My goal to reduce household plastic took me to Bath this week. I stocked up on loose leaf tea at the Tea House Emporium, where they are happy to put the tea directly into a caddy so there’s no packaging to deal with at all. From there it was on to Lush to sample their shampoo bars, body lotions in returnable containers, and “naked” shower gels. It was absolutely heaving in the store, and while I usually don’t like dealing with crowds, it was great to see so many people giving eco-friendly products and packaging a go. Both shops had incredible customer service, and as someone who doesn’t particularly like shopping or parting with my money, they made it a downright pleasant experience.
But beyond the waste reduction angle, there were a few things I spotted that I would love to see imported to Chippenham. First, My Small World Toy Shop had their door closed, which not only keeps heat inside the shop for their staff and customers, but it also helps save an incredible amount of energy. During my past life as an academic researcher, I did some work with Close the Door, an environmental organisation that tries to get shops to do just that. I am still amazed by the number of High Street stores that have their doors wide open on very cold days, and I would love to see this simple energy-saving strategy more widely adopted.
The other thing that caught my eye was the red phone boxes full of plants and flowers throughout Southgate. Wouldn’t this be a great use for the decrepit box on Wedmore Avenue? Having lived across from this particular phone box for over a year, I can’t say I ever saw anyone use it, and bringing it back to life as a garden seems like a better use.
In many ways I feel that Chippenham sees itself as living in the shadow of Bath. While it can’t compete with the World Heritage city on attractions, there is nothing stopping us from shaping it into a town that strives to improve the environment, thereby making it a better place for both residents and visitors alike.