week 2 of trying to live without single use plastic ....

On Mon, 19 June, 2017 - 18:39
mokshini's picture

I intended to start this blog by saying I believe you only have to do something THREE times before it becomes a habit - but then I decided to check up on my views and googled it, and rather depressingly, it seems to be at least 21 or 28 or even 66 days to really change a habit - oh dear! 

But, in any case, I have now been to Exeter farmer’s market THREE times, and I would like to think that I will from now not forget again that I can buy all manner of seasonal fruits and vegetables, bread, coffee and eggs (should I choose to buy eggs) which are both local AND can be bought without a shred of plastic wrapping, just by walking across town on a Thursday morning. 

I have been reflecting on habits in other ways too: I have been remembering that years ago ( we are talking 1980’s here) I OF COURSE made my own yoghurt and houmous; and that the reason was most likely because in those days you just couldn’t buy it at every corner shop so I didn’t question the fact I had to make it myself. (I also had a phase making my own tofu, soya milk, dandelion coffee, peppermint tea and other delights, with a range of degree of success, but that is another story). And of course a big part of why we use so much single use plastic is because we just take for granted that we can buy anything we want,  at any time of the year, in exactly the shape and form we like. Of course in the dark ages when all that wasn’t available I am sure I didn’t spend a second bemoaning the fact that there was no bag of luscious salad leaves available, or mixed colour cherry tomatoes, or strawberries in winter, as those things simply did not exist: another example of the way too much choice can lead to dukkha! As now I feel hard done by if I can’t get those things because I know they DO exist. 

Where I am at with trying to go with using less single-use plastic: 

  • loopaper rolls 
  • rubbish bags 
  • quorn pieces 
  • frozen peas - frozen anything! 
  • and the bags of lentils, beans, rice and pasta.

these are most hard to substitute so far; in fact impossible …..   

What I am also still needing to remember, is to take my own containers & bags with me when I go shopping, for anything from bread rolls to broccoli to loose apples: entirely possible but the habit is not quite there yet! 

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Utpaladhi's picture

This is fantastically inspiring - I’m trying this too, but with a bit less success - my partner isn’t doing this with me, so he keeps buying plastic wrapped things!

I know some places that do frozen peas/other veggies in scoop type freezers. Our local farm shop does, and also Dobbies garden centres do too (though I think your nearest one is Shepton Mallet, so quite a way away!)… but I reckon we can find somewhere to get your pea needs met….and probably somewhere to buy lentils/beans/rice loose. In Southampton, Rice Up (our health food store) does that. Maybe someone on here can make a local suggestion for you?

I love your point re convenience. So true.

mokshini's picture

Well, the closest place I have been able to locate is in Totnes!! And apparently there is a scoop & refill shop in Tiverton too - both not exactly next door, but it could be done!  I can see myself on a visit to Totnes combing a visit to the zerowaste shop with a cuppa  with a friend. There is a list of shops on   - an interesting site in itself with loads of information about plastic and what happens to any plastic object that we use.  

Utpaladhi's picture

A nice visit out to Totnes sounds lovely :) I guess it’s planning ahead and being prepared as much as possible, isn’t it. I had to get some food on the hoof on my way back from retreat and ended up with M&S salads, in a ton of plastic :( 

Thank you for your inspiring efforts, Mokshini!

Utpaladhi's picture

Just found this -
Curently relocating to 3 Queens Street and says on their website

‘In our Queen Street shop we will now be stocking a range of dried larder products in customer accessible dispensers. Goods such as oats, rice, pasta, dried beans, pulses, cereal and other items can weighed into your own empty containers and then you only need to pay for the weight that you want. This means less packaging and less food waste! If you have forgotten to bring your own containers we will have paper bags and glass containers to buy.’


mokshini's picture

oh well spotted Sarah! It is a really lovely shop just round the corner from me, but they are moving very soon - and from what you write they are moving into bigger premises! Well that is fabulous and exactly what I was after :) Thank you xxx

Utpaladhi's picture

Fab! Glad that’s helpful :) x

gunaketu's picture

Inspired by this I took on to try two weeks without taking any disposable plastic I could avoide.., and… success! Felt good and sufficiently radical with potatoes and carrots slushing around in my bag skin to skin :-)

mokshini's picture

well done and sadhu! 

I have been quite struck by how much it is all just a habit - even today, at my weekly visit to the market, I put my potatoes, my beans and some mushrooms each in a separate in a paper bag - and then I thought, why did I bother?! I could easily have just put them in my shopper loose just as they came … paper bags also take lots of energy to re-cycle and produce and there is no particular reason to use them; we are just so used to wrapping every single thing up! 

Liz Ashley's picture

Ooh, Mokshini, home-made tofu. I was just thinking along these lines myself, as I have heard that tempeh is incredibly easy to make. I have just done a fermenting workshop, so am considering all things fermented; soy sauce, for instance.

Use it or lose it - so true. In my life I have been close to losing the skills of basic sewing, cooking, and reading demanding texts.         Am practicing these, and also gardening, running, yoga, cycling. Friendship! 

Love and metta,


Liz Ashley's picture

“All waste is a failure of the imagination” quote in our Silo restaurant. XXX