It's all we hear and see at the moment, zero waste, cutting down on our use of plastic. Yes, all the little changes we are trying to make are making a huge difference, but after watching The War on Plastic with Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall the other night and seeing how much of our plastic waste is imported and dumped in Malaysia, I felt a little bit sick to be honest.
We live in a block of flats, it has a communal waste area, there are 68 flats in two blocks, we share four large recycling bins and about five general waste bins and one food waste bin. We make sure we recycle what we can, tins, bottles, jars, paper but there is still plenty that can't be recycled and now I am questioning if what I am putting in the recycling bins is even being recycled? Our flats are also a dumping ground for fly tippers. You can be guaranteed that each day something new will have been added to the bin area, a mattress, suitcases of old clothes, we have rescued a few items and upcycled them, we even rescued a Harry Potter bag which looked brand new! The other annoyance with being leaseholders is the cost of taking it away gets added to our maintenance expenses every year.
We have a large car park at the bottom of our flats, a few residents use it but most park in the middle car park, the bottom car park is where our kids ride their bikes sometimes and I take our dog to go and play with his ball. It is littered with cans, bottles and rubbish. Over the next few weeks, I am going to start clearing up as much as I can.
I hate how much we throw away as a family, I feel like I take a big bag of rubbish down every couple of days. We are on a very tight budget, if the market was closer by I would go more often for our fruit and vegetables. In our Morrisons supermarket the loose fruit is much more expensive to buy than the fruit in plastic, no wonder we all choose that instead! If I do manage to get to the market in Croydon, this whole bowl of apples cost me £2!
But, some good news. I was literally speaking to my husband last week about the fact that we need a zero waste shop locally and low and behold, in August, one is opening within walking distance of home. I spoke to the owner and she said the food will be weighed and you can just refill containers as you need to. This is a positive step and I just hope it will be affordable too.
We switched to bamboo toothbrushes months ago, we have also tried a shampoo bar from Lush, it is still going strong after 3 months. I have been using bars of soap more often too instead of shower gel.
In the kitchen we have metal straws and I have bought a compostable scrubbing brush, I have been told it should last a year and once it is fully done with it can be thrown on the compost.
We all have reusable water bottles, the kids take theirs to school with them and I reuse all of our shopping bags, I have a few canvas ones that I keep with me in my bag.
I realise these are all tiny steps at the moment but I am really looking forward to the zero waste shop opening soon and I'll endeavour to start cutting down even more.