Monday, 19 July 2010

Rubbish is Not a Disposable Item

It all started with this book...

which has some fantastic chapters on shopping, recycling, green cleaning and growing your own vegetables.  As you may know, I am now cleaning with baking soda, salt and white vinegar with fabulous results.  I take bags with me on all shopping expeditions, so there is no reason to collect yet another plastic bag.  I've even taken goods out of bags and left them at the counter.  Do I get a gold star for that? 

This NZ Gardener magazine style book was gifted to my mother after sending them a recipe.  It's such a great read.  I read nearly all of it in one sitting.  Anyway now I am thinking what we can do to reduce wastage, packaging and money and lead a simple life eating more natural products instead of packaged ones. 

My hen hopes have been dashed due to regulations in our area.  Seems you need them to be ten metres from a house and three metres from a boundary fence.  That means they would be in negative space.  Now we wouldn't want that for some feathery friends would we? 

In our area we are all given a huge 240 litre wheelie bin for our recycling.  That's always been a great thing for us, as we sure put out a fair bit of paper and plastic each fortnight.  But I still feel bad about the amount of packaging that goes in there each day.  Honestly the bin is packed to the brim.  So...

from now on when I visit the supermarket I need to remember to take my bags with me, including the bulk bin ones.  If I buy from the bulk bins with recycled bags I will not be consuming any packaging at all.  If I buy other goods in bulk there will be less packaging in the long run.  It's not always cheaper, but perhaps if we make a fuss about it things will change.  And I'm hoping that our bin will be much lighter next collection day.  I'll keep you informed on that one.

I will bake all our bread so I won't be left with a bread bag each day.  I've worked out a really quick and easy way to make the bread too.  I filled five ice cream containers with all the dry ingredients minus the yeast.  So now when I want to make a loaf I just have to empty a container into the maker, add water, oil and the yeast.  All done in 30 seconds!  You can't beat the heavenly smell of it cooking and I know it's better for our family too.


Warning, real life photo ahead!!!!!!!!!!!

These bins now reside on our bench.  It's our food scraps and egg shell collection points.  All scraps, minus fats and meats, end up in here instead of down the sink.  The drain will thank me for that too as it regularly blocks up.  (Hubby too for that matter!) 

The plot to the far right is now my dig-in compost plot.  I'm going for this method as I don't want to buy a compost bin.  It should keep the smells away too.  The rest of the garden is looking pretty flash too after a day in the garden yesterday.  I found 22 self seeded lettuces too under the mass of weeds - bonus!  Oh and plenty of parsley plants too. 

A trip to the garden centre provided me with loads of seed packets.  There is plenty of time to start with seeds instead of buying punnets.  Besides I have so many empty punnets behind the shed waiting to be recycled. 

Shhh, the babies are sleeping in the nursery.  Daughter No.1 helped me plant the seeds and made name tags for them out of recycled yoghurt lids. 

I was finding The Challenge of the Utmost Kind a little unchallenging, (probably because of all the clauses I added!) so I am hoping that this will be more challenging for me.  I'm just going about it quietly and trying to make it a normal everyday life thing.  Feel free to join me if you think you need to improve in this area.

18 comments:

Cat B said...

Well done YOU xxx
We have chickens and I know a lady up the road who also has chickens and they don't 'fit' those regulations.
I must post some piccies of my girls - there home is right next to the compost bin so the lovely girls can dig over the scraps for me.
I love the fact so many people are becoming more aware of 'green'
Cat

Kelly said...

You are very good! I have a compost bin and we have two recycle bins for some reason - we only fill one though. We throw quite alot of food out to the birds - apple scraps, bread, potato, crackers etc instead of throwing them in the bin. Some of my cardboard scrap goes into the compost bin too. I'm useless at taking my own bags to the supermarket though but I get them to pack as much as they can in (at Countdown) or just throw them all in the boot (at Pak n Save)
I figure every little bit counts.
I envy your garden though - that's going to look awesome come summer time!

Cuggles! Kids said...

Great post! You're absolutely right about packaging, just because it CAN be recycled doesn't mean we escape all the other damage to the environment in the manufacture of that product. And yes, you get a gold star for taking things out of bags at the counter. One day I'll join you in the bread making, love your idea of having it all ready in containers for speed. : ) Kim

Allana said...

