Thursday, 28 November 2013

Plastic free Christmas

Christmas has come early to me this year, so thought I'd share a couple of great ideas:
I received these fantastic fabric present wraps as a gift from
 The Rubbish Whisperer. What a great idea for reducing waste at
a time of the year when when we collectively produce the most.

This is my present to myself, a bumble bee nesting box.
They are hand made and come with nesting material for a very reasonable price.
See Creative Woodcraft NZ for these and other bug friendly homes that
are very beneficial for the garden.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Plastic free gardening mark 2

What I couldn't grow from seed, I got local heritage
plant propagators to wrap seedlings in newspaper
for me. They could then reuse the plastic containers
for the next generation of seedlings.

Bee heaven

My lovely wine barrels, which will collect
grey water for the garden


Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Speaking out

I recently had my second stint of public speaking on my year at a local forum; Green Drinks as part of Sustainable September events in Raglan. It went much better than my first, and I enjoyed it so much I hope I have another chance to get the message out on plastic and avoiding it.
 
I think the thing that had the most effect on people was my final party trick - the bag of rubbish (landfill) that I had produced over the three months of being plastic free. It had about 4 items in it!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Plastic free gardening

My cloche, filled with a variety of seeds waiting to
germinate. Egg cartons make great nurseries, and
the trays underneath are kept with 5mm of water in
them to ensure the soil doesn't dry out.
This has been the biggest challenge so far. Most gardening items are housed in plastic, from seeds and seedlings to compost and tools. I always have a big vege garden on the go over summer, but have always bought seedlings. This year I am having to learn to grow everything from seed, and am fortunate enough to be able to source heritage seeds (in paper envelopes!) from my local environment centre.
My old horrible plastic compost bin, which I inherited
from the previous owner (all those toxins leaching into
the beautiful compost! Ugh).
My new look plastic free compost, with everything
but the chicken wire sourced from materials around
the house and section (and hopefully rat proof!)
I have a bush and marsh area on my property that
needed to have some gaps filled. Taupo Native shipped
my plants to me plastic free, wrapping the bases in
newspapers instead of plastic containers. The plants
are in great condition and come at an excellent price.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

It seems my suspicions were right

Cadbury's have just confirmed it in this article about their move away from cardboard packaging to plastic.
See below post for a run down of the Terracycle issue.


Saturday, 24 August 2013

Terra-ble

Terracycle is a recycling company that turns used confectionary wrappers into other products. Terracycle NZ was launched a couple of months ago to the excitement of many members of the green community in the country. Now while this might have looked like a great idea at first glance, I felt very uneasy about this initiative from the start.

My concern that it actually supports plastic manufacturing by not discouraging consumers to avoid it (it in facts rewards them with a financial incentive) was confirmed by a recent letter I received from Mondelez International, who are responsible for Cadbury's, Pascall, and The Natural Confectionary Company.

I returned some plastic packaging to them (from the packaging drop during Plastic Free July) with a letter suggesting they repackage their goods in an environmentally friendly way. Their reply stated that The Natural Confectionary Company is "committed to environmental responsibility and as such has formed an innovative partnership with Terracycle...[which] allows consumers to return their used packaging to Terracycle". 

This suggests to me that this manufacturer, and any others in 'partnership' with Terracycle can now tick an obligatory environment box. It has not only removed the responsibility they should own for producing environmentally harmful goods, but it in fact gives them a mandate to continue. 

Recycling is a good tool, but it is not an answer to our increasing plastic problem. It certainly should not be used to justify plastic production.

I would be interested in hearing other thoughts about this or similar initiatives.
Merren

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

International Plastic Free July Helpdesk

Earlier this month I joined Beth Terry from My Plastic Free Life, Tim Silverwood from Take 3, Rebecca from Plastic Free July, Paul from Two Hands Project, Taina from Plasticmanners and Danielle from It Starts With Me for a discussion on how best to be plastic free. Have a watch if you'd like some guidance or motivation or inspiration in reducing your plastic consumption.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yIQtDlON20

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Kindergarten love

Raglan Kindergarten, who are taking part in Plastic Free July, gave me a present today to help me with my plastic free year (pretty lovely, aye). Love the wrapping!
Sandwich wraps

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Green goodness

The Herbal Dispensary in Raglan are supporting me this year by providing a weekly organic fruit and vege box. And they have lots on offer (including goodies to give away) for Plastic Free July, so go check them out. I am definitely feeling lots of Raglan-love. Thanks so much guys!

Friday, 14 June 2013

Plastic Free July drive

Today was Raglan's annual mid-winter swim to mark the Winter Solstice. I sewed one week's worth of plastic waste produced by a family of four on to a dress in order to promote Plastic Free July. I won the best dressed competition, so that has to be good publicity! The Whaingaroa Environment Centre did an awesome job of signing people up.
Love this photo

Community support

A local weaver, Ardre Foote, made me a harakeke clothes basket to replace my plastic one. How fantastic is that? It's simply beautiful.
You can purchase Ardre's flaxen works at
Matapihi Gallery in Raglan.

Friday, 7 June 2013

The joke's on me

I sent two lots of Oil of Olay plastic packaging back to the manufacturer in Australia with a letter suggesting they consider repackaging their products in a more environmentally manner. 

In return I got a stock reply expressing their concern at my concern, and reparation in the form of not one, but THREE plastic gift cards. I'm not sure if the irony is intentional, but you have to laugh.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Plastic purge

After watching Plastic Planet I decided to up the ante:
Plastic casualties from my kitchen and bathroom.
















My new look pantry.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Wow!

Greencane were so impressed by what I am doing, they sent me a "starter pack" to help me out with my plastic free year. Am absolutely blown away:
Greencane products are made from sugar cane biproduct and the packaging is 100% compostable. They produce tissues, toilet paper, and kitchen towels. At present Greencane products are only available from New World and health shops in Auckland, but if you go to their website and use the promotion code 'friends 2013' that is in place for commerical customers, you can save $4 per purchase (only available in 2013).

Thursday, 18 April 2013

What's this all about then?

In July of 2013 I am starting a year that will be free of purchasing plastic. Please join me on this journey; I expect it will be very revealing about our plastic habits, and will hopefully result in some comprehensive tips for those of you who want some freedom from a wasteful 'convenience' lifestyle.