Since I started writing this blog a few slightly unnerving things happened.
Firstly people – mostly my mates -started reading it, like really reading it. From start to finish with all the boring bits in between! I was strangely unnerved by that. This is people I know… who know me… reading about my life… which I figured they already knew about. Plus I’ve pretty much forgotten what I wrote back in November. Believe it or not I’ve got a modicom of quality control these days. Who knows what kind of custard I was writing a whole 8 months ago!
But the really scary thing was that my mates seemed to really believe in me. Asking about waste and commenting on ideas i tried and even asking for advice like I might actually know something. Terrifying! This blog came about largely because I didn’t believe in me. I wanted to slim down my rubbish bin but over time I’ve found myself slipping back into bad habits. This blog was a challenge to myself to keep going forward not back.
With all my friend’s positive vibes I started to feel a bit guilty
Far from being the Zero Waste guru they all assumed I’d turned into overnight I felt like a massive fraud. My rubbish bin may be teeny-tiny and found on the street but it’s overflowing. (I obviously also need to work on my housework skills!) It’s time for some home truths from the Jamiechin household. In an attempt to get me back on track I’m going to take a deep breath and publically facing up to some of my rubbish failings and hopefully making a few positive changes at the same time.
So a few weeks ago I did a mini waste audit. Yep that is totally how rock and roll my life is. It wasn’t the greatest audit – I may even have been a bit drunk at the time but I came up with 4 items on my shopping list that were contributing to my landfill mountain of shame and which I could realistically imagine changing in some way.
1) Chocolate – plastic foil laminate wrappers = big fat waste own goal
2) Tea – paper box fine… plastic/foil laminate pouch inside less cheerful
3) Cheese. plastic wrapped and not so green
4) Crisps Another composite plastic landfill sin
I started with the easy one.
Chocolate – I love chocolate so much I sometimes scare myself. I’m not proud and I have the flab to prove it. Luckily my easy solution to this is to only buy chocolate wrapped in paper and foil. It’s not completely zero waste but it beats composite plastic since it is much easier for these materials to be reused or recycled. Even better – paper wrapped chocolate usually tends to be fairly traded which is always good news. On a negative note it is often more expensive however it does usually (not always) tastes nicer. Lastly it’s often in bigger bars. Now I’m not sure if this is good or bad. one the one hand I tend to eat more 😦 but on the other hand I tend to eat more 🙂 . Due to the expense I probably do buy it less which is good for my belly and also means I enjoy it more when I do buy it. Over the past 3 weeks this has been a full on success. No plastic Cadbury’s wrappers have appeared in our bin. Whoop Whoop
Tea. Now I may love chocolate but I ask you, What is the point of chocolate without a cup of tea with which to wash it down? I hear that some people drink coffee. These people are wrong. enough said. Life without tea is a life not worth living. No really, tea is important. I have been initially embarrassed and then inspired by reading Jo’s blog detailing how she is properly slimming down her waste. Unlike me Jo is doing this properly and she even has to deal with sprogs to put a spoke in her wheels being all fussy etc. Me I’d been happy to turn a blind eye to the plastic wrapping that appeared on my paper tea packets. Not Jo tho! She got off her butt and found a tea shop that let her fill her own container. Inspired I searched high and low and trudged the streets of London to find someone to sell me tea packaging free. Oh Ok. I confess I bothered to go to the gorgeous market round the corner and plucked up courage to ask the tea seller to fill my caddy. That’s right people. I live round the corner from the saturday market with a tea seller and I am still using plastic wrapped tea bags. The shame.
Basically it was the embarrassment of proffering my own containers (which I thought I had already faced up to) that was stopping me. So I got over myself and took my prettiest pot along to Good and Proper Tea at Brockley Market. To say the seller was excited was an understatement. She gave me a zero waste discount and told me that she had been toying with the idea of taking her own containers shopping for a while but had been too embarrassed. Sister I feel your pain! phew! Her tea is so tasty I can’t believe I’ve been using tea bags all these years. We’ve just run out so this Saturday I’ll be back with my tea caddy for more.
On to cheese. Cheese was also easily catered by the market. All I had to do was chat to the lovely man and buy the cheese naked. As in the cheese was naked – not me. The only issue here is the expense. It’s at least double the price of the supermarket rubbish I usually buy. But seriously, how good does the stuff from the market taste? So good! My work sandwiches are totally yum! At the moment I’m half and half. I’m using cheap supermarket stuff for cooking – sprinkling on top of pasta, melting in an omelette etc but my daily sarnies are naked market fayre.
I figure if I bought a sandwich at work it would cost more than the cheese I use in two weeks so it’s totally worth it. I think I need to think a bit harder about our daily kitchen cheese. Ideally it make sense to support small producers and I guess I need to make that work for me financially but it will probably take me a while to take the plunge and go 100% market cheese. Mainly I need to prove I can balance our family books and still buy yummy more ethical cheese. I’ve realised I have no idea what the name of this cheese company is but they always seem to be at the market and their cheese is well worth checking out.
Crisps. Another easy one in a way. I have no fancy pants alternatives to packets of crisps. All crisps come in metallic crisp packets and as far as I know all metallic crisp packets end up in landfill. So my solution is… I don’t buy crisps. My hips thank me. Chris doesn’t. He loves crisps. He still buys crisps but I don’t (I do occasionally nick one… or two from his packet) It’s a compromise that ensures our marriage survives. As a result we’ve had a lot less packets in our bin since Chris has cut his consumption in sympathy. Actually, while writing this I did a bit of investigation and according to the “Recycle Now” website Lewisham council do accept crisp packets in recycling so any crisp packets will go in our recycle bin from now on. Even so I’m still a bit doubtful about the amount of energy that must be needed to both create and recycle this composite material so I’m still going to avoid crisps as much as possible. It can only be a good thing for my figure.
So what is in your bin that you could avoid buying? What changes could you make to slim down your bin? And would these changes mean you can’t enjoy something you love or find yourself paying more than you feel comfortable with? I’d love to know.