Plastic-free Me: Catering complications

I enjoyed writing my post on plastic-free make-up, or rather the lack of it. Lots of kind people got back to me with suggestions that will hopefully make Plastic Free July a more pleasant experience – and some beauty bloggers even dropped in to read the post. Hello! Ahh, I do love a bit of cyber socialising!

Slowly though, I am realising that I’d better concentrate on sourcing some ‘plastic free’ food. While it’s great that I’ll be looking beautiful (!) in July, the glow won’t last long if I don’t have anything to eat…

Plus (how did this happen?) I’ve been luxuriating in the belief that I had 9 months of preparation before Plastic Free July, only to do a bit of counting on my fingers, and realise that it’s now 7 months – yikes!

So, let’s start with the basics – my veg box.

photo (45)

Regular readers may be forgiven for believing that I only have a veg box so that I can write about it – my other half certainly has his suspicions! I disagree. I mean I’ve only written posts about it here, here, here and here and it’s only been mentioned here, here, here and here. Oh, and here!

I would argue however that the humble veg box is my trusty weapon in a number of environmental battles from supporting organic farming to shopping local to reducing waste – and hopefully for helping me avoid plastic.

A few weeks ago I phoned the farm who supplies my box to ask if I could eliminate single-use plastics from my order altogether. There was no answer so I left a message to that effect. The following week, my order was delivered with just the same amount of plastic as usual. I know they got the message because they acted on something else I said.

I was therefore somewhat tentative when I phoned for a second time this week. Did my request sound odd? Were they just going to refuse me altogether? Was I going to have to start explaining Plastic Free July and let them read my blog??

I decided to adopt the persona of someone who had no anxieties about any of the above. I also chose not to mention Plastic Free July, lest I get carried away, giving the lucky person taking my call the time to decide to refuse me!

It worked! All veg delivered in disposable plastic is now banned from my order and I have secured myself a supply of only fruit, veg and eggs from now on.

Next on my list of things to tackle was milk. As a family we get through several pints of milk each week. I usually buy it from the supermarket and it comes in plastic cartons that are recyclable. I prefer to buy organic.

I have a neighbour who gets milk delivered in glass bottles so I hoped my milk supply was going to be an easy one to sort out. I phoned the company she uses but, alas, it only sells ‘normal’ milk in the glass bottles (pint size) and organic milk is only available in two-pint plastic cartons. I requested as nicely as I could (really very nicely actually) if there would be any possibility of them considering delivering organic to me in pint bottles?

Very nicely, I was told no.

The next place I phoned would also deliver organic milk but only in plastic bottles. The same happened with the third supplier I phoned…

I am keen to set up my order so that I can have milk delivered to my door. I also want to support local business and to avoid further lining the pockets of the supermarket. I am planning on giving up supermarkets for lent as mentioned in this post so if I can arrange for home-delivery now, then that’ll be one less inconvenience to deal with later. I want organic milk but I don’t want plastic.

At the moment I am erring on the side of ordering the organic (in plastic) but changing the order to non-organic in July so that I can have the glass bottles.

What would you do?


24 thoughts on “Plastic-free Me: Catering complications

  1. Isn’t this just the most ironic (and frustrating) thing? Organic food packaged in plastic. I think packaging should be a consideration in organic certification because the chemicals from the plastics can leach into the food. Very frustrating. I’m fortunate in the San Francisco Bay Area to have not one but two local organic dairies that bottle in glass — and one of them even uses metal caps instead of plastic. I hope you can find a solution. Would it be possible to go without milk for July? Or to opt for a different kind of milk? Would you consider making your own nut milk or rice milk for the month?

    • I agree that p ackaging should be considered in plastic certification. Plastic often defeats our well intentioned purposes!

      I hadn’t even considered that the caps on the milk bottles might be plastic – argggh!

      I would consider making milk – probably doesn’t help that I have a nut allergy…

      This is hard, eh? Don’t know how you manage to avoid as much plastic as you do – I’m finding your book helpful 🙂

  2. Seems a goat may be on your horizon ….

    That´s a truly ludicrous situation. You´d imagine that organic suppliers would understand the plastic packaging conundrum better than most.

  3. I really can’t decide what to do about milk. The only option we have for glass milk bottles are 1 pint ones from the milkman… They are double the price of milk in plastic bottles and because the bottles are so small I would need lots and lots of them each week, compared to around half the number of plastic ones… What’s better/ worse???

    • It’s so hard! I think it’s fair enough to inconvenience ourselves a bit but it sounds like your inconvenience and extra cost would be huge. Perhaps just keep searching for alternative providers and let yours know what you want and that you’d be prepared to leave if someone else comes up with what you’re after!!

  4. We buy non-organic milk but from a local producer with grass-fed cows. Actually I don’t drink cow’s milk any more, I drink nut milk, which saves me the problem! And I have some friends who have a goat that they milk, and also some who have their own cow…

    It is difficult. I guess you need to weigh up local vs organic vs packaging materials vs recyclability, have a look at your options and choose the one that fits with your values best. You could find out if the glass bottle milk producer has grass-fed cows, uses routine antibiotics (often grain-fed cows are treated but grass-fed don’t need to be) etc etc. I did read a statistic once that there is more organic milk than non-organic milk in the UK and often conventional milk actually contains organic milk. Choose what works best with what you know. As you learn more or things become available in your area you can change. Just keep looking for alternatives : )

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