26 February 2015

Green Reads: ReMake It by Tiffany Threadgould

When I first decided to go plastic free full time I was severely tempted to remove all the plastic in my house in one sweep. I wanted to cleanse it from my life. Starting a plastic free life with a house void of plastic is way easier than a house with plastic popping up here and there.


I had my share of plastic too, which is not surprising for anyone that is in their 30s and was an avid consumer of all things plastic. Some of the plastic that I removed was recycled, some went to charity stores and there are items I kept. I decided that keeping and reusing my old plastic items won’t kill me. After all the idea behind living plastic free is to not add to the plastic that is out there.

If you are a crafty individual there is another way to deal with those plastic odds and ends in your life and that is to upcycle.

Upcycling is taking something and re-purposing it. When I turned our odd socks into soap holders I upcycled. Basically it is another version of recycling.


Tiffany Threadgould, the Martha Stewart of upcycling is Head Design Junkie at TerraCycle. I have written before about TerraCycle. The company has successfully deferred 4 billion pieces of garage from landfill. That is kinda impressive. With a prediction that waste is set to double by 2020 (errrr, that’s in five years’ time!). TerraCycle and designers like Tiffany are needed more than ever.

I am a firm believer that everybody is creative and the most of the ideas Tiffany musters up in her role can be thought up by anyone. For those that need a gentle push to find their trash problem solving side Tiffany Threadgould put together the inspiring book ReMake It! Recycling Projects From The Stuff You Usually Scrap.

The book is packed with 95 ideas ranging from remaking old umbrellas or paint can lids, making a pocket wall organiser and a CD case photo spinner. The projects are explained in simple how to instructions ranging from easy to requiring adult supervision. While the book might be geared towards children and teenagers I found it inspiring and wish that I had reimagined the plastic trash I had in my house rather than move it to a charity store.

ReMake It is a fantastic resource that will inspire you to remake trash into useful treasures.


Tiffany Threadgould with TerraCycle Australia hosted an event as part of the Sustainable Living Festival. I was lucky to get along and meet with them, have a chat and learn how to turn packaging into a gift wrap bow, modeled off of one of the projects from Tiffany's book.


Upcycled love, 
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24 February 2015

Cleaning the oven with bicarb soda - does it work?

A couple weeks ago I found simple, safe and easy method for cleaning an oven. I shared it on my Facebook page exclaiming that i would give it a go over the weekend.

Cleaning the oven with bicarb soda - does it work?

The oven has never been cleaned since its installation in 2012. However the oven has been used many times and was very, well, gross.

I have cleaned ovens in the past with that goopy toxic stuff that can be bought from supermarkets. And I clearly remember the nose burning stench and need to leave the house when it was applied to the oven. So when i stumbled across this simple 'how to' i knew there were no more excuses - it was time to clean the oven.

The ingredients listed are bicarb soda, vinegar, water...and a dirty oven. I had all those so there really were no excuses. Even though i said no excuses above I did try to find one.

I began following the directions, mixing the bicarb with water to make a paste. I needed more bicarb than the measurements required. Alot more. Then following the steps I smothered the inside of oven (after removing the trays) with the paste. I also applied the bicarb paste to the door and grease tray - then left overnight to do it's thing.

So....the verdict? It worked. Sort of.

The inside of the oven sparkled when I removed the bicarb. The bicarb dried as the instructions said it would but it never turned brown. When I wiped the dried paste from the oven with warm water it came off easy removing all the grease and gunk with it. After all the bicarb was out I filled a bowl with warm water, added a cap full of vinegar and gave the oven a final wipe.

The oven window did not sparkle or shine and really nothing changed. The brown only became a softer hue. I tried using vinegar and that did not help either. I am tempted to try the bicarb again on the window and see if it will work better a second time. If anyone has any other suggestions I would love to know.


Cleaning the oven with bicarb soda - does it work?
The grease tray was not returned to its former glory either. Most of the gunk came off but not completely. Again vinegar was used and it did not change the outcome. 

