Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Gandhi Way

It's been a few very emotional days (& weeks) where we learnt the horrible facts that there's another incinerator being planned not only here in Slovenia, but also in the lovely Glouceshire, where the MyZerowaste family & others are bravely aiming for zero waste!

Upon a bit of researching and getting dizzy looking at 'alternative' (fancier 'burn' technologies) one can easily wonder, with all those being so heavily promoted and 'pushed' worldwide, does it make sense to still push & do Zero Waste?

Then I started thinking: would I stop making zero waste (or at least trying to) if it were CERTAIN if everyone were making huge amounts of waste & everywhere in the world there would be horrible huge incinerators (or such?)

Hell, no.

I LOVE my cloth pads, and I love my (pretty much) zero waste (& zero toxics!) bathroom!!

No incinerator or fancy technology on Earth can make me convinced otherwise!

Also, no incinerator or fancy technology can make me convinced it's 'completely safe'. I have been allergic to iffy artificial additives in food when I was a wee kid - and officially, those are 'completely safe'! Hm!
So I learnt to separate 'highly toxic' from 'safe' (& learnt self-control at eating) at a young age already - to avoid a terribly itchy rash!!

Later on, my Dad cured his rheumatism by opting for healthier food (& lifestyle) - the very same artificial iffy chemicals were said to cause both arthritis/rheumatism, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other iffy diseases!

Why on earth would anyone want to poison themselves deliberately, even if there's only a tiny chance to do so?

(And what is worse, researching incinerators and such too much seems to give me a terrible cold and a runny nose! Am I allergic to incinerators and 'clean' technology too? Hm!)

So today I looked at this site: Village of Fruitvale - a village with a lovely name. And it gives me great hope!!

They have adopted a Zero Waste policy and in 2005 they were already 50% there!

Everyone has to pay for as much waste they make (my neighbours could do with this!) and they have an official policy and everything, and are working on manufacturer responsibility too... (links from their page)

So if anyone says, 'Zero Waste is impossible', please direct them to Fruitdale Village website.. If a village in Canada can do this, why not other villages and a bit bigger 'villages' worldwide?

If we remember that some incinerators still leave 35% waste (as ashes) - 50% diversion from landfill is already a great accomplishment, no?
(of course many may brag about leaving less ash or similar, but fact is most make some kind of potentially toxic by-product!)

So overall getting to 50% or more by just, uhm, minimizing and recycling (& collecting stuff separately) - not bad, eh?

EDIT: Mrs A just told me about a lovely village in Wales called St Arvans so I'm adding a link to her post about them too!!
They have achieved a diversion figure of 77% which is really awesome, I think!!
They have employed interesting strategies like door-to-door knocking, etc! Really an inspiration!

I would be interested to know how the current trend in recycling prices might influence this all (or not) so a bit more research on them would be excellent!!
Do tell if you know any other communities that have gone the Zero Waste route with such success!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

I LOVE NAKED Amazon!! :)

Well, I have a terrible truth to confess: even though I try to get books in the local library, or the retro store/s - I just ordered and received a HUGE order from Amazon!

(Of course, I only dared to do so, after Mrs Green and other green sites approved my choice.)

I also read extensively on Amazon itself, including which I ultimately ordered from (cause I could get an extra book for the same price due to their much better postage pricing for new-EU states & 'the rest of the world'!)
(I hate it that puts us into the same category as, uhm, Uzbekistan or Zimbabwe, although the distances are quite different!!)
And it is terrible discrimination we're not able to buy things used on the Marketplace!! (surely the whole EU and US market would collapse if the new members of EU could shop for used things too?)

Well, I was still expecting the delivery with lots of despair & trepidation!
Would it be horrible and full of shrink-wrap plastics? Would every book be individually sealed in a completely useless plastic bag? (like many books here in Slovenia are!)

I ordered on February 9th, the first batch was dispatched on the 12th - & gotten on February 14th! YAY! AMAZON LOVES ME!!

