Monday, 20 May 2019

Smaller and Simpler


The foil on the worktop at home in Wales was running out, so the other day I reached into the cupboard to check for the replacement that I usually have in there, then I realised it came with me last year to the Van when I was setting up this Smaller Life.  

These huge bulk rolls usually last us well over a year, and although you can't buy refills I have always thought that as well as being handy they were convenient to have on the worktop ready to be used and good value for money.  So to have one at both homes was brilliant.

With the realisation that the roll was about to run out and not wanting Alan to have to struggle if it ran out while I was here at the Van this week, I sat at the computer and put in an order for replacements for both rolls.


It was only when the order came two days later that I started to think this through a little bit more.  This is how each of the cling film and foil rolls came packaged.


A double layer of bubble-wrap, wrapped all around a cardboard box that was over the shrink-film wrapping of the plastic dispensing box for the roll of foil.

It really got me thinking, and then I had to smile ...


... as along with the new reusable cleaning cloths I had ordered at the same time as my new rolls of cling-film and foil, I had added to my order at the last minute to avoid paying a postage charge, and the thing I had chosen to add was a pack of Veggio net bags ... so you can avoid using plastic bags for loose vegetables at the supermarket!!


The bags themselves are brilliant, nice and lightweight, with a drawstring top to keep your fruit or vegetables securely inside while they are weighed and on the journey home inside your larger shopping bag.  They each have a tag on them that you can stick any price label to if you are weighing out your own vegetables at the supermarket.


And the two large and two medium sized bags all fit neatly inside the small bag so you can keep them all together when they are not yet in use.

And happily these came with no packaging other than the cardboard information label and hanging strip that held them neatly together.

I've learnt some valuable lessons here.

Firstly, if I had gone to the shop to pick these up instead of ordering online I would have done away with the need for all this packaging..  Secondly, and even more importantly ... do I even need to use foil and cling film?

  I am happily thinking that this will most likely be the last time that I buy a roll of either, and while I have these rolls to use up I will get used to using alternative methods for storing and cooking our foods.   It only takes a little bit of thinking about.


The one really useful bit of packaging was the cardboard box that my delivery came in as it was put to use immediately for the car boot sale to hold all the bits and bobs that we had sorted out for sale. Then it will be used in the shed for storage before finally being the base of the next cremation for a chicken bonfire we may need to have.  Having an elderly flock means these are happening a lot more regularly than they used to  :-(


Sue xx


26 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. oops, spelling error above...
    Thanks for the tip about the veg bags. I had not seen those before and I really hate using those horrible plastic ones at the supermarket veg counter. I shall place an order forthwith! I have also stopped using cling film now, To store things in the 'fridge or freezer I wash and reuse takeaway tubs or other plastic containers that I already have in stock. I now buy a roll of greaseproof paper ro wrap sandwiches and other foods. A local producer here has also started to make and sell beeswax food wraps. I haven't tried them yet but am thinking about it.

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    1. Good old greaseproof paper and baking parchment will replace my cling film and foil habit I think, and yes boxes and tubs I already have. Although I don't use bee products I believe that someone has produced a vegan equivalent to the beeswax wraps, so I'll look out for them.

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  3. I've practically eliminated the use of cling film by using elasticated food covers by Covermate. They look like little shower caps and are easily washed, dried and can be used many, many times. I can highly recommend them (Lakeland sell them). I've also got a selection of beeswax wraps and they are particularly good for wrapping cheeses and things like that in the fridge. I understand they are also very good for wrapping sandwiches for days out / picnics etc.

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    1. They do sound good but I think I'll try using a plate to cover any open dishes, or put my food into the glass dishes with plastic lids that I already have.

      I should have thought all this through BEFORE placing my order ... but I think sometimes you need a bit if a wake up call don't you, and this was obviously mine!!

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  4. Those veggie bags are good! I'll have to pop into Lakeland when I'm in town next. We're on our last roll of cling film,I think. I use beeswax wraps and have got some nice cotton quarters to attempt to make my own. Apparently they're not difficult to make...we shall see! :)

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    1. That will be an interesting make if you already have all the bits you need, let us know how you get on making them 🙂

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  5. Thanks for the tip about the veg bags - I'll take a look for those next time I'm near a Lakeland! I've already made a start on that side of things by just putting onions loose into my trolley when I buy them - and it's been a while since I've had to stop a checkout operator from putting them in a small bag at the till, too, so I guess the message is getting there. We stopped using cling film for anything bar occasional use a long time ago, and I rarely use foil either I've just realised - occasionally for covering meat when roasting, but that's about it. Beeswax wraps are wonderful - I love mine.

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    1. Yes, I have found myself with lots of loose veg and fruit in my trolley when I've been shopping recently. Except for the oranges that kept rolling off the scales at the till, making me and the checkout lad laugh, the till operators seem to manage.

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  6. I love Lakeland and we are lucky enough to have a shop in town. I always get my foil and my cling film like that and it truly does last for ages as well as being great quality. I do use both quite a lot. The veg bags are a brilliant idea - I will look for them next time I'm in there. I have a potato bag but these are smaller and just the ticket.
    xx

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    1. I do like a browse in a Lakeland shop. I got my potato bag from Poundland, it's working a treat to stop my spuds from sprouting in the cupboard.

