A morning spent zero waste window shopping at Taurus Crafts

Filed in Blog by on September 16, 2008 27 Comments
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deli at Taurus crafts for lots of zero waste treats

You remember we set off to Taurus Crafts last week and rain stopped play? Well on Friday, with the Gods and the sun shining upon us, we finally spent a morning there!

And what treats we found. I also think I have found the solution to all my Christmas shopping!

In the deli, Mr Green treated himself to freshly ground coffee beans which were presented to him in a paper bag. Little Miss Green found herself hot footing it into a chocolatiers, where everything is made on the premises and sold in paper bags. We found organic bread in compostable bags – the bags felt like old condoms mind you, but the idea is great, dried herbs in tins, pasta in cardboard boxes, and almonds, sunflower seeds, linseeds, long grain rice and muesli all available in paper bags!

What a find!handmade chocolate sold in paper bags

Little Miss Green bought a handmade purse in there, which came in a plastic bag. But the staff had caught onto our mission by this point (one even said – Oh, My Zero Waste, yes I’ve heard of you :D)Β  and they took the plastic bag from us. They will take any packaging back and everything from the premises is recycled.

As we were sitting outside enjoying coffees and ice cream, we saw a man from the restaurant come out with scraps for the compost heap. Every day they make fresh soup from vegetables in the grounds which is served with home made bread. Today’s was a warming and seasonal carrot, leek and parsnip.

Outside the restaurant is a bin, but you’re not allowed to put glass or tins in there. You have to leave them on the tables to be picked up for recycling. In the restaurant there is nothing disposable except for paper napkins, but I have no doubt you could return them to the staff for commposting too. Sugar arrives in a glass sugar shaker and all condiments come in glass bottles or in their made-on-the-premises pottery.

You get proper knives and forks, milk in small jugs and salt and pepper in, well, salt and pepper shakers.

You can buy handmade jewellery, hand made pottery – you can even paint your own crockery and have it professionally fired, and there are lots of fair trade and local crafts. Waste minimisation is hot news at Taurus Crafts, where rubbish is seen as a resource and kept to the absolute minimum in the first place.

zero waste wedding favours

Lots of gifts in the shop were unwrapped and paper bags were seen everywhere. They had some rather tempting reusable shopping bags, but I didn’t let temptation get in the way this time πŸ™‚ You could also buy lovely tins and storage containers for flour, sugar and tea, just like the sort of thing your Grandmother would have had in her home.

Taurus Crafts is a Camphill community, which offer opportunities for people with learning disabilities, mental health problems and other special needs to live, learn and work with others of all abilities in an atmosphere of mutual care and respect.
The emphasis is on natural material – pottery and wood mainly. Most Camphill communities hand make wooden toys for children as well as their famous homewares. They also make beeswax candles and all communities aim to be as self sufficient as possible.

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (27)

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  1. Hi Mrs Green,

    Zero Waste Alternatives by the dozen. This place is a must visit for myself and others readers. Food essentials done the old way is an excellent offering.

    With Christmas coming, it could be the ideal place for the bits and pieces aroud the home. Do they have a Christmas

  2. Hi Mrs G – sounds like you had a fab morning. What a great sounding place and I love the look of that chocolate. Places like this really do make a difference not just to the local customers they serve but to the community they help. It’s brilliant that they’ve heard of you too, always helps when you’re pushing onwards with new ideas. Hope you’re feeling better today. Lots of hugs from Suffolk. xxx

  3. Kris says:

    Glad you made it to Taurus Crafts in the end – it sounds like you had a good time πŸ™‚

    And yes – you’ve successfully tempted me!

  4. Mrs Green says:

    Hi John,
    I admit we had an ‘if only’ wistful look in our eyes as we walked around; it would be great if many more establishments adopted some of the ideas at Taurus. The only ‘down side’ if you like, is that you pay a premium and in a world of ‘how much can I get for my money’ it will not appeal to all. I’m not sure about a ‘christmas range’ as such – do you mean decorations, cards, gifts or foodie things? I’m quite sure there will be something going on; it’s the perfect place for it.