I slightly despaired cause the site told me the 2nd batch (which I actually needed/wanted more) would come from 3rd-21st march! (I forgot not all books were 'in stock' at .de, as they were at .uk - 2 were 'ready to ship in 12 to 14 days')
I was wondering if I had done the right thing... /Maybe the Universe was punishing me for buying so many new books? - yes, there was some guilt involved! I actually wanted to buy the books last August already, but then didn't dare to../ (or maybe buying from would be better?) - But this Saturday, on Feb 21st, all the books arrived, so I was very happy!!

Unfortunately have forgotten the excellent idea of Mrs Green to sell the books on once she's finished with them... Mine are somewhat dog-eared already, some of them! (which only means they are EXTREMELY useful, and they will be of much use! Couldn't get them here in Slovenia, so I had to get them from abroad!)

I did remember to use the paperclips for the not-so-useful bits and books (so they can ideally be resold or donated to a library easier)!

Description: They were in a plain cardboard box (like promised), with only some cellotape :(, books were totally NAKED :) YAY!!, there was a dispatch-paper with a plastic-window-thingie part (is that recyclable too?), and in the big box some unrequested heavily-printed glossy flyers/coupons - I thought 'How pretty!' - but as I'm unlikely to order monthly German DVD service or business cards, or go on a cruise, these are pretty useless to me! and rather excessive - one would think they track customer addresses and at least send you what you might use?)

Other Nitpicks: I know TRANSPORT (from so far away) is not environmentally friendly.. The books were not available as e-books, and also, you need energy for reading e-books, and can't lounge with them on a sofa so comfortably.. so, hm? I do wish Amazon included some data on emmissions-footprint etc, so I could calculate the footprint of each book (or the lot) from individual stores - I might even go with another store if it proved to be eco-friendlier!
I've already asked them to reveal data & make less emissions, maybe you can too?

I do wonder about any previous wrapping-of-pallets-into-plastic too... (I hope that plastic gets to be reused or recycled at least!)
Also, the books do not say if they are TCF - Totally Chlorine-Free, & thus dioxin-free, so I'm guessing they're not! (I wish all books were!)
Some seem to have some recycled content & some not, though none mention this specifically - it would be GREAT to know!

They are really great books though, and I'm sure I will be using most of them for quite a while! (Unfortunately for some of them, I seemed to have learnt most stuff online already!:) /am still wondering if it's environmentally friendly to return them, or resell, or not?/

am also a bit bedazzled by it all, not sure which one to start proper first!! :)
/I've skimmed the lot of them briefly, I feel my head is HUUGE!!;)/ But I LOVE books!! Especially NAKED books!!

This whole thing did make me wonder though: if Amazon can ship me NAKED books from Germany - and they look great! WHY do Slovenian firms insist on individual-packinging every one of them into plastic?! It beats me!!

Maybe need to demand NAKED books in Slovenia too?!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Shocking news!!

Okay, so you guys may be wondering where I have been... Been looking at and researching other things..
BTW comments are fixed now (I think) so - happy commenting!! :)

I've been recently made aware of a great new channel for (hopefully) independent/alternative information on environment etc. here in Slovenia.
It's called Studio 12 and is supported by CEE Trust - Trust for Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe which aims to help create independent media in this region (Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia).

Not only does it report of the latest developments re: Sai Baba and other spiritual themes, a whole section is devoted to environment and such!
And YES, they have TV shows about GARBAGE too!! (Now you see why I'm addicted!!:)

They invited into their studio the CEO of Slopak, the company that gathers recyclables in Slovenia. (Interestingly, the company is set-up and funded by chief-package-waste producers such as Coca Cola, beer breweries, Tetrapak, milk companies etc. - so stuff can get passed on to be recycled even if they have to pay for it - there are FUNDS set aside for this! they do not depend on the market solely, although it was easier when stuff was worth more.)

