I diligently recycle and use the food waste bin and I've stopped using plastic carrier bags 98% of the time,.I thought I was doing an OK job in terms of saving the environment but then I watched a talk by Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home. When I sat down to watch the 56 minute talk, I'd boiled the kettle thinking I'd make a cup of tea 5 or 10 minutes in. Needless to say that cup of tea never got made and I finished watching the talk determined to change the way I live in terms of the amount of 'waste' I am producing.
The first change I made was buying and using a Keep Cup. For the last year I've been working remotely from home, but the end of January brought a freelance opportunity which would take me into the office 5 days a week. Ordinarily I drink coffee once or twice a week, but three days into my commute I realised my black americano was going to become a daily necessity, so after 5 wasted paper cups I invested in my Keep Cup.
The first week was uneventful. The barista at Leon on the first day even gave me a smile and said "nice one" when I presented my cup on Monday morning. I'd been using the cup around 3 weeks before I got a barista who asked wide eyed "you want your coffee in THERE?" Gesticulating wildly at my cup and looking at it horrified as if it had just fallen from the sky. But that wasn't as bad as the guy who just blatantly ignored my request for a "black americano in my Keep Cup please" and just proceeded as though I'd only said the first two words. I pushed the cup towards him as I took my change and he not only refused to look at it but also refused to make eye contact with me and instead moved on to serve the next customer. So eventually I said loudly "I'D LIKE THE COFFEE IN THE CUP PLEASE" to which he reluctantly took the cup holding it at arms length and gave it to his colleague on the coffee machine with a sideways look at her that said "sorry about this crazy bitch, she wants her coffee in this unidentified object". I honestly wanted to scream at him "it's just a fucking cup" but instead I walked away silently fuming and tweeted Leon who reassured me they "must do better".
Keep Cup said they advise customers to "go somewhere Keep Cup friendly" but instead I keep returning to Leon and every time that guy is on shift I make sure he takes my order. Last week I ordered breakfast with my coffee and the barista who took my order handed it to me and said "you don't need the bag right?" so in a small way I seem to have made an impression.
We have just begun Lent and whilst I am not religious it's something I've taken part in every year since I can remember. As well as giving up chocolate and biscuits this year I've decided to give up one wasteful habit. This week I've given up using cotton pads to take off my make up at night and instead I've invested in washable pads. The ones I've chosen are made from the waste fabric that comes from making washable nappies (they're the leg holes!) and they are cotton terry on one side backed with really soft microfleece on the other. I bought 12 so I don't have to wash them continuously and they're massive so I only use one per day. I will update in the next week or so as I give up more wasteful habits. Please let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions!