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Zero Waste

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My Mary Poppins Handbag

Many people wonder why I carry such a large handbag, surely such a large handbag just invites carrying more stuff. The larger the handbag the more you are tempted to carry in it right?

The reason I carry such a large handbag is because in the words of the Boy Scouts of Australia motto, I like to always be prepared! So what do I have in this handbag? The trappings to fight my way out of the zombie apocalypse? Enough rations for three people for three days in the event aliens shut off the power? Perhaps a life raft in case of looming tsunami? No I am prepared for an event much worse than all of these three things combined… I am prepared in the event that I should ever be faced with the need to use single use disposable plastics!

Clean up Australia Day each year hundreds nay thousands of Aussies don their rubber gloves and armed with elongated tongs and hessian bags they scour the roadsides and creek beds, beaches and football fields of the country picking up nasty rubbish that hasn’t quite made it free throw style into the nearest bin. Can you guess what the number one item these valiant volunteers pick up? Packaging! To put it plainly, in the 2017 CUAD audit 58%of all rubbish collected related to food and beverage packaging and the plastic bags that shoppers bring them home in.

Several years ago I decided that I was disgusted in the amount of waste my family was creating. Multiple trips out to the garbage bin laden with bags containing all manner of mainly food and beverage packaging was weighing heavily on my mind, so I sort out ways to help my family reduce their waste and of course it had to start with me.

So what is in the Mary Poppins esk handbag that helps me to minimise my waste?

Number one, which is used on an almost daily basis in my keep cup. Those cardboard coffee cups that are so frequently used and hastily discarded account for 1 billion pieces of rubbish each year that ends up in landfill. The cups contain a thin layer of plastic which as it degrades creates smaller pieces of plastic that choke our waterways and end up in the stomachs of fish. Removing the need to use these cups is as simple as purchasing a keep cup and carrying it around in your car or handbag. Many cafes now are giving discounts to patrons who bring their own cup! Win win! I also advocate actually sitting down in your favourite coffee shop and absorbing the ambience, slowing down and spending some quality caffeine time sipping from a china mug, but of theres no time for that then the keep cup is the next best thing.

Number two, is my water bottle. Beverage containers were the number two source of rubbish collected on CUAD 2017. Hydration in our warm climate is essential, so it makes sense to carry water around with you in a handy water bottle. They come in plastic BPA free, stainless steel and glass. My preference is steel as it keeps cooler longer, is virtually impervious to damage when it rolls around in the back foot well of the car and doesn’t absorb odours as the plastic ones tend to. Thank fully now they are becoming a bit of a fashion accessory with gorgeously decorated stainless steel bottles available at most department and health food stores.

Pop this DIY cutlery wrap in your handbag to help you avoid using single use disposable cutlery when you eat take out.

Number three, is my cutlery wrap and it actually contains my number four as well. The cutlery wrap is my go to if I am buying lunch on the run. This stops me from having to use disposable cutlery, disposable serviettes and disposable straws. My go to snack on the run is sushi, so I also carry stainless steel chop sticks just in case. I ask for a china plate rather than those plastic clam shell containers, pour my sauce from a bottle rather than accept the little plastic fishes full of soya sauce and I’m good to sit down for a meal guilt and waste free!

Straws suck! Plastic straws actually made the top ten of items picked up on beach cleanups. In Bondi, a diver picked up almost 300 straws in 20 minutes, then she went back into the water and picked up another 300 in the same area! They are used for about 15 minutes and then discarded, take water and oil to manufacture and are a non essential item. What happened to just drinking out of a cup or glass? To tell you the truth this little stainless steel straw that I carry around doesn’t actually get out very often because quite honestly I cant seem to see a need for it anyway.

Number five is my handy dandy bread bag. Cleverly created by myself and hand screen printed, this little beauty allows me to buy up to two cafe sized loaves of fresh bread sans plastic wrapper. No hard plastic bread bag clip required. The average family consumes 146 loaves of bread per year, multiplied out by the number of families in Australia and that is a monumental number of plastic bags, bag clips and metal ties that are heading to landfill. I cant tell you the number of bakery attendants that I have impressed and enlightened by using my bread bag. I wonder if I could get a contract to make them for Bakers Delight? I also have a smaller version for produce which is rarely used as I just tend to deposit my fruit and vegies into the shopping trolley packaging free, but is handy for loose beans, spinach and mushrooms.

