Sugar and spice

Filed in Blog by on June 20, 2008 7 Comments
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Wednesday is ‘Wednesday box’ day here at Chez Green.

Can you guess what Wednesday box is?

It’s the day when Little Miss Green gets to choose something treaty from her Wednesday box. It used to be a Friday box, for reasons that are really over and beyond necessary to explain here.

Lift the lid on the Wednesday box and you’ll find crisps and chocolates for her to choose from. Sometimes that decision can take at least 3 sleeps to figure out. At other times it takes 6. Unfortunately for her, Little Miss Green has inherited my decision making gene ie ‘could you give me a few weeks to think about it please?’ as looks of total overwhelm and analysis paralysis cut in.

What we’ve been finding is that the chocolate and crisps wrappers end up in the landfill box because they are either plastic or foil backed plastic.

sherbet fountain
So I’ve been doing a little research over the past few weeks to see if I can come up with better alternatives that suit our zero waste challenge.

I’ve found a few goodies, but not as many choices as one might hope. Maybe that will be beneficial though for a girl who finds decision making difficult.


The sad news about crisps is that, there is nothing. Not even the Pringles tubs that you would think were the same material as tetrapaks. In actual fact they ARE the same materials as tetrapaks, but the kind lady at tetrapak recycling told me that they contaminate the tetrapak loads because the components are not put together in the same way. Ho hum.

Could I ever bring myself to make crisps? Well, maybe I could, but I would have to buy a deep fat fryer, as we don’t have one. Perhaps it is something I’ll look into in the future. But how do you keep them fresh? Or do you have to eat them straight away? I’m more of a ‘batch cook ‘n’ store’ kinda gal, so the thought of heating up a deep fat fryer to make 25gms of crisps doesn’t excite me one bit.
after eights

There is better news for CHOCOLATE though!

The following come in good old fashioned foil wrapping with paper outer or cardboard:

medium and large Toblerone (not the small ones for some curious reason)
Co-Op fairtrade chocolate bars
After 8’s minis (not the boxes of chocolates which come wrapped in cellophane)
Some of the large 400g bars of chocolate such as Lindt, green and blacks, Galaxy, Divine and most supermarket own brands. What a great excuse to indulge in more chocolate!
fruit gums

There are a few choices for SWEETS too:

You can still get some sweets in a tin. When you lift the lid there is a foil seal and no extra packaging – yipee! We’ve been getting ‘Ice Drops’ from Lidls in recent weeks as these have the added bonius of no artificial colourings or flavourings.

Pick ‘n’ mix
. Didn’t we all love that as a kid? A 10p mix from the local shop handed to you in a white paper bag by the lady with the gorgeous dangly earings. Well the good news is there are still places that offer this – even Woolworths I believe.

We found a quaint old fashioned sweet shop in Coleford the other week where everything is in those lovely big jars. I’m not sure if he’d do a 10p mix, but maybe I’d get something for a couple of pounds what with inflation and the food crisis and all that.

Wine gums, fruit pastilles, fruit gums, Trebor mints and polos come in foil with paper outer.

Smarties come in cardboard without the little plastic coloured stoppers that we had in my day. Now it’s just a hexaganol cardboard box that is glued down either end.

and wait for it, Licorice sherbet fountains – you remember those?! They are still in the original wrapping of a cardboard tube covered with paper.

so, dear readers, you can have your cake, chocolates and sweets and eat it.

Please share your finds with us here. What sweet treats have you found in recycleable packaging?

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (7)

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  1. Doesn’t it show that manufacturers can use such materials. What really bugs me is that kit-kats used to come in nice shiny foil and paper. These days it’s that horrible plastic wrap. No doubt it will have something to do with price, longevity of product and marketing opportunities.

  2. But but but,……
    Some of those are nestle….

  3. dottyspots says:

    LOL – exactly what I was about to say Sarah!

