Monday, 3 July 2017

My first weekend of #PlasticFreeJuly

Baking my own biscuits 
How is your Plastic Free July going? I know several friends have also set themselves this challenge so it will be fun to see how we each experience the month.

I started by baking - a good way to launch any challenge! We like biscuits with our afternoon cuppa and, following on from SmallSteps, are careful to Buy British biscuits, but now I see practically all their packaging includes non-recyclable plastic. How will I cope?

On Friday (31st June) I baked the Peanut Butter Biscuits pictured above in preparation for the start of the month. We already had all the ingredients so no purchases were needed! One subsitution to Delia's recipe was that I used the dried sunflower seed 'flour' left over from making my own Sunflower Seed Milk. Together with 4tbsp of plain flour this created the right consistency and worked well for flavour. Unfortunately these particular biscuits were so very moreish so they all vanished within a few hours. Oops!

Saturday (1st July) was mostly successful! I remembered to take a cotton shopping bag and filled my steel water flask for refreshment on the walk to St Marychurch and back. It's only about half an hour each way. We needed an onion, a couple of bananas, wholemeal flour and demerara sugar. I found all four at The Happy Apple and managed to buy three plastic-free (veg and fruit loose, flour in paper bag). Demerara sugar however was only available in plastic bags and I have noticed this is true in big supermarkets like Waitrose and Sainsbury too. White sugar is bagged in paper while brown is bagged in plastic. I have emailed Silver Spoon to ask why!

Onion pot and oat bites 
So, I bought the demerara as we much prefer it to white sugar. I plan to mitigate the plastic purchase by making its contents last as long as possible though - starting with baking Oat, Apple and Cinnamon Bites which use banana and cooked apple for their moisture and sweetness. No sugar. I made my own applesauce, left out the vanilla essence because we didn't have any, and added 2 tbsp of crunchy peanut butter and a handful of sultanas. Being much less sugary sweet than the peanut butter biscuits above, Dave was suspicious and their denser texture means 3-4 is plenty for me so Saturday's batch of bites should last at least until today!

I wanted to upcycle an old net curtain into reusable fruit/veg bags, but none of the charity shops in St Marychurch or Babbacombe had any. Do they not receive net curtains any more? Or had my fellow PlasticFree-ers beaten me to the cloth?! I noticed that charity shops will be a good cheap source of non-plastic storage containers as mine wear out or I need additional ones though. I allowed myself to be tempted by the adorably ugly onion pot pictured with the Oat Bites. It was just £2.50 at the Animals In Distress shop although I did  have to repeatedly insist to the staff that I did NOT want it swathed in bubble wrap as I could protect it with my unworn jacket. Supermarket onions keep going soft too quickly. Will small-shop properly-stored ones last longer? Hopefully this pottery onion will recoup its cost before too long.

Sunday we needed mushrooms for an omelette and a wedge of Cambozola for Dave's lunch. I walked (with water flask) to Waitrose where the cheese was in thick plastic film on the shelf or in a single clingfilm layer on the deli counter. The counter staff were happy to put the price sticker straight onto the clingfilm when I asked them not to use an extra bag for which they had automatically reached. Plastic halved here! Mushrooms were only available in clingfilm wrapped plastic punnetts though so I thought I would try the Co-Op instead. Same story there! Thank goodness for independent shops (that open on Sundays. The Happy Apple again came up trumps with a choice of loose mushrooms. Should have gone straight there in the first place!

Plastic consumption after 2 days:
1 sugar bag
1 clingfilm cheese wrapper

Plastic avoided
1 biscuit packet
Bubblewrap sheet
1 extra bag for cheese
1 mushroom punnet and clingfilm

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