Saturday 10/06/2017: Today we took a trip to Impala Fruit and Veg at 177 Beyers Naudé Drive, Northcliff, Johannesburg. The plan was to reuse my own packaging, and to add zero of the shop’s plastic to my grocery basket. I packed a few small plastic bags I have in stock at home and re-use often, and some cloth carrier bags. I had previously visited Impala about 3 years before and had been impressed♥ at what was on offer, including fresh, canned and preserved goods, both locally sourced and imported. The great selection of delicious, nutritious goodies is still on the shelves, but I was disappointed to see how very little of their fresh produce is available without packaging, specifically without plastic. It seems that convenience and that the ‘grab and go’ needs of shoppers is catered for but not much for those of us who are trying to reduce our consumption of plastic and unnecessary packaging. Happily, the following were available unpackaged: turnips with their greens still attached, loose tomatoes, and bunches of herbs. I also picked up the following packaged without plastic: big glass jar of dijon mustard and a tin of locally packaged dark cocoa powder. At the till, the assistant offered to remove the leaves and stems from my turnips and when I declined she agreed with me that the greens are the ‘best part of it’ ;). I was given a brown cardboard box to carry my wares home in which I was happy to take with as an alternative to the usual plastic bags. At Olivia’s, next door to Impala, I bought a few fresh bread rolls at the deli section, and placed these in a brown paper bag. I left, happy to know that I had successfully acquired ZERO shop’s plastic, and had managed to reuse all my own packaging
13/06/2017: Shopping at Food Lovers Market Stoneridge, with my own re-used plastic bags (for small items such as nuts, dried fruit and whole spices) and cloth carrier bags (see below my repurposed pillowcase!).
I was pleased to see that they have a selection of bulk (unpackaged) spices, both whole and ground. I was able to reuse my own plastic, rather than using the shop’s plastic. The assistant weighed and labelled my selection and I placed the bags in my shopping basket.
At the fresh produce (fruit and veg) section, I picked up loose potatoes, pears, oranges, avocado, bananas, onions and bunches of herbs: I just put these straight into my trolley without packaging and headed for the check-out to weigh and pay.
At the check-out, I was pleasantly surprised when the cashier asked me whether I would prefer plastic bags or cardboard boxes to transport my goods to the car. I don’t remember ever being offered a box previously at Food Lovers, plastic carrier bags are usually the ‘default position’.
17/06/2017: Fresh bread: I have decided to no longer buy the ready sliced commercial brands from the supermarket; you know…the brand ones packaged in branded plastic. Today I bought an unpackaged wholegrain loaf from Checkers Balfour Park which I was able to place in my own reusable packaging. As a bonus, I see that it is considerably cheaper than the branded pre-sliced loaf that I usually buy, which is priced at about R14 for 700grams. The Checkers unsliced loaf is R8.69 and weighs around 740grams, so a good saving there. Back home, I slice the bread myself and store the slices in the freezer, to be defrosted as necessary or popped into the toaster from frozen.
23/06/2017: The naartjies (Clementines) pictured were bought today from a trader selling at the roadside in Linksfield, and the papayas from a trader in Edenvale who sells fruit and firewood at the roadside. I didn’t enjoy the small stickers (these are not bio-degradable due to chemical adhesive) but was pleased at the plain cardboard box which is easily recyclable, and even compostable.
10/07/2017 Hey! 🙂 …and all of this happened in the month of June, before I had even arrived in Plastic Free July! I’m quite pleased at my progress and I find that its getting easier with practice to develop and sustain “plastic free shopping”. And quite honestly I’ve had very little disagreement with supermarket assistants. Yes, people are curious and sometimes taken aback, but seem to accept when I simply state “I’m Recycling”, and we carry on from there.
So, tell me about your experiences…good, bad or otherwise. Have you discovered anything positive, or are you left with more questions than answers, as sometimes happens when we try to create change? What I can promise you is that making the effort to be a more ‘conscious consumer’ is rich with rewards. Good luck!♥