    Hi mrs A – a trip to the osteopath and I felt much better yesterday, thank you. I like supporting ventures that are helping the community as well as the environment. You feel it is money well spent. The only thing I’m disappointed with is that their toys selection has gone downhill. Once upon a time it was 50% handmade wood; now there was a tiny shelf of offerings and they have fallen for the cheap, plastic toys marketing. But I shall be speaking to the manager about that to see what he has to say.

    πŸ˜€ Kris – let us know if you get there and what you think. You could incorporate it into a day in the forest.

  5. Hi Mrs Green,

    My interest is replacing all Christmas waste items, as it is such a wasteful time of year.
    Things like christmas crackers, sweets, tree decorations, present wrapping and many other items would be included. Once these alternatives become available they should also become the standard eventually.

  6. Poppy says:

    We went to Taurus to meet up with family from Wales a couple of years ago and I’ve been promising myself a return visit without children (!) ever since, but as inspiring as your article is, I feel it’s going to have to wait until the A40 work has been completed πŸ˜‰

  7. Mrs Green says:

    Ahh, I see John. Well I’m planning lots of articles on these things nearer the time. I hope some of it will be helpful for other people to read about.

    Poppy; I know what you mean about the A40 – I haven’t visited Gloucester since the roadworks started. Is it still on for a November finish do you know?

  8. Poppy says:

    I’ve not heard otherwise, but I’ll try to take more notice for the next update. To be fair I tend to take in what’s happening at this end more than the Glos/Forest end.

    As you know, I have a friend not far from you. She regularly visits this way, but she comes via the M50 and M5. It must be costing her a small fortune!

  9. Marie Phillips says:

    It was a shock to read John Costigane’s comments about Christmas – already! I don’t want to think about it yet but will say that we have an artificial tree (yes, it’s plastic) that we’ve had for about 20 years and every year we get out the same decorations to put on it – all of them go back many, many years and bring back many memories that add to the joy of that joyous time of year. We collect a bit of holly from a local field and hang up some glass baubles. And that’s us really.

    This year I’m re-thinking presents and wondering about paying for the adoption of an animal for a year for nearest and dearest, and making chocolates or cakes as a bit extra. I too love the shops like the one you went to Mrs G but also find them expensive. Still, it makes for a lovely outing and there’s nothing wrong with window shopping is there?

  10. Hi Marie,

    The reason for mentioning Christmas early is to highlight the colossal amount of waste created at this time of year. It will take careful planning to find all alternatives to the huge array waste packaging whether it be toys, sweets, food, clothes, white goods et al.
    A Zero Waste Christmas, not forgetting the New Year, will be a difficult challenge but one we should aim to achieve this year and in future years.

  11. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Marie; you’re right, Christmas seems such a long way away and I’m about to enjoy the second day of an Indian Summer it would appear. I guess we find that doing the zero waste thing requires **planning** – last minute shopping would be a no-no because then you make bad decisions based on need or impulse.

    I think it’s great that you have decorations that carry memories – you cannot buy that in a shop! your idea of adopting an animal for people is great – some people love that. There are many companies such as Good Gifts or Oxfam Unwrapped too that you might be interested in.

    I’m lucky in that I don’t have a lot of people to buy for, John. I’ve whittled it down over the years, but I’m with you on this one; careful planning should see a huge reduction in waste. I’m really looking forward to the challenge

  12. Hi Mrs Green,

    You know the issue well, as I and other like-minds do. People generally just accept the waste. There is even special recycling collection of wrapping paper, cardboard etc.

    The attitude should be that we aim for Zero Christmas waste, encourage others to think the same way and influence production and retail to change their wasteful practices. I am sure there will be numerous topics covering the issue, not to mention YouTube and other activities.