Cleaning the oven with bicarb soda - does it work?
I have had no trouble cleaning the rest of our house with simple non toxic methods and we do clean it often. The moral of the story is to clean things like the oven regularly too. Cleaning with natural products does require elbow grease in lieu of the stuff that can literally cut through grease and stains. But if done more often then less effort is required.

I would love to know how you clean your oven? Is there a better recipe that I could try? Preferably without Borax because i have never seen that in Australia.

Naturally,
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18 February 2015

My failed quest for a library membership

Usually this space is where I write about my triumphs. The plastic hurdles successfully jumped over and shared here to make life a little easier for those, like me, that want to avoid waste, especially the non-recyclable plastic type. Unfortunately my latest attempt to thwart plastic has not been a success at all and I am a little bummed about it.

When I moved to the suburbs I decided to get a library membership for my local library. I have wandered in there when I had time to kill to read magazines or look at books. I kept putting it off because one of the items I needed for a membership was something with my address on it. 

When my NSW state licence was due for renewal I decided it was time to become a Victorian and apply for a state licence. With a new non embarrassing photo snapped my new licence was supplied to me with my name and address on it. I could now get a library membership.

About the same time I had to get a new bank card. All of a sudden I had two new plastic cards and two old plastic cards…and getting a library membership would mean another plastic card. (I have a blog post coming up about plastic cards soon. Still researching some helpful info for it).

Surely I could get a library membership without plastic. I could simply ask for a membership but without a card, instead keep my membership number written down or if they used barcodes I could write out the barcode number. I worked in retail so I knew most systems where the barcode did not work for some reason the barcode number could be keyed in. It was a simple an easy solution.

Turns out I could not action any of these ideas. The library simply said no after I presented my solutions. There was no way around it. If I wanted to borrow books then I had to succumb to a plastic card.

I love libraries. My childhood country town has a small library. To me it was my favourite place to go after school. Over the last five year have spent many hours raising money to help build Libraries with Room to Read.

Libraries are a one of the best sustainable options for enjoying books and magazines that are only read once. I frequently pop in to read magazines. Even if a magazine or book is printed on recycled paper, libraries which are essentially part of the sharing economy are a better choice for the environment. A book or magazine that is printed on recycled paper then left on a shelf or recycled again requiring energy and a bigger carbon footprint than that same item potentially shared with 50-100 people is obviously more sustainable choice and kinder on the environment.

Currently when I want a book I visit charity stores or borrow from friends. Both fantastic avenues to browse and enjoy books. Like right now I want to read Amy Poehler book Yes, Please but have not found it in any second hand books stores or on my friends shelves. I have never read a book on my smart phone, maybe that is my solution.

I did ponder if one bit of plastic was that big of a deal if granted me access to a lifetime of free books. One half of is stomping her foot and saying no. It is the principal. My request was denied. A request that was made not for me, but for the environment and generations after me. A plastic card is not necessary.

I want to know what you would do. Would you get the card? Or should I get over what is a first world problem and download books to my smart phone?

I think I just answered my own question,
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12 February 2015

Summer Fish Tacos with Grilled Peaches

Tacos were a main staple of our families diet growing up. Our family loved anything TexMex. Quick, easy, yummy....and predominantly packaged. Going plastic free meant saying adios to anything by Old El Paso and learning to make variations of my fave dishes. This recipe is one of them.

Everything in this dish is in season during the Summer months, making it perfect for seasonal eating. The fish and vegetables can be gathered plastic free and of course, is a zero waste friendly meal.

