As you may know if you are from Plymouth this blog is being featured in our local newspaper every couple of weeks. The editor has asked us to respond to the questions people are asking us about our journey so here goes…..
Why bother – it is the responsibility of the big companies surely?
This is the biggest question I get asked, mostly with a sceptical smile. My response is quite simple, we all have a responsibility for our children and grandchildren, I explain our original carbon foot print score originally at 95% and that the changes we have made have not been difficult in the most part and simple changes can make a big impact, such as changing from shower gel in a plastic bottle to soap in a cardboard box, or milk in a glass bottle, Jane walking to work instead of the car. The harder challenge is no long haul flights for a holiday aboard, we will see what we can do on this in another blog.
I am also asked about whether all those deliveries to home. I usually answer that all deliveries are local and the more people that use the same service will mean the impact on each individual is reduced, so a home delivery will produce in the region of 1.35kg of carbon, Where as a HGV travelling from a depot in Avonmouth and delivering to a supermarket in Plymouth will produce in the region of 357kg of carbon. If enough of use use the locally sourced products and not using the supermarket even taking one HGV off the road, the carbon saving will be massive.
Are you really not going to supermarkets?
When we started this journey on January 1st 2018 we really thought we could live without going to a supermarket and up to now we haven’t done a big supermarket shop like we used to in the good old days. Previously we went to Sainsburys or Morrsions after work, had our tea (dinner) in the cafe and then spent about £75 on a weekly shop depending on the week of the month ie. how close to payday.
Nowadays we manage to get fruit, veg, milk, eggs and fish delivered and we have done a bulk buy for cat food and toilet rolls on line and had them delivered. We have started to make our own bread in our 2nd hand bread maker and have bought meat once a month in a meat box for £50. This leaves us needing dairy items like cheese, yoghurt, pasta, cereals, flour and chocolate and wine ( both very important). We have got some of this from the Zero Waste shop in Totnes but it doesn’t last very long so we have been going to our small Co-op with fairtrade products near our house – less than a minute way.
So our main aim was to break the habit of the large supermarket shop we used to do which reduces our spend a bit and helps us focus on eating what we have already got to reduce our waste but most importantly ensures we are sourcing our food locally as much as we can therefore reducing our carbon footprint.
You must be saving loads of money?
Sort of. This is one of the areas that interests us most as sustainable living for us isn’t stepping out of normal life and becoming the new “Barbara and Tom” from the Good Life. We want to reduce our consumption – in the West we are consuming three times more than we need in terms of food, goods and natural resources. If we carry on at this rate of consumption there will be nothing left for our grandchildren. By reducing our consumption such as not buying new clothes, new goods and locally sourcing food we are saving money because we are “making do” – we are content with what we have.
We are trying not to get philosophical but it is not to on this subject! So really we are saving a lot of money because we are just not buying new things however we are paying more for the things we do buy like milk and organic veg. We think on balance sustainable living is cheaper but it is a whole mindshift to get there!