This morning I braved the rain to visit the now weekly Tobacco Factory market. I bought some Brie de Meaux, wrapped in greaseproof paper, and some quince paste (perfect partner to mature salty cheese), which went straight into one of my now ubiquitous plastic containers. So far so good. However I regret to say that while preparing dinner this evening my husband came across another plastic tape on the organic box carrots. Tut tut!
I added this to the other piece of tape, the five labels and the small metal seal from the chorizos and weighed the lot. They came to under 5 g. Whoopee! Not exactly zero, but as near as dammit, as I hope you will agree.
So what next, I hear you say.
Well I'm not going to pretend I can keep this up on a permanent basis - or at least not at this level. There are just too many things I can't live without in the long term. Not luxuries, just essentials. I'm thinking of pasta, couscous, pitta bread, dried fruit, nuts, yoghurt, cream, cheese - all of which are packaged in unrecyclable plastic. However, there are some things that have changed, possibly forever. I'm going to continue to ask shopkeepers to place my purchases in my plastic containers, to recycle all my plastic bags, to make my own yoghurt, to bake my own bread and biscuits and cakes - and maybe even my naan. In time I'm hoping they may become part of my life, things I do without thinking.
Looking back over this week I have learned three things:
- It's almost, if not equally, important to consider not just what's in everything I buy, but also what's outside it. Zero packaging is the ideal, but when this is impossible then I should look for the product with the most environmentally friendly alternative.
- If I'm to make the less wasteful choice then I need to be adequately informed. I need to request that suppliers give me as much information about the packaging as they do about the product. Perhaps I need to go higher, to the government, to request that such labelling is made mandatory.
- I need to recycle as much as possible using all the facilities available.
None of these are difficult and if everyone gave them a go then I'm sure we'd see a lot less waste heading towards the landfill. From the many conversations I've had over the past few weeks I know there is an keen interest in waste and a genuine desire to do something about it. I hope that this Zero Waste Challenge Week will have given us the impetus to do so.
I'd like to thank everyone who's advised and supported me over the past month and everyone who's read and commented on this blog. I hope to continue to post on various waste issues from time to time.