Green, Frugal Sustainable Round Up – July

What have we done this month to be Green, Frugal and Sustainable?

1. Dribble Bib – the easy win!  We got a great second hand dribble bib – essential during times of teething and a good one too, it doesn’t soak through to the back like some do.  But it was fastened with velcro.  This is terrible for 2 reasons…  firstly velcro gets gummed up with other fibres really easily and stops sticking, secondly R loves velcro – he loves the ripping sound it makes when he tears it off…  so I snipped off the velcro and replace it with a pop stud.

Foiled again R!

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2. Giving back – I mentioned in my last round up that we had been the grateful recipients of some free eggs and wine from various kind souls.  So this month I was on the look out for a way to pay it forward.  I saw a plea on freecycle for clothes and toys in R’s old size for a woman in a bad situation and packed up a bunch of things he doesn’t need to pass on.

I like the idea of spending some time actively looking for ways to “give back” or pay it forward and I’ll try and make a practice of it from now on.

3. Naked Shopping – I have chosen my 5 targets for No Plastic July and they are going really well.  But I’ve not been ignoring other opportunities to cut down on plastic waste.  I now shop for veg at the market once a week and between that, Abel & Cole and our veg patch we are now off all supermarket plastic wrapped fruit and veg. Hurray!

In fact earlier this week I bought a punnet of peppers at the market.  I tried to give back the plastic tub the peppers came in and before I could say anything the stallholder said “you can’t keep that!” pointing to the tub.  Turns out he only uses them to display portion sizes and reuses them himself.  I congratulated him on his reusing and felt a little happier with the world.

I also experimented with visiting the local Cheesemonger and asking them to pop my cheese straight in my tupperware box.

I love this idea.  I’d never even thought of it before I joined up with the other plastic free bloggers and I think it was an idea from My Zero Waste. This was one of the lightbulb moments.  I had been so used to doing it the normal way, accepting what I was given in the shops that it didn’t even occur to me to try something different.  It is easy now to refuse a plastic bag, people expect it, but asking someone to put meat or fish or cheese in a container you have brought.  Well that makes you stand out as weird. It makes you feel embarrassed about asking and it creates this powerful but ephemeral social barriers to doing something which reduces waste.  How have we come to a point where choosing not to produce more waste, asking for no packaging (which in the long run save the shop itself money) is seen as the weird option! The only advice I can give it that these social barriers, the embarrassment, the worrying what others might think… these are momentary if they happen at all and once you get into a habit, once the shop staff know you it is all completely easy.

These Cheesemongers were surprised but happy to help me and I’ll definitely be doing it in future.

4. Courgette Glut – when my parents last visited my Dad brought us some of his courgette glut. This is fantastic! Thanks to the slugs (our slimy evil enemies) our courgettes haven’t got going and we won’t have any more for another month at this rate (if we get any at all)!  But getting a lot in one go (eight!) meant working quickly to use them up.  We did the usual roasted vegetable and pasta dinner which is a stand by in this house and then I went searching for courgette bread recipes (Zucchini Bread).  I wasn’t really aware of it before but it seems to be a cake very similar to banana bread.

I ended up with this one from Smitten Kitchen which turned out amazingly good. I made one loaf and 12 muffins.  We ate up the loaf for breakfast and snacks and froze the muffins for later.

One thing I would say about the recipe is that I swopped half the oil for Yoghurt (because I had some Yoghurt to use up) and I only used 1/3 of the sugar listed.  I think you can easily ditch 1/3 – 2/3 of the sugar from most sweet recipes.  Using less sugar makes them slightly cheaper and much healthier and I don’t think you can really tell the difference. Learning how to substitute ingredients for the items in your fridge you need to use before you lose is a vital step to being frugal and reducing food waste. Why go out on a shopping trip for a new ingredient only to end up throwing something away which could have done the job!  More waste, more money, more effort, more time!

There is no photo because we ate it all, really, really fast.

I’d love to hear about your small green, frugal and sustainable actions this week/months so please pop them in the comments below.

 

There are some other amazing bloggers, going even further than me for No Plastic July and I’m getting so much inspiration from them.

Please check out their links and cheerlead them to the finish line!

Westywrites

EcoThrifty

Plastic is Rubbish

Plastic Free UK

Sustainable Witney

Plastic Free July In Croydon

My Zero Waste

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7 thoughts on “Green, Frugal Sustainable Round Up – July

  1. The Zero-Waste Chef

    Sounds like a very productive green week. I take my own containers to the deli counter and the butcher counter and they no longer ask questions, search for a manager to ask for approval or look at me as thought I’m off my meds. The fish counter gives me a hard time still though. And when I fill up at the bulk bins with my homemade cloth bags or jars, almost every time, someone asks me about what I’m doing, and after I explain, says “Great idea! I’m going to try that!” Slowly, shopping this way will become the norm (again).

    Reply
    1. Becky A Post author

      I hope it does become the norm. It is one of those things that I bet more people would do if it just occurred to them that the could. I often think that we are socialised to do some pretty weird things that if we just stopped and applied common sense we wouldn’t do anymore.

      Reply
      1. The Zero-Waste Chef

        I agree we’re just used to doing things a certain way and so that’s why we do them. Plastic shopping bags didn’t appear in the US until around the 1970s. Now (some) people are up in arms that they have to give them up!

  2. Dawn McHugh

    I started taking a container with me to the butchers and asking for my meat in it instead of plastic bags, again they gave me strange looks to start with then it just got accepted. When I do shop for any fruit and veg at a supermarket I just buy loose and dont use there bags, the ladies at the till find it a bit of a pain and always want to bag it, they dont like weighing loose potatoes or mushrooms. I always refuse the bagas and say I am allergic 🙂

    Reply
    1. Becky A Post author

      Hi Dawn

      I might have known you would be all over the no extra plastic approach to shopping. Of course those sweaty plastic bags do make a lot of produce go off faster so it doesn’t really benefit people anyway.

      Reply
  3. Keely

    We get that astonished, suspicious response when we try to use our own bags or to just carry out large items at the grocery store. I have had people forcefully take things out of my hands and bag them amid my weakening protests. It’s bizarre. My liberal yankee education emphasized environmental responsibility, but that movement hasn’t reached the Deep South. The first time we asked to carry out our items, the girl at the register said “you must be teachers.” We were obviously outsiders with strange notions about grocery shopping, and the only source of young, white outsiders is the teacher pipeline. Often, I think they just don’t hear us when we ask them to use our reusable shopping bags. They’re in the zone. It’s discouraging, but it’s also an easy way to chip away at the absolute ignorance of issues around plastic. At least the register workers go home with a question in their minds.

    Reply
    1. Becky A Post author

      I love that the girl guessed you were teachers. That is hilarious!

      I meant to ask are you on facebook or twitter or anything else where I might be able to chat with you casual-like? Today Josh and I were invited to join some other local families in spending a weekend hanging out, having a bit of a shindig and building (I kid you not!) a wooden roundhouse and possible later a wood fired clay oven in some local woodland! I am so excited about it I’ve been squeeing all day and I reckon you would also find that pretty exciting.

      Reply

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