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Plastic Free July Series, Item 1 - Plastic Free Shopping

Posted by Chloe Healy on July 06, 2018 at 10:36 AM

plastic free july

We will be posting one article a week in July around ways you can reduce the amount of plastic in your day-to-day life! Let us know how you're getting on on Twitter by using the hashtag #SickOfPlastic.

Written by Chloe Healy

This month is Plastic Free July - a global campaign to create awareness around plastic pollution and to empower people to seek alternatives to single use plastics. The challenge is simple - choose to refuse single use plastics for the month of July and encourage your friends, family, wider community, local businesses and corporations to do the same!

So now you have decided to come on this journey and have accepted the challenge to go Plastic Free this July - where do you begin? Want to buy no plastic in your next grocery shop but don’t know how?

Cutting out single-use plastics when shopping may at first appear completely daunting but it is most certainly possible - everywhere in Ireland!

Here are some of our top tips to avoid plastic in your weekly shop this month:

Top Tip 1: Prepare

Fail to plan and plan to fail. Shopping plastic free takes a little bit of planning especially on your first go - but quite quickly you can become a pro! Our first go to step is to collect a few key containers that are going to quickly become your best friend this month. These include cloth bags - perfect for any whole foods such as fruit and veg, stainless steel lid glass containers - ideal for seeds, nuts and any liquids from juices to shower gel, and finally a sturdy reusable bag to carry your food.

Remember there’s absolutely no reason why the people behind the food counter can’t fill up what you’re buying in your reusable containers instead of a plastic bag! They can simply hand you the price sticker (ideally plastic free) to place on your container.

Also reusable cloth bags don’t have to be bought - they can be easily up cycled from a range of materials already in your home such as cotton tee-shirts!. Likewise with glass containers - these can be easily sourced from any old jam or pickle jars you may have lying around at home.

Top Tip 2: Buy fresh and in bulk

Where possible make a conscious effort this month to purchase fresh produce. This is often the fruit, veg and bread that is unwrapped - free from plastic - just waiting for your new cloth bag! Some stores and food co-ops even deliver in season food and veggie boxes to your door.

Secondly - always buy in bulk, especially in staple foods such as rice, nuts, oats and coffee. Ideally this is where your newly rinsed glass containers come in. This will both help you avoid plastic and save money - now who doesn’t love a win-win situation?! Buying in bulk is possible in most towns today in your local markets and stores including Lidl, Aldi etc - it just takes a greater awareness the next time you set out to shop.

Top Tip 3: Source alternatives

Finally when you can’t buy fresh or in bulk - particularly in the cold and frozen section of the grocery store - opt for goods with cardboard packaging - and in summer (especially in heat waves like right now!!) choose edible cones over ice-cream tubs! Also look out for yoghurts and desserts that come in glass containers.

For the chocoholics keep an eye out for sustainably sourced or paper wrapping such as Divine Chocolate bars!

Bonus Tip: Places that can help you reduce your use of plastic!

Smallchanges Whole Food Store - Drumcondra store selling organic whole foods and eco-friendly household products. Who wholeheartedly welcome all your reusable containers.

Food Co-op - located in Newmarket, it is Ireland's leading organic, GMO-free member-owned food cooperative. Wholefood shop, cafe, local growers.

Minimal Waste Grocery - Shop minimal waste at their market stall - every Saturday at Red Stables Market, St. Anne's Park, Clontarf, from 11-4 - or on their online store.

Little Green Shop online store that provides a wide range of goods and promotes a plastic free, organic lifestyle that is kind to the planet.

Local Markets - check out markets in your local area where most food is often sold minus the wasteful palstic packaging and sellers are generally delighted to place purchases in your own reusable containers.

Good luck! Check in next week for part 2 in our Plastic Free July series.

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