Wednesday 23rd May 2018
May in the UK is truly a beautiful month. And this year it seems to be outdoing itself. The trees are vibrant with all shades of lush, verdant green. The hedgerows are heavy with drooping boughs of snowflake-like hawthorn blossom. The fields are full of delicate cowslips and the verges teem with oxe-eye daisies and buttercups. I’ve never seen dandelions so yellow or lilac so colourful. The world is a magical and beautiful place, and I have the privilege and joy of driving through a particularly gorgeous part of this world every day on my sixty mile round-trip commute. Yes, I did say ‘sixty mile round-trip’! And here begins my problem.
The world is indeed a beautiful place, and it’s easy when surrounded by such glorious countryside to forget that our poor world is suffering. This planet full of abundant natural resources is being drained dry by the greed and thoughtlessness of human beings. I include myself in this. I mean, sixty miles a day is a pretty hefty carbon footprint. And I drive a diesel car as we were told that they were the more environmentally friendly option. Now, apparently, diesel cars are akin to the devil in environmental terms.
Of course I do my bit – don’t we all? We recycle as much as we can, but then just shrug at the things that can’t be recycled – It’s not my problem, is it, if the products come in unrecyclable packaging or that my council doesn’t have the resources to recycle it yet? We compost our food waste and try to avoid processed food with all its associated evils. We walk as much as we can and holiday in the UK. But there is a little voice in the back of my mind which is telling me that this is not enough. Not nearly enough.
That little voice is starting to become a bit of a pain in fact. It’s turning into a very insistent shout which is making it very hard for me to focus on anything else. The voice is telling me that I need to do more. A lot more.
I’ve been skirting around the idea of reducing waste for a while. I am proud to have used exclusively cloth nappies and wipes on my little girl when she was a baby. I have already made the switch to cloth sanitary protection. But the rest all seemed impossible. Packaging in general, and plastic in particular, is literally everywhere. Surely it’s not possible to live a totally waste-free life?
Well, maybe not. But I’m going to give it a bloody good try.
I feel that I’m coming quite late to the Zero Waste party, and I have really only just arrived clutching my bottle of wine and looking desperately around for someone I know, while there are plenty of people already on their seventh cocktail and dancing on the tables, but it’s rare that I feel such a passionate drive to do something.
My dream, Frome’s first zero waste shop – Big Fat Zero – is just that at the moment: a dream. It may come true for me; it may not. Only time will tell.
In the meantime I will be making as many changes as I can to the way I view waste and the use of our world’s resources. As well as reducing my use of plastic in the home due to its rather dubious reputation in terms of safety.
So, what have we done so far?
- Started making more things at home to avoid having to buy things in plastic packaging – Nakd bars, crackers, washing-up-liquid etc
- Made some beeswax wraps – great for wrapping cheese
- Made cloth produce bags and started buying loose fruit and veg
- Generally being a more savvy shopper – trying to refuse packaging and consider alternatives.
There are probably lots more but I can’t remember them now.
So, join me on my zero waste journey – who knows where it will take us!