Eating kangaroo for environmental reasons.

I haven’t eaten cow, pig or lamb in almost 10 years. Plus, I’ve hardly eaten any meat in the last couple of months. I’m practically vegetarian. I listen to my body and it rewards me when I feed it an occasional piece of quality meat. I’ll aim to eat anything that has a neutral-positive effect on the Australian environment but I still have much to learn. My approach comes with naive hope that Australia will:

  • Favour consumption of over-populated pests;
  • Build up the population of native wildlife through consumer demand; and
  • Reduce meat consumption overall.

No more binge eating 3-4 types of meat from animals that can’t withstand drought. No more “throw another shrimp on the barbie” or highly televised lamb advertisements in the lead up to Australia day. No more “you don’t make friends with salad”. Respect, diversity and control.

Introduced species such as rabbit, camel and water buffalo are over-populated and problematic for our native wildlife. If they were a popular meat, maybe our native flora and fauna would be slightly better off?

Australia has a lush selection of edible plants and tasty native meats such as emu, wallaby, kangaroo and crocodile. Cruelty aside, if we were farming more natives, surely that’s a better use of agricultural land compared to cattle, pig and sheep farming? It could reduce soil salinity, irrigation and land clearing. Maybe the cattle farmers would maintain employment. Maybe more of our land can be focused on re-wilding initiatives and greater biodiversity.

Supporting any form of monoculture (cow, cotton, soy, etc) can have detrimental effects on the environment. I’m not saying this approach is perfect. It’s just another way to look at conscious consumerism. 🙃

For Aussies: Kangaroo steak can be found at @colessupermarkets and @woolworths_au in the ‘Game meat’ section. Occasionally, we can find rabbit, duck and camel too. These are NOT sold package free. Markets and boutique butchers sometimes have alternative meats where you could try to byo container (still working up the courage to do this myself).

I believe that purchasing alternative food is a vote in favour of diversity. 🐄🐖🐑🐓

3 years of confidential banking information

This is 3 years of confidential banking information that we cleared out of a drawer. Worms and microbes will eat this and keep our printed information secure. Now, to double-triple check that I’ve successfully unsubscribed from these mail outs. If only the bank’s website UX was as easy as composting.

Speaking of mail, still got a bunch more subscriptions needed before I send out my 1st of only 4 emails.

Sign up here

Did you get plastic for Christmas? I did!

Did you get plastic for Christmas? I did! It’s ok. Some of us are early adopters, others need more time. We’re all in this together.

I now know that I can recycle this type of plastic. I am also super grateful as we will enjoy these yummy spice mixes in our cooking. It’s the thought that counts and this was a very kind gesture from lovely people who don’t know much about us. I particularly like that it’s perishable rather than giving us more ‘stuff’ in our home.

We successfully had two Christmas celebrations with minimal gift giving. One family had secret Santa, the other had gifts for kids only. In the past, we’ve driven home with a car full of stuff we don’t need.

Not this time 🙂 .

I need a (zero waste) ink injection

A while back, I made an observation about the amount of plastic required for tattoos. This realisation tore me apart. Both zero waste and tattoos have supported significant improvements in my mental wellbeing. What’s more confusing is that my tattoos are a celebration of the native bushland that I strive to protect.

I caught up with my tattoo artist and asked her ALL the questions. Credit to her for letting me question her profession. She talked to me about biomedical waste, sterilisation, blood borne pathogens, best practices, poor sterilisation practices, improvements in industry standards, her daily cleaning routine, buying supplies in bulk and health department checks. It was eye opening.

She also gave me some helpful tips to reduce waste when getting inked:

  1. Personally shave the area that you’ll be getting tattooed. It will save a single-purpose plastic razor.
  2. Wear clothing that doesn’t come into contact with the tattoo area. It is better for aftercare and will save excess plastic wrap and paper towel usage. I certainly won’t miss the paper cuff.
  3. Bring a towel. It will reduce the need for paper towels and other physical barriers that collect ink stains.
  4. Avoid expensive clothing. Similar to above, it will reduce the need for paper towels and protection.

Low waste basic shit.

Got a light? Use matches instead of lighters. Need to write something down? Use pencils, a fountain pen or your phone instead of plastic pens. Laundry day? Wash on a cold cycle and hang dry instead of using a dryer. Making a cuppa? Favour loose leaf instead of tea bags. Fancy a drink? Favour glass bottles or cans over plastic bottles. Craving fast food? Do what you can to avoid excess napkins, straws, lids, plastic cutlery and bags. Forgot your byo coffee cup? Take a moment to relax and drink your coffee at the cafe. Forgot your byo shopping bags? Cradle what you can in your arms or put the small groceries into your regular bag. Craving a salty snack? Make popcorn.

I’m not perfect with all this. Pens and teabags are still in everlasting supply at home.

