I said today would be better. It wasn’t. In some ways, it was worse. After feeling deflated yesterday, I feel utterly defeated today.
Back to School
The Big One goes back to school tomorrow. I spent the morning getting her uniform together and labelled. We’ve had a busy summer, so I ordered her new uniform online a few weeks’ ago. Everything was sent wrapped in plastic. Every single item. I really wish I’d made time to go to either The Fair Shop or Love That Stuff Fair-trade to replace her grown-out-of uniform with seconds from the Brighton & Hove Smarter Uniforms Scheme. But it is what it is now and at least her uniform will be passed down to The Little One. With 7 plastic items in the bin just from the order, we’re not going to hit the zero waste bullseye today.
More In The Bin
More things have found their way into the bin: lids from empty milk and juice bottles, lids from tetra-paks, uneaten cereal, tissues, used contact lenses, dust from the hoover. Once you start taking stock, it’s scary how much goes into the bin on autopilot.
A Cuppa Zero Waste
Most teabags contain plastic, meaning they can’t be composted. But zero waste tea is incredibly easy. I have a stainless steel tea infuser ball, which I fill with 1/2 tablespoon of loose tea. This gets popped over the edge of a mug or cup, you pour water and milk over and, Bob’s Your Uncle, a nice cup of tea. The tea leaves can then be composted.
Zero waste tea kit: loose leaf tea, stainless steel ball infuser, spoon and mug. Just add water and milk.
The Last Day of the Summer Holiday
I promised the Big One we would go for lunch and buy a rucksack on the last day of the summer holiday. And here we are, the last day of the holiday. The Big One chose Franco Manca for lunch and a fluffy rucksack from Smiggle.
Franco Manca is a good choice for zero waste week. They make sourdough pizzas from scratch, toppings are seasonal and some organic. Organic homemade lemonade is served in small glasses with paper straws for children and reusable glass bottles for adults; tap water is served in reused wine bottles; napkins are tucked in with the cutlery, so only what’s needed is used; menus are printed on recycled paper and double up as a place mat. Best of all, everyone in our family loves the food, portion sizes are sensible and there’s usually little leftover. We had 2 bottles of sparkling water and although they came in glass bottles, there was a metal cap and plastic seal which will have been binned; the only non-recylabe waste alongside 2 small slices of uneaten pizza.
Children’s mozzarella and mushroom pizza served with a small glass of lemonade, which as you can see is very popular and slurped up quickly!
The less said about Smiggle the better. They chose a rucksack and lunchbag, I paid and refused a plastic bag and we went on our way.
Topping Up Supplies
I took the girls back to HISBE to refill our empty Ecoleaf washing-up liquid bottle and find dishwasher tablets in a cardboard box (I binned a plastic dishwasher tablet pouch yesterday; if you remember, I pledged to find plastic-free alternatives when stuff runs out). The girls loved HISBE: pulling the levers, weighing the produce and pressing the barcode buttons.
Bulk organic chocolate buttons. Every zero waste child’s (and parent’s) dream.
Find the number!
Bulk shopping is child’s play.
By 4.30pm, tired and still with getting-ready-for-school chores to be done, we headed back to the butchers to pick up the items we couldn’t get when they were closed yesterday. I thought that we’d be able to use Tupperware and buy packaging-free meat but alas it wasn’t to be. The butcher kindly offered to remove the packaging but this seemed like a pointless exercise. His bin, my bin. It’s all destined for the same place. I didn’t have it in me to re-organise dinner on the spot. I also needed to get going with the girls’ dinner. I made risotto; it wasn’t a hit. Lots went in the bin. I’m really going to have to I think about investing in a cooked food composter.
Snacks for the Win
In better news, no snacks in packets have been consumed and the bathroom bins are empty, except for 2 or 3 pairs of used contact lenses. It’s a small win, but I’ll take it.
Lessons learned today?
I’ve had to let go of the zero waste ideal and instead accept small, modest achievements. We’ve now succeeded in going 2 days without packaged snacks. We’ve bought lots of unpackaged produce. We refilled our old washing-up bottle instead of buying a new one and found zero waste dishwasher tablets. We ate a near zero waste lunch in a restaurant. We haven’t consumed bottled water on the go, coffee in take-away cups or needed to use plastic carrier bags. We’ve produced virtually no bathroom waste.
I’m not sure how much went in the bin today. I stopped counting what was going in partly because I’m finding the kitchen waste aspect of the challenge pretty disheartening and partly because I was busy and wanted to have a nice last day of the holiday with The Girls.