Zero Waste Week – Day 4

Today has been better.

In the bin:

  • Plastic wrap from a pizza
  • Label from a glass jar (glass jar washed and ready to reuse for loose produce)
  • Seal from a milk bottle
  • Two plastic film wraps from snacks
  • Plastic film from a direct mailing
  • Plastic wrap from celery
  • A little food waste from the girls’ packed lunches
  • 3 sheets of photographic printing paper

Zero Waste Packed Lunches

Both girls went off with a packed lunch today. The Big One with her Yum Box, a cleverly designed Bento box and The Little One with her lunch bag containing individually filled boxes and fruit. Neither lunch had any packaged foods and only a small amount of leftovers came home. The Girls’ schools provide a cup of water or milk, so no bottles or cartons are wasted. I’m really happy with how close we’ve come to zero waste lunches today.

Sneaky Single-Use Items

I met my brother for coffee this morning. I ordered a fizzy water but ended up with a single-use plastic bottle of still water. Annoying. I didn’t need a bottle of water; I didn’t even need fizzy water. I should’ve helped myself to a glass of tap water to go with my coffee.

After coffee, I met The Husband for lunch. We had falafel wraps and colas. Annoyingly, the wraps were served on disposable plates with napkins. The colas came in glass bottles; I hope they were recycled. The Husband ordered lunch and I didn’t think to prompt him about single-use items. It’s the first time we’ve been able to meet up on his lunch break without children. A real treat and I was definitely distracted by being out with him. I’m annoyed we generated unnecessary waste by eating out.

Compromises

After lunch we whizzed around to buy supplies for the Big One’s fancy dress costume. School are having a fancy dress day tomorrow. The theme for her year is old fashioned toys. We didn’t have anything at home that would pass as an old toy. We came up with the idea of dressing her as a chess piece: she chose the white queen. I grabbed white leggings and a long sleeve tee from H&M’s Conscious (organic cotton) range and some funky foam from the craft shop. Not the most eco supplies, but at least the main part of her costume is made from organic cotton, she’ll be comfortable during the school day, and the clothes will be worn again. I used my trusty shopping tote avoiding the need to buy plastic carrier bags.

The After School Slog

After school is busy with new pick up times and clubs to get to. I didn’t have time to find a no-waste snack in the 10 minutes between getting home and to the school gate. The girls had a Cheesestring each after their club (I found them lurking in the fridge from the summer holiday) and an early tea of pizza and salad. For pudding they had squares of chocolate and fruit. I’m going to have to get more organised on the days when we’re busier after school. I can’t just fall back on convenience, as tempting as it may be.

Plastic-free fruit & veg

Our Barcombe Nurseries veg box came today and it was entirely plastic free. Look at it. It’s a thing of beauty!

Lessons learned today

Zero waste packed lunches are easy. Bento boxes, snack boxes and Tupperware completely wipe out the need for clingfilm or foil. Fruit comes in it’s own packaging. If your child isn’t given a drink in a cup at lunchtime, opt for a reusable bottle instead of juice boxes or single-use bottles (you can always add juice or squash if your child refuses plain water). It’s an easy way to cut down on single-use items and sugar. Providing the correct portion size in a lunchbox, rather than sending children with too much food for choice, will help avoid too much waste.

You need to be extra vigilant about single-use items when eating out. I ended up using a single-use plastic water bottle, disposable plate and paper napkin at lunchtime. These items were easily avoidable.

The late afternoon stretch is starting to put a spanner in our zero waste works. There’s definitely room to improve here – I’m going to have to put on my thinking cap. I need to think of some quick, zero or low-waste dinner options for the girls. I also need to mix up their after school snacks if we’re going to keep up our zero waste endeavours.

On a more positive note, our persistence is paying off and we’ve generated a very small amount of landfill today.


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