Things have taken a distinctly autumnal turn around here today. After a week of sunshine (and work), the rain woke me at 7am and has continued ever since. I’ve eaten blackberries from the community garden in my porridge every day this week, and can feel myself drawn to cosy, home-buttling activities rather than adventuring in the great outdoors.
I don’t know if you know, but this week is Zero Waste Week. This year the theme is reducing food waste.
I signed up and made a pledge to not throw away any half-drunk cups of tea.
That might seem like an odd pledge, but actually, we don’t waste that much food here. We’re good at using up leftovers, and regularly make soup from whatever’s left in the bottom of the fridge. Very little hangs around long enough to go mouldy. (Except satsumas – my satsumas seem to always get forgotten about and go hard. I’ve stopped buying them for now).
However, we do drink a lot of tea. And because our kettle is a whistling one you put on the hob, it takes a while to heat up. So sometimes Peter will say ‘do you want a cup of tea?’ and I will say ‘oooh, yes please!’, and he’ll put the kettle on, and I’ll wander off upstairs and start sewing.
Fifteen minutes later a cup of tea will be delivered to me, but by then I’ll be engrossed in something and I’ll forget to drink it. Or I’ll drink half of it and start doing something else, and leave the rest to go cold.
Things are better now we have a microwave (from Freegle!). It is possible to heat up tea – but it’s also VERY easy to ruin it if you put it in for too long. Then the tea, and the accompanying milk, gets poured down the sink.
We get through a fair bit of milk, and I started to wonder just how much of it was being tipped away in cold cups of tea…
So I pledged to drink ALL of my tea, and this week I’ve done just that! I’ve made sure that when I said ‘yes’ to a cuppa, I really did want one. When I’ve made one for myself, I’ve focused on what I’m doing and not left the teabag in too long (too-strong tea is a major cause of me not drinking it). And when I’ve got one, I’ve sat down and drunk it, rather than carrying it about while I did something else.
I’ve made less tea (which has probably saved a few pence on the gas bill), and I’ve enjoyed every cup I’ve had. And ironically, the only tiny bit of tea which has been thrown away was from that cup in the photograph, which I splashed some paint into (oops!)
I have no idea how much milk we’ve saved – I’d guess at least a pint, maybe two. That’s a pint or two every week that doesn’t have to be processed, transported, refridgerated. A little thing perhaps, but a big thing too.
What little things do you throw away without thinking? Are you taking part in Zero Waste Week? There’s still time to sign up!