Plastic Challenge 2017
July 19, 2017 – 11:17 am | 4 Comments

What is the challenge?
June 2017 was officially the Marine Conservation Society’s  ‘Plastic Challenge’ month.
This is the third year of the challenge, which encourages people to pledge to cut down the amount of single-use plastics they …

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The Slow Shopper: One Week In

Submitted by on April 9, 2012 – 8:20 pm5 Comments

I’m now a week into my six-month no supermarket challenge, and so far things are going smoothly. But then it’s only been a week, and as I tend to hoard food like a neurotic squirrel, I’ve mainly been living off the ample supplies in my freezer and storecupboard. When these supplies start to run low as they soon will, I’ll start to worry.

Since I can’t to nip to the supermarket to fulfil every food-based whim, I’ve started planning meals a bit more so I know what I need to buy and when. As I said I’ve not had to buy much this week, but I did discover a very nice farm shop called Lane End Farm Shop that’s sort of on my way home from work, so I picked up some milk from a Grassington dairy and salad that had been grown on a Yorkshire farm. They also had some lovely chickens, donkeys and sheep in the field outside. A definite improvement on the ocean of cars that passes for a view outside my local Morrisons.

As you might have guessed, I work at Suma. This gives me certain advantages when it comes to shopping ethically, for instance I can buy some food toiletries straight from our warehouse and even get the occasional short-dated or slightly dented freebie. Don’t let this fool you into thinking I’ve got it easy, oh no. For starters, Suma staff-shopping is fairly admin heavy, as we input, pick and pick our own orders. This requires a degree of organisation that at the end of a busy working day, I don’t often have. Secondly, despite the large and diverse range of products, Suma doesn’t sell everything. I have to go elsewhere for my fresh fruit and veg, birthday cards, hardware-type stuff and the occasional bit of meat (I confess I’m not a veggie, but I’m still an OK person, honest!). Thirdly, for the sake of The Experiment, I’ve decided to limit my Suma shopping to a few items a week, for fear of taking the easy way out.

Earlier this week my self-sufficiency attempts suffered a minor setback this week thanks to an unexpected bout of snowy weather. The makeshift cover protecting my carrot and salad seedlings had blown off in the gusty conditions, so the tiny plants were half exposed to the elements and half squished by collapsed plastic sheeting. To be fair, it was held down mainly with clothes pegs, so it’s my shoddy workmanship that’s to blame here. Undeterred, I added a few extra pegs and have crossed my fingers that the little shoots will continue to grow into something I can eventually eat.

My sorry-looking collapsed veg bed

Excitingly, after some cajoling, my husband James seems to be coming round to the idea of keeping chickens in our back garden. I’ve heard that Wilkinson’s sell chicken houses cheeply (sorry, couldn’t resist) but under the current regime Wilko’s is a no-go area, so instead I’ve been searching for a local carpenter on Ebay. I’ve heard that now is the optimum time of year to start up with chicken-keeping, so hopefully by next time I write I’ll have further news on this!

By the way, there are a lot of books and websites that I’ve been referring to in my quest to be an ethical shopper. I’ve compiled a list of them on a resources page on this website, so if you are interested in finding out more about any of the things I mention in this blog, have a look at these useful resources for the ethical shopper .

To see other posts in this series click here

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  • Bridget Abel says:

    Brilliant, its great that you are doing it! Chickens are definitely a good way to go, freecycle and freegle can sometimes be useful for picking up a free shed for a coop.

  • Ken says:

    The wife and I find that the meal plan is essential. We haven’t had a microwave for maybe 6 years so what is also essential for us is to remember to take out anything we need from the freezer that morning or it all goes pear shaped.

    Keep going, i hope you make it.

  • Becs says:

    Emma I’ve been thinking about doing this for a few years now, I generally avoid Tesco but it is so hard when you realise you’ve run out of shampoo at the last minute, however reading your blog has re-inspired me! It will require forward planning and being more organised but I’m sure once you get in the routine and know where to go it will become the norm…keep writing and inspiring me and I may just join you soon 🙂 xx
    On another note…well on the same topic…have you heard of the dinner exchange, I want to get one set up in Leeds!

  • Emma R says:

    Hi Becs,
    Thanks for the support! I’d recommend going for it, it’s surprising how quickly you can adapt your shopping habits and so far I can say I really haven’t missed the supermarkets.

    I haven’t heard of the Dinner Exchange, but it sounds like a brilliant idea so if you set one up I’ll be in full support!

    Oh and Bridget I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled on Freecycle for a chicken shed, to no avail. Found a local joinery business to make one for me though- not quite as eco-friendly as getting a recycled shed but still supporting local business at least. I’ve painted it a jaunty blue and white so my chickens will think they ae staying at the Ritz when they move in and lay me lots of eggs as a reward.

  • Beccy says:

    I can see I still have a very long way to go…but any steps in the right direction have to be a good thing, yes?

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