Sunday, 21 September 2014
Tuesday, 2 September 2014
The most obvious first step for me in reducing waste is eliminating food packaging from our weekly shop. We currently live in Acton and are fairly close to both a Saturday farmer's market (at Notting Hill Gate) and also two bulk grocery stores (one in Maida Vale and the other on High Street Kensington).
This weekend I went to the farmer's market to see what was available there and was pleasantly surprised. There was plentiful veg, bread and meat (sadly all the meat was pre packaged) and also a stall selling mushrooms and one selling bacon and egg sandwiches. I picked up some mushrooms and a handful of tomatoes to try and will take Stuart back next weekend to do it properly. We definitely would need to take some smaller fabric bags to put the veg in to avoid the plastic ones on offer at every stall.
I then made the trip north to Maida Vale to investigate the Dry Goods Store, only to discover that it was closed until the 2nd September while the owner recovers from a broken foot. However from what I could see through the window it looks pretty good- rows of dispensers. After a little search on the Internet it turns out they do a good coffee as well! Here is the (pretty rubbish) photo I took while I was there.
I am so excited to go back and do a proper scout out of the shop.
Sunday, 31 August 2014
I recently acquired the book Zero Waste Home. It is a how to manual for reducing the amount of waste that you produce- both that for landfill and for recycling. Since I live in a one bed flat in relatively central London some of the suggestions seemed pretty unachievable at first glance - one of the main methods that is advocated is composting! We have since worked out some plans around this that I am very excited to share.
What we plan to do:
-shop in locations where you can take your own jars to avoid packaging (luckily for us someone else has done the research for our part of London- see the app Bulk)
-plan meals; be conscientious about how much food we buy and how quickly it will go off, to reduce food waste, use tops of vegetables to make soups and juices
-install a small indoor composting system for items that we cannot use in another way, which we will use the products from to supply our large number of house plants
-buy secondhand where possible
-I will maintain my capsule wardrobe; making considered choices which are trend free and therefore longer lasting
-I aim to move to a capsule makeup collection however it will take a while to implement this as I attempt to use up all of the products I currently own
The important question is why move to a zero waste aim at all. I studied Ecology at university and have a good understanding of our overuse of the natural resources available to us and also the horrors of landfill. If we can only send 1-5 litres to landfill every year we will be making some significant change. I also hope to inspire some thoughtfulness in my similarly minded friends as to changes they could implement to reduce waste.
We will share our trials and let you know our success and things that don't work for us.
Wednesday, 16 July 2014
Sunday, 6 July 2014
Because I found my current flat through a friend who was already living in the building I knew nothing about finding somewhere to rent in London until 3 weeks ago. The tool we used- 'Rightmove' and 'Zoopla' although my personal preference is Rightmove. We went to a total of 2 viewings before finding a flat we really liked- we put down a deposit and started the security checks until it transpired that the landlord was unsure about us (as we are young) and wanted 6 months rent in advance with 3 months worth to be paid before the contracts were signed. At this point the estate agent handling us said don't go any further he's being ridiculous. We made the decision to pull out (retaining our full holding deposit because it was the landlord kicking up a fuss).
The day that this happened was hard. I was at work and handling phone conversations in gaps (luckily my employer was very understanding). The estate agent asked if we wanted to see a different flat that evening that had just come up - her colleague was taking the pictures of it that evening. I went and it was great- new, clean, reasonably sized for a one bedroom, and in our price range. We are currently going through the reference checks for this flat and hoping to move in next weekend.
Things I have learnt:
- Do not assume the deal is done until you have a contract signed and a moving in date
- Get your reference information all lined up before you might want to take something (previous landlord reference, employer letter, character reference)
- If you are moving to start your job make sure your bank statements for the previous 3 months are clean and do not go overdrawn if possible (you will need these to prove financial stability)
- Flat hunting is rather like job hunting- you have to get involved to even stand a chance of getting anywhere but until you have an offer/contract sitting in front of you waiting for your signature there's no guarantee
- Make friends with your estate agent- they have first access to all the new properties in the area you want after all