Plastic-free July

Last Plastic-free July, my Report Card would have read somewhere between “flashes of brilliance” & a few ticks in the “room for improvement” column.

First of all, we want to REDUCE.

Continued habits which I’d love you all to take on board, when you consider the world population is estimated at 7.6 billion people…

  1. Switch to bamboo toothbrushes – an average household of 4 people would go through 20 never-degrading toothbrushes per year. YUK. I bought two dozen from Solander & Banks which were delivered to my front door. Now I don’t have to think about ordering more for a while
  2. Take your non-plastic reusable bags everywhere. There is really no excuse for plastic bags now.
  3. Take your reusable coffee cup everywhere. My work colleagues laugh at me & say they are going to refuse to get me a coffee in it but they always do 😉
  4. Going to the local Farmer’s Market – where the majority of fruit & veg is not packaged in plastic
  5. Using Who Gives a Crap for both toilet paper & paper towel. No plastic packaging. All either recycled or made from bamboo & sugarcane. Also delivered to your front door so unlike the lady I saw today with a trolley overflowing with a huge plastic wrapped package of toilet paper & nearly equally big plastic packaged pack of paper towel, you hardly have to lift a finger.
  6. Growing it yourself – I am no green thumb but am enjoying watercress, rocket, rosemary, thyme, oregano, kale & mint from my garden. Even these small volumes make an incredible difference when it comes to decreasing plastic as herbs & salad greens are almost always packaged in plastic. Imagine if one thousand or even one million people adopted this small habit (hashtag dream big)

Some new habits

  1. Making our own Popcorn – we bought the kernels at Naked Foods – they are about $5 per kilo, a hell of a lot cheaper than the individually packaged ones at the supermarket & the kids loved watching it pop.
  2. Making our own bread – it’s not a proper one, but is so simple & satisfying to make
  3. Plastic free meals – I’ve made a real effort to create some plastic-free meals which is harder than it sounds! If it has cheese, meat, seafood, dairy – it often has plastic. Even most sauces have a small piece of plastic to seal them. I make a weekly batch of pesto which goes on nearly everything I eat from salads to toast to eggs – Harris Farm Markets & Wholefoods House in Woollahra sell parsley with no plastic. I make a weekly batch of mayonnaise which my eldest LOVES & would eat with everything if I let him.

Areas where I’ve failed

  1. Berries by the punnet – I stack the empty punnets & recycle them but it is still plastic. Can anyone guide me towards fresh plastic-free berries in Eastern Suburbs of Sydney? Even if they come by the box, I’d be happy to split with friends.
  2. Milk – I don’t drink cow’s milk, nor does my daughter but my sons do. They like a particular organic brand which comes in plastic.
  3. Cheese – we all like cheese….
  4. Cereal – over winter my children tend to alternate between oats (bought by the scoop) & eggs. When they have cereal I rinse the packages, they go into my soft plastics & are taken to the supermarket.

Something you learn quickly is how entwined health is – the less plastic you use = the less processed foods you are eating = the more likely it is you are buying fruit & vegetables that are in season = the more likely your health is to benefit.

So who thinks it’s a bad idea to decrease their plastic usage? Tell me all your fabulous tips to decrease plastic usage & let’s make this earth a better place, rather than waiting round for someone else to fix it.

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2018 Intentions

I had great aspirations for 2017 of how productive I would be. The reality was that 2017 hit me for six. I kicked off the year with a 2 month old, 5 year old & 7 year old. I wasn’t back at work (my paid job) until April. I felt like I was chasing my tail constantly, & when I wasn’t chasing, I was passed out in a heap somewhere, mostly with a baby attached to my boob. Every day I told myself I would work at night but instead I would eat dinner mindlessly & stare at a TV.

2017 was the year I discovered Netflix – more specifically Outlander, The Crown, Call the Midwife & Land Girls. An epic time waster if ever there was one.

so 2018 is going to be more productive, right?! I am not setting “resolutions” but “intentions”…

  1. To live life authentically – a bit of a wanky buzz word, I agree but my take on this is to just own it if you f**k up, & put your hand up to say I did bad, but I’ll do better next time. Perfect example today was I met up with cousins from the UK. We ordered a coffee which I had already mentally noted served their coffees in ceramic cups (tick), but then i got a call saying someone was waiting at my front door who i had totally forgotten about so I raced off & 15 minutes later on my return, my cousin had kindly got my coffee put in a take-away cup. So I’m saying I screwed up. Last year I always had a reusable coffee cup with me but within a month (again, see ya 2017), i lost my 2 favourite reusable coffee cups – frank green & klean kanteen you are missed. Feel free to return to me..
  2. it’s ok to disagree with a “trend”. I don’t like the texture of chia pudding. Plus growing up with a pond at home, it bears way too close resemblence to frog spawn. I think goji berries taste like dirt. Too much maca in something makes it taste like stinky socks. You don’t have to love it just because it is the new “superfood”. But as a side note, I am genuinely a kale addict – I can’t get enough of it!
  3. It’s ok to change – I constantly question products I buy. A brand I used 6 months or a year ago, may not be my choice now. I may have thought it was ‘healthy’ or low-tox but now know better. Or there may have been some products I no longer support due to their ethics. For example I used to think it was ok to buy soy-wax candles & now I know it is potentially genetically modified soy & burning it does not support my health. So coconut wax candles are IN. I used to buy plastic toothbrushes & now I realise how much they contribute to our plastic pollution so I buy bamboo.
  4. No more buying “healthy” snacks – I’m looking at you organic corn chips, sugar-free chocolate & protein bars. Making my own is totally acceptable, but sometimes I would buy a product in a supermarket purely for convenience & assure myself it was “healthy” when in my head I know they’re not.
  5. Food choices: Less cheese please! I literally can’t say no to a nice cheese. I need to stop buying it & not sit in front of the cheese platter at a function!
  6. Be loud & proud: I may be becoming that person my friends recoil from when they see me & I’m pointing at their single-use non-degradable coffee cup but I’m going to keep owning it (& death staring everyone in the supermarket piling up their trolleys with unnecessary plastic bags). It’s 2018 peeps, I’m going to troll you if you think it’s cool to use plastic bags, throw-away coffee cups & straws. I’ll go easy on you for this half of the year but by Christmas I’d also like to see y’all starting to compost your food scraps, definitely recycling your soft plastics & purchasing ‘imperfect’ fruit & veg where possible. Be warned, I’ll test you & check where exactly you’re taking them so there’s no hiding. While you’re at it, start getting a loo paper subscription from Who gives a Crap; & start buying (compostable) bamboo toothbrushes. Don’t underestimate the power YOU have, especially when you begin to install these values in your children.

Until next time, say it how it is & own up when you f**k up!
Let me know what your intentions are for 2018….

A.