Sunday, June 26, 2005

Week 6 - Organic Boxes

Order your fruit and vegetables through an organic box scheme.

After last week's attempt at the farmers' market and in the local shops I thought that perhaps I could save myself some time and just get my seasonal fruit and veg delivered direct to my house.

Most box schemes deliver locally produced, organic fruit and veg that is in season. Some even have recipe suggestions, to help you deal with the odd Jerusalem artichoke.

The Soil Association can help you find a local company. You will have to register to use their directory but it is free.

Click here for my attempt.

Click here for links and further information.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Week 5 - Buying fruit and veg

Fruit and vegetable shopping - buy local and fair trade and go organic

This is a tricky one. How do you chose between the fair trade banana that is flown from the Caribbean and the pesticide covered British asparagus?

According to Friends of the Earth it is better to buy local and organic. This week I am going to try and do all my fruit and veg shopping by this maxim. It will be interesting to see how much my grocery bill goes up by and whether there is any difference in the taste of the food.

I think it's enough to tackle just fruit and veg this week. I will get to grips with the issues of other types of foods (and their packaging) and general shopping in other weeks.

Click here for my attempt.

Click here for links & further information.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Week 4 - Recycling

Dispose of redundant items responsibly

Rather a vague title I know but I'm talking about disposing of paint, old mobiles, old computers and the like.

I'm having a clear out at my place and it's amazing how many pots of old paint, mobile phone chargers and old printers I've accumulated. Apart from ebay, there are any number of places that will take your tat.

Click here for my attempt.

Click here for further information

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Week 3 - Recycling

Get a kerbside recycling box (only from certain councils)

Kerbside recycling is getting increasingly popular with councils as they are pressured to meet government targets. Defra says that "30 per cent is the national recycling target for 2010, and an achievable medium-term goal for all local authorities, supporting delivery of Landfill Directive targets to divert biodegradable municipal waste from landfill."

Click here for my attempt.

Click here for recycling links and information.

Click here for where to buy goods to help you recycle!

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Week 2 - Water saving

Get a water butt.

With the recent warnings about a hose pipe ban this summer, this seems like a good idea. Hopefully it's not going to be too late for your garden for this to work this summer.

Click here for links to buy.

Click here for further information on water saving.

Click here for my attempt.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Week 1 - Lighting

Change all the light bulbs in the house for energy saving bulbs (also known as Compact Fluorescent Lights). This will save money in the long run and means that you use less electricity and so have less of an impact on the environment.

Click here for my attempt.
Click here for further information.
Click here for where to buy.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Week 6 - My attempt

Starting at the Soil Association directory I tried to find out who my local box scheme delivery companies are. I selected my area but wasn't really blown away by the options. The ones suggested all seemed a little limited and rather expensive. I decided to widen the search and came across Abel & Cole. Their full service is only available in London, the Home Counties and parts of South England, although they do some box deliveries nationwide.

Most delivery schemes give you a choice of boxes. You can have vegetables only, fruit only or a bit of a mix. It's worth having a look around at your schemes as the prices and options seem to vary hugely. It's also worth checking in with your local health food/organic shop as they may be able to recommend a scheme for the area.

I'm so used to having the luxury of choice in the supermarket that it is quite hard to join a scheme where you don't necessarily know what you're getting. Hence my choice of Abel and Cole. They show you what is likely to be in your box each week and you can specify types of fruit and veg that you don't like. They also have a little questionnaire to help you decide which box is for you. I am part of a two person household (dog does not count) and so was recommended a small mixed box or a small deluxe box.

A small mixed box can contain apples, aubergine, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, potatoes, pears, white onions and oranges. I don't know how many of each thing they provide but I will take a guess at 3 apples, pears, onions and oranges and a bag of potatoes. The entire box costs £9.80 with no delivery charge.

I want to do a price comparison though with my local supermarket, Sainsburys. I will look at their organic stuff online and compare prices.

Apples - 700g = £1.99. (This is the smallest quantity you can buy, they aren't sold loose online.)
Aubergine - 99p but not organic.
Broccoli - £3.56 per unit (wow, that's a lot!)
Cherry Tomatoes - £1.08
Potatoes - £1.69 (cheapest)
Pears - £1.99 (not loose)
White Onions - £1.29 (3 onions)
Oranges - £1.59 (4 oranges)

The total for Sainsburys comes to £14.18. Even taking into account that you might be getting more apples, pears and potatoes than in your box that's still over £4 more and the aubergine wasn't organic (although that's just bad luck probably).

Who would have thought that a fruit and vegetable box would be cheaper? And they deliver for free!

I'm converted.

Click here for links and further information.