Daily Note: Why Is Plastic Free Food Shopping So Difficult?


The amount of single use plastic we use is really getting out of hands. Food packaging, plastic pouches, pointlessly wrapped veg, ready made meals and takeaways. It would be ok to have these on occasion but not every other day. Why is plastic free food shopping so difficult?

supermarket shopping: Plastic Free Food Shopping

Different packaging materials are very confusing

I was just reading an article yesterday about all the different food packaging materials these days. There are lots of confusing, unreliable, misleading labelling and even greenwashing going on. And zero regulation.

Do you know your “biodegradable”, “compostable” from “home compostable”?
Do you know your “made of 100% post consumer plastic” from 100% recyclable?
Do you fall into these traps? Of course you do. I do too! Yes, we have responsibility to educate ourselves but nowadays you need to be an biochemist to make a fully informed decision. And even then, you just don’t know what’s the best: opt for the plastic that promised to be recycled (but it won’t) or buy the biodegradable packaging (that will go to landfill in a plastic bin bag).

You try to do your best and choose the product that has greener promises. And that is a very good start. It shows that mindsets are slowly changing. It also shows that brands and makers are responding to our demands – even if imperfectly. (Unfortunately some big brands will try to mislead us.)

Try to buy less packaging – as a general rule

Until people, regulations and systems are in sync – we can still do something: just try to buy less packaging.
We are lucky to have a veg and fruit market near us and most produce comes without plastic and brown paper bags for loose produce. And live in an area where we can get fruit and veg boxes delivered to our door – with no or minimal packaging. We limit takeaways – prefer to eat out anyway. And whenever possible choose cans and glass bottles. Check out if you have zero waste shops nearby.

I hope one day soon we won’t have to worry about all the different ways and places to shop plastic free. But for this, we need the help of those in power to correctly regulate and sanction. For producers and supermarkets to sacrifice just a little bit of their profit and invest it developing better packaging solutions. We already have so many good inventions! Why not make them mainstream?

Do you find plastic free food shopping hard?

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