Mel Gooding is a british woman engaged with sustainability and practising a zero-waste lifestyle. She lived in Girona for the past months and shares with Resid’ÚS readers some tips:
I am on the pursuit of a low waste, sustainable life style. This has meant that I have been, over time, making swaps and changing habits within my daily routine. Whilst I have been living in Girona I have been building up a sustainable mental map of the city. This involves the things I take with me in my day to day life and the places I go and support. I am going to share my thoughts and tips for being as green as possible whilst living / visiting Girona:
- Always carry a re-useable bag – I always have my reusable bag on me ready to pop in any produce or items that I may buy. This is the ideal alternative when saying no to single use plastic options (more of that on point 6).
- Always carry a re-useable water bottle – This one is a no brainer, but one that is quite easy to forget. The first thing on my checklist before I leave the house is my reusable water bottle. Throughout my day in Girona I fill up in either in Cafés or at refill points throughout the town. There are a fair few points shattered throughout the picturesque streets of the old town (Barri Vell). Where to buy: Natura is a high street option to buy good quality metal water bottles that are built to last.
- Take your reusable coffee cup – If I have got a busy day that requires coffee fuel on the go I have my reusable KeepCup on me to stay clear of any disposable cups, in some cafés this also allows you to get a discount on your beverages. So, it is a win win!
- Buy your dry goods in the Bulk Stores – There are a few bulk stores that I have come across in Girona. A La Menuda (situated near the centre of town) and A Granel are my favourite. When I am shopping in the bulk stores I am always equip with my reusable bag to avoid any unnecessary waste. These stores are abundant with grains, spices, ecological fruit and other products.
- Buy your fresh fruit and vegetables in the market with your re-useable bag – La Devesa market (On a Saturday and Tuesday morning) has been my favourite fresh food hub, not only is it bursting with colour and fresh produce but it offers the perfect opportunity to use your own bag, The variety is impeccable and the ambience of the markets hustle and bustle draws you to it again and again. The corner shops also are a good place to buy fruit and vegetables without the plastic coatings. I recommend taking several bags to fill up to make weighing easier.
- Say no to single use plastic – This is one that should seem like an obvious one, but if I had a penny for the amount of times I have seen people filling up their shopping with plastic bags – well I would be a rich woman! When in a shop take your own reusable bags, this is an investment for you and the world. Also, when trying Girona’s delicious ice cream’s refuse that plastic spoon and always take the cone. If you do not like the cone someone nearby will finish it off for you, and if you are going to throw your ice cream vessel away then at least this one will break down or will be eaten by a passing bird.
- Cycle – The city of Girona is the perfect size to be taken on by bicycle, I have used my bicycle nearly every day since I have been here and I think it has been my wisest investment it. Cycling is an excellent way to cut down your carbon footprint significantly and get daily exercise.
- Conscious eating – Eating a vegan diet cuts down your carbon food footprint by over half (at 5 tons CO2e) (Environmental Working Group’s Meat Eater’s Guideand the EPA’s Guide to Passenger Vehicle Emissions, 2019). With this in mind – Om restaurant has me going back again and again with its exciting vegan menu. Other recommendations would be Federal Café, La Fabrica and B12 all offer vegan or vegetarian options.
- Upcycle – In the supermarkets here a lot of things come in glass jars, this has been a bit of a project for me this year to reuse my jars in different ways. They have become plant pots, refillable containers and even Christmas candle holders! This is in the pursuit to make the things we buy part of a circular economy and to reduce before we dispose of our items.
I hope these tips and recommendations inspire you to make little changes to lower your carbon footprint and to create a lower waste lifestyle.
My inspiration comes from my crazy love affair with the ocean and the natural world. From seeing, first-hand, the impacts of our consumer culture on the natural environment: remote beaches littered with plastic, polluted oceans and bleached coral reefs. These have given me a passion for creating change in the way we consume and go about our day-to-day life.
Hit up @zeroresidus and @sustain.create for more tips and news!