Author Topic: Plastic-free February  (Read 8059 times)

Fresh Bread

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Plastic-free February
« on: January 15, 2018, 10:18:35 PM »
I'm trying to reduce the amount of waste I produce as a general sort of life goal. We recycle where we can*, and buy recycled paper goods, but I feel like it would be better to reduce the amount of packaging coming into the house. 

Plastics especially are bugging me as there are few options to 'buy back' my recycled plastic. So I thought I'd try to have a month where no new plastic comes into the house. I'm going to document my wins and losses here. If anyone wants to join in or make suggestions then please go for it. I'm starting now so that I can start to plan how to do things differently and be ready to go come February.

Plastics waste we currently produce in vast amounts:
  • Frozen food wrappers (potato mash (our vice), veg, berries, frozen pizza inner wrapping)
  • Muesli bar wrappers
  • Bread bags
  • Plastic meat trays
  • Milk bottles
  • Tetrapak cartons (coconut milk)
  • Single use drink bottles
  • Single use sanitary products

My strategy (so far):
  • The frozen food and convenience food /drink wrappers I think will be fairly easy to avoid by being organised. I have a couple of bulk food shops nearby which I can visit for things like oats, lentils etc.
  • Bread bags - I have seen reusable options online which I have to investigate and some stores let you put their fresh bread into paper bags.
  • I have a local shop that sells meat in paper although I think technically it has a plastic coating.
  • Sanitary products - I need to invest in reusables.
  • Just avoid buying anything in packaging

Where I am going to really struggle is the milk bottles. Hubby drinks a lot of milk for breakfast and in coffees and I don't know what to do about this. Plus things like pain relief that you can't buy in bulk/ loose.

In terms of the financial implications, I suspect that some things are going to end up costing more (e.g. my local bulk food stores are more expensive than my cheapie supermarket). I'm hoping that extra costs there might be countered by buying a few reusable products and avoiding buying certain things like a bottle of drink when I'm out and about.

Wish me luck!

*Soft plastics go to red-cycle bins at the supermarket and paper, glass and hard plastics go in our kerbside bins. We put food scraps in our worm farm and compost bins.

HappierAtHome

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2018, 10:47:35 PM »
This is truly badass! Can't wait to follow your journey.

chaskavitch

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2018, 06:27:19 AM »
We have milk available in glass bottles from some companies at our local grocery store.  It's a chain, Sprouts, but it's like a cheaper Whole Foods, kind of, so more of a natural foods/organic place than a standard supermarket.  You can return the bottles for a $2 refund after they're empty.

Do you perhaps have milk delivery services?  There are a couple companies that do that here in the US - you just tell them how much milk you want delivered every week, and they give you a little box for your front step and a day of the week they fill you up.  I think they still use plastic bottles, but you just return them in your box every week.

Good luck with your challenge!  There is SO much plastic waste at our house, too, and it is terrible, but unless I forbid DH from doing any grocery shopping, we're still going to have plastic.

Fresh Bread

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2018, 05:41:19 PM »
I have shopped for some things online. Hopefully they don't arrive in lots of plastic ;)

- We are nearly out of washing liquid and it comes in a big plastic bottle, so I bought a trial bag of soapnuts. They come in a fabric bag and can be composted after. ($2)
- 5 produce bags. I normally do without except for small things like beans but these will be handy AND they are made of recycled plastic. ($16)
- I've got a trial pack of cloth pads. They really do not look up to the job in the pic but we will see ($70 for 4!!)
- I haven't pressed the button yet, because I'm also trying to buy no clothes this year, but I have 3 pairs of period pants in my cart, the kind that are an all-in-one pad. ($100!!)

The menstrual stuff is going to take about a year to pay for itself and that's assuming it all works. But it will create a whole lot less waste. And will the soapnuts struggle to clean them??

I was also going to buy some reusable silicon food wraps for $25 but then I thought - we don't use gladwrap all that much anyway so I'd only really be replacing occasional baking paper use. I might change my mind on this later.

Fresh Bread

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2018, 05:48:21 PM »
We have milk available in glass bottles from some companies at our local grocery store.  It's a chain, Sprouts, but it's like a cheaper Whole Foods, kind of, so more of a natural foods/organic place than a standard supermarket.  You can return the bottles for a $2 refund after they're empty.

Do you perhaps have milk delivery services?  There are a couple companies that do that here in the US - you just tell them how much milk you want delivered every week, and they give you a little box for your front step and a day of the week they fill you up.  I think they still use plastic bottles, but you just return them in your box every week.