Your journey is very inspiring - love the time saving idea for your bread making, will keep that in mind thanks :)

The Patchwork Heart said...

I am so excited to read your last entry about going green as it is a passion of mine too. I live in UK and have much in common with you - please read my blog!
I am just about to start 6 weeks summer holiday here and my project is converting the new garden I have just moved into into a vegetable patch, with raised beds, old tyres to grow in and a scarecrow made from recycled material of course!
I have just been made eco coordinator at my school and next year will have the challenge of coordinating eco school.
Heather ~ The Patchwork Heart ♥

Serenata said...

Brilliant post Sarah with some well thought out ideas. You are so organised with your seeds! I've been working on our veg garden as you know and we use our own bags for shopping so hopefully working towards a similar goal.

Itch2stitch.com said...

I loved reading this post Sarah, I think you are doing a great job of it there! I try to do as much as I can too, and take bags with me to shops etc. I love you tip for the bread as we make our own bread too. Love! Suie xxxxx

Claire Gale said...

well done sarah, all sounds fantastic and it's great to know that we're all doing our bit isn't it. watch out for the bicarb/vinegar with your hands, it's harsher than you think. i also add a drop of my favourite oils to mine too for a lovely smelling home, rose and lavender are my favourites x

Floss said...

Excellent stuff, Sarah! It's also really interesting seeing how being 'green' varies between different parts of the world - our bread comes unwrapped, or just in a twist of paper, here in France, but we have a big issue with the way milk is packaged instead.

I really enjoyed reading about your challlenges to yourself, and I know they'll make me think about how we're currently living as I go about my daily life. I THINK we're doing most of what you're aiming for, but I bet I'll spot some 'gaps' in my green-ness now you've got me thinking about it...

Mrs. Cozy Home said...

Wonderful, worthy efforts!! I would love to get a look at the inside of that gorgeous magazine!

Floss said...

OK, reporting back here, having been shopping...

All our luxuries are bought on a very ethical basis. However, our necessities are bought with thrift and health needs in mind, rather than packinging ones, and I'm horrified to see how much packaging is used on these basics. I need to think about this...

Dawn said...

Your post was very interesting! I have made some "going green" changes as well! One thing I am checking into is gray water collecting. This is catching rain water and using it to water garden rather than using drinking water. And I would award you a "green" star rather than a gold one! :) Hvae a great day!

Crafty Mermaid said...

oh best of luck! I need to make more changes but sometimes it just doesn't work out! I'm on a sabbatical for six months so spent Monday buying stuff - like toilet brushes and desks. So wasteful - the second hand shops in Ireland just don't live up to the ones in NZ so I had to get some new stuff too :( (well if I'm honest, I was always going to buy a new toilet brush - ick!)

VintageVicki said...

Brilliant post :)

We try hard to be green here too - recycling, reusing & reducing too.

We have got so used to the own bags thing when shopping - my carrier bag sausage is very skinny now.

Once you get into the swing of it - it really is quite easy.

Sheila said...

what an inspiring journey, i feel you have given me some ideas and things to think about. I know i want to follow your blog and get more ideas!! Its a pity about the chickens, but im sure you will think of something else to do as well!

ecoMILF said...

The containers filled with all the bread ingredients is a great idea for easy breadmaking. I have to admit i have reverted back to the artisan bread in 5 minutes method because i dread the idea of lugging my bread machine from the cupboard and then putting it back again. such a pregnant weakling. meanwhile i lug my 2 year old to and fro! sounds like you are making great changes!! thanks for the updates and inspiration! xo m.

Green thumb said...

Hello Sarah! Thank you for your lovely comment (erm..sorry for the delay..days are hectic here)
This new challenge sounds lovely, looking forward to seeing your improvement in this area (where I'm rubbish..perfect word!)
xxxx

RebeccaMom said...

Great ideas! I don't have any reusable "bulk bags"- are they fabric?

I have used the dig in compost bin (not currently because we are in a rental that isn't conducive). My mother uses it too. It works wonderfully but sometimes takes a bit of strength to get it turned! My mother has had a few opossum sniffing out the "treats" when they weren't quite deep enough, so dig deep! :)