Valuing waste is my priceless inheritance.
My parents are rooted in a generation and culture which knows no waste. They grew up at the mercy of the elements, in rural farming communities, nestled in the same Indian State where Mahatma Gandhi was born, and which Narendra Modi put on the global map. Their innovation is admirable, and imagination limitless when it comes to turning everyday waste into everyday necessities.
As I write this, my cousins in India feed off an energy system fuelled by gases released from cow dung, and I have been blessed with an opportunity to enjoy a scrumptious wedding meal served on a plate of banana leaves!!
It is a Land where “Waste exists not, and Life is deemed a Circle in Motion”.
My parents’ humble beginnings and innovative spirit accompanied them from India to Zambia; from Zambia to England; and finally, from Leicester to London!
Nurtured in their care, we relished the odd treat of Carbonated drinks bought from the local “pop” seller and returning the glass bottles to receive a monetary refund. We enjoyed the free milk given at school in delightful mini glass bottles, which were washed and re-used. After school care followed a ritual of picking the best pieces of the broken biscuits, which were stored in the metallic tin of Quality Street. A tin so preciously preserved from the previous Christmases.
Then, there was the local corner shop, selling sweets in robust glass jars. Mother kept a sneaky eye on them, and as soon as the sweets ended, we would ask the proprietor if we could have them. Dear Mum would then go on to fill them with colourful nutritious beans, pulses, and lentils, and over a long time, they flourished into her prized collection, serving our family from generation to generation!!
And thus started my own adventure of living a “Jar necessity” life……..
The year is 1995, and I am honoured with a collection of Kenco Coffee Jars. Especially accumulated by my Mother-in-Law, whose enthusiasm for Kenco Coffee, had brewed up quite an inheritance for her son (my husband’s – now Ex). Toiling away with soapy warm water, I removed all the labels, and proudly exhibited my Kenco collection of spices, flours, and other exotic condiments. My beans, pulses and lentils were “Nescafed” through the years, as visiting family drank their way through the jars, down to the last granule!!
So, these famous Kenco and Nescafe jars journeyed with me to Dubai and India. Between us, we covered ships, planes, trains and automobiles!! My trusted buddies served my family’s nutritional needs without a crack in their enthusiasm, but regretfully, the same could not be said of my marriage. Left abandoned and penniless in India, I entrusted my loyal “buddies” to my home help, who conveniently had become a newlywed bride, and it warmed my heart to see that this legacy continue with another family.
Papa dutifully paid for my airfare back to the UK, and with the help of my accounting qualification and true grit resilience, I turned my fortunes, landed this dream job at Krizevac Project ……… and continued on this innovative crusade!!
Olive jars have become my SPICE Girls, Aldi Gold Coffee jars became my lentil compatriots or Furniture weights.
Honey jars become my juice on the go and were my soap and body scrub container on a trip to Bath!
Pickled jars become my smoothie storage and peanut butter jars became my mint and flower vase.
Salsa jars become my mixed chillies and cherry tomato storage and pickle jars brightened up my Stoke on Trent lunches with “Bombay Potato”, and “Daal Makani” all can be stored in a Cycle of Good Lunch Bag.
Caper jars became my fruit and nut heroes! and my misc key holders.
Expensive cream jars became my mini outdoor display vases and diffusers became my mini flower vases.
Olive oil bottles became my houseplant water can and face cream holders became my candle holders.
Repurposing a handful of jars is by no means going to change the course of this planet, but shifting our culture to buying foods with nil packaging is the magical solution to addressing the Planet’s pleading cries begging us to eliminate modern waste.
The future is filled with optimism as Boris and I finally agree on something, “……if we don’t act now, it will be too late.” I wish him all the Best for the as COP 26 Event, being held this week in Glasgow.