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.

Past self’s decisions #2

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While “past self’s decisions” was about stocking up on food and trying to recognise that habit, this post is also about the danger of “2 for 1” deals.

I have worn Elizabeth Arden’s Green Tea Lotus perfume for about 8 years now. The last time I re-stocked – a couple of years ago – I found myself buying two bottles for the price of one. I didn’t know at the time that

a) I would eventually want to change perfumes (but it’s okay – I still like it)

b) I would be transitioning into a zero-waste lifestyle.

Again, I have to deal with the consequences of my past self’s actions. I have to find out whether the packaging is recyclable, and if so, where.

I also have to start thinking about future plans, once this bottle runs out: should I simply not wear perfume? Fabricate my own? Buy from local perfume makers who could re-fill my bottle (do these shops even exist??)?

And lo and behold, there go another seven hours of internet trawling.

 

Friends and waste

Since starting this blog nearly three months ago, I have undertaken several lifestyle changes. Most of them are private – in the sense that they don’t have an impact on my flatmates, friends and family. I have made all my changes discreetly and no one would have noticed, had I not told a few friends about it. The people I interact with in bakeries, supermarkets or local shops might think me a bit odd, but I don’t justify my actions or explain why I am behaving differently from other people (such as holding up a queue of frustrated customers at supermarket self-checkouts because I have to weigh 14 types of fruit and veg).

This reluctance to speak about my zero waste goal might come from wanting to fit in, or being reluctant to stand out (please read WaitButWhy’s post on Why We Should Stop Caring What Other People Think), from wanting to be everyone’s friend, from a slight feeling of doubt (am I doing this to be different? to be better? to be cool?) or shame (am I a brainless sheep following a trendy lifestyle? why did it take me so long to start this?).

But it also comes from not wanting to dictate how other people lead their lives. As I said previously, I don’t want to go into a house and start pointing out all the ways someone could change the way they consume. I have always hated that type of attitude and find it very un-constructive, invasive and aggressive.

Most of the time for the last three months, I’ve been privately leading this lifestyle without hiccups (or any hiccups are entirely mine), doing research, looking into alternatives, learning new ways of buying, eating, doing things and thinking.

A difficult part of the zero-waste lifestyle, therefore (apart from learning to be prepared 100% time), has been the good will of other people. I’ll be posting about this soon.

In the meantime, enjoy your day, wherever you are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Veg box week 1

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On Friday, I went to pick up my first veg box from Locavore. Veg boxes are seasonal produce grown from Locavore’s farms, as well as other local organic farms. Each week I will pay £5 and will receive something different.

I have been researching farmers markets in Glasgow for a while, but couldn’t find anything conclusive or satisfactory. Since I live close to Locavore, I decided to trust fate and subscribe to a veg box.

This means that I don’t get to choose what I am given; I simply have to make do with what I receive. This pleases me, as it will enable me to discover new vegetables, think up new recipes, and explore my culinar-adventurous side. Certainly in a few weeks, when my work load will have cranked up, I will be damning the kohlrabi or cabbage I’ll receive. But for now, I plan to have a great week of fun dinners.

And obviously, I like knowing my food doesn’t have any air miles; that I am supporting local farmers; that setting up a direct debit means I don’t produce receipts; that I can bring the plastic bag back next time; that I walk to Locavore and back…

This week, I received potatoes, carrots, a cabbage, onions, and sprouting broccoli.

Developing a “zero-waste filter” at the wrong times

Last week was the kind of week where my brain decided to switch off and go to sleep. I worked crazy hours, came home, dropped everything on the floor, and crept into bed. It was a miracle I left my flat every day having had a shower. I very rarely realise the toll it takes on me to live a week like this; at work, I joke, walk around with a spring in my step and smile. By the time I crash at the end of the week, I need a day of no activity.

I feel guilty every time this happens – I spent the whole day in bed watching a TV series. Today I told a friend about that day, and she said: “that’s what I like about you: that you are so proactive, but that you also have days when you shut down”. I guess I haven’t found my happy medium yet, and at the moment I work very hard, tiring myself out, at all hours, and the trade-off is that a few times a month I have to shut myself off like a hermit to recuperate.

So I watched Freaks and Geeks. I had always wanted to watch that series. The whole series is on Youtube and is hilarious. I loved all the characters, their flaws, their motives, their thought-processes. I loved the soundtrack. I loved the humour, the geekiness and the freakiness.

But I caught myself looking at how they were consuming. At times, I would pick up on their bottled drinks, their packaged food… and then focus back on the narrative.

I strongly believe in culture’s socialising force (especially cinema) – the idea that we take our cues from the movies we consume and learn from them. We analyse the characters’ body language, their attitudes to the opposite gender, their reaction to bad news etc and embed those behaviours in our own. I remember when I began reading up on feminism I would watch a film and sometimes red flags would start waving in my brain (“so he’s saying her worth only lies in her physical appearance??”).  I would be extracting myself from the storyline momentarily in order to privately process the implied messages within movies or series.

In a way, it’s such a shame this happens. I wish I could go back to a time when I would watch a film and enjoy it for what it was – a story. Now, I can’t help but split my consciousness in two, watch a movie with one part, and let the other part sleep until it hears something it doesn’t like (“Hey, what was that? Huh? No way. I’m going to store this for later and be really angry about this”).

Anyway, this was probably my favourite scene in the whole series. I love Bill. But notice the individually wrapped cheese slices? The packaged bread and mustard? I kinda wish I didn’t.

 

Plus, this was filmed over 15 years ago. Me noticing these things isn’t going to change the world. But could we have a movie where there is a zero-waster character? What would that mean? How would that change people’s perceptions of this lifestyle? Of their own?