Our homebrew was a success.

Our homebrew was a success. We took @brewsmithau‘s Hoppy Heart IPA and made it sessionable by adding water before bottling into reused beer bottles. It tastes sensational. Love your work @brewsmithau and thank you for inspiring us to experiment with our brews.

1 hour. 4 people. 6 bags of trash.

1 hour. 4 people. 6 bags of trash.

The things we dug up today made it feel like we were investigating a crime. Together, we found a syringe, an unused condom, a men’s wallet with membership cards, a pair of men’s jeans, a cardigan and maybe a small baggie of heroin!?

We also found loads of @woolworths_au and @colessupermarkets plastic bags, styrofoam, straws, @cocacola cans, @evianwater bottles, coffee cups, @cadbury and @nestle chocolate wrappers, a milk crate, an uneaten fun-sized bounty bar, a tyre iron, a @nikesoccer ball and an astonishing amount of @mcdonalds bags, burger boxes, cups and straws.

I think these McDonald’s straws are haunting me. Every week, there’s so many of them. They never die. Maybe they have special powers of immortality? Maybe if I hold one, I’ll become immortal too?? Thank you @_jameslake @hoppingtonpost and Kirsty from @girlsrockmelb for making this a Trash Party. Regardless of the never-ending straws, it’s been incredible to see our progress each week and have a different group of wonderful people helping out. You rock!

Easy system for label removal

I’ve now got an easy system for label removal. First, I peel as much off as possible. Then I soak in warm water with a dash of eucalyptus. I leave the glue to soften until any remaining label is soaked through. Then, I take steel wool and more eucalyptus and scrub away all the gunky paper and glue. After that, it just needs a wash with Castile soap to remove the oil. Depending on the label, this can be a 5sec task or a 10min task – but it’s worth it if you find something perfect for your needs. I love how beautiful a used container looks after the label is removed.

The challenge of zero-waste meat and cheese

I love cheese so very much. Going 100% plastic free has been challenging for us non-vegans.

It’s hard to find cheese and meat without planning waaaay ahead. Our options are further limited by a 9-5 work schedule. Most places aren’t open late, and there’s a small window during the weekend.

We happened to run out of meat and cheese when @plasticfreejuly clocked in so we went without for a few days. I told our housemate about our struggle. On her day off, she managed to find places in Carlton that sell cheese and meat (almost) plastic free. I don’t know which one I’m more excited about: the giant slabs of cheese in our fridge, or the thought and generosity behind this gesture. Thank you @jujuskoo101 for being amazing

Zero waste birthday tokens

This is an epic 30th birthday present of individual experiences from some truly generous, incredible people. @_jameslake has been working hard and deserves a holiday so we’ve all pitched in to give him a trip to the stunning red centre of Australia: Uluru, Alice Springs, Kings Canyon.

Each token is an experience/travel item given to him from different people (coordinated via a simple spreadsheet). These tokens were attached to props/clues (that we already had in the house) to add the element of mystery and give him something to unwrap.

The wrapping was made of paper bags that we had hoarded over the last couple of years + some sticky tape in lieu of string. He seemed to enjoy carefully unwrapping each gift and trying to guess what each experience was.

Happy birthday @_jameslake shine on you crazy diamond

Ice cubes for cooking

Inspired by a video that @jujuskoo101 sent me, I made little ice cubes for cooking. One is garlic and herb, the other is red wine. We have sooo much garlic. I originally chopped it all up in one hit and put a large jar in the fridge for easy minced garlic. This proved to be a great way to keep it fresh, but we didn’t seem to be using it quickly enough. In addition to this, I’ve made little olive oil, herb and garlic ice cubes for cooking later. We also had a small amount of red wine leftover. So I’ve also made little wine cubes for pasta sauce and stews. It boggles my mind that we had leftover wine, but at least this way it’s not going to waste

Do you want the good news or the bad news first?

Hmm… Do you want the good news or the bad news first? At 7 months, our progress is really good: At our current rate of waste creation, I’ve estimated that we would fill one landfill bin every 8 months, and one recycling bin every 5 weeks. Previously, it would take 2 weeks to fill both bins.

Our household has 3 people and one dog. One of us is slightly more obsessed with zero waste than the others… Guess who!?  If we were to stop making incremental improvements, this is the rate we’d be at. I think that’s pretty great! I thought it would take much longer to get to this stage. Plus, a lot of the waste we’re still creating is from products we bought before my zero waste rampage. I also love not needing to take the bins out… Now for the bad news… We recently found out that our waste collection service has been cutting corners by dumping recycling into their landfill trucks.

It’s not all the time, but it’s still really messed up. We’ve put pressure on body corporate who are in the process of rectifying everything. I have an inkling/hope that the service provider will lose their very big contract (over 200 dwellings… that’s a lot of wasted recycling!).

Until now, I’d never thought to check how our bins are being collected. I put my trust in the fact that recycling goes to a recycling plant. Every area is a little bit different, so we’ve learnt our lesson to be aware of what happens to our waste after it leaves our home. Another positive from this is that we are even more committed to reducing our recycling waste.