The last few weeks have passed quickly and with a sense of surreality. A year ago I never would have imagined that I’d be waiting for keys to a shop premises and planning a business right now. I never thought I ever had the drive to follow anything through. I was (and still am occasionally) a bit of a whimsical person – all the ideas but not much of the motivation.
That all changed when I stepped into a Zero Waste Shop in Narberth. Since then, things have snowballed quickly in the most positive way. From meticulously going through every detail of my business plan and cash flow to receiving the go ahead for my business loan – its flown by. Hard to think it was months of work.
But here we are. I’m a couple of days away from receiving the keys to the premises and I’m putting together my final price lists and budgets.
In my personal life, I’ve been taking steps to reduce my plastic usage further. Which has had its usual set backs and confusions.
Such as the new box of Twinnings loose leaf tea that I opened this evening. Previously, I had a box of PG tips loose leaf which – delightfully – came with no plastic lining inside its cardboard box, just a simple heat sealed paper covering. Great, yes? So why did I decide to change?… well, I like twinnings and they have good ethnics so I picked up a box at Morrison’s. Only thing is, when I opened it to indulge myself in a late evening beverage, I was rather disappointed to see that my tea leaves were in a little plastic bag.
Further inspection of the box failed to tell me if this plastic bag was recyclable. The feeling of exasperation was strong but I continued to pop the tea leafs in my tea defuser and make my tea.
I may be losing you there to the melodrama but its not almost as exasperating as the first time I went to the fish mongers counter at Morrisons.
It was a bit later on in the day so the fish monger him/herself wasn’t at the counter. I waited patiently, watching the two salmon fillets I wanted as if they were about to leap back to life and escape their icey bed. An attendant from another counter spotted me and came across, stating she didnt know how to de-scale or cut up fish properly so she hoped I wasn’t needing anything like that. I reassured her that I did not and pointed at the two fillets that I wanted (which, thankfully, hadn’t started to dance yet).
At this point I’ll remind you that this is the first time I’ve ever gone to a fish mongers counter for anything and me being an awkward sort at times, this new experience was not going to run smoothly.
My non-fish monger attendant was reaching for the plastic bags when I suddenly remembered that I should probably be telling her that I don’t want that. Caught by the nervousness and my own silly ways, I jolted -and may have shouted a little, “But I don’t want the plastic!” Whilst wildly banishing my BPA free tubberware.
The resulting confusion of converse between us only led to be taking my salmon fillets home in my box but not without using plastic entirely. She still took TWO plastic bags out and used them to – 1. Put on the scales to “protect” them. 2. To pick up the fish with.
I walked away feeling proud that I had survived my fist fish monger experience and exasperated that I may as well have just got the fish in the plastic bags. If its not saving anything from going into landfill, then what is the point?
You’ll be glad to hear that my faith was restored when I visited the butchers counter at Tesco***. This was an overall positive experience. I was armed with my tubberware and having learnt from my previous experience at the fish mongers, got ready what I wanted to say. Except I must have over prepared because the butcher knew exactly what I wanted as soon as I told him I was reducing my plastic consumption. He wrapped up everything in paper for me and didnt even use plastic to put on the scales (cos those things can be cleaned in between uses). The only thing he used were gloves and that’s okay for me. You can’t fight them when it comes to hand hygiene. I didnt really need the tubberware in the end has it was wrapped up well in the paper. I do recommend using your butchers for any meat products you want, ask them if they have paper to wrap up and if not, ask if using your own containers is okay. They’ll more than likely try and cater to your wishes the best they can and if more people start asking, the more likely it’ll become a permanent feature.
Taking baby steps towards a plastic free life is still progress. Even if all you can do is cut down on the amount of single use plastics you’re using. Some things have been easier then others. Some things have even made me stop buying and eating junk food – always a positive. Whatever you can do its still making a difference. In fact, I recently saw a quote that spoke volumes, so I’ll leave it with you…
“We don’t need a handful of people doing Zero Waste perfectly, we need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”
– Anne Marie Bonneau
***On a side note: It was late in the day and the local butchers had closed at this point. I needed a set number of ingredients for dinner and didn’t want the added waste (plastic and food) that came with “off the shelf” meat. I would have preferred to go to a local butchers but after being busy all day, I just couldn’t. I am looking into buying more from local businesses in the future.