Good luck with your challenge!  There is SO much plastic waste at our house, too, and it is terrible, but unless I forbid DH from doing any grocery shopping, we're still going to have plastic.

I like your milk options, especially the returnable bottle bit. I can't find anyone supplying my city. There are options in other Australian cities it seems, so it's pretty shitty. I can get milk delivered here (some of the old milk delivery people switched to general grocery delivery) but only in plastic bottles unfortunately.

Thanks for the luck, I need it. I'm just realising how hard this is. Cheese? Yoghurt?

Serendip

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2018, 06:42:28 PM »
Good job Fresh Bread!
 This is a big one--I have been slowly trying to move in this direction as well. It really opened my eyes to how much plastic is EVERYWHERE in our culture. Been researching zero-waste options and even though we have far to go I am happy that we are trying to reduce plastic use!

I've learned to always ask for "no straw" when ordering a drink and take a small bag in my purse as well as a take-away mug. My new years resolution is absolutely no plastic straws or coffee cups this year ;)

Recycling is an option but uses a lot of resources and often isn't terribly efficient.

We don't live in a big city with bulk options but thankfully a new business opened up nearby last year whereby I can order some bulk produce and they deliver them in glass jars (pay a deposit and get that cash back when you return the bottles). Today I am receiving my order of oats, lentils, flaxseeds, quinoa, cashews, etc.

I make oat milk and store it in a glass container (my partner uses less yogourt when he eats granola with oat milk)--(hard to find plastic-free options for yogourt unless you make your own)

We have a bakery that you can bring your own bag to, and I use beeswax wrappers instead of cling-wrap..I also will have one in my purse and if I purchase a baked good most places are happy to put it in my own wrap. I love these things..they keep cilantro good forever!!
https://canada.abeego.com

We also have bamboo toothbrushes and I was even able to find toothpaste in a glass-container (Toms of Maine will take their tubes back)

I use a diva-cup and have a couple pair of THINX panties--they do the job.

wordnerd

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2018, 06:44:47 PM »
What a cool idea! I'm not ready to take the plunge yet, but interested to follow your journey and see what smaller changes I can make in my life. Thanks for posting!

Fresh Bread

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2018, 06:49:42 PM »
Yoghurt - I love it. We have a Easi-Yo thermos device where you add powder and water and then leave overnight but the powder comes in plastic bags. Our friends taught us how to make it with UHT milk, but I think there's plastic in those too. The other option is making it from normal milk, but then I'm back to the milk problem!

I think dairy may be the hardest thing. I could ration it?!

Serendip

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2018, 07:17:38 PM »
Yoghurt - I love it. We have a Easi-Yo thermos device where you add powder and water and then leave overnight but the powder comes in plastic bags. Our friends taught us how to make it with UHT milk, but I think there's plastic in those too. The other option is making it from normal milk, but then I'm back to the milk problem!

I think dairy may be the hardest thing. I could ration it?!

No option for glass containers for your milk?
That's too bad, we have them here and it's such a convenient option.

I wouldn't stress about it at this point,..seems like you are making good moves towards your goal and little by little things will come together! The more I learn about this lifestyle, the more alternatives show up :)

Fresh Bread

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2018, 07:45:32 PM »
Yoghurt - I love it. We have a Easi-Yo thermos device where you add powder and water and then leave overnight but the powder comes in plastic bags. Our friends taught us how to make it with UHT milk, but I think there's plastic in those too. The other option is making it from normal milk, but then I'm back to the milk problem!

I think dairy may be the hardest thing. I could ration it?!

No option for glass containers for your milk?
That's too bad, we have them here and it's such a convenient option.

I wouldn't stress about it at this point,..seems like you are making good moves towards your goal and little by little things will come together! The more I learn about this lifestyle, the more alternatives show up :)

Yeah, I hope so. I think I can ask those sorts at questions at the bulk food stores etc and eventually I'll bump into the person with the answer!

Fresh Bread

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2018, 07:50:22 PM »
@Serendip I meant to ask how you make oat milk and whether it runs out much like shop bought oat milk. That would be a good plan for breakfast.

bacchi

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2018, 08:35:38 PM »
We're on a "no packaging" month, too.

Glass is problematic in its own way as it's heavy to transport and takes a lot of fuel to produce. However, we're making an exception for yogurt in a glass jar (that we're then reusing as a bulk container).

No plastic/packaging is difficult. We needed new sponges and even the cellulose sponges come wrapped in plastic. Not being able to buy packaged meals means that cooking takes much, much, longer, which requires a lot of planning. Tonight's pizza meant making the dough and sauce from scratch.

