Click & Collect... bags!

by Hilary Frost

As I drive to the local supermarket to collect my weekly shopping, I smile to myself, feeling smug that I don’t have to face the never ending queue of people trying to enter the store to do their shopping. Which genius created click and collect!

I arrive at the drive thru, my shopping is bundled into my boot and off I go. Quick as that. No queuing for me today! But as I return to unpack my shopping, the task ahead left me feeling deflated. The dreaded unpacking, putting away and then disposing of the copious amounts of packaging. Cardboard, plastic, cartons and boxes. The flimsy plastic bags you get your meat or veg in. At least I’m in the habit of taking my Bags for Life so no large plastic bags to bin. As I stand and stare at the packaging I’m left with, I can’t help wonder... surely I must be able to do more to to help the environment?

To see if I could cut down the waste, I take a closer look at what I’m left with; five cardboard boxes from ice creams and beer; a couple of those flimsy bags that contained our families meat consumption for the week; a plastic wrapper for the multi bag of baked potatoes and a couple of plastic cartons from the blueberries and tomatoes. I wonder if I just didn’t buy these products, would that solve my eco dilemma?

I’d have a mutiny on my hands if I prevent my darling husband from having his few cans of beer as a reward at the end of a long week at work and surely the kids deserve a nice after dinner treat! At least I can put the cardboard in the wheeley bin for my local council to recycle. But what can I do with the rest which is made up of plastic bags and cartons? My local council won’t recycle these. I start to think outside the box... could I still purchase the meat and vegetables without the plastic? 

The answer came to me on the school run as I hurried past the row of little shops I frequently pass without much of a second glance. If I bought our meat and veg from the local Greengrocer and Butcher I could use my trusty Bags for Life. Problem solved!

I’m now onto my third week of using click and collect for my main weekly shop, supplemented by a quick trip the the local shops. Even though I go to both places to complete my shopping, I now have a smug smile that lasts a bit longer as I hardly have any packaging left over that I cannot recycle, if any at all. 

It may not feel like it at the time, but the little things can add up to make a big difference. Even this small change to shop for some items locally, can save on excess packaging, saving a significant amount of landfill waste over the course of a year.

I wonder where else I can make a difference... next stop the bathroom!