There is nothing Odd about Oddbox

I cannot remember how I came across Oddbox but I am glad I did. In a world where food waste is reaching shocking amounts, I am a firm supporter of any company or person who is trying to tackle it.

I hate waste. I hate throwing food away unnecessarily. I am that person that ignores the sell by dates and will freeze it to preserve it rather than throw it away.

Oddbox is a company that has been born out of the food waste problem. They are committed to fighting food waste through saving wonky fruit and veg –  that stuff the supermarkets do not want as it does not fit their description of what a vegetable should look like! They work directly with local farmers to take the wonky fruit and vegetables and deliver it straight to your door.

I love this idea! I have no idea when or where supermarkets decided that food had to look a certain way. Whenever I go to a market in France, Italy or Spain you are welcomed by the brightly coloured fruit and vegetable stalls. Piled high with all shapes and sizes. Not a plastic wrapped carrot in sight. Why did we, the British start doing this? What is wrong with a wonky carrot or a nobbly potato?

The all inclusive French market. nothing classed as a wonky here

Intrigued by the service Oddbox are offering I decided to take the leap and sign up for their vegetable delivery service. So last Friday we had our first delivery ( delivery time and day is dictated by your post code in London). My only problem with the service is the delivery time. For our post code it comes from 11pm to 7am. Now I am lucky and live in a block of flats where the concierge can sign for the package but not everyone has this. Nor do most people in London have safe locations you can leave things that the foxes will not get to.

Big box of Vegetables

Negatives aside, we woke to a big old box ( we have gone for the medium vegetable box) of fresh vegetables. For the most part I cannot tell what is wonky about it. The carrots were huge, the spring onions all looked the same, the cabbage – cabbage like. I cannot for the life of me understand why supermarkets would turn this stuff down.

Someone please tell me what is odd about this?
Dirty vegetables… whatever next!

Everything looked great. All it needed was a good clean ( yes that’s right the potatoes and carrots were dirty –  farm fresh mud! ) and it was ready for the fridge.

The box it came in is cardboard, so that can be recycled as well! In fact they ask you to leave it outside for your next delivery as they will take it away and re-use it.

I have been really pleased with the contents of my Oddbox. The medium box has kept us fed for over a week –  a few spring onions still going – but I am ready for our next box to arrive on Friday. We have started on a box every two weeks to see how we go but may well swap to weekly orders. At £10.99 for a box of vegetables every two weeks I think this is a bargain. It means that we are saving food from the waste but also saves us time shopping for it.

I would highly recommend this service if you live in London.

Going Plastic Free

The recent Blue Planet II series on BBC 1 not only showed us the wonders of the sea but has shocked many of us at how we are damaging the seas and oceans. The amount of plastic that is polluting the waters of this planet is breathtakingly bad. In recent weeks it has become quite the hot topic and is now starting to get the attention of the government. It has recently been announced that the Mayor of London is going to start putting in public fountains to discourage people from buying bottled water in the capital. Coffee shops are also on the band wagon by giving people discounts for bringing their reusable cups. Now this is great and all heading to the right direction, however if ordinary people do not make changes to their daily use of plastic then we will not get anywhere. Also water fountains need to go nationwide, not just in London. Network rail recently announced that they will be putting more fountains at stations which will certainly help commuters and travelers.

I really want to make an effort to bring down our household plastic consumption and generally just get a bit better for the environment. Now I love a canvas bag so stopped using those nasty old plastic bags a while back and of course, who doesn’t love the good old reusable tuppa wear! I have a cupboard full of the stuff. However, it starts to get harder when you try to stop using things like cling film or sandwich bags for storing things, like your lunch. This every day object that you use without thinking to wrap up left overs or the odd sandwich.

After a little wander around the internet I came across Beeswax wraps. They are adhesive thanks to the bees and reusable. I have successfully used them all week for wrapping up lunches and snacks and will definitely be investing in some more of varying sizes as these are great little inventions and British made!

 

One sandwich all wrapped up

 

Lunch survived!

The other thing I have found are cloth covers which again can be washed and reused.

Cloth Bowl Covers

I still need to get some of those silicone covers that you can use on top of things in the microwave but I feel like I am making a step in the right direction.

Now on first inspection the beeswax wraps are not cheap, but they are reusable so it’s all an investment as you are normally paying £2 or so for a roll of cling film. The cloth covers are cheaper but again washable and reusable.

However, this will be the problem going forward as it always has been, the cost of doing the right thing environmentally. Hopefully the more popular items like beeswax wraps or cloth covers become then they will be more readily available and more affordable for everyone. But as we are fighting what seems to be a loosing battle with the number of people in poverty in the UK at the moment getting everyone on the band wagon will be impossible. It is those people rocking the middle class world that need to be tackled – the regular coffee shop users and the smart water drinkers ( still not actually sure that is!). Even making one small change like getting a reusable cup or water bottle will start to make a difference.

Going forward I feel like pressure needs to be made on food manufacturers and supermarkets  – why does all the fruit and vegetables need to be wrapped in plastic? You do not get that at a market. If supermarkets stop wrapping things up in unnecessary packaging then you instantly stop throwing it away! People need to start buying loose produce and it will show the shops that there is a reduced demand for pre packed fruit and vegetables.

Its going to be a long up hill battle as people want convenience, they have got used to it. You do not want to have to think about where you will be able to refill your bottle, where do you put the reusable coffee cup when you are done with it. It’s about people making one change at a time, with shops and the government making it easier and of course the odd incentive it will encourage more people.

I believe that people are making the step in the right direction but it needs momentum, everyone to stay motivated and if you occasionally slip its fine. Just look at the drop in use of plastic bags since a 5p charge came in. People can change their habits.

We need to start making changes otherwise we will continue to kill our planet. The everyday person may not be able to stop oil rigs leaking into the sea, or power plants spewing chemicals into the air but we can make small changes like reducing plastic ( and using cars less!) to make sure that we do not end up killing off species that have just as much right to be here as us!