Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Baby-nappy-dilemma: which nappies?! - NO nappies!!

Very tired, but I also feel fab: I found a whole lotta forums & sites & posts about babies & their Moms/Dads going diaper-free!! (even on Slovenian forums YAY!!:)
First found on the fabulous Zero Waste NZ - & I LOVE this Mom's site too!!

As my cousin's wife has the baby-nappy dilemma (disposables at a farm-??!! far away from any landfill or regular garbage service!!) it seems VERY INTERESTING!!
Also, if I ever have a baby, I'd definitly TRY this!! (probably in combination with a few cloth nappies..)

It seems very odd that a single gal with no kiddies (or zero waste daddies) in sight would explore the nappies/no nappies world, but then again I already studied a book on getting kiddies to sleep & a few books on bringing kids up 'just in case'!! ;)
/Better be prepared, & it's easier to advise any friends in that case, no? ;)/

As for zero-wasteness... still being a chicken & haven't dared to make a few certain calls.. my stomach actually rebelled, I think the thought of what I might find out distressed me immensely :)
At least I'm learning about these things & raising awareness a bit.. my own, & of people around me.. I still feel so many lightyears 'behind'.. there is soo much knowledge scattered all over the world, & then found in most unlikely places :)

I did send Granny to chase after naked butter.. We'll see if she finds any!! :)

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Bathroom!! - & Some Evil Thoughts!! ;)

Today I bravely ventured where no man has gone before: Our Bathroom.


Honestly, I was mostly using my own bathroom, because of so many iffy chemicals & suspicious-looking little bottles present in the main bathroom!

I mean, we're just an average family. Perhaps slightly health-conscious in some regards (at least the kitchen).

But until a while ago, we were just very average with regard to bathroom chemicals.

I did start a REVOLUTION in my own bathroom (where I had the liberty to do so!) - but The Main Bathroom is a different affair!

I'm perplexed by all the different contents and containers.. Very few are clearly labelled on all parts, & while some have the recycling sign or at least 'the green dot' - many are not labelled enough!

The forage was useful: now at least Mum doesn't think any more that The Green Dot is a recycling sign!!

Often, The Green Dot is very lonely though!!

Maybe she just has one friend, the PAO symbol which indicates best to use 'period after opening' (with written number of months or years).

She would be much happier with more of her friends, like this:

It would be GREAT if especially the resin identification code were always present!!

If they can put it on Tic Tac boxes, surely they could put it everywhere!!

Just 'The Green Dot' means very little! Only that a tiny fee has been paid by the manufacturer for another organisation to collect it. It doesn't guarantee that it will get recycled!
How could it get recycled if they don't know what it is?

But, I fear that currently there is little real interest in recycling more!
The company that collects packaging in Slovenia for recycling has put this on its website: they are asking for a 'temporary' change in legislation to allow 'waste to energy' as a priority ahead of recycling!! Grr!!
Just because of current temporary low prices of recyclables...
/I do wonder what other packaging recovery organisations are saying..?/

& why are little kiddies in schools still given containers for tetrapak recycling? Greenwashing, I guess!!

Does recycling still make sense then?
Well, I think if they are asking for this change that must mean that currently they are still obligated to sort for recycling! So yes, it does make sense.
It's also a message that we, people, want to recycle and don't want to just trash things!

But MINIMIZING is more and more important..

I'm still half-exasperated and I didn't even make it through 1/4 of our bathroom!!

/I remember I was equally - or more! - exasperated in my own bathroom, a while ago.. & it's pretty low-waste now.. So hopefully the main bathroom will be doable too!!/

Mum is willing to try washing her hair with the soapnuts, we'll see how it goes..

I finally told Dad about the zero waste week for Earthday, and he's not happy. Not at all. (And this is an understatement!)
Well, nobody was when I told them! Mum's gotten used to it by now, hopefully Sis & Dad will too-?!

I am not really sure if a 'full' zero waste week will be doable for Earth Day, but at least I'll try... Difficult to do it all by oneself though.. If packaging recovery organisations are not helping!! :(

I barely managed to convince Sis of importance of recycling, & now this - of course next thing I know some clearly-labelled packaging was in the trash again.. aagh! /&I couldn't keep quiet about it, sorry!!/

I wanted to ring the packaging recovery company up & ask about what is and isn't recyclable, but with these news, I'm not sure if they would tell me the truth??!!

Still, I can at least try..

On a happier note, garbage was in the news: an article saying 'Waste is gonna be EXPENSIVE'! So Mom came rushing up: "You could write an article & tell 'em to all go zero waste! And how to do it."

