Dave Against Plastics


Every year, I, like most set out a bunch of new years resolutions or targets for the forthcoming year, usually a mix of business and personal. Actually I tend to view it more as a year long target rather than a resolution. And like most some only last until about the 2nd or 3rd week of Jan. It’s ok though I don’t sweat it too much, I’m a firm believer that if you actually want to do to something, you will, and if you don’t, well you wont. So if going to the gym three times a week to get fit is something you actively want to do, you will. Well that’s how my brain works.

The food challenge

Anyway, one thing we’ve done in our house each year is some sort of food challenge during January. This started out as a healthy living idea and has evolved into something new each year. In previous years, we’ve set out only to buy 6 items of food such as veg and fruit, and the rest of the food has to come from the cupboards. You know all those tins and things in the freezer that you keep passing over. The idea was to eat up all the ‘old’ stuff and not just buy more and more to go ahead of it. That used to throw up some odd recipes towards the end of the month, tinned clementine curry anyone? The predominant reason behind this was excess and food waste. We’re buying food even though we have enough food in the cupboards already – I think sometimes we get into a habit of buying the same old stuff and simply ignoring and wasting the food we already have. We didn’t really have clementine curry, but you get the idea 😉

Last year, there was a lot of talk of food banks and food poverty, so we set a budget of £30 a week. Tough going with a blended family of 5, and the portions that get hoovered up in record time, this was no mean feat. But, this seemed to be the type of budget that those living on the breadline were having to work to. Full respect to them for this. This was hard. Firstly all the alcohol went (which well it’s January so that’s an easy one), which was far too expensive to buy – although on the first week I had £3 left so I bought a little miniature bottle of wine. Lots of root veg, stews and tins. Garlic, dry herbs and chilli were the key to getting through this month! As the weeks went on the seasoning stocks ran low, we were halving the dishwasher tablets (we didn’t include washing products in this budget), and eating ever increasingly bland food but we did it and it was a good eye opener to working on a budget. As I said, full thoughts for those who manage this without a choice.

No Single Use Plastic

So this year, our challenge is plastic. A few years back we ran a little promotion at work ‘Wave Against Plastics’ which gave employees an extra days holiday if they did some litter picking or collected discarded plastics, something I want to bring back in 2022.  But for the month of January, we’re going to buy everything without any plastic on it. Specifically single use, you know the stuff that seems to come on every single piece of food at the moment. Think mushrooms, meat, butter, olive oil, milk, bread, pasta, rice… it’s on everything or partially on everything, I think this will be the toughest one yet.

So, we’ve put some planning in place, we’re getting a milk delivered delivering in glass bottles, we will buy loose veg only, bread will be bought from the bakeries that only serve in paper. It’s something that as soon as you think you’ve covered all the bases another key ingredient pops up that only seems to come in plastic… as big quorn eaters in the house, I think that’s off the menu for this month – nothing seems to come in simply cardboard – even some of the frozen things in boxes have the plastic inner bag!!

We’ve identified the farm shops, the bakeries, the refill supermarkets….the rules are pretty easy, we wont buy anything that comes with plastic on it. We have our saved plastic bags, and our plastic containers and plastic bottles that we will reuse if we can but no new plastic to be purchased. Again, washing, bathroom products and health products will sit separate from this – just food. It’s going to cost a fortune – I’ll keep a note to see how it compares. I’ll be back in a month but any hints and tips in the meanwhile are gratefully received!