Plastic Free July – Day 11

Plastic Free July – Day 11

So I’ve missed writing for a few days, but that doesn’t mean I’ve given up on the whole plastic free month.

I’m still very much in that reduce plastic mindset. Last Sunday, I did some shopping at a very good bulk food store, The Source Bulk Foods at Bowral. I took along my bags and jars and what I couldn’t put in a container went in one of their paper bags. Unfortunately it’s not that local for me, about a 40-odd minute drive, but it’s in a place that we like to visit so that became an outing for us.

I also shopped at my local supermarket and improved on my plastic-free shopping from last week. There were only a couple of things in plastic bags, mushrooms sadly being one of them as the store was out of paper bags. When I got home I wrapped them in one of my beeswax wraps instead. And yes, I bought pre-packaged ham but this is more an indication of my impatience at the long line at the deli counter than anything else.

I had to do a second run to the supermarket and this time I kinda lost the plot a little. Think I was a bit hungry, hence the scones and cake and not thinking too straight. Plus how can you not buy scones for $2.28, you can’t make them for that cheap! I also hadn’t figured out the week’s dinner menu properly so was buying on the fly. This never works so I don’t know why I continue to try it!

But I did come up with an idea to use the plastic container the scones came in. It has a hinged lid with a fairly shallow base so I thought it would be perfect as a tiny greenhouse for raising seedlings in. I would punch a few holes in the top and bottom and being a hinged lid, I can open it up if it gets too hot in the sun. What do you think, is that a good idea?

I didn’t get to the butchers unfortunately so that I could get my meat put in my containers, but there’s always next time.

I’m continuing to look harder at what I’m buying and if it comes in a plastic bag or container, how can I reuse that. Some bags become garbage bags, which is fine, but I struggle a bit with the containers. How can I use them again, and again? I suppose the easiest option is not to buy them in the first place, but it doesn’t hurt to have a backup plan in place.

So how’s your second week going? Got any tips to share?

Plastic Free July – Day 5

Plastic Free July – Day 5

“Yeah but what can you do, eh?”

This is one phrase that saddens me and also angers me deeply. It is the mating call of the lazy and uncaring.

Now that might be a bit fierce, but to me it is the sound of those who have given up before they’ve even started. The sound of those who don’t even want to start.

I heard this not long ago while I was explaining Plastic Free July and how the focus is on reducing and eliminating single-use plastics.

That quote above was their answer to it all. And I don’t agree with it.

There is plenty that can be done. And yes, even by one little person. One little person can have a say, can have an impact. There are quite a few things they can do, even if they think they’re too small to make a difference.

Using a reusable coffee cup for instance. Rejecting plastic shopping and produce bags and taking your own instead. Using a refillable drink bottle instead of always buying bottled water. Three ideas already.

Making a change to your habits and lifestyle requires you to be organised. You’ll need to learn to organise yourself, to plan ahead of time what it is you need to take with you. All change takes effort and is hard in the beginning. It is about forming new habits that can move you, and in this case the planet, forward.

It is overwhelming when you look at the whole picture and there is just so much to be done. But it is best to start small, take baby steps, and start with just one thing. One item, one issue that you can work on. And to make it easier to change, make it an easy one or a fun one. Or one just for yourself, it doesn’t have to involve anyone else.

But they can learn from your actions. And then others will learn from them and so on. Soon you’ve inspired well… the whole planet. 🙂 And that’s what we want!

Go ahead and make a change today. See how it makes you feel. See if you can inspire someone else.

Photo by Jukan Tateisi on Unsplash

Plastic Free July – Day 4

Plastic Free July – Day 4

I’ve been thinking about single-use plastics and how I can make them multi-use instead.

Something I’ve been doing for quite some time now is reusing the little clip lock sandwich and snack bags. You know the ones, you buy them from the supermarket, in different sizes.

I never liked just using them once, I always thought it was such a waste. Used once and they were almost always still in pristine condition. So I decided to experiment with reusing them.

All they needed was a wash out and to dry upside down overnight. I’ve been doing this for years and use them for just about everything. From popping in a couple of biscuits for a snack to using them in the freezer for our meat portions.

The photo is a few bags of Patrick’s food and some chicken breast for us. You can probably see that there are a couple of bags looking a little worse for wear, but they haven’t worn out yet and are still good for storing the dog’s food.

I find that the bags almost last forever. Repeated washings don’t seem to wear them out. In fact, I only tend to throw them out when they get a hole in the seam at the bottom, or if I’ve had some food turn into a science project while in the bag.

I don’t know if they’re designed for one use only, but I’m certainly not using them that way. They get a good scrub out in hot soapy water, when I’m doing the washing up, so I know that they are clean. They hang upside down on the cutlery and utensils and so get a good chance to drain and dry overnight.

I don’t know anyone else who does this and maybe this makes me a bit crazy but I don’t like waste, especially plastic waste, and as a bonus, I’m also saving money.

Plastic Free July – Day 3

Plastic Free July – Day 3

Cute isn’t he!

Patrick is the subject of today’s post. Or at least his food is.

