Restaurant review: Silo

silo-philosophy
A Silo philosophy: Waste is a failure of the imagination
Last weekend, I was lucky enough to find myself in one of the very nicest cities in the UK, Brighton. It has pretty much everything I could want in a city – the sea (with accompanying gorgeous views), market stalls, indie shops selling one-of-a-kind vintage items, enough vegetarian cafes to make it seem like a normal lifestyle, and a great approach to life (they elected the only Green Party MP in the UK, which makes them pretty awesome and progressive in my book).

There is a huge range of places to eat – the wonderful Terre à Terre makes some of the most exciting vegetarian food I’ve ever tried, or the excellently-named Wai Kika Moo Kau (say it out loud), but there was somewhere new that I have wanted to try ever since it opened…

Silo is a restaurant with a rather unique and exciting way of doing things – the zero waste way. It oozes out of the room itself, which is furnished with functional second-hand furniture and repurposed items. All food is delivered in refillable or reusable packaging, and any waste that created is compostable, although Silo’s website says they create so little of it that they also offer their composting services to local business and residential neighbours! Continue reading “Restaurant review: Silo”

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Green shopping in London: The People’s Supermarket

As someone who tries to avoid shopping in supermarkets, I love The People’s Supermarket. Mainly because it’s not really a supermarket in the regular supermarket sense (if there was an award for the most number of times you can use the word ‘supermarket’ in a post about a shop that isn’t really a supermarket, I’m pretty sure this would be a contender).

The People’s Supermarket (or TPS as we’ll call it from now on) is a lovely find in the centre of London, being independent, community minded, ethical, and all in all a jolly good egg.

It’s run as a co-op and mostly staffed by volunteers. For just four hours a month, volunteers get 20% off all their food shopping there, and a say in how it’s run.

Continue reading “Green shopping in London: The People’s Supermarket”

The sustainability society

In the immortal words of a great philosopher:

“It’s not easy being green.”

– Kermit the Frog

Sometimes, as you’re correctly separating out the non-recyclable waste from your neighbour’s recycling bin (after dark, so they won’t see you), trying not to overreact as your request to have your coffee in your travel mug instead of a paper cup is met with blank stares or stifled laughter, or attempting to justify to your nearest and dearest that a third jumper, hat and extra slippers are preferable to having the heating on, you can find yourself thinking that being ‘green’ can be a bit of a lonely place.

When this happens I reassure myself that I am not really alone in this – there are surely many people as curious as I – but sometimes the sheer tide of disposable packaging, litter, waste and over-consumption, can leave me feeling a bit downhearted about it all. Why isn’t everyone else angry about this as well!?

Happily Continue reading “The sustainability society”

September: What a rubbish month it’s been

September has been a very rubbish sort of month. Happily, I mean a month where rubbish (or the avoidance of it) has been a popular topic, especially amongst us with an interest in all things sustainable.

Awareness events

We kicked off the month with Rachelle Strauss’s Zero Waste Week, looking at the many ways to create less waste on the theme of ‘reuse’. You can see my posts about reducing waste in the bathroom and kitchen here and here.

Some of my favourite blog posts from this week were:

Zoe of Eco Thrifty Living wrote a really inspiring post on her first Zero Waste Week event, where people swapped clothes, books, DVDs and more and made a rather lovely mural from waste materials.

Dawn’s ever-lovely blog, Be a Green Bean, let us have a nosey through her kitchen cupboards as she used up the contents of the cupboards rather than buying more.

Jen at Make Do and Mend-able was as Continue reading “September: What a rubbish month it’s been”

Zero Waste Week: Kitchen and Food Swaps

The kitchen, the whole kitchen, and nothing but the kitchen (except the beginnings of the dining room and lounge)
The kitchen, the whole kitchen, and nothing but the kitchen (except the beginnings of the dining room and lounge)

In my second post for Zero Waste Week, we’re going into the kitchen! Renting in rather-pricey North London means that our kitchen is on what estate agents optimistically refer to as the ‘cosy’ side. On one hand, this is good for zero waste living as there’s very little space for over-shopping, either in the cupboards or the fridge (not that it’s doesn’t happen sometimes!). On the other, batch cooking is curtailed by a single freezer shelf and buying numerous large items in bulk is out.

Here are some of the good habits I’ve managed to develop on my ongoing zero waste journey:

Tea

Loose tea is available to fill my own bags with from the ever-wonderful Earth Natural Foods in Kentish Town, where everything comes in beautiful self-serve glass jars. This week, WestyWrites also mentioned on Twitter that a number of Whittard’s branches have refill options, where she reports that they were happy to refill her own container.

