Snide comments about being Zero Waste when shopping

Well, I had my first snide comment today in one of my local Greengrocers. Considering I’ve been buying my fruit and veg loose there for months now, I thought they were used to me with my cloth bag. I’m always super polite and try to help with packing it, even saying thank you after each type of item they put in the bag (to let them know I am grateful for that tiny bit of extra time). But apparently dealing with my 6 loose potatoes and 6 loose apples today was just TOO much for them. Cue the young assistant “we do have bags you know”… to which I replied that I preferred to use my own. “We have paper ones”. To which I replied- I prefer not to use them for environmental reasons. Assistant rolls eyes and states “It’s just easier”. I then had to bite my tongue, since I thought the customer was always right, they’re getting my business week in and week out. I’d inconvenience them for longer than 10 measly seconds if they had to re-set the scales if I used my own bags before I paid. There wasn’t even a queue! Next time I shall enlighten them on the waste and cost of single use packaging. It’s always easier for us to be lazy and it’s time we were all responsible for our waste.

Over to you, have you ever experienced snide comments like this? How did you deal with them? I’m sure I should have been more assertive, but I wasn’t in the mood and neither it is my strong point.

This is what Zero Waste Shopping UK looks like!


OK, so it’s only a small selection but it’s a start. Over the last few months I’ve been able to cement a new shopping routine into my life. I incorporate buying fruit and vegetables each week at one of the local green grocers. I buy my eggs at the local butcher where I can re-use the egg box, as he keeps a big wicker basket of eggs in-store. I recently purchased these 2 stainless steel canisters at a charity shop (I’d been looking for ages!) So now I can take these to my local whole foods store and they fill them directly from their big bins. They have dried fruit, nuts and spices loose. I wish they sold more, but they package all their loose flours, rice etc into plastic cellophane bags 😦 As yet, I haven’t been able to persuade them otherwise. I hope that leading by example may change their opinion over time, as I recently found another lady is shopping there to break the plastic habit 🙂 This is easier than trying to take glass Kilner jars, as they are heavy and liable to break. I tend to park my car out of town and walk a good mile to the store with my shopping trolley, so I don’t need the extra weight.

I’m not perfect and I’m still trying to establish these new habits. Sometimes I forget to buy something and end up having to get it at the supermarket. However there are still quite a lot of vegetables that you can buy sans-packaging there too. Like onions, garlic, carrots, leeks, broccoli and more! The big plus point for me is just how much cheaper it is to buy food this way. I am literally shaving ££ off my shopping bill, presumably because I’m no longer (surreptitiously) paying for packaging.

There are still many, many (most) things in the UK that in my area are impossible to buy unpackaged so we still have a long way to go. I’d have to travel an hour to my nearest city in order to find a store that sells more food in bulk. Next time I go, I will stock up!