Tuesday, 22 December 2009

STOP PRESS:Ouch! I fell off the wagon!


It's been roughly 1 year, 10 months, 29 days, 16 hours, 27 minutes and 11 seconds since I discovered that I don't need cling film. Well that's what the man who took that photo of me with the bin bags told me almost two years ago.


(copyright: St Edmundsbury District Council)

You might think I'm smiling, but that facial expression is actually a grimace. In that brain beneath what was an exceedingly long mop of hair, the cogs were cranking away, pondering every single convenience I was going to have to give up for the zero waste challenge.

And I couldn't believe my ears when the photographer who was taking the publicity shots for the council suggested I could give up cling film. What! For-go something that was so bloody useful, just for the sake of a waste project. He had to be joking! I'm sure he even said something about ditching the bin bags too! It was like having my photo taken by a stand-up comedian.

But he was right. I didn't buy cling film ever again. Instead I've managed to store our prepared food and leftovers in reusable containers or glass jars, as well as using the odd piece of aluminium foil - of which, the original roll is still in my cupboard today. As well as contributing to the waste reduction plan, I estimate that by ditching the cling film, we've also saved about twenty-five quid during that time.

When you add other considered essentials such as foil, washing-up sponges, paper kitchen towel, laundry detergent, bin bags and sanitary products, the total saving from avoiding all those disposables comes to a figure somewhere in the region of £400 (£130 of which has been saved just from avoiding kitchen towel - can you believe it - you will when you discover I used to get through at least eight rolls per month).

I appreciate I've spent some of those savings on alternative products such as reusable sponges, washing balls, e-cloths, plastic containers and washable pads. However the cost hasn't exceeded £100, which means that we're still a whopping £300 in pocket and just goes to show how worthwhile an exercise this bin slimming lark actually is - particularly useful when it comes to Christmas.

However, I never started the Rubbish Diet with frugality in mind. The cash savings are simply a bonus that I hadn't even anticipated.

It was reducing waste that mattered and since I started this blog post it's now been 1 year, 10 months, 29 days, 17 hours, 10 minutes, 20 seconds
since I realised I didn't need cling film.

Well that was until yesterday, when Mr A prepared his shopping list for the Beef Wellington recipe that he's cooking today!

When he told me what he needed, I almost fell off my chair in shock.

"Cling film!" I shrieked, in an incredulous tone reminiscent of Lady Bracknell's exclamation of "A handbag" in the Importance of being Earnest.

I scanned the recipe, trying to consider a suitable alternative that might include tea-towels, food containers and a mallet, but found there was only one option!

"Cling film!" I hollered once more; my last opportunity to resist defeat before surrendering and falling off the wagon, reluctantly placing it in my trolley at the supermarket.

Oh well. With all things considered, having gone without the stretchy stuff for almost two years is quite remarkable. I haven't missed it one little bit and at this rate, I reckon the roll that I bought yesterday will see me through to 2050 at least.

I might even leave it in my will, eh!

Well you never know, it might be more valuable than the figure of £1.16 that it is today. Then there's the provenance to consider. It could even be a rarity of an age gone by.

Any takers?

I thought not. But at least it was worth a try. I suppose I could always give it to my mother for Christmas. Well, she always likes to have something practical.

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6 comments:

Fake Plastic Fish said...

No! Say it isn't so! :-)

So I know it's too late because you have already bought the cling film, but for next time maybe consider that they were making beef wellington long before cling film existed. Here is a recipe I found that does not involve plastic film:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Fillet-of-Beef-Wellington-10776

I asked myself the same question when a friend gave me a plastic baggie of Amish Friendship bread starter. I don't know if you do this in England, but it's the chain letter of baking. Anyway, all the modern instructions for making it involve plastic baggies. But I thought to myself, surely the Amish people did not use plastic. So I searched until I found a plastic-free method.

I am not chastizing you. You are fabulous in what you have accomplished. It's just amazing. But I can't leave posts about buying plastic wrap alone without chiming in. :-) I wonder what Julia Child would have done.

Beth

Danda said...

Gosh!
It's that kind of thing you totally don't expect!
I've just told it to my man and he smiled and said: "Oh men! It's always our fault!" :D
You can try to give it to someone that still is using it. I know, it isn't the best solution, but at least you can feel free.
But don't be angry, it's Christmas, you can forgive him once! ;)

Condo Blues said...

Oh Mrs. A. I fell off the cling film wagon too. We needed it to cover a bowl of icing so it wouldn't harden so we could use it to decorate a gingerbread house. Our first. Next year I'll try to find a cling film free option.

If it's any consolation, we put candy solar panels on our gingerbread house.

just Gai said...

I've been baking today and have used some cling film to wrap biscuit dough while it rests in the fridge. I don't use it very often but I'm not looking forward to the day it finally runs out as I can't justify buying another roll.

It's funny the things we believe we can't live without that our grandmothers, even mothers, couldn't even have conceived of.

John Costigane said...

Hi Mrs A,

Shame about the cling film pack, but it should keep for many years in a hidden spot. I have such an item, a pair of kitchen towels unwrapped, which has lain barely noticed for nearly 1.75 years. The occasional glance up at it reminds me of former wasteful attitudes, long discarded.

ALMOST MRS AVERAGE said...

LOL Beth - no I don't mind you chiming in at all. :-) Indeed I most welcome it and if we weren't running the gauntlet of just in time delivery on the entertaining front, I'd have been straight over to you.

It's a really interesting point about old traditional recipes and what people would have done before the invention of plastic film. Like so many things there are often other alternatives, so thank you so much for providing the recipe. On this occasion, Mr A was already underway, but next time it will prove very useful. It will be a while yet though until the next time. While I'm getting over the shock of the clingfilm, he's still getting over the price of beef fillet. :-)

By the way I love the idea of the Amish bread friend starter. How fabulous :-)

Hi Danda - LOL, yes it is isn't it. At least on a positive note, at least we can recycle it at our local household waste recycling centre along with other films (once washed of course). So that's some progress beyond how things were several years ago. However, I'll pop it in the back of the cupboard and only bring it out for emergencies :-)

LOL Lisa - well I am so glad I am not the only one. Good luck with finding an alternative for the icing. And oce you do, it would be great if you could drop by and let us know. Hahaha - solar panels. There's no getting away from the fact that's a 21st century gingerbread house :-)

Hi Just Gai - I know what you mean about the biscuit dough. I remember the first time I'd made extra dough and needed to put it in the fridge. In the end I plumped for an unused sandwich bag from the "old days" and used that and the odd bread bag has come in handy too.

I love your point about our forebears. It would be great to have the opportunity to chat to the older generation and discover what they did, especially as cling film has only been around for just over 50 years. Good luck with a cling film free future :-)

Hi John - oh yes, it will certainly end up in the deepest darkest corner of my utensils cupboard, out of reach. Isn't it amazing how these everyday products that we take for granted aren't actually needed after all. That's a fine result regarding your kitchen towel. It took me a while to reduce my dependency on it, and for a while I kept a roll as a back up. But once it's gone, it's gone. :-)

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