Writing this blog has made me realise that I’m not so immune to embarrassment as I, and most of my mates, believed. In particular I was a bit shocked to admit to myself and you lot that I was too ashamed to take my own containers to my local Indian takeaway convincing myself that what I needed was a fancy new tiffin container to make me look less nuts… And more “professional”. Thankfully my brain kicked in and throttled my reflex consumer urges despite discovering these beautiful fairtrade tiffin boxes.
Beautiful and far better than Primark but, being honest, unnecessary. We managed just as well with our fugly tupperware although I fared less better with my pretty but lidless bowls. Since then I’ve been keeping an eye out on ebay for second hand tiffin boxes and having bugger all luck. That’s second hand shopping for you. For every thrill of an unexpected find there is a hundred disappointments failing to find the thing you’re after. Rule number one of second hand shopping is to never attempt “shopping to order” it’s a recipe for sadly and yet we’ve all tried it.
After our first (almost) zero waste takeout experience success we’ve been eager to try more taking our own but what with mine and Chris’s birthday treats out we’ve been more likely to eat out rather than order in.
This Saturday I decided to get back into the takeaway groove with a visit to Brockley Market. Chris loves proper espresso from a barrista – our stove top isn’t quite the thing apparently. As an avid tea drinker I have no idea what’s wrong with our lovely stove top but I understand the fun of getting a coffee out as a lazy weekend treat but I don’t love the idea of getting a laminated paper cup to add to an ever increasing pile of landfill.
This weekend armed with my lovely new birthday cup from my sister in law Emma and an old espresso cup we rocked up at the Dark Fluid coffee stand and asked for them to be filled up. I’ll be honest. I was still cringing on the inside waiting to be laughed at as I offered up my china cups but once again the response was overwhelming. The man behind the bar pointed to their own china espresso cups and we chatted a bit about the waste inherent in the takeaway market.
Then the guy noticed that the maker of my birthday cup was made by a company called Bread and Jam (I have mixed feelings about them due to the massive amount of plastic packaging that the gorgeous present arrived in – a blog post in the pipeline there) and enthusiastically told us about his friend’s cafe in Hither Green called With Jam and Bread . Totally sounds like it’s worth a trip out to Hither Green and my mug would be brilliant for them- provided Bread and Jam sort their packaging out of course.
Later on we made trip out the Hilly Fields Midsummer Fayre. It was a secondhand shoppers paradise with local stall holders selling off their clutter to overexcited shoppers like me. within 5 minutes Chris’s eagle eyes picked out, you’ve guessed it, a multicoloured tiffin tin! There were two on offer but we only bought one feeling that it was better for someone else to be able to buy it (and hopefully avoid buying one new) rather than have an extra one unused in our cupboard. Of course I immediately regretted that sensible and magnanimous decision running back to buy the other one only to find that it had already been snapped up.
In hindsight I’m glad someone else got to have the other one. I really don’t need two tiffin stacks however much I tell myself I do. All in all I was pretty restrained. We got an automatic cat feeder for £2.50, the tiffin stack, an obligatory Royal commemoration mug plus I got a jumper and Chris got a jacket. All dead useful I’m sure you’ll agree (yes! even the queen mug. how dare you suggest it’s not as gorgeous as my birthday mug)
Of course later on that evening we had to try out our new “professional” takeaway kit. I was working on Sunday again (grrrr) so it seemed only fair to skip cooking and I even managed to reflect on my previous experience and make appropriate changes with mixed success.
- I provided a lid courtesy of my tiffin tin – no aluminium tins in sight
- I added in extra containers which the chef put to use to pack our bread – no foil bag to be seen
- I did add mini pots (with lids) for sauces but these weren’t used so we still got a small polystyrene pot
- Most annoyingly I didn’t manage to refuse salad so a smelly bag of onions still made an appearance
Each time we get less waste and more confidence. Even better the food looked so appetising in the green and orange bowls that we couldn’t believe we had ever settled for serving dinner out of a throwaway container. I almost felt cheerful about the prospect of my 6am Sunday morning alarm call. Almost. but not even a zero waste takeaway could do that!