Buy nothing new: Even for gadgets! Just because I work in tech, doesn’t mean I have to buy brand new gadgets. This is a second hand MacBook Pro with touch bar. It was only a year old when I bought it. The nerdy part of me gets to enjoy the new interface, while the eco conscious part of me is happy to have taken this off someone else’s hands. It works perfectly and I think I saved about $700AUD. Banana and bulk buy nuts are essential zero waste additions to my work day.
There is power in deliberation. Conscious inaction can be a good thing. At the beginning of my journey, I kept myself in a state of growing awareness. Mindfulness helped me know what to do and allowed me to set a plan that was tailored to my unique lifestyle and social situation.
Let’s break this down into small bite sized pieces. In this post, we can take a moment to observe our Kitchen & Dining behaviours:
- Food waste: Are you finishing the meals you prepare? Do items go dormant in the fridge until they’re thrown away? Recognise patterns.
- Animal consumption: Count the number of animal products used to make a meal i.e Ricotta + Chicken = 2. Take note of anything you could live without.
- Dormant appliances: Consider that the items in your kitchen should work for the space they occupy. How often is each item put to work? Are they paying their way?
- Disposables: Do you use plastic wrap, paper towels, disposable wipes or silicon-coated baking paper? Observe your reliance on these items.
This might seem like it’s only for zero waste beginners, but we can all take a moment to observe where we are at. None of us are perfect. There are insights and opportunities in observations. Be patient with yourself. A change is coming…
Today, I have an astounding hangover after a fun night away with new friends.
Last night, I fed 15 people a low waste vegan meal for $35. For those not in Australia, that’s *incredibly* cheap. I got a massive bag of field mushrooms, 6 large cans of tomatoes, 5 packets of spaghetti, 1 large jar of olives and a giant zucchini for the price of 10 takeaway coffees. In light of #fashionrevolutionweek, the low price of my food begged the questions #whomademyfood? #whogrewmyfood? Were they paid and treated fairly? Nope.
It helps me grow and learn when I call out my own hypocrisy. I like to think that this mindfulness can balance me out and will prevent me from being too pious or evangelical about my lifestyle choices. My purchase was ethical in one way but not in another:
✅ Almost plastic free
✅ Some items entirely package free
✅ Meal was for staff and volunteers of a charity working to build resilience in the pacific in light of climate change.
❌ Food purchased at @colessupermarketswho (among other questionable business practices) subsidises their costs through pokie/slot machines
❌ Ingredients were not ethically sourced / Farmers may have not been treated fairly to produce this food
❌ Non organic / GMO food
❌ Spaghetti made by Barilla who also have reeeally messed up ethical standards.
One thing’s for sure: I did not let the red wine go to waste last night. Today, I meditated in the sun because I’ve forgotten to look after myself these past few weeks. Look after your planet, your body, your mind and others each and every day. Be patient with yourself. Forgive yourself. Nobody’s perfect. Especially not me
Minimalism is empowering. This small and mighty set can clean benchtops, windows, grout, carpet, upholstery, leather, wood and fabric stains. Past Zoe had a separate cleaning product for every kind of surface and stain. Today, I have a bicarb shaker and a simple multi-purpose spray made of vinegar + water with a dash of eucalyptus oil.
The whole range of possibilities was overwhelming and took practice before i had a smooth system in the home. For instance, I’m saving Apple scraps to make homemade apple cider vinegar and after a bit of practice, the vinegar is working really well. But it wasn’t easy to save the scraps in the first place. I went through months of throwing apple cores in the compost and cussing because I’d forgotten that I wanted to save them. I had to ease into this habit.
I’m all about baby steps. My approach to food scraps is the perfect example of new habits growing into wholistic, systematic adoption. I now have 4 freezer bags and a vinegar bottle for saving different types of scraps. Obsessed much? 😂 Here’s how baby steps turned into something bigger:
- I started by saving vegetable scraps for stock.
- After that, I kept a bottle of vinegar in the cupboard for citrus peels. When full, it makes orange vinegar.
- Then, I added a second freezer bag for fruit and mint leaves. When full, I make a batch of iced tea.
- During apple season, I added a 3rd freezer bag to make apple cider vinegar from scraps. Pictured is the jar used for fermentation and the watered down ACV drink that makes my belly very happy.
- Lastly, I added a 4th freezer bag for sad vegetables or leftovers that I could blend together to make soup. We’re pretty good at making the right amount of food but this was a good fall back just in case our eyes were bigger than our bellies.
It’s seems like an obsession but this all built up very slowly. It helped that the transition to zero waste left us with a surplus of zip lock bags that needed a permanent use. One freezer bag lasts about 2 years with this system.
It also helps that the result of these little steps are truly delicious drinks/food. My taste buds are stoked.
A tea towel and a brush are perfect for cleaning the kitchen and bathroom. They’re also good for drying hands and scrubbing nails, holding hot pots and cleaning boots, playfully whipping siblings and pretending to have a fancy moustache.
We save fruit scraps in a freezer bag to make iced tea. When the bag is full, I put it in a 2L jug and add a dash of red tea and mint (if we have it). I fill the jug with boiling water, cover, let it sit for a day, strain and compost the scraps. I bottle the warm tea and leave in the fridge for a few hours. The result is a refreshing iced tea, particularly rewarding on a summer day.
Recipe inspiration is from @thugkitchen’s peach iced tea.
Zero waste travel with doggo. I packed body wash, face scrub and dog shampoo for a weekend away at @wolseleywines eco winery cabin. This dog-friendly accomodation is almost entirely off the grid, architecturally designed and has a freakin cellar door 100 feet away.
My husband and my dog are currently napping. I’m starting to wonder if their souls are connected…
I don’t blame them – this place has melted my troubles away. From the moment we arrived, I’ve felt pure contentment. I’ve lost track of time. The complimentary bottle of wine helped 🙃 but it’s the connection to the natural landscape that has had the greatest impact on my mental wellbeing. This tiny home has 4 walls that can slide away, exposing the entire space to the elements.
I believe we’ve been designing homes all wrong. A home shouldn’t protect from the elements, it should honour them.
I book holidays to get closer to the elements. In this place, I experienced deep meditation by the fire. I took in panoramic views of the lake, gum trees and vineyard. We walked barefoot and soaked our feet in the water. We got dirt and sand and dust on our clothes. We secured our belongings as the wind swept through the home.
This place has inspired me to build an affordable closed-loop home that blends into the natural environment. One day…
Zero waste on the go! I used to have two individually-wrapped museli bars a day. I now keep a jar of mixed nuts, dried fruit and chocolates in my bag that I can snack on between meals. This simple habit has prevented me from buying impulse snacks when I’m out and about. It’s great for work, car, flights, picnics, bush walks, camping and walking/riding around the city. I love that it’s easy to share too. This small and mighty jar could bring me one step closer to being the cool guy at the pub when we want something to nibble on.
Second hand score! $10 Crofton pot from a garage sale. This is a huge upgrade from our Teflon-coated @stanley.rogers frypan bought new for around $40 at a discount store many years ago. Funny how buying second hand can result in major upgrades at a fraction of the cost.