Plastic-Free July in Croydon

Plastic-free takeaways

Posted by Kake on 22 July 2014

While other bloggers are using Plastic-Free July to give them extra impetus to cook at home, I’m finding that the extra time and effort spent on finding plastic-free versions of everyday things is leaving me with much less inclination to cook than usual. Plus for the first half of the month I was much busier with work than I’d anticipated! So I had to find a way to keep myself fed without having to make all my meals from scratch.

Curry goat and rice & peas from Sharon’s Cuisine at Tabu Lounge, Croydon, July 2014.

In the UK, almost all takeaways are served in tubs of either 500ml or 650ml — and it’s also pretty common for takeaway chefs to use these tubs to help them portion out the correct amount of food for the price charged. So before I started my hunt for a plastic-free takeaway, I made sure I had tubs of both standard sizes with the sizes embossed on them by the manufacturer, to make it crystal-clear that I wasn’t just trying to get more for my money.

A selection from the buffet at Babylon Inn, Croydon, July 2014.

I was still a bit nervous the first time I walked into a restaurant and asked for a takeaway in my own tub. Would they laugh at me? Would they refuse to sell me food? Would I end up eating beans on toast for dinner?

I’m still a little surprised that everywhere I’ve asked so far has been happy to package the food in my own container! Though, of course, my attempts have been biased towards takeaways where I’ve previously had friendly interactions with the staff.

Char kway teow from Uncle Lim’s, Croydon, July 2014. This is always cooked fresh, so I felt safe enough taking a lock-and-lock container instead of my standard-size containers. This had the benefit that I could just throw it in my backpack and not worry about leaks.

I’ve had one failure, though I think it should be easy enough to overcome. My partner ordered us a couple of pizzas from Peri Pizza on London Road, which were delivered in cardboard boxes with no extra plastic bags — but inside each box was a little plastic tripod to keep the lid from touching the pizza, as well as a small plastic tub of dip. However, next time we order I’ll ask them to leave these items out, and hopefully they’ll agree.

Below is a list of the places that have sold me plastic-free takeaways so far. I’ll try to update this as I discover more.

And finally, my policy of always carrying a takeaway tub with me paid off when I visited the West Croydon Carnival last weekend and discovered a hog roast stall! The proprietors told me they’re also going to be at the World Food Market at Platform, Ruskin Square, every Thursday from 10am to 6pm until 7 August.

Hog roast in a roll from the West Croydon Carnival of Cultures, July 2014.

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