BYO plate

The food issue

When I ditched plastic, I had to ditch a few other things as well: Convenience food, ready meals, nibbly stuff like chips, gummi bears, lollies and all kinds of cookies and chocolates. Thanks to that, my plastic-free life has neither turned out to be unhealthier nor more expensive than my life before, which makes it easier to stick to this sort of ”packaging diet”.

I don't really feel like I'm missing out on something here...

I don’t really feel like I’m missing out on something here…

What’s on the menu?

As I can still buy all veg and fruit (markets and turkish shops are the best options here) and staples like pasta (Barilla sells them in cardboard and there is not even a little plastic “window”), rice and bread relatively easily, but I can hardly consume things like ready made sauces, deep frozen pizzas, instant noodles, chips or cookies anymore, my diet has actually improved and I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything vital. So I basically just cut out highly processed food and cook more from scratch. It does involve a bit of planning, as I have to go on a relatively big trip to get certain ingredients like cream, legumes or unpackaged herbs. But this hasn’t annoyed me too much so far, as I always try to combine it with something I have to do on the way.

BYO in the supermarket

What works really well is just bringing my own plates or containers to deli counters. That way I can still buy cheese (the one in the supermarkte shelves always comes in plastic packets, sometimes with several layers of plastic to divide the individual slices), antipasti stuff and yummy dips like hummus. Sometimes they just give me the price tag and I carry it in my hands, sometimes they put it on my container and have a bit of a friendly, but confused laugh. It has happened several times that I got into a really interesting conversation with shop assistants and they always seemed curious. Quite often they could even help me find a certain plastic-free product in another place. It might sound stupid and a bit too simple, but I found out I just have to ask for alternatives, for things without foil and additional packaging. Unfortunately that was something I just didn’t ever do before, but now I know it’s always worth a try. That way the supermarkets, shop or deli owners also get customer feedback and might think about their packaging methods.

Hungry yet? Bring your own plate and take it home :-)

Hungry yet? Bring your own plate and take it home 🙂

BYO when getting take-out

On Wednesday I went to one of my favourite Lebanese places with a friend and we just brought our own plates, as they normally use a lot of different plastic containers. My friend told the guy behind the counter about „the experiment“ and he didn’t even give us a weird look. I do recall the curious look from a young couple though that came in just when we wanted to carry the plates out and I started to feel a little giggly. So far I had quite a few good laughs about the ”I bring my own plates/containers” method. And the shop owners don’t mind it either – and why would they, they’re saving money!

Lesson learned: Bringing my own plates and containers solves a lot of problems. And avoiding plastic doesn’t mean no more good food. It often means less bad food!

By the way, I will put together a list of how to avoid unneccessary packaging soon! Will keep you updated!

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8 comments

  1. Hej Eva!
    What do you use to carry your food from the imbiss/supermarket back home? Tupper? Or glass/metal/ceramic things? I think metal sometimes can change the taste of the food…

    I have to check swedish supermarkets, if there is something that could be interesting for you and bring it back to Germany in the next weeks! Anything you could not find yet? 😉

    Med vänliga hälsningar från Fiskebäckskil,
    Gwen

  2. Hej 🙂
    So far I’ve only used glass and ceramic things (Those ceramic butter boxes are great for cheese for example). I was thinking about getting myself a metal container, but if it changes the taste, then that wouldn’t be an option. Thanks for the info!
    Oh, plastic-free stuff from Sweden would be interesting 🙂 The only thing I can think of are those canel thingies, the cinnamon buns. But I guess they either come in plastic wrap or you have to buy them fresh… But maybe they have chips in paper bags?
    Grüße nach Schweden

  3. Hey Eva,
    I am interested to know what you are using as bin liners? In Australia many people also use cloth shopping bags but at the supermarket I did not feel guilty about getting plastic as I would reuse them as bin bags rather than buy a packet as I couldn’t think of a good non-plastic alternative.
    I’m sure you find you have much less rubbish in general because of avoiding plastic, but what are you using during your experiment?

    1. Hey, I always used up my old plastic bags from the supermarket for that purpose as well. But I couldn’t find any alternative for bin liners so far. I thought I would just go without them. For a long time we didn’t use any bin liners for our recycling bin, we just gave it a quick wash. As the recycling stuff was always pretty clean, that wasn’t a problem. I just hope my trash bin won’t get too sticky and yuck, but fortunately it has a lid. I think I saw biodegradeable bin liners at dm once, I wanted to check them out on my next visit.

      1. Ja I have some biodegradable plastic bags from DM. I wish they would make all of them biodegradable! I could only find small ones but hopefully they will become more widely available and have a bigger range.

  4. Hi Eva!
    Metal COULD change the taste, i think it depends on the kind of food and the metal. A new “Edelstahl”-container should be a good option. I havent checked the supermarkets, but i can remember that there were freezers with frozen fruits so you could take as much as you want puting them in your own containers etc. without having them in a plastic bag.
    “Kanelbullar” (cinnamon buns) are always wrapped in plastic, if they arent fresh baked, sorry! 😉

    Ein schönes Wochenende (ich muss arbeiten 😦 ) wünsche ich euch,
    Gwen

  5. I have been i some supermarkets here and the biggest difference i could find, were those shelves with loose stuff for selfservice: tea, sweets, nuts, muesli and frozen fruits.
    Especially the shelves full of sweets remind me of a time when i was young and it was very common to give a self-mixed bag of sweets as a present to someone. 😉

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