Wednesday 31 March | Heidi van der Swaagh

For her #100DaysOfGreenNevis project, cellist Heidi van der Swaagh has decided to reduce use of single-use plastic.

We first heard from Heidi on day two of our campaign! You can read her post here. She’s got some useful advice and discoveries to share below on reducing single-use plastic.

It’s hard to believe we are more than half way through #100daysofgreennevis already!

We have been working hard to reduce our use of single-use plastic. We’ve noticed that there are some things where it is very easy to reduce, like taking our own bags for groceries, or using a keep cup when we support our local coffee shops. But there are other things that we’ve realised aren’t as simple or are only possible for us because of our local amenities and ability to financially afford the sometimes more expensive plastic-free options. For example, we are very lucky to have @Locavore, a whole-foods store within walking distance. We can refill oils, vinegars, milk, spices, grains, soap, and even laundry detergent here and buy fresh fruit and vegetables. Often these are organic and locally made/grown. But not everyone has such a store nearby, or if they do the extra price associated with the higher quality, locally produced items is preventative. 

We’ve also noticed that almost all fresh produce at normal grocery stores comes in a plastic wrapper or container, even if it is grown in the UK or organic. If you only have access to such grocery stores it can feel impossible to reduce single-use plastic! We get around this by buying much of our fresh produce from the green grocer @stalksandstems around the corner, which also allows us to support small local businesses as well. But again not everyone has this option. 

That brings me to my last musing as I think over our challenge so far and going forward: it’s amazing to find ways to reduce single-use plastic, and I highly recommend giving it a try. That doesn’t mean throw away every plastic item you have to replace it with fancy new sustainable alternative. Add the alternatives in as you are able, but find ways to reuse things that would otherwise be single-use. Check out our collection of glass jars, ice cream tubs, and washed-to-reuse takeaway containers and ziplock bags (which are both great to freeze things in even if it isn’t healthy to reheat things in them!). We’ve been collecting and reusing these for three and a half years! It is not about making yourself or others feel guilty or bad because you aren’t able to afford to reduce single-use plastic (that’s a whole other issue!), it is about finding all the small ways that you personally can make changes. 

From 1 February 2021, Nevis is running #100DaysOfGreenNevis, where our musicians, staff and trustees will each take on a task for 100 days linked to Sustainability. We’d love for members of the public to join us, either by following the campaign online to get ideas of what they can do, or to show us their own actions for us to share. If you would like to know more, do get in touch at georgina@nevisensemble.org 

Nevis Ensemble’s #GreenNevis campaign in 2019 won the Environmental Sustainability award at the 2020 Scottish Awards for New Music, and was shortlisted for Best Campaign by Julie’s Bicycle.