Not surprisingly, the CEO said THEY PREFER RECYCLABLES TO BE WASHED!! (which the garbage men have been wishy-washy about and never really made a clear advice) Of course it makes sense - if washed, the recyclables can be sorted much more easily, and they can wait longer for transport too (without getting smelly, mouldy or such) which makes the whole thing more economical and produces less emmissions from transport. Also, MUCH LESS chemicals are needed for washing the recyclables early after use as opposed to later having to use really strong and bad chemicals.(!)

But this isn't the shocking news yet!!
THIS is the shocking news: When asked about TRENDS worldwide, the CEO calmly talked about an interesting TREND how to 'make' waste/packaging, so they will have the best fuel effect (& will burn in a most consistent manner etc). GRR!!

This makes me wanna behave in an un-ladylike manner!!

I guess this explains all the rantings by the amazing Mrs A and the equally amazing Mrs Green!!

Here we are, thinking of how to reduce waste in ingenious ways, and they are actually DESIGNING best flammable and burnable waste - instead of focusing on LESS WASTE in the 1st place!!

I want to have a word or two with those DESIGNERS!!!!!!!

I am NOT a DESIGN Major but I have this book: Eco-Friendly Design
A friend of mine IS and she's never heard of it! (until I told her)
/Been meaning to do a review on it & will post it up when I do! - I think it is most helpful for visual-art/graphics designers, but packaging designers may find a hint or two too!!/

Maybe Mrs A and Mrs Green could invite some design college professors for a nice cuppa tea or a piece of zero waste cake?
Or maybe Poppy's protests need to be held outside a design college/University...? hmm!!

If you find a product or service (or incinerator) advertise itself to be 'green' or 'eco' and it's not - report it here:
(Found on the lovely
I wish we had something like this for Slovenia-? Hey, maybe we have! Gotta check!! :)
(And while you're at it, maybe Complain to ASA about polluters adverts too?!!)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Chaos into order? Zero Waste Report #1!

Okay, so I'm still battling with Blogger (& so are some of my Livejournal friends, who haven't been able to post comments! Thanks for visiting anyway!!) - but I thought I'd just go ahead & start this thing proper.

I am learning from the lovely Danda at Dandaworld to be a bit more systematic and bring some order into this chaos!
Our household is, well, a tiny bit chaotic.

We do recycle, but hm... Not 100% of time (sometimes things like tuna tins have gotten thrown in with the rest of garbage, cause no one my Sis could be bothered to wash them up proper)

Our 'recycling station' - hm! We do have two (three) bins in our pretty almost-new kitchen, one for 'mixed garbage' and one for paper (that usually gets burnt in the furnace, as it's typical here). /I'm not completely happy with this, as I'm not sure how chlorine-free the paper is, especially as Sis & Dad insist on damn catalogues (while Mom & I'd love to cancel them!) and those have been known to be a source of heavy metals also! - A friend of mine who works in a Slovenian printing shop has informed me that eco-awareness there is 'disastrous'! - Maybe topic for another rant post!/
Also, the mixed-garbage bin is too big! As it has been pointed out (and observed!) the bigger the bin, the more waste may be made!
We had a smaller bin in the old kitchen, and I think less waste was made cause simply there wasn't so much place for it!

There are small bins in the toilet and bathroom too, which we thought was the 'height of hygiene' when we bought them a couple of years ago (after observing this in Uni dorms), but now I wish we hadn't bought them, as they only seem to give people incentive to make more waste - more easily!
I wish it were harder to throw away things!

Mom & Sis still insist on iffy hair products & deodorants etc with lots of throwaway packaging.. So currently I'm not focusing on those little bins, as they're not fully within my control.. /I do try to nag inform and inspire when appropriate, or just ignore.. until I have other things better under control.. or find better and alternative products they could use easily../
I started in my bathroom, where I'M in control, and am now moving on to kitchen! :)

We have a separate tiny plastic bin (with a non-tight lid) on the kitchen counter for compost/peels/ leftovers.

