With more people being ever more conscious about the way we live and the impact of many of our life choices, I thought this might be a good time to show how there is a chance of making this TT just a little bit more green than you may have been used to in previous years.
The Island gears up for the TT for months leading up to this fortnight, and although it could be said that it isn’t the greenest period for us here (especially with so many visitors!), there are still small, everyday changes that we as individuals can carry on with, start to make, and show our visitors how we are embracing these changes here.
Watching the races
The best thing to do is to try to prepare. Think about where you are going to go, and how you are going to get there.
Reason I say this is because if you are heading somewhere that you can park close by, you can pack much of what you need for the day in your car (as many people already do!) This year, you could include some items you may not have included in previous years.
For most of the sites where viewing is welcomed, there are catering vans offering both food and drinks. Bring your own reusable water bottle from home, save buying bottled drinks while you are there, and reduce the number of single use bottles used.
A reusable coffee cup is another good swap and easy to pack. You could also pack some cutlery (depending on the spot you are heading to) and maybe even your own plates – this will save using not only single use packaging but also plastic cutlery.
Not all sites will have this level of catering – but you can always bring along your own picnic. Lots of homemade treats can be made in advance and taken using your lunch boxes (check out this article from Baby Toddler Foods for some awesome picnic inspiration)
There are a few sites that we try to head to as a family, and much of the above will be packed in our bags. We will buy food while we are there, but I will make more effort this year to use our own containers and to continue on our journey to #zerowaste.
There are some subtle changes you can make at home to encourage your visitors to make their TT experience a little greener.
Ensure they have access to reusable shopping bags and be sure to tell them that not all shops here offer free bags any more.
If you have any spare lunch boxes/water bottles/coffee cups and cutlery that you don’t mind lending to them, it might encourage them to prepare some picnic food for their day out, and again, reduce the amount of wasted packaging.
How about buying some of our locally produced soaps for your guests to use – this would be a lovely way to showcase some of our homemade soaps while also showing the switches that could be made in a bathroom.
Do you use any eco products for laundry, or do you use an eco-egg or soapnuts that you could encourage them to use if they had laundry to do?
How about buying your fruit and veg packaging free from Robinson’s if you are availing of their homestay offers? Point your homestay guests in the direction of their Cooil Road store!
Promote local farmer markets for local produce as well as encouraging your visitors to buy local produce from the shops. Encourage guests to consider the amount of packaging they are using, especially if they are going for takeaways near home – you could suggest that for a chippy tea, they could request that their food is wrapped simply in paper (and refuse the polystyrene), and bring along their reusable bag to carry it home!
Same for any other takeaways – use lunchboxes!
I appreciate many people will reuse take away packaging for various purposes. It has been said that this type of container shouldn’t be reused to heat food again as it has not been designed for this purpose and there is a chance of leaching plastics – I have no evidence to corroborate this, but having read it on various sites, I have made the decision for my family not to reuse these cartons for food if they do come into our house.
What about if you or your guests are out and about enjoying the very busy entertainment side of the TT this year?
I think for this, there will be many things that will be outside the control of the purchaser.
However, you can always refuse the straws (unless they are biodegradable – and hopefully after you said you don’t want a straw, if it is biodegradable, your server will tell you so you can change your mind!)
Refuse plastic cutlery if you are offered it – many of our local producers will use more eco products for the sale of their food stuffs, for example, the Alpine and Betty’s pies always use more sustainable containers and cutlery for their foods.
Many of our tea and coffee vendors are now using Vegware or Biopac alternatives to disposable cups – these are plant based alternatives including Noa Bakehouse and Flo the Coffee Van (who generally uses her Flo the Coffee Van real cups when she can)
Lots of tea and coffee vendors will give you an incentive to use your own mugs, including Costa and Starbucks who offer a discount, or Flo who gives you a way better deal using your own cup and you are supporting a local business in doing so! The Apple Orphanage always offer a deposit back on their fab juice bottles too.
Lots of our local producers are moving towards more eco-friendly packaging for their food and drinks which is fantastic. They are becoming more aware of the options available to them; consumers are more aware of their preferences for the packaging, and there are several suppliers on Island who can now supply the businesses with all of these options.
I reckon by this time next year, there will be more and more producers offering their produce in more eco-friendly options.
And for those who have little interest in the TT, keep making those small changes and incorporating them into your everyday lives.
Bring the water bottles out and about with you (save the cost of a single use plastic bottle every time you do!); bring your reusable coffee cups and save; bring your reusable bags and save you having to buy them in various shops.
Refuse single use where you can. Prepare for your day ahead, make as much as you can at home, and for the things you need to buy, consider your options and bring what you might need for that (a beeswax wrap, a small produce bag, a lunchbox), have your cutlery close by (keep it in your desk if you work in an office, or in your bag if you are out and about) and plan for the disruption that the TT may bring to your routine.