It’s not zero waste week, it’s zero waist for us

Filed in Blog by on January 29, 2009 5 Comments
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cucmber shrink wrapped in plasticWe got ourselves in a spot of bother on Monday. I’m finding it fascinating to see how each household faces different challenges with zero waste week. There are people who work long hours and don’t have time to cook, those who eat on the run or don’t know when they will get to sit down for their next meal, those with toddlers who waste a lot of food or those who can only get to one local supermarket and can’t find any zero waste options.
Where we live, we have some interesting challenges of our own. We are lucky to have a local farm shop, a butcher who will happily sell us meat in our own containers and a small supermarket. However, we are in a semi rural area and we discovered ourselves on the receiving end of this:


We popped into Lidls to buy a few things and I wanted to stock up on fresh vegetables because the farm shop isn’t open on a Monday. I was shocked to find that the only naked things in the shop were pineapples and potatoes. Everything and I mean everything else was plastic wrapped.

I was going to remove the packaging at the checkout, but you know how it is – you need  a knife to get into the wrapping. I’m not talking about clingfilm or one of those silly plastic bags, it was that thick shrink wrap that is a nightmare to get in to. I’ve never undressed at a checkout before and I didn’t want to embarrass myself further by taking too long, so I decided against it.

Cucumbers, salad onions and even, I kid you not, grapefuit were sold in thick, plastic packaging……….

I decided we would go to our local green grocer on the way home, but hey, guess what? On a Monday afternoon he closes.

So we called into our local ‘convenience store’ – it was freakin’ lunch time! Of course, in semi-rural England we still close for lunch hours. It’s cute, it’s quaint and I agree that the owners of small shops should have some down time, but geesh I had just travelled an extra 5 miles for nothing and I still didn’t have any vegetables for tea.

When Little Miss Green came home, we all went to the shop again. It was third time lucky for us, but nonetheless a bit of a frustrating adventure. What we saved in plastic packaging, we probably spent in fuel.

What particular challenges are you facing this week?

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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 (5)

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  1. Kris says:

    I’ve sometimes been caught out by half day closing – maybe that’s a must for the kitchen reminder board!

    I was studying the veg in our Lidl yesterday with interest for what was wrapped. Ours has loose tomatoes, pineapple, avocado, bananas and I think a couple of other things. They also had one of my personal bugbears – cauliflowers sitting in a nest of barcoded plastic, though at least I suppose those are easy to drop immediately post-scanning for the supermarket to keep.

    I’ve just been challenged by packaging on previously bought items – a cd arriving in a plastic cellophane coat (kept for craft) and a tag to come off new trousers (cardboard tag is fine, but I’ve now got not one but two plastic connector bits).

  2. John Costigane says:

    Lidls is one of my shops as well. I find most fruit/veg is unwrapped or easily removed from open wrapping. Exceptions to this are carrots, Brussel sprouts, lemons and some ranges with both wrapped and unwrapped, I choose the unwrapped.

    You can be caught out with early closing etc, or in my case late opening. Weekend shopping can cover most of the following week. A good shopping routine works best.

  3. LOL – I drove past one of our lovely farm shops yesterday to pick up some apples on the way back from a meeting….no apples to be seen anywhere………arrrrgh! Not fair, not fair…! Ended up having to go into Schmescos Express and buy a presealed bag, as the kids can’t wait until the market at the weekend. 😀 x

  4. Mrs Jackson says:

    My challenges are most definitely other people. They keep trying to give my toddler things, or use things for us that are not recycleable and can’t even respect our wishes for one week, and keep questionning us. The other thing I am having problems with is the trying to get through to people that there is no such thing as away – so am being told things like “it’s ok if you put it in the toilet”

  5. Mrs Green says:

    Weird about Lidls offering different things in different stores – you would think it would be nationwide.

    Sorry to hear about the apples, Mrs A 🙁

    Mrs J – the toilet thing; is that for real?! Oh my goodness. I’m sorry you are having issues with people not respecting your wishes; at least you have here for support and a feeling of ‘normality’ 😀

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