The Bayleaf, Stromness

By Bernie Bell

This is what happens when people take single-use plastic seriously…….

In Stromness, there’s a delicatessen, called ‘The Bayleaf’, you can’t miss it, it’s on the main street.

The Bayleaf is owned by Gavin, and is the source of many, many yummy things to eat and drink.  I like to have what Mike refers to as ‘recreational olives’ – olives, not so much as food, but as nibbles, with a glass of wine – dry white wine – try it – v. good.  We get my recreational olives, loose in little tubs from Gavin’s. I went to get my tub of olives from the fridge, and I noticed, on the top of what I took to be a normal, clear plastic tub, the words

“Made from plants.


Completely compostable”

This is a tub which looks totally like ‘normal’ plastic – but,  it’s made from plants, and is compostable!  This material could be used for all those things which we buy in tubs, which are then thrown away.  In fact, I’m using the tub itself, as a plant pot for when I give plants away – make a hole the bottom, and ta-dah – a little plant pot, but, instead of a plastic-lasts-for-ever-messing–up–the-planet-pot – a compostable one!  We’re putting the lids from the tubs, in the compost bin, and waiting to see if it ‘works’.

The Bayleaf Gavin and bamboo cup M BellWhat a great idea though – could be used for so many things. I’ll mention here, that Gavin was already using paper takeaway coffee cups, and you’re welcome to take your own cup for a fill-up, too. If you don’t have one – he’s also selling bamboo re-useable cups…

And….he uses paper bags instead of plastic ones. A big thumbs-up to Gavin – not only does he make people happy with delicious food and drink, he’s also being very, very pollution conscious.

On the same subject. Mike and I went to the café at Skara Brae  for lunch a couple of months ago (you don’t have to visit the site – the café is open to all), which was very good. Smoked salmon, salad, bannock and mayonnaise – simple but scrumptious. My one niggle was ….the mayonnaise was served in a small single-use plastic tub. I emailed Historic Environment Scotland, reminding them that  their name is Historic ENVIRONMENT Scotland – so – they should care for the environment – past – present – and future! I mentioned that there are plenty of potters on Orkney – so why not get one of them to make little ceramic tubs which could be used for relishes?  I received an immediate answer, from  the catering contract manager, saying ….

“I was disappointed to read of your experience at the Café at Skara Brae and completely understand and agree that we should be reducing our use of single use plastics. Our catering facilities are contracted to an outside company who we work closely with on all aspects of the catering operations at our sites. I have discussed this issue of serving mayonnaise in a single use plastic container with their Operations Manager who agrees these should not be used and will have them withdrawn with immediate effect.”

Now, how’s that for taking single use plastics seriously?  And I’ve since heard that they have, indeed, contacted a local potter to make ceramic tubs for them.  Everyone’s a winner!

The other message here is, if you come  across an example of the use of plastic which you know is not suitable for re-cycling or other safe forms of disposal, do contact the relevant organization or person in charge – sometimes you might be surprised at their positive response!

Big thumbs-up to H.E.S, too.

Do any other Orkney News readers know of shops/organizations etc who make the effort to help us not to disappear under a tide of single-use plastic?  If so, let folk know, so that we can support them!

Photos by M Bell

Related story: Pomona Leading the Way with Reusable Mugs

3 replies »

  1. The canteen in Balfour Hospital now uses takeaway cartons completely made from sugar cane. And if staff bring in their own plates and coffee cups they get stamped on a loyalty type system for being eco/ conscious.

  2. And thumbs up to the Balfour canteen, too – I hear their apple crumble is exceptional.
    Maybe it could be re-named the ‘thumbs up’ system?!

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