Yeah right. Like I can tell my own family - if even my Dad & Sis won't really participate fully..?!! hmm..!!
They say, 'We're much better than most other families anyway'. And they are right. We are. (Still, Sis saying that is a bit funny, she's sort of the 'main polluter', at least in the kitchen.:) And she's not willing to give up her bagged toast or other stuff. Though she was slightly shocked when I told her how much of the stuff was actually okay and reusable/recyclable, in the ideal climate.)

We're still left with quite a bit of cellophane (non-recyclable) & some other things. I also probably can't make Sis go to cloth pads or diva cup in a month, so let's keep fingers crossed it won't happen at that time!!
(Or can I just not count bathroom/toilet?!)

I even had an evil thought to just hide all bins and they can keep their garbage in their room if they wish!! /Is it too evil?? Or not?? ;)/

And when I started writing an article, it got really looong. So I wasn't sure which to focus on: the 'How?' or the 'Why?' - cause for me 'Why?' is even more important. It makes you wanna discover & DO the 'How'!!
But would they even publish the whole truth?! Hm!!

In fact, I'm a little bit burnt out. I may take it easy for a day or two and start saving the world on Monday. (?)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Start saving onion peels!!:)

If you haven't already!

Why, you say?

For zero waste Easter eggs, of course!! :)

as found on the lovely Cafe Chocolada blog!

When I was little, we bought colors in the store - not only do they come in probably-unrecyclable little satchets, I was also always wondering what exactly is in them!
As some of them are strong enough to go through the egg shell directly into the egg, there's more reason for concern!

Not anymore. For years, we've been painting eggs with onion peels, they give a lovely natural tone.. (not the white onions, orange/brown or red are okay!)
/Still not sure about how wise it is to cook nylon stockings, well, one-color eggs are very pretty too!!/

Last year I also ventured out & started experimenting with other colors!
Blackcurrants & vinegar give a very lovely violet-ish color!
(We have tons of blackcurrants in the garden, so I used some from the depths of the freezer! probably from 1999 or so!!:)
Raspberries give a nice reddish color, but eating raspberries (or making zero waste homemade ice-cream!) is yummier, in my opinion!
/Cooked & stabilized with vinegar, both give better color than uncooked! Yes, I did experiment!:)/

I may blog more about this when time comes near! :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Zero Waste Report #3 - Mum almost fully on board!!:))

So, what can I say?

I started a blog in Slovenian (it's feeling very lonely still, & there's still more work to be done on it, but YAY!! I started it! :))
I also announced a 'zero waste week' around Earth Day on a Slovenian forum - some people may still be scared of it a bit? Hopefully at least a few will be intrigued to minimize their waste too..? :)
/I'm scared of it too, lol!! - but at least it will hopefully motivate me to do even better, even if we don't get to 'zero'!!/

Mum is now almost fully on board, and this is a great thing!!
/She has read my blog in Slovenian too, maybe it helped a bit! I asked her for input etc. I also tell her about stuff I find online, like the Biutiful Cauntri yesterday, and the poor sheep & cats../

She has now lectured cousin's wife & her mother-in-law (my aunt) extensively how it's bad to burn plastics at their farm!! (That's another set of relatives from what I wrote about before!) About the toxic gasses etc!
Mum told them to set up a mini-recycling station & she'll take the plastics etc to our recycling bins when we visit! :) YAY!! :)

Cousin's wife would even be interested in cloth diapers, but her husband wasn't enthusiastic about them! So more research into cloth diapers needed, I'll authorize Mum to take a look at some of the stuff I already found! :) /It seems real funny to send your own Mum e-mails! lol/ In any case, they can at least reduce the plastic ones and have some cloth, some others.. or maybe organic ones..

It would be ideal to have places or stores where a new Mum could go and 'test' some of these diapers (all that are available here), to find which would be best for the kiddie.. (as babies can be different & not all diapers may be appropriate for all babies)

As for Sis, she still likes to drink capuccino (in a million satchets!), even though she has bought zero waste (lower percentage) coffee mixed with fake coffee in a reusable glass container (I was impressed!), and could theoretically drink that! But she'd have to add sugar & with the little satchets, she has the impression it's no-sugar aka healthier! /faints/ It's also 'so good'!
I asked her if she'd drink capuccino from a zero waste container if I bought it & she seems open to that provided it tastes good -? (Now here's research! Any ideas?)

She has also bought non-eco bananas again, still puzzled about the peels /again/ :(
/Sis says I 'overthink' & 'exaggerate/over-react' to this! I told her some of her 'exaggerations' aren't fun for me either - she's allergic to dust and some other things, and we can't have flowers or cats in the house!! so at least we're at stalemate here. Probably if we splash out for eco bananas she'll eat them too, she prefers to buy cheaper on her own. Am not happy with plastic packaging for 'eco' bananas, so..? hm, what to do?/

I must also praise Sis (if I didn't before): she now puts empty tetrapaks on the counter for me to wash!! YAY!! :)
If they are fresh, they can be rinsed with water easily! & usually at least a spoon or two of yoghurt are still in them! (for me to lick)
/This is such an improvement, she just tossed them before..)

