I was excited about the opportunity to speak to people in real life who like me have tried (or at least thought about) living without shampoo, toilet paper and toothpaste. I also had another reason for wanting to go to, I wanted a bit more encouragement. After trying to go plastic free for Plastic Free July and various attempts to go Zero Waste, some rubbish has crept back into my life. There are changes that I have made which have become permanent, but there are some things which I have remained unsure about and others which are a constant challenge. I thought it would great to go and find out in person how other people took on some of these challenges.
I felt a bit under pressure from myself – not from anyone else (most zero waste enthusiasts seem like really lovely people) to show my zero waste credentials and to try and do the right thing. However, the cafe we chose to meet at had a policy of automatically putting hot drinks into disposable cups unless you ask for a normal cup. The first time I went up I made a point of asking for a normal cup, but the second time I forgot and they started putting it in a disposable cup and this had happened to one of my other zero waste friends too. Instead of beating myself up about it, I asked to speak to the manager and had what seemed like a very positive chat about changing their policy. She explained that they choose a disposable cup straight away as most of their customers come from the offices in the building wanting disposable cups, there is often a queue and everyone is in a rush, so it speeds things up. I suggested that it wouldn’t take long to ask people first what type of cup they want and also that they could offer a 5p discount to anyone bringing their own mug, saving them on washing up/ paying out for disposable cups. The manager seemed to like the idea and I have sent her an email asking her to tell me how it goes, so if I hear anything back I will let you know!
On the train on the way home my mind was filled with ideas about toilet paper alternatives (still not sure I am ready to go there again) and going back to bicarbonate of soda for cleaning my teeth – mainly encouraged by Emma who I will be writing some more about in my next blog post!
The meetup was organised by Meg from the group, but unfortunately she couldn’t make it in the end which was such a shame, but big thanks to Meg for organising it!