Pat, as in Pat the Dog, geddit 🙂 actually belongs to our youngest daughter who’s currently away travelling. So I’m in charge of his care and feeding, which obviously meant I was going to try him on different food, right? While the boss is away…

I found what I thought was really good, healthy food for him. And he loved it, as he loves most food. Very conveniently it was prepackaged into little portions of which he would have 1/2 or 1/3. Each portion was contained in a little single-use plastic packet. It was extremely convenient as I didn’t have to think much about what I had to do, just grab a portion out of the freezer to defrost for the next night’s dinner.

But this convenience comes at a price. I began to despair at the amount of packaging waste his food was creating. None of it could be reused for anything and only contributed to landfill. There had to be another way.

Only recently in the last few days have I had the chance to experiment with a different way of feeding him which is creating a lot less plastic waste. A packet of normal mince and a packet of chicken livers and he is a very happy dog. Now the mince and livers both come in plastic containers (from the supermarket) so this is something that I can also work on eliminating. I also want to work on portioning up his meals ahead of time and putting them in the freezer for convenience, without the plastic waste.

For now I’m spooning out the mince and chopping a small amount of liver each night and I’m okay with that. He does have his biscuits and of course they also come in a plastic bag. I guess I could try making some biscuits for him but I might leave that exercise to a later date.

How do you feed your pets? Does their food create waste too? Got any clever solutions you’d like to pass on?

Plastic Free July – Day 2

Plastic Free July – Day 2

The above picture is of my weekly grocery shop which I did yesterday.

Check out all that single-use plastic! I will admit I was crying inside whenever I picked up on of these items to add to my trolley.

I feel like the biggest culprit is the meat. All those plastic containers which will only be used for that one time and then it’s straight into the bin, and landfill.

What’s the answer? I need to start buying my meat at a local butchers instead. For a start, there’s no plastic containers, although there is a plastic bag. To alleviate this problem, I can start taking my own containers with me and ask them if they would put the meat in there.

Now another answer would be to cut out meat altogether, but I can tell you now, that isn’t going to happen. The husband is a certified carnivore and I know that the iron in read meat is especially important to me.

The next issue I see is the wrappings on fresh fruit and veg. I did forgo the plastic bag for my onions, asparagus and baby bok choy. However, there is a bag of salad mix and one of baby spinach, along with a bag of carrots. And three plastic containers holding cherry tomatoes and strawberries.

What’s the answer for this? Using my homemade produce bags, made from small pieces of net. Why didn’t I use them this time? It comes down to forgetfulness and also I haven’t yet figured out a way to keep my vegies fresh and crisp without the use of a plastic bag. So this is going to be something I will be working on this month. Oh, and I guess I can grow them at home but as it’s winter at the moment, nothing much is growing.

There’s a few prepackaged goods there as well and I guess that the answer to that is to make them myself. Bread is something I want to tackle in the next few weeks, and I know I can make cookies and biscuits, I just have to remind myself and make time to do it. However I draw the line at Tim Tams, they have to bought as they are!

So two items of ‘homework’ for me this week. Find a good butcher and make sure they will accept my containers for meat. And get my produce bags out and place with my other shopping bags and then research different ways of keeping vegies fresh in the fridge.

What about you? What great ideas have you tried to reduce single-use plastics in the kitchen?

Plastic Free July Day 1

Plastic Free July Day 1

Today is the start of #plasticfreejuly. It’s a worldwide challenge for people to reduce, and eliminate, their use of single-use plastics.

I tried this challenge last year and didn’t get very far. To be honest the enormity of the challenge overwhelmed me. But only because I wanted to make a lot of changes in a small amount of time.

I’ve since used the previous twelve months to give myself time and space to look at how I use plastics and what I can do to change my habits.

I’m going to attempt to write every day about what I’m doing, or what I’ve found, or my fails, at attempting to reduce my usage of single-use plastics. I’ll also take a bit of a broader look at my plastic usage and habits in general around plastics of all types, not just single-use. And the more I look at my habits, the more changes and improvements I believe I can make.

I’m going to look at different areas around my home where I think I can make changes, and also to look at what changes others have made and how I can possible implement them in my life. I think that the kitchen and bathroom will be the biggest areas and possibly the ones that I can make the greatest changes, but I will also be looking at the whole home. We also run our own business, a coffee van on which we also sell food, so I’ll be having a look at that as well.

So, for my first recommendation, I suggest visiting the Plastic Free July website for great ideas and suggestions on what you can do during the challenge.

I’d love to hear from you and what you’re thinking about doing for the challenge!

Productivity vs Play

Productivity vs Play

I’ve often felt that my life is all about doing, or working. Working, being productive and then, at the end, having something to show for it. Like a clean house, a completed spreadsheet, a hole dug, and of course, a pay packet. Something which has a result that can be shown off to prove you are a productive member of society.

I’ve bought into this mindset for such a long time, that work is all there is. At times this has suited me, to be valued for what I produce. But as I get older and hopefully wiser, I realise I am missing out on so much by not playing. Because to play as an adult is considered frivolous, it is to be scorned and ridiculed. It isn’t valued by society at large. Play is reserved only for children, and even then in some places, there still isn’t much of a value placed on it. My view is that, according to society at large, play isn’t productive, and as adults must always be productive, adults are therefore not allowed to play. So who invented that rule? And why have I bought into it?

