This challenge is much harder than I thought, harder than my 10k steps daily challenge! For instance, trying to find loose cucumbers have been a mission as very few places have them. I understand that the individually wrapped ones will extend the shelf life of the cucumbers by 3 times compared to the loose ones and this has caused me to think and analyse the pros and cons of loose vs plastic packaging. If they are not wrapped, we might end of throwing away rotten cucumbers 3 times more likely unless we meticulously plan our shopping which we do most of the time. Either way, there will be waste which leads to a tricky situation as we need to reduce both food waste as well as plastic waste. Having said that, we managed to achieve some of our pledges as follows:-
1. Avoid buying juices and crisps in plastic packaging. Purchased those in boxes or bottles.
2. Swapped more single-use condiments for large bottles that can be refilled (eg cereals, pasta).
TIP: This can often be more costly than purchasing from the retail, so to make it affordable and sustainable, choose one or a few top priority items that you think would be worth swapping for you or your family, a step at a time, if you can.
3. Been using Beeswax Wraps daily instead of cling wraps.
4. Refused plastic straws.
For other tips to substitute single-use plastics, have a read here.
I recall back in the 80s when my late grandmother used to bring along plastic bags to the wet market (like a fish market) and once the groceries are portioned to be stored in the fridge back home, my late granddad will wash each plastic bag, dry them and fold them neatly ready to be reused during the next shopping trip :) Plastic bags were precious then!
Not an easy feat but this has caused me to be more conscious of my purchasing habits and will gradually reduce single-use plastic usage whenever possible.