Inspired by Plastic Free July

31 July 2013
Plastic Free July comes to an end tomorrow.
While this challenge only lasts a month, I have decided to take the challenge further. My aim is to create a life that is less plastic and this little space on the internet is where I will share what I have learnt.

To celebrate the end of Plastic Free July, check out the video below. If you feel inspired, please share.

I can't wait to share more.

Saying NO to take away containers and learning to take my own

15 July 2013
take your own take away containers
Image from
My Monday to Friday lunch ritual starts on Sunday.

On Sunday I cook four lunches for days Monday through to Thursday. Usually the dish is roasted vegetables. This will be pumpkin, cauliflower, sweet potato, carrot, broccoli, zucchini and onion cooked in coconut oil with garlic (i love garlic) and either yeast flakes on top or turmeric. Simple, healthy and affordable. I occasionally snack on a mandarin before lunch. And the day time feast is completed with gulps and gulps of lovely water.

Growing up lunch was different; it was prepared for me. I received a Le Snack and three Arnotts biscuits for recess and a Vegemite and cheese sandwich (or lettuce and cheese) with a juice for lunch. This was my lunch from kindergarten to year 12.

Except on Fridays, there was no lunch made by my mother. This was the day I would be given money to buy something from the canteen. The usual was a cheese and bacon roll for recess. Lunch time I would have a sausage roll, chocolate Moove and packet of chips. 

To this day I never bring a packed lunch to work on a Friday. I still see the end of the week as my time for a treat. Yep, going out for a meal still feels like an occasion. Normally my work colleagues and I get a takeaway meal, come back to the office, and have a company communal lunch away from deadlines, emails, and phone calls.

take your own take away containers
Image from
My Friday takeaway has been etched into my life like some ritual. For the past 23 years I have stood in line, ummed and ahhed about what I want. But my well trod path came to a little bit of a hill with Plastic Free July. I stood in line at my usual local cafe, waiting to place my order when I realised that my take away container was plastic. Sure it was in a container that I could reuse and reuse, but how many can I take home. There are 52 Fridays a year. That is 52 containers. And how many had I already thrown away?! I took one look at the tall stack of containers ready to be filled for the days orders and wondered how many of these would be tossed into the garbage. I decided mine would not be.

So I left the line, went back to my office and got a container from the communal kitchen. I asked the staff at the cafe if they would put my order of food into my container and they did, without a second look.

I felt wonderful. It's funny how such a small change can make you feel powerful.

The following week I went to a different cafe with my same container and asked for them to put my lunch in there. I received a strange look like they wanted to ask me a question. And I was ready to tell them why. I have now done this for last four weeks.

I know there will be instances where I will be somewhere without my container. And when this happens I will need to get creative, think hard and remember that every piece of packaging (plastic, paper or aluminium) ends up somewhere.

Are you a fan of takeaway? Do you think you could implement the same change? And do you think cafes/restaurants and eateries should reward those who bring their own containers with a 10 cent discount?

Turn your kitchen scraps into vegetable broth

13 July 2013
Plastic Free July has changed the way I shop for food.

I roam the supermarket aisles avoiding everything in plastic, and look for packaging that can be recycled and have begun to take my own bags for vegetables and containers for cheese. I find that it is easier to buy food that is not packaged in anything. Hello more vegetables and fruit!  

Going without plastic, especially single use plastic is not as hard as I imagined. It has been small changes here and there, mainly going without items. Most packaging is made up of plastic (those cardboard milk cartons have plastic in them!!!). I am learning a lot of about the impact plastic is having on the environment, animals and other people. It’s staggering!

I have not had to tackle letting go of take away drinks like coffees as it’s not something indulge in. I was already in the habit of carrying my refillable water bottle on me if I needed a drink. My usual routine of picking up takeaway food has dwindled down. If anything, I find I am saving money and eating better. And the best part is, that I have seen my waste decrease.

I also discovered that my apartment block has a compost bin. It is not a big compost bin, so I am limited as to how much can be put in. I have decided to keep kitchen scraps to make vegetable broths as a way to use up as much food as possible.

The process is so easy. Did you know, a stock can only be technically called a stock if it has bones in it? I didn't. I love learning new facts.

For the last three weeks I put away an assortment of food scraps. Stuff like the first layer of onions, the rough part of celery, carrot ends, parsley stems, coriander stems, pumpkin skins, squash skins, garlic, and fennel. I packed these away into the freezer until I was ready to make the stock.

Turn your kitchen scraps into vegetable broth

Handy tip: When putting your finished vegetable broth into jars or containers, measure how many cups are in each jar/container and write them on a label with the date it was made. That way you will know how much broth you have for your recipes and how old the broth is.

Going plastic free for my periods

9 July 2013
When I decided to attempt Plastic Free July, I sat down and wrote a rough list of items that fall into my shopping basket each month that would be covered in plastic.

My list showed that the biggest offender was packaging. I made my way down the list writing down alternatives and feeling chuffed with my ideas. That was until I came to two items I buy each month – My pads and tampons. I felt deflated. These are covered in single use plastic. Essential woman items. I was stumped.

And like any other person who has an internet connection and a problem to solve, I turned to Google.I was going to apologise for sharing a post about periods but then I thought why should I? I don’t think it’s something we should be shy of. But if you are, that is OK.Google response to alternative tampons was a cup. Yep, a cup. They went by names like Diva Cup and Moon Cup.

They are made of medical grade silicon. And can be reused and reused and reused. All that is needed is water for cleaning and a comfortable relationship with your body because it does take practice to get it right the first time. Plus a little courage because some people might tell you that it is gross when they find out you reuse rather than dispose. I see tampon packaging and applicator waste gross.

Not to mention the chemicals that lurk in most sanitary products (not all, I know there are brands that focus on being kind to the female body). Its all about your own perspective and what you believe in and I believe in plastic free living.

Would I recommend it? Of course! The Builder can testify to my enthusiasm. He sat through a long speech about how happy I was to find a product that has allowed me to be kinder to the environment in a small way.I'd love to hear if you have used a cup or another alternative like a sponge. Prefer pads? Check out why I love my reusable pads. *Update: There is an Australian made cup available by the name of JuJu. If I had known this I would have purchased from them to save on packaging and support a local brand. However, I am happy with my Moon Cup.
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