Coffee cups at work have been given a new life

The coffee cups at work have been given a new life! The wonderful @dominictaranto had the beautiful idea of turning one week of @redbubble‘s disposable coffee cups into little planters to giveaway. With the help of @anakresinaand myself, we planted a geranium in each cup to help raise awareness of our disposable lifestyles. Well done team. You rock!! I’d love to know from cafes how many cups are being given out on a daily basis. Have the numbers reduced or changed since @keepcup was popularised? I’d love to know more from the awesome Melbourne cafes tagged here.

Making do with plastic kitchen items

I came very close to getting rid of these and buying wood/metal replacements. They are perfectly fine and I’m so glad I wasn’t too hasty in trying to transform into plastic-free perfection. One day, I’ll upgrade. But for now, there’s no point letting them go to waste

4 people. 1 hour. 7 bags of trash.

4 people. 1 hour. 7 bags of trash.

Thank you @ameerkat_47@_michaelacatherine and Peter for making this a Trash Party. We found a sock, a rubber duckie, a condom wrapper, 2 syringes, 10 golf balls, 3 @cocacola cans, 2 @carmanskitchen wrappers, 4 @mcdonaldscups, 5 beer bottles, a @jackdaniels_us can, lots of broken glass, countless straws (mostly #maccas), an unmanageable amount of plastic bags; and an alarming amount of highly recognisable chocolate wrappers including products from @nestle@cadburyoz and @whittakersnz.

It might be the designer in me speaking here, but the haunting resilience of this vibrant packaging seems like a terrible way to achieve brand awareness. I am hopeful that soon it will be normal for companies to take responsibility for the waste they generate by preventing it at a packaging and product design level.

I don’t believe this waste is created by people disposing of rubbish irresponsibly. It all appeared after the flash floods in December and looks like it’s been carried downstream from neighbouring homes.

To all the companies tagged here: How can we prevent this waste from being generated in the first place?

To Make & Phase Out

Making these lists was the very first step towards zero waste.

Inspired by @zerowastehome, I made two bathroom lists: To Make & Phase Out. Phase out means the product no longer exists in its current form. This could mean I’ve replaced with a reusable or just learnt to live without it.

This list has also helped me reduce what I do use, such as band-aids (I’ve used one this year) and cotton tips (which I tried to live without but eventually found compostable ones).
Looking at these lists brings a sense of pride in the progress we’ve made. I make so much stuff now.
My needs have changed too. In some cases, I’ve tried to make what I thought was an essential item (face scrub) and then realised we don’t need it at all. It’s easy to hoard bathroom products.
These lists are a great first step for zero waste beginners as it’s tailored to your needs and allows you to take baby steps.

Discovering new package free stores

I love going on a road trip and discovering new package free stores out of town. On the way to @peninsulahotsprings, we discovered this store in Mornington Peninsula, @thrivebulkwholefoods. Naturally, I had to get some chocolate covered cherries and macadamias. They opened 8 months ago and it’s just great to see so many of these stores popping up recently. Sign of the times!

Zero waste is all about habits, not morality

Last month, I helped the amazing @anakresina and @dominictaranto collect used disposable coffee cups from our office bins at @redbubble.

Like most offices, we have a bin at each pod of desks, plus the big ones in the kitchen. For one week, the three of us casually trawled through countless bins dotted around two floors of our Melbourne office, collecting as many cups as we could.

It’s been a great way to raise awareness. We’ve been super conscious not to make anyone feel bad – I am a firm believer that the point of zero waste is all about habits, not morality. In order to keep moving forward; education, inspiration and incremental habit-forming is key. The next step for this project is the inspiration piece and I can’t wait to show you what they have planned for these cups. They’re about to bloom into something very special.

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

DIY reed diffuser

Inspired by @naturallyinitaly_ I made a reed diffuser. It’s canola oil + essential oil. I love this idea but I’m not getting the yummy smells that I was expecting. Have doubled the amount of essential oil (this is 60 drops : 1 cup unscented oil). It’s still very subtle. Has anyone else made one of these? Would love our bedroom to smell of lavender and rose to aid in sleeping.

Zero waste deodorant options that I’ve explored

I’ve learnt that deodorant is easy to make but challenging to know which kind is right for the individual. What is perfect for one person could be ineffective / cause skin irritations for another. On top of all this, a detox from conventional deodorants can make it tricky to judge the effectiveness of natural options. A blanket rule is to detox for 2 weeks before moving onto a natural deodorant, then assess small samples until the right one presents itself.

Zero waste options that I’ve explored: Salt crystal, @sukinskincare spray, ACV + witch hazel roll on (DIY), @lushcosmetics powders and bars, Cornstarch + baking soda + ground rosemary (DIY) and this one pictured… coconut oil + baking soda + Cornstarch (DIY).

This is my winner. It travels well, is enjoyable to make and most importantly, it works really well for me. No stinky pits! I even like the application of dabbing a little on my finger and rubbing into the pits. This is 1:1 baking soda and cornstarch with coconut oil smooshed in until the consistency is like putty. The amount of coconut oil depends on the climate/season as it melts in hot weather. I added ‘insight’ blend of essential oils from @perfectpotion to give it a little boost of perfume. Very happy with this solution.