Having invited Eva-Melina of inglorious plastics over with another friend for a girls evening of cheese, bread, tea and knitting, I committed in my shopping for our fare to going without plastic. I had it all planned out, my cheese man wraps the cheese in a waxy sort of paper, bread would come in paper, Olive oil in a glass bottle, fruit I would put straight in my calico bag and so on. Excellent in theory. In practice, as I soon realised, nearly impossible. In practice you have to contend with other peoples notions on plastic and their plastic related habits.
I got home early and went straight to the fresh food markets. A Supermarket was never going to work, with everything in it’s individual vacuum sealed cling wrapped glory. All started well, I picked out my cheeses (which I noted were wrapped in cling wrap in the display fridge) and chatted to the cheese man. He discovered I was having people over and said you should try these (indicating some crispy bread chips) they’re great for entertaining etc. etc. So I tried one, knowing full well I didn’t want them but not able to say no. Then I bought some. Again only because I didn’t want to be rude and say no. I did ask if he would please put them into a paper bag for me, which he obligingly did, then proceeded despite my protests to put the paper bag of bread chips into a plastic carry bag. Bother. He insisted it was bad for the cheese because the bread was still warm or something. He’s just such a nice man though that I didn’t stand my ground and took the plastic bag because I didn’t want to be rude.
1 x plastic bag and the bread chips did not get served at the girls night.
Then I managed to pick up figs and grapes with no plastic, although admittedly the grapes had been sitting in a plastic container at the stall. Then to the baker to get bread, no plastic!
For the oil I went to a fancy overpriced spice place in the hope I would find plastic free good organic olive oil, which I did. Well, it was organic and olive oil, I don’t know that it’s that great though. The shop lady asked and I said I wanted a good oil to dip bread into. She then proceeded to ask me what else I was going to have with the oil (really I didn’t think I needed anything else, good oil, good salt and fresh pepper is enough). I told her this and she proceeded to show me this Greek oil dip spice mix. Again I didn’t stand my ground and let her sell me the smallest amount. Admittedly that happened to me the last time I bought something in this shop too. I have to stop going there. The sales people are too pushy (or I could just admit to being a complete push over). I protested against the little plastic bag the girl was about to fill, stealing Eva’s story that I was going without plastic so my protests seemed well founded. The shop assistant thought it was a cool thing to do and found me a little jar. Of course the jar was extra, but not too much. She packaged that up and then went to put it in a plastic bag. Again I protested, she went to protest back that it would be safer or some such thing, then I had to point out, “No it’s more plastic you see”. “Oh!” goes the shop lady, “I see”.
After my lovely guests had left I went back to my ‘cheese paper’ and had a closer look at, finding, to my disappointment, it is in fact very thin plastic that just looks like paper.
So in the end I came home with two different kinds of plastic and two products which I neither wanted nor needed.
My attempt, for one shopping trip, for one evening, to go without plastic completely failed. When I think about it I was even serving water out of a plastic water filter jug.
Next time I need to be more aware. I also need to stop feeling guilted into buying things I don’t want. It’s really very silly. That person’s business is not going to go under if I don’t buy their bread chips.
For more (successful) plastic free escapades visit inglorious plastics
If you try this yourself write a comment, I’d love to hear about your experience of going without plastic. Hope you can do better than I did!