Friday, June 28, 2013

Allsorts



This week I have been trying out the bamboo toothbrush. It has nylon bristles, and after emailing the company owner about this, he sent me some highly technical information about Nylon 4, which has been developed to biodegrade in compost or sewage sludge. I have to say, I am a bit doubtful, but the information I read seems to show that it does indeed, after some weeks or months biodegrade down to carbon and water. Seems counter intuitive, but there you have it. Anyway, must be a whole lot better than a whole plastic toothbrush.

As a toothbrush it works well. I tried the medium this time, might try the soft next time. It does feel slightly like you are brushing your teeth with one of those disposable bamboo chopsticks, but there you are. It comes in child-size, but none of the children seem inclined to try it yet. I found mine at my local wholefoods shop, but there is also a website.

It does feel good to be able to put all the packaging into the recycling bin.

I found all-paper packaged, recycled Australian-made kitty litter that can be composted. When I say 'found' that indicates a degree of personal exertion. Actually, I cast my eyes along the selection at the supermarket, past the considerably cheaper generic version I usually buy. I'll try it and see if it has the kitty tick of approval.

On the tea front - I am enjoying making pots, and have been using infusers. Although twice, yes, on two separate occasions this week I have made tea without in fact putting any tea in the teapot. It makes a very weak brew... I am clearly too vague to be attempting tasks of more than one step early in the morning..

I also ventured into a local coffeshop that Fran had recommended for 'naked' tea. Sure enough, there was a shelf at the back with enormous jars of the most exotic teas you can imagine. One had blue cornflower petals tossed through it and smelled inexplicably of peaches. I chose vanilla tea, which smells a whole lot better than it tastes, but it is an adventure. I think when I go back I will ask if they can order in some boring English or Irish Breakfast for me.

I am still feeling a little overwhelmed and horrified at the ubiquity and nastiness of the global plastic mountain, but I will say that in avoiding it, I am starting to enjoy my shopping expeditions so much more. I had no idea that there was a tiny coffeeshop in town with a steam-punk brass coffee-roasting machine, and a jumbled collection of arcane global foodstuffs and kitchen-ware for sale, let alone giant jars of exotic tea. Shopping has begun to be an adventure.

And speaking of the nastiness of plastic - here is a trap for the unwary. I bought a bunch of metal drinkbottles for the children last year, but only last week discovered that many metal bottles are actually made from aluminium, which is of course, not foodsafe, so requires... a plastic coating, usually...BPA. I checked our bottles, and two were aluminium, and when I took them outside so I could see inside them in the sunlight, they did indeed have plastic linings which were turning yellow, and blotchy as they slowly disintegrated with use. Oh, it was awful. It would have been better to have them use a plastic bottle! So, check your bottles to make sure they are stainless. Aluminium is very light, and gets pits and pockmarks in the surface with use. If you have a corporate logo bottle, it is probably aluminium, because they are much cheaper. I have now bought replacement bottles and double checked their stainless steel credentials..

One more change. You know how stew recipes often require you to toss meat around in a flour and seasoning coating in a plastic bag? Well, goodness, it turns out that is so much easier to do in a mixing bowl. Have we just 'convenienced' ourselves into making life actually harder, not easier?


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Oh Where Is the Floor?



When Marilla came up for the light, various skimpy articles of raiment scattered most untidily over the floor and a certain tempestuous appearance of the bed were the only indications of any presence save her own.
Anne of Green Gables


Let's take a break from saving the world and have a moan about the children's bedrooms instead. This is Posy's bedroom several days after its weekly tidy and vaccuum. 'Tempestuous appearance' has nothing on it. The really terrible thing is that ALL the children's bedrooms look just the same, it's just that the others would disown me if I featured them on the interweb. Here is the other half:



Something must be done. I spent years decluttering the house and learning how to keep it clean, but clearly I forgot to show the children how it is done. It starts now.

We are going to take it slowly, one chore at a time, and slowly build it up. This is how I learnt housekeeping, and this is how we are going to tackle it as a family. 

