It's Not Easy Being Green

Thank you for your enthusiastic response to my last post. I must say I never imagined I'd be envied for my fridge! I have to admit that the healthy eating thing is a new regime. Not that we didn't eat a healthy diet before; there were just too many add-ons in the form of cake, biscuits and puds. I wanted to make it easier to reach for some fruit rather than a biscuit. As you know I love nothing better than a peaceful baking session in my kitchen but I have discovered that a peaceful chopping and peeling session is just as rewarding and I'm still baking flapjacks and muffins for the children, and bread of course.

Now, an update on my 'less plastic' campaign. Well, it hasn't all been plain sailing I'm afraid.

Yes, the milk bottles have stopped coming and it's back to supermarket milk.
The reasons? Well, firstly the milkman didn't always deliver glass bottles, sometimes it came in plastic cartons like the ones above. Secondly, the rest of my family disliked the layer of cream that coated the necks of the bottles, and thirdly, and this was the deal-breaker, my milk bill for 44 pints came to £28.60, from the supermarket it would be £13.75. Of course I knew it would be expensive, but I hadn't really appreciated just how much. I think I'd rather buy some salmon fillets or a free-range chicken with the £14.85 extra the milkman costs. The plastic cartons are still recyclable.

My second failure is in taking my tubs to the deli to be filled with plastic free foodstuffs. I'm not doing at all well at this. The deli is a car journey away and again more expensive than the supermarket. Less plastic or extra driving? It's a green dilemma to be sure.

At the supermarket I am trying hard to buy things with less plastic but again there is a financial cost. For example my weekly bag of own-brand porridge oats comes in a plastic non-recyclable bag and costs 99p. I briefly switched to a brand in a cardboard box (Scott's Porage Oats), it has no liner either making it a good green choice but it costs £1.75. Soap, is another example. I buy a pack of four bars because they are cheaper than individual bars, but they come wrapped in plastic, likewise packs of baked beans.

It's not all a tale of failure and expense though. These marvellous reusable bags are worth spending money on.

Onya bags. They fold up into a little pouch. I take five with me when I go shopping.
They are about the size of a carrier bag and stronger.

It's a good idea to have the bags already unfolded before you get to the checkout.
They are a bit fiddly.

I also bought some of these wonderful mesh bags to use for loose produce instead of the those thin plastic bags. Fab for either the supermarket or a farmshop and so much easier to open than the plastic ones. 

You get five in a little pouch.

You can store your produce in them too.

Another product I bought from Onya was these sandwich wraps to use instead of clingfilm. these are proving very successful indeed. I'm glad I bought a couple of the larger (check) ones for elder son and Charlie to use though as the standard size is only big enough for one sandwich.

So, in summary, the milk is too expensive, the deli is too expensive, not buying in bulk is too expensive but spending a load of money on bags and whatnot isn't :o)
I know, contrary aren't I? But I won't have to keep on buying the bags. They are part of my shopping kit now.

 I had intended to show you my beautiful peonies before they went over, but alas, I was too late.

My roses have begun to flower though.

By the way you may have noticed my Pinterest button up at the top of my sidebar. Pinterest is a marvellous website which allows you to go rushing all over the internet collecting stuff you like and pinning it on virtual pinboards. It also means you spend a whole day sitting in front of a screen and not cleaning the bathroom or hanging out the washing.



  1. I have just requested an invite to pintrest so I an very excited about wasting entire days looking for lovely images!

  2. I keep requesting an invite to pinterest but so far no luck!!! Does it usually take forever or am I missing something?

  3. I like that the produce bags can be hung up, easy to see when it's time to add to the shopping list.

    Nice photo of your beautiful yellow rose.

  4. Recycling paper/cardboard products are more energy relient than plastic. Also paper/cardboard manufacture heavily polutes. In Worcester you can also put all plastics (except bags and shrink wrap packaging)in the green bin as they now have a optical sorter.

  5. Carol, you make me feel much better. You can't recycle black plastic though can you?

  6. I agree with you Sue it isn't easy being green - or even trying to be. However I fear someone has to find some sort of answer before we all end up underneath a landfill site of our own making. Mind you food will be so expensive soon we may go back to growing some of our own.

    Love the bags though.

    Will have a look at pinterest - never heard of it before.

  7. You're right, it's not easy being green, but doing something is always better than doing nothing at all.

    I've faced a similar dilemma when chosing between fairtrade products in plastic packaging and non-fairtrade products in recyclable packaging. You just can't win.

    Thanks for the links to Pinterest (I've requested an invitation) and Onya bags (I'm going to order atleast one of the Weigh Bags - and maybe a few more for presents).

  8. Debrarae, I requested an invite a few days ago- maybe the weekend or Monday, not sure exactly. They sent a message in reply immediately saying that I'd be hearing from them soon. I had a message yesterday enabling me to set up an account. You have to sign in via Facebook. I had deactivated my fb account as I found it a total waste of time but I was still able to access it in order to start pinning.

  9. It's often a dilemma in one way or the other making the right choices. Have you thought of doing an order with Suma? You'd need space to store, but if you can get together with a couple of friends it makes it very do-able for dry goods and bulk purchases at wholesale. Their own brand packaging is recyclable and/or biodegradable. I put cardboard in my compost.

  10. Anonymous5:29 pm BST

    Nice posting!
    I agree...we must all think green every minute.
    I love the bags. They must be really handy.

  11. Nice pithy summary which pretty much chimes with my own, and I suspect many people's dilemmas. Motive is all important in this minefield.

  12. Hi Sue,
    I think you do really well "being green" , even if it`s a bit muddy at times. We can only do our best.
    You will do Saturday Kitchen won`t you?? I look forward to that :-)

    Love Carole from Rossendale xx

  13. Thanks for the pinterest badge lowdown! Didn't know they'd made one, but I've installed mine now.

  14. Congratulations ! You've really worked hard at the throw-away dilemma and those mesh produce bags are a great find .
    As for Quaker Oats cartons saving the environment? I'm not sure what the personal health cost is .... apparently , according to a German study , the cardboard used contains a lot of recycled newsprint which can build up to levels which contaminate the dry food , rice or whatever , stored in them even through the paper lining bag ...
    Perhaps Bulk Buy from a health shops is an option ?
    One tries one's best .....

  15. I like Flahavan's Porridge available from Waitrose and possibly other supermarkets. It comes in a cello/plastic bag but I believe it is recyclable.


  16. I love those mesh bag's. they are such a good idea. I will be looking to get some myself.

  17. We're a big fan of the onya products too - they last a lifetime. I think this post is great - you've pointed out so many of the dilemmas we face when trying to do the 'right thing'. My take on it is lots of people doing a little bit adds up to significant change...


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