Then, things get taken downstairs (where the monsters are)!
Monsters, aka, all Dad's things!! (toxic poisons and all!!)
Sometimes the tins ruminate for a while on his big desk of tools, then get taken to the 'small garage', where there are boxes for this! The compost bin is there also, and a big box with plastic bottles (Sis still drinks Coca Cola! ugh!).
Truly we consume much less 'plastic food' and drinks than our neighbours, but still - I'd love to have juice etc produced at home/locally and available in glass bottles etc! We've done this at times and peach nectar was yummy!

Basically, it would be great if 'the small garage' could be organized better!!
As it is, it's also freezing cold there, so I barely tiptoe to the compost bin and put stuff in (it's later taken to the compost heap by Dad).

There are doors between the main garage and the small garage (where the car is), so the smell is not a problem. (There's no lid on the big compost bins, and well, sometimes it can smell a bit - it's still yummy food for the veggies and Dad keeps saying we need more compost - so it's very precious!)
I'm not sure if a lid would interrupt with the natural decomposing process or not, it's just always been done this way.. (On the farm where my Dad grew up they had a no-lid bucket in the kitchen 'for the piggies' too..)

So, basically this is the description of our 'recycling station'!
It kinda works for us, though some things could be improved!

There are big containers for recyclables (paper, plastics, tins, glass) about 200m away from our house, for all the neighbours to put stuff there.. This system works quite well, I've seen kiddies (& other neighbours) bring in stuff on wheelbarrows or even small wooden carts.. /Unfortunately not all neighbours are on board with this, but I've seen many and this gives me hope!!/

There has been some speculation whether the recyclables are really taken away separately by the waste trucks (basically people have given this as a reason not to do it!) - I always answer that in another city, when it was done, it was a pilot programme to assess how many people would be willing to recycle and it's even more important to recycle in this case!

In the summer, at times there were too many plastic bottles, and they waited outside the plastic container.. sometimes stuff got scattered around.. I guess it's important for everyone to MINIMIZE the plastic bottles in the 1st place (most stuff in them is really unhealthy for you anyway!)
This is a small town 'where village meets the town' and 'mini-markets' (with plastic food, & a plastic bag frenzy!) are 'the latest rage'! grr!!
Instead of preserving the beautiful nature, they are planning another one!! ugh
In one of them, I haven't been able to find a single thing without artificial food preservatives or excess baggage!
(They have eco bananas, but wrapped in plastic!!)

THE MAIN PROBLEM: Plastics from buying food!!
Many of those are non-recyclable, and even if some of them have #numbers and are theoretically 'recyclable' - hmm.. who knows? In a video on recycling in Slovenia the expert (head of recycling company) said things get sorted and some things that are impossible or 'uneconomical' to recycle proper still get 'processed for energy' - and we all know what that means!!
I've also read articles on recycling 'film plastics' (like bags or food packaging) being 'uneconomical'! - So the terrible plastics worry me tremendously & would love to find ways to shop without them completely!!
/It's been done for centuries, why not now??/

It's not really easy to find zero waste food and other stuff in these mini-markets, still, it's partly doable.. some veggies are packed, and some aren't, depends on the veggie - and the shop also!!
There's no everyday 'farmer's market' or 'health food store' (the first ones are half-an-hour drive away) - fortunately we do have a 'fair' once a month or so..
& Luckily Sis did get the phone number of a lady selling homemade butter and cottage cheese/quark, so YAY!! The 1st Zero Waste Wahoo!! :)

We get some milk and eggs, rabbits and beef from farmers directly, so these are pretty much 'zero waste', when fresh... The stuff from the garden is also pretty much Zero Waste.. Trouble is the frozen stuff, which is partly still in the terrible plastic bags! (the rest are ex-quark/ice-cream or Tupperware/Curver containers!)
Unfortunately the 'Yoghurt Wahoo' is not such a Wahoo anymore, as Sis & Mom want low-fat yoghurt (& maybe we've all been scared a bit by a possible dioxin scare - there's a PVC window producer locally..)
So the yogurt production has dwindled... (I keep wanting to try & make yogurt out of 2-day old milk, but people keep drinking/using it away!!)

