Archive for April, 2007

More rubbish!

Further to my current obsession with rubbish, rats and recycling (see last post) I decided to make a list of everything I throw away for a week. I realised that I was reading so much about how much other people produced, but because I’m lucky enough to be in halls and therefore have a communal kitchen bin and someone else to empty that and my bin in my room. I didn’t really have any idea how much rubbish I produce over the course of a week, or what it is. Well, okay, a vague idea, and I know that buying my fruit and veg unpackaged or in paper bags from markets means I produce much less than other people in my kitchen who seem to survive on ready meals.

Anyway, here’s what I’ve got so far:

Thursday

  • 4 strawberry tops
  • pencil shavings
  • 3 carrots and paper bag
  • tuna can (recycled)
  • kidney bean can (recycled)
  • coffee grounds
  • tea leaves
  • plastic wrapper from birthday card for friend
  • price label from friend’s present
  • slice of lemon used in tea
  • packaging from new salad spinner

Friday

  • plastic packaging from toothbrush
  • strawberry tops
  • paper bag from chocolate brownie
  • coffee grounds
  • old toothbrush
  • top of chilli

Saturday

  • bus ticket (recycled)
  • 2 used ink cartridges
  • receipts
  • lemon I juiced for dinner
  • mouldy bit of ginger
  • empty toothpaste tube
  • plastic strawberry punnet

Not too bad – next year, when I have a wormery/compost heap, most of the kitchen stuff can be composted. I normally also buy pulses dried and soak them myself – the canned kidney beans had been left by my boyfriend. If I’d been more organised I should have taken my bike and not needed to get the bus home, and I’ve sneakily not included the packaging from Saturday’s picnic lunch, because my boyfriend bought it and his dad paid, and I wouldn’t have had any of it if left to my own devices! The disposable ink cartridges (a present) are all gone and will be replaced by a… refiller thingy… whatever you call them. And re the carrots, I bought them ages ago, and then my grandpa died, so I went to stay with my bf one weekend and went home for the funeral the next, and was rather too wound up to think about things like carrots. Which makes me sad now, as he loved gardening and growing vegetables and hated wasting things and I’m sure he’d have wanted me to make them into soup or something instead, but it’s too late for that I suppose.

So, not too bad, I think. I’m tempted to abandon the markets and buy all my food at Sainsbury’s for a week and see what the difference is, but I suspect I know already… Wish there was some way of buying strawberries not in plastic punnets, or birthday cards without a wrapper round them.

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April 29, 2007 at 2:41 pm Leave a comment

Seethe, seethe, seethe…

Being the peculiar person I am, I have been following with alternate amusement and distress the furore about weekly/fortnightly bin collections. (Yes. The processes at work in the evolution of French vocabulary are really that dull.) And, apparently*, ASDA have now decided to allow shoppers to leave their excess packaging at the shops, and then pass it on to the suppliers.

Ohhhh. So it’s the suppliers’ fault is it. Never mind that supermarkets insist on farmers using a certain type of packaging and making them pay for it themselves. Never mind that most fruit and veg is pre-packaged because it makes it easier for the person on the checkout to scan a barcode than to weigh loose apricots in a paper bag, and because it encourages the consumers to buy more.

Nope, must be those pesky suppliers, who, as we all know, have for years been exploiting those poor supermarkets and forcing them to comply with their ridiculous demands…

I think I might go and live on an island somewhere and keep goats.

*Though I can’t actually find a more reliable source than the Mail or the Evening Standard.

April 26, 2007 at 1:22 pm Leave a comment

Introductions…

I’ve set this blog up so I can write about environmental issues (mostly food-related, in all probability), trying to combine an amateur analysis of what is reported in the news, along with my own personal efforts to do what I can for the planet. It’ll probably be a mixture of recipes I like, forays into growing things, musing about food shopping and raving about places that I like and why it’s so important to preserve them. Initially, posting may be fairly sporadic, as I’m (theoretically) revising for my finals, but once I move into a ‘real’ house in the summer, I look forward to posting about that.

I love cooking, so I love having good quality, fresh ingredients, and I grew up in the depths of rural Northumberland, so I am quite passionate about local, seasonal shopping and fair prices for producers and manufacturers. I also love being outdoors, and growing things, though at the moment I’m limited to a few herb plants on my windowsill. I’m going to put my name down for an allotment next year, but I’ve heard horror stories about waiting times, so I won’t hold my breath.

I also spend a lot of time reading the papers and getting apoplectic about things, so there may be the odd rant on here as well……

April 21, 2007 at 10:06 pm Leave a comment


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April 2007
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The Heritage Crafts Network

Rob Hopkins, Transition Handbook

“Environmentalists have often been guilty of presenting people with a mental image of the world’s least desirable holiday destination – some seedy bed and breakfast near Torquay, with nylon sheets, cold tea and soggy toast – and expecting them to get excited about the prospect of NOT going there. The logic and the psychology are all wrong.”

Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

"Food is that rare moral arena in which the ethical choice is generally the one more likely to make you groan with pleasure."

Carlo Petrini

"A gastronome who is not also an environmentalist is an idiot. An environmentalist who is not also a gastronome is, well, sad."

Sharon Astyk

"I am, of course, firmly opposed to consumerism and corporatism in all its forms, and I believe that we are deeply confused about material needs and wants. Now let me explain how books and yarn are totally different than the material things that other people want ;-)…."

Raj Patel, at Slow Food Nation

"Biofuels, which is the preposterous policy that we should grow food not to eat it but to set it on fire."