Shopping Trolley: reducing my carbon footprint

I bought a shopping trolley this week. One of the pull-along type frequently towed by ladies of more mature years. Since my determination to reduce my carbon footprint, I've been pondering how to transport the heavier weekly shopping items the mile and a half back to my house, having terminally broken the spirit of our last buggy through overloading. The word ‘backpack’ had been swimming around my head when my husband mentioned that on a recent perusal of a tabloid he had noted that a number of green-minded ‘celebrities’ had been sporting a trolley about town in recent months. A trolley! Genius!

The very next day, I set about trying to source the desired item but, having no idea where I might find one, was rather at a loss. Serendipity (or the Lord - depending upon your persuasion) had me wander past the charity shop in our market square and there, standing coyly in the corner of the window display, not knowing its own value or the high fashion item that it had become, was a spotty version of the very thing I coveted with a not so vast price tag of five pounds.

Later at the supermarket checkout, I began loading my groceries into my new acquisition in a self-satisfied manner when the lady behind me commented with interest at the amount of shopping and my unorthodox means of conveyance, adding with insight, ‘Have you far to go?’

The prophetic words rang hauntingly in my ears thirty minutes (and only half way home) later as I negotiated yet another precarious road-crossing pushing the buggy in front of me – heavily laden with child, groceries (that didn't fit into the trolley) and a pile of library books - whilst dragging a wilting spotty second-hand shopping trolley behind me, wheels wobbling, sides bulging, straps taut.

On reflection, I’m not sure the humble shopping trolley is designed for the amount of shopping a younger woman can (or thinks she can) pull. And as if to confirm this moment of self-realisation both for the trolley and myself, the travail of the journey home was interrupted with knowing looks and giggles from a group of ladies of the more mature persuasion who have long known their capabilities and whose (mis)adventures with titanic shopping loads are well gone.

I’m still going to use the trolley. My green intentions will not be thwarted by this small setback: I'm determined to lead a life that's healthier for the world and my body and that's an example to my children. Next time, however, I'll load the trolley within its capabilities and let it do the job it was designed for, taking into consideration its limitations; I'll be kind to it.  As for myself, that's a different matter entirely.  I seem to have removed the words 'within capabilities', 'consideration for limitations', and 'kind to myself' from my personal vocabulary.

Maybe I should re-insert them... before my wheels wobble and fall off.

Read last month's post: school run

Emma is a columnist and feature writer for Liberti Magazine.

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