Now, Anne, I noticed last night that you threw your clothes all about the floor when you took them off. That is a very untidy habit, and I can't allow it at all. As soon as you take off any article of clothing fold it neatly and place it on the chair.
Anne of Green Gables

So we will be going all Anne of Green Gables this week. Every morning - make the bed, put the jammies away. Every night, put the clothes away, pack the school bag.

But wait, there's more. This afternoon Posy and I pulled all the dress-ups out of the drawers, sent some to the op-shop, packed the others away, and now have two spare drawers. So exciting.

And my job? I am going to attempt everything on my chore list this week. I don't think I've ever done that before, though I have made valiant attempts. Actually, mostly I make less-than valiant attempts. It's starting to show..





Friday, June 21, 2013

Cup of Tea, Anyone?



Tea is, clearly, the most important food group. Tea makes everything better, at least a dozen times a day at our house. So it has been with some trepidation that I have watched my giant catering pack of teabags dwindling in number. IS there tea without plastic? What if there isn't? There is clearly a point at which I will be accepting some plastic in my life, some point at which I 'can't' live without the product in question, and I would have to say, tea would be that product..

Here is my daily tea..


Looks great, doesn't it? Cardboard carton, tea in plain, compostable bags, grown in Australia... but comes covered in plastic. So I went to the supermarket and there were a whole bunch of plain cardboard cartons with tea in them, but when I squeezed them, they rustled suspiciously. I bought a range of the least rustly. Here they are:


I bought the Twinings bags because you see them all over the place in those cute little paper packets. Not that I felt particularly comfortable about their fair trade credentials, but English Breakfast is a weakness of mine, and I just wanted to see if they were paper packed... but no, foil. Why? Why? The T2 tea (English Breakfast of course) was a Mother's Day present. Loose leaf tea packed in plastic. It looks like you can buy cardboard packages lined with plastic or foil, or plain paper tea bags in cardboard boxes covered in plastic. But the Nerada loose leaf? Cardboard packaging only.  And even cheaper than my 200 bag box of tea bags.

So for now, I will be rationing the tea bags, and making comforting pots of tea in the old blue tea pot, with the metal tea strainer. Comforting pots of tea that take five minutes to make... I do love the convenience of tea bags.

Does anyone out there know of any tea bags that are packed without plastic, grown in Australia, or fairly traded? Does anyone make a cup of tea in a pot anymore? My favourite restaurant serves chai tea as if you were having your own mini tea party. The pot has a central strainer full of whole spices, and is filled with steamed, frothy milk, and there is a tiny jug of honey to tip in the tea cup. I love the idea of tea as a ritual, but like the immediacy and lack of prep (and teapot swishing and washing) that you get with a tea bag. Although, now I come to think of it, the tea bag really is a beverage version of fast food isn't it? What I am craving, again, is the convenience of it. I remember reading a Rumer Godden novel as a teenager (something about sparrows in the title?) in which post-war British children were visiting the US, and were using tea bags and imagining with shocked delight what their Nanny would say about this dreadful extravagance, and how she would be appalled at the idea of tea made in any way but in a pot with everyone sitting around the table in a civilised fashion..

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Some Happy Thoughts



I promised you something more uplifting for this post so we begin with - Winter Dawn From The Back Door. There is my lovely old bare pear tree in the corner, having a quiet winter sleep-in.

Exhibit No 2: I have been enjoying Libi's blog, and recently she had a splendid, ethical, eco-birthday.

Exhibit No 3: Linda Cockburn wrote one of my favourite books - a wonderfully honest account of six months of (almost) self-sufficiency, to see if her family could indeed live according to their eco-principles.
Her blog has been even more depressing than mine of late, but here is a moment of immense hopefulness. I will be voting for any party that adopts this as its platform..

