My new year’s resolution – cutting out waste

My new year’s resolution – cutting out waste

I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. Often they seem to be guilt-infused declarations of denial brought on by a month of binge eating, drinking and shopping. Any decision made while feeling overweight, hungover or in a house bursting at the seams with festive detritus is never going to be anything more than a pointless exercise in the ultimate failure of will power.

For me, fundamental promises of change comes about after a proper period of reflection, often after a summer holiday when a few weeks of rest, change and – hopefully – sun have given me a proper chance to reconsider where my life is going. Hence, the autumn is more generally when I find myself trying to do things differently or starting new challenges. September 2012 is when I joined the Green Party and a month later I wrote the first post in my blog Action Against Apathy, both of which came about because I realised how fed up I was – and still am – with the political status quo, what the Tories are doing to society and state under the guise of austerity and the lack of response from the people to it. September 2014 was when I became vegetarian, a result of months spent reading about and considering the harm the industrialised production of meat causes to our planet.

September has always seemed a more natural time of renewal given that is when the academic year starts, and I spent nearly 20 years of my life starting a new school year that month and adapting to the change that wrought. Furthermore, since joining Kingston Liberal Synagogue two-and-a-half years ago to prepare our sons for their Bar Mitzvahs, I have learnt that the Jewish New Year (Rosh HaShanah) which occurs in autumn (the exact time is dependent on the moon) is a time of reflection and renewal, because this is when Jews get to the end of the Torah and start reading it again from the beginning.

However, this 1st January 2015 I have decided to break with my own tradition and I am making a New Year’s resolution and it will indeed be a declaration of denial. So for 2015 and forever onwards I will be denying myself waste, as in the production of rubbish, whether it goes into landfill or recycling, and in particular plastic packaging. This has come about because the amount of reading I’ve done into the plastic waste in our seas, the fact that a 22-carriage train leaves west London four days a week laden with landfill and from a book by Bea Johnson called Zero Waste Home. I have only dipped into it, but one of her strongest messages is about not bringing waste in to your home that you then have to dispose of somehow. So instead of gettting my fruit and veg from Sainsbury’s, too much of which I am forced to buy pre-packed, I will be going to my local greengrocers with my own mesh bags to put my provisions in, rather than taking the small plastic ones they offer.

A small step maybe, and seemingly insignificant, but this is how I’ve been trying to live my life since the autumn of 2012 – as outlined in my blog – by doing one small thing every day, in the hope that if we will all do something that is better than nothing.