Plastic free pasta

Filed in Blog by on December 16, 2009 12 Comments
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Plastic free pasta from Sainsbury

Plastic free pasta from Sainsbury

As most UKers are aware, trying to get zero waste pasta, apart from making it yourself from scratch, is virtually impossible.

Most pasta comes in plastic packaging, which is non recyclable.

If you’re lucky you can get lasagne sheets in cardboard packaging, but often it has a flimsy plastic window which needs disposing of separately from the recyclable cardboard

This week, however, Mrs Green discovered truly zero waste pasta in Sainsbury’s!

Both lasagne sheets and cannelloni are available in cardboard boxes sans plastic.

I didn’t actually buy it, as I didn’t need it, but I had a good prod, poke and squeeze on your behalf and there wasn’t a hint of plastic crinkle. So unless there’s something really naughty in there, I think zero waste pasta is now on the menu!

I checked the same label pasta shapes, but alas they were in clear plastic bags which are not currently recyclable.

Quite why the smaller shapes need different packaging I’m not sure. But perhaps in the future we’ll see small pasta shapes in cardboard too.

What about you; I know a few of you have ventured into making your own pasta, but for the rest of us lazy cooks; have you found plastic free pasta anywhere?

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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 (12)

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  1. LJayne says:

    I’ve bought this in the past Mrs G and it’s great. But now I have 3 kids I’m up against the balance of cost of buying lots of smaller packets as against the larger ones which are more cost effective. Plus we eat a lot of the smaller shapes.

    Horrible isn’t it. I totally agree that if they can do it for one they can do it for all. Tesco package egg tagliatelle in boxes for the same price as the normal tagliatelle in a bag so I buy that whenever I can – same size and everything. It does have that flimsy plastic window but that’s it.

  2. Sarah says:

    Making our own pasta is fun and it does taste great, but it’s very time consuming and labour intensive. And my pasta maker doesn’t do twists and shells and the other shapes, it does flat, strips in varying widths and I can make ravioli.

    So we have packet pasta as well here.

  3. I just had to chuckle when I saw this post because I bought that very same pasta months ago when I saw it in the store, but brought it home and it’s been stuck in the cupboard ever since. I have best intentions but then they fade, when it’s just so easy to put some spaghetti in the pan. I wish I’d left it on the shelf like you did. πŸ˜‰

    When I was in Switzerland in the summer, I came home with loads of boxes of Barilla pasta, which was brilliant. It is the product recommended by Danda of Dandaworld. For anyone who does pick up plastic packaged pasta, it is worth checking if your supermarket has a bag recycling collection point and if they will allow you to drop the pasta packaging in too. Our local Waitrose does and I can also include the rice packets and cereal box inners. Although mostly, I take these to our HWRC because it’s much easier.

  4. Our local Winco sells pasta in bulk. I simply take my own mesh bags and load the bags up. My bags weigh only ounces so to me its a win win. No plastic in my home! Fred Meyers(Kroger) also sells them in bulk but are more expensive. Whole Foods carries pasta as well but again more expensive. I buy my bulk whole wheat pasta for only $1 per pound. What a savings! Best part-NO PLASTIC!!!

  5. LJayne says:

    Barilla were, at one point, owned by Nestle. Does anyone know if this is still the case? That would rule them out for me sadly. You can get their pasta here I believe.

  6. Hazel says:

    There’s no mention of them on the current Baby Milk Action list-

    They own Buitoni though.

  7. Mrs Green says:

    @LJayne: Hi Lesley, I agree – I prefer the smaller shapes as it cooks quicker and either putting it into soup or doing a quick dinner with a home cooked sauce makes a great meal. I still don’t understand why they do it for the larger shapes only….
    And yes, cost is a factor, especially with a larger family.

    @Sarah: It’s weird, LMG hates ravioli. Personally I can’t see the difference between that and ‘pasta with sauce’ but she can’t bear it.. I’ve never really studied her eating it, perhaps she eats pasta and sauce separately…

    @Almost Mrs Average: My challenge to you for the new year then, Mrs A is to use up your box of pasta before buying any new spaghetti or smaller shapes πŸ˜‰
    Great tip about some stores accepting the packaging with plastic bags πŸ™‚

    @surviving and thriving on pennies: Sounds wonderful – thanks so much for sharing that info; it will be really helpful to our US readers. We have nothing like that here πŸ™

  8. Too bad that caneloni and lasagne are high-prep time pastas. We buy most of our pasta bulk here, but I do wonder it arrives at the store in a large plastic bag. . . guess you can’t control everything.

    For the record, shell shapes taste the best of all pasta.

  9. Mrs Green says:

    @Jen Clean Bin: So cool that you can buy in bulk too I agree; I like shells too! Closely followed by spirals πŸ˜€

  10. Jane says:

    Broken bits of pasta at the bottom of the packet are great for soup.

    I usually buy a very large plastic bag of spaghetti and send half of it in a food parcel to my student son. I tried to organise him a little when he went to uni. Tried being the operative word. After a friend of his cooked enough spaghetti for an army for just three I decided a spaghetti measure was a good idea. (I’ve got used to gauging how much between thumb and forefinger.)

    I don’t think this plastic is recyclable. I don’t remember it saying anything about whether it was or wasn’t which makes me feel very uncomfortable as it also means that I feel the need to email and question the supermarket concerned. I feel it should be more recyclable than the cellophane but then I wonder whether people are confusing recyclable with burnable. Cardboard boxes are better but that shop in Italy with the loose pasta even better still.

    However I do notice that more plastic is apparently being recycled and more packaging is being marked up to say what it is and whether it is likely to be recyclable or not. So read the small print on the back everyone – the plastic bag that those Coxes were in may well say that they can be recycled with the carrier bags inside the supermarket. (We don’t have carrier bags to clutter up the cupboards and recycle any more – way hay!) I also noticed yesterday that a couple of onions I had bought in a net when I’d run out said on the label that the plastic net was recyclable in the instore plastic recycling but that the plastic label wasn’t. This is another change.

  11. Mrs Green says:

    @Jane: Hi Jane, I agree about using up those scraps of pasta for soup πŸ˜‰ Amazing how we adapt to weigh things by sight isn’t it? But I’m sure I cooked enough pasta for an army in the past. At least it can be kept and re used in salads the next day or stirred into a fresh batch of sauce. Like you, we’re noticing more and more brands with packaging and recycling information. I guess that more can be recycled than we are aware of.

  12. Found this post while trying to find a pasta brand that wraps in recyclable plastic! Will continue to investigate!

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