Thankfully, the local grocery store has a good bulk section (including spices) and the nearby coop has anything else.

Fresh Bread

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2018, 09:17:39 PM »
Wow, that's ambitious @bacchi! Plastics alone are hard enough! I'll be making pizza dough but the sauce is a big ask. I normally put tomato paste and pesto on and the thought of making both feels overwhelming!

What are you doing for other toppings? We have tuna & anchovies from cans. And do you have cheese on yours?

HappierAtHome

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2018, 10:08:44 PM »
Yoghurt - I love it. We have a Easi-Yo thermos device where you add powder and water and then leave overnight but the powder comes in plastic bags. Our friends taught us how to make it with UHT milk, but I think there's plastic in those too. The other option is making it from normal milk, but then I'm back to the milk problem!

I think dairy may be the hardest thing. I could ration it?!

Do you have the Source Bulk Foods in your state? They sell unpackaged milk powder. And coconut milk powder too :-)

Fresh Bread

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2018, 03:45:28 AM »
Yoghurt - I love it. We have a Easi-Yo thermos device where you add powder and water and then leave overnight but the powder comes in plastic bags. Our friends taught us how to make it with UHT milk, but I think there's plastic in those too. The other option is making it from normal milk, but then I'm back to the milk problem!

I think dairy may be the hardest thing. I could ration it?!

Do you have the Source Bulk Foods in your state? They sell unpackaged milk powder. And coconut milk powder too :-)

Aha! Genius! The internet says I can make yoghurt from powder. It's a little unclear on whether hubby can steam it for coffee but he will experiment. I'm also not sure if powdered milk can make kefir (and therefore cheese) but will see what happens.

AerynLee

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2018, 07:49:05 AM »
I really like this challenge. I've been working on reducing my waste, including recyclables, and am ready to kick it up a notch.

My local co-op is having a bulk bin sale this weekend that I plan on hitting up using all reusable containers

chaskavitch

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2018, 08:00:58 AM »
I have shopped for some things online. Hopefully they don't arrive in lots of plastic ;)

- We are nearly out of washing liquid and it comes in a big plastic bottle, so I bought a trial bag of soapnuts. They come in a fabric bag and can be composted after. ($2)
- 5 produce bags. I normally do without except for small things like beans but these will be handy AND they are made of recycled plastic. ($16)
- I've got a trial pack of cloth pads. They really do not look up to the job in the pic but we will see ($70 for 4!!)
- I haven't pressed the button yet, because I'm also trying to buy no clothes this year, but I have 3 pairs of period pants in my cart, the kind that are an all-in-one pad. ($100!!)

The menstrual stuff is going to take about a year to pay for itself and that's assuming it all works. But it will create a whole lot less waste. And will the soapnuts struggle to clean them??

I was also going to buy some reusable silicon food wraps for $25 but then I thought - we don't use gladwrap all that much anyway so I'd only really be replacing occasional baking paper use. I might change my mind on this later.

I love my cloth produce bags.  I use them for bulk foods as well, like coffee and rolled oats, so I very rarely use the plastic bags at the store. 

For menstrual supplies, I have a diva cup (~$40?), and I don't even use any secondary pads or anything.  It is so easy to use/empty, and it holds enough volume that I only have to empty it twice a day or so (usually morning and afternoon).  I've rarely had any leakage problems, but I imagine the cloth pads would be nice for the last day or two of really low flow.  I've had two cups in the last 10 or 12 years - as long as you wash it well, it will last for a very long time.

MrsDinero

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2018, 08:02:09 AM »
I'm in!  I've been working on this for over a year, just making small changes.  Replacing ziplocs with Stasher bags and beeswrap, using parchment paper that is compostable, etc.

I can share my experience with going disposable free with feminine products.
I have not used any disposable products in months!

I have 3 thinx underwear, 2 overnight (heavy flow) reusable pads (bought from Etsy), and 5 reusable liners (Etsy).

It took me months to build this supply for myself based on my needs.

I also have the Diva cup but do not like it.   

The hardest part about going reusable was the mental hurdle.  I think most women are always told  having their period is gross and messy, instead of natural.   So having pads that needed to rinsed and washed instead of rolled up in toilet paper and tossed was a hurdle for me.

Now it is an easy process and I found a way that works for me.
~~Mrs. D.

chaskavitch

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2018, 08:11:25 AM »
I'm in!  I've been working on this for over a year, just making small changes.  Replacing ziplocs with Stasher bags and beeswrap, using parchment paper that is compostable, etc.