Summer Fish Tacos with Grilled Peaches

Summer Fish Tacos with Grilled Peaches

(feeds 6 people)

Ingredients
Oil
Whiting (sustainably caught fish)
2 Peaches
1 Carrot
1 green Kohirabi (or daikon works well too)
1 quarter Cabbage
1 Lime
Iceberg lettuce leaves or tortillas

Method
Grate carrots, kohirabi and cabbage into a bowl. Squeeze half a lime over the grated carrots, korrabi, cabbage and set aside. Next add the oil to the pan and cook the whiting using your spatula or a fork break up the fish so it is in flakes. When the fish is cooked moved to a bowl. Cut the peaches into bit size squares. Put the peaches into a pan and cook until warm then move to a bowl.

If I don't have tortillas I use ice berg lettuce leaves. The easiest way to get the leaves off is to remove the nobby part at the base. The leaves should come off easily and look like little bowls. Then put your fillings inside the lettuce leaf; carrot, kohirabi, cabbage mix followed by the fish and topped with the warm peaches. If you can't get peaches, nectarines work just as nicely.

Iceberg lettuce sounds bit weird. Where or how do you get your tortillas?

Firstly, using iceberg lettuce as your wrap is really yummy, fresh and super cheap...plus iceberg lettuce is a available every month bar June and August. If that has not won you over then making your own authentic tortillas is hard unless you have the correct flour which is impossible to get in Australia unpackaged. You could try making your own flour tortillas using this recipe. Personally I like the fresh and crisp taste of the lettuce.

For those that live in Melbourne, particularly in the western 'burbs there is a Mexican restaurant called La Tortilleria. They mill and make their own tortillas from scratch. The crew frequent local farmers markets selling the tortillas package free. I am always told they love that I bring my own cloth bags because that is how everybody does it in Mexico. Plus they are that ridiculously good it would be hard to go back to the supermarket brands ever. I consider myself pretty lucky I have a La Tortillera 10 mins away.

What is your favourite taco combination? 

Enjoy,
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5 February 2015

Interview with Zero Waste Adventure

I love Instagram. I don't take nearly enough photos as I would like but my fingers are actively scrolling daily and I am inspired by the sustainable souls that pop up on my feed sharing hints, tips and encouragement. One such person that I became an avid fan of was the Zero Waste Adventure feed.

It was not your average documentation of a zero waste adventure through somewhere like America, instead it was in Indonesia a place I knew to be a harder place to go zero waste than most. What was even more inspiring was that their feed documented a lot of multi day hikes, an activity that I love but had since pushed aside because I was afraid of the waste I would create. Through the Instagram account I discovered the blog and would read it using the school girl Indonesian I knew (Indonesia is one of Australia's closets neighbors so learning Indonesian is common here). I found it inspiring and made me think that I could totally do a zero waste adventure hike. 

Siska Nirmala is the soul behind Zero Waste Adventure and hails from Bandung, West Java Province, Indonesia.


What is your blog Zero Waste Adventure about?
On my blog, Zero Waste Adventure, I share my journey in adopting a zero waste lifestyle into adventuring activities including backpacking and travelling. I learn about zero waste in 2010, but I just committed myself to live zero waste in 2012. And in 2013, I start the zero waste adventure.

I prefer hiking in every zero waste adventure that I do, because in my country almost every mountain has a trash problem. It's a problem of culture, where here in Indonesia people are littering.

In Indonesia people spend about 2-3 days hiking. So they must bring some food stuff for cooking while camping at the mountain. And here is where the problem of littering while hiking began.




What are your tips to hiking waste free?
Hiking waste free is actually easy. The point is, almost all the littering at the mountain is food packaging, so I refuse to bring that.

1. Bring eco bottle/ tumbler, not a disposable bottle of mineral water.

2. Do not brought any food packaging such as chips for snack, instant noodle, etc.
  • Replace all the snack with fruits.
  • And we can bring some vegetable to cook.
  • Bring some raw meat or fish, do not bring processed meats such as sausage or corned beef and sardines.
  • Candy or sweets is sometimes an important things to bring while hiking. Because sweets could give us energy while we rest. Its hard to find unpackaged candy in my country. So, candy could be replace by brown sugar. This brown sugar could also used to make hot ginger beverages (cook brown sugar with water and some gingers. Its a great drink on hiking).
And actually many alternative foods without packaging can be made and bought along. Its just a matter of being creative and managing your hiking supplies.

