Craft, stitchin' and sustainable living

Sunday, January 8, 2012

My Year of No Plastic Food Packaging

Food purchased from our local co-op shop (byo jar)

The idea for having a year free from plastic food packaging came about because I wanted to reduce the amount of plastic coming into and exiting our house, knowing the amount of resources it takes to make plastic, and the fact that once it's used, it will be sitting about in landfill for the next 500 years or more.  Given the short amount of time that plastic is actually in use, 500 years is crazy, right?

We're pretty lucky because we live not far from a co-op shop that sells food staples in bulk - you take your own jars and containers and fill them up.  As I've mentioned before, we're also members of a veggie co-op that brings us a delivery of fresh fruit and veg direct from the farmer's market each week.  So I have absolutely no excuses to not buy plastic packaging-free fruit, veg, pasta, rice, legumes, herbs, flour etc.

In making this commitment, however I do acknowledge there are some things that I consider staples which I will need to buy in plastic.  I have narrowed this down to two items - meat and cheese.  I've mentioned before that we don't eat a lot of meat in our household, but when we do we get it from an organic, free-range supplier who deals in only sustainable meats.  There are some cheeses that come in foil or wax, but most varieties come in plastic packaging, and we are cheese lovers in our household.  These are the two items I am not willing to go without.

There are other things I can live without though - packets of chips (crisps), sweets, store-bought breads, dips and a multitude of other things.

The point is, it's not about putting excessive limits on ourselves, it's about making our lives better whilst also reducing our impact on the planet.  I might be about to have a year without marshmallows (sob!) but eating less refined sugars is actually going to be heaps better for my health, not to mention those plastic packets that will not be heading to landfill.

By the way, have you seen the film No Impact Man?  It's really worth watching.  If a family living in a New York apartment can completely cut their impact on the environment for a year, then we can all make small changes in our lives, don't you think?


  1. I really admire your target! Being able to bring your own jars along to a shop to fill, is great...I hope something like that opens around here! I've been getting all our fruit & veg at the greengrocer rather than the supermarket in order to cut down on the plastic packaging. Our bin still seems to be full of plastic though...

  2. Good on you! this is something i've really wanted to do too. i hate how much stuff comes in plastic! i'm going to try really hard to avoid bring plastic packaging into my house too; after our trash gets sorted into the compost and recycling, plastic packaging seems to be the only thing i put in my regular garbage. good luck!

  3. Wow, what a huge goal! Good on you for jumping in head first. I think it's great to be so aware of the wastage that goes into our food production, packaging and transportation.
    I'm making a much lower scale attempt to reduce packaging on food, and to source food locally where possible. I have been going to a Weigh n Pay store with my own containers to buy flours, grain etc. The good(?) news is that my weigh n pay store sells potato crisps, chocolates and lollies without packaging as well, but that may be missing the point slightly, considering these things would probably be supplied in plastic packaging before being put into the bulk bins.

  4. Thanks guys! Having a co-op shop up the road makes it so much easier.

    Jo - next time I'm in Perth you must take me to your Weigh n Pay store! I will bring jars!