And here at home... well, another confession. My kitchen compost system is very inefficient. Every time I peel fruit or make dinner, I find a dirty dish in the dishwasher, fill it with peels, and then take it out to the compost bin. That means that incidental apple cores and banana peels get put in the bin.  I know, I know. The reason is, I didn't have anything to put compost in that I wanted to see sitting on my bench...I know, I know. So last week I dropped stuff off at the op shop, then went in and bought things, something I find hard to do now I'm a reformed clutterer. Still, clearly, in this case, buying GOOD, right?

Look what I found...


It's like it was waiting for me. Op shop gods were good to me. So now we can all compost all the time. And then this wanted to come home with me...


One day, my plastic buckets will break, and then I will need this one. See, thinking ahead.

And, product of the week to unplasticise (would you believe it, the computer thinks I just made that word up) is pasta. I had no faith that I would find this without plastic. I had never seen it in bulk bins at the wholefood shop, and only in plastic packets elsewhere. But The Girl and I walked into the supermarket, and there it was, up on the top shelf. I swear, I have never seen pasta in cardboard before. Did it just arrive this week?


I wonder if new EU recycling and packaging regulations are responsible? Because this isn't local pasta of course. If anyone knows of pasta produced in Tassie - let me know. Even better if it comes in a paper bag..

So seriously, happy. Loaves of bread bought without plastic bags this week - 7. Takeaway consumed after seriously stressful and busy weekend - 0 (Made pumpkin soup and home made wedges instead, but nearly killed me. OK, maybe wasn't quite that dramatic. Clearly, I survived). Meat trays and wrapping thrown in the bin this week - 0. Compostable scraps thrown in the bin this week - Several, when we forgot we had an elegant compost pot. Pasta bags in the bin this week - 0.

Smiles.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Too Much Information on a Very Bad News Sunday

Oh God, oh God, oh God. My darlings, I am very, very sorry, but posts are going to start getting quite depressing. You might want to click over somewhere else without an existential environmental crisis in progress.

You know how they say 'A Little Information is Dangerous'? Well, I can never stop at a little information, I always need to find out more, which in this case is turning out to be very dangerous indeed... for the continuation of normal, middle-class family life as we know it. The poor Man. He is sitting in meetings on the other side of the world, and in a couple of weeks will come home to a mad woman.

So it all started a few weeks ago, when I became completely mentally paralysed at the discovery that the concentration of carbon in the atmosphere has reached 400ppm for the first time in human history. I have always considered myself as a fairly 'green' citizen. I recycle, walk, grow food, limit my consumption of 'stuff', donate to worthy environmental projects, always take my reusable bags.. but suddenly, I saw that was not enough. We in the developed world are using so much more than our share of the world's carbon budget. I did some research and discovered that the world's richest citizens (that's us) need to reduce our impact on the environment by NINETY percent to stabilise the warming of the planet at two degrees. It is already too late for that, but something to aim at. Two countries to look at for comparison are Indonesia, whose citizens use just less than 10% of our emissions, and Turkey, who use just a little more than 10%. I am currently struggling to imagine what 10% of the average Australian power/consumer goods/fuel usage might look like.

Then I started to look at waste. Most of our waste is food, a terrible disgrace in a hungry world, and plastic, which is made of million-year-old sunlight, and turned into items which are 'disposable'. Plastic bags, packaging, pens, drink bottles. Except they aren't in any way disposable. A paper bag, a wooden spoon - they will sink back into the earth from which they came. Plastic may be ground down into smaller and smaller pieces, but it will be with us forever.

Who hasn't seen this image, taken by film maker Chris Jordan? The baby albatross, stomach heartbreakingly filled with plastic detritus from the ocean that the parent albatross mistook for food.


I read about Chris Jordan's work in Plastic: A Toxic Love Story by Susan Freinkel. Freinkel makes the point that the body of the tiny dead albatross is slowly returning to the earth, but that little pile of plastic will remain, unchanged. And all I can see is the physical legacy I will be leaving my children, grandchildren, great grandchildren. An enormous pile of plastic, used once by me, then trapped in a landfill, essentially forever.

And that stuff is killing us. Freinkel interviews toxicologists and medical researchers, and examines a number of studies which all point to the fact that plastic leaks - into our bodies, and into our food, with any number of effects that science is only now starting to work out.

In skipping about the interweb in between being crazy taxi mother, homework enabling mother, supporting exam crises mother and chief cook this weekend, I found this blog. Taina Uitto decided to live for a year without plastic, then found there was no going back. One of her most interesting posts was this one. A few months into her plastic-free life, her endometriosis pain lessened significantly. Her boyfriend's eczema went away. I have a very dear family member who has suffered with endometriosis for too many years. I have a darling daughter with eczema.

I don't know about you, but I knew one single person with cancer when I was a child in the 1970s. One friend with asthma. Never even heard of autism, and no one was allergic to anything except bee stings. Something has happened to our collective health in forty years. It may be plastic, or pollutants, or food additives. I don't know, but I don't want a part of any of it any more. I don't want to contribute to that mountain of plastic, or feed my kids toxic food or use more than my share of carbon.

So, I am going to quit this ugly, evil, modern industrial apocalypse. Enough already. I don't know how I am going to do this, exactly. It may take some time. But I woke up the other morning and thought - I don't have to do this anymore. So I won't. I will be a citizen, a worker, a maker, a gardener, a thoughtful purchaser of products that do not cost, quite literally, the earth. But not a consumer. I refuse to use up the future.


Friday, June 14, 2013

Bags of Bags, and an Opportunity for Craft


Yesterday Hattie asked about my reusable bags routine. I have been bringing reusable bags to the store ever since I left home 22 years ago, so I have had a lot of practice! Here is my insulated blue bag, the one that I schlepp my Pyrex containers round in for filling at the butcher. He starts to sweat when he sees it come through the door. The green bags are general grocery shopping. Every time I empty them, I put them next to the front door, right next to my handbag, then the next time I leave the house I take them back out to the car. But that's not all...


Inside my handbag is my new breadbag, ready for my daily bread any time I walk past a bakery. There are also two fold-up bags which I use for everything, every day, whenever I go into a store, or to the library, or for the children to fill up with pine cones at the park..

These bags are from Envirosax, an Australian family company from Queensland. They are made from polyester, and the company will recycle them for you if you post them back at the end of their life. Mine have lasted two years now, and do note that they match all my clothes! If you are in Australia it is likely that you have seen these at the counter in houseware or giftshops. I bought mine locally.

I do think though, that if you are remotely handy at sewing, they would be easy to whip up. I think the genius is in the folding technique. Here, I'll show you:


Here is the bag unfolded. You can fit A LOT in these bags.
Detail of the wrap around snap lock, sewn into the bottom seam.



First, fold down the handles.



Then fold the bag in half across the handles (this is a valley-fold in origami, in case you were wondering)..


Then flip the whole thing over and fold into thirds.



Roll up the resulting tube towards the snap fastening at the bottom..



And snap shut.



There. All you crafty souls will be able to whip up a dozen in no time. Think how nice they would be in silk. Or buy some, and support a nice Australian company (they are made in China, but under fair trade terms).

The most important thing to remember though, is that as soon as you get them home, you have to EMPTY them, and put them BACK IN YOUR HANDBAG... and then you will never need to accept another plastic bag again.*

*Of course, this may be difficult to remember, so here is an alternative. Don't buy anything ;-)



Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Bag Lady


Hands up who DOESN'T have a giant collection of reusable bags stashed in a cupboard somewhere? No, didn't think there'd be any hands. I recently disinterred a whole breeding colony of them from on top of my wardrobe, and brought them out so I could see the sorry, tatty state of them all. I haven't thrown any out, because I figure eventually I will run out of plastic bags, and then what will I take stuff to the op shop in? But it is a pretty sad collection. Still, I rescued some that are less sad than the rest.