The yoghurt production has been started again, but Sis prefers to mix bought+homemade (don't ask!)

Dad has been away at relatives a lot, so didn't add much to the bin. Didn't eat much yoghurt either, so we may have too much of some!:)

Last week the bin did smell a bit, was still unsure what caused it to!
I talked to Mum about the importance of non-smelly bin, we'll see if it sticks? (Not sure if I talked to Sis about it, or if I dare to?;)

She's the one who has bought icky 'plastic' salamis and such before - they're both unhealthy and make bad waste.. (I'm really too disgusted to wash those!)
Hopefully 'real meat' can be substituted for that? (we still have some pretty much zero waste dried meats from Uncle.. not so totally healthy, but yummy!! I see she hasn't bought the iffy ones now..;) So probably the goal would be to always have some zero waste meat for snacks & suppers in the house..?)

Mum said we don't have so much waste & if it was all rolled up together it would be very little of it too - so the thing to work on would be the smell/food leftovers..
I told her at Clean Bin they wash the 'garbage' so it's clean and doesn't smell..
We developed a routine of washing up the dishes together after lunch - much quicker than just one person doing it, & it gives me a chance to brainwash inspire her with the zero waste superheroes & their daily adventures! :)

So, the key to a woman's heart may be through doing housework together.. (or whatever is very important to them..!) Also, she loves pictures & videos of kiddies! (like Little Miss Green!)
Some healthy competition with 'what other bloggers are doing' is quite helpful too! ;)

I'm also much happier to help now that Mum is on board with zero waste, so it's a double-win I guess?! :)

We still don't know many things..

How do you freeze rabbits zero waste? especially whole ones, to make 'em stuffed? (45 x 13 x 13cm or so) - I measured them & we'll look for any appropriate containers, if we find them.. for other parts they must be only 3 - 4cm high, and 10 x 19/20cm or 26 x 19cm or so otherwise.. Plastic bags used so far still.. :(

And what do you give to people as small thankyou gifts?
I used to give chocolate or such, do more zero waste little gifts exist?

& Mum's charity group will be giving gifts for the elderly again, for Easter - usually this meant (donated/sponsored) cookies or yuk! candies or coffee in (I think unrecyclable) plastic boxes/bags & such, also in plastic bags or unrecyclable gift paper bags (with a plastic layer).. both unhealthy AND not zero waste..
Have no idea what they could give that would be healthier, happily accepted by elderly people, AND zero waste?

Maybe to figure out until Christmas or next year, hopefully..?
(One year they gave oranges and they got bad before all of the gifts could be transported, stuff needs to be 'stable', so fresh fruit is out..)
So, more things to figure out & research..

Been also busy trying to organize myself, but that is stuff for a whole another blog post, I guess!! :) /phew/

Thank you for reading so far, if you managed to!! :) Any ideas or comments will be appreciated!! :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Biutiful Cauntri - more reasons to go ZERO WASTE!!

I finally managed to see Biutiful Cauntri on YouTube!! :) (in 8 parts, trailer here)

(1st part with intro here - 1st part may be a bit boring, but it gets really more 'action'-oriented later on.. & even if you don't understand much Italian, you can see a lot!)

I cried.

The sheep, the cats... 2.000 sheep & more died because of... human stupidity?!!

I am not sure if I properly understood everything (my Italian is beginner level!!:)
Was it the illegal dumpings that got burnt & produced the terrible amounts of dioxin etc, or also the bad incinerators & the polyester textile industry? Probably all together! (?)

When the film dragged on and on, I didn't want to watch anymore.. It was so horrible!!

But I had to.

You see, I had to see if the film also gives a glimmer of hope. Does it tell people to STOP MAKING SO MUCH GARBAGE?!!

Not directly.

But I really REALLY hope that everyone who sees it starts going more and more zero waste & MINIMIZING WASTE!!

Please, let us stop making so much waste in the 1st place!! Because we can. And it is only us who can. The companies and big sellers won't stop making so much garbage, unless we tell 'em to!! And politicians may be lazy and not wanna recycle too (some of them) - they are only human, as we are. And if we do nothing, who will?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

New Funky Experiment: Never Buy Staples Again!!:)

Of course I just had to test it!!

Looks handy!! Wonder if it works!! :)

(full description, with more pics, at the funky Incli-nation site!)

