When it comes to food, the amount of plastic and other unrecyclable materials we use on a daily basis is high. Many people don’t even think about it. After all, you need the product, so you buy it. The packaging it comes in is an unfortunate consequence.
But pause for a moment and consider how a small change in our shopping habits could help us to make a big impact on our environment. By continuing to buy products which are packaged in unrecyclable materials, we are essentially being complicit in this act.
Identifying The Problem
We found that one of the biggest packaging offenders in our homes was that of dairy products. From milk to yoghurts and cheeses, there is a lot of plastic packaging being thrown away.
We wanted to explore the options for purchasing these same goods, maintaining quality and longevity of the products, whilst using ecologically-friendly packaging. There are some supermarkets which have introduced reusable bags for loose fruit and vegetables. However, as yet, there are none that are offering similar services for dairy products.
Instead, it was within small, local businesses that we found these significant changes being made. It was a revelation and a pleasure to discover three fantastic shops in Aberdeenshire, which are paving the way towards reusable packaging.
Three Companies To Watch
Vital Veg, in North Tillydaff Farm (just outside of Aberdeen) sells fresh, organic vegetables and fruit. They sell veg boxes and fruit bags which can be delivered to your home. As well as being conveniently delivered to you, the produce is freshly picked and you can set up regular deliveries and even create your own bespoke orders. Each box/bag has a mixture of fruits and vegetables, according to the season and their availability.
The main aim of Vital Veg is to provide high-quality, flavoursome and organic fresh produce to homes in the local area. This has the added benefit of contributing towards the local economy. They also provide recipe ideas and have a range of other items that you can order from their shop.
Based in Thistle Street in Aberdeen, Food Story (both shop and café) is a zero-waste company. Started in 2013, they serve food from morning till evening to fit the needs of all dietary requirements. The food in the café is predominantly plant-based and locally sourced.
The shop’s main aim is to reduce carbon emissions and plastic. To this end, they have created zero-waste refill stations. You are able to buy a range of items, from bread, to organic vegetables and even cleaning products. You can also order veg boxes (dependent on seasonality and always organic), which are ready for collection every Thursday.
If you are looking for fresh milk, then it doesn’t get any fresher than this. Located in Kinellar, Aberdeen, Forest Farm is the first certified organic farm in Scotland to use milk vending machines. The milk comes from the cows you see on the farm and is gently pasteurized on site.
Open from 6.30am to 8pm, you are able to stop in and buy fresh milk using one of their reusable glass bottles, as well as ice-cream and natural yoghurt. You can even watch the cows being milked between 3.30pm – 5.30pm.
We are sure that there are other fantastic businesses who are engaging in similarly eco-friendly practices around Scotland and the rest of the UK. We would like to invite you to seek one out in local area and share it with the rest of our community in the comments.
We would also like to encourage you to identify the biggest packaging offender in your home. Consider if there is an alternative shop or product you can buy which comes in eco-friendly packaging.
Together, one small packaged item at a time, we can make a meaningful impact on the amount of waste we produce.