I realised that around a third of that landfill waste over the past couple of weeks has been yogurt pots! We get through one large pot (500ml) of yogurt a DAY at Chez Green. It’s interesting that, despite feeling such lightweight plastic, they weigh so much as a percentage of our rubbish.
I contacted the manufacturer of the particular brand we use and found out that, alas, the pots are made from polypropylene (code number 5) which is non recycleable. The pots come wrapped in a cardboard sleeve, which I have been taking off and recycling, but we’ve still been left with about 7 (or more on a hungry week) of these pots a week.
There are only so many empty pots you can keep for seed pots, craft storage, dens for animals, making telephones and construction materials, although Little Miss Green would (and does) argue. And to be honest, it was beginning to weigh heavy on my conscience anyway, as reusing these things is only slowing down the inevitable – the pots will, at some point, end up in the landfill for the next few hundred years. Long after I, and my collosall yogurt eating habits have departed from this world.
I had a dim memory of making my own yogurt a few years ago. It worked well, but Grandma Green bought me a machine that, basically, needed using every day. It had 6 small pots in it and to put it mildly, was a bit of a faff.
Everything had to be sterilised, the milk had to be bought to a specific temperature or it wouldn’t work and, in those days, it worked out more expensive to make it than to buy it. Most of the time I ended up with runny gone off milk that was fed to the cat and lots of washing up. The cats got fatter and happier and I got thinner and more sad……..
With the rising price of food, the idea that yogurt costs just as much to make yourself is no longer true. Back then I didn’t even think about what I threw away, so the ‘cost’ to the environment didn’t enter my head.
With our zero waste week coming up at the beginning of September I figured I needed to do something pretty darn quick to find an alternative to all this yogurt packaging as I have no intention of giving yogurt up. Either that or I’d have to clean and stack up the yogurt pots and hide them at the bottom of the garden until the zero waste week was over or something.
Could I really do that to Almost Mrs A, you lovely readers and my own conscience? No, of course not. I’ve signed up to this zero waste challenge with every intention of being honest and committed to it. My commitment is to my dustbin and the landfill as well. For too long I have put them under untold pressure and been responsible for our dustbin’s burgeoning bosom and wobbly tummy.
So, I treated myself to something a bit special:
My very own yogurt maker! It makes 1 litre at a time; the equivalent of 2 large pots. Yipee!
I couldn’t wait to get started, but it was 4pm when it arrived and you need to leave the yogurt for 8 hours. Even in my excited, happy dance state, I wasn’t about to stay up until midnight to see if my first batch of yogurt was successful.
So before watching a film, I boiled up the milk. As I was watching it, I let the milk cool. After the film I stirred the milk into the bowl with a dessertspoon of yogurt, plugged in my lovely sparkly machine and it was ready at 6am. Perfect!
Two pots of yogurt (which is the equivalent of 1ltr) costs me £2.80. Buying milk to make 2 litres of my own yogurt cost me 86p. Even with the electricity to run the machine, I’m quids in and so is the landfill.
You don’t have to buy a machine to do this for you; you can make it in a flask. I have every intention of trying this method too, to see which is best. My reservation is that we haven’t really got an airing cupboard (the immersion heater comes on for an hour a day and the cupboard doesn’t really get warm) and the rest of the house is pretty cold, so I wasn’t confident it would work.
But then I’m thinking that yogurt making has been around far longer than central heating and electronic gadgets, so it can’t be that difficult. I’m probably just not understanding the chemistry yet. I admit I just panicked at the thought of no yogurt at all and just wanted something that would be successful without too much inconvenience. Yes, I really am a 21st century girl with my need for gadgets and ease of life aren’t I?
If you have a flask at home and want to have a go at making yogurt without splashing out on a machine, there is an excellent step by step on how to do this on the fabulous Downsizer site.
Tags: food packaging