Is it easy to live waste free where you are from?
Honestly, its not easy to live waste free in Indonesia. No bulk shop here.

Vegetables and fruits, raw meat, fresh chicken, fish can still be found unpackaged at traditional market. But for any others stuff, its already packaged and impossible to get them unpackaged (spices, and other daily needs like soap, shampoo, etc).

And zero waste shopping at traditional market in this city, Bandung, is not that easy. It is a huge effort to explain why I refuse the plastic bag. For them, it's a strange thing to shop without plastic bags. They say something like "no problem, this plastic bag is free" or something like "your cloth bag could get dirty" and they put the corn into the plastic bag. Hahaha... I enjoy every experiences on debating with the merchant about why I refuse plastic bags. But now I have one merchant that I use to shop, so he already is used to my habit, and we are not debating anymore about the plastic bag.

There also some people with zero waste life style in Indonesia. Generally they are incorporated with community such as YPBB Bandung, Zerowaste Bandung and Zero Waste Indonesia. I believe zero waste in Indonesia will grow larger.

For anyone visiting your country what are the easiest ways for tourists to reduce plastic and keep waste low?
First the easiest way to reduce waste while travelling is bring your own bottle. You can refill the bottle at the hotel or inn.

Second way to reduce waste while travelling is choose to dine in when you eat somewhere. Refuse take away. But if you want to take away, be sure to bring your own container. And remember to eat local food, not at the big restaurant. Because travelling is not only about our own pleasure, but how we help local economy.

Someday you should come here to Bandung, Indonesia Erin. I'll take you for a walk around the heart of the city. Bandung is called 'Paris Van Java'. Why it's called Paris? You should travel here to get to know :) (I would love to come!)

What is your favourite travel memory? What inspired you to travel zero waste?
The 'aha moment' that gave me the idea of zero waste adventure was in 2011 when I was hiked Mount Rinjani, located at Lombok, Nusa Tenggara Barat, Indonesia. Rinjani is number one of the most beautiful mountains in Indonesia (you should come here too ;) ). But sadly, the trash problem is found here too. And its terrible.

My journey to Rinjani is also my favourite travel memory. Because i went there along with one of my best friends. 4 days of beautiful hiking, then travelling Lombok, and crossing the ocean to reach Bali island.

The same condition of trash also i found when I was hiked Mount Semeru (2012), located in east Java, Indonesia. It's number two beautiful mountain in Indonesia, after Rinjani. And also the highest mountain on Java Island.

I feel sad to see the trash on those two beautiful mountains. And start to think if there is any way to avoid trash while hiking. Then I came to the zero waste life style idea, and thought this lifestyle can be applied while we are hiking or travelling.

Because,
Those who don’t care, are littering
Those who care, are picking up trash
But those who are wise, stop producing trash.
Zero waste!


What do you have planned for the future?
Right now, i have a very simple plan that I wish could come true this year. There is no bulk shop here, and that's why I want to make my own zero waste shop. Wish me luck ;)

Also, I'm on progress to write my book about Zero Waste Adventure. I've hiked 4 mountains zero waste. I have some more mountains to go. But it's not how many mountain I hike, or how many cities I travel in... but how huge an effort we try to reduce and not produce any waste. This is the spirit i wish i could spread to people.


Follow Siskia at...
Blog http //zerowasteadventures.blogspot.com.au/
Twitter @ZWadventure or #zerowasteadventure
Instagram zerowasteadventure
Youtube zerowasteadventure


Terima Kasih,
All photos courtesy of Zero Waste Adventure 

28 January 2015

Philippines: a Zero Waste and Plastic Free Holiday

Hello! Welcome to another year of plastic free and zero waste adventures by The Rogue Ginger. I have so many blog posts in my head, ready to be typed up and sent fourth into the world. But right now I am going to pen about my first zero waste adventure that I undertook with the Builder in the beautiful Philippines. You can read about my attempts at plastic free travel adventures in Myanmar and China too.

