Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Day 2

The best way to avoid producing landfill waste is to avoid buying it.

Today I didn't have time to visit my local shops and had to settle for my local Tesco Express. Supermarkets are Aladdin's caves full of the most tempting treats. I love the variety of the ingredients they sell and the delicious meals you can concoct with them. But there isn't half a lot of plastic, most of it non recyclable.

Tonight's dinner was spaghetti bolognaise. The spaghetti and the mince both came in plastic wrappings. The celery and red pepper came from the fridge but they had both arrived there in plastic bags and the garlic was wrapped in a nylon(?) net. Only the onions and mushrooms escaped. They were part of last Friday's Riverford organic fruit and veg delivery. The tin from the tomatoes will be recycled via our black box, but once the tomato puree tube is finished it will end up in the bin.

On the brighter side, I did whizz up some houmous in the blender, which saved me from picking up my usual ready made equivalent in a plastic tub complete with annoying plastic seal and cardboard sheath. It'll do my elder daughter nicely for her packed lunch tomorrow.

Today's bin reveals the following:
  • plastic wrapper from Sainsbury's Ardennes pate (no recycling guidelines),
  • plastic wrappers from Sainsbury's all purpose cloths and Woolworth's stockinette dish cloths,
  • plastic tub and lid from Tesco's fresh double cream,
  • plastic lid from Sainsbury's spice jar.

I have made pate in the past and could dig out an old recipe. An easier option would be to buy it from the deli counter in Sainsbury's and see if they would let me take it away in my own container. However this sounds scarier than the butcher.

During Mrs Green's Pledge and Win Week I pledged to substitute reusable cloths for the disposable all purpose cloths I usually use. I'm not sure what the disposable cloths are made of. The plastic wrapper features a type 5 PP logo but I'm not sure whether it refers to the cloths or the wrapper. Neither am I sure what the Woolworth's reusable cloths are made of, but they look as if they may be cotton. However, they too came in a plastic wrapper. I've been getting on with them alright, but they soon look grubby and my daughters complain that they remind them of school dinners where the dinner ladies used them to wipe down the tables.

I am unable to recycle the cream tub at present as it is of type 5 plastic, but I am reliably informed that I will soon be able to do so, which means that I will not have to do without this occasional luxury.

I have a query on lids. While containers often, though not always, feature recycling logos, their lids rarely do. Can I assume they are of the same type of plastic and recycle them together, or do I have to play safe and consign them to the bin?

This is the fate of the spice jar lid. It has no logo, so that while the glass bottle goes to the bottle bank, the lid goes to the landfill. Hey ho! Next time I'll buy a refill pack in a cardboard box and transfer it to one of my collection of glass spice jars.


Rachelle said...

Hiya :) Your quote at the top of your post is excellent and one for us all to keep in mind.

We find supermarkets to be a nightmare for packaging too - although the Co-Op and Lidls fare better. Yesterday mr Green managed to get some basmati in a cardboard box from Lidls AND they sell naked cucumbers!

I never did find pasta without plastic, but I managed to get tomato puree in a glass jar. Can you share your recipe for humus? I've never been able to make it to Mr Green's taste.........

Well done on using reusable cloths; bummer about the packaging. I'm wondering if a market stall might sell them without packaging - perhaps they buy 100 at a time and sell them singly. I'm sure I've seen them like that is street markets. (It doesn't exactly matter if they get wet does it?!)

With the lids, it's a challenge - personally I would phone the manufacturer and check. Do you have a Co-Op near you? Their packaging labels are excellent; with creme fraiche for example, they will state on the container what the tub itself, the foil seal and the lid are made from...........

Spices really get to me; even in a cardboard box the inners are cellophane. Aaaaaaaargh! Next time we go to Gloucester I'm going to check out the Asian supermarket to see what I can find in there.

Anonymous said...

Why buy reusable cloths? Check around you might find you already have something at home you can use. Old tea towels, tee shirts, bath towels etc all make useful cloths to use for wiping down, mopping up etc. Well done so far, you are an inspiration!

just Gai said...

Rachelle - We have a Lidl close by which I rarely visit, but after your comment I will pop in for a reccy. I am a fan of the Co-op but there isn't one within easy walking distance of us. However I feel that local shops might be the answer to most of my requirements.

Th hummous recipe I use is Nigel Slater's from Real Fast Food:

225g tinned chick peas
6 tbs tahini
2 cloves garlic
6 tbs lemon juice
3 tbs olive oil
cayenne pepper
black pepper
olive oil for drizzling

Whizz the chick peas with a little of the liquid from the can. Add the rest of the ingrediets and whizz again. Adjust to taste.

My daughter likes it jazzzed up a bit so I usually sprinkle it with paprika or dried oregano. This week I stirred in a spoonful of red pesto.

Anonymous - Thanks for the suggestion of using old cloths. I remember my mum using my dad's old vests! I do have a few holey tea towels that might fit the bill.

Mrs Green said...

Thanks for the recipe - I think paprika in it will go down a treat. I'll try it and let you know the verdict.

Mrs G x