Archive for September, 2011

More stuff = less time

Posted: September 29, 2011 in Uncategorized
Unstuff – photo credit – hoklife.com/

 

My waste free efforts have been slipping recently and I realized it came down to the domino effect of having more stuff. You see, two weeks ago, we got our shipment of furniture and goods all the way from San Francisco. I was ecstatic! I finally have all my clothes and a nice couch to sit on. The couch is definitely nice but the clothes just stress me out.

So back to how my garbage can is starting to pile up again. I am getting lazier and buying convenience things which often just come with more packaging. Especially as we have had a few special occasions to celebrate. I am finding that I have less time to think of creative ways to achieve my goal with less waste. I have less patience with fighting the organizations that provide excessive waste. I wondered why I suddenly had less time and less energy to devote to this? One answer. More Stuff.

I seem to be doing more dishes because we just seemed to have more dishes so we just use more of them. I take more time to make a decision about what to wear. I take too long deciding what to cook after getting distract by the pile of recipe books.  I seem to constantly be taking stuff out of shelves and putting stuff back on shelves. I wont even mention the boxes of children’s toys that manage to distribute themselves evenly over our floor.

Then there is the TV. Even though we have consciously not connected the TV, we did get a lot of DVDs from our friend and Modern Family has been an addiction. I digress. All this adds up to a lot of time that I spend doing and not thinking, especially outside as we now have indoor furniture.

I always foolishly believed that purchases we made were solely designed to make our lives more efficient. However any efficiency gained here is consumed by organizing, sorting, washing or simply dealing with the extra stuff. The solution I have decided is to UN- STUFF my life. I will reclassify what is essential and once I have done that, I will do it again.

Wish me luck….Inspire me with your stories of un-stuffing…

Hi folks,

Here are some things that have worked and some that have failed while I have been trying to reduce waste in my life… There are just a few, I will post more later so you are not utterly bored 🙂

Success

1. Buying dry food bulk saves packaging. I found the awesome – Flannerys in Brisbane – I take their brown paper bags and reuse them. I should take my own jars etc, I will work up to that. For San Francisco folks, you guys have the incredibly awesome Rainbow Grocery store

2. Composting: seriously, really really easy. Find a any old large container in your house and put it in the corner next to your sink. I found a pretty looking bright red one which makes it all the better. When it gets full, I scoop up my toddler and we go for a walk outside and dump it in our community garden’s compost. You can easily buy a compost bin at your local Bunnings or local hardware store. If you live in an apartment with no balcony. That’s tough. I will investigate more and write a post on composting.

3. Making bread: We go through two loaves of bread a week. We bought a breadmaker – and the key to making your life easier here is that we also bought a large paper bag of bread maker pre-mixed flour. The brand I got is Lautke, available in your supermarket’s baking isle. Easy peasy.. delicious fresh bread. The alternative is to buy bread from your baker and avoid any plastic packaging which I did for a while but I hate going to our local mall.

4. Living without some things: If I need to buy something new, I think carefully about if I can make it. If not, I actively look for whether I can get it in paper or glass. Paper is compostable and Glass is reusable. If not, I see if I can live with out it and instead come up with a creative alternative. Most of the time we can.

5. Making liquid soap and cleaners: HUGE success. Not sure why this is number 5, oh well. I used castille soap paste which I bought from www.aussiesoapsupplies.com.au/  and mixed with a few drop of various types of essential oils found in my cupboard to create different liquid soaps for handwashing, shower and dishwashing. The delivery did come with a bit of packaging which was not impressive but I managed to re use most of it and recycle the rest. I also made household cleaner using 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water and have it in a spray bottle. I also have a little shaker with bicarbonate soda for cleaning needs.

Failures

1. Using cotton thread instead of floss did not work. It kept breaking and was just plain uncomfortable. I might have to look into get a Waterpik. For now, I have a tonne of little floss packs that arrived from SF as leftovers of my consumer binge I went on while living in the U.S. umm..Thanks Amazon?!

2. Trying to reduce grocery packaging waste. I have been in this huge conundrum about getting groceries delivered. Home fresh organics is a lot more expensive but more importantly uses a lot of unnecessary packaging and makes lame excuses when asked about it. Aussie farmers direct is great in terms of not using much packaging, but the website sucks, their delivery service is a bit lacking, few organic options for dairy and no flexibility in their family boxes. I will try farmers market when we get a car.

3. Olive oil and coconut oil. This is a tale of failure and success. I can’t use those oils on my face as my eyes after laser surgery are sensitive but you should try it! However, coconut oil has become my body moisturizer and I will NEVER go back. It feels amazing. Also, I feel like I am permanently floating in a cloud in Hawaii.

4. Travelling:  I was away for a few weeks visiting my parents. I forgot to take my coffee cup and stupidly thought I wont be getting take away coffee. Wrong. I should always take my coffee cup. I found that it was just harder to look for bulk things and try avoid packaging in general when you are in a new place especially with no access to a car. Virtually nothing seems to come in bulk in supermarkets except fruit and veges but even those seem to be packaged these days.

5. Nappy/Diaper waste: 50% of our waste comes from nappies/diapers and the other 50% from food packaging (+/-10%) I used a cloth diaper service in the U.S and felt great about it. It seems the service in Brisbane is twice as expensive.  I might have to start doing some laundering myself or start toilet training my toddler. Perhaps I will focus on the 50% food packaging before entertaining the laundering idea 😉 😉

OK, if you got this far, do tell… what are you waste-free living/green living success/failures?