Vivienne Westwood shares her tip for reducing food packaging waste

Filed in Blog, Guest Posts by on June 16, 2011 15 Comments
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Find out where Vivienne Westwood gets all her energy!

Find out where Vivienne Westwood gets all her energy!

I’m delighted to share a guest post today from Vivienne Westwood. Vivienne shares many ‘ecological’ and human rights passions which she weaves into her business and personal life.

She is ‘fur free’ in her collections and has a range of vegan shoes. In 2008, one of her collections called ‘Chaos Point’ was created to remind people about the impending global ecological crisis.

Last month, Vivienne met with executives from the UKs largest national newspaper publisher to raise awareness of climate change and the urgent need to save the rainforests (she received a 70 acre plot of rainforest for her 70th Birthday this year). To support this passion, Vivienne works closely with Cool Earth; a charity working with local communities to secure forests at risk of being destroyed within the next 18 months.

Over in Kenya, Vivienne is working with a group of women who are making handbags for her collections from recycled materials. You can read more about it on her ‘Active Resistance’ blog. She’s even designed a limited edition drinking bottle with SIGG to get people reusing instead of buying bottled water!

So what fuels a woman with so much passion, enthusiasm and drive?

Read on to discover which one thing Vivienne feels can make a real difference to both you and the world and find out where she gets all that energy from! really addresses issues that make a difference to our planet. If you really want to make a difference – to yourself and the world – my best advice would be to stop eating meat. It completely changes your attitude towards your environment.

I eat only fresh fruit and vegetables – raw whenever possible. An example of my daily diet is:

Breakfast: Fruit, which is best eaten on an empty stomach.

Lunch: I keep a grater at work and make myself a kind of coleslaw – carrots, cabbage, onion, caraway seeds, a little mayonnaise and some vegetable extract.

Dinner: A big green salad with some cooked vegetables, usually steamed, with a little oil.

I don’t think meat is healthy for you. The idea that we need to eat meat for protein is wrong and our bodies need to work very hard to get rid of all the meat toxins. Everything I eat is made by plants from water, air, sunlight and minerals from the soil.

You get all the protein you need from plants and your body can be very strong. Since changing to an all plant based diet – and only fresh produce – my recycling waste has reduced and I’ve never felt so well.



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 (15)

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  1. CarSue says:

    While I agree with everything Vivienne is saying and doing (hooray for you!), I was a bit confused as to how eating no meat helps reduce food waste. Did I miss something?

    However, I most certainly agree that the diet should be be primarily based on fruits and vegetables. In my home, it’s quite easy to go through an entire summer without purchasing anything grown or made more than 10 miles away. I think that a wonderful way for people to waste less food is to get back to basics and simply buy and eat what they need. When people get all this mass produced crap and jam their fridges full of it, it’s easy to see why a lot of it goes off. We buy only a week’s worth of goods at a time, and grow a lot of our own fruits and vegetables.

    These are wonderful sentiments, Vivienne. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Joddle says:

    What a surprise to see a guest post from her. Sorry to say it in a way, but I find her sanctimonious about her eco ways. I neither take inspiration nor advice from her. What is the strange food table about?

  3. Andrea says:

    I guess at her age she isn’t bothered about it so much but her daily diet as described is not an healthy one. She will be missing many vital nutrients, just as a for instance, calcium. There isn’t enough of the vital nutrients in fruit and vegetables to keep health long term.

  4. Sue says:

    My kids are going to love this ‘What’s for tea mum?’ ‘A big green salad and some steamed vegetables’.
    What nonsense.

  5. Joanne says:

    “Everything I eat is made by plants from water, air, sunlight and minerals from the soil.” Except the mayonnaise…..! Last time I checked, plants don’t lay eggs.

    I think the food combining table at the bottom is a faddy diet, with no scientific basis, which is not very green because it makes it much harder for people to use up their leftovers. I would rather not see it on a zero waste website thank you!

  6. CarSue says:

    Oh, and a separate note, I checked out that Optimum Health Institute website, and it was pretty ridiculous. It was just page after page of trying to get you to sign up for their healing centers and pay a bunch of money. Plus, it is a “non-denominational Christian” organization. It was pretty off-putting.

  7. Mrs Green says:

    @CarSue: Hi Sue, your lifestyle sounds wonderful. I think eating fresh fruit and veg means you probably prepare just the amount you want to eat at any one time and of course, any ‘waste’ can be composted much more easily than cooked food? Thanks for sharing your views on the Optimum Health Institute website too 🙂

    @Joddle: Hi Joddle, the text before the words in italics are all my words, done from my own research. Vivienne didn’t ask me to write any of it, but as I searched around for her passions and interests I for one, was pretty inspired and wanted to share it on the site.

    @Andrea: Hi Andrea, I used to think exactly the same and then someone I know ate a diet like this for 18 months and the changes were amazing. She was SO full of energy, felt great, was clearer in her mind, in a better mood – it was quite a revelation and I admit, I found it hard to believe!

