Saturday, 21 February 2009

The Clean Bin Project

If you haven't heard of this remarkable trio then pop over to their blog right now and see what they've been up to these past 7 months. I'm afraid they put my feeble efforts to shame.

Week 7 - Plastic Basics Packets

By basics I mean the sort of food I buy week in week out and which I could not conceivably live without ie sugar, pasta, rice, couscous, porridge oats, noodles, pulses etc. With a bit of effort I can avoid buying biscuits and cakes and ready made meals and I can ask shopkeepers to pack meat and olives etc into my own containers, but I can hardly do the same with any of the staples mentioned above. The annoying thing is that I cannot for the life of me work out why any of them cannot be packed in paper bags or cardboard boxes. Flour and some sugars and Quaker porridge oats are readily available in paper bags and Lidl sells rice in cardboard boxes. So why isn't it standard practice with the rest? I can feel an email to a supermarket formulating in my head. Watch this space!

PS Now that our local deli has installed self service hoppers I can buy some of my staples loose, but this facility is not available to the vast majority of shoppers.

Weekly Weigh-In = 495g (including a plastic light switch and bulb weighing 150g, and 6 free Yakult bottles from the milkman at 60g). If these are discounted the total is reduced to 285g, which is still well over my target of 100g. All I can say in my defence is that we did seem to finish a number of the packets mentioned above this week!

Friday, 13 February 2009

Week 6 - Coffee Packets

I have to confess to being a bit of a coffee snob. I love coffee but it has to be the real thing. None of that instant rubbish. Normally we drink cafetiere coffee but for breakfast at the weekend we use a stove top percolator to make strong dark coffee which we dilute with warm foamy milk. The problem with coffee is that most of it comes in mixed material packets with plastic widgets designed to preserve its freshness. Not very environmentally friendly. However, our local deli sells coffee beans, freshly ground to your own specifications, in brown paper bags. And it's organic and fair trade!

Isn't it amazing how many waste-related issues can be solved by shopping local?

Weekly Weigh-In = 230g

This is, unfortunately, up on last week. I baked a cheesecake to take to an NCT reunion and was left with two cream cheese and one double cream container. Reminder to self to chase up Recresco's promise to have more wide ranging plastic recycling facilities in the future.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Week 5 - Plastic Wrapped Bakery Products

During the week we breakfast on toast or cereal, with the occasional boiled egg. At the weekends we like to treat ourselves to something more exciting - invariably croissants. The trouble with the croissants from our local Tesco Metro is that they are encased in plastic. They sit in a preformed plastic tray which is then placed in a plastic bag, neither of which is recyclable in our area and are destined for the landfill. However, one of our local bakeries sells loose croissants and the deli sells almond ones which are wickedly delicious. Unfortunately both of them are further away, but the extra distance might help to work off some of those calories!

When I'm feeling energetic I make pancakes which the girls devour with crispy bacon and maple syrup. I remember attempting croissants once, but also remember them failing to live up to my expectations.

I've been trying to cut down on shop bought bakery items and bake my own, which are not only less wasteful but also better for us. The girls take a biscuit or a cake to school with them in their bento lunchboxes every morning and always need a snack when they come home in the afternoon. I try to go for recipes containing oats or fruit, with a bit of chocolate thrown in. Flapjacks are a perennial favourite and this week I made tiffin which is ridiculously easy and doesn't even require cooking, if you don't count heating a few ingredients in a pan.

If anyone has any good recipes to share I'd love to hear from you.

Perhaps someone could also let me know what the rules are regarding the posting of recipes. Is it alright to do so if you acknowledge the source?

Weekly Weigh-In = 165g

I'm very pleased with this and hope I can keep it up.