It's Day One of the Plastic Challenge and overall it has been a fairly straightforward day with all our needs met locally although cost certainly is an issue. We have decided to try a week obtaining as little plastic as possible along the way. The fact that many many plastics aren't recyclable and don't degrade was enough of a motivation for us to see how easy it is to live a normal life in Newry minus the plastic packaging!

Today's short shopping list was Bread, Carrots, Parsnips, Apples, Oranges, Chicken Pie, sausages, Buns so along with our reusable shopping bags off we went ...

First call today was at Supervalu in Hill Street in Newry. Bread was straightforward with waxed paper wrapping on the loaf. Loose carrots and parsnips again weren't an issue, but the fact that you seemingly always have to pay more for loose produce than for the same product packed in plastic bags, and sometimes in plastic bags with a polystyrene tray is just not on. Whatever the reason behind it or the sales model used we can't help think that it's just wrong and instead of encouraging people to leave plastic behind, it encourages it's use!

Supervalu's Fruit Counter. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/
Supervalu's Fruit Counter. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/

Supervalu certainly isn't alone in this though as it seems widespread everywhere. At 69p per kilo for loose class 1 carrots against 47p per kilo for exactly the same product bagged it just seems ridiculous. Oranges were even worse. We had wanted four ordinary oranges but saying they were almost twice the price of the plastic packaged ones at 45p each compared to 99p for 4, we decided two would do us. I know they were larger but we would have been very happy with smaller ones if we had the choice.

Supervalu did have very nice looking pies loose on foil bases so we will know for again but unfortunately it's very hard for us to go past William Baird's Chicken pie so we decided we would try them with our plastic free challenge.

Before the butchers, a sweet fix was on the shopping list and without any complications whatsoever we managed to get half a dozen lovely buns from the Shelbourne in a paper bag as usual.

On to Baird's in Canal Street and their cooked chicken pies were off our shopping list as they are boxed with a clear plastic top but fair play to them, they sold us an uncooked one wrapped up in a paper bag. An additional ten minutes or so cooking time will sort that out, in fact a delicious smell is wafting towards me as I type!

William Baird's Chicken Pie. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/
William Baird's Chicken Pie. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/

Home made Cumberland sausages again in a paper bag and stored in a different shopping bag helped us tick that off the list.

The local shops we visited today certainly didn't have a shortage of loose produce but it seems that we the shopping public have been encouraged to see loose products as "premium" and therefore we will pay more for them. If any of you know a place in Newry that charges less for loose product don't be afraid to let us know.'s campaign is inspired by many other local and national campaigns. The Friend's of the Earth #Sickofplastic campaign has been the latest one to catch our eye. See to see how a campaign went on Saturday past, where people were encouraged to leave the plastic packaging from their purchases behind in the shop.

Please feel free all week to pass on any tips you use to reduce your plastic consumption or any local shops that make it easy to dispense with plastic.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

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