I almost caved for a McFlurry yesterday evening, as it was a glorious day and the Crunchie one is back on the menu, but that’s three bits of plastic that I can’t justify as I can easily say no. No disposable coffee cups used this month so far either. Little victories.
I try to do the Big Shop during the week when I have the chance, to avoid crowds, or even have the bulk of it delivered to free up precious weekend time and stop impulse biscuit purchasing.
Most of my shopping is done at Tesco, with Lidl/Dunnes/local market vying for second place, and most of my meat coming from the butcher. I’m fortunate to have the luxury of choice in my area.
I’ll start with the TL:DR version of things.
Supermarket and pet shop haul
I love my butcher. They do absolutely all sorts, and there’s a distinct lack of prepackaged products on their counter. They also didn’t bat an eyelid when I rocked in with my boxes, and asked for my chicken in paper instead of a plastic bag.
Total haul was a local (actually) free range chicken, a kilo of sirloin mince, a kilo of chicken wings, 5 chicken fillets, and zero single use plastic. Really happy.
I did decide to leave quite a few things behind at Tesco that I might usually chuck in the trolley. Including biscuits, of which zero were plastic free. The whole trip took me about 30 minutes longer than usual, and also cost more than my average shop, but more on that below.
So my plastic total comes to:
Cat food bags
Petit filous pots (for the toddler)
Oat milk tetrapak
Dettol spray top (toddler-related incident with the car, so was needed)
Lid on tin of yeast.
Plastic seals on vodka (reduced to €3!) and vinegar.
Cue minor rant…
We have 2 cats and two dogs. The cats are entirely kibble fed, and the dogs get kibble and suitable scraps. I went with the usual cat food brand as there was only one non-plastic option for kibble, and that was Whiskas, which had so little meat content it was shocking, especially as cats are obligate carnivores. My compromise then, was to get the biggest bag possible -we only get through 5 of this size a year.
The dog food is usually the same plastic sack situation, but I found this in the supermarket.
Usually paper looking sacks are plastic lined and go in general waste. This bag is flippin’ compostable! Other manufacturers, take note.
A few more annoying “highlights”
Mushrooms. Big shiny sticker, but only the punnet is compostable. The wrap is regular plastic. Very confusing for consumers, and will contaminate a lot of compost bins.
Dairy aisle. Yoghurt had one plastic free option. Cheese, cream and sour cream/creme fraiche had none. All milk in plastic bottles, or tetrapak with plastic screw tops. One brand of butter in paper which can be composted.
So the options are fewer, and get even more reduced when you start looking at prices.
Rooster potatoes. I actually put these back when I saw the price of them. €2.49/ kg loose. A foot away they’re in plastic for €2.49/2kg. A lot of fruit and veg is double the price if bought loose.
Long grain rice. Bag of own brand is €1.19/kg. Plastic free is €3.58/kg. Yes, it’s a premium brand, but it’s still plain old white long grain rice.
San Pellegrino (multiple options, so easy to compare). Glass and cardboard, €5.33/litre. Shrink wrapped cans, €1.77/litre on offer.
Only plastic free offerings on the cereal aisle are porridge oats, and even then only the premium ones. Flahavans organic in paper, standard in plastic paper composite. They’re bagged on the same line in the same plant, for heaven’s sake!
Odlums fair better, but they are not afforded the same shelf space or prominence.
So all in all, I can see why a lot of families just won’t waste their time on this whole malarkey. It takes ages, involves being quite savvy, and it costs more.