I can share my experience with going disposable free with feminine products.
I have not used any disposable products in months!

I have 3 thinx underwear, 2 overnight (heavy flow) reusable pads (bought from Etsy), and 5 reusable liners (Etsy).

It took me months to build this supply for myself based on my needs.

I also have the Diva cup but do not like it.   

The hardest part about going reusable was the mental hurdle.  I think most women are always told  having their period is gross and messy, instead of natural.   So having pads that needed to rinsed and washed instead of rolled up in toilet paper and tossed was a hurdle for me.

Now it is an easy process and I found a way that works for me.

Just out of curiosity, why don't you like the Diva cup?  Fit, ease of use, effectiveness, comfort?  I know there are multiple brands out there - I think I bought mine because I'd heard about it on a blog or something, and I saw it at Whole Foods one day and just picked it up.

MrsDinero

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2018, 08:16:26 AM »
I'm in!  I've been working on this for over a year, just making small changes.  Replacing ziplocs with Stasher bags and beeswrap, using parchment paper that is compostable, etc.

I can share my experience with going disposable free with feminine products.
I have not used any disposable products in months!

I have 3 thinx underwear, 2 overnight (heavy flow) reusable pads (bought from Etsy), and 5 reusable liners (Etsy).

It took me months to build this supply for myself based on my needs.

I also have the Diva cup but do not like it.   

The hardest part about going reusable was the mental hurdle.  I think most women are always told  having their period is gross and messy, instead of natural.   So having pads that needed to rinsed and washed instead of rolled up in toilet paper and tossed was a hurdle for me.

Now it is an easy process and I found a way that works for me.

Just out of curiosity, why don't you like the Diva cup?  Fit, ease of use, effectiveness, comfort?  I know there are multiple brands out there - I think I bought mine because I'd heard about it on a blog or something, and I saw it at Whole Foods one day and just picked it up.
I don't like it mostly for comfort, but I also didn't like tampons for the same reason.  I have friends who love theirs and I really wanted to love mine.
~~Mrs. D.

AerynLee

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #20 on: January 17, 2018, 08:17:14 AM »
I go a different route on the menstrual products that works great for me but obviously isn't for everyone: I'm on the depo-provera shot which has completely eliminated my periods. Other than an 18 month experiment with a non-hormonal IUD I haven't had a period in over 10 years. There's a little bit of waste at the doctors office getting the shot every three months but overall I think it's probably less than even reusable products

acorn

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2018, 08:19:06 AM »
This is awesome. Looking forward to incorporating some of these into my grocery shopping.

I've used canvas bags for years and avoid single-use plastics wherever possible. But it is so hard to avoid the excessive plastic packaging in supermarkets...

(just to share: my favorite food packaging related stand up bit)

bacchi

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #22 on: January 17, 2018, 09:57:23 AM »
Wow, that's ambitious @bacchi! Plastics alone are hard enough! I'll be making pizza dough but the sauce is a big ask. I normally put tomato paste and pesto on and the thought of making both feels overwhelming!

What are you doing for other toppings? We have tuna & anchovies from cans. And do you have cheese on yours?

No cheese, which I prefer anyway. We added yeast flakes, which can somewhat substitute, and veggies and walnuts. Walnuts (and pepitas) on a pizza are great.

We also picked up some cloth bulk/produce bags like others have mentioned. We reused "single" use plastic bags to get bulk items (the grocery store doesn't weigh containers) but the cloth bags eliminate even those.

I made an exception for ice cream at a basketball game but I brought my own spoon (the container is compostable).

MrsDinero

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #23 on: January 17, 2018, 10:03:46 AM »
Not on the plastic-free side, but on the reducing unnecessary waste side.  I made several reusable cotton rounds.  These are great for replacing anything you need a cotton ball or disposable cotton pad (not menstrual pad).   

~~Mrs. D.

haypug16

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #24 on: January 18, 2018, 11:33:30 AM »
I would love to join in this challenge! DH and I have made it a resolution to reduce waste. A couple weeks ago we brought our own Mason Jars to Wholefoods had them weighted and then went to the bulk section and filled them up. Zero waste :)

For produce I just put everything lose in my bags. I never really used produce bags anyway so that's not an issue for us.

For milk I buy it in the carton not the plastic jugs. Some do still have plastic spouts though. I will make it my goal for February to find a place where I can get milk in glass.

For menstrual products I also use the Diva cup ($27 on Amazon) which I love.

Bread is also an issue for me. I make some myself but am thinking of getting a bread maker

I'm a red panda

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #25 on: January 18, 2018, 11:55:14 AM »
Not entirely sure what a muesli bar is, but it sounds like a granola bar.

