This December I am starting with a challenge to help the environment. Jessica from Foxes and Food and I have decided to do a 30 day zero waste challenge this December. If you would like to reduce your waste too, make sure to follow my blog by adding your email address on the right side. First I would like to start off with explaining what zero waste means and I hope that we will have many environmentally conscious people joining us. Zero waste does not mean to completely eliminate waste, but instead it encourages people to become more aware of their waste. Zero waste means minimising waste through recycling, re-using and up-cycling.
In the UAE it is not possible to recycle which makes it even more important that we pay attention to our waste. Even though there are some places that offer to recycle after doing some research I found out that the waste system of the UAE is not advanced enough to recycle anything at all. Most of the waste ends up in landfills which means that the toxins from the waste will eventually end up in the already decreasing ground water. The waste we produce is not only harmful to our environment but also for the animals living in it, plastic bags kill hundreds of camels each year. But camels are not the only ones suffering from the excessive use of plastic bags – cows, gazelles and sheep regularly die from ingesting plastic bags and ropes.
My first step will be swapping plastic bags for reusable bags when going to the supermarkets and malls. I have been doing this for the past months but I do tend to forget the bags in my car sometimes when I do not plan for a shopping trip. I will be making an effort to keep two reusable bags in my car at all times.
In many countries we have to pay for plastic bags, which is a great way to motivate people to bring their own bags to the supermarket. In U.A.E. plastic are widely available free of charge and only some shops have the paper alternative available.
Most supermarkets also sell the reusable tote bags. Typo in Marina mall offers beautiful canvas bags with unicorns on them. Organics food and cafe and Mawasim also sell reusable bags at the checkout.
In Dubai there is an amazing campaign called ‘Give a tee take a bag’ where you can exchange a t-shirt for an up-cycled produce bag.
I buy my fruits and vegetables from farms, organic markets and the Mena fruit and vegetable market. Mena fruit and vegetable market has everything, literally everything except for kale. They have the cheapest produce and I usually go to Golden basket to get avocados, lemons and limes. They sell a box of avocado for 35 dirhams and when they have berries they are also very affordable. Make sure to bargain, it’s a souk after all. Golden basket does not have a google map location, so this is a shop that is very close to them, just head down the road towards the back of the market and you will see the Golden basket sign. The fruits and vegetables are in a cold room at the back, protected from heat and the sunlight.
If you do not like bargaining there are many alternatives. Ripe market sells organic produce every Saturday at the Umm Al Emarat park in Mushrif.
Mawasim is another organic supermarket in Mushrif, they have locally grown and imported organic fruits and vegetables. I usually buy kale at 8 dirhams a bunch and their organic dates at 20 dirhams a kg from them. They also sell their produce at the WTC organic market on Fridays. Another place I like to order vegetables from is Shuwib organic farm. I will soon be blogging more about locally grown, organic vegetables and the best places to buy them from.
Organic farm in Rahba is open ever Saturday from 8am to 5pm and encourages everyone to bring their own bags.
Another way to reduce the plastic way while shopping is ditching the plastic bags in the fruit and vegetable section. A great alternative would be cotton produce bags, and although the cashier might be confused at first, most supermarkets do accept people bringing their own bags. Reusable produce bags are sold at Organics food and cafe, every 3rd Saturday of the month they offer 20% off their entire shop except for supplements and cosmetics. Instead of going to Organics you can also order the produce bags online from iherb.
I am looking forward to a successful Zero Waste December and if you are interested in joining you can also visit Jessica’s blog Foxes and Food for delicious vegan recipes, cute fox pictures and more posts about our December zero waste challenge.