Today we have a guest writer, Abi Jarvis, talking about some of her advice for using less. I find Abi inspirational. She’s a young person who’s really showing us all the way and I’m glad that she’s been able to write this post for us. Until I saw her post, I’d never heard of “Rose Gold Straws and The Perfect Pantry“, so I’ve been further educated by Abi. Many thanks.
It’s Not all Rose Gold Straws and The Perfect Pantry
By Abi Jarvis
First, I would like to start with – THERE IS NO PERFECT WAY OF DOING THIS. Whether you’re lucky enough to live near a zero waste bulk buy food shop or not, whether you don’t have time to pre-make your meals for the week or you do, you do not need to be perfect at this, you just need to try. It’s not all Rose Gold Straws and The Perfect Pantry.
I’d definitely say, buy some kind of flask or Thermos for hot/cold drinks and foods. We drink a lot of tea and coffee as a nation, also as well as cutting down on waste it means you keep it hot/cold and it’s your personal container. I love KLEAN KANTEEN for their drink opening mechanism, also CHILLY’S BOTTLES are decorative but functional, and THERMOS make great long life containers.
Cut down on everyday plastic – bread, milk, fruit, veg, meat. An easy one would be buy bread from the bakery section in paper bags over pre-cut and overpackaged loaves, the bread is often of a better quality too. Sign up to MILK AND MORE (https://www.milkandmore.co.uk/) milk and juice delivery, use the drinks and then put the bottles back out for collection, think of all the plastic milk and juice bottles you go through.
Buy loose fruit and veg and bring your own bags – THEY DON’T NEED TO BE FANCY SPECIAL PRODUCE BAGS – See below the horrendously overpriced ‘produce sacks’ you can be tricked into buying. I often use tote bags or old plastic bags that I’ve collected over the decades. Take old takeaway containers, Tupperware, tins etc to your local supermarket and ask at the meat counter for things in your own containers, it’s getting very socially acceptable nowadays – both Waitrose and Morrisons have signs advertising for you to do this.
Find an eco bulk store, veg shop and butcher near you (https://zerowastenear.me/ – UK, http://eco-boost.co/where-to-buy-bulk-in-london/ – this is a descriptive one for London that includes BEER). Save all the jars, tubs, and tins that come through your door. THE JARS DON’T NEED TO ALL BE THE SAME SHAPE, SIZE AND COLOR – It doesn’t need to be pretty, my cupboards are basically all used jars with various sharpie scribbles all over them. I reuse sauce and jam jars a lot, you can also buy various types of jars at most of these bulk stores – it’s a good investment as you’ll reuse them again and again!
– Here I have, rice, I reused the cocoa powder and cherry containers, there’s coconut shavings in the small jar, and caramel peanut snacks.
I buy all of my, rice, pasta, herbs, spices, cooking oil, honey/syrup, sweet snacks, savoury snacks, baking makings (flour, baking power, sugar, salt, as well as cherries, cocoa powder, nuts, ground nuts) laundry detergent, and fabric conditioner from places like these. Often you’ll find more household and toiletary items at these stores too. I’ll get wood bamboo dish scrubbers, cutlery, straws (yes, there’s rose gold if you would like…), toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorants, etc. I always try to buy veg from green grocers and meat from butchers, the produce is often better quality and being locally sourced reduces your carbon footprint massively. Don’t forget to take a tote wherever you go!
Calling all Egg fiends! Keeping chickens is getting incredibly popular now. If you’re in contact with your local community – whenever I move, I join the facebook group for the people of that area. Someone will have chickens who will sell you some happy chicken eggs, so you can avoid the overcrowded farmed (apparently free range) eggs you get in supermarkets.
We all love a meal deal… I was incredibly partial to a meal deal back in the day, but let’s face it – they are overpackaged and near impossible to recycle with the mixed materials. If you can, bring your own lunch in a day or two a week, make a big curry or stew on a Sunday and put it in containers for work. If you’re as busy as me and don’t always have time for that, try buying from an independant bakery or cafe and bring your own container to take the toastie/ pasty/ salad away in. Bake your own snacks – sweet or savoury. I’ll often mix up a quick batch of brownies, plop it in a tray and let it bake while I wash my hair or clean the kitchen – BOOM Less waste, tasty treats.
One thing I will really recommend – get a cook book or app equivalent. For inspiration if nothing else! You do not have to have all of the exact ingrediants and if you’re struggling just Google what you can substitute strange things for that are more common. Let’s be honest, who buys Fennel seeds?
If I can leave you with one thing its – Always try to take a flask and a bag (and preferably a small container and spork for food) with you wherever you go. Actively avoid plastic and imported goods. But remember – NO ONE IS PERFECT. Don’t quit your zero waste journey because you absent mindedly bought a smoothie/coffee or had to quickly grab some meat or veg wrapped in plastic from your local supermarket to feed the kids. It’s the big manufacturers fault, Not yours. Just keep avoiding it and soon they’ll stop producing it.
In any case, I hope this has shed some light on a zero waste lifestyle that ANYONE CAN DO. Thank you, all – find me on instagram for more tips that I find https://www.instagram.com/anti_plastic_abi/ x
Many thanks Abi for showing us that a zero-waste lifestyle is achievable by all of us and it’s not all rose gold straws and The Perfect Pantry. It’s actually quite a simple thing, and makes a lot of sense (common sense?) really.
Gloria Whiting says
Abi, you’re spot on with all this advice!
My flask and I are almost inseparable – I keep one for hot drinks and another for cold drinks in the summer.
So proud of you, and your determination to make a difference 👍