Can I offer up one of my favorite "recipes"
https://www.hy-vee.com/recipes-ideas/recipes/fit-for-you-bars

Fresh Bread

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #26 on: January 18, 2018, 07:02:13 PM »
Not entirely sure what a muesli bar is, but it sounds like a granola bar.

Can I offer up one of my favorite "recipes"
https://www.hy-vee.com/recipes-ideas/recipes/fit-for-you-bars

Yeah I think it's the same thingy. Chewy or crunchy, oats mixed with nuts and fruit. I find I can never get them to stick together without adding more honey than I can stomach. I normally end up having them as cereal but that's ok.

I eat my plastic wrapped ones in the car when I'm running too late to have breakfast, so I know the answer ;)



Things I'm buying just before the end of January that wouldn't meet the February rules:

- plasters (bandaids). What did people do before plasters? Just not use anything or use a bandage or clean rag I guess?

- ibuprofen. Home remedies for pain are laughable when you're doubled up or can't see for the pain. I think the best idea here is to buy 50-100 pills in a plastic bottle. I only use about 4-8 a month but it's better than multiple blister packs of 24.

- Codeine - it's prescription only here from Feb so I'm going to buy some while I can, just in case. It costs me $25 to see a doctor!

Has anyone ever bought loose pain relief pills i.e. had a bottle refilled?


I'm a red panda

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #27 on: January 18, 2018, 07:50:36 PM »
Not entirely sure what a muesli bar is, but it sounds like a granola bar.

Can I offer up one of my favorite "recipes"
https://www.hy-vee.com/recipes-ideas/recipes/fit-for-you-bars

Yeah I think it's the same thingy. Chewy or crunchy, oats mixed with nuts and fruit. I find I can never get them to stick together without adding more honey than I can stomach. I normally end up having them as cereal but that's ok.

I eat my plastic wrapped ones in the car when I'm running too late to have breakfast, so I know the answer ;)

We make ours stick by putting them in a pan (like you use to make brownies) putting baking paper over them and then weighting them with a foil wrapped brick.  I always take mine to go by putting them in a food container...of course, mine are plastic; there are glass food containers too; or is it just disposing of plastic that is the problem?


Before bandaids- cloth wraps, like an ace bandage. It would be the same theory of blood absorption as reusable sanitary products.


Our office has pain medication in foil lined paper packs. But it would actually create more waste than a large plastic bottle.

Fresh Bread

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #28 on: January 18, 2018, 08:16:37 PM »
I have no problem using Tupperware :) I will try again to make them. Do you cook them with a weight on or is it just to press them down beforehand? I used a glass and baking paper I think to press.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #29 on: January 18, 2018, 08:18:48 PM »
The fit for you bars aren't cooked.

Fresh Bread

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #30 on: January 18, 2018, 08:24:19 PM »
The fit for you bars aren't cooked.

Oh lol, didn't look past the ingredients. Well then I will give it a go. I could use a tub of water as a weight. I don't have anything protein powder like but maybe I could grind oats or wait til I get milk powder.

Fresh Bread

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #31 on: January 23, 2018, 04:23:00 PM »
So my facewash has run out and instead of buying a new plastic bottle so close to February, I've cracked open a pack of face cloths that I got from IKEA* that I'll be using with water only.

Day 1: Hmmmm my face did not feel very clean in the shower after washing with the cloth. It's sort of ok now but the jury is out I'd say. I also used it to clean my ears instead of using a plastic cotton bud.

*Black mark to IKEA for adding a massive unnecessary label to every cloth. Did not see that when I bought them.



My deodorant is probably going to run out in February. Option 1 is go without and change my clothes and shower more (it is hot here and I have an active job).
Option 2 is to google a homemade deodorant. Is anyone using anything homemade that they can recommend?
Option 3 is buy something alternative that doesn't come in plastic. I think I've seen tins of stuff advertised.

HappierAtHome

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #32 on: January 23, 2018, 04:48:49 PM »
The giant labels on those washcloths are also just ANNOYING.

Do you have Lush in your city? I think they sell bars of facewash soap, which you can buy unpackaged or just wrapped in paper.

Deodorant: I have been pondering this for future need. I think some people swear by plain bicarb. I am a sweaty person, so a good homemade deodorant would make me happy.

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #33 on: January 23, 2018, 08:43:52 PM »
I love this challenge :) Following with great interest and admiration!

