Eat even more local!

supporting local farms AND plastic free!I’ve been ordering veg boxes for the past 3 years now, trying my best to favour organic, local and where possible plastic-free produce. For the most part it’s been fantastic, however I have noticed more and more plastic creeping in! I also used to opt for the UK only veg box option, however coupled with the produce we’re growing ourselves we often had too much of one thing, so we reverted to a no-root-veg box. It was still in our opinion a better choice than the supermarket but meant the food was travelling a lot further than we’d have liked, though I can’t fault the company, their customer service was fantastic.

I was extremely excited to find a veg box service from a local farm approximately 8 miles away, who would be able to supply us with a cheaper box, grown right here in Dorset. So we switched! I explained that I don’t want any plastic, and the farmer is very happy to use paper bags or even take my containers to refill.

One of the best parts is that he delivers the veg boxes himself, so I got to meet face to face the person growing my food, a real rarity these days. It made me more appreciative of the food and I haven’t wasted a thing, it feels really precious when you’re that close to it. He also brings the food in a wooden crate which he then takes back the next week and reuses. No disposables! I can’t believe my luck!

I am of course aware we might have doubles of produce again, as we’ll be a little limited by what can grow in the UK at certain times of the year, so to combat this I have ordered seeds of unusual varieties of vegetables from the Real Seed catalogue, in the hope of avoiding duplicates. They’re a great little company that try to keep unusual and heirloom varieties going, as biodiversity globally is in decline.

Now we have broken up the soil with a large crop of potatoes in 2017 we’ll also be diversifying what we plant this year, making things more interesting for us and embracing the permaculture principles of ‘use and value diversity’ and ‘creatively use and respond to change’.

Advertisements

Plastic vs food waste

is packaged ever the right choice_As often happens when you’re trying to do the right thing… you encounter a dilemma. For me, a recurring one is choosing plastic free produces versus items that are about to be thrown away and trying to save them.

For example, one week back on Sunday I hadn’t planned particularly well for the week ahead, and had very little fresh food for the evening. My usual places to shop (the local vegan shop etc) were closed, and my veg box wasn’t due til the Tuesday, so I resorted to Tesco. Piled high, with not much time til closing, were mountains of plastic wrapped fruits and vegetables, all destined for the bin in less than half an hour. Do I carry on purchasing the naked fruit and veg, or rescue what I could from the landfill..? It’s a tricky one, but I went with the reduced items on this occasion as I couldn’t bear the thought of all that food going to waste (and flowers too! I don’t buy cut flowers due to environmental concerns but again I couldn’t bear to think that flowers still not even opened were about to be binned…)

Did I do the right thing? I still don’t know. I appreciate that consumers need to create a demand for unpackaged goods by refusing the plastic-wrapped stuff and I do as much as I can, but on this occasion it just seemed so wrong to buy newer produce knowing food flown across the world was about to be scrapped.

What would you do??

 

Nerd is the word

I used to find talking about periods embarrassing and shameful. I suppose that’s part of our culture, that it’s somehow a taboo subject. That explains the hilarious adverts we see on tv with the blue liquid poured daintily on a sanitary pad. Clearly, red would be too much!

However, since I have become more open when talking about periods, I’ve found there’s less and less to be embarrassed about. In fact, I find speaking about them freely to be quite empowering, and an important change that more people should make. After all they do affect over 50% of the world’s population!

Why do I mention them now you may ask? Well, for many years I used disposable sanitary products, either pads and towels, and I never really considered where those products would eventually wind up. I even flushed tampons regularly, believing that was totally fine to do. Well, the thing is, there are much better options out there and we really should starting talking about them! After all, sanitary products are known for causing problems in the environment and the average person who has periods will use over 11,000 disposable products in their life! The average kilometre of UK beach has around 20 sanitary pads and 9 tampons washed up on the shore. Others will sit in landfill for decade, even centuries to come.

Menstrual cups are notoriously met with grimaces and disgust, yet they are the most wonderful product! I have two, the Organicup and the Mooncup, and I love them! I remember buying my first cup and was too scared to use it for 3 periods before I finally gave it a try.  I’ve never looked back!