Not surprisingly, our garbage is much less than our neighbours'! Mostly 1 plastic bag a week, while the neighbours (often) make 2 full huge bins!

So, the idea is to keep minimizing garbage, finding ways to buy ZERO WASTE (YAY there's been talk of organic food baskets or such in Slovenia too!! still, there are no good eco farmers with extra food to sell locally, that we would know of.. maybe more research would be needed..) - especially meat and such...

Will be detailing the battle for this in the next blogs... (as an ex-vegetarian, I am properly terrified of handling raw meat, but if I don't do it, who will??)
My family keep bringing 'plastic meat' (wrapped in tons of plastic or worse) from the super-markets!! grr!!
Is it really impossible to get semi-organic zero waste chicken or pork? Or, uhm, sausages or similar?

Stay tuned!! :)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

HAPPY VALENTINE's DAY everyone!! :))

Found at the lovely 'Bring Your Own' blog: - cool stuff!! - Just scroll down!! :)
(more recent entries slightly gross though partly - can you just say plastics, fish and turtles don't mix well? :( don't visit on an empty stomach! - Still, a great blog for opening people's eyes! I always wondered which turtles and fishies Mrs Green was talking about!!)

Anyway, wishing us all Zero Waste success!! & wishing all animals & pets lotsa LOVE!!!

...And maybe a happy marriage performed by Reverend Tyker?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Okay, what I have done already :)

It is important to always give yourself encouragement by listing what's already been done - possibly in a pretty notebook to give you a visual reminder of your success!!

So I have a very pretty eco-notebook, and stuff written in it!!

1) At home, we live in a house that is well-insulated, 2) has solar water heating (excellent in the summer or even winter on sunny days!!), 3) we have two huge compost heaps by the garden (still too little, as plants like A LOT of compost!!:))

4) We separate paper, tins and plastics for recycling... (Okay, much of the paper ends up reused for notes or printing 'on the other side' first... and eventually alas much of it gets burnt in the furnace... hence my concern for getting chlorine-free paper!!)
5) We have double or triple-glazing on windows..

6) Personally, I use pencil wherever possible. (I read pencil or oldfashioned pen were best, as some ballpoint pens may have iffy chemicals or heavy metals. I had lovely 'pump-style' pens for a long time, still looking for good new one/s! Do tell if you know any reliable ones!)

7) I've signed petitions wherever I came across some, sometimes making & inspiring others to sign them too.. :)
8) Have been getting informed about better and healthier practices... (internet, books, TV, etc)

9) I've dared to SAY NO to the plastic bag!! :) /sometimes shocking the salespeople, but usually they were pretty lovely about it and expressed concern over too many plastic bags themselves!/
I love shopping with my own cloth rucksack or a reusable bag. (If necessary, together with reused plastic bags from before... sadly, we have tons../

We've been reusing plastic bags for other stuff - carrying stuff, or ultimately binning things/transport of recyclables..
Earlier on I reused plastic water bottles (on trips and such), but now I prefer to re-use glass bottles...

10) I used to wear many retro clothes at the Uni, and some in high school already.. - Oddly enough, a couple of times people LOVED the look and imitated it! lol Or I was asked, 'Hey, you bought this in _trendy shop_, right? ;)
This means blouses, shirts, sweaters, jackets, even trousers & dresses!!
I even wore some retro shoes! (for performances and 'live'..) - And loved them! (I wish I had more my size!) Hmm, maybe need to dig up & get some 'new' ones!!

Haved swapped clothes with friends and relatives! It's FUN!! (you clear your closet AND get new clothes - possibly better ones than from a shop!!)

11) I've read a lot of books from the library and bought some in 2nd hand shops..
12) I don't smoke. Never have. Never will. It's just unnecessary.
13) Don't drink from tins or plastic bottles if I can help it.