    @Sue: I guess if you’re living on your own these decisions are much easier to make. People criticise us for doing our zero waste lifestyle with a child thinking we are dogmatic with her, but none of us ever see the full picture on someone else’s life I suppose.

    @Joanne: thanks for your comments Joanne. I have heard of people who have used food combining methods and it’s really improved their digestion and health, but I appreciate your comment and it not being the material you want on this particular website.

  8. Karin says:

    Haven’t you heard of the egg plant, Joanne 😉

    I can understand people who think it is wrong to kill animals and therefore won’t eat them, but the idea that eating meat is bad for the environment is not necessarily true. Eating fruit, veg, seeds and nuts from far flung places is probably worse for the environment than eating locally reared British meat, such as an occasional steak from organic, grass-fed cattle, a lamb chop or a piece of free-range chicken.

  9. Mr Green says:

    @Karin interesting comment, but I would suggest that the amount of cows bred for meat and dairy may well be a contributory factor to environmental problems. Apparently, it’s an issue with METHANE, from the cows, erm … back end Methane is a very unfriendly gas to the atmosphere see for some details.

  10. Karin says:

    I have heard about the methane problem, Mr Green, which is why I said grass-fed cattle. Apparently what they eat makes a difference. Factory farmed animals are far worse for the environment. If you are interested in the issue you might find the book ‘Meat: A Benign Extravagance’ interesting. I have read a bit about it and George Monbiot said it was making him rethink his reasons for being a veggie, but I have only just managed to get hold of a copy from the library. It looks quite detailed.

    Of course if cattle were a serious problem we would have to destroy all the sacred cows in India as well as stop farming them. We’d probably have to eradicate some other animals, too – what about all the wild ruminants, don’t they have the same problem?

    I’m not saying their is no problem with methane and cattle, but I have read the other reports about this and it does seem that some people have exaggerated the problem. I don’t think it would do any harm if most people ate less meat and too much meat is bad for our health, but I don’t think there is a good argument for everyone giving up meat entirely.

  11. Tracey says:

    I find that I can’t eat fresh fruit on an empty stomach – it just feels like I’m pouring pure acid in and I get ill in about half an hour. Add some home made bread and local organic butter though, and it’s a little bit more stomachable! 🙂

    As for the cattle option, there’s also the biomass issue in that it takes a lot more land and energy to create 1kg meat-based food than it does to grow 1kg of a basic plant-based food which can then go on to feed a lot more people as required.

    Also, Plants absorb CO2 and animals emit methane and CO2.

  12. Karin says:

    So, Tracey, growing a lot of grass to feed cattle is a good way to lock up CO2 – I think is one argument for meat eating being a good thing. I haven’t got round to reading the book yet. I’ll try to start it next week.

  13. Teresa says:

    @Joddle: I agree. There doesn’t seem too much protein (plant or meat based) in her diet as well as carbs. It seems typical of those in the fashion or film industry to promote such an austere diet but the majority of us don’t live like this and don’t need to be a size 0. We’re also not driven from door to door everywhere.

    I’m not against vegetarianism or veganism but when vegans go round preaching about it instead learning to prepare meals properly and learning about nutrition I close my ears. It’s like it’s become a religion and an evangelical one at that.

  14. I admire Vivienne’s efforts to use her platform as a positive vehicle via which to effect positive change, particularly with regards to environmental issues. However, I’m not sure that I buy that being a hardcore vegetarian is the only way to alter our diets in a way that helps reduce packaging waste. Sounds somewhat extreme to me…

  15. Malachy says:

    I commend Vivienne for being so vocal about environmental, social and political issues. It’s refreshing to see someone like Vivienne, a powerful woman in the fashion industry who is so committed to changing peoples perceptions and incorporating the environment into her work.

    In terms of her reasons for being a vegetarian; there is a very large body of evidence proving that the meat industry is a major contributor to climate change. I don’t think it’s fair to rubbish her diet, it’s her personal choice and she doesn’t say that others should eat only vegetables. If it works for her, it works for her. Oh and you can buy vegan Mayonnaise.

    By eating less / no meat or becoming vegan you are reducing waste in a more abstract sense. Every animal bred for meat requires a huge amount of ‘C02 intensive’ resources including animal feed, transportation, post slaughter refrigeration etc.. Obviously locally sourced, organic meat is far less wasteful than intensive large scale farming but it’s still far more wasteful than not eating meat at all. And those who choose to be vegetarian and vegan should care about where their food comes from and buy locally sourced, organic produce when possible.

    To be zero waste isn’t to be solely focused on the plastic packaging on our food, or in our homes. Waste in our society is a far wider problem and needs to be addressed accordingly, we should all start small and think big.

    We need more people in places of influence like Vivienne and I for one am a great supporter of her cause. Thank you for sharing Vivienne’s guest post and keep up the fantastic work!

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