Hello lovelies. I have written over the years about our desire to cut back on our plastic waste. I know we tend to agonise more than the average person on stuff like this, but we still have so far to go.
One of the many reasons we wanted to emigrate to the UK was to be able to less wasteful....to recycle more...to be car free....to cut down on our carbon footprint. And in many ways we have been very successful. When we lived in England we had a glorious farmer's market and got most of our fruit and veg plastic free at really cheap prices. We also used a lot more reusables when we lived in England. Some of those things we let slide when we moved to Wales because they were too expensive. Even now that I have a good job and we have more disposable income, we still need to be cautious with our spending. It means we cannot be as ethical as we would like, but we do our best.
You read about tips and tricks to become ZERO WASTE and see people who fit all their waste for the year in a jar. They talk about all the money they save buying without packaging, but that really isn't the case. We are starting a journey to reduce our waste as much as we can and recycle LESS. I know that sounds mad as I am always banging on about recycling, but really we all need to create less waste. Especially since I recently read an article about how plastics that our councils told us had been recycled had actually been shipped to Malaysia and they were shipping it back.
This prompted me to really crack down and work harder to eliminate single use items. Single use plastics. Single use anything that cannot be recycled.
But cost has to be factored in, unfortunately. I am so thrilled to have a Zero Waste Shop right next door to my job. I shop there as much as humanly possible, but there are a lot of things I cannot afford to buy from her. Things like oats, nuts, gluten free pasta and rice are 3 to 4 times more expensive naked. I can't justify that. I want to, but I can't. But things like spices, vegetables, lentils, polenta and fruit are just a little more expensive than normal and so i buy what I can.
I bought a book called No. More. Plastic. by Martin Dorey. There are lots of good and helpful 2 minute solutions in there. Suggestions like if there is a choice between plastic and glass, choose glass. I have been doing that at only slightly more cost. But somethings like toasted sesame oil don't come in glass. Or sunflower oil.
It also says if a package says not currently recycled don't buy it again. That just won't work. We would never get kale again as I cannot find it anywhere fresh. Or rice. Or pasta. Or nuts at an affordable price. Which breaks my heart, but there you are.
So what are we actually doing to reduce our waste?
1. We always have water bottles with us and utensils in my cutlery wrap so we never have to get disposable stuff when we are out.
2. It is a struggle to find affordable consumables, but we are vowing not to buy (as much as humanly possible) things that are single use plastics. If I can make it to avoid plastic I will.
3. To replace as many nonconsumables with reusable options. I spent around £30 and invested in some fabulous silicone mats to eliminate things like parchment paper and cling film as well as some eco kitchen scrubby doodahs (technical term). I am loving all the silicone mats as I used to use an insane amount of parchment paper. I will be doing a post next week about these and what has worked well and what had worked less well.
4. We currently get our rubbish picked up every other week. We normally put out one black bin bag every four weeks, but we are working toward moving to throwing away a bag of rubbish every six weeks then every eight weeks.
5. Less recycling. Glass is acceptable as we can take it to the bottle bank. But single use plastics are out and we are decreasing our dependence of tetra packs. I noticed that quite a lot of the bulk of our recycling is drink cartons. We had been buying almond milk, but after a talk with a friend about how thirsty a crop that almonds are I decided to forgo almond milk in a carton and start making my own cashew milk. I bought 2 Kilner style bottles at Poundland and starting this week I will be making my own milk. I did have to get cashews in a plastic bag but I got a kilo for £9.99 so it really means only one bag, not lots of little single bags. Definitely more on this later...I just need to perfect my formula. I am even going to try my hand at supplementing it. Watch this space.
6. Any non recyclable plastics we do have to buy like kale and nuts that come in a big bag get a second use as a bin bag for the bathroom before throwing out. I've also found that crinkly plastics expand and don't stay scrunched up like they should. This means they expand in your bin bag and take up more space. If you use a bag like a rice or pasta bag and a outer bag and fill it with lots of folded scrunchy plastics, they don't expand as much and you can get more in your black bag and it takes longer to fill up, if that makes sense.
I am sure there are more things we are doing, but i really am too tired to think of any more. What are your top tips for reducing your waste?