Philippines: a Zero Waste and Plastic Free Holiday

Philippines: a Zero Waste and Plastic Free Holiday

The Philippines was on my mind as a travel destination two years ago. But the costly airline carriers that serviced the route to the Philippines from Australia deterred me from visiting. Last year that changed with no frills airline Cebu Pacific beginning operations between Sydney and Manilla. We found a cheap flight and booked a connecting flight from Melbourne via Tiger Air to Sydney for our 8 hour international flight.

We visited Manila, a secret island and Boracay. I have been asked not to reveal the islands location. A remote island adventure has been on my bucket list for years and I was able to cross it off the list. It was not a fancy resort, just a very chilled and basic experience. My kind of holiday. I had it organised through Docastaway for anyone who is after a similar experience.

This post is about how we avoided plastic and waste in the Philippines. Our accommodation was eco but I am not going to talk about the accommodation. Rather focus on what we did where we went and some of the eco efforts of local groups we encountered along the way.


Avoiding Plastic and Waste on our Flights There and Back

Cebu Pacific is a low cost carrier meaning that the passenger pays for everything. It's one of the ways the airline keep air ticket prices low. If you want food, blankets, entertainment, water and the entire usual garb you get when flying then you need to pay for it. They also don’t have any type of premium seating – everyone is flying economy. One of the reasons I like low cost air carriers is that I can avoid the waste created by not buying anything, especially meals. On a flight last year to Fiji with another airline I tried to prearrange for my meal to be cancelled. While they made a note of this I was informed that I would need to remind the check in desk who then told me to tell the cabin crew when I board. They did not bring me a meal but they had one warmed up for me and they admitted that it would need to be thrown away due to health reasons. So….it was far easier this time!

On the Sydney > Manila leg we took a meal of cucumbers, beans (from the garden!) and nuts (so many nuts!) in our own containers and bags. We thought that since we are sedentary for 8 hours and probably napping for some of that time, then we can do without a meal. Snacking was more than satisfactory.
Philippines: a Zero Waste and Plastic Free Holiday
The MAJOR downside to the Cebu Pacific experience was that the crew could not refill our water bottles because all of their water was bottled. On other airlines I have been able to have my bottle filled from a tap onboard. The Sydney to Manilla leg was fine as we could fill 2 x 1 litre and 1 x 600 ml bottles at Sydney airport for the flight. Remember we were only flying 8 hours and figured we would be ok. We did say that if worst comes to worst, and we get thirsty then we would buy a bottle of water. But lucky we fell asleep and did not worry about the water.

On the return flight from Manilla to Sydney we were not so lucky. You see, Australia has strict quarantine laws that are enforced to protect our flora and fauna. Rightly so, it is precious! As a result no one was allowed to bring their own water bottles on the plane and had to be disposed of at the boarding gate at Manila Airport.
Philippines: a Zero Waste and Plastic Free Holiday
I encountered this same scenario when I was returning from Fiji last year and Malaysia the year before…so I had a sneaking suspicion that this wold happen again. The airlines I flew for Fiji and Malaysia had services to fill up my water bottle on board. Knowing Cebu did not and that we could not take any water onto the plane we decided to drink all the water we could before we boarded the plane as it was a red eye flight and would sleep for most of it.

Good idea right? WRONG. Manila airport is void of any water fountains, public water coolers….anything. The water available in the lavatories is not safe to drink and all the restaurants we visited would not fill up our water with their own water even when I offered to pay them money saying they were not allowed. They insisted our only option was to buy bottled water. I did understand why. Each restaurant had water coolers full of clean drinking water that was used for cooking and no doubt would be expensive for them to buy. I understand they want to conserve. One restaurant did fill up our bottles for free but would not take the money. They were good samaritans. However I will admit that we were ready to buy water on the plane if we could not get water and would recycle the bottles when we got back to Australia. But we didn't need to. So big thanks to the crew at Kaishu Rice Noodles Express in Manila Airport. We got our water and guzzled it right before boarding the plane then promptly fell asleep.

