Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Staying positive

Sometimes, I feel like the more efforts I make to reduce the amount of waste I produce, the more discouraged I get. Every non-recyclable or non-compostable piece of waste I throw away weighs a lot on my conscience. As April is about to begin, I feel that I need to remind myself of the positive steps I've taken since the beginning of the year. Things are moving in the right direction. : ))

1. Bulk food shopping is the way to go!
I visited Whole Foods Market in Richmond in January where I was able to buy a number of staples in bulk using recycled paper bags supplied by the store. More recently, I went to the Dry Goods Store in Maida Vale to stock up on quinoa, lentils, pasta, rice etc. I am planning to go back to Maida Vale soon. Previously, I had ordered staples online from a cooperative. It's not a bad option if there isn't any bulk shop near you.  

Staples from the Dry Goods Store in Maida Vale. 

2. Bulk bags at the ready
I've taken some machine sewing classes at Little Hands Design in Primrose hill. It enabled me to make my first bulk bags (among others). I will take them with me the next time I visit the Dry Goods Store. It means that I won't have to carry so many glass jars - better for my back. 

I made the bags with some material
bought in Shepherd's Bush in West London. 

3. My (not so old) jeans got a new lease of life
I attended one of Daisy's workshops in White City in London. I mended two pairs of jeans as a result. Done!

It's never too late (or too early, I guess) to learn how to mend a pair of jeans!

4. Food waste averted thanks to Olio
I used Olio for the first time last weekend. It enabled me to give away surplus fresh organic vegetables to two fellow Londoners. If I have any food that I know I won't be able to eat, I will definitely use the food sharing app again. It didn't take long before finding takers for my vegetables. 

I ended up creating two bags with the surplus vegetables I had.
Silvia told me she was going to make an onion soup. 

5. I became a proud zero waste advocate
When I launched this blog in December 2015, I did it because I realised how crucial sharing my dedication to the zero waste cause was for the movement to spread in the UK and beyond. To be truly effective, you need to act but also let other people know about what you are doing. It requires a certain degree of confidence in yourself and, above all, in your cause. It also takes time, of course. 
However, it's well worth going the extra mile. I've received lots of positive feedback since I've launched Zero Waste London and I keep discovering inspiring individuals and organisations on Twitter and Instagram. It's important to keep the zero waste energy flowing. 

Friday, 18 March 2016

We are having a jumble sale!

Some of the books we will sell.
It was supposed to be planned and advertised several weeks in advance but life has got in the way. Better late than never! We are having a jumble sale at home in North West London THIS weekend. 

As we don't own a car, we thought that it would be more convenient to organise the sale at home. I've advertised it earlier this morning on Twitter and Streetlife - details will be disclosed to people who are interested in some of the items advertised. I have also sent an email to friends who live nearby. I will let some more neighbours know about it later today.

Scarves for sale!
Hopefully, it will be an occasion to get rid of a few books/scarves/jackets etc., make a bit of money and catch up with friends before we embark on the renovation of the house. Worst case scenario, we will be stuck at home for a few hours on Saturday and Sunday, we will drink copious amount of tea/coffee and eat too many oat biscuits (Ben, I know I can count on you). And, of course, we will have to find another way to sell the books/scarves/jackets. 

More books!
I will let you know how it went. If you live in North West London and are interested in some of the items shown on the photos, please send me an email (amandine@zerowastelondon.com) and I will give more information about the event. 

Our jumble sale will coincide with the first Clear Your Clutter Day. Normally, I am not a big fan of those kind of national days but knowing that Clear Your Clutter Day was an extra incentive to organise the jumble sale this weekend, I have to say. 

Are you decluttering your home? What are you getting rid of? How are you disposing of your clutter? 

Monday, 14 March 2016

Buy me once or never

Last month, I had the pleasure to meet Tara Button from Buy me once. Tired of buying poor quality items that needed replacing on a regular basis, Tara launched her website at the beginning of the year. She has selected brands of clothing, kitchenware, toys, brushes etc. made to last. Tara's idea proved so popular that, a few weeks after launching Buy me once, she handed in her notice to her boss to dedicate herself full time to expanding her website. 

Tara Button in her flat in North London. Photo by Amandine Alexandre. 

Buying less but better quality items
Tara is not just trying to sell stuff - albeit quality stuff - to people. She strongly believes that we need less material things in our lives in order to be happier. She came to this conclusion last year after reading the Happiness project (a book I also recommend). Tara realised that she had everything she needed and even felt a bit overwhelmed by the amount of stuff in her life. She decided to have a big clear out. The experience was a real eye-opener. 

"I used to compulsively buy notebooks. I realised that I had almost enough of them to set up a shop", Tara told me. She also discovered that she had managed to collect 18 hair brushes. Some of them were freebies, other had been given to her as presents. A lot of those hairbrushes were spares that Tara had bought because it was quicker than rummaging in her big pile of stuff in order to lay her hand on a hair brush. 

So, last summer, Tara gathered all her possessions and discarded all the items which she didn't need. "I realised afterwards that I was using Marie Kondo's method", she told me. The parallel with Marie Kondo doesn't stop here. "The idea of the website came after my sister gave me a beautiful Le Creuset pot back in 2003. It sparks so much joy in me. I thought that if all my objects were like this it would be very nice."

Tara cherishes her Le Creuset pot.
It played a big role in her setting up Buy me once.
Photo by Amandine Alexandre.  

Unwish lists
Tara wants to surround herself with beautiful things but she is just as determined not to buy things that she doesn't need. She has written a blog post about it which I find really interesting. It's called Things I don't need. In it, Tara explains how she is fighting the temptation to buy things she doesn't need. She writes unwish lists. 

I love the idea of having an unwish list - whether it's a mental one or a written one. Because, let's face it, now and again we all feel like buying the latest kitchen gadget/item of clothing/sports equipment that we see everywhere on social media and/or magazines. I do have to remind myself, on a regular basis, not to buy (more) cooking books and kitchen gadgets such as a juicer or a spiralizer. Recognising that we feel the urge to acquire some of those items is already a step in the right direction, I think. 

What's on your unwish list? I am curious to find out as we probably all have quite different unwish lists depending on location, family circumstances etc.