    Dh has made crisps in the frying pan – the were rather good actually πŸ™‚

  4. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Mrs A – I noticed that too. Many brands that were available in foil and paper when I was a lass πŸ˜‰ are now wrapped in plastic.

    Dottyspots and Sarah; believe me, I thought long and hard about this post πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€

    I personally do not support Nestle, but the focus for this site is purely about recycling and the landfill. There are many things I talk about that I do not necessarily choose or endorse myself. However, I’m writing a website about how people can increase their recycling, but more importantly, reduce what they send to the landfill.

    I also talk about using a butcher (vegans might take offence), of using the car (people who walk everywhere in a bid to reduce CO2 might take offence) of feeding my cat chicken (people who think it’s ok to bring up a cat as a vegetarian might take offence), and I talk of supermarkets (we all know what some people think of those!)………it goes on and on.

    Regarding the sweets and chocolates I mentioned; it is only dd who has them. I give her information about certain products, companies and ingredients to empower her, but essentially the choice is hers. Likewise, I don’t eat meat. She knows what meat is, where it comes from, she knows what an abattoir is (and what goes on behind closed doors) and chooses to eat meat. That’s ok – it’s her life and her decision and I’m happy to cook it for her.

    One of my favourite sayings (It became my mantra when running Freecycle πŸ˜‰ ) is ‘You can’t please all the people, all of the time.’

    So I will talk about things I don’t necessarily agree with myself to keep the focus on the topic of the site. If I put my really purist hat on, then I doubt I’d be able to write *anything* LOL!

    I do appreciate you bringing this up though – thank you both for taking the time to comment and share your views. What I love most about people is our diversity and as I get to know more people I realise that *everyone* has a passion – something they feel particularly moved about. My passion for this particular site is about keeping things out of the landfill.

    Another of my favourite quotes goes along the lines of:

    “No one can do everything
    everyone can do something
    together, we can do everything”

    I think that illustrates what I was rambling about – we can’t all do everything and live a purist life, but we can take aspects of it and collectively, we can bring about real change.

    I hope that clears things up a bit for you both? You might not necessarily agree, but that’s ok too πŸ˜‰

    Dottyspots – do share how you make crisps in the frying pan please!

    Mrs G x

  5. Sue says:

    Oh, I hate it when i accidentally close the browser!
    Now for a briefer reply, and probably not as well written!
    I made lovely parsnip crisps in the roasting tin. They were so nice that I saved some for later. They were horrible, soggy and not as nice cold!

    My 3 aren’t really into sweets, but their treat, or sweets are yoghurt or chocolate covered fruit or nuts, bulk bought by the kilo, waste is one plastic bag per 1-2 months.

    I did go on about Nestle as well (in my post before I wiped it), I used to boycott them for many many years, but nowadays I realise that they are not the only ones putting profits first, in fact that what businesses do. And especially putting profits before the environment. I do not buy Nestle, I do not eat what they sell! I don’t know if I would buy any of their products, but I do not feel as strong as I did.

  6. Mrs Green,
    I know! I was just getting my wooden spoon out. Green and Blacks do chocolate bars in paper and foil but their buttons and easter eggs have some plastic.

    I’m the same, I used to boycott all over the place but was running out of places to shop! And who is harmed by the boycott anyway? Is it really the fat cats at Nestle? No, it’s the producers, who are already paid little and treated badly. So, now I shop more positively instead, I still avoid certain companies when I can and I will mention it in passing but I’m not up there on a soap box. Well, not often.

  7. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Sue,
    Sorry you lost your post – I hate it when that happens πŸ™ That was my concern about the crisps (that they would go soggy if not eaten straight away). I’ve learned from talking to some crisp manufacturers this the packaging is vital for retaining the ‘crunch’ of their crisps (and shelf life of course. I don’t want them to keep for a year, but a couple of days would be good!). Even though some companies are looking for alternatives, it seems to be a slow process…….

    Sarah – you naughty spoon stirrer πŸ˜€ – and Green and Blacks too, now owned by Cadburys; what is the world coming to?

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