My Terracycle Zero Waste Box: four months on

In January, I wrote about my purchase of a rather fancy cardboard box. What possessed me to purchase mid-sized piece of cardboard for £117.62 you ask? Well, this box is pretty special – it allows all sorts of things that would normally end up in landfill to go for recycling instead. This is done courtesy of a company called Terracycle.

Terracycle, through a mixture of free collection points and boxes you can purchase for your home or business, pride themselves on recycling the unrecyclable – cigarette butts, flipflops, cassette tapes – and more other things than I could have possibly imagined.

Over the past few years, I’ve been on a mission to reduce the amount of waste our household produces. What I’ve learned in that time is that a lot of waste is avoidable, based on strategies of:

  1. trying to purchase only what I actually need,
  2. shopping second hand for clothes and household goods when I do purchase things, keeping them maintained and fixing them if they break,
  3. taking time to create some avoidance strategies for the seemingly endless amount of packaging our food comes in, and composting the leftovers.

Continue reading “My Terracycle Zero Waste Box: four months on”

The psychological problem with plastic

I had a bit of a revelation the other day. I can’t imagine I’m the first person to think of it, but it struck me as significant at the time.

I was at work, and we had some leftover birthday cake in the office. Some people wanted to take a few slices home, but didn’t have any containers with them. “I’ve got a spare container you can borrow” I said, offering a colleague my metal lunchbox (pictured above, minus the lunch). “I can’t take that” they replied, “it’s far too nice to borrow!”

Searching further in my desk drawer I found a plastic box, the type that takeaway food comes in. “That’s perfect”, my colleague said, “I’ll bring it back tomorrow.”

And that’s when it hit me – the problem with plastic isn’t just that it’s disposable, but that it somehow intrinsically embodies the quality of ‘disposable’-ness as well. Plastic represents something that doesn’t require care or preservation – it looks as though it was made to be discarded. Continue reading “The psychological problem with plastic”

Green Shopping in London: Earth Natural Foods 


Earth Natural Foods, 200 Kentish Town Road, London, NW5 2AE

Open 8.30am – 7pm, Monday to Saturday, closed Sundays
Welcome to the very first in a series that I plan will take me all over London, finding places to shop zero and low waste, local, organic, environmentally friendly and also friendly in general. I’m starting on home turf in north London, but I plan to bravely venture into the centre, east, west and even…south of the river! Exciting times 🙂

My first venue is also the one I visit the most, and have a huge soft spot for. Earth is an amazing place for loose staples – dried herbs and spices, teas, nuts, seeds, rice, beans, lentils, couscous and even eggs. They also have a huuuuuge cheese selection, served up in greaseproof paper (or popped in your own tub if you ask nicely, I’ve found). If you’ve never tried the Godminster Cheddar, you may well be missing out on the most delicious cheddar in existence.

Loose fruit and veg is also a great buy here, with more reasonable prices than many other organic places I’ve found. Continue reading “Green Shopping in London: Earth Natural Foods “