So the Mary Poppins carpet bag serves its purpose by holding all these items that help me to be a waste free diner, shopper and sipper. Sure the extra weight leaves dent marks in my shoulders, but better the weight of the handbag rather than the weight of the world, the environment and its plastic choking destruction, I say.

 

 

How my bum saves the Planet!

Hands up those of you that buy the toilet paper for the family?  Don’t be surprised if it’s mainly the women reading this that say “Yeah, that’s me”.  Recently the Sydney Morning Herald stated that women makes 75% of the everyday purchasing decision for the family.  And I’m thinking 75% people reading this post agree with that statistic and 75% people reading this wish that some other lazy SOB would pick up some damn toilet paper on their way home from work before the family has to resort to the box of tissues, paper towel, phone book or even leaves!

Our toilet paper, can anyone tell me what its made out of?  99% of our toilet paper is made out of paper (duh), which is made from trees!  So I want you to think about toilet tissue in terms of trees, yes trees.  9 million trees are flushed down the toilet every year and 8 millions tonnes of plastic enter our landfill just to make toilet paper!

Let’s put it this way…Imagine you are walking in the forest, say your local state forest, enjoying nature listening to the breeze in the trees, the crickets rubbing their little legs together and all of a sudden you hear a distant flush, and all around you in 1 minute 17 full grown trees disappear from all around you!  Seventeen life giving, carbon absorbing, oxygen producing trees gone! Forever, well not forever but to regrow those trees takes on average 30 years.  Just to produce toilet paper.

Now imagine, at the end of a hard days work you are soaking in a full tub of lovely warm bath water, maybe with a glass of wine and a good book (ebook) and that same distant flush happens and suddenly your bath empties!  You see it takes 140 litres of water to make one toilet roll, that’s enough to fill a large bathtub.

Most of the toilet rolls that you buy in the conventional fashion from the supermarket are covered in plastic, even the eco friendly ones using recycled paper are wrapped in non biodegradable plastic, and why?  If they were wrapped in paper we would save all that plastic entering our landfill, the outer covering could be used to write on, wrap veggie scraps and ultimately composted.

The roll in the centre of the toilet paper is the subject of hundreds of Pinterest Boards on the internet and yet how many of these biodegradable, compostable, useful handy crafty things and squashed into the garbage bin every week. Average toilet paper consumption across the globe stands at 100 rolls per person per year, so an average family of four uses 400 rolls that you could use to sprout seedlings in, create Christmas crackers from or feed to the worm farm or compost heap.

Now given my comments at the beginning of my post, I don’t want you to think I am advocating using leaves to take care of business, or to renounce the use of toilet paper altogether.  What I am encouraging you to do is finding alternatives to the supermarket toilet paper rolls.

Now I’m not going to leave you hanging, I have some answers and whilst this is a product it is not something I make any money from endorsing, but I feel the need to educate all bum wipers that they do have choices.  My toilet paper of choice comes from pureplanet.com.au  Pure Planet, an online shop that produces toilet paper that is tree free, chemical free, totally biodegradable, hand wrapped in tissue paper and sent to you in a recyclable cardboard box which even has colouring in panels on the sides to keep the child in you amused.

You may picture sticks of bamboo as scratchy things you wouldn’t want anywhere near your nether region but if you have ever felt the undies, tee shirts and baby blankets that are being produced from sustainable bamboo you would recognise that bamboo has the ability to produce a soft, smooth, breathable product.

Remember the 30 year trees, well bamboo takes only 3 months to regenerate, making it super sustainable.  This toilet paper is made from 100% bamboo and sugar cane mulch.

There are other alternatives if you google them you’ll find another company which has colourful paper wrapped toilet tissue called Who Gives a Crap.  They divert some of their profits from their recycled toilet paper to provide sanitation in underdeveloped countries which is fabulous.  But I’ve been the test dummy for you all and have tried both and for the reasons I have stated and a degree of comfort I have chosen Pure Planet as my tissue of choice.

You see we are all just so busy, head down bum up busy and many times as the person most responsible for making the purchasing decisions for our families we forget to choose #consciousness rather than convenience  when it comes to our consumer choices.  I know, I live this too, I’ve also been caught short without my reusable tote, bread bags, keep cup, but when I am, I just think outside the box.

To save you doing your research I have done it for you with just this one product, but there are many other everyday products that we should be finding alternatives for, like plastic toothbrushes, party balloons, disposable plates and cutlery.  What I want to do is encourage you when you shop to #use the Planet as your lens when you make your purchasing decisions.

