Meet me out and about and you’ll think I’m a pretty good zero waster. (Not sure that’s a term but I’ll go with it.) I’ve always got my coffee cup and if I don’t, well I just won’t have a coffee. I see a little coffee out as a treat not a necessity. Or I’ll find a cafe to sit in and have it. I’ve ALWAYS got my water bottle. My daughter runs around in the sun flashing her cloth nappy, I pull cloth wipes out of my changing bag and I even use a hankie to blow my nose.
In fact come over to my house and you’ll still think I’m pretty good in the plastic free department. Use the bathroom and there’s a soap bar in the dish to wash your hands. In fact there’s all manner of soap bars everywhere.
My Instagram is full of all the low waste, low impact things I’m loving, that work for us, and I encourage you to try the things I’ve discovered. But sometimes I think it’s healthy to show a little insta vs reality because if you were to open my fridge door it tells a very different story.
I do buy bulk as much as I can. I do refill my washing up liquid, use washing powder rather than liquid, and buy as much loose fruit and veg as I can. But when it comes to food I have struggled to give a lot of things up. Take my breakfast this morning. It was a day off so I made toasted bagels with avocado, smoked salmon and boiled eggs. I can’t, I won’t give up bagels. I love them!! They come in a plastic bag. I’ll cut down on the salmon and avocado intake but that’s for another post.
The boys had sandwiches for lunch, the bread came sliced in a plastic bag!! I do often buy bread from the bakery loose and I love that bread but the reality is, especially now I’m back to work, is it nearly always goes stale before we eat it all. The boys are with us half Thank of the time and when their at schools its really only one breakfast and lunch a week they have with us and the rest is dinners so they start a loaf and then it’s wasted. I have all the good intentions of turning it into bread crumbs, using it in a recipe etc but the reality is… baby, work, it’s doesn’t happen.
I’d hate to know what they put in sliced bread to make it keep so long but is it better to have that or wastage?
I also love garlic bread, which I could easily make myself. I rarely do.
Thursday nights are a busy one for us, Mat often back late, it’s somehow become pizza night. Normally a posh one from the supermarket, but the fact that it has a sour dough crust doesn’t make it come in any less plastic. I do actually love making pizzas from scratch but it always takes longer than I think and that’s not why we have it on a Thursday when we need something quick.
The reality is, although we cook homemade ALOT I see my kitchen as a zero waste fail.
And that, I must remind myself, is all in my head.
I must remember that I started this post with a list of all my wins. The stuff we DO buy in bulk, the array of soap bars for every need, hair, body, shaving. The loose fruit and veg. The times I remember to take containers to the butchers.
It is not one person like me that should be criticised, by others or themselves, for not being zero waste perfection, but all of us collectively doing our little bit. Even if everyone just brought their veg loose or used a shampoo bar half of the time, big companies, who follow our spending habits down to the last letter WILL notice and invest differently. Maybe it should or shouldn’t be on our shoulders to make change, but while their making the money they sure as hell won’t, so let’s tell them that their wrong. Tell them that you don’t condone unnecessary plastic, or paying their workers less that the national living wage and show them that’s not where the money is. Do this by buying it less, if you can.
So while I don’t think we should criticise ourselves for the fails and I think we should celebrate the wins I don’t think it’s a bad thing to notice the things we could do better. Because if we notice it, we could potentially do better next time or decide that it’s something (like my bagels) that we need as a luxury in life, and choose to perhaps limit them or accept we can’t/won’t change but try to change something else to compensate it.
Like I said. Collectively, imperfectly we can do great things.
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