That’s right! I am not completely zero-waste; I am not a fully-fledged vegan; and convenience and bargains will often prevail.
While I have worked hard to make changes, my journey towards sustainability is still a work in progress (see how to kick start your journey here). I’ve also fallen off the wagon a touch lately. In progress it is though, and I really want to show you that it is possible to make these changes without too much pain and, in many cases, once they’re implemented you’ll forget it was even an issue.
With that said, I am also a realist, and I understand that there is little point in seeking perfection at this point. Some of you might not be able to afford an organic/vegan diet, or don’t have a bulk food shop nearby. So I aim to provide helpful advice and inspire new ideas within the realms of practicality.
Before I move forward I thought I’d share my confessions with you.
I’m not vegan
I have eliminated meat and almost all animal based products from my diet (I occasionally eat chicken or cheese when we go out (rarely) because old habits die hard), however, for a number of reasons, I still eat eggs, cottage cheese, and chocolate. This is mainly due to GI issues (that are yet to be diagnosed) – a large number of food items that a plant-based diet would consist of e.g. pulses, lots of veggies, some fruit, and other bulkier items cause me real problems, and I have to get my calories and protein from somewhere.
I am continuing to trial different recipes and foods to try and find the best balance between a healthy gut and a sustainable diet.
I consume plastic
As is clear in the above confession, I still eat food items that come in plastic/non-recyclable packaging (e.g. cottage cheese and ryvita), not to mention it’s almost impossible to be vegetarian and plastic-free – meat alternatives, such as sausages, are always packaged in plastic. And, let’s be honest, I still slip up and grab a bag of crisps when I’m stress eating or, if we’re too late to get to the zero-waste shop, we buy bagged pasta.
Side note – has anyone found a way to accurately calculate the carbon footprints of consuming virgin plastic and eating meat??
I still drive
Thankfully, Molly (my little red Citroen) is a hybrid, and Daniel and I don’t often drive long distances – in fact, some days, we don’t drive at all. However, yes, I still drive (unless I’m going to London) because money is tight and the price of a train ticket in this country is absurd.
I am flying in October
I was all set for a flight free 2020 and then I registered for a charity climb up Mt Kenya. Unfortunately, I have no control over the travel arrangements. I go round and round in circles over this one – ‘We can’t be perfect and it’s only one trip’ versus ‘Is climbing Mt Kenya to raise money for Born Free a good enough excuse to fly’?
Having said this, I take comfort in the fact that we have already significantly reduced our air travel. You’re aware we’re stay-cation fans by now and rarely fly, using the boat to travel home (Guernsey) wherever possible.
I use disposable sanitary items
I moved to reusable sanitary items a few years ago but, when I go to the gym, I use disposable items. Sorry, but it’s not happening.
I drink non-shade grown coffee
With demand for coffee only increasing, coffee growers have been encouraged to switch from old agricultural practices, where beans were grown in the shade of trees to ‘sun-cultivation’, destroying vegetation that once provided habitats for wildlife. According to the WWF, 74% of countries in the world with the highest rates of deforestation are also coffee producers.
Tackling coffee in our household will require a little negotiation 😉 Pact coffee (which we currently consume) do prioritise fair and ethical standards for workers, however, I am uncomfortable purchasing coffee that contributes to the alarming rates of global deforestation. I am aware of Percol which I have looked for in our supermarket but they don’t sell it. I, admittedly could do more, so it’s on my list to tackle.
One of my 2020 goals is to start tackling some of these shortcomings. When I find alternative products/practices I will share them with you. I’ll also share with you the options that don’t work – I’m hoping some honest reviews will help you get a better idea of what will work for you.
Next month is #FuturisticFebruary, the idea being that you collect your non-recyclable and non-perishable waste for the month of Feb and, once it’s over, multiply what you’re left with by 12. That’s how much waste you are likely to accumulate in a year! I bet we’d all be surprised to see how much it truly is. The campaign was launched by a lady called Carly Bergman, co-founder of the Sustainable Duo – go and check out her page’s and soak up all the zero-waste content! 🙂
As I said, I have fallen off the wagon a little, buying extra items that I had once cut out such as biscuits and chocolate. My hope is that #FuturisticFebruary will open my eyes and re-kick start my zero-waste, sustainable journey!