Okay, I tried it, and it WORKS!! :)
Apparently one really does not need to buy staples - or paper clips - again!!:)

Well, if the paper can be 'sacrificed' - if it needs to remain intact, paper clips may still be better.. Also, you may wanna start with some scrap paper to 'practise', and ideally do this right, with a ruler or something (I just experimented lol - couldn't wait!:)

It may also be better to have the title on the page centred, not on the left side :)
Actually, one can do it 'backwards' - I actually prefer it that way! & in that case left-aligned titles are perfectly okay too!! :)

And if you only have a few pieces of paper (like 3 pages), you only need a single incision with a paper knife, not a wider cut like on the pic! (Maybe this is totally TMI (too much information) lol, but I did actually wonder about it, so here it is!;)

Also not sure how it photocopies or scans... (do let me know if you try this!) - But I think I may still free up some paper clips!! /been wondering if it'd be time to buy some - I now use those as reusable bookmarks instead of throwawayable post-it stickies! :)/

Come to think of it, I haven't bought any staples ever since.. uhm, ever since my tiny stapler decided to be picky and didn't like the big staples!
Now I don't have to, anymore, ever? :)
/Wonder if I should Freecycle it? ;) But it's so cute!! :)/

Wishing you happy paper-handling & GREAT organization!! :)

Friday, March 13, 2009

GIFT for Little MissGreen!! :))

So, the other day Little Miss Green from MyZerowaste had birthday!

Her Mum, the ever-so-wonderful Mrs Green, asked us to give her a meaningful present!
Since I'm still too scared of helping my neighbours recycle (see previous posts!), and writing to manufacturers, I thought, 'What could I do?'

I mean, I must confess Little Miss Green is pretty much an inspiration for me! (& probably everyone around the world who knows her!)

I really started watching the Myzerowaste site regularly (& thinking, 'What else can I do?') after this wonderful declaration of hers!

So, I decided: I would NOT eat any more store-bought CHOCOLATE!! (for the week)
It seemed in theme with the birthday, and the zero waste thing!

And it wasn't just ANY week - it was 'that time of the month'!!
(when chocolate reserves at our house regularly get emptied!)

I will confess I have a shelf full of chocolate wrappers and such - some of them recyclable aluminum foil, some not!
And some luxury chocolates seriously over-packaged & over-glitzy!!

Apparently a chocolate addiction can be a sign of magnesium deficiency, so I had to come up with alternative ideas!


I did get a recipe from Mum's co-worker, but it was a very weird recipe with pulverized milk and water and such odd things.. (we disdain milk chocolate in our house, also The Book of Chocolate written by a Slovenian doctor says for adults a small amount of dark chocolate is supposed to be better!)
/Kids shouldn't eat or drink much chocolate anyway!:) as there's caffeine & theobromine and other slightly iffy stuff in there!
The milk in the chocolate is supposed to be of not much use anyway, so kids are better off with other sources of calcium!/

After some serious internet research including the awesome Wikipedia I came across the wonderful site of Chocolate Alchemy where the use of water is seriously snickered at!!

There are recipes & even a Chocolate Forum!

The Chocolate Alchemy site is about making chocolate 'from scratch' - i.e. from cocoa beans, and involves some complicated procedures like roasting and grinding the beans, conching and refining, and tempering the chocolate.

I had no cocoa beans, and no cocoa butter, so I had to experiment. (Of course!:)
I looked for specific recipes involving cocoa powder & coconut butter, but no luck!
So I just started to experiment & made an informed guess!

If the sites say to use whole beans (=cocoa powder+cocoa butter) and some sugar, and the odd recipe had cocoa powder, powder milk & margarine(vegetable fat), coconut butter should do just nicely.

I put a small pot into a 'water bath' (a slightly larger pot) and heated up the coconut butter, than added in the cocoa powder! This could be 'it', but it was terribly bitter! (adding a tiny bit of coconut flour & sprinkling with some white sugar didn't help much, and I couldn't find any brown sugar!) So I mixed in some honey, and it was totally delicious!

Unfortunately... There isn't almost any anymore!!
(I just did a tiny sample to test it all!)

Found a pretty leaf-shaped mold to put it in... But.. It was a slightly sucky day (before the rain?) and apparently, this was stronger than me!!
Must report the CHOCOLATE was YUMMY!!

Not sure if it will harden at all, & probably wasn't the most 'exact' procedure (more reading at that wonderful site of Chocolate Alchemy will be needed!)

Next time, I will try to make more chocolate, and actually let it harden (to see if this can be done without expensive & complicated equipment too!! :)

Ingredients used:
- zero waste organic cocoa powder (in reusable glass container; zero waste cocoa beans are available in a health food store too, but they looked very old and a bit, hmm, mouldy? so I stayed away this time, I had bought them in the past & just nibbled on them, but apparently roasting & such gives a much better taste! I may buy them again if I can find good ones!)
- zero waste coconut butter (in a reusable glass container)
- zero waste honey (from the neighbour's bees - in a reusable glass container of course!!) - I think true chocolatiