Less waste, not less worries (yet)

As I’ve been trying to reduce the waste I produce in my day to day life, my sister has started to come on board. She’s even bought cloth nappies for her baby that’s due in September! This is quite a step, getting her on board, as she loves buying stuff. They have two Dyson vacuum cleaners, because she bought a corded one then decided she wanted a cordless one too. She also has enough shoes and clothes to supply a small army (so long as they want high heels and don’t mind Hello Kitty). She was visiting when I did Plastic Free July and showed up with take away noodles in a plastic bag. She laughed about it and let me take a photo of her with all the plastic, but times are changing. She was the one who recommended a menstrual cup. Though I am yet to master it. Not really a surprise, it took me years to feel comfortable with tampons. I have just bought some cloth pads, which are simple, easy and effective to use. I’ll keep trying the cup, but rely on the pads and conventional tampons for the time being. They’re very pretty and soft too, which is a bonus on top of the obvious environmental benefits.

We are well and truly bar shampoo converts. It’s easy, cheap and doesn’t leave the slimy residue on my skin that I felt I could never wash off with conventional shampoo and conditioner. My eczema has cleared up too, which is a bonus. My husband also loves it, which is a massive bonus because he’s a reluctant convert to the less waste lifestyle. I have started using apricot kernel oil on my skin. It’s so light and completely natural. It was the main ingredient in my sister’s pregnancy stretch mark reduction oil so I thought it must be ok and gave it a go. A bottle from the health food store was a fifth of the price of the fancy stretch mark oil too. I was using coconut oil but it was pretty slimy and coming into winter it was solid and harder to get out of the jar. My skin tends to get sick of conventional moisturisers after a few months so I’m interested to see how the oils go. Grandpa always told me to have a tablespoon of olive oil to clear up my eczema – maybe he was onto something.

I am still struggling with feeling confident enough to ask for meat and deli products in my own container. The butcher around the corner helps me out but I haven’t tried at the supermarket or the deli yet. Must get the courage because I really want salami and cheese plastic free. I have discovered there is a dairy in Vic that does milk in returnable 20L stainless steel drums. We would probably get through it with the amount of weet-bix Daniel eats, but they are a 4h drive away so not sure what the likelihood is of getting it here. We do have a local dairy distributor so maybe I should ask them.

I’m hoping for a composter for my birthday (I’ve hinted it a lot of times). Then I won’t feel so bad buying things in cardboard and paper. With the Chinese ban on contaminated recyclables affecting our local council I feel even more guilty every time I put something in the recycling bin. Knowing it is more than likely being stockpiled or sent to landfill.

It’s really hard caring so much in a society that doesn’t generally have the same concerns, but I’ll keep plugging away remembering that an individual can make a difference. We’re off camping this weekend which is going to be a great escape from everything and time to read, cook on the camp fire and play with the dog. I’m looking forward to it.

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View from our only ‘mountain’ within half an hours drive. Mt Major – Dookie

My guide in Nepal laughed at me when I told him I’d been training for the Annapurna track on a 400m ‘mountain’ when we had to climb to 4000m. Sometimes you have to make do with what you have.

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