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  • samanthaosys

Week 1 of going Zero-waste

We're just finishing week one of our waste-free pledges, and I must be frank, it did not go as well as we thought. Our number one mistake was not checking when our local farm shop was reopening, which meant we ran out of cheese, vegetables and eggs. Eggs and most veggies are available without plastic at Riverford, so we only have to wait a few days for those. The main problem is cheese. We could potentially go to Waitrose and buy it at the counter, but it's not organic. So we're constantly faced with the decision to buy without plastic from a dairy farm where the animals are probably kept in appalling conditions or packaging from a free-range farm approved by the RSPCA.

A big issue is that we not only want to cut down on plastic and non-recyclable waste but also want to eat as cruelty-free as possible and all organic. Both Nick and I are on the Flexitarian diet, and here are a few priorities we take into account when doing our weekly shopping:

Mainly plant-based food. Nick eats a little meat (primarily beef), and we both eat sustainably sourced wild-caught fish.

Eggs only from free-range farms where we know the chickens are kept in good conditions and are happy

Cheese from free-range farms that the RSPCA has approved, and we know the cows are as happy as can be.

Coconut produce must come from cruelty-free sources, and some countries (like Southern Thailand) use monkey slave labour to source coconuts. You can find a list of companies that do not use monkeys here.

Alcohol must be vegan. Brewmasters, winemakers, and distillers may include animal ingredients in their products directly, or they might use them in processing and filtration. Here you can check whether your favourite drink is vegan.

Nothing we use is tested on animals. We buy shampoo from Lush and any creams or bath oils from Neal's Yard

Looking at this list, you can imagine my husband's fun' when going shopping with me.

Organic companies haven't been quicker with jumping on the waste-free bandwagon. Nearly everything in organic shops like Holland&Barrett is packaged in non-recyclable plastic. Some stores have a "buy in bulk" section, which tends to be horrendously expensive. Because of this, we tend to visit the local farmer's market to buy our package-free products. Below is a slideshow of photos I took on Sunday at Blackheath Market.

Buying in bulk is also quite tricky. We live in Kent and even though there are a few farmers' markets at the weekend, buying pasta without plastic packaging is nearly impossible. So this weekend, we dusted off the pasta maker my mum bought us ages ago and got the whole kitchen covered in flour while making our pasta. We had a lot of fun, which isn't as hard as it seems. You can make a big batch and freeze it for up to a month.

And it was delicious, even reheated the next day.

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