I did think about buying a SteriPen for this trip. It would have been handy for this kind of situation. However next time I will do more research on the airlines water and the airport we are departing from also.

Apart from the lack of free water, Cebu Pacific is an efficient airline and we used them to fly within the Philippines too.


Waste Created: baggage tags, boarding passes, receipts, packaging and three straws

The first waste we created was plastic packaging from a power converter purchased hastily at Melbourne airport. I really truly believed I had one but unfortunately this was not the case. Had I looked through my travel gear earlier and not while running out the door, I would have happily borrowed one from a friend.

One major unfortunate waste we accumulated was the baggage labels because we had to check in our luggage on some flights due to the planes size and having an a small tiny fold up travel umbrella (seriously? a weapon..?). When we did not have to check in luggage the check in staff placed a sticker on our luggage anyway. And there was the dreaded BPA coated thermal paper which some of our boarding passes were issued on.

We also collected a load of receipts over the two weeks from restaurants. We would ask for no receipts but they snuck through. Most of them are printed on thermal paper and thermal paper cannot be recycled here in Australia.
What we did not take home with us were three plastic straws that we were given to us in Borcay. And let me explain why we gave them back to the staff members to chuck out (even though we asked them to reuse them…).

We were lucky to avoid most straws as we would ask staff to write down we don’t want a straw and then we would explain why. When it first happened we gave them back straight away telling the waiter they should reuse it. We thought about taking it home but realised they would not get the point of us refusing if we kept them. We believed that we could reiterate our stance if we gave the straw back to them showing that we don’t want or use straws. So two straws either got reused (hopefully). The other one we witnessed go into a bin.

Most restaurants would ask patrons to fill out a review after the meal. We took the opportunity to let the manager know that they should rethink offering straws to customers as Borcay and its surrounding environments would benefit if they did. There was also a Tourism Office located in the D’Mall shopping strip and I decided to visit. I left comments about encouraging cafes and restaurants to limit straws and encourage people to take advantage of the water refill stations located on Main Road or use the purified hotels water rather than buy bottled water. I also asked them to consider banning beach bean bags also….it was more a letter than a couple comments.

And my glasses that I broke? I had them fixed!


Water in the Philippines

If you live outside the Philippines there is a big chance the local water might irritate you and make you sick. So we did not drink it. Instead of buying bottled water we did the following (I broke it up into the locations we stayed).

Manilla

We stayed in a hotel and had access to a kettle plus the hotels restaurant to keep our bottles refilled. Other restaurants were able to fill up our bottles too. There are also refill stations like Crystal Clear. These stores are where the locals and local business go to collect clean water. You can ask your taxi driver to take you if you are outside the central CBD district. We saw so many on our way to Intramuros. Like every other corner!

Secret Island


Our accommodation had water on the island carried over from the mainland so we were able to refill our bottles daily. While this was great we did chat about the waste created through hauling water all the way to island. Ah, the water guilt.

Boracay

We made use of the refill stations on Main Road. It cost 5 pesos (14 cents) to fill a liter bottle. There are two bubblers on White Beach located at Station 2 and Station 3.



Food/fruit

We took our own cloth bags to collect fruit for snacks. I have to admit that one of my favourite travel activities used to be trawling local snack shops and trying the local snack food which was usually packaged and dyed obscure colours. I’m probably healthier avoiding it.

In our arsenal we also had stainless steel straws that we used to drink coconut water with. We had some weird looks but whatever. Plastic waste is so much weirder!!! Plus my Buko juice looked waaaaay cooler.


Toiletries (soap/moisturisers/toothpaste etc)

Each of our accommodation options had shampoos, soaps, etc. Some were refilled which was nice. But we just took and used our own just in case. We knew our toiletries were safe with no harmful ingredients too, so no risk for us or the environment.


