Zero Waste Shop

As you know we have been reducing our plastic use for a number of years now. Sustainability  is definitely getting more popular due to the exposure from documentaries like Blue Planet etc and with more people getting on board, the more companies that are trying to keep with popular opinion.

In our little town we have a small catering shop that has slowly been stocking plastic free items. Over the summer, the owner Claire has taken a leap of faith and on Tuesday she reopened as a Zero Waste Shop. I was lucky enough to be invited to the relaunch and I was very impressed by both the shop and the turn out.

Claire stocks loose pasta, rice, lentils, oats and spices to name a few.

There is also has a refill station for items such as washing up liquid, disinfectant and sanitiser.

I bought some soap nuts to try, some chickpeas and some fresh eggs laid by Claire’s very own chickens.

All you need to do is bring your own container, weigh it on the scale, take note of the weight of your container and then fill it with the items you’d like to buy.

I’d really like to see this shop be a success as I do believe that this is the way of the future. If we can use less plastic while shopping then the better it is for the planet.

Have you got a Zero Waste Shop near you?

Trashless Tuesday

On Day 2 of this year’s Zero Waste Week I was challenged to see how much (or how little) waste I created in just one day. So here goes:


For full disclosure this picture is me and the two kids only. Hubby took his lunch to work in a reusable container and has cutlery in his locker but once he’s there I don’t know if he created any other waste.

There were also 2 dunker pots but Little Lady didn’t bring her empty one home. Now I do see the irony of the string cheese wrapper after I posted about using block cheese but it was requested and bought the night before they were due to go back to school from the corner shop that didn’t have block cheese. Once the packet is finished we won’t be buying them again.

The main two slip ups by me were due to lack of organisation. We usually use loose leaf tea in a tea pot but struggle to get it sometimes so we had bought tea bags the last time we went shopping. The pot noodle was also due to poor planning. It was quick and easy to prepare after a lunch meeting.

The crisps? Well I love crisps and haven’t really found an alternative that can be stored just yet. I’d be happy to hear your suggestions if you have any?

Tea was made with veg that came in our vegbox and pasta that had been decanted into a large glass jar last time we went shopping.

Overall I don’t think we did too badly. Yes there is room for improvement and yes on other days we will create waste that was not shown here (the empty pasta bag for instance). How did you get on? Do you produce more/less waste than me on an average day?

Waste

Today is day 2 of this year’s Zero Waste Week. The theme today is all about reducing waste. I wrote this post 4 years ago showing how I cut down on lunch box waste. Looking back now I can’t believe I wrapped her sandwiches in foil and bought pre packaged cheese! But just goes to show how little changes now can become lifetime habits. Hope you enjoy

Waste

Lately the issue of waste and the environment has been at the forefront of my mind. I have slowly been taking stock of our lives and living habits to see where we can cut back on waste.

One morning while doing the mundane (and mostly thankless) task of making packed lunches I realised that I could cut a lot of waste here and I was quite shocked.

This is what little lady’s lunches normally look like (with some variations).

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Little lady also takes fruit separately, which she eats at break time.

Where can I make changes? Straight away I can lose the foil. I mean her sandwiches are in a lunch box, in a bag! Seems a bit ridiculous to wrap them in foil too!

So foil gone. What’s next? Little lady’s treat. Her treat varies depending what niceties are on offer when we go shopping. These particular treats are individually wrapped but come in a box, in a plastic wrapper. Lots of packaging, and therefore waste there. With a bit of forethought and 20 minutes spent in the kitchen while baby D was having his nap and she now has home made (freezable) treats. I cut the welshcakes into little stars rather than the traditional circles so that they fit in her lunch box. We also stumbled across these fine(!) gadgets 2 for £1 in the pound shop, which makes her sandwiches a little bit nicer now they are naked (well we think so)

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I do like her lunch to be relatively good for her so I always try to add a cheese stick. There are again individually wrapped (easy for lunches) but in a packet. The individual wrapper goes in the bin at school so technically it doesn’t affect my waste but that’s not really the point here. We are still producing waste no matter where it is disposed of. This was the item that made me feel a little bit silly. I thought about how to reduce the packaging for a while before realising IT IS CHEESE!!!! I honestly can’t believe I have been buying these as well as the block of cheese that is a staple in our shopping. Just goes to show that marketing works. The individually wrapped cheeses “perfect for lunch boxes” fooled me for quite a while. Well no more. Today I cut my own cheese sticks from the block in the fridge. Less packaging and a slightly sheepish mammy!

So what does little lady’s lunch box look like now?

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Some naked homemade jam sandwiches, a home made treat, cheese cut from the block and a yoghurt.

Any ideas on what to do about the yoghurt? I am still quite stuck on that one so for now the long yoghurts will stay.

Bagging it up

No one can go completely zero waste in one go. It takes time and it takes effort. The good news though, is that small things can make a big impact. Small things like bringing your own bag to the shop.

Since the introduction of the 5p carrier bag charge here in the UK, there has been an emphasis on reusing plastic bags or even bringing your own cloth bag. Most of us now have a wide collection of “bag for life”‘s under the sink. But how often do we remember to take them with us?

How many of us have left a shop juggling our purhases because we don’t want to have to buy yet another bag?

Hmm, yes I thought as much 🙂

So……for the first day of this year’s ZWW I’m going to help you make a shopping bag that you can keep in your handbag. As long as you remember to put it back in your handbag once you’ve used it, you can tick off “refuse plastic bags at the checkout” from your Zero Waste checklist. Result!

You will need:

  • a piece of fabric (I used an old quilt cover)
  • Needle and thread
  • sewing machine (or you can handsew if you prefer)
  • an iron
  • A button
  • A piece of elastic/ribbon 8cm long

Instructions

  • Prewash your fabric if necessary
  • Measure and cut 2 pieces of fabric, 2 handles and 2 pieces of lining (not shown in picture) My fabric measured 45cms x 35cms and my handles measured 60cms x 6cms


Handles

  • Fold the straps in half lengthwise marking the centre fold line. Open up and fold the edges in to touch the fold line.

  • Fold in half again and press to conceal all raw edges

  • Sew all the way down the open edge

Main Bag

  • Measure 8cms in from both top edges of your main bag fabric and pin the short strap edge, taking care not to twist the strap
  • Pin the elastic/ribbon to the centre of the top edge on one piece.

  • Lay one bag piece right side (RS) to right side with one lining piece. I’ve used an old piece of fabric for the lining as it was what I had to hand. An old bedsheet is perfect for lining bags like this.

  • Sew (I used a 1.5cm seam allowance (SA) along the top edge catching the handles and the elastic. For added strength you can sew the very edges to the SA on the lining

  • Lay the “half bag” you have made down flat RS up and place the second piece RS down on top.
  • Match up seams and sew all the way around leaving a gap the width of your hand at the bottom of the lining (between the two black lines on the picture)

  • Clip the corners to get a sharper corner then turn right side out through the gap.

  • Sew the gap closed and tuck the lining into the bag.


  • Place the bag on the table with the elastic side up
  • Mark a dot 10cms up from the bottom of the bag in the centre

  • Sew a button at this spot. Make sure you sew it well as it will take quite a bashing if you use the bag a lot.

Folding your bag:

  1. Fold on long side into the centre by a third
  2. Fold the other side in over the top
  3. Fold the bottom up a third to reveal the button
  4. Fold the top down and tie the button.

(Or you can follow the picture below)

  • Pop in your handbag and voila!

I’d love to see pictures of your bag if you make one.