  13. Poppy says:

    Latest A40 info is that despite a set back, they’re on schedule to finish on time – November 1st πŸ™‚

  14. Mrs Green says:

    John, we’re talking about a change of behaviour again, which is something that I seem to keep writing about. As you say, people seem to just accept the waste. I know I have in the past, but each year it becomes more difficult to do so……

    Good news Poppy; thank you! I look forward to it (although it’s been interesting to see just how long I can manage without having to go into GLoucester!)

  15. Hi Mrs Green,

    Change is necessary but there is a lack top-down direction in the process. Consumers therefore have to lead the trend. That is the importance of Zero Waste in the UK.

    The blog topics, with Youtube insights, at least cover the issues and hopefully attract others to join-in. This is happening. We could test the depth of support by starting a membership.

    The New Year Gloucester Council ZWW (with our backing) can be a turning point. Success in this will lead to countrywide change. It may be a disappointment which is always a possibility but lessons will have been learned for future efforts. Monentum will build after the New Year festivities, after a few days recovery.

  16. Mrs Green says:

    I agree that consumers need to lead the way, John; it’s just gathering a critical mass to make it work. But I feel this will come in time. These things always take time.
    It will be interesting to see how the Gloucestershire zero waste week turns out and how much interest is generated.

  17. Kris says:

    We’ve got into a slightly odd pattern with consumerism – we don’t buy ourselves the things we want any more, they all go onto birthday and Christmas lists, so whilst that is a time when lots of new things come into our home, it’s a rarity. Maybe it’s a strange ‘grown-up’ notion to wait for the gratification of new possessions but it works for us, and it seems to work for the people who want to buy us gifts as it gives them the satisfaction of an eagerly received present.

  18. Mrs Green says:

    that’s great Kris, it sounds like the Kris household has a perfect plan in place and as long as it works for you, that’ all that matters πŸ™‚

  19. Kris says:

    I’ve set in motion my Taurus Crafts plan today, asking my Aunt if she’d like to accompany me and picking an approximate date (cunningly, just around my birthday!) so now I’m really looking forward to it.

  20. Mrs Green says:

    Ooooo, sounds lovely. Perhaps we could try and coincide; I need to go again before Christmas to do some present shopping.

  21. Kris says:

    Yippee – I am off to Taurus Crafts this week (Weds) and really looking forward to it! πŸ™‚

  22. Mrs Green says:

    Tomorrow! Yay – have a great time. We could have met up, but Little Miss Green is poorly
    OH well, you’ll just have to pay another visit πŸ˜‰ I hope you enjoy it – tell us all about it, won’t you?

  23. Kris says:

    I will do – and sorry to hear LMG is poorly, I wish her a speedy recovery.

    Btw – they have a Christmas shop now… according to the website, we’re looking forward to seeing it.

  24. Kris says:

    I haven’t forgotten I promised to comment on our visit – but I just haven’t had time yet.

    As we didn’t get to paint pottery we’re definitely planning a return – and then again I think to pick up the pottery we’ve painted…

    Sorry to hear LMG is still so under the weather.

  25. Mrs Green says:

    Hey, no worries, Kris – all in good time. Good news about the Christmas Shop – LMG has been asking to go again, so we’ll be fitting in a trip between now and the Big C.
    I take it you enjoyed it, otherwise you wouldn’t be going back for a spot of pottery painting πŸ™‚

  26. Mr Ingo says:

    Hello Mrs Green,
    I’ve seen your article only this morning – please allow me to reply…
    It warms my heart to hear comments on taurus like yours – even better see them written down!
    I ve been working in and for taurus for a while, its ‘green’ credentials and aspirations are very close to my heart. Reality presents me a daily fight “against all odds” at times, I find it difficult to stop and lift my head above all the things that could be done better and look back to what we have achieved here.
    Thanks for one of those, quite beautiful, moments!!

  27. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Mr Ingo – welcome to the site. I’m so glad you found our write up and enjoyed reading it! I’m sure many people are impressed with the ethics of Taurus Crafts and visit you again and again. It always seems to be thriving whenever we visit. Next time we’re there, we’ll try and find you and introduce ourselves πŸ™‚

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