refill

The holiday is approaching.  We are going to Turkey, Kalkan to be precise and I am making headway into the preparations.  I have e-visas, e-tickets and the hotel and car were booked online.  So far so good.

Yesterday I hit Boots for the suncream etc.

  • Suncream
  • Aftersun
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Insect repellant
  • Prescription refills
  • Antihistamine cream
  • Eurax for prickly heat.
  • plastic
  • plastic
  • plastic
  • metal
  • cardboard and blister pack
  • metal
  • metal

Not one of those was refillable.  The Body Shop used to offer refills.  When I was at school in Brighton we used to go to the very first Body Shop, it was in a back street in Kemp Town I think.  The labels were handwritten and every bottle was refillable.  Now that is no more and it seems we don’t have an appetite for reusing our own containers.

Most of us of a certain age remember collecting the pop bottles to take back to the corner shop in return for a handful of pennies which we then spent on garish gobstoppers, flying saucers and blackjacks.  We all had a milkman who picked up our empty milk bottles (and used to take me on rides on his wagon and let me feed his horse carrots).  Gone in many places now.

Why do we let it happen?  Why do we not fight back?  If you know of a company or shop who refills bottles (from milk to wine to shampoo, whatever.  One which will let you use your own containers.  Let me know.  It doesn’t matter where in the world you are.  I’ll add them to a list here on the blog.  It would be good if it were a list that “grew and grew like Topsy”.  But it will only go if we vote with our feet and our wallets.

the written word

papersSo I felt good after the pantry clear out.  It is more spacious, I can see what we have and there should be no more duplicate purchases.  But it’s not just that is it?  It’s not just what I buy but how I buy it.

Bea Johnson uses Whole Foods which is all well and good if you (a) have one or something similar near you and (b) if you are happy to shop in a supermarket.  Neither of those are the case for me.  It is true that one of the advantages of shopping at the butcher, fishmonger, greengrocer and direct from the producer is that there is going to be less packaging as well as less food miles and a greater knowledge of the provenance of the food itself.  But packaging there is, and sometimes quite a lot.

Then what about the dry goods and toiletries?  I can buy in bulk from Suma   but refilling of existing containers is impossible if you are buying mail order.  I believe one of the local farm shops allows refilling of bottles of washing liquid etc.  But I live in the countryside and if I have to drive some distance to four or five different locations to do my shopping my carbon footprint is growing from fuel use as fast as it is shrinking from waste reduction.

I feel I almost need to create a criteria triangle with the most important at the bottom.  In no particular order they are, I think:

  • local
  • ethical
  • low/zero packaging
  • low/zero additive
  • purchased as close to source as possible and not from supermarket

We have just finished putting the paper edition of The Durham Local Food Directory  together.  Ignoring for a moment the apparent irony of having a paper directory as well as an online one (there is a good reason and we did think long and hard but that is for another post).  It has not passed me by that it is somewhat ironic for one of the founder members of Durham Local Food to be in a quandry.  But the point is that it is about more than food it’s about clothes, books, furnishing, garden equipment, paint, loo roll, cutlery it’s about every single thing that comes over my threshold.

recipt

It seemed at first rather overwhelming, then it became exciting.  A challege.  Just how much of a difference can I make.  The risk is that I will try to do it all at once.  That is my usual MO and tends to lead to failure and abdonment.  I need to take one area at a time.  I am tempted to start with food, but I am already fairly food aware.  I need to tackle something that I have overlooked in the past.  Something close to my heart, something that will make me sit up and rethink.  I will start with reading matter.

  • books
  • magazines
  • newspapers
  • flyers
  • business cards
  • print outs for Messy Church/Sunday School
  • advertising
  • office paperwork
  • cards and letters
  • photograph albums (I write in mine so I think that counts)
  • journals

We read quite a lot.  Much more than I realised.  I don’t want to stop reading but can I change the way I do it?  Task for this week.  The written word.

books one

How do I consume the written word? Can I do so in a less wasteful manner?