Zero-waste, plastic-free & package-free options:
Where to Buy:
- Zero Waste/Refill shops sell food without packaging, and are located all around Ireland. Food such as the following can be purchased by weight. Bring your own containers and bags:
- Cereals, Rice, Pasta, Nuts, Seeds, Grains, Beans, Chickpeas, Lentils, Oils, Vinegar, Herbs, Spices, Dried Fruit, Cacao, Chocolate, Coffee, Tea, Sugar, Flour and Snacks.
- If you don’t have a zero waste shop in your area, these shops take orders online. Deliveries are by courier and will be packaged in paper and cardboard.
Fruit and Vegetables – loose, unpackaged:
- Local Farmers Markets are a good place to shop for loose fruit and vegetables.
- Greengrocers often sell a lot of their produce loose.
- Supermarkets sell some fruit and vegetables loose. Bring your own (net) bags and they will be weighed at the checkout.
- You can find frozen fruit in boxes (eg. Bunalon) at many supermarkets.
- Some mushrooms are sold in a cardboard box.
- These are local schemes where vegetables and fruit are delivered to you on a weekly basis from local growers in a box without plastic. Some VegBox schemes are listed here. Do a google search for veg box schemes in your local area – there are many more around Ireland.
- Harvest Day Vegetables – scheme that works with local farmers.
- NeighbourFood allows you to shop online for food that is sold in local markets. When shopping you can select ‘Plastic-Free’. Your shop is collected once a week from your nearest collection point. (Note that not all sellers on this site adhere strictly to the ‘plastic-free’ indication.)
- Some supermarket foods (eg. burgers, sausage rolls) are packaged in cardboard, with no plastic inside the box. These can usually be found in the freezer section.
- Click here for more information on packaging.
- Unpackaged bread can be found at bakeries or farmers markets.
- You could try making your own bread, or invest in a bread maker.
- NeighbourFood has a ‘No Plastic’ option, in which case the bread should come in a paper bag.
- Brennan’s white sliced pan – packaging is recyclable and can be placed in the recycle bin (according to Panda/Greenstar).
- Some supermarkets sell lemonade and fizzy drinks in glass bottles.
- Some supermarkets sell juice in glass bottles.
- Make your own fizzy drink by adding cordial to soda stream sparkling water. Cordial can be bought in glass bottles in some supermarkets and health shops.
- Homemade lemonade recipe
- Bewley’s compostable pods
- Bellarom compostable pods
- Recycling programs:
- Reusable coffee pods:
- Make your own nut or oat milk to avoid using Tetrapaks:
- Nut Milk Machines:
Snacks and Sweets:
- Zero-Waste/Refill shops sell some sweet and savoury snacks loose, such as chocolate buttons, jellies, salted peanuts, Japanese crackers, etc.
- Chocolate bars, Crisp and Biscuit wrappers can be saved and sent to Terracycle for recycling. However, there is no information available as to where this recycling takes place, or what is done with the recycled material.
- Crisp Packet Project Cork
Cooking and Baking:
- Some recycling companies do not accept tin foil. (If foil is soiled with food it will contaminate the recycling process.)
- Some recycling companies do accept foil. (The foil must be clean. It is suggested that you make a large ball out of your foil).
- Alternatives to tin foil:
- Foil trays from supermarket foods could be used to cover food when roasting.
- Most greaseproof paper cannot be recycled or composted.
- ‘If You Care’ parchment paper is marked as home compostable and can be bought online, or at some health shops or supermarkets.
- ‘If You Care’ – compostable cupcake cases.
- Reusable Silicone Baking Sheets – available from a number of Irish shops – wash with soapy water between uses.
Alternatives to Greaseproof Paper:
- Silicone baking mat – from Faerly.ie
- Silicone baking sheet – from LittleGreenShop.ie
- Some Irish stores sell silicone baking trays (which are convenient for dishwasher, etc.)
How to Store Food:
Storing Food in the Fridge and Freezer:
- Cover food with a plate or bowl when storing in the fridge.
- Save any paper and plastic bags to store baked goods and bread.
- Use any plastic takeaway boxes you’ve saved to store food in the freezer.
- Save your glass jars and lids – can be used to store onions and leftover salad vegetables.
- Paper bags can be bought online or at some health shops.
Alternatives to Clingfilm:
- Mila’s reusable bowl covers – based in Cork.
- Hanna’s reusable wraps can be bought online.
- LoveBee.ie – wax wraps
- Biobag cling wrap is home compostable and can be found in supermarkets, health shops and online.
Lunch Boxes, Containers and Coffee Cups:
- Stainless steel lunch box.
- Industrially compostable cups and containers – from Klee Paper – only if you have a brown bin.
- Industrially compostable food containers can be bought from many online shops.
How to Store Fruit and Vegetables:
- Some vegetables will stay fresh for longer if stored in a plastic bag (read more).
- Food storage tips.
- How to Freeze Fruit and Vegetables
Used Cooking Oil:
- Used or leftover cooking oil should be brought to your nearest civic amenity site. The oil is usually processed into a biofuel.
- Share you leftover packets of food with people nearby on the Olio app.
- FoodCloud.ie – takes surplus food from businesses and re-distributes it.
- TooGoodToGo – app that allows you to take excess food from shops and restaurants.
- StopFoodWaste.ie – tips on how to eliminate food waste at home.
- Dumpster Diving Ireland – facebook group
Restaurants, Takeaways and Coffee Shops:
- Returnr Ireland – reusable food containers and coffee cups for takeaways and coffee shops.
- 2GoCup – deposit/return coffee cup scheme
- Reusable collapsible coffee cups – can be bought at many of these online shops.
- Conscious Cup Campaign – has a list of coffee shops that accept keep cups. Many shops will accept them even if they are not listed here.
- Edible Coffee Cups – made in Meath
- Stainless steel straws.