New phase, less plastic.

We are entering a new phase in our lives. Julie is back at University, and I have finished my work at TEAR. So my role is now driving the home-ship, while Julie get’s her Masters finished. Its a good thing to be doing. I probably won’t be doing much international development work for a bit. I think that is ok, though I’ll miss the community.

One challenge we (I) have set ourselves is to do without plastic. We watched a short video, as part of our family devotions (link is here: https://vimeo.com/25563376 ), and along with some encouragement from the TEAR office in my last week, who sent out this: http://hateandanger.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/plastic-detox-deplastify-your-life.jpg

plastic This is a lot harder than you might think. Some changes we have made

1. stopped buying milk in plastic bottles. You can buy Bannister Downs milk in 1L bags, made from chalk (how do they do that??). It is more expensive, but it reflects the real cost of a plastic free life. Plastic just passes on that cost to the environment.

2. make our own yoghurt. There is a great instructable on how to do this faultlessly here: http://www.instructables.com/id/Yogurt-By-The-Gallon/

3. make our bread. We need about 6 loaves a week. I use a bread maker (free from Gumtree) to make the dough and cook it myself. I bake on Thursdays and Mondays, 3 loaves at a time.

4. Honey in bulk from our veggie shop. I took along a 5L container, they fill it and return it.

5. Rice, flour, etc in bulk sacks. Take all our own bags for fruit and veggies.

6. make our own muesli. This is a cinch. Oats, nuts, sultanas, coconut etc, in bulk, and bake it up. Make it go a bit further with some bulk purchased wheat flakes and puffed rice. My family can’t get enough of this.

What remains? hard to get pasta in bulk… I can only find it in poxy 500gm plastic bags. Coffee. I’ll need to go to the wholesaler. Cheese. I’m not up to making my own cheese yet. Eggs we have, from the chickens, but we eat meat and fish, and they tend to come pre wrapped, unless we start going wholesale… It is a bit more work than just going the easy plastic route. One other complication is the tradeoffs – if I buy fair trade coffee, it comes in 250gm bags, and we use a lot of coffee = a lot of bags. If I go to the wholesaler, they are a long drive away = a lot of driving. Doing all this = a lot of time….

Watch the film: https://vimeo.com/25563376 . Worth trying.

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6 thoughts on “New phase, less plastic.

  1. What an achievement! Have you tried a bulk food coop for your pasta? The one in Canberra you take your own containers to and they fill them. For meat, you could try buying in bulk (eg a side of lamb), even if there was still some plastic packaging it would be a lot less than if you bought the same amount in smaller lots. Good luck!

    • Yes I did see these and thought about it – they have a high nostalgia value for me too …. But at $5/ litre it is 4x as costly as milk in plastic. In chalk it is about twice the cost!

  2. I’ll have to check out the yoghurt link… Mine is all over the place success wise… We end up with a lot of yoghurt smoothies! If you are still in Perth, Try Yahava coffee… WestSwan road just north of Reid Hwy. free tastings as well and a beautiful hill for the kids to play on whie you have an fternoom date!

  3. I admire your efforts at this challenging task, Phil and Julie. As anyone who has tried the “Plastic free July” will tell you, it’s really hard to do. Plastic is in so much of four lives.
    Here in the USA where I am visiting at the moment there appears to be almost no consciousness of the whole plastic thing – let alone the idea of sustainable living and reducing our footprint on the planet. Plastic and polystyrene rule here, it is sad to say!!.

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