I usually make my deodorant with coconut oil and shea butter, then arrowroot powder and bicarb. There are lots of recipes online but it really seems most people have to experiment with what works for your skin and body chemistry. It also often takes a few weeks for your body to stop overproducing sweat if you've been wearing antiperspirant. I used just bicarb for a while but my skin got irritated, so it took a month or so to figure out a combination that works really well for me.
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Fresh Bread

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #34 on: January 23, 2018, 09:11:31 PM »
Thanks for the deo tips, Katscratch.

Maybe hold off the admiration til I make some big changes ;)
The pic shows the current state of my freezer. 3 types of veg,  mash (srsly so good), 2 x boxes of filled pasta that is REALLY expensive but was 60% off, 2 emergency posh lasagne (similarly discounted), grated mozzarella. Hidden is some stewing steak (on polystyrene) and drumsticks (on hard plastic tray). So. Much. Plastic.


chaskavitch

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #35 on: January 24, 2018, 06:25:19 AM »
Thanks for the deo tips, Katscratch.

Maybe hold off the admiration til I make some big changes ;)
The pic shows the current state of my freezer. 3 types of veg,  mash (srsly so good), 2 x boxes of filled pasta that is REALLY expensive but was 60% off, 2 emergency posh lasagne (similarly discounted), grated mozzarella. Hidden is some stewing steak (on polystyrene) and drumsticks (on hard plastic tray). So. Much. Plastic.

I think my freezer looks pretty similar :(  We bought a quarter cow last year, but the only way they package it is to vacuum seal every individual cut before they freeze it.  I mean, I don't know how else they'd do it, but it's a lot of waste.

One thing I just found out is that Sprouts (and possibly other groceries, but they're the only one I've asked) will put whatever you get from the butcher or deli counter into your own container if you want.  They tare the container, add the meat, and just stick a label on it.  I'm sure it works much better with cheese and lunch meat than it does with a side of salmon, but I think I'm going to try it out. 

haypug16

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #36 on: January 24, 2018, 07:36:57 AM »
One thing I just found out is that Sprouts (and possibly other groceries, but they're the only one I've asked) will put whatever you get from the butcher or deli counter into your own container if you want.  They tare the container, add the meat, and just stick a label on it.  I'm sure it works much better with cheese and lunch meat than it does with a side of salmon, but I think I'm going to try it out.

Great tip. I bet Wholefoods would do this too. They were very excited when DH and I brought in our own mason jars for the bulk foods.

Fresh Bread

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #37 on: January 24, 2018, 08:33:47 PM »
I might try that with the meat, although I think they need to use something to pick it up and put it in the tub at my ones, so they'll still use a plastic bag or glove. There's no bare hands touching meat at butchers here!

I just joined a local zero waste group and the rumour is that Harris Farm Markets not only sell milk in glass bottles at certain locations but at one place they have milk station (like a drinks dispenser) and resuable bottles! 

I've messaged them to see if ithe milk station still active as I'm over in that suburb on Saturday. We have friends there and go maybe once every 6 weeks. It's feasible that we could fill a few bottles each time and use powdered milk a lot in between. I've also asked where I can get glass / refillable bottles at other locations.  Yay!

Fresh Bread

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #38 on: January 25, 2018, 05:10:00 AM »
A topical musical interlude from Tim Minchin:

https://youtu.be/hFgtIziShmc

Fresh Bread

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #39 on: January 25, 2018, 05:38:54 PM »
I tried a cloth pad, it wasn't a success. It was comfortable but did not absorb plus I'm having some sort of tsunami which doesn't help. Am I supposed to wash them first, like when tea towels repel water when you first get them?

HappierAtHome

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #40 on: January 25, 2018, 06:33:43 PM »
I tried a cloth pad, it wasn't a success. It was comfortable but did not absorb plus I'm having some sort of tsunami which doesn't help. Am I supposed to wash them first, like when tea towels repel water when you first get them?

Wash first for hygiene if nothing else!

Warning: TMI ahead. I find if my flow is too FAST the fluid can sometimes sit on top instead of being absorbed as quickly as it needs to be. Does that sound like it could be the issue? I deal with it by changing pads frequently, or by using a menstrual cup on the first day or two of my cycle. If my flow is slow, the pads can hold a surprising amount.

Fresh Bread

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #41 on: January 25, 2018, 07:24:13 PM »
I tried a cloth pad, it wasn't a success. It was comfortable but did not absorb plus I'm having some sort of tsunami which doesn't help. Am I supposed to wash them first, like when tea towels repel water when you first get them?

Wash first for hygiene if nothing else!