Philippines: a Zero Waste and Plastic Free Holiday
Philippines: a Zero Waste and Plastic Free Holiday


I loved the Philippines. We both agreed that a trip back is on the cards. We encountered many organisations that were working hard to create sustainable travel practices for the environment and the locals. On the secret island we stayed we learnt they prefer not to serve a lot of fish because they don’t want to over fish preferring to serve fresh organic vegetables from local islands. By doing this they encouraged locals to farm rather than fish, which is how it was done before modern day fishing practices.

My only concern is Boracay’s growth. It is an island with a beautiful beach and the hotels are conveniently located 200mm from the water. I can see why tourists flock here. We went there for the kite surfing but had we known about the crowds we would have picked another area to surf.

Local business on White Beach was responsible for keeping their beach front clean and they did a great job. But each afternoon we picked up rubbish from the beach that was generally left there by tourists or blown out of bins. If you are looking to visit Boracay don’t forget about the other islands surrounding it. Due to the frenzy of tourists in Boracay there is not a fair distribution of money going around. Visit places like Motag Living Museum and see what life was like before tourists took over.

So you have read about our trip. What would you have done differently? Did you pick up any helpful tips for a plastic free/zero waste visit to the Philippines?

Maraming salamat,

25 January 2015

7 (less obvious) benefits of living plastic free

I was published!

I have exciting news. Today I had an article published on Elephant Journal. I wrote about how living plastic free has improved my life especially my health. I would love for you to read it and share it with your friends.

7 (less obvious) Benefits of Living Plastic Free - http://tinyurl.com/m8cn35t 

Thanks for the support,
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23 December 2014

My first six months living zero waste

This is my first six months living zero waste. Below is all the rubbish I have produced from June 2014 - December 2014.

My first six months living zero waste

Way back at the end of June 2014 I was coming close to completing my first year of plastic free living. I wrote a blog post about my first year plastic free and reflected on what I had learnt. By the end of my first year I was not actively putting anything into the bin. What could not be recycled was put into a box and I would go through the contents every couple of weeks and find ways of recycling or reusing. As the first year living plastic free came to a close I realised that I was putting less and less into the box. So I casually told the Builder that I was going to try and be zero waste to which he replied “you pretty much live that way anyway, why not?”

So the last six months I have been actively living zero waste. What this essentially means is that I have sent nothing to landfill. And below are my results from June 2014 – December 2014.

My first six months living zero waste

The contents is a mix of items that cannot be recycled (yet) by the local recycling companies.
  • Receipts, plane tickets, a bus ticket, and baggage tags 
  • Scratchies 
  • Two tea sachets 
  • Three straws 
  • Two clothing tags 
  • Broken rubber band 
  • Cling film 
  • 4 medicine blister packs 
  • String with plastic bits on the end 
  • Staples 
  • Parts of my old makeup packaging that could not be recycled 
  • Two produce tags 
  • Stickers and plastic packing tape 
Going zero waste was easier than I thought it would be. But I do believe there are two reasons that made it easy for me. The first one is that I had been living plastic free and so the transition was a gentle natural step. The second is I live in a big city and have access to so many more tools that allow for this kind of life.

I have friends that live in the country town where I grew up and after talking to them I can understand how cushy I have it compared to small town living folk that want a similar lifestyle. It can be done but would require a lot more effort.

This is something I want to explore because I kinda feel like a fraud. While it is okay for me to type away about how successful living plastic free has been and how little trash I have produced in the last six months the reality might not be that easy for everyone and I want to help provide solutions for the small town dwellers and not just us city living people that have access to bulk stores and the like.

Will I continue plastic free and zero waste living in 2015? You betcha! This lifestyle has become so deeply ingrained that I cannot imagine going back.

Do you think a plastic free or zero waste change is on the cards for you in 2015?

See you in the New Year,
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