Reusable menstrual pads also get a bad rap, people often viewing them as dirty and unhygienic. Neither is true. In fact, they are extremely comfortable, very absorbent and cost effective. I have 12 pads of varying sizes and designs and a little pouch for them that I use when I want to pop one in my bag. The designs are adorable, from rainbows and unicorns to multicoloured elephants. What’s not to like!?

I have a small bucket in the bathroom to soak them once used, then they go in the washing machine with the rest of the laundry and dry on the radiator, ready for next month. It really couldn’t be easier, and I promise they are nothing to be ashamed of!

Go ahead, give them a try! Those who know me personally will be well aware I am completely obsessed with the Lord of the Rings, and LOOK! I can add pads to my LOTR collection, that’s taking nerd to the next level! You don’t get that with your Tampax!

27337291_10159864704570114_3698139617597588213_n

 

A zero waste Christmas

This Christmas, I decided I wanted to employ some serious changes. Over the last couple of years it really bothered me how much waste could be created in the forms of wrapping paper, envelopes and tape within a few minutes. That’s not even considering all the packaging on the gifts themselves!

To counter this I popped down to my local fabric shop and rummaged in the offcuts bin for some Christmassy looking fabrics. I struck lucky, finding 5 different prints, all gorgeous and all for £2 each! Bargain!

I had been gifted with some green ribbon at work that was going spare, so I spent the next few evenings sewing drawstring bags of varying sizes to pop all my gifts in for my family. They went down so well my mum has kept them to use next year, so it looks like I will be making more! I’m happy with that!

It cut down the waste I could have created this Christmas, and meant nothing I bought went to landfill. I also bought as much as I could from second hand shops and everyone was happy with their gifts!

What do you think? How have you cut down on waste this Christmas? I’d love to hear more ideas.

 

There’s no business like show business

starlight

One of my all time loves in life is musical theatre. I’ve been performing in amateur musicals since I was 12. I even have a degree in Professional Musical Theatre.

But, the theatre world is not particularly known for its eco friendly credentials. In fact, during each show I am often torn between the love of theatre, and the knowledge that huge amounts of resources go into producing a musical. For many people attempting to live a lower impact lifestyle there are aspects of our lives that completely juxtapose what we are attempting to do.

I have, however, taken some small steps to ensure that I am lowering my impact on a personal level during rehearsals and show week.

Last year my dance shoes started to fall apart, one by one. I managed to fix my ballet shoes for another month or so of wear, but unfortunately they eventually gave out. Luckily, my sister had purchased a pair too big for her about 4 or 5 years ago, and I was able to use hers instead of buying new.

During show week, particularly for the ladies, there’s a huge amount of potential waste, from make up to false eyelashes to hair grips. After years of losing an insane amount of hair grips (I am sure many of you have been there!) I found an old tin that I started to store them in. Although this didn’t stop some of them falling out, it did mean I didn’t lose many in the dressing room. I also decided to spend a little extra on some (vegan of course) false eyelashes, and removed the old glue each evening, instead of abusing them and getting through several pairs during a run. I still have my lashes from Starlight Express, ready for the next show to come along!

Finally, at the end of a show I have ditched the disposable make up wipes for some cream cleanser and reusable flannel pads.

Our next production is a small Christmas concert, and I am very proud to say I managed to find the perfect dress for only £8, second hand! Who says it doesn’t pay to be green?

oz

 

 

 

 

The final straw!

Don’t you love it when you come across an unexpected effort to reduce waste?

On Saturday my mum and sister were visiting me as I was performing in a local musical. We decided to go out to our favourite eatery for breakfast, the Mad Cucumber in Bournemouth. If you’re ever in Bournemouth I would highly recommend it! Great atmosphere and lovely, homemade food.

I was especially pleased (or more like overexcited) to find my milkshake arrived with a metal straw! Knowing that businesses are starting to get on board with zero-waste makes me so happy. They also use jam jars for water glasses, and you can take your own container in if you want to take some cake away. I didn’t think supporting a local, 100% vegan business could get much better, but they surprised me!

straws