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Christine Bone is entering her second shopping free year
Christine Bone is entering her second shopping free year

Press Release - 09 January 2009

University student and staff member starts second year without shopping

A staff member and part-time student at the University of Bath is starting her second year of abstaining from shopping, in a bid to do her bit for the environment.

Christine Bone, an administrator and student on the School of Management’s MSc in Responsibility and Business Practice, is committed to ‘compacting’, a movement which started in America and shuns all shopping for anything new for a specific period of time.

Compacters can borrow, barter or buy second hand but pledge to buy only new goods such as food, toiletries and medicines.

“I started out hoping to do a whole year, and my husband and I made a bet with each other of £100 that we couldn’t keep the compact, but we both did,” said Mrs Bone.

“I loved shopping and it was a big part of my life but the course I am doing about business, community and sustainability really made me want to go beyond recycling and re-using to actually reduce what I buy in the first place.

“I’ve coped without new clothes but it’s things that literally wear out, like shoes, that pose the problems. There have certainly been some interesting quandaries along the way.

“It’s not all gloom and deprivation: as well as saving lots of money I’ve freed up time to do other things.”

Over Christmas Mrs Bone put the compact on hold to be able to buy gifts for her three sons who have left home but rely on Christmas presents to re-stock their wardrobe.

“We did use the presents though to buy things they really needed, rather than electrical goods or gimmicky stocking fillers,” said Mrs Bone.

“I’m not going to be preachy about compacting because I have a lot to learn and we all have to make compromises, but I hope that it might catch on now that people are really feeling the pinch. It’s about making your own rules and keeping to them, whatever they are.”

Christine is keen to encourage others to have a go and will share her experiences at the next open meeting of Transition Bath on Tuesday 13 January, 7.15pm at Widcombe Social Club. Everyone is welcome to attend. People are asked to bring food to share if they would like to have supper. A bar will also be available.

Transition Bath is part of the Transition network, where local communities are planning their move from an oil-fuelled economy to one existing on a fraction of current usage. The group aims to rebuild a localised economy in Bath, to collect and develop traditional and modern skills, and re-establish local resource resilience, at the same time building a vibrant inclusive community.

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