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Friday, 7 December 2018
5 changes that are making my life kinder to the environment
I don't like sewing. I have a small sewing box I have had since I was a kid and that is it. I mostly sew to save. So lately I have made an effort to a bit more sewing and sew some patches onto jeans and sheets that have holes. It has extended their life. I don't have a sewing machine but hand stitching can be quite zen. When I mentioned to friends that I had used curtain material to patch my jeans I realised I was a bit Scarlett O'Hara. But she didn't get inundated with plastics in the 19th Century like we do. Nor did Maria in The Sound of Music who also liked clothes made of curtains. Oh, I also realised my friends thought I had curtains with huge holes in them but the curtains I meant were the offcuts.
We have had reusable bags to take to the supermarkets for years. Since the major supermarkets stopped giving away single use plastic bags for free earlier midyear, we have made extra efforts to take our own bags. More recently I am trying to take the smaller vegie bags to the shops instead of taking away plastic ones. However I am still grappling with having less plastic bags. Our "single use" bags from supermarkets were never single use. We used them to line the bin, and take wet bathers home from the pool, and to collect rubbish at a picnic. And then there are all the foods we buy from the supermarket that come wrapped in plastic. I have a long way to go to reduce my plastic intake but am slowly trying to make change.
I grew up with chickens in the backyard and so many food scraps went their way that we needed gumboots to go in the chookhouse and collect eggs. I don't think I will ever have chooks as an adult but I am living in search of ways to use food scraps in a home with a small concrete backyard. I tried a compost bin but it didn't work with concrete. Then I found a local community garden needing compost donations. They closed the scheme after a while. My latest venture is a worm farm which I think is a pretty good option. I have had some vinegar fly infestation but mostly got through it (I cut my food scraps pretty small now). The worm juice is great for the pots and I love the occasional bit of extra soil from the worms to keep our pots healthy or to re-pot some new plants. It reduces some of the food waste but we still have food waste going in the bin.
Sylvia is a lover of straws. We went from plastic straws to paper straws but they came in thick plastic packaging, which seemed like one step forward and two steps back. There have been quite a few anti straw campaigns lately (such as Straw No More featured on War on Waste on the telly). More recently we have bought metal straws. Both places I have seen them for sale (The Source and Aunt Maggies) also have those thin straw cleaning brushes which I think are essential. Disposable straws sometimes make their ways into the house but we have reduced them considerably.
I have been aware of how using disposable wrapping such as clingfilm is one habit that doesn't do the environment any favours. This year I have been experimenting with different wraps. (You can see some of these in the top photo as well as above.) I bought some vegan wraps and was using them to wrap sandwiches to take to work but am finding they have got too sticky and seem to leave a trail of wax behind. So I have been using beeswax which works better. For bread making I don't use cling wrap most of the time but either cover with a large sheet of beeswax wrapped around the dough on a baking tray (so I can wrap it underneath - see below photo) or I put rolls in my baking tins with the lid on. I am also using cat patterned bowl caps (like shower caps) for covering bread dough rather than cling wrap. However I have become very dependent on baking paper for baking bread and bikkies. I have bought some brown baking paper but perhaps will be able to reduce my use of this.
Celia and Joey are doing is quite inspirational (check them out and let me know if you have great links and reflections of your own).
If you are here for inspiration (or even if you aren't), here are 5 links to articles I found recently that make me feel more positive about the future for our fragile environment:
Australianwide bag ban leads to 15 billion fewer plastic bags in the environment - news.com.au
Going green: are fake Christmas trees more eco friendly than the real thing - Pursuit
What should I do with my broken kettle (design for disassembly) - BBC News
Printable solar panels - research from Monash University - YouTube
Scientists accidentally create mutant enzyme that eats plastic bottles - The Guardian
And for more reflections on how my lifestyle is kind to the environment, see this post.