Trying not to be part of the problem.

My First 'Zero Waste' Weekend

Strawberry Gardens forever...

Friday is a market day in Bury, so I made it my mission to explore for the first time with my "zero waste" goggles on.  Results were...mixed, but encouraging.

If you believe Google maps, then Bury's "Strawberry Gardens" (a sister of the larger fresh fruit and veg stall in Manchester's Arndale Centre) is in Bury market, but Google is not infallible.  I'm sorry to be the one to break it to you.  Strawberry Gardens is just next to the market, on Princess Parade, easy to miss between chintzy cafes and charity shops, but well worth a visit for the aspiring zero-waster.  Some items are available unpackaged:


And some are not:




Apparently this man's middle name is 'Avacado'
I found myself thinking about plastic (again) and its association with cleanliness and hygiene.  Wrapped in plastic = hygienic, right?  And still covered in dirt from the ground it grew in = unhygienic?  This is an unhelpful way to think.  I'm not nearly well versed enough in the science to tumble down this particular rabbit hole, but a cursory google (yes, alright, not infallible, just very, very useful) leads speedily enough to research linking plastic wrapping to exposure to estrogen (which is linked to breast cancer) and associations with plastic and just about every health problem you've ever heard of.  Wading through the quack science and clickbaity gibberish to get to the source material is tricky, but undoubtedly worth the effort, at least for someone who actually understands what they're reading (which I don't).  For the rest of us, walking the line between the David Wofle-type conspiracism that has reached its tendrils into nearly every corner of the internet, and full scientific literacy (which has not) it's best to just be very, very careful what we accept at face value.

Still, the prospect of that unnecessary exposure to plastic through our food seems plausible; and if it  turns out to be completely and utterly harmless to lick clean the tray you microwaved a ready-made lasagne in for tea every single day, I don't really think you'd want to.  Best just to avoid plastic wherever and whenever you can, until further notice.

So, in Strawberry Gardens, I helped myself to one large sweet potato, two baking potatoes, a net full of carrots, and two courgettes.  At the counter I put them straight into my knapsack, paid, and off I trekked.  Next task: soap.

Waste not, want not, boys and girls.

Soap is a necessity, and the zero waste groups are full of discussions of the issue from every possible angle.  Dare I say it, but women, who are often more...um, complicated in their  personal hygiene habits, seem to be having a harder time going zero waste in this respect.  Cosmetics are a particular issue (just as they are for vegans, and for comparative reasons).  As for me, I only use bar soap for washing, cleaning and making myself presentable anyway, so the only hurdle here would be finding bars of soap in either cardboard packaging or - the holy grail - no packaging at all.  And would you know it, on my second scan of the first stall I came to, I struck gold:


Not actual gold, obviously.

The courgette is included for comparison.  These are two hefty bars of soap, which when sliced into a more conventional size will yield about 10 bars altogether. Total cost: £1.  The other alternative (at the same stall) was 6 bars of "travel soap", packaged only in cardboard, for the same £1, but a much smaller amount.  There were described as "vegetable soap" on the boxes, which is another consideration for me, as a vegan, but I settled instead for quantity.  These bars have a home-made look about them, but it did not occur to me to ask how they might have been made.  I had my mind on other things.  Next time.

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I had a kind of epiphany this week that the time was right for me to go zero waste, instead of just idly thinking about it.  You can read my ridiculous ramblings about that by clicking here.

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