We have a pretty diverse tea collection. I’m slowly building up the loose leaf tea by making it myself or shopping at specialty stores. It’s hard to tell, but apparently the majority of tea bags are made from plastic and are not compostable. My mum used to always compost our teabags so I can sense her disapproval if I throw them in landfill 😜. If anyone has any resources, I’d love to know more on this topic.

Being married to an illustrator, we have a never ending stockpile of @sharpie pens. He’s now almost entirely digitised his drawing technique. When the time comes to eventually buy again, I’ll be looking at pencils. Got a brand that you like? I’d love to know if there’s a pencil that can as act a substitute for smooth markers.

Over 80% of Australians can recycle milk and juice cartons. 

YES these tetra packs are recyclable, depending on where you’re located. Over 80% of Australians can recycle milk and juice cartons.

“Milk and juice cartons are made from a material called liquid paperboard (LPB), which is constructed from cardboard with layers of plastic, and in the case of long-life products, a thin layer of aluminium foil. Cardboard makes up the largest proportion of these materials – about 88% of Tetra Pak 1 litre fresh milk carton for example.” – 

I sometimes ask Sustainability Victoria for clarification. They are really helpful and have confirmed that they are recyclable in Melbourne. When in doubt, it’s really easy to ask your local council or advisory board via Twitter. Recycling is often flawed (ie the whole container might not be recycled, only parts of it) and it isn’t the end goal of zero waste, but it’s nice to have this low waste option when we need it.

By demand: Why am I not vegan?

My dietary requirement is “vegetarian-preference / no onion”. By demand, here’s your “Why isn’t she vegan?” post 😜

Our household has three humans and a dog 😀🙃🤓🐺. One of us is diabetic. By eating more nuts, mushrooms and leafy greens, all three humans have reduced their meat/dairy intake significantly. I take a non-pious, anti-evangelical approach to environmentalism. This is why I will never tell a friend what they should/shouldn’t eat or how their plastic product is polluting our planet. I maintain a positive, supportive stance, forever learning from others. Ensuring psychological safety is paramount.

When I cut out major meat consumption 8 years ago, I decided to only boycott beef, lamb and pig. This way, my partner (who is such a great cook that he should be a chef #justsayin) can still experiment with different cooking styles. If he wants to cook red meat, we have kangaroo. One dose of red meat per week seems to work well. I’m ok with this low level of consumption.

I eat butter, eggs, cheese and occasionally ice cream. I do prefer vegan butter but not as much as I love my mates. We all drink soy milk because it prevents food waste.

Why I’m not vegan or vegetarian:

  1. Onion-free vegetarian food is hard to come by (chicken or fish is often the low-onion option at restaurants).
  2. I love my husband.
  3. I love cheese. It’s one thing my family can bond over.
  4. I want to support diversity in meat consumption ie kangaroo & emu to reduce soil salinity and rabbit, buffalo and camel to keep numbers down.
  5. I’ve learnt that it’s easier to be zero waste if you’re vegan. I am inspired to find a way to make meat/dairy more inclusive to zero waste living.
  6. I don’t believe in absolutes.

💚 Thanks to the increasing awareness of Fodmap diets, I’m able to reduce my chicken and fish intake. Thanks to the growing popularity of kangaroo meat, I’m able to support this farming practice. Thanks to inspiring vegan friends, I’m aware of how to balance nutrition for a low meat / high exercise lifestyle.

Oil should never go down the drain.

Zero waste shame: I used to pour oil down the sink because I didn’t know what I was supposed to do with it. Officially, it’s recommended that household oil is stored in a container and then thrown in the bin. At waste management centres, this is analysed for hazardous liquid. After it’s deemed non-hazardous, often the whole thing (including the container) is put in landfill. .

💚 Solution: I now put oil in dirt. Dirt soaks up oil and the two work together to create a dry matter that I can eventually add to compost. The more dirt, the better. We have limited garden space so I have a pot on my balcony with soil in it. It’s perfect for disposing of oil. Over time, I’ll mix it in with the compost/plants and start a fresh pot of soil. This whole process means that I can reuse/recycle the glass jar.

We also try to consume as much as we can before throwing it away. This particular oil from @meredithdairy cheese is great for salads, risotto and omelettes.

This process works best with only a teensy bit of oil added at a time. If you’re trying this out in a pot, check garden forums to ensure that you’ve got the right balance of soil/oil.

Dumpster diving serendipity.

Zero waste travel success!! We packed two cutlery sets for our trip that were used for camping, picnics, breakfast in hotels, etc. Surprisingly, we never found a need for them at restaurants or for take away food but they were extremely handy for making sandwiches on the road or in hotel rooms.

On one particular day, we picked up rubbish and put it in a nearby dumpster. In the dumpster was a set of brand new, perfectly clean stainless steel plates sitting at the top. Just in time for our camping trip around Uluru. It was meant to be.