Green Consumerism Diary – Days 6-10

Posted on August 11, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Saturday 8th – Wednesday 11th August

The end of the week brings new dilemmas for the green consumer as the weekday work routine is replaced by weekend leisure time.  I am someone who very much enjoys a takeaway and in that regard this was a weekend of indulgence.  On Saturday evening I had Indian food and all the packaging that came with it, including paper and plastic bags and polystyrene and plastic containers.  The plastic containers I keep and reuse but I now have a drawer full, much more than I am ever likely to need.  They are not particularly good quality so eventually they break and end up in the bin.  Some restaurants have started to introduce biodegradable or recyclable packaging; the best I’ve come across is starch containers.  However these are rare, in NI at least.

An obvious alternative is to sit in, but this is both more expensive as well as not always being practical for parents.  A was in bed by the time D and I sat down to have our food on Saturday.  Also I’ve noticed an increasing number of fast food restaurants using disposable containers for eating in.  Not just the usual suspects but also the likes of Boojum and Oodles Noodles in Botanic.  The restaurant industry is certainly one that could buck up its game in this area.

On Sunday I was at a friend’s house and he was having an impromptu, and therefore not veggie friendly, barbeque.  So I got a pizza (without cheese!) from a nearby restaurant.  At least with pizza the packaging is recyclable but still it is more waste.

The weekend is the time that I normally use the car very little but that was not the case last week.  D and I were out in the car on Saturday and Sunday.  We were also out sailing in her dads boat (it’s not as swish as it sounds) though we cut the engine when there was enough wind.  Sailors were using wind power long before the Greens came along.  Then I drove to Belfast to see friends.  Usually I would take the train but as I was going to a number of different places the car was the more practical option.  So all in all, a high impact weekend.

Writing this diary has led to D and I assessing our level of car usage.  We would both consider ourselves to be ‘green’ but we are a two car family and clearly we could do better.  D got a train and a bus to work today at a cost of £10.90 which was definitely more expensive than taking the car, it was also an extra 1.5 hours in travel time (taking into account the walk between the house and the train station and the time between bus and train).  This is time that could have been spent sleeping later in the morning and with A in the evening.  If we both start using public transport every day A could be spending around an hour extra in nursery rather than with his parents.

The cost could be mitigated by buying an i-link card.  However we are discriminated against for living outside Belfast so have to pay for the more expensive ‘zone 2’ card.  At least we don’t live in Derry where it is even more expensive again.  Fine if you are commuting to Belfast but not much use if you are not.  Other benefits include a more relaxing journey.  Both D and I get stressed when we drive, in fact I suspect that most people do.  Travelling by public transport would also allow me to read so I can be working on the bus (although I usually listen to the news in the car which is equally important for my job).  The extra exercise from walking to and from the station is another obvious benefit.

I think there is an acceptable balance to be found in one of us taking a car each day (the person who takes Alex to nursery) which will mean A doesn’t lose out in the deal, we can buy a weekly/monthly i-link card between us which will save us money and hopefully in the long term we can ditch one of the cars.


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3 Responses to “Green Consumerism Diary – Days 6-10”

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you may not want to make it public knowledge that you are sharing any type of translink ticket. ‘Non transferable’ i think is the terminology they use.

I have also noticed a great deal of summer offers on day tickets but most of these apply to families, great for them but not for us childless couples or singles.

When it comes to food packaging, you should severly scold your friend for not having some veggie options on his barbecue, not just for you but surely he is aware of the health benefits and indeed the wonderful flavours of some bbq veggies.

The use of take away packaging when sitting in a restaurant/cafe is pathetic. Sounds like another botanic cafe to strike off the list, the last one to go for me was ‘the other place’ for refusing to give my mother in law a glass of tap water with her meal.

Hi Nicci,

The i-link card is transferable (it says so on the Translink leaflet) but two people can’t use it on the same journey.

In defence of my friend, when he hosts a bbq he always leaves space for veggie sausages/burgers. On this occasion he was just using up some meat he had leftover. He has cooked me many a delicious veggie meal over the years also but I’d called up at short notice and it was a Sunday and he didn’t have much in the cupboard, hence me getting a takeaway.

I can’t believe the Other Place refused to give someone tap water. When Morrisons was in existence the chef refused to make me a veggie meal. I was offered chips. Shame it closed down. Yeah, the using of disposable plates in sit in restaurants is a concern.


thats great about the i-link card being transferable. Translink getting something right maybe!

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