A journey to Zero waste part 1

I don’t often write about myself but I wondered if it might be fun to share this new adventure. Thanks to the encouragement of the wonderful Ecochurchers and all the initiatives that we are staring around Waste and Plastic we decided as a family to try and move towards ZERO Waste.

We began with this months shop fully aware that the usual trip to the supermarket was unlikely to give us the plastic free experience we were looking for. Before we went we armed ourselves with plastic tubs, reusable bags and some plastic bags for reusing (thank you Holly for your advice). The first trip was in to Ryde… keeping it Local…. on a Saturday morning at the Farmers Market. We got Island Bakers bread, organic veg from the Modern Kitchen Garden (except I get the wonky veg as I help Annie harvest) and wanted to get Briddlesford cheese but it was all covered in plastic, so I got fudge instead!

We then went to Co op to see what we could get. We liked the cardboard packaging for the rice and porridge and allowed ourselves to buy glass containers. The only cheese we could find was in wax!!!! and actually that is just plastic too I am informed!! The plastic bag for the potatoes was ours and I will be making some material bags for next time. Getting real butter instead of marg and getting the butter dish out like the old days seemed like a good option….. feeding the dogs needed some thought.

Still not eating very much meat but knew if we wanted to avoid plastic we would have to go to the butchers and I wanted dog mince so that I could stop using tins. At D W Javis at the top of town we got a great deal on dog mince and enjoyed a chat about free range and grass fed meat. Got some chickens that were on offer that I can joint and will do us for the month, but didn’t have any of my own containers that would hold them so ended up with plastic! I took in plastic containers for the mince and they were very happy to use them. The lady standing next to me was really impressed with the idea and said she would do it next time.

The next day we went on an expedition to Newport to see what we could get. As we all like fizzy water we have got the soda stream out and Argos is the only place that does refills, we got mushrooms in a paper bag and loose lemons and a few things in jars but Sainsburys was not good as all the cheese was covered in plastic at the deli counter and all the veg was covered except the cabbage which we bought. Jollies had wild bird food, dog treats and lots of other things to bag yourself and the bags were all biodegradable… well done them. We then went to Easy Way and got the bits we needed for making blackberry wine (more on that adventure to follow maybe!) and had a look at their selection which was good. We didn’t need much but will be back next month. We finished off with a cuppa and a bite at Peach, the vegan zero waste cafe that has refills for nuts, rice and lots of other things and we bought scourers and deodorant there… oh yes and a dog toy for the puppy.

On the way home we went to Briddlesford farm shop and got local flours, honey and rapeseed oil, we also got some beef mince and stewing steak but unfortunately they were in plastic. I hope that we can convince them that they could use less. We got some of their lovely milk as I wanted to make yogurt (yogurt only coming in plastic it seems but this way I can reuse the tubs)…. oh yes and eggs from Hazelwood farm.

Now if you are like my husband you will be reeling and thinking about the cost of all this! I will be keeping all the receipts and let you know at the end of the month but at first glance it looks really positive. We definitely bought less, and nothing processed. What we bought was really nice quality and lovely to have in the house it looked lovely and made shopping a nice experience again. Like the way you shop when on holiday and have time to think about it.

BUT…. If you dont buy processed food in plastic it means that you have to prepare things yourself…. We then spent 3 hours pickling, making sauerkraut, jam, yogurt and curry and stewing up dog food and jointing chickens etc. At the Prayer group in the evening we shared prayers and thoughts about Harvest and the idea was raised that in the past a huge amount of time was spent by everyone growing, harvesting and preparing food. This is still the case in many countries in Europe and beyond (see the BBC program with Nigel Slater in the Middle east it is lovely). It takes a lot to shift our thinking but Zero waste is not something that just happens…. if we want Chick peas then we will have to get them dried and soak and cook them and we will have to try ti make oat milk! But the rewards in taste and pleasure are amazing!!

There is still an long way to go…. loo rolls, milk, tea bags and real coffee all need looking into and if you are interested enough to have got to the bottom of this post I am sure that you will have some ideas too.

There comes a time with the things that we hold dear when our lives no longer reflect our values and our lives need to change. This should be a constant process for us as ‘Followers of Jesus’. Our lives should try to reflect the peace and justice of God and in the materialistic and greedy way we are used to living in the West that may mean swimming against the tide. The Church has always had a radical life changing message and each generation needs to hear that for its own time. I feel that if I am to really live the ‘solution’ when it comes to all we are trying to do in Ecochurch then I need to try this very mundane process of changing how we shop and eat. It is the equivalent of giving up sugar in the time of Wilberforce’s Anti slave campaign, only our sin may be much deeper rooted and harder to disentangle ourselves from than that.

In the end however it may be that we all find a new level of health, balance and joy through doing this…. Jesus said, ‘I have come that you may have Life in all its fullness’…. maybe less really is more!

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