Yes its about your bum saving the Planet, yes its about your teeth saving the Planet, but its all about You saving the Planet by implementing incremental incy wincy changes that will be multiplied by the people you influence, the family, the check out operator, the lady at the bakery, the person standing next in the queue.

One Planet, one person, one bum at a time, we can all make a difference.

Love

Julia

x

Make Your Own DIY Cutlery Wraps

Cutlery Wraps
Pop this DIY cutlery wrap in your handbag to help you avoid using single use disposable cutlery when you eat take out.

This weekend I got my “craft on” and decided to make a couple of these pretty cutlery wraps; one for me and one for the present box.

They are so easy to make and all you need to be able to do is cut and sew straight lines on the sewing machine.

Armed with some bright coloured cotton fabrics, a ruler and pencil, some cotton tape for the tie and a sewing machine and away you go!

To make it easy for you and because I am a visual learner, I created a short video tutorial, but for those of you who prefer to read a step by step, here are the instructions:

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Cut two rectangles of coordinating fabric 50 x 25cm and place them right sides together.
  • Cut 50cm of tape and fold it in half.  Measure up 25cm on the long side of the rectangle and pin the tape so that the bulk of it is inside the rectangle parcel but the fold peaks out just enough be caught when sewing the side seams.
  • Pin around the edges and then sew a 1cm seam around the two long sides and one of the short sides.
  • Trim corners and turn the whole thing right side out pushing out the corners with the end of your scissors so that they are pointed.
  • Iron it flat and tuck in 1cm on the open end in order for you to sew it closed.
  • Sew a half centimetre around all four sides of the rectangle.  Fold up one short side 11cm and pin.  Sew the 11cm along both sides of the same edge at the half centimetre mark to create one large pocket.
  • Mark 4 x 3cm pockets from the left side (the fifth large pocket will hold your napkin). Sew along the lines to create your pockets for cutlery etc.
  • Depending on your cotton tape you may need to fold up and sew a half centimetre hem to stop the ends from fraying.
  • Place your cutlery, drinking straw, and napkin in the pockets, roll up and go!

If you make one for yourself please give me a shout out, and be proud that you are helping to alleviate some of the load single use disposable plastics have on our environment.

Love

Julia

x

Whip It Good! Body butter that is…

Bathrooms are a scary place, they seem to accumulate plastic packed lotions and potions, cellophane wrapped cosmetics and tubes and tubs of tinctures and treatments.  As you have probably heard me say before… “before I knew better” as a family we collected all those little single use guest giveaways, body products, plastic combs, toothbrushes and shower caps, mending kits, shoe wipes and even sanitary bags.  Ashamed I am.  So now I am on the band wagon of mitigating our waste I have accumulated recipes instead of freebies, replacing chemical laden creams with coconut, sweet almond, and essential oil bottles, boxes of bicarb, bamboo toothbrushes and home made cotton makeup remover pads.

You are probably wondering what the benefits are of creating your own DIY Cosmetics?  Apart from the cost saving, these homemade solutions contain no harmful chemicals and can be fragranced to suit the individual, I even dare to say that MY DIY natural deodorant is the BEST one I have ever come across.

Always on the look out for a new product to make that replaces it’s plastic packaged alternative, I stumbled across this recipe for Whipped Body Butter and thought I would give it a go.  If you are having trouble finding shae butter or cocoa butter check out your local health food store or go to Australian Wholesales Oils website.

WHIPPED BODY BUTTER

Only four ingredients go into making this rich body butter you can make right in your own kitchen.
Body butter ingredients

Ingredients – in equal quantities (I used half a cup)

  • Shae Butter
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Sweet Almond Oil
  • Coconut Oil

Melt over a double boiler.

Place in the refrigerator to harden for about 1 hour.

Beat with electric mixer, scraping down the sides as you go, until it resembles whipped cream.

Add five to 10 drops of your favourite essential oil and mix well.

Scoop into bottles and store.

Take a look at the video for instructions and explanation as to the benefits of the essential ingredients. Let me know what you think!

Zero Waster’s Traveller Companion 2nd Ed.

Travelling overseas as a Zero Waster can be a daunting experience if you want to stay true to your values and not take home unnecessary rubbish.  So I was excited and humbled to be asked by Inge Echterholter from the Zero Waste Bloggers Network to be a co-author for the second edition of the Zero Waster’s Traveller Companion.

