Plastic-Free July in Croydon

Low-plastic shopping on London Road

Posted by Kake on 11 June 2014

I popped out earlier for a bit of shopping on London Road, and was pleased to see I could get almost everything I needed with no disposable plastic.

Porridge oats, courgettes, limes, red peppers, garlic, and onions bought on London Road.

From Beydagi Food Centre I bought onions and garlic. Like almost all the fruit and vegetables sold at Beydagi, these were displayed loose. Instead of the disposable plastic produce bags provided by the shop, I put my purchases in Onya Weigh reusable produce bags.[1] The checkout staff had no problem with this, and indeed seemed quite interested in hearing about why I was using my own bags.

From Lidl I bought courgettes, red peppers, limes, porridge oats, and half-baguettes. The vegetables were loose (though in general, most of Lidl’s fruit and vegetables are pre-packed in plastic; these were a few of the exceptions), and again I put them in Onya Weigh bags. The staff member at the checkout was briefly confused by looking for a bar code on the labels on the bags, but once she realised they were my own bags she was fine with it. I’ve since cut the labels off, since they do look confusing and they don’t actually provide any useful information.

The porridge oats were in a paper bag — I haven’t yet checked that the paper isn’t lined with plastic, but Polythene Pam describes the packaging as a paper bag, and she’s pretty hardline about checking that paper’s just paper.

Half-baguettes and chapatis bought on London Road.

The half-baguettes were loose, with paper-plus-plastic bags provided to put them in. Instead, I put mine into one of several plastic produce bags that I’ve had for a while (I wash, dry, and reuse them). I could have put them into an Onya Weigh bag instead, but I thought a bag without holes would be better.

I also got some chapatis from Shadi Market. These were cooked fresh in front of me, in the tandoor ovens at the front of the shop, and the baker had no problem placing them straight into my cloth shopping bag. I did put the cloth bag inside a plastic carrier bag when I got home, to let the bread soften without losing moisture, but I left the bread inside the cloth bag so as to keep the carrier bag clean for future re-use.

It wasn’t a completely plastic-free shopping trip, as I also bought some raisins in a plastic box from Beydagi Food Centre and some peaches in plastic wrapping from Lidl. But I have a potential source for plastic-free raisins which I’ll be checking out soon, and I could have easily bought some other fruit instead of the peaches. So a good haul overall, and a good reason to feel positive about the upcoming challenge of Plastic-Free July.

Footnotes and references

  1. I know I said I wasn’t going to buy any reusable produce bags, but I happened to see some in the Kirkdale Bookshop in Sydenham, and decided to try them out.

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