Let’s start with some simple ideas to get us thinking, try out and perhaps (hopefully) adopt new habits.  Of course it’s nothing new, but one of the most urgent issues is to reduce plastic waste and in particular single use plastics.  Next time you go to a supermarket why not be specifically aware of products that are pre-packed in bulky plastic boxes, especially things like meat, fruit and vegetables, even fish and cheese.  Much of this packaging could be avoided if we get in the habit of taking along our own bags and boxes.


Personally I’m a fan of ‘veggie bags’ and keep a supply of the light washable nylon ones in my handbag and in the car.  I like being able to choose just the quantity, quality and even the size of the fruit and vegetables I need.  Most supermarkets now readily supply these bags for a small charge, though you could of course make your own.  This simple idea has been in place for quite some time, but sadly I still see most people just grab the usual old plastic bag they are used to!  If I’ve forgotten my reusable nylon bags I look out for the paper bags that are sometimes supplied, or I even just stick the price label directly on the item if for example I just need one aubergine or red pepper.


Recently I was delighted to discover that the meat counter in my supermarket (in France) was very happy to let me bring along my own boxes.  The butcher just weighs the box first, then puts in the meat I want and sticks the label on the lid.  I use plastic boxes with click-on lids as they are leak-proof and easy for the butcher to close. Again the advantage is being able to choose just the quantity and quality I want.  The butcher now recognizes me as ‘the box lady’, is very friendly and helpful and even picks out the best pieces of meat when I want to make a stew!  Just imagine the quantity of nasty plastic meat packaging that could be saved if more people adopted this habit.  If you are not a meat-eater I imagine the same tactics would work for purchasing fish or cheese at the counter, though I admit I haven’t tried this yet.

I look forward to hearing how you get on, even if these ideas are not new to you, and will be back soon with another thought.
-Jean Mayer