I thought going plastic free would be relatively simple: work out the new way of shopping, swap some plastic things for glass, buy loose veg, use the supermarket counters with my own box… You know, simple… once I’d worked it out.
But how wrong I was. (Some of you are already probably think, dhur, of course it wasn’t going to be simple.)
I’ve been trying to sort this out for the last 4 weeks. It maybe more: things get a little blurry with two kids to fend for as well. And that’s the first rub; children don’t make this easy. If a child needs feeding, they need feeding. Running out of things for the menu plan but still not finding a gap to visit the re-fill shop isn’t an excuse that’s going to make a calming day. At the moment it’s bolognaise every Monday after ballet – which means a lot of spaghetti, but not quite enough to warrant a 30 minute drive to the re-fill shop.
In a bid to find new ways of shopping with less plastic I’ve:
- Checked out a few farm shops. But I can’t get everything I need there.
- Sourced a local farmer, which slaughters and butchers within very few food miles.
- Done the market thing – lugging two children (one in a carrier on my front in order to have a seat for the food) and what felt like a mule’s load of loose vegetables back to the car, to unpack, repack, unpack at home again…
- Just today made my first trip to a re-fill shop. Exciting and tiring in equal measures. And also a shock to be to be told my jar of hazelnuts was £38! She kindly took some back. But sugar (“mummy what does sugar mean”) I need to do a price comparison on this. Again, I packed and unpacked everything, lugging the glass storage jars I use back home. It was nice to put the jars on the shelf when I got home. Much quicker than normal unpacking. However, another disappointment to read the loo roll I bought to trial was shipped from Australia. Say Whhhhhhhattttt. It’s called Who Gives A Crap. And, not wanting to dis their efforts at all (they build loos for very worthy causes across the world) I DO give a crap.
Every day, with everything, I can’t help but feel something ALL THE TIME time I use and see plastic. It’s hardly rocket silence to work out what it is. It’s guilt.
Hard, hit me in the chest. Guilt.
And as I read they were imported from Australia I realised something. Hence the blog (and the fact the minis were in bed).
It’s not plastic free I’m trying to do at all……. i’m trying to be more sustainable. But what does that really mean? And have I totally ruined that already by having two children? And how on earth do I work out if it’s better for me to:
- Drive to the (sort of local) market? (One day a week.)
- Drive to the (not really) local farm shop?
- Drive to the (definitely not local) re-fill shop? (Which is in a totally different direction to the two above.)
- Or to just continue with the the ease of the online supermarket shop, asking for loose veg which comes in a bag anyway? (Gggrrrr)
It’s enough to give a lass a headache, which I can’t take painkillers for if I’m avoiding plastic containers or those pop them out things.
Life Cycle Analysis
Where’s the Life Cycle Analysis in all of this?! It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while now. Surely, in this data age we are in a position to start adding these things up. What’s the carbon footprint of a product from gate to plate? We could scan a QR code, input my own mileage and WHAM – that’s the impact of picking that particular product. Then I can decide if i’m comfortable with consuming it and/or if there’s someway I can offset it. I know one farm is different from another, so it’s not as simple as joining a few supply chain dots but there must be some way of getting, well, part of the way?
I shall continue with my journey, which i’ve realised is a marathon (with flexible finish line) not a sprint. But I can’t help wondering if it’s inevitable the discovery will lead me to: eat less, eat local, eat seasonal, grow your own, and don’t eat things that have flown half way round the world.