Saturday, 2 January 2016

Small changes. Big impact.

Five or six years ago, I decided that I had enough of buying vegetables and fruit wrapped up in plastic at the supermarket. So I signed up to an organic vegetable box. It enabled me to eat mainly British seasonal produce. It also inspired me to cook more varied food. The fact that I could have a nice chat with my vegman every Tuesday was an unexpected but really enjoyable bonus.
At the time, I was already concerned by the protection of the environment. But it had not heard of the zero waste movement. Every week, I consciously recycled my paper and plastic waste. Yet, I had to empty my pedal bin every 3 or 4 days. That didn't strike me as a major issue. I was already going the extra mile recycling my bottle milks and newspapers by walking to my local recycling point. What else could I do? It wasn't until 2011 that my local council started collecting my food waste.

"I don't need a plastic bag, thank you"
Food waste collection by my local council was a major help in reducing my waste - especially as I lived in a flat at the time. On top of that, over the years, as I grew increasingly worried about climate change, I proceeded to introduce more changes to my life. For example, since 2014 my use of plastic carrier bag has dropped massively. Whenever I go shopping - for food or else, I take a rucksack or a tote bag with me. I also make a point of not buying plastic bottles. I bought a stainless water bottle from Oxfam. I take it with me if I go for an extended walk or I am out for most of the day. 

My main zero waste "weapons"


How I became a passionate cook
Also, since February 2013 and the horse-meat scandal, I've stopped buying ready meals. I cook from scratch every day. The majority of the times, I don't see it as a chore. I enjoy cooking. It hasn't always been the case. Granted, I don't have any children and I work from home. I have more time than other people to cook. But I have to say that I do it even when I am a bit pressed with time. On those particular days, I just keep things very simple. Preparing poached eggs on bread or a soup is quick, easy and delicious. The more you cook, the easier it gets, believe me!
Those various changes have been inspired by many different things. A desire to be healthier and a determination to live more in accordance with my principles are part of the picture. I also want to get more control over my life and my environment. For this reason, since last February, I've reduced my meat consumption to almost zero. 

My challenges for 2016
As a result of all the changes listed above, nowadays, the amount of non-recyclable waste I and my husband produce every week is very small - just a few hundred grams, I believe. I also think that we are a bit healthier. I don't think that we have as many colds as we used to. 

This year, I'd like to go even further in my waste reduction and aspiration to a healthier life. 
Hence...
1. I am starting a sewing class next week. (I've no idea what my sewing abilities are. It's a bit scary.)
2. I intend to start growing some herbs and vegetables. I want to learn about permaculture. 
3. I am planning to get some chickens around March. A good way to use food waste!
4. I've also promised myself to try making my own beauty products. I get more and more scared by the health impact of super nasty chemicals in industrial beauty products. 

Last but not least, I will update this blog every week to help other zero wasters in London and elsewhere live a sustainable life. I've never felt such a sense of urgency before. 

Are you trying to reduce your waste and lead a more sustainable life? What habits have you taken as a result? We all have different challenges. I'd like to hear about yours. Leave a comment or email me at amandine.london@gmail.com