Today was photo day and we made a family day of it travelling from Nerang to Southport and back, stopping at some regular haunts to take some images to upload to the ebook.

My thanks to all who participated and just know that all that you are doing, even the small things,  is making  a real difference to help individuals leave a lighter footprint on the Planet.

For more info and to download the ebook (first edition, second edition coming soon!), stayed tuned to this page or visit http://zerowastebloggersnetwork.com.

Love

Julia

xxx

Nicole from Brumby’s Bakery at Pacific Pines happily fills my home made bread bag with family staples.
Bliss Health and Bulk Foods has a huge selection of produce from bulk bins which you can pack into your own bags or they will weight the containers you are using and you can pack straight into those.
Lifeline at Southport has won Best Op Shop (Thrift Store) on the coast. A great assortment of preloved garments, books, homewares and even vinyl records!
My latest haunt is the new Stellarossa Cafe and Restaurant in Nerang where you can purchase a keep cup and receive a free upgrade or BYO cup and/or straw.

Start Your Urban Veggie Garden with Kitchen Scraps!

Reasons people give for NOT  starting their own vegetable garden:

  1. I live in an apartment and have no space
  2. I haven’t got a green thumb and gardening takes time and patience
  3. Starting a veggie garden is expensive!

I had the privilege recently of filming a segment on The Point TV with Gerald Pauchman.  My segment was a piece on starting a vegetable garden on a balcony with recycled containers and kitchen scraps.  YES kitchen scraps and YES it can be done.

Here is the 7 minute segment which will persuade you to make that veggie garden and stop the excuses.  Let me know what you think in the comments below and if this interests you, don’t forget to subscribe to my Youtube Channel.

Happy Gardening!

Julia

x

DIY Bees Wax Lip Balm

On this zero waste journey I have learnt how to make so many products from scratch that I would have bought in plastic packaging that would have no doubt been cardboard boxed and plastic shrink-wrapped too.  I am hooked on making DIY cosmetics and so far my repertoire includes:

DIY Deodorant – never buying regular, store bought deodorant again, mine is so much better and cheaper!

DIY Toothpaste – the jury is still out on this one.  I love it but my teeth are very sensitive.

DIY Lip Balm – love, love, love it!

And other products for the home:

DIY Cleaning products – never going back, no no no!

DIY Liquid Soap – super cheap and easy to do.

DIY Beeswax wraps – beautiful, a great gift and no more plastic wrap!

DIY Bread Bags and Produce Bags – once you have made these they last and last.

DIY Totes – Totes great!

Anyway, here is my video showing you how to make the beeswax lip balm.  I bought the shoe butter in bulk (even though it came delivered in a big plastic tub which I am sure I will reuse for laundry powder or something), from Australian Wholesale Oils, and it was SO MUCH CHEAPER than buying at the health food store.

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Just a side note that beetroot food colouring is not fat soluble so as the lip balm is cooling use a chopstick or spoon to swish and swirl the teaspoon full of coloured water through the product to disperse it.

Happy cooking!

 

Ditch Plastic Wrap and make Bees Wax Wraps instead!

I can’t tell you the last time I used a roll of plastic wrap in my kitchen.  When I decided to transition to zero waste and help save the planet one baby step at a time I just gave the last roll away!

I have heaps of containers which I use every day but there are often occasions when it would have been great to have some sort of cover for a bowl of leftovers, a piece of cheese or fruit or to cover something someone else had brought over for a party.

Bring on the bees wax wraps!

Here is my video on how to make a gorgeous alternative to using the dreaded plastic wrap.

Give it a go and let me know how yours turn out.

I also made some as a gift, and they look beautiful.

 

Edible Cutlery!

Imagine this… over 120 BILLION pieces of plastic cutlery are used and discarded in India every year, 120 BILLION!!!!!!!  Without an alternative except endless washing of silverware in potentially unsanitary conditions until recently when an amazing mind came up with this idea, edible cutlery.  Made predominantly from millet and spices (or sugar for the sweet variety), these spoons are not only saving the planet but are nutritious and tasty.

I sincerely hope they make it out to this country and the USA where we discard so much single use plastic ware because of our addiction to take away food.  Plastic doesn’t biodegrade (t photo degrades which means it just breaks up into smaller and smaller pieces of plastic) and leaches toxic chemicals into landfill and ground water and inevitably our oceans.  This is a fabulous alternative and a healthy treat.

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