Plastic Free Supermarket Swaps you can make today
Going plastic free isn’t always easy and shopping in supermarkets can make it really hard. Sometimes it feels like EVERYTHING is covered in plastic wrap or put in plastic bags. However, the reality of everyday life for most of us is that we get pretty much all of our groceries at a supermarket. Not all of us are lucky enough to have a daily farmers market nearby and it could be a very long time before plastic-free aisles become commonplace. The convenience and necessity of supermarkets make it hard to avoid them altogether. So, if we still continue to shop there, what we really need are some easy plastic free supermarket swaps!
That’s right – swaps. A few changes here and there can seriously decrease the amount of plastic in our trolleys. Granted, we may not be able to walk away from the place totally plastic free but the longest journeys always start with that very first step. It’s easy to be downhearted at the scale of the challenge, but even the smallest changes in shopping habits can impact how you feel, reduce your impact on the environment and – best of all – start to make supermarkets change their minds. You read that right: supermarket buyers spend hours poring over the spending habits of the nation and if they start to see people switching to low plastic or plastic free alternatives, they’ll start to put two and two together. Once they do that, expect them to start re-arranging the aisles and talking more seriously with their suppliers about packaging…
Every little helps, after all.
So, in no particular order, here’s a list of easy plastic free supermarket swaps to make that reduce your plastic footprint.
6 Easy Plastic Free Supermarket Swaps You Can Make Today
1. Use soap instead of shower gel
If you’re anything like I was, I used to LOVE shower gel. I would buy armfuls of the stuff! It smelt so good, it had all kinds energising buzzwords on the bottle… and it was cheap. But you know what else is cheaper, lasts longer, doesn’t contain plastic and still cleans me? Bars of soap. You don’t need anything fancy – any old soap will do. Just make sure to find something that doesn’t come wrapped in plastic (a surprising amount do). If you’re looking for soap, but also shampoo and conditioner – we’ve got you!
2. Say goodbye to your old squeeze
I remember when squeezy bottles of ketchup and mayonnaise first appeared, it was like everything had changed. Gone were the days of hammering the bottom or a bottle to get the stuff out. Sadly, these bottles are the opposite of recyclable. Make the switch back to jars and bottles so you can, at the very least, get them recycled afterwards.
3. Buy loose fruit and veg instead
Would you rather by a plastic bag of too many lemons? Or the right amount of loose lemons? The same goes for loads of other fruits and veggies in the produce aisles. Potatoes, onions, mangoes, broccoli – a surprising amount of vegetables are offered both bagged and loose in supermarkets. Go for the loose stuff, and bring some bags along to help you.
4. Use powder detergent instead of liquid detergent
Not ready to use our soap nuts just yet, but still hate having to buy ENORMOUS plastic bottles of liquid detergent? A really easy plastic free supermarket swap is to just go back to using powder detergent. It almost always comes in (recyclable) cardboard boxes and – surprise surprise – washes your clothes just as well as the liquid stuff. Oh, and don’t even bother with fabric softener. It achieves nothing. #millenial #relatable
5. Butter, but better
All health and dietary requirements being equal, switch to wrapped butter instead of butter/spreads in plastic tubs. The material used to wrap the butter mostly isn’t yet recycled but the plastic content is an order of magnitude lower than the tubs.
6. Head to the counter
For fish, meat and deli foods, get yourself to the counter if your supermarket has one. They’ll package the (fresher) food for you in far less plastic than if bought on the aisle, but you can also take your own containers if you’re feeling up to the task.
7. BONUS! Carry it all home in a reusable bag
If, after all that hard work, you find you’ve got to stick it all in a plastic bag(!) it’s going to feel like one step forward, two steps back. The biggest and easiest plastic free supermarket swap we can all make today is to take a bag with us when we go shopping. Don’t have one yet? We’ve got you.
Every little helps
So there you have it. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start. This is, perhaps, the most important part of it all. Moving to a plastic free lifestyle is mainly about unlearning and changing the habits of a lifetime, which is no easy feat. What’s more, they’re habits built on convenience and reinforced by millions of pounds of advertising. Beginning to break that cycle is the most important thing we can all do.
What plastic free supermarket swaps have you made? Do you have any others for our list? Comment below and let us know!
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