Today I arrived at Sainsbury’s for my very first Zero Waste shopping, not knowing what I was going to fill my reusable bags with. I am surprised at the amount of fresh produce I was able to buy, with one drawback- most of the organic stuff is highly packaged so I had to go with regular. There were mushrooms in paper bags and I discovered that plastic nets can be returned to the carrier bag recycling bin in the entrance. Overall I am happy with the amount of loose veggies I could get. Some of them had non-recyclable stickers on them but my children took care of those at home by sticking them all over each other and now I am not sure what happened to them – problem solved. I had to go without lettuce and spinach as all the leafy greens were engulfed in plastic, so I will have to find somewhere else to buy them. Also, I wasn’t able to buy many dried goods either such as lentils, seeds and nuts which we eat a lot of in our house, but at least I found some rice in cardboard box.
I felt somewhat self-conscious with a mountain of loose fruit and veg so I went to the self checkout where I spent a good half hour identifying everything on their system and putting it through. I did my shopping in two lots. Once I’d stuffed all the fresh produce into my rucksack I went back in and started exploring the rest of the aisles. I began reading packaging, shaking and squeezing cardboard boxes of crackers and cereal to try to ascertain if there was any plastic film inside them. I was confused by recycling symbols, claims of environmental friendliness but no recycling information on Alpro cartons, and claims that foil and plastic film could be recycled, but where?
After a while I looked at my watch, more than two hours had passed and I almost forgot about picking the kids up from school. As with any lifestyle change, it will take time to get the hang of. I spent under £50 which is half of what I would usually spend. My shopping looked different when I got it home, lots of rectangular brick shapes, all very neat and old-fashioned looking. It is liberating to be free from all that plastic!
My kids were having fish fingers for dinner and the smaller one left about half of what was on his plate. Cooked food and meat can’t be composted so I have a dilema of what to do with it. It isn’t worth keeping but I can’t throw it away either. A pet would come in handy right now. Usually I would chuck it in the bin without a second thought. I’ve put it in a sealed plastic container and stuck it in the fridge. I’ll worry about it tomorrow – like a true waste management consultant.
Another dilema I dealt with today was the toilet roll issue, because it comes in plastic. I managed to find a box of recycled tissues for 45p, which is a good solution. Other countries I have lived in such as Egypt aren’t as dependent on toilet paper as we are here. The toilets there have a little tube with a tap positioned at the right angle for you to clean yourself with water.
It’s far more hygenic to wash yourself rather than using paper in my opinion. That’s how I cleaned my children when they were babies, I very rarely used wipes. Just think, 27,000 oxygen giving trees are cut down every day to make toilet paper, just because we think it’s convenient. However, at this point I am not going to subject my family to any extreme measures. The kids have already given up their afterschool Oreos and that’s enough trauma for one week.