- Each week we buy our fruit and veg from the grocer around the corner. We have always brought along our own fabric bags to use rather than the disposable ones available at the shop (strangely, even though Wales has a 5p charge for plastic carrier bags, this doesn’t apply to produce bags). During our most recent shop, the shopkeeper joyfully told us that other people had started coming in with fabric bags. It is spreading!
- I was a bit taken aback when my smoothie arrived at lunch yesterday with a straw. It was a pretty trendy, hippy/hipster vegetarian place, so I didn’t even think to ask for no straw. I am trying to be more confident about speaking up on things like this, so I asked if they had considered witching to paper straws. The waitress reassured me that the straws are fully biodegradable and break down in just 10 days. Hmm, I still find straws rather unnecessary and wish they had asked before giving me one though (side note – this Sustainababble episode echoes some of my thoughts on straws, which seem to occupy a lot of attention when people talk about reducing plastic waste and I’m not quite sure why that is).
- Share bikes have arrived in Cardiff! This one is so exciting it probably deserves its own post. I never really rated share bikes when I lived in Melbourne (the reactions of Melburnians to share bikes seem to range from apathetic to amusing), but would have loved this scheme had it been in place when we arrived six months ago. At least when we have visitors they’ll be able to make use of it.
Before we moved to Cardiff we did a bit of research to see if it was the kind of place we would like to live. There were certainly some positives (castle keys! municipal composting! affordable rent!), but bulk food shopping was one thing I wasn’t sure of. Using my internet sleuthing skills I starred a couple of places to check out on google maps, and in my first week I diligently went and checked them all out. Unfortunately none were a bulk food store in the sense that I was used to (i.e. where I could bring my own bags and completely avoid bringing any additional packaging home with me).
It has taken me six months, but this weekend I ventured back to one of those initial places to try again, and this time ask if they could help me rather than just look around. I was optimistic, as they bag everything into little plastic baggies from big sack on site, so I thought they might be able to just pop some into my fabric bags while they were at it.
Long story short, they said no. They had a bunch of reasons why it would be too hard, and perhaps they have tried it in the past and it hasn’t worked. Either way, I left without buying anything. My boyfriend did sneak back though and buy some pearl cous cous – everything here is in packages so I guess we might as well enjoy the food we like!
I feel it is inevitable that someone will open a bulk or plastic-free store in Cardiff in the next year. They are popping up all over the UK and Wales a the moment, and plastic pollution seems to be the issue of the moment (it is even the theme for this year’s World Environment Day). If you decide to open a bulk store in Cardiff, I promise to be your most loyal customer!