Recycle Less: The Irony of Shopping Local and The Case of Paper Parcel Tape

Welcome back to another Recycle Less where I share my journey to care for the environment and Planet Earth by being more sustainable.

It’s common knowledge that shopping local saves on emissions and energy in delivery from ordering online to you door and/or travelling further to afield for purchases. In return these emissions contribute in theory less against climate change. Money spent is also kept in the local economy. Not to mention either how many courier companies are overwhelmed with deliveries, how much abuse they get if items are delivered by said time and date.

I live in my eyes one of the best cities in the world for shopping or rather what I want from stores and shops, Barcelona. I can get nearly everything I need aside from cinnamon and raisin bagels. Good bagels are non existent here. I often shop in the city centre yet I find it’s in my local Centro Comercial (mall or shopping centre) I buy most clothes, shoes. If I’m honest I don’t shop much online for clothes. I’m old school. I prefer to look, touch the item in person. The centre has a few specific shops which I go to at least once a week, yet my local mall I can find most things I looking for or it’s perfect for returns. While I cycle as transport which is zero emissions aside from oil every now and then, looking at it the centre it’s local as it’s 25 min bike ride. If you’re really getting into the nitty gritty of what’s local my local Centre Comercial is a 5 min bike ride. I just seem to find what I’m looking for more in the local mall. Maybe as I have more time to look around as I don’t have to cycle back so far. 

When I visited my parents last year in the UK, my Mum and I went to a few local larger towns yet it it was the tiny rural Somerset town a 5 minute car journey from their house where I found the most things I was looking for. The shops combined excluding the supermarkets would probably fit into 1/4 if not less than my local mall and it’s not a large mall by mall standards here. They’d even fit combined into the superstore supermarket there! The shops themselves were basic compared to their larger town and cities counterparts. I got a few bits for my Dad and got a kick out of the local post office. 

Back in the day, post offices in the UK where usually attached to a small grocery shop, gift shop, newsagents or stationery shop or a combo of all. I’m so used to post offices being just that a post office I forgot that in rural places they’re usually the newsagents and stationery shop too. The smell was still the same as I remember walking in from the erasers and newspapers. My mum I think thought I had gone mad wanting to look around. For her it’s just usual. For me something said go in. I’m glad I did for in a tiny rural UK newsagents post office I found something I’d been eyeing up online not wanting to buy due to shipping cost, paper sticky or parcel tape. Cheap too! £2.25!

Yes, paper sticky parcel tape. Sticky tape that’s not plastic! No plastic to me the consumer either as none were individually wrapped in plastic. It kinda blew my mind that all the places I’ve been looking for plastic free sticky tape I find in the most unlikely ‘local’ place a drive by and you miss it town. 

Does the paper tape work well? Yes! It’s easy to write on so I didn’t have to use tags for the Christmas presents. I usually wrap them on the last self imposed shipping day to arrive in time so everything’s a rush. No teeth or scissors needed to cut the tape as it tears easily or lining up strips along the edge of the table or in my case the radiator. Neat straight line cut, use scissors. It works as good as plastic sticky tape and doesn’t get wrapped around fingers, caught on on things, scrunched up in frustration before even wrapping anything. I’m not sure if it’s vegan due to the glue but for sure I’m switching to paper sticky tape. 

The icing on the tape I’ve since found a great no frills zero waste shop, Yes Future Positive Supermarket close by that sells paper sticky tape! The takeaway before purchasing online, check via google maps if you can purchase it local. The best place to hide something is in plain sight. Sometimes shopping, the best place to shop can be local with a little looking. 

Are you shop local, shop all online or like me a combo of both but more shop in person? Please share in the comments below!