If you don’t mind the possibility of a small amount of plastic in your teabags (who knew?! Polythene Pam at Plastic is Rubbish, that’s who), but don’t want the horrible crinkly unrecyclable plastic-y foil and the extra layer of unrecyclable plastic round the outside as per a normal box of tea, there is another option! Continue reading “Zero Waste Week: Kitchen and Food Swaps”

Zero Waste Week: Bathroom Swaps

This year’s Zero Waste Week runs from 7th-13th September and the theme is ‘reuse’. Anyone and everyone can get involved, just go along to www.zerowasteweek.co.uk and make your pledge! My pledge is to purchase and use nothing that goes to landfill for the week. Self-promo moment – you’ll also be seeing a post from me on the Zero Waste Week website about some of my antics at work very soon!

Zero Waste Week is the invention of Rachelle Strauss, and you can read more about her journey and how she started this initiative on her website and in this article she wrote for the Guardian last year.

I started going down the zero waste path a couple of years ago, and for me it’s an ongoing journey – there are so many areas of our lives where waste just seems to magically appear! The decision to not use resources, or use resources that don’t create excess packaging, has to be just that – a decision. It doesn’t happen by accident. Our society set up at the moment is based around convenience – coffee to go, sandwiches to grab at lunch, and even if you do have the time to slow down you’re likely to be confronted by supermarket pre-packed vegetables, ready meals and a million special offers on food wrapped in plastic (my personal bugbear being multi-pack crisps – non-recyclable plastic wrapped in extra non-recyclable plastic just to sell us more crisps in one go!). Continue reading “Zero Waste Week: Bathroom Swaps”

Bees In The City

Here’s an article I wrote for the lovely blog http://www.beagreenbean.co.uk about learning about beekeeping! Thrilled to have found a spot to keep bees with two friends now, starting next year 🙂

I am delighted to have Pip on the blog today who’s new to beekeeping and fell in love with the bees when she won a course to learn all about them. Pip is learning about keeping Bees in the city and is a fellow green living blogger across at A Refuge For Daffodils. Take it away Pip…


Hi all, my name is Pip and I’m an aspiring beekeeper. All I’m missing is my own beehives and the space to put them!

I first became interested in beekeeping through a course at work. A competition was held to find the lucky few who would be allowed up to the beehives kept on top of the seventh story on one of our buildings to learn more about bees and beekeeping. It was a little bit like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the golden tickets, except that our prize was to find…

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Plastic Free July (argh, it’s everywhere!)

 

Week 1 plastic fails (although check out the coriander growing in the back, putting the parsley on the left to shame)

I sauntered into Plastic Free July thinking “It’ll be so easy this year. I’ve had way more practice, and I’m totally prepared for this.” Ha! is what I have to say to me on that; plastic is everywhere and it’s been pursuing me relentlessly like a mosquito on a summer evening.

The picture at the top is the plastic I’ve accidentally acquired this week, and it’ll be living in my hallway until the end of the month when I can survey the shame all together. So, here we go:

1. Little pot of sauce: It’s Friday night, it’s 11pm and we’ve stopped rushing about like lunatics for the first time that day. Pizza, delivered to us in a friendly cardboard box was surely the answer. And it was glorious. But then Continue reading “Plastic Free July (argh, it’s everywhere!)”

Preparing for Plastic Free July

 

The classic festival ‘carpet’

My walk to work takes me four and half miles from north London to central London. Unsurprisingly, I see quite a lot of rubbish on my way. And it really, really angers me. Partly I’m angry because in addition to there being lots of rubbish in London, there’s also lots of bins, ideal for putting the rubbish in. But I’m more angry because so much of the rubbish is unnecessary, and exists because it’s more convenient than a version of that product that doesn’t require the generation of waste – water bottles, sandwich packets, plastic bags.To me this represents the root of the reason that we’re a planet rapidly filling up with plastic waste that’s destroying wildlife and polluting the oceans – because as a society, convenience wins. This is the norm, but it isn’t OK and it has to stop.

A rather grim example of the problem we’re causing strikes me every day at Euston, as I walk past a park. Continue reading “Preparing for Plastic Free July”

Coming to a calender near you… Plastic Free July!

Last year’s Plastic Free July fails

It’s the most wonderful time…of the year! No, not Christmas, it’s Plastic Free July 🙂

Plastic Free July is an Australian initiative, but people from all around the world take part. It’s been running since 2011, and the PFJ website says that in 2014 ‘over 14,000 individuals, schools, businesses and organisations from 69 countries participated’.

I was already pretty enthusiastic about sustainability and environmental issues before I discovered Plastic Free July. But it was taking part in PFJ last year that really hit it home to me quite how much plastic there is. It’s in everything (I’m looking at you, microbeads). It’s around everything (almost every foodstuff in every supermarket). Then, once you have your stuff containing and surrounded by plastic, you put it in more plastic, in the form of a flimsy, easily-ripped bag, take it home and then either stuff it in the back of the cupboard, or it goes straight into the recycling, never to be used again. Possibly, it’ll be used as a bin liner to hold other bits of plastic before it goes to join all the other unloved bits of plastic in a landfill. Continue reading “Coming to a calender near you… Plastic Free July!”