Time Is The Enemy


We have had a busy few days and my plastic-free challenge has taken a bit of a beating.  On Friday we went shopping and I had my share of successfully avoiding plastic packing.  However, some items were not so easy.

First, we bought sausages at Aldi for a planned BBQ with visitors on Friday evening.  I buy these because a) I like them and b) the sausages are gluten-free.  The downside is that they come in a plastic tray and are covered in cling-film.  I try to limit the damage (marginally) by buying the bulk pack of 24 sausages.  Am I kidding myself?

The other purchase pictured below is some bells in a plastic packet.  I wanted these to make some Christmas earrings as we were going to a Christmas in July celebration on Saturday evening.  They were not an essential purchase but I did share them with a friend and I will store them in the original resealable packaging so that I can use them on other occasions.

2013-07-07 01On the other hand, I did do better with some of my other shopping.  I went to the butcher to buy chicken breast fillets, chicken thigh fillets and minced beef.  All of these were packed into my own containers (plastic) that I took with me to the shop.

The cabbage in the background was bought at the local fruit stall were I shop regularly.  The usually have cabbages cut into quarters or halves and wrapped in cling-wrap.  I asked if I could have a whole cabbage and the owner happily collected one for me from the cool-room.  I did not really need a whole cabbage but I used this strategy to ensure that I did not get one wrapped in plastic.  I will make sure that it is used and not wasted.

The cream cheese was another rare purchase for me.  It was required for a recipe I was making to take to the Christmas in July party.  I made a conscious decision to buy the pack in the cardboard box rather than the plastic tubs.  Inside the box the cheese was wrapped in foil which I carefully washed and dried but then discarded in the rubbish as I was not certain whether it was coated with plastic film.

2013-07-07 02I do not have a photo but I also bought a 500g punnet of strawberries for the recipe as well.  They came in a plastic punnet but it was marked with a recycle symbol so that is where it ended up.  I also bought the larger punnet so that there is potentially less plastic per strawberry.  Perhaps??

What I have learned from this is that the less time you have, the more likely you are to succumb to items with plastic packaging.  If I had more time I would have sought more plastic-free options.  For example, I know that if I drive about an extra 4km I can pick my own strawberries and bring them home in my own fabric bag.  If I had remembered to source the bells last week I could have looked in some craft shops near my work and maybe found some being sold as loose items.  That way I would have ended up with 2 bells (what I needed) instead of 12.  I rarely buy cream cheese but this has reminded to me to look into alternatives which I may be able to buy without plastic packaging.  I also need to look into buying sausages from the butcher.  They will have to meet a couple of criteria – be suitable for my dietary requirements and also that we actually like them.

Any suggestions for avoiding the dreaded plastic would be appreciated.

7 thoughts on “Time Is The Enemy

  1. Fairy you are a working lady (inside and outside your home) and as such your ‘free’ time is limited. If you drove the extra 4 km to pick your own strawberries then you would use extra fuel and there would be more wear and tear on your car and you even though picking your own strawberries is one of life’s pleasures. I reckon life is a bit of a trade-off. You are very environmentally aware and you take all appropriate steps possible to minimise your footprint on our Earth. Basically don’t be too hard on yourself is what I am trying to say 🙂

  2. This post is so after my own heart! I also get a whole pumpkin rather than half, which will be plastic wrapped. I’ve even asked for a few chilis instead of the prepacked ones on the trays with clingwrap. I don’t eat sausages, but a great butcher (higher welfare etc) has them, and is happy to provide them to me in my own packaging. Strawberries are always punneted too – and I buy them, and cherry tomatoes, and recycle the packaging – it’s the only option there is really. I’ve assumed that cream cheese foil was recyclable – I hate being uncertain, and thinking I might have ruined the recycling batch! This weekend I bought a container, for a spread, even though the mini packs were more suited to my needs, they had more packaging, that wasn’t at all reusable. It’s a balance, cause I know I might inadvertently ‘waste’ the excess cream cheese if I’m not careful

  3. Certainly sounds as though we are on the same page, Sarah. I know what you mean about the uncertainty surrounding recyclable items. I am haunted at times by the prospect of contaminating a whole batch of recycling yet sometimes I see other people’s recycling bins and I am shocked. It makes me determined to reduce, reject, refuse – anything but recycle because I ‘know’ that my efforts are being thwarted by the slackness of others. Oh, the conflict!!

    • Even just the laziness of my building, who put their recycling in plastic bags! GRRR Can’t you see the stickers? The normal rubbish bins are right there, so just up end the recycling and trash the bag!? (I think because the bags say ‘biodegrable’ they assume it means recyclable, but bags jam those machines, so I’m led to believe)

  4. Hello, I’ve just discovered your lovely blog. I imagine you’ve seen the zero waste home blog? It’s a great place for inspiration, and I believe a book has come out with the same title.
    A long term solution for avoiding the plastic in the strawberry punnets would be to grow your own. It doesn’t help you out immediately, and it would mean only having them in season – but as recently as my childhood (I’m 46) that’s how we all ate! And there were NO plastic bags!

    Have a great day, Madeleine

  5. Hello Madeleine

    Thank you for your comment and welcome to my blog. I hope you enjoy the posts and will join in the comments, too.

    I do read Zero Waste Home blog from time to time but I can’t say I am smitten with the style of it.

    We do have a few strawberries growing but I am not sure that I will ever have enough at one time as I needed last weekend. I agree with eating seasonal produce and we try as much as possible to eat locally produced fruit and vegetables.

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