This post by the zerowastechef recently reaffirmed many of the practices I have been incorporating into my life. A lot of my motivation to go zerowaste and minimalist was due to my move into a small house three years ago with a tiny kitchen and an even tinier fridge. I got fed up of supermarkets forcing me to buy a whole bunch of carrots or onions or peppers in a plastic bag rather than individually. The closer one gets to the city centre the worse the supermarkets are and the less choice they offer. It filled my fridge and most of it went to waste. I decided to try out the local farmers’ organic market on Pearse Street in trepidation because I assumed it would be far more expensive. Being able to buy 3 carrots, 2 potatoes, 1 pepper, 1 onion etc allowed me to buy only what I needed and worked out cheaper because I was buying less. Last week I spent €15.65 on all of the fruit and veg and eggs I needed for the week for 2 people. That included my lunches and 5 dinners. I usually buy free range chicken in Fallon&Byrne (in waxed paper) also for around €6 a week because although I’ve cut back on meat for environmental reasons it still is pretty tasty. The weekly food bill for 2 people therefore is in and around €22. Sometimes it is more because there is coffee, oats, honey, chickpeas or or a special meal to buy for but it never amounts to very much. Obviously if you have kids it will cost a little more but I can’t imagine it would cost more than the supermarket if you only buy what you need. The key trick is to plan your menus ahead. I make up my shopping list in bed on Saturday morning when I’m lazy and don’t want to get up yet.
Surprisingly the organic farmers’ market has saved us money because I can buy a singular onion if I want to! You’ll be surprised how little needs to go into your basket for a full week of meals. Having a small fridge that forces you to buy only what you need is a really good thing but you could apply these principles to a large fridge too. For example challenge yourself to only use only one shelf for your fresh produce next week.
Obviously, as the picture of my fridge reveals, I am not at total zerowaste yet. This blog is documenting my transition to a life that is as near to zerowaste as I can make it without dramatically changing my life. At the moment there is still soy sauce in a large plastic bottle that, when finished, will be replaced with a glass bottled soy sauce. I’ve kept my cheese in an old plastic takeout box. I bought orange juice because I had a cold this week and wanted vitamin C ASAP, almond milk is handy for granola but tetra packs are recyclable. I still haven’t figured out a good milk replacement. I would love to be able to buy milk etc in glass bottles once more. Why oh why did the glass bottle factory shut down in Dublin!? Condiments take forever to use up but when I’ve finished one I think about whether I need a replacement.
Glass jars are super recyclable though so I don’t mind too much about them if I really want to feed my Djion mustard addiction. I’m not trying to attempt super human feats, I want this blog to be proof that anyone can reduce the bulk of their landfill waste without changing their lifestyle too much. This planet needs to change its habits and for that to work change needs to be attractive and easy for all.