I‘ve been asked to start putting all the small things that we do on a day to day basis here to help guide you on your path to living more sustainably. First up, I want to make it clear that most of the things I will be mentioning will involve a shift in the way you may think about doing things at home, but once you get into a habit of doing them they will become second nature, and you’ll wonder why you hadn’t started doing them earlier.
Now you may know that one of our biggest goals is to be plastic free, so lets start there. Obviously it starts with trying not to bring plastics into your home, and this means searching and buying items that are not packaged in plastics, and believe me, I know how hard this can be. But always be on the lookout, talk to friends and family about it, I bet you will find that you will come away with a few good tips straight up.
When shopping, always take your own bags, I found that a good way to remember, is to chastise yourself by suffering carrying all your items back to the car, and not taking the easy option and paying for the cheap plastic bag at the register, I quickly got into the habit after I did this a few times. Now fresh produce, is an area where you can still come home with a lot of plastic, an easy way to reduce your plastic bag use here is to use your own reusable drawstring bags. These can be found and purchased in a lot of places now, or if you are handy with a sewing machine, quickly make your own, I never shop without mine.
One of the things I really want to emphasise is, DO NOT BUY PLASTICS TO USE IN YOUR HOME! This means, don’t buy those plastic bin liners or the cling wrap or zip lock bags, you really don’t need them. But, but, but I can hear you thinking, don’t worry I am going to give you options and suggestions based on what we do in our home.
In most places now, the local councils supply composting bags and bins, PLEASE USE THEM PROPERLY, so most of the nasty smelly waste does not have to go into your garbage bin. Or if you really want to get serious about living sustainably, get a worm farm and have your own compost pit. Chickens are another wonderful way to reduce what you are putting in your wheelie bins, and you get free eggs and beautiful pets into the bargain, not to mention all that wonderful fertiliser that they provide. We have all of these options at our home and I can go into our personal setup in a later post. If you have to line your kitchen bins then use a paper shopping bag, reuse it a few times before replacing it, and when you do you can just pop it in your bin guilt free.
Cling wrap and zip lock bags make me want to rip out my hair. Beeswax wraps are a great way to cover containers, they are easy to find or fun to make, if making them yourself, you get to choose the sizes and fabric to make them completely customisable to your style and your home. There is also a huge range of reusable silicone covers and bags that can replace cling wrap and zip lock bags, being food grade silicone they can be heated and frozen without any ill effects. Most of us have sealable containers that can be used washed and reused many times, these will include jars, yoghurt pots, ice cream containers and tupperware.
Now for all that unavoidable plastic that does come into your home, please recycle, this sometimes means washing and drying some of the soft plastics, but it is not as hard as it sounds. Make a habit of rinsing it when doing your dishes and hang up to dry, keep them together and take into your local Coles supermarket and place in the bins there, they are usually found near the front end. But I can’t emphasise this enough, really try not to bring any of these plastics into your home.
When starting to write this post I naively thought that I would be able to fit it all in one post, but now that I have started I realise that this is going to be an issue that will have to be broken up into parts. Now that I have briefly covered one drawer in our kitchen, I have so many more options and ideas that I want to share with you guys, but they will have to wait until my next post. But remember that it is really not that daunting, just one small thing at a time can make a giant difference when made by a large number of people, so every little thing does count.
Below are some of the reusable covers and bags that we use, made of
silicone, paper and beeswax, and our bin set up for council, garbage, worm farm, compost, chicken and recyclabales. Soft plastics are kept in a bag separate as we try to really limit what we bring in to the house.