This time of year always leaves me completely exhausted and doubting everything about myself.
I left Glasgow in mid-December and switched off. My mother’s house is my younger self’s house and bittersweet to go back to.
I also knew that I would be entering a household that is my mother’s. It goes without saying that I wasn’t going to traipse through her cupboards pointing out how we could do things differently.
ANYWAY. Before I left I saw Buzzfeed had done a short video about the zero-waste lifestyle. With Buzzfeed’s reach, this is excellent news. If you look at the comments in the video, you can also see some interesting things popping up: someone mentioning that at least the girl in the video recognises that she has the means to transfer to a zero-waste lifestyle; someone mentioning that what matters most is trying, or taking small steps, rather than being perfect; someone saying they’ll try to adopt some of the steps described in the video.
My second day at home, we went to the Divonne market (with about 100 stalls) and I salivated and yearned and whimpered the whole way through. Eventually I started questioning my decision to move away from the French/Swiss border, with its delicious bread, wild choice of cheeses and yummy fruit.
How easy it would be to lead a zero-waste lifestyle with stalls like these.
One thing my mother has always been insistent about has been shoes. “Your feet carry you your whole life” kind of thing. So when my trainers were giving up their soul (falling to pieces) I began researching alternatives that I didn’t know about. After a few hours of trawling, watching and reading, I decided to buy a pair of vegan Veja shoes (have a look online at what they do!). I was planning on ordering a pair online. A day after my decision was taken, I happened to walk by this shop in Geneva and decided to enter (despite the clear indication that this was the kind of shop OTHER PEOPLE enter – namely people who grow their own vegetables, have lots of rings on their fingers, weary purple felt hats etc etc… prejudices once again). And BAM! there were Veja shoes! They had them in stock only since a couple of days. I bought a pair there and then.
I also discovered posh coffee shops in Geneva have bulk options. Huh.
Another day, my mum and I went to Nyon, a neighbouring town that we both love. We each ran our errands and I remembered the health food shop there (Lilly’s Green Market). I entered and BAM! There were bulk options. I sneaked up and took a few shots before a helpful sales assistant came over to chat to me. Once again, these had only been installed for a couple of days, and she was getting feedback from customers. I was personally very jealous of their choice of pasta, the fact that they had candied ginger, chocolate and cocoa powder. The sales lady told me the wall behind the chocolate in the image below was going to be used for bulk items as well, but that they were asking what their customers wanted before building it, in order to fulfil their market expectations (and not produce any unwanted waste due to customers not buying what’s on offer).
“New in Nyon! The consu-respondable gesture. With my container, I consume organic produce, and only what I need. I stop wasting packaging and buy in bulk!”
Finally, I want to talk a bit about the difference between buying for me vs buying for someone else, epitomised in the picture below.
On the right is some Christmas tea bought for myself, on the left some chocolate orangettes I bought for my Mum (because I happened to be in a chocolaterie. Ahem.). I’ve seen the blog posts about wrapping Christmas presents (1, 2, 3) but what about when you just want to give your mama a nice little thing and you had only planned for tea and you’re a total sucker for these chocolates too and all you want is chocolate in your mouth and the smell of your mum? SIGH. Lesson of the story, be prepared.
Over and out. Happy 2017.