plastic squareI was excited to see the launch of the Lancaster Guardian’s ‘Sack the Plastic’ campaign last week. It’s great that we have a local paper that is willing to take on such an important campaign. I look forward to reading how local supermarkets will tackle plastic waste, but I also hope that we hear from some of the smaller local food businesses that are already working with minimal plastic.

There seems to be a lot of momentum around this issue at the moment with a Plastic-Free Lancaster and Morecambe group having been recently established on Facebook, and a number of friends (and myself) having given up plastic as a New Year’s resolution. Lancaster’s Lost Art of Living Festival is also exploring the possibility of going plastic free for its health festival this September.

In terms of food, we have some excellent local businesses that provide a range of plastic free options. Single Step in particular has made my plastic free challenge easier, with it offering a great range of loose fruit and vegetables, pulses, grains and nuts. Not only are there plastic free options, but there are organic and fairly traded plastic free options; they will re-fill washing up liquid bottles and they have a range of soaps that don’t have plastic packaging. Your money also goes to a workers cooperative that is challenging common assumptions of how we work together.

Filberts Bakery is another example. Not only does the bakery offer really tasty bread, pastries, cakes and flatbreads, but they come in no plastic. They are served in paper bags that can be composted, reused or recycled.

Atkinsons offers plastic-free tea alternatives (yes, most tea bags do contain plastic), selling loose leaf tea and coffee in paper bags. You could also pop down to Claver Hill community farm and cut some fresh herbs for your herbal brew.

In regard to takeaway coffee, you can carry around a re-fillable mug and ask places to fill this up. You could also take the decision to slow life down a little: sit down in a local café and drink coffee from a mug!

Some milkmen offer milk in glass bottles. In 2016 LESS ran a ‘find your milkman’ challenge where we asked our readers to track down their local milkman and get their contact details and information about the products on offer. We updated our online Local Food Directory with the results:

I could quite happily live a healthy plastic free life in Lancaster. It’s chocolate that I’m struggling to find! I can find loose chocolate chips in Single Step, but more plastic free vegan chocolate bars would be great! #firstworldproblems

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