Change of location, change of habits

Hello there! Long time to see.

I moved flats a month and a half ago, and this has changed my habits. I live in the same area, so have access to all the same shops as before. However, my new flatmates have a new way of doing things, which I hadn’t anticipated. In all my previous flats, each person bought their own food. Some things were shared (teabags, milk, etc), but for the most part each person was in charge of their own “stocks”. In this flat, however, everyone contributes to a kitty and we all share the bought food.

This does mean, however, that I don’t feel comfortable continuing the zero-waste lifestyle  in this context. How could I justify imposing my methods to the other three people? How can I justify spending more than necessary (even if it is justifiable, in my eyes), when we all share the costs? We all have different budgets for food, depending on our priorities, tastes, lifestyles, and dietary habits. I don’t want to upset the balance this flat already has, and have melded in to their way of living for now.

After a year of zero waste, I’m also rediscovering a lot of joy in small things. I have been strict about what I buy, and have deprived myself of quite a lot of things I love, because they are not available in bulk where I live, and because I don’t have the time to make them myself. For example, pasta has been making me very happy!

There are still some things that this flat buys in bulk: laundry/dishwasher liquids and oils, for one. Today’s bulk shop:

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Sadly, the dishwasher liquid is not refillable, so we will use the tub as a food tupperware.

So I guess my mission from now on is to actually do the long-awaited maths to see what items of food are cheeper bought as bulk, or as packaged. Thus some stuff can still be bought package-free, to the advantage of everyone involved….

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Pottery classes and clay re-use

For a few weeks, I have been attending pottery classes at Fireworks Studios, in Glasgow. It’s been a lovely experience, we’re a really concentrated crew so there is little talk as we each work on our throwing. It’s very difficult but also very satisfying, and like with learning any new skill, it kind of whacks you in front of yourself and your fears and desires. I personally get immensely frustrated and impatient, and then berate myself for being too demanding and not knowing how to enjoy things…. So as well as learning pottery, I am trying to learn to calm down and take things slow.

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I am writing about this on here because I am amazed at how no single piece of clay is wasted. All the clay gets re-used. The wet clay, the dry clay, it all gets put back in adequate places where it can get wet again or stay wet… And then kept there until it’s needed again.

Notwithstanding this element of the class, it also makes me reflect on the idea of adding more objects to the world, and on the objects I own. How to love them, how to preserve them, why I love them, do I love them? I would love to live in a place where everything I own is loved, because of aesthetics or function or memory. I’m still young and moving about, so I have a lot of IKEA crockery and bedsheets, but eventually when these need replacing I would love to start investing in beautiful objects that will last. I have a wish list of pottery and jewellery items I like, which I keep looking at every so often in case, you know, my salivary glands need exercising.

Also if you like pottery check these Instagram accounts out (UK potters only so far):

Glasgow based Mariella Verkerk

Glasgow based Jono Smart

Berkshire based Luke Eastop

London based Tom Kemp

London based Elliott Ceramics

 

 

Breakfast

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We had a few days of heat and that morning I had run out of bread and did not feel like hot porridge. I had one banana left and was struck by the coolest idea of the week: smoothie.

I never make smoothies because I can’t anticipate the reward enough to care, and will happily just eat fruit as it is. BUT. This smoothie is banana / soya milk / honey / peanut butter – and we all know how I feel about peanut butter. It is DELISH. I made the smoothie, poured it into a jar, and hopped on my bike to work.

I bought these two croissants from the supermarket and carried them to the cashier, holding them in one hand and handing over a few coins with the other. No one cared.  I ate in the grass, drank my milky liquid, and went to work. BREAKFAST RULES!

Shampoo jar

Since this summer I have been washing my hair with Lush shampoo bars. I like them. I think there are better options out there but haven’t delved into the research yet to find out what they are.

So when I went to Lush a few weeks ago to buy my stock, I brought a jar along with me so I could slip them inside and walk out of that store without a packet. Lo and behold… My jar was too small. I had no spare textile item and lots of jingly things in my bike pannier, so reluctantly accepted the paper packet and sticker the sales attendant gave me.

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Now in my cupboard they fit nicely in another jar (Bonne Maman!), with which I will go shampoo shopping in the future.

Honey!

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I never thought I would find a way to eat honey without throwing away excessive amounts of packaging, but there exists a way. Ed’s Bees in Glasgow re-uses the jars! You can bring them back from where you bought them (I buy mine from Locavore).

It’s amazing to think that the parks I walk through ans the gardens I walk by are the pollenating grounds for Ed’s bees, and that the honey is produced so locally.

 

Setback

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I am ill. My head feels like a balloon and I sound like an 80 year old chain smoker. After a meeting this morning, I decided to buy a juice-tox, because I haven’t been taking care of myself as well I should. I was in panic “I need to get home” mode and thought it wasn’t worth the guilt. I guzzled my juice and was left with this.

Once more, this post is exposing my constant battle with preparedness.

Gifts

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I’ve been given a few food items recently and I’m not at Bea Johnson’s stage of refusing medals from mayors  and refusing even the smallest of gifts is difficult. So I accept and guiltily eat away.

To anyone who has been living zero-waste for a long time, I’m sure it’s easy peasy to refuse things like the above. But for me, it is so counter-intuitive and against everything I have ever learnt – to refuse a gift (and especially a gift to me as a host) (and especially food).

I tell myself that I’m still a newbie and still transitioning relatively quietly i.e. not shouting about it on the rooftops, therefore it’s up to me to make the decision of when to alert people to my lifestyle.