14) Got my parents to collect excess oil even when the council still didn't prescribe it... & 15) use a glass bottle AND cork for vinegar (after hearing - and sort of seeing - that plastic ones, or even metal cork can be affected by the vinegar). /Don't laugh, this was a HUGE accomplishment!! ;)/
/As was 16) trying to sort the freezers. Don't ask. We're still struggling over reusable ex-cottage-cheese containers and/or the bloody plastic bags!/

17) Still have my sis's old cell phone, even though there are fancier & 'better' out there... (not sure if they would be so forgiving of my occasional neglect or bumping into things though!)
18) As odd as this may sound, I LOVE and take care of my things.. I still have my old guitar, and shoes... People are often surprised to see we still use old computers, and had little problems or need for repair with them, etc.
I'm probably not a 'normal' woman as I don't have tons of shoes that others brag about, and when I see a shoe shop, I wanna escape, not 'shop till I drop'... (My feet are unique, and I hate trying on a ton of sandals only to find that none fit or not-cost-a-fortune or - well, I always wonder what they are MADE OF, you know...?!! And how they were made... and what will happen once they're not wearable anymore.. Shopping is kinda frazzling, without knowing these things... )

19) If possible, I buy natural materials.. & 20) we all like to eat healthy, as much as possible.. Would love to learn more interesting recipes, as our food has been kinda boring lately!!
21) Mom's always made homemade jams and such.. Sometimes juices too.. (probably a target for 2009 too!!) I'm not a very 'Martha'-style person (plus I try to avoid sweet stuff), so this will be a huge challenge for me!! lol! I do see it as part of a more sustainable future and a useful skill, though..
22) 23) A lot of veggies and fruit are homegrown or gotten from relatives.. Some fruit and herbal teas are picked in the wild.. (Mom & Dad are the heroes here..)
I must confess I've been terrible at these too, so more effort will be needed in this direction..

24) I reuse: my desk comes from an office, some of the folders and binders too..
My Dad can't understand me: I still keep the old closets and wardrobes, not wanting to buy new ones!! (And what's more, I rave about some of them, how pretty they are!!)
/would nick one of the pretty old closets that's not being looked for proper too, if I could!/

In 2007:
25) Have switched to cloth pads (actually, this was one of the 1st things I did - as they were one of the things that irritated me most! small step for humanity, HUGE step for me!! :))
26) Have experimented with homemade cosmetics (banana! etc) and using oils a bit.. still to be experimented further..
27) I've been shampoo-free since December 2007!! (& have also used very little soap! oddly enough, I am still alive! ;))
28) possibly have done other experimental things...
29) Have learnt to wash bathroom sinks and loo with - vinegar!! :)
30) Have started experimenting with soap nuts, eco washing powders and dishwashing liquids and tablets etc... /ONGOING - the ideal solution still to be found/

In 2008:
31) I've experimented with CFL and LED lights.. (still to be continued)
32) I turn off & unplug the TV & radio when not in use religiously (Sis and Dad sort of undermining my efforts sometimes, but I still persist:))
33) I shower and don't bath (much) anymore (even though I used to LOVE it!!)
34) Have switched to 'cloth cleenex' in december 2008! (This was a BIG step too! lol)

In 2009:
35) Have learnt to make our own yoghurt even in Winter, thanks to the lovely and!! :))
36) Experimenting with salt instead of toothpaste :)
37) Bought cheese in a reusable plastic Tupperware-like container! YAY!!
38) I've found an (almost) zero-waste soap! (with only a small sticker!) YAY!!

39) Have managed to light up a fire in a cooking stove - with no paper!! :)
40) (and protect my hair from smell of cows! It's how the Albanian women do it!!;)
41) Have tried to research for ZERO WASTE ECO banans!! (Are there any in Slovenia?)
42) am plotting how to get butter and cottage cheese/quark zero waste... It involves a phone-call to two different people (not by me!) OR a local fair (that's been put under question mark due to snow lately!)

Soo... where will the path take me? Definitely to more experimenting...

Will I manage to cook my own soap? Or make my own chocolate?

