Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Be the Change interview

This is really rather lovely; I was interviewed by 4 year old Matai for his and his father's website Be the Change, which documents stories of social and environmental change in New Zealand.
Robz and Matai take these stories and educate people around the country through song and tale telling (and on bike no less). They are a very effective team.

It's quite long, so you might like to be selective with your watching, but all the key messages about plastic and packaging are there along with lots of tips. Watch here.
They may well be coming to a town near
you, so keep an eye out.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

9 months after my year finished

I am proud to say that I am still going strong on being as plastic free as possible, though am not as rigid now that the rules are relaxed. It's been fairly easy to maintain a mostly plastic free shopping diet because of the habits I fell into during my year. In fact, I find it really hard to buy plastic, and it's not just habitual; it feels like an ethical as well as a political stand that I am making.
This is my pantry 21 months after starting my plastic
free year. You won't find much plastic in there! Thank
goodness for bulk bins.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Waste free Christmas

Christmas is a time of year where consumerism and waste is at its height, but there are ways to minimise these things. I only buy presents for the children in the family and I am a big advocate of making presents. If I have to buy, I always try to buy ethical presents; meaningful, useful gifts that are environmentally friendly and guaranteed fairtrade. Then there's the wrapping:
I recycle newspaper for the wrapping paper and
use raffia or paper painter's tape to secure it. I
will also cut out pictures from magazines or old
calendars to make the wrapping more interesting.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

There's plastic in the strangest of places

I am having to rebuild a room in my house that was shonkily erected by a previous owner in the early 1990s. I was a bit shocked at the amount of plastic rubbish that had accumulated under the floor. A lot of it would have blown in, but some of it is just too heavy - it had to be dumped. Considering I have found a lot of clearly dumped rubbish elsewhere on the property, I am sadly not surprised.
After 20 years a lot of this plastic is still perfectly intact.
Just goes to show what a menace to the environment
plastic is, and how careless we are with it (this is
litter from just a 2m by 4m space).

Sunday, 19 October 2014

A sore sight for eyes

I was recently told that I need glasses permanently. I chose to go down the contact lens route as I have an outdoor and quite physical lifestyle. Much to my horror, as part of the trial period (determining if my eyes could cope with contacts), I was given two weeks' worth of daily contact lenses. Here's the waste I've produced as a result of using disposable contacts:
It's frightening to think that other contact lens users choose daily. That's an awful lot of waste over a lifetime of impaired sight.

I am now giving monthly ones a go. Any suggestions about where to go to from there? Can I get contacts that last longer?

Sunday, 21 September 2014

The magical edible weed

PLANTAIN - grows in your lawn and tastes like
mushroom. Yum!
Last night I had guests coming over for dinner, but when I went to my garden to get lettuce for the salad I found it was on the point of going to seed and was quite bitter.
However, my selective weeding saved me - I do tend to ignore a lot of the young edible weeds if I can help it.
Here's what I made a delicious and very nutritious (most edible weeds are packed with vitamins and minerals) out of. They are all common weeds:
OXALIS - the wonder weed as it's very hard to get rid of.
Its tiny bulbs break off when you pull it. I've learned to
embrace it. Tastes lemony.
PUHA or Sow Thistle. Only eat the young leaves as the
older ones can be bitter. Very good for you. Try turning
it into pesto.
ONIONWEED - tastes exactly like its name.
I use this a lot usually instead of chives.
CHICKWEED - has a refreshing, slightly earthy taste.
I use it insandwiches a lot. Makes a good pesto.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Plastic free discoveries

My year of being plastic free taught me to be pretty resourceful. Here are some simple discoveries I made purely through not being able to purchase the products I needed:
I bought salt in bulk and used it as weed killer for areas
that were hard to weed by hand, like between the cobble
stones on my driveway. It worked a treat and is of course
is not just plastic free, but chemical free, which is particularly
important when your garden revolves around food production.

The previous owner of my house thought pitted linoleum
was a good idea. Makes the floor a bugger to clean though
even with a scrubbing brush. I covered the floor in baking
soda (which is very cheap to buy in bulk) and added water
to make a paste, left it for a couple of hours then cleaned
it up. The result was a sparkling floor!
I bike a lot lot - for commuting and for recreation. I ran out
of lube and started using good old cooking oil. Works just
as well as the specialised stuff AND is free from the synthetic
additives they put in cycle lube.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Plastic Free July 2014 in Raglan

Here's some of the great stuff happening in Raglan this year to promote Plastic Free July:
Xtreme Zero Waste, helped by Plastic Free July's
Nabilla Zayan, conduct a waste audit of rubbish bins
on Raglan's main street.
Several cafe and bakeries offer discounts for people
who bring their own take away coffee cups.
The Raglan Creative Market launch their 'Towards
Zero Waste' initiative, offering crockery and cutlery
instead of plastic take away containers, discounts
for reusable coffee cups, and a waste stream that
discourages landfill.
The Harbour View Hotel gets
onboard even before July has started!
Local businesses advertise
their support.

Monday, 30 June 2014

One year's waste

My year has ended as of the 1st of July and this is all the waste I have produced in the last 365 days (most of which was due to my cat's specialist diet).
What an enormous impact we can have on our
waste stream by eliminating plastic.
My waste:
Receipts - thermal printers only work on paper imbedded with plastic
Accidental plastic - not knowing that there was plastic in something when I purchased it
Gift plastic - people carefully choosing plastic free gifts and then sending it to me in plastic courier bags
Hungry plastic - this didn't happen very often thankfully, but once or twice I was forced to buy food in plastic out of hunger and lack of choice

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Plastic free bathroom

It's easier than you think to reduce plastic in your bathroom. Here's a look at some of the things I use:
Go Bamboo toothbrushes are now widely available in
stores. Toothpicks can work well in lieu of dental floss,
and I make toothpaste by mixing up baking soda and
water with a few drops of peppermint oil.
Metal razors are not difficult to source. Ask at
your local barber or buy online at shavershop.
I buy my blades at my local dairy.
I have trialled lots of plastic free shampoo.
Lush produce by far the best hair washing
soap. They are expensive (about $15 a
bar) but they last a long time and they wash
my hair better than liquid shampoos.
Deodorant is another product that can be hit and miss.
The best I've found is an allum stone. It works well at
preventing body odour, but of course won't stop you
sweating as it's not an anti-perspirant. No natural product
will accomplish that.
My local health food store makes a lot of their own
natural products (but do package them in plastic). I
asked them to make me up some moisteriser and
simply provided them with a jar.