Warning: TMI ahead. I find if my flow is too FAST the fluid can sometimes sit on top instead of being absorbed as quickly as it needs to be. Does that sound like it could be the issue? I deal with it by changing pads frequently, or by using a menstrual cup on the first day or two of my cycle. If my flow is slow, the pads can hold a surprising amount.

Yeah, I was taken by surprise with timing and speed and hadn't set myself up properly yet. I was only sat for 2hrs doing paperwork and was unaware of the disaster unfolding downstairs. Thanks for the tips. I think Day 1 I need all the things.

HappierAtHome

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #42 on: January 25, 2018, 07:36:21 PM »
I tried a cloth pad, it wasn't a success. It was comfortable but did not absorb plus I'm having some sort of tsunami which doesn't help. Am I supposed to wash them first, like when tea towels repel water when you first get them?

Wash first for hygiene if nothing else!

Warning: TMI ahead. I find if my flow is too FAST the fluid can sometimes sit on top instead of being absorbed as quickly as it needs to be. Does that sound like it could be the issue? I deal with it by changing pads frequently, or by using a menstrual cup on the first day or two of my cycle. If my flow is slow, the pads can hold a surprising amount.

Yeah, I was taken by surprise with timing and speed and hadn't set myself up properly yet. I was only sat for 2hrs doing paperwork and was unaware of the disaster unfolding downstairs. Thanks for the tips. I think Day 1 I need all the things.

Sitting still for two hours will make it even worse because you'll have a big gush when you stand up :-/

Fresh Bread

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #43 on: January 27, 2018, 11:41:43 PM »
This story actually adds to the plastic in our home but anyway:

Yesterday to some friends' house for takeaway, along with another couple. Not really great for low packaging but we needed a high convenience catch up or it wouldn't happen at all. I asked if I could take the takeaway containers home (because we're running a bit low due to general breakage and sometimes you just need a lightweight container).

Couple one said enthusiastically: "oh yes we noticed when we stayed at your house how handy those are for just storing leftovers! We never thought to keep them" I did a bit of a blink, blink, and a 'er... ok?'

Couple two said "you know you can buy those containers at Woolies" Me: "yeah but we already paid for these ones" Couple 2: "I don't do second hand" Me: "you just ate from them?". I always wondered who buys crappy takeaway containers new and now I know!

At the end of the night we scored all the containers plus all the leftovers because none of the others do leftovers...!

We're a little bit down in the mouth about that whole interaction today because it's a reminder about what the majority of people are doing. However, I'm also hoping that the tide is turning and also that by living our slightly lower impact life we can kind of set an example that will transfer slowly across to the minds of our friends.

We do have friends that are on the eco bandwagon, these two are probably the least planet conscious of everyone we know. Interestingly, when we introduced the concept of MMM at a get together a while ago, it was the eco people that seemed to 'get' the concept of living beneath your means. That and treading lightly on the earth are so very closely related concepts.

CalBal

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #44 on: January 28, 2018, 11:50:42 PM »
Hi y'all! For anyone considering baking bread (to avoid bread bags) but doesn't have a lot of experience with bread-making, or alternatively doesn't have a lot of time, I highly recommend The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (and the other books they've done, like The New Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day and Gluten Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (though I haven't used that last one)) by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. For the amount of effort put in, the resulting bread is seriously awesome. There's a small amount of trial and error to get perfect (crackling) bread, but even so-so bread is pretty damn amazing for the amount of effort. And you can do a lot of the recipes without special equipment. Boules and baguettes, "peasant" loaves (I am trying pumpernickel next!), sourdough, loaf bread, flatbread, enriched breads like challah and brioche, you name it. Seriously, check it out. From the library, of course. ;)

Fresh Bread

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #45 on: January 29, 2018, 01:57:09 AM »
That book sounds pretty awesome Calbal. I have a breadmaker so I just need to get into a routine there. I am interested in making sourdough though by hand.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #46 on: January 29, 2018, 07:15:25 AM »
I'm trying to reduce the amount of waste I produce as a general sort of life goal. We recycle where we can*, and buy recycled paper goods, but I feel like it would be better to reduce the amount of packaging coming into the house. 

Plastics especially are bugging me as there are few options to 'buy back' my recycled plastic. So I thought I'd try to have a month where no new plastic comes into the house. I'm going to document my wins and losses here. If anyone wants to join in or make suggestions then please go for it. I'm starting now so that I can start to plan how to do things differently and be ready to go come February.

