Since signing up to become a social media volunteer for the Witney Community Fridge back in September, my eyes have been truly opened to just how much there is to learn about sustainability. My knowledge of food waste and its impact upon the planet has definitely improved, but I still have a long way to go! The path to sustainable living is a long and non-linear one, but in the words of Anne Marie Bonneau:
‘We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.’ – Anne Marie Bonneau
I think the main thing that I have learnt is just how important the small actions are. A lot of people are put off ‘zero waste’ living by the label, and what comes with it: the pressure to be perfect, to completely change your way of living overnight, to scrap all plastic, become vegan, and live off your own land. Whilst all that is wonderful, it’s certainly not attainable (for most of us). I can’t stress enough how, even by doing something as simple as pledging to use a service like the Community Fridge once a week, or bringing your own bags every time you go to a supermarket, you really are making a huge difference.
I’ve also come to realise that ‘Food waste’ is an all-encompassing term. Being a huge contributor to climate change, it’s not just limited to leaving leftovers on your plate. It’s also vital to look at things like where your food is actually from, the seasonality of your veg, and what your food is wrapped in! Earlier in the year, I made a pledge through the Carbon Literacy Fund to reduce my plastic use, and it’s definitely been harder than I expected…plastic is everywhere! It’s definitely worth doing your research and ensuring you have a few essentials before you take the plunge. Here are some things that will make your life easier on your sustainable journey:
Invest in things that you know you’ll use daily: a reusable coffee mug, a few reusable bags, produce bags. Create your own ‘low-waste essentials kit’ and place it by the door. These will make your life easier when it comes to leaving the house
Find a community! There are lot of groups or individuals that you can join or follow on social media to share tips with and make you feel less isolated on your journey. Talk to a friend about making a pledge too and be each-other’s accountability partner
Start small. Think of one area to focus on and pledge to reduce your waste in that area, whether it’s fashion, plastic, or food. It can be overwhelming to start with so choose the area that you think will make the most difference, and go from there
Don’t be too hard on yourself! As expressed, it’s not about being perfect!
- Alice Williamson