My new bread bag, above,  bought from a market many years ago. I gave it a nice hot wash, and took it down to the deli, where they happily popped the bread straight in the bag. Yes, white bread. I am breaking in the family slowly. First, slice your own, then we'll work up to wholemeal..

Next I found a string bag, for apples and oranges and such.


Old storage for apples at the bottom of the fridge:



New storage for apples at the bottom of the fridge:


It is a large cake box. So if I want large cakes AND apples, something will have to give. And yes, look at that plastic-wrapped pumpkin at the back of the fridge. Will I have to start buying whole pumpkins?

New bread bin:


Takes up the exact space in the cupboard that a plastic-wrapped loaf did, but is much neater. Win!

New sandwiches:


Cheese and vegemite scrolls. So easy to throw in the lunchbox in the morning. Stored in a plastic tub in the freezer.

So, some wins, no? Well, cue to my conversation with the butcher this morning. I brought in my Pyrex dishes again to be filled, which he did, but then I wanted some bacon and ham. Now it is sometime since I have bought bacon and ham here, because I have been seeing other smallgoods manufacturers. Don't tell. There is a local supermarket that sells local, highly packaged free range ham and bacon cheaper than the butcher. There, I've said it. Anyway, last time I shopped for bacon at Rob's, he cut it off the bone for me, but since then, health regulations stipulate that as a manufacturer (Rob makes all his own smallgoods) he has to keep his products at a certain temperature throughout the entire process, and then cryovac them as soon as they are done, within a couple of hours. So all of his processed meat has to be encased in little plastic tombs so that we won't get listeria poisoning. OK, so I don't want listeria poisoning, but Rob's premises are amazing, and I'm pretty sure he's not going to set out to kill his customers. It's that old dilemma between safety of the public, where blanket regulations have to cover all eventualities, and individual choice...

Anyway, it turns out I can have my bacon and ham plastic free if I order ahead, and buy them within the set number of hours after they are sliced. So I will turn up on Friday morning, bright and early...

And I think, why, exactly am I doing this, to save a plastic packet, no, two plastic packets? I'm sure Rob thinks I am insane. Then I think of every cryovac packet that has, or will be manufactured, and the thousands of years they will remain in landfill, and how many million more will be added to them before someone works out a sensible alternative (oh, I know, not putting them in packets...).

Turns out delis, who haven't manufactured the meat, can still sell them fresh sliced, from a fridge that doesn't contain raw meat (to prevent cross-contamination), but of course, those delis would have already received the ham in a plastic-wrapped state..

Also discovered that non-cooked but cured food can be sold not encased in plastic, so I bought one of Rob's superb Spanish chorizos instead. Which he handed to me in a hand wrapped in a plastic bag. Next time, maybe, we will have a chat about tongs..

So the conversation is ongoing. It is not an easy or simple thing I am asking, apparently. But what if ten, or forty or one hundred of Rob's customers asked for plastic-free food? Would that change anything? Someone has to be the first, the fool. I am the fool for change.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Zero Waste Posh Cereal



On Saturday during Rosy's ballet class I usually run errands, do the groceries, read a book, have a nap in the warm car, chat to the other ballet mums. But this last Saturday I headed to my favourite wholefood shop, looking to find a package-free replacement for our posh cereal. To explain, at our house there is a choice of rice pops, cornflakes, Weet-Bix, and porridge. So yes, the very small range of cereals where sugar is not the first ingredient.  So when I add a wheatflakes-plus-fruit/nuts/seeds type cereal (whatever is on sale) it seems very posh by comparison to the alternatives.

I discovered that cornflakes are available in bulk, but the rice pops are made from brown rice. I will maybe try them when we run out and see if there is wailing and gnashing of teeth. I have no idea how to replace the Weet-Bix. I don't think it will happen. The Boy inhales it at all times of the day.

I then ran up and down the bins with my (reused) brown paper bags, filling them with gourmet cereal ingredients. The final mix is very yummy, although interestingly not as sweet as supermarket cereal. Could it be that they dip their wheatflakes in sugar syrup or something awful? Highly likely. The new-look waste-free cereal is also more expensive. That is because I maybe probably definitely got a little carried away with the gourmet ingredients. I could probably get away with less macadamia nuts, and add more sunflower seeds instead. Maybe.