Plastics waste we currently produce in vast amounts:
  • Frozen food wrappers (potato mash (our vice), veg, berries, frozen pizza inner wrapping)
  • Muesli bar wrappers
  • Bread bags
  • Plastic meat trays
  • Milk bottles
  • Tetrapak cartons (coconut milk)
  • Single use drink bottles
  • Single use sanitary products

My strategy (so far):
  • The frozen food and convenience food /drink wrappers I think will be fairly easy to avoid by being organised. I have a couple of bulk food shops nearby which I can visit for things like oats, lentils etc.
  • Bread bags - I have seen reusable options online which I have to investigate and some stores let you put their fresh bread into paper bags.
  • I have a local shop that sells meat in paper although I think technically it has a plastic coating.
  • Sanitary products - I need to invest in reusables.
  • Just avoid buying anything in packaging

Where I am going to really struggle is the milk bottles. Hubby drinks a lot of milk for breakfast and in coffees and I don't know what to do about this. Plus things like pain relief that you can't buy in bulk/ loose.

In terms of the financial implications, I suspect that some things are going to end up costing more (e.g. my local bulk food stores are more expensive than my cheapie supermarket). I'm hoping that extra costs there might be countered by buying a few reusable products and avoiding buying certain things like a bottle of drink when I'm out and about.

Wish me luck!

*Soft plastics go to red-cycle bins at the supermarket and paper, glass and hard plastics go in our kerbside bins. We put food scraps in our worm farm and compost bins.

Groceries are indeed a challenge. In my local shops every salad, pepper and zucchini are wrapped in plastic. But if you have a store nearby that sells loose veggies in bulk that might work. For meat, you could try to find a shop that sells meat loose, from the display. You can bring your own reusable casket and let them put the meat in there.

For bread, where I live all bread is sold in paper bags. They are fine during the first day. But if you want to freeze them, you need plastic. Also to keep the bread fresh for more than one day. We always reuse our plastic bread bags, until they get holes into them. I don't see an easy plastic free solution. But maybe you could free them using some kind of fatty paper? (I just have some vague idea about this paper, but don't have anything concrete)

Muesli bars you can make yourself and store in a tupperware box, separated by paper baking sheets.

Why do you need to buy single drinks? Can't you plan better ahead and bring a bottle of water from home or a thermos with tea on a trip?

For sanitary products, I can recommend cloth menstrual pads, bought on Ali Express. I have started to use them for some months and I am totally convinced that this is a good idea. I paid like 2,5$ a piece. And you can buy a menstrual cup, like https://www.me-luna.eu/MeLuna-menstrualcups . I can also recommend this, although I have not started using them if I expect to have to change at places like work. There is by the way a whole thread about this subject somewhere.

Good luck.

Edit: sorry, I obviously didn't read the rest of the thread.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2018, 07:17:35 AM by Linda_Norway »

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #47 on: January 29, 2018, 07:28:01 AM »

- plasters (bandaids). What did people do before plasters? Just not use anything or use a bandage or clean rag I guess?


Modern plasters have plastic on the side that you put onto the wound. And a good invention that is! In the past plastics and bandages would often stick onto the wound and removing them was painful. So in this case, I think plasters and bandages with a plastic sterile pad are well used. The rest of the plaster/bandage does of course not need any plastic.

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #48 on: January 29, 2018, 09:48:18 AM »
I have been on this journey since July last year. 80% of our food now come from bulk. We found a farm animal rescue and get our eggs and jam from them. I found a bread maker in a charity shop and my $20 it has been churning out bread for 6 months. Do not get discouraged - it takes time to remove all plastic from your lives. It is easier to cook - I have also learnt the crockpot is my friend. I make pasta sauce in bulk and freeze it in my glass jars in the freezer. Good for pizza too! I will be following with interest, i am still trying to remove those last little things!

Fresh Bread

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Re: Plastic-free February
« Reply #49 on: January 29, 2018, 07:30:02 PM »
Hi Linda & SafAmBrit, thanks for the encouragement!

It's February in two days and I feel I should be better prepared than I am :/

I'm going to cheat and get a few things today like 2L of vinegar in a plastic bottle for cleaning. Once that runs out I hope to refill it at a bulk place.

Question: presumably all the bulk places receive their stock in some sort of packaging. Vinegar surely comes in plastic to the store. Where we use large amounts or where something is shelf stable, am I better just to source my own bulk stuff?

On that note, is anyone in Australia buying anything in bulk eg 5-10kg bags of oats, in returnable packaging eg a woven bag or urn/ vat of some kind? Google has not helped.

ETA: For research purposes into bulk goods I should probably visit Costco at some point. It's a long long way away though!