­out plastic.
  • We will have to do more home bak­ing: bis­cuits, pota­to crisps, deserts… With water instead of soy milk.
  • We found a pack­ag­ing-free shop in Aberdeen! It’s on top of Food­sto­ry, a café in the town centre.