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  7. Thank you for sharing. I have just ordered the reusable bags. When keeping leftovers I look out for very small pyrex bowls with glass lids in charity shops or car boot sales. I also use masking tape from a roll as labels in the freezer as they are ultra cheap and remove easily. Sandwich bags are a bit of a headache, in the good old days we reused bread wrappers of the bags inside cereal packets. - Vera

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    1. Oh yes, I like to use the inner wrappers from cereal boxes, always have ... and I cut the boxes up to make shopping lists, which I use and then put the cardboard on the log burner to get it going. Nothing gets wasted in this house.

      Masking tape is a good idea for labeling freezer boxes, I'll use this idea when my stickers run out, thanks 🙂

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    2. I never thought of using masking tape for freezer labels, that's a brilliant suggestion, thank you. Savannah.

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  8. I plan on making some of my own reusable veggie bags and beeswax wraps. Just need to find the time to get them completed.

    I don't think I could do without foil, but I will think on it for a bit.

    God bless.

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    1. Making your own drawstring veggie bags would be great. I guess re-using window nets would be a good plan. There's already the channel at the top for the drawstring and most of the modern ones are super lightweight. If I had had some I would have given it a go a long time ago ... but mine are all in situ at the windows 🙂

      I think while I have these jumbo rolls of both cling film and foil I'll work on finding and trying out alternatives ... not buying stuff just re-using what I already have.

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  9. Beeswax wraps are great, I've been using them for over 3 years.The ones made with just beeswax don't work well the best ones that keep things really fresh are made with Jojoba oil or coconut oil with some resin added to the wax. Good idea to make a few sizes for different uses.
    Utube has plenty of how to instructions and when they get old and tatty you just heat them up, scrape off the old wax both sides and recoat them.

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    1. I'm pleased that they last so long, hopefully your tips will help some of my readers, thank you. But obviously I don't use any bee products myself.

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  10. I just bought a set of those bags! Set of 12 in 3 different sizes! I also have a set of jars that I use at the bulk barn store and the bag that I keep them in came from the Liquor store - it's reusable and has internal divided pockets so it's perfect for jars.
    I have tried to cut back on both foil and plastic wrap but I do find it hard. If things are just going into the fridge I have lots of glass containers but I find it tough when freezing things. I bought a lot of bacon last week and needed to divide it up into servings so plastic wrap - and then to keep it from suffering freezer burn they got packed into a ziplock bag (which I do wash and reuse as much as possible). I do use parchment paper a lot and I do have some wax paper, although I haven't used it in ages.
    I am looking at some of those beeswax wraps for certain things but they are very expensive here.

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    1. That's a useful sized amount ... 12 in 3 sizes. I'll have to see how I get on with just 5. Although I guess I can prioritise and just put smaller loose things in. Some things I tend not bag anyway, bananas forinstance or anything I just buy 1 or 2 of.

      I'm going to sort through my storage options while I'm here at the van this week, and then do the same at home in Wales next week.

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  11. About 3 years ago I used to be out of the house for lunch each Thursday and Friday, so initially I was buying soup or salad etc., They were in packaging with plastic cuttlery and the cup for the soup had to be binned each time. After about a month I added up the financial cost and the eco cost and decided to buy a cup to transport homemade soup, I already had quite a lotof boxes suitable for salad, and then I thought I'll buy a set of camping cuttlery that I can take with me and then bring home to wash. Feeling quite smug I ordered the cuttlery and when it arrived it was in a plastic carrying bag? I couldn't believe it, I though I was helping the envieronment and the suppliers used plastic bags! I wouldn't have minded paying extra for a fabric bag. I am still using the plastic bag and when it falls apart I will make a fabric roll to carry the cuttlery in. Helen S.

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    1. It always gives you a heart sinking moment when something like that happens doesn't it 😕 Did you email or write to the company pointing out the irony of them using a plastic carrying bag for their environmentally friendly cutlery?

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  12. I've completely eliminated cling film from my kitchen- I now use old take away containers, empty margarine and ice cream tubs and other boxes I've acquired. We've also gone back to using bar soap so there is no plastic waste. All our bread bags get reused as freezer bags. We've all got our own coffee cups that we take out and never use the little plastic bags for veg when we're shopping. My biggest plastic waste is milk containers. As we live very frugally, milk in glass bottle from the milkman is just too expensive. Still working on that one. Fiona x

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    1. Yes, we've always used bars of soap, we do have some shower gels in plastic bottles left but it proves we don't use them as the last one I opened is still there almost a year later. Either that or Alan is simply standing undervwater in the shower 🤣🤣

      Once they're gone I won't be buying anymore to replace them.

      All our milk containers go in the recycling. Alan's plastic dairy ones and my longlife almond milk tetrapacks ... which according to the leaflet we have, our council does recycle.

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  13. I make my own veggie bags out of old pillowcases. I don't put a drawstring top on, just pop the veggies in the bag and sit them upright in my shopping trolley, then hand them to the cashier. He/she can see straightaway what's in the bags, plus the little bit of material doesn't weigh any more than a plastic bag really. Also, if they get dirty (from say baking tatties), then I just throw the bags in with the washing. Every time I use them, someone always comments on what a good idea so hopefully they go home and do same. Savannah.

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  14. Forgot to say, re not using cling film for storage, I now wrap most things in kitchen towel and then Tupperware box them, or if veggies, just pop them in the salad drawer. I find the kitchen towel acts almost like a muslim cloth, which reminds me, I have an old muslin cloth I used to use for jam making, must find that and use it instead of the kitchen roll! Re the acting like a cloth, it soaks up any excess moisture if veggies, and if cheese, then it keeps the cheese from getting hard. I check every 3 or 4 days and if the towel is really damp, then I just put that one in recycling and use a new piece of kitchen towel. Savannah.

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