And, what is still lurking in the bathroom, with an evil grin? ;) Stay tuned!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Why I am doing this

Well, in this blog, you will hear about some wacky stuff.

If you wonder why I'm doing it, go watch The Story of Stuff. Seriously. (free to download)

The way us humans have been throwing around resources, is scary and a bit frightening.
Another scary thing is how those valuable resources are treated then: dumped away or burnt. Causing emmissions of dioxins and heavy metals, and other cancer-causing chemicals we may not even know about... Some (like heavy metals) may cause mental health problems (which are on the rise worldwide anyway, as has been cancer!!) Dioxins and other chemicals may also cause birth defects in babies...

Even 'new technologies' like pyrolysis that claim to produce no emissions of dioxins or heavy metals are usually heavily undertested &/or the producers marketing them underplay dangers or just plain - lie.
"Waste from Energy" being 'green' is a well-marketed lie! (It is incinerator technology producing bad air with toxic chemicals+toxic remains in the ash or any fluids etc. - and truly some energy, but usually less than could be saved with recycling or using alternative products in the first place! - & much less than they would like you to believe!)

12 incinerators are planned in our beautiful Slovenia. They are called "Waste from Energy" or people claim the technology is so clean, one could drink the liquid that remains from pyrolysis! (article in Slovenian)
Yeah, right...!! Apparently sometimes the fluid or other by-products from pyrolysis are even more toxic than air emmissions from 'ordinary' incinerators!
And what happens if the plant breaks down? In Furth, Germany the whole area had to be evacuated in one of such cases because of too high emmissions!
Of course they will say these new incinerators are 'improved and better technology' - but that is what they always say! That is exactly what they said in US and Germany and elsewhere too!

You thought this could never happen to you? (I thought so too..) Well, research a bit exactly where the waste from your city goes... Or where it's intended to go... Trust me, your life will never be the same once you do...

Another reason I'm doing this is for my Granny. She's an awesome lady who has been a cleaning lady most of her life and started writing poetry in her old age, when retired already! She is one of the awesomnest people I know!!
She also had cancer, and has been battling with heart disease, and other problems.
Together with her, a lot of my relatives live in the city where the first 'official' municipal waste incinerator in Slovenia has been built.
They are liberal, wacky, creative, a lot of fun - and I LOVE them dearly!!
Yes, they do like some unhealthy food now and then, but the city they live in has been subjected to A LOT of chemical pollution as it is, they don't need this new source of pollution!!
Bad air has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, and a lot of other health problems!

Some will say, 'Oh but recycling causes bad air and toxic chemicals too.'
Whereas landfill and incinerators both cause bad air and toxic chemicals AND waste of resources, (in most cases) recycling is still better because at least the valuable resources are used for new things.

Where recycling is dirtier or impossible, or people say it's 'just unprofitable': JUST SAY NO!!!!
Very likely, alternative products or services exist, that will be much healthier and more environmentally friendly!!

IDEALLY, all products and services, shops and factories were designed in a way that leaves little room for refuse... But lots of room for creativity, reuse and sustainability.

A horrible fact is, I LOVE MY STUFF!! I want it to be well-built, to last for a long time, I prefer quality over quantity when it comes to techie stuff etc.. I'd be happy with upgrades and knowing end-of-cycle the stuff will be made into more good stuff, not just thrown away...

Besides, going ZERO WASTE is FUN!! It's an ADVENTURE!!! :))
You never know what you'll come against next!! ;)

A huge waste container near Granny's place in the city taught me one thing: garbage (if mixed together) will smell.
But, a garbage heap can also be a source of all sorts of treasures. When we were little, we loved reading the excellent comic books someone had left by the container, or play with awesomely-looking bits of fabric Granny had found near the container one day too.. On another occasion, us kids found lovely thrown-away bags we used for years to play 'postman' or do mini-theatre (or fashion shows) with!

This is a blog about MINIMIZING WASTE in the 1st place.

Our ancestors have lived without tons of plastic bags for eons.
On farms, and in Nature, 'waste' is not truly waste, but a valuable source for new life..