Just a note. I already tip all my cereal into matching plastic containers. I am that person. Really, because then the children can't complain about the generic-brand rice pops. And because children destroy cereal packets when they open them themselves... so no, I didn't go out and buy brand new plastic containers to put my plastic-free cereal in.. not saying I never would, just that I didn't.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Give Us This Day..

...our daily bread...


OK, confession time. I am a tired, beaten-down mother. Once I was a young, principled mother, and my oldest children only ever ate wholemeal bread. Sometimes home made. No matter how much they whined. At some point the whining wore me down, and now I buy white. sliced. plastic-wrapped. so-called. sandwich. loaf. I don't eat it myself, because I don't consider it real bread, but I feed it to the children. 

So, yes, Bad Mummy. Feel free to click over to a blog where the mummy isn't killing the children by inches with empty carbohydrates.

We need better bread. And we need bread without plastic bags, because those bags aren't going to be recycled, or end up anywhere but landfill. I'm not entirely sure how the children are going to deal with this. But I will try. We started a couple of nights ago. For six months Posy has been going to a dance class nearby, and for six months we have been planning to walk there and home together. Every week for SIX months there has been some extenuating circumstance which meant we have driven - inclement weather, pressing engagements before, after or during class. But this week, we walked. It was lovely and sunny going, dark and delightfully spooky coming home. We walked by the gourmet deli down the road, and bought their last half-loaf of locally baked wholemeal. It was wrapped up in tissue paper, and Posy surreptitiously gouged out handfuls to eat on the way home. Her first wholemeal bread experience for quite some time. She loved it. Perhaps because it was dark, we were walking, she was being 'naughty', we were giggling. She also ate a bit next day for breakfast before she went back to plastic slice.

Then yesterday my mum sent an email answering my question about food packaging when she was young. This bit made me so happy:

I remember when I was young we bought bread from the deli with just a piece of tissue paper around it, 2 opposite corners brought to the top and secured with sticky tape. This meant that when it was a half loaf you could ‘straighten’ the open end where the loaf had been broken (not cut) in half, eating it as you walked home.

I am loving that my mum and my daughter get the same wonderful childhood memories sixty years apart. 


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Can't Be Bothered Thursday



Two weeks ago my pear tree was a vision of gold against blue. Today it is a skeleton of dead sticks in the rain.

I have been intrigued recently to see that a number of blogs have weekly themes - Harvest Monday, Food Waste Friday, and Sarah's great weekly waste round up on Zero Waste Wednesday (I am mining this for ideas, of course!).

In my present state of, 'Blah, it's raining and cold and the beginning of winter, and I'm just not feeling on top of the world AT ALL today..,' I'm thinking of starting a Can't Be Bothered Thursday theme, where all planet-saving and self-improvement schemes will be suspended for the day, and we will be lolling on the couch, eating (fair trade) chocolate, drinking (local) red wine and discussing the relative merits of our favourite TV shows. Will it catch on?

Meanwhile, a way to reduce plastic waste that involves zero degrees of difficulty - I picked up the paper-wrapped recycled toilet paper instead of the (ever so slightly cheaper) plastic wrapped packet that I usually buy. That is the extent of the effort I am capable of today.



Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Zero Waste Freezer Meat Storage Solution

My collection of left-overs in their little glass Pyrex tombs...

So I have been obsessing about buying and storing meat without using disposable plastic over the last few days. I always double wrap meat for freezing - once in cling wrap, then in a plastic bag (usually reused - I have been doing a 'bit' for the environment, you know!). This is all in order to prevent freezer burn.

What to do? What to do? I spent hours hunting for zero waste freezer solutions on the interweb (got a tiny bit side tracked..) I left a question on Bel and Dunc's site - they are a local couple doing a year's zero waste challenge, nothing new, no waste for a year. They freeze their meat unwrapped in plastic containers without a problem. Turns out, freezer burn not a problem as I only freeze meat for a fortnight or so normally. All these years I have been over-packaging for no reason.

