What’s piqued my interest this week?
Life has been pretty hectic over the last few weeks, preventing much blog reading or writing. At the same time we’ve been trying to make changes to our household usage to decrease the amount of plastic we buy, particularly in our general grocery shop. Our veg and meat already comes either unpackaged or wrapped in waxed paper. We’re switching from plastic packets to jars (for re-use) and tins. What do we do about plastic around our pasta, rice or shampoo?
Zero-waste and packaging-free appears to be 2019’s social trend. Small independent shops are being set-up all over the UK, although the trend towards affluent areas is fairly obvious (1, 2). These shops are targeting the on-trend early-adopters. There’s plenty of blogs with advice, and the mainstream media are cottoning on too (3, 4). There’s a concerted post-Blue Planet 2 movement that societal attitudes towards single-use items has to change. Single-use was the 2018 ‘Word of the Year’ according to Collins (5). The EU has ratified a ban on single-use plastics to come into force (provisionally) in two years time (6). Surfers against Sewage is running a Mass Unwrap event in March where people are encouraged to discard excess packaging at the tills (7).
In our efforts to go further we ventured into a few local packaging-free/ zero-waste type shops to try their wares. We weren’t there long. The organic fruit and veg, the storage jars dispensing dried goods and the shampoo bars were all there. The food was cheap, even if the cosmetics were a bit eye-watering. It was the added extras. The plastic tubs the food had been delivered in, which hadn’t been put away yet. The yak wool fleeces knitted by Mongolian orphans (think of the carbon offset for that mileage). The crocheted face cloths at £5 each. The artisan felting. The slight fug of unwashed vegan. It’s all very lovely but I don’t want to be guilt-tripped into buying an unnecessary item. I just want 500g of plain flour put in my jar. Aldi and Lidl hit my shopping requirements on the head. I can get in, pick up, purchase and get out at maximum speed without spending time trying to choose between brands. They’re convenient. I’ll probably go back to one of the zero-waste shops for dried foods, as I haven’t found a good alternative. Until plastic-free independents focus on the convenience, and not just the eco niche, they’ll never be more than a novelty.
Have a great week,
- HMRC’s best expenses and excuses this year includes Aliens, vertigo and a Glasgow nightclub (8)
- Interview in the Mail with Anne Boden, Starling’s Founder (9)
- Honda to shut Swindon plant, bringing the number of jobs lost since the Brexit announcement over the 200,000 mark (10)
- A decade after the 2008 crash many nations are still on emergency monetary policies and facing a global slowdown (11)
- The great Buffett has published his annual shareholder letter (12)
- Where he target Trump (13)
- Ethical investing may not be as green as it seems (14)
- More warnings from retailers about tariffs in a no-deal Brexit (15)
- BBC R4 Food Programme – What does a no-deal Brexit mean for our food (16)
- Moneyweek – Is now a good time to fix your mortgage (17)
- Moneyweek – selling stocks is the hard bit (18)
- DIY Investor UK looks at Foresight UK Infrastructure (19) – going on my watch list
- HOSimpson at 3652 Days documents his efforts finding a tenant for DIY rental (20)
- GFF slims down his expenses by saying ta-ta to the nanny (21)
- TEA on self-sabotage (22)
- LMF with January’s goals update (23)
- And is also attempting to start a new gin company (24) – ambitious!
- The Frugalwoods January expenditures (25)
- John at UKVI turns his laser-like eyes to HSBC (26)
- Mr YFG looks at global bonds to reset his allocation (27)
- MrsYFG bares all with her financial mistakes (28)
- The Caveman has a bit of a rant about ethical investing (29)
- Dan at PursueFire on holding during market wobbles (30)
- The Female Money Doc on how to stay motivated (31)
- The Savings Ninja – How should you distribute your wealth? (32)
- Monevator points towards Of Dollars and Data this weekend, with good evidence that lump sump investment beats dollar cost averaging (33)
- Indeedably on problems of markets and turning a system against itself (34)
The kitchen garden:
What I’m reading (affiliate links):
Tombland – C.J. Sansom – I love the Shardlake series, detective novels set in the Tudor period with a crippled lead character. Beautifully written.
Food Of The Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge: A Radical History of Plants, Drugs and Human Evolution – Terence McKenna – An ethnobotanist explores humanitys’ fascination with hallucinogenics, and the role of altered states of consciousness on the development of human society.