By Philippa May
As we all attempt to do our bit to keep the earth clean and green one of the main points of contention becomes food packaging. Rice, nuts, seeds, chocolate and cleaning products and cosmetics are just a few of the essentials most of us regularly buy wrapped in single-use plastic.
Minimal Waste Grocery, based out of Rathmines, Dublin 6, are one of a wave of so-called “bulk stores” that have popped up around the country in recent times in a bid to stem the never-ending flow of waste. The shop operates in several ways; you can buy goods in person at their stall in St Anne’s Park, Clontarf, on Saturdays, you can order goods online which can be delivered at a cost of €5-€7, or you can pick it up from their HQ in central Rathmines.
As a Rathmines resident, I opted for the latter. Choosing your groceries on the website is a simple process. Most items are sold in multiples of 100g, with the exception of spices and liquids. You simply add an item to your cart and then multiply it to your desired amount. Then it’s time to choose the packaging.
Goods can be packaged in brown paper bags, which are both reusable and recyclable, bio-bags (the green, compost bags) or in your own containers which can be given to the delivery driver for your next order. After I placed my order I was contacted by the company to organise a time for collection that suited me. My order was waiting for me when I arrived at the address provided, with each product wrapped neatly with a recyclable brown-paper label where the product’s name and weight had been handwritten. The olive oil I had ordered was in glass jam jars.
Most of my orders have consisted of rice and porridge but I have also treated myself to their delicious organic dark chocolate buttons too. They are also stockist of Irish Palm Free Soap which is one of my favourite Irish low-impact products. The only downside to this way of shopping is that it often means more planning, and, as more popular items are often out of stock, you sometimes have to go without – or lapse back into plastic.
While a lot of their products are slightly more expensive than their supermarket counterparts you are receiving top quality products, most of which are also organic. While it is not an accessible, affordable or practicable choice for all, it is a pretty low-effort manner of relieving, or at least lessening plastic-panic.
If you can work it into your lifestyle, you should try it for yourself and let us know how you get on!