Have you seen Sarah Lazarovich’s Buyerachy of Needs poster.? This has been pinned to the cork board in my kitchen for over a year now, and acts as a timely reminder of the choices we can make. I’m still going strong on my intention not to buy anything new over this year, not too hard given we’re only two weeks in!
Before Christmas I managed to snap my plastic lemon juicer, hadn’t replaced it, but needed one for marmalade brewing. Rather than buying a new one I asked my lovely neighbour if I could borrow hers, and in return I was able to gift her a pot of marmalade when I took it back. We have so many items in our houses which we seldom use – but we feel we have to have – lemon juicers, food processors, lawn mowers, drill, tools, ladders etc, but we each feel that we have to have our own. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could create a lending library of ‘stuff’ that we could share amongst our community? One lawnmower would do a whole street, and think of the community ties and friends you’d make along the way! (If you are interested in trying to set this up please talk to Nigel Jones of Jersey in Transition (see the Facebook group) as it’s something we’ve been talking about.)
In Jersey we have a very sociable culture, and eating out is a huge part of that scene – with a variety of restaurants, bars, cafes and kiosks on offer. I might be on a zero waste journey, but I still want to carry on and enjoy the same things – so I am learning to be prepared and tweak my choices.
Take for instance the world famous Hungry Man cafe, percherd on the pier ar Rozel Harbour. Apart from the most excellent food (the best egg and bacon butty in the whole island!) their zero waste credentials, from a consumer perspective, are awesome. Despite being set up in a tiniest of space they still serve with proper plates, cups and cutlery, so no paper plate or plastic cup waste is generated here when you eat out. Although they have packets of sauces, they also use refillable bottles, so its easy to make the waste free choice. The only tweak I’ve made is to take a little pot of sugar with me, as their sugar is in paper sachets, and ask them not to put a paper napkin on my plate.
We stopped here for breakfast, on this rainy Sunday morning and I had a lovely chat with the crew there. It was quickly apparent just how environmentally conscious this business already is, and they were fully supportive of zero waste iniatives. They are more than happy for you to take your own containers if you want take away, they have sugar cubes out back for a non-waste option – and just chat to them if you have any other ideas! It was lovely talking with like minded people – instead of feeling out on a limb as I so often do.
This week I also faced the dreaded supermarket. Can someone please explain to me why the charging of single use plastic bags is seen as such a massive leap forward, and yet our shelves are rammed full of film covered produce (non-recycleable) and plastic bottles (which can be recycled IF people actually DO recycle, but also their lids which are not currently recycleable in Jersey).
What are your drivers for shopping? And I don’t mean the bus or a chauffeur, although it would be nice if someone is offerering me a lift in a Renovo Motors coupe, the coolest eco electric car in the world. I mean such things as price, freshness, locality, producer, accessibility and such. For me, the two main drivers are local and organic – if I can get one of these choices I’m happy, if I can get both its a huge, but sadly seldom, win. Now add to that the fact that I am looking to go zero waste (at best) or recyclable (at least) as an option and shopping is becoming a real challenge!
Take for instance the making of marmalade. I was browsing in Waitrose and saw that the Seville oranges were out, perfect for marmalade. As much as global warming is affecting our Jersey weather it’s not yet at a stage where we can buy oranges locally grown. There were no zero-waste options to buy Seville oranges, the only option being to buy a box (cardboard – recycleable – tick) of organic oranges (organic – tick). Not too tricky.
And so to the sugar. The option was to buy white granulated sugar in a 1kg paper bag (recycleable – tick) or natural granulated organic sugar in 500g plastic wrapped bags (organic – tick). There is no zero waste option in the island as yet so I chose one over the other because I could recycle the packaging. (Have you seen how much sugar goes in to marmalade???? Maybe the zero-waste thing would be to not use marmalade!). Like I say, shopping is becoming a challenge – I usually throw the things I need in my basket, without consideration of the bigger picture. (And, I know its a first world problem, but I’m just trying to do the best I can in my environment.)
But for now I have home-made marmalade, for my family and to gift or barter, with zero food waste (the whole orange is used in marmalade, seeds and pith added to the compost heap), generating only two types of waste (both recyclable), stored in re-purposed jars, with labels on (which were destined for the bin at a previous employer, and I have been using up since on home-made produce.) I’m happy with that, I’d call that a win.
I had two other zero-waste wins this week – one planned and one not. Firstly I decided to cancel all my bills. Sadly we’re not actually able to cancel our bills, but at least I could cancel receiving them in paper format – Jersey Gas, Jersey Electricity, bank statements and phone bills. In Jersey we often have to provide evidence of proof of address so I have kept the Jersey Water bill in paper format, for now. This has saved over 60 pages of paper and negates the need for me to secure store or shred the bills, and cuts down on my home clutter! These are some of the the links if you’d like to do the same:
Jersey Gas – https://ebill.ebillswisspost.co.uk/ieg/SelfSignForm
Jersey Water – https://www.jerseywater.je/about-us/your-account/go-paperless/
The second, unexpected, win was while visiting the Cartridge Centre at La Colomberie. I needed a replacement ink cartridge for my printer, and have used the Cartridge Centre for a few years as they offer recycled cartridges. I dropped my old cartridge off and picked up the recycled one, but it was sealed in a plastic wrap, inside a cardboard box. I spoke to the team there, and as all the cartridges are refilled and packaged on site I was able to leave the outer box behind (which they will re-use). This left the sealed inner package for now – but next time, if i give them warning, I can have my old cartridge filled while I wait or they’ll hold me back a refilled cartridge without sealing it. A truly waste-free option. Awesome Cartridge Centre, I was suitably impressed!
This week I have been talking to bakers and greengrocers, farmers and dairies so more on those outcomes in the coming weeks! What are your zero-waste or recycling wins this week? Come and join in the discussions on the Zero Waste Jersey facebook page.
My non recyclable waste this week, from our household of two, was 3.2kg (year to date 5.1kg) destined for the energy-from-waste plant. I haven’t done any recycling yet this year as I’m planning a special visit to look around the new Acorn Re-Use centre on Wednesday, but I have the follow ready to go – Cardboard, 2.5kg, Paper, 5.3kg, plastics 0.3kg and metals 0.8kg. To be honest I’m not expecting the recyclables to go down much in the short terms as I tackle the mass of clutter in my home – but step by step we’ll get there! And the de-cluttering rumbles on……..
The more conscious I become, the more I see that I need to change – it feels daunting but I’m going to carry on with my baby steps – changing one thing at a time, incorporating it into my life until it become the new norm.
Enjoy your week!