Day six – finger on the pulse

We have a vegan cafe at the end of our road which opened just before Christmas.

I suspect it would describe itself as part of Brixton’s foodie reinvention but it’s firmly in Stockwell and we have claimed it as our own.

The cafe has an adjacent shop with every conceivable pulse, nut and rice, not to mentions large detergent refills. There’s something quite thrilling about the little levers that pour various pulses into our pots and paper bags and I resist the urge to watch them overfill and rapidly cover the floor…

Day five – weekend

No supermarket shop today – the delights of Brixton Village instead and the remains of the Christmas ham became a Twelfth Night pie. We spent no more than £6 on vegetables – vast salad onions, lemons, tomatoes and thyme (inserts vast photograph).

My other discovery today, and quite by chance, was a brilliant charity called WasteAid. One in three people globally don’t have their waste taken away and so they dump or burn it, leading to public health and environmental problems. WasteAid supports local people to become self-employed “recycling entrepreneurs”, turning ‘waste’ into wealth.

WasteAid’s intervention builds prosperity, improves health and protects the environment. Check out this short video:

Day four – crisps

Goodbye Real McCoys – no more will I be able to scoff your delicious flavour ridge cut crisps in cheese and onion or tongue tingling salt and vinegar. No more hushed exchanges with the snack shop vendor at Baker Street tube station and a packet scoffed on two escalator rides… I digress.

While Walkers have announced a crisp packet recycling scheme (from last month snack fans can post used bags in envelopes for free to a recycling company) sadly the manufacturer of McCoys, KP Snacks, can still only comment that:

“Whilst much of the flexible film we use for snack packaging is technically recyclable, it’s not practically recyclable in the UK currently. “

Ah well in these dark, wintry (hungry) months probably a good thing for me.

Day three – shaving foam

First day back at work after Christmas and I’ve run out of shaving foam.

My first big decision about what/where to buy took me to Lush, a store I hadn’t been near in 20 years.

The black fitout and smart staff were a long way from the 90s and I was briskly directed to a small black pot of gunk called “Dirty” made from 100% recycled plastic which I can bring back when empty.

Toiletries are going to be interesting – I’m using things up rather than just binning and I need to get clear on what replaces deodorant and toothpaste pretty sharpish.

In other news this was the first day of new packed lunch regime. Ed also rose to the challenge with this lunch of champions.

Day two – milk

Friends of the Earth estimate that an average glass milk bottle is reused about 15 times (and can be as much as 50 times) which makes re-usable milk bottles a more energy-efficient choice than disposable plastic.

It bothers me that one of our biggest daily plastic purchases is milk and I was delighted to discover that deliver in our area of London.

My challenge is that we live in a residential block of flats on a fairly busy road. I don’t think we can leave milk deliveries on the street so I’ve contacted our managing agents to see if we can have delivered to a secure room used by contractors in the building. I suspect this will be met with a “no” but informal canvassing suggests there is wider interest in the building – here’s hoping.

The journey starts here

The secret of getting ahead is getting started – Mark Twain

So it started with Liz Bonnin’s heartbreaking “Drowning in Plastic” documentary in September 2018. Liz worked with some of the world’s leading marine biologists and campaigners to discover the true dangers of plastic in our oceans. A few weeks later, on holiday in Morrocco, we came across this desperate looking beach.

Life’s a beach – Asilah

I love everything about swimming and for the first time I was faced with a sea I didn’t want to swim in. Plastic waste was everywhere. I mentioned at work, and Secret Santa threw down the gauntlet with a present of The Marine Conservation Society’s “How to Live Plastic Free”.

We thought let’s start with January. This blog is our diary of how we approached a series of challenges to learn to live with less plastic and learnt something along the way.