One day, I would LOVE to live on a farm too, so it's best if I start practising now!! :)

People in deserts live with MINIMIZED possessions, and in the Western civilisation our possessions sometimes drag us down or unable us to live in our own houses, or go where we want to go! When does STUFF become CLUTTER and when is it better to just let go? And be free?

Not far from where I live, a beautiful PARK with lots of amazing flowers was built where there used to be a 'village dump'! The site was cleaned up by volunteers years ago and turned around completely..

Could this be done on a larger scale? Could the world be turned around completely? - No idea, but the journey itself is FUN!! And I've already met some AMAZING people on the way!! /& if you never try, you never know.../

Besides, if nothing else, by not making waste it's not affecting my grandma's & my relatives' & friends' health - or anyone else's!!

Imagine a world that is - ZERO WASTE!
People all over the world, connected in their daily efforts to make less waste!!! In a sustainable, healthy way...
USA - Canada - Europe: UK - Italy - Slovenia - ....?? well, people in Asia and Africa probably do this out of necessity already, and it's pretty much done in Germany, Switzerland and the Scandinavian countries, NewZealand and Holland have apparently officially gone zero waste - still, would be interested if anyone is doing it per blog!
(will be keeping a list of countries!! - still looking to list people from other EU countries, Australia and the islands, Latin America, Asia or Africa (or Antarctica) doing this!! :)) Tell me if you know anyone!!)

Let's make parks with flowers and trees, gardens and zero waste shops, parties, picknicks & trips with yummy healthy food, and have fun & a healthy life & make friends ZERO WASTE STYLE!!!!!!!!!!!

(PS Can you think of any other reasons to go Zero Waste? I will try to keep track! In fact, there are more reasons why to do this, than against! I can only think of two reasons why not to do this: cause it's 'difficult' and for being 'plain lazy'! uhm, and they are not really good reasons for doing anything!! :))

Thursday, February 5, 2009

ZERO WASTE Toothbrush!! :))

Oh gosh, I'm so excited!! :))

I just read an article (in Slovenian) about using natural toothbrush - that you can just grab from a tree!

Apparently the rest of the world has been using them for millenia.. They are known as
chewing sticks, Miswak or siwak, muthala in Namibia or datan, datun, datun or so in India.

Used in old China, India, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and Rome, and by Amercian Natives, they can even be bought online! Nowadays they are more present in Muslim areas, as they've taken on a religious meaning.

But why buy? Go outside and uhm, pick a branch from a tree/shrub!

Apparently the original miswak is made from "twigs of the Salvadora persica tree, also known as the arak tree or the peelu tree" which according to Wikipedia has antibacterial and perhaps also other healing properties, possibly also curing you of rheumatism or asthma as you chew - or helping you to quit smoking (!).
Not surprisingly, even the toothpaste industry got in on it:

Quite shockingly, "A 2003 scientific study comparing the use of miswaak with ordinary toothbrushing concluded that the results clearly were in favor of the users who had been using the miswaak provided they had been given proper instruction in how to brush using the miswak."

"Other tree types that are used are the olive, walnut, and other trees with bitter roots."

The Slovenian author said he just started to experiment with various trees, and recommends olive tree, sumach, ash tree or peach - they are easy and pleasant to use (he didn't research their antibacterial etc properties though, so this is still open to research).

He said some were a no-go (oak, hazel, linden tree, pine tree/spruce, cedar, cherry etc.) - because their wood was very hard to chew or tasteless, or not making pretty fibers (they either got frayed, fell off or were too thick)

His favourite trees are olive, ash tree, peach, sumach or 'smoke tree' (I hope that's the right link!), acacia, Syringa vulgaris or common lilac (which is interestingly also in the olive family), and some others.

There are tutorials online and on Youtube, on how to use it!! :)

Maybe a bit more research is needed, to see if any of those could be toxic in greater amounts, and exactly HOW to use it! - but I'm excited to try!! :)