Team Member Kerry aged 47 shares some of her Using Less Journey
This week we spoke to Kerry, our Operations Manager, and asked her about what she does to use less.
My using less journey started about 15 years ago when I met my partner Martin, we come from different backgrounds. I consider my childhood as privileged, although my parents were not wealthy and both worked, with Dad being in the army we got to travel a lot and when I was 8 with help from the Army my parents were able to send to an independent boarding school in the UK. On the other hand, my partner’s childhood was the complete opposite, whilst I had seen most of Europe by the age of 12, he had never left the country.
When we met, I had spent 15 years working within Retail (mainly high street fashion) including Topshop and Topman on Oxford Street in London, which was the largest retail store at that time. I was a true 80’s child consumer with loans and credit cards to prove it. I wanted all the latest fashion, tech, and all brand new as well. These would of course get thrown away when something new came along. Martin on the other hand, was again the complete opposite. He barely owned anything from new and although he too wanted the new game console or tech item he would wait and buy one 2nd hand, after he had saved up to buy it.
I soon learnt that I did not need new clothes every month and I did not need the latest, newest tech item on the market. So, my Using less journey started through my relationship (we are still together now, and I cleared all my debts some 10 years ago 😊) not because of an awareness of the environment or my carbon footprint. However, over the last 15 years we humans have learnt a lot more about the damage we are doing, and it is becoming easier and easier to reduce your waste and consumption. So, here is a few of the things I do to use less?
Mobile Phones – I have not owned a brand-new phone for over 5 years, I have a sim only contract which costs me £7.50 a month, unlimited texts, 1500min for calls and 2GB of data (not that I use that all up – the access to free Wi-Fi means the only time I really use my data is when using google maps or in an emergency). I have a Samsung S6 which I bought second hand from eBay and it is still going strong. I have dropped it a couple of times but when I brought it I invested in a quality case and screen protector so in the last 5 years I have only had to buy 1 replacement screen protector which did its job when I dropped the phone on a hard stone floor. I am sure Samsung will soon stop pushing out updates and the phone will slowly become useless, at this point I will recycle this phone and seek out a replacement on eBay or spook etc.
Food Shopping – this was probably my hardest challenge. How to reduce what I buy and waste when it comes to food. We are still not perfect, and we do still sadly waste food, but we have reduced our shopping spend and reduced how much we waste. So how did I do it, I started with offers. As a couple with no kids, buying multiples of food items is wasteful, as we often would not get through all of it before it went off. So now I will only buy a multi-buy option if it is a product that will last, and I know we will in time use it all. So, household products are fine, cleaning products etc. As they have a long shelf life. The trick is not to hide them away but keep them somewhere (if you can) where you can see how much you have, so you do not buy them again. When it comes to perishables I rarely buy them in bulk (or a 3 for 2 type offer) because 2 of us can’t use that much, this way I save money not spending it in the first place and reduce waste. We are also not loyal to one shop. Pre Covid (we have not been in a large supermarket since lock down began) we would do most of our fresh fruit and veg weekly shop in Lidl / local markets and then if we needed items Lidl’s do not sell then we would visit one of the larger supermarkets.
Meat – I have not become a vegetarian or vegan, but we have made changes here too. We rarely buy meat from the supermarket, maybe the odd bit here and there but over the years we noticed how poor the quality of the meat from many of the supermarkets is. Packed full of water and bred to produce the most meat etc… So, we started to try some of the veggie/vegan options. We now do not buy any mince at all instead we use Quorn or the preferably the supermarket own brand version (which is usually cheaper, about 50% less than Quorn). Red meat is a restaurant only treat. And chicken and fish we now try to buy from a local farm shop. The cost of this meat is much higher, so we do not buy it as often as we did, and we do not need to as we have introduced a lot of plant-based produce into our diets.
Finally, I have been known to strip over packaged products out of their packaging at the checkout till and leave the unnecessary packaging with the supermarket to deal with! Rather than it is going in my bins and creating tangible feedback for the supermarkets
We also use bamboo toothbrushes; ear buds and I have a reusable bamboo coffee cup…
I have lots more to share but maybe that goes in a follow up …
What does your Using Less journey look like, what ideas can share with us. Reach out on our social media platforms or email us @ firstname.lastname@example.org