I will admit that some productivity is important and we all have things we have to and want to get done. For me, I like a clean house, creating meals, baking cakes, gardening, completing my various projects. I really like to tick off my to-do list. But to just work and produce all the time and not to do something, anything just for the pure fun and joy of it, kind of sucks the joy out of life.

And what feels like play to me is writing. This feels like such a frivolous declaration to make, especially since I’m not that good at it. But I truly enjoy putting words together and sometimes if I’m lucky, they’re even in the right order. The finding of new words, and of different ways to express myself. The rearranging of paragraphs to make sense. Editing, editing and editing some more. And yes I’m a very big fan of the thesaurus!

One of my highest values is beauty, so I also think that writing is related to beauty for me. Words can lift you up, so that you are soaring with the eagles. They can also be used to crush you, create a defeat from which return feels impossible. They can convey the most exciting news and information, or they can be used to negatively colour your experience of the world.

Writing is play for me. And sadly I’ve lost the art of play. I need to relearn it, as an adult. I also have the belief that play is considered somewhat subversive in today’s society and, to be truly honest, I like subversive. I believe that play, for adults and children, is productive and there should be so much more of it. So I’m going to start playing and writing more often. Who’s with me?

Photo by Robert Collins on Unsplash

A Slow Morning

A Slow Morning

We’ve just had a long weekend for the Queen’s Birthday public holiday. It’s not a particularly celebratory holiday for us. Not like in the UK but we take a public holiday when it’s given to us.

However, as we’re self-employed, sadly we don’t get paid for it. We make the most of it we can, depending on the weather. That particular day, on the Monday, was unseasonably warm for this time of year. In fact, we’ve had a run of incredibly warm days for a while now, and that’s just not heard of in June.

I’ve been working on little jobs around the house, trying to beautify our space, adding comfort where I can. One area I have worked on, and finished, has been our pergola. We’ve now got decent chairs (that’s taken quite a while) and a table that is also a storage box for some gardening gear and timber and so on for our fire pit. The box is big enough for a heap of stuff to sit on the top, cups of tea, my knitting, books and so on. They don’t stay there, I would go spare about any junk cluttering the space. But it’s great for sitting out there and doing something. Or nothing.

This particular morning I had gone out there with my tea, probably a biscuit or two, and my knitting. Our house is freezing in winter and the sun was at the perfect angle to keep me warm without blinding me. My husband decided to join us (the dog was with me too) and read the rest of his book.

And it was the most perfect morning. The neighbourhood was lovely and quiet, it was warm, and it was peaceful. We were both engrossed in our separate activities, yet spending time together. It was my idea of heaven.

It was my idea of a perfect slow morning. Both of us had things we had to do later on but just taking time out for an hour or so, enjoying the quiet, relaxing, and enjoying the down time, I wished we could have more of these mornings.

And we can, we just have to decide to do it. We have to decide to slow down. And then follow through with our actions. It is hard at first. Feels like you’re wasting time. But I know that that time spent on Monday was not wasted. Not when I remember the feeling of peace, restfulness and joy it gave me.

And that’s what I want from life, a feeling of unhurry, of relaxation and peacefulness. Enjoying my space and the company of others.

Starting Anew

Starting Anew

Just starting is THE hardest thing to do, in my opinion, especially if it is something that scares me or makes me put myself out there.

And it is the ONE thing that constantly, and consistently, stops me from achieving my goals.

I get stuck even before I’ve begun.

It’s like if I start something new, and fail at it, the world will end.

And that sort of thinking just doesn’t work for me anymore. Thankfully I’m learning to let go of what can only be called perfectionism and instead, I’m learning to be curious about what I’m doing and a lot more relaxed about the outcome.

Yes I do fail at new things, but I don’t get so wound up anymore. I’ll have a mini tantrum of course, but I’m learning to not take it so personally if it goes wrong, or I make a mistake, or it’s the wrong colour, or if this shiny new thing turns out to not really be for me.

I’ve taken a long break from this fledgling little blog – I was ill for a while but it gave me the time and space to think deeply about who I am, what I want and where I want to go. I feel clearer and more sure of my path and what I have to offer.

So, how do you start something, especially if it is something new?

And do you think starting something again is harder than starting new?

Moving Forwards

Moving Forwards

Sometimes just moving, one tiny step at a time, is the only way to get unstuck.

Even if you’re not sure it’s in the right direction, even if you’re moving sideways, a little bit of motion can make the difference. You might then start to see where you want to go, or don’t want to go.

And so what if you do move in the ‘wrong direction’. At least you are moving AND you’ve made an important observation that it isn’t the way you want to go. It removes one more option from the pile, freeing you up to choose another direction, another option.

And always remember to choose the option that feels right, the option that makes you happy, lights you up from the inside and brings joy into your life. It might be hard work, in fact it probably will be, but it will be worth it.