I have decided to freeze meat in glass. I don't have enough plastic containers spare to freeze meat in, and I don't want to go and buy more plastic. I have a bunch of Pyrex containers that I already use to freeze leftovers and extra dinners in, and they are really handy. So yesterday I went out and bought more Pyrex dishes. Yes, ironically, to reduce waste, I bought more new products... my justification being that they should last me forever. They have plastic lids, but the ones I have now have lasted for years, and you can get replacements for them. They come all the way from Pennsylvania, but I love the packaging - all cardboard.




Well played, Ms/Mr Pyrex. The only information I'm not clear on is whether the plastic lids are #5 or #7 for recycling purposes. Will hopefully have that cleared up in the years before I need to recycle them... (actually, hoping #7 will be able to be recycled at that point).

So all this brings me to the point, this morning, at which I'm going to the butcher's to pick up our meat for the week. I feel a bit silly, to be honest, with my blue insulated bag full of Pyrex containers to take to the butcher. I hate feeling conspicuous, putting people out, doing odd things. I am not an extrovert environmental evangelist by any means.

But the lovely Rob doesn't bat an eyelid at my request, and is more than happy to not use a plastic bag (I have slunk in at 9.15am, figuring there won't be a crowd. Nope, only me). He is a butcher of the old school. No namby pamby plastic gloves for him. It's bare hands, and slap the meat straight on the scales. As it should be.



So, here is our new-look zero-waste freezer meat storage solution. It's rather more elegant than plastic bags, and having spent the weekend reading about the phthalates leaking into our food from plastic bags, I'm now less worried about freezer burn, and more worried about chemicals disrupting the endocrine systems of my babies. Glass storage, good on a number of levels.. it's the old story - what's good for our environment is good for our health.

However, I'm already feeling pale about the hundreds of other products in my pantry, bathroom cupboards, and laundry to consider. I think we will be well-sorted by about 2033. I'm going to have a cup of tea and a lie down..


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Naked Lunch


The view from the top of the bottom of the world

Last night was 'eating dinner in front of the telly' night, because we are all class here at Chez Blueday. So after watching Black Books I set up the lap top for a viewing of The Story of Stuff. It may be that I am the last person in the known universe to have discovered this fab presentation of the facts of the production of consumer goods that is easily assimilated even by eight year olds, but that is me, not-the-early-adopter.

I wanted to show the family why I am getting a bit tetchy about..stuff. And waste. And packaging. And disposable anything. There is one little moment among the many moments in this video that is making me rethink every action today. For every garbage can we trail out to the kerb, there were SEVENTY garbage cans-full of waste generated up-stream, in the resource generating process, in the manufacturing and transportation and distribution. SEVENTY.

Today we drove most of the way up a mountain, then scrambled up the last bit to the top in the brilliant sunshine and bitter cold of the first weekend of winter. We took a picnic, with salad rolls and thermos and slice, and chocolate, all the usual. Here I need to confess - I am the plastic wrap queen. I rather like my sandwiches to stay together, and arrive fresh in situ. Today I packed the rolls into a lunchbox with no plastic wrap. Yes, sometimes I do live dangerously. The rolls were firmly packed, and all survived. They were not stale (der, they were inside an airtight plastic container. What have I been thinking all this time?) Because, somehow, humanity managed picnics for a number of years before the invention of plastic. I remember my mum telling me that her mum wrapped her school sandwiches in nasturtium leaves to keep them fresh. I wonder how the sandwiches stayed together? I will find out. Stay tuned. 

Does anyone else cater for plastic-free picnics?

Tonight is rubbish night. That bin out on the kerb has seventy ghost bins gathered behind it, reproaching me.

Small child, big mountain. No rubbish or pollution, because we have outsourced it to somewhere far, far away.
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