Thursday, 19 October 2006

Towards Zero Waste

Last week’s events around the incinerator going ahead despite huge local opposition, set me wondering whether zero waste, the alternative, is doable. So my long suffering family has spent the last week trying to live without sending waste to our bins. As we all know, reduce, reuse, recycle is the mantra in that order. We started on this path a year ago by gradually cutting out supermarkets. A prerequisite; you can understand why. Bear with me though, before panicking. Monday morning was an abrupt jolt: we couldn’t have the usual porridge because the milk was in a tetrapak (not recyclable). We’d soon set off to Barefoot Herbs to source milk in a plastic bottle, as well as dishwasher powder in a cardboard box. On to Beckworths who does a fine line in Fairtrade coffee, freshly ground, in a bag. The week progressed surprisingly easily, with occasional debates about margarine vs butter packaging. And what to do with yoghurt pots. Things we learned: Laportes sells local butter wrapped in paper. You can get refillable flagons of ale from Harveys, and at some of their pubs. It’s quaint taking Tupperware to the butcher and cheese shop in Riverside. How great is it these shops and breweries still exist!By the end of the week, we had a carrier bag of honest waste (all plastic packaging), about half of which could have been avoided. Zero waste mentality is like composting: a gateway to another reality, and you don’t have to have loads of time or money (believe me, you save a lot not going to supermarkets!) Before you know it you’re walking around local shops, chatting and smiling and well fed. Things start to get very happy and simple, like that wartime feeling my granny used to speak of.

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