I have been sadly neglecting my blog lately so thought it was time for a progress check. How am I doing with the low-waste habits?
The positive points:
- we are shopping at the local independent shops more often. This has cut down on plastic waste especially meat and fish trays, and we are much better at avoiding impulse buys. From the butcher in particular we are finding the produce much tastier, too. We try to cycle there and so it also keeps us fit! (Particularly cycling back with laden panniers :)
- we are buying some things in bulk to reduce packaging - yogurt in 500g pots and dried fruit/nuts weighed out to order and put in paper bags.
- most of the time there are home baked cakes/flapjacks in the cupboard instead of packaged cereal bars.
- I make a point of saving foil and miscellaneous metal (bottle caps etc.) as I know that can go to the recycling centre now.
Still needs work:
- we still buy some things in unavoidable plastic packaging: celery, spinach, cheese (occasionally), yogurt (although see above), pasta, rice. These last two could maybe be bought in bulk, but I haven't seen large packs of wholemeal pasta or brown rice anywhere.
- I am doing longer runs now and need to consume energy gels which come in foil/plastic sachets. I might try going back to jelly babies! But the gels are easier to eat on the move.
- we haven't yet invested in any reusable containers of a suitable size for buying meat, fish etc.
- I need to get another reusable water bottle for travelling. With the liquids regulations on planes, airports even seem to be reluctant to let you take an empty "disposable" bottle through security, so you have to bin it and buy another (cunning). At least at Luton they had recycling bins for them. I had a flyer from Jarrolds this week telling me about new recycled plastic water bottles, UK-made, that they are selling for £8. I can't find the flyer (think I recycled it :) so I can't give more details, but I will probably invest in one of those, to support recycled manufacturing and to help me avoid disposable bottles on the move.
I mention travelling as I was away in Poland this week. Breakfast at the hotel was one of the least waste-friendly operation I have seen in a long time! Although you could help yourself to cereals, juice and milk from large containers, and bread from open baskets, everything else (butter, jam, yogurt, cheese, pate, tea, sugar) was in single-serving plastic cartons with plastic/foil lids. The best effort I have seen was in Germany where everything was help-yourself from bowls and plates, ranging from sliced meat and cheese to yoghurt, cereal and nut/seed toppings.
Just a few thoughts. I feel quite happy with how we are doing, and think that to go further would mean some serious rethinking of the way we live and, particularly, eat. Maybe in the future when the current habits are really entrenched, we'll look at going further towards zero waste?