No more time wasted reading food labels

Plastic free living saves times
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Last week, I was putting together a presentation for my first public speaking event with LiveWell Yarra.

I got to a part of my talk, where I was going to discuss what benefits going plastic free and zero waste, has brought to my life.

  • Eating more fresh vegetables and fruit 
  • Saving money
  • Investing in my local community and Victorian farmers
  • No longer wasting time reading food labels
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The last point, was one that I had never really focused on, whenever I would talk to new acquaintances about the perks of my lifestyle.

I used to spend an enormous amount of time reading the ingredients on food labels. Whether it was an item stocked in a big name supermarket or a health food store, I would be there; eyes squinted, looking out for words or numbers that were a little suspicious. The list beloware some of those that I would look out for…

Sunset yellow (E110)
Quinoline yellow (E104)
Carmoisine (E122)
Allura red (E129)
Tartrazine (E102)
BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)
Ponceau 4R (E124)
Sodium benzoate (E211)
Sodium nitrite (E250)
Propyl gallate (E310)
Carrageenan (E407)
Aspartame (E951)
Acesulfame-potassium (E950)
Cyclamic acid (E952)
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
Monopotassium Glutamate
Sodium Caseinate
High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)

Then there are the words blazing across the packet like sugar-free, low fat diet, gluten free, additive free…

I would also look for the words vegetable oil, which is a way to disguise palm oil.

Also I would check the country of origin – was it made in Australia with local or imported ingredients?

80% of my food comes from farmers market or a green grocer. No labels, unless it’s stating where the vegetable or fruit came from. 15% is bought from bulk stores where there is only a single ingredient in the food bins. There will be a label with the name of the item, where it comes from (usually somewhere in Australia) and if its gluten free or biodynamic. The remaining 5% is the readymade items I buy from the deli, like cheese or dolmades.

Eating a diet high in vegetables and fruit is the easiest way to shop plastic free and zero waste. I can make my own version of anything I find in the supermarket and don’t have to worry about preservatives. For instance, last night I made mayonnaise.

No longer wasting time reading food labels....I would definitely say that is a benefit of living plastic free and zero waste.

What non obvious perks have there been in your plastic free or zero waste life?


  1. Anonymous11/13/2015

    Just today I had similar thoughts as this as I was walking quickly through the produce aisle, gathering my vegetables, while others were still trying to blow their plastic bags open to place ONE onion into it. Time saving, money saving (processed foods are incredibly overpriced), and definitely, as you pointed out, avoiding so many mysterious ingredients. I think we are too comfortable to pick up anything off the shelf to think about where it's coming from, what's in it, and what we are paying for. Great post!

    1. Thanks Compostlady :) Money saving is a big one. We are no longer picking things off the shelf because they look fun or we might need it.

  2. Well I'm not specifically living your concept of a rubbish free life by any stretch of the imagination. However I am a minimalist in terms of material items and apart from my disability needs all my possessions, including clothes, easily fit in a box you can lift. I think it's great what you are doing and as long as we are all contributing to one thing to minimise output, life will be better in many ways. For me the lack of extra 'stuff' gives my mind clarity.

    1. I am so impressed all your possessions can fit into one box. That is ultimate minimalism! I do agree that having less things offers clarity. I have definitely moved to a more minimalistic way of living while going zero waste. Though I cannot fit everything into a box...yet.


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