This blog post was going to be very different. My idea was to go to the supermarket, take a bunch of pictures with some wasteful packaging and write about how terrible it all was and how we can be so much better than that.
But, my friends, I promised that I was going to be honest with you, so here is my confession…
While I was there, I realised I needed to pick up a few bits for dinner. I decided to have some leftover homemade waste free veggie burgers that were in the freezer (I’ll share the recipe with you at some point, they’re awesome), but what do you need with a burger? A bun! I could go to the bakery for bread, but they’re closed on a Sunday so that was out. That’s okay I thought, I’ll get those loose ones they have in a supermarket and I’ll be really clever and put it in one of those papers bag they usually have next to the mushrooms. It turns out paper mushroom bags aren’t a thing in Tesco anymore. I thought maybe I could just take them loose, but the canvas bag I had was a bit grotty and you can’t wash bread! So I had to buy plastic, and I could have cried. And to top it off I bought salad in a plastic bag.
I left the supermarket feeling like an utter failure, a hypocrite. Who am I to blog about this if I’m walking home with a bag wasteful shopping? But here’s the thing, you’re only a failure if you don’t learn from your mistakes, so let’s take a look at where I went wrong:
- Preparation is everything – Spontaneous shopping just isn’t possible when you’re trying to reduce your waste. I had my canvas shopping bag, as I always do, but that was it. The supermarkets aren’t providing recyclable receptacles, so if you’re serious about this, you need to take your own. I’m going to have a go at making some light fabric bags out of old pillow cases, and I’ll blog about how it goes.
- Supermarkets just don’t cater for the waste conscious – I trusted that there would be a solution to my lack of preparation in the store, but there simply is no other option in those places. If you want bread or you want salad, you’re going to have buy some plastic. So don’t rely on supermarkets to solve your problems, shop around, go to your greengrocer or your bakery where most things aren’t pre-packaged, just don’t expect them to be open on a Sunday.
- Plan your meals – the way we shop has changed and more and more people are just popping in to the shop to get the bits they need for that night’s meal. This is great in terms of food waste and only buying what you need. But the trick is to know what you’re going to have before you go into the shop, before you leave the house (unlike me today). You can then plan what to take with you in order to do your waste free shop.
So, dearly beloved, that is my lesson for the day. I’m sure the more experienced among you will be thinking ‘well duhhh!’, but this was a lesson I had to learn. I hope that by being honest and sharing my silly mistake, I might help just a few of you, who like me are just starting out on this journey to a less wasteful way of life.