38: Bake it, don’t buy it!

slice bread on brown chopping board
Photo by Buenosia Carol on Pexels.com

Here’s a challenge, which hopefully should be more fun than fear!

Choose one thing from your weekly food shopping basket that normally comes in some form of plastic packaging. Select something that you buy often, rather than a luxury item, and choose something that has already been cooked or pre-prepared for you (i.e., not something like raw fruit or veg).

Remove that plastic-covered thing from your shopping basket, and find a recipe for how to make it instead. While you’re shopping, buy the ingredients that you need – preferably not also wrapped in plastic! – then take those ingredients home and learn how to make that food item yourself.

You might choose bread or biscuits or hoummos or pizza or pasta or pies or burgers (meat or vegetarian). Perhaps even butter or cheese (dairy or vegan) or tomato sauce.  There are lots and lots of suggestions, just make it something you buy ready-made on a regular basis. That way you’re making a real change. And there are literally millions of recipes online for just about every dish it’s possible to make. Alternatively, support a local bookshop and buy yourself a new cookbook…or ask for one for your birthday!

If you’re a parent or grandparent or aunt or uncle, get the children involved too. Teach them how to make something that they thought only came ready made. You’ll be giving them a real life-skill at the same time.

Just think: If you teach yourself how to make bread, and you normally buy two loaves a week wrapped in a plastic bag, that’s 104 plastic bags that you personally are not putting into landfill to pollute our planet this year. And you might just save money too.

Once you’ve mastered one recipe. Choose a second one, then a third. If you get really good at it, teach one friend and you instantly double the amount of plastic you’ve saved.

Happy recipe hunting!

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35: Loofahs ain’t just for baths. Who knew?

40952053_10160676075700398_1307394818065825792_nI’ll tell you who knew: my friend Mairead who shared this brilliant tip for plastic-free washing up with me. I shall share it now with you, and I’m keen to try this myself. I must just add that all the puns are her own and I can’t take any credit (or blame) for them!

(From Mairead) I read on a zero waste forum about using a loofah instead of a plastic sponge, and have finally taken the plunge (ba dum tish!).

I picked mine up for £1 in Wilkos, and used a bread knife to saw the bottom quarter off, as my sturdy kitchen scissors didn’t quite make the cut (tishshshsh) .

Then I used it for a week and a day. It has scrubbed roast ham off the roasting dish. Scrambled eggs off the frying pan. And solid porridge out of the baby bowl.
It’s not quite as sturdy as it was 8 days ago, but any fibres shed have been vegetable (it’s a type of gourd, really, Google it!) and it still did the dishes tonight. Popped into the microwave for 20 seconds whilst still damp, and it’s even disinfected.

And it will make another 3 scourers when I decide to replace this quarter.

Thrifty and plastic free

Big thanks to Mairead, and all the other friends who are sending me tips and ideas. You will be shared soon too!