At 24 I was the third generation to run Vines Close Farm shop, and I have been trying to improve our environmental credentials ever since. We have made some big changes in store and behind the scenes, however we have a long way to go yet. One of our biggest restrictions is the rather old agricultural building that houses our shop, however we are still striving to increase our range of local, sustainable and eco friendly products in store. We are proud of the environmental changes we have made instore, cutting down our waste, reducing use of plastic, and most notably planting over 10 acres of trees help offset our carbon footprint.
Here are a few top tips to help reduce your plastic use and environmental impact;
Shop local and independent.
All of our fruit and vegetables are available loose for you to either use your own bags or our paper bags. We are proud of how little plastic we use compared to the supermarkets where a huge proportion of fresh products are packed in plastic to improve longevity.
Use reusable bags.
There is a huge range of reusable shopping and vegetable bags on the market so its easier than ever to keep a bag in your coat pocket, car or handbag meaning you always have one to hand for any occasion. Wicker baskets are another great alternative to carrying your shopping or everyday items and offers more protection for fragile items such as glass milk bottles
Buy milk in glass bottles or refill from a milk station.
We are keen recyclers at home, but as a family with young children we get through a lot of milk. This meant our recycling bin was nearly a third full with empty plastic milk bottles (and even though recycling is great, its more important to reduce before you recycle). So when we were given the opportunity to support a farming friend and set up a milk refill station at the shop we jumped at the chance to get the freshest milk from only a few miles away. Allen Valley Milk is not only delicious, it is fresh everyday with such low food miles.
Use reusable coffee cups.
In Britain alone we get through a staggering 2.5 billion paper coffee cups every year, and with only 1 in 400 being recycled they are a big contributor to landfill.
Refillable water bottles.
A million plastic water bottles are purchased every minute across the planet. Recycling these bottles goes some way in reducing the plastic waste, however a huge amount of water and energy goes into recycling the plastic as well as making the plastic in the first place. Taking a water bottle with you on a day out helps reduce the number of plastic bottles used, and with ever increasing free refillable stations it is becoming even easier to never need to buy water bottles again.
A million plastic water bottles are purchased every minute across the planet.
Other Plastic free alternatives.
There is an ever increasing range of plastic free products for use around the home. We now stock a huge range of wooden and coconut fibre kitchen cleaning products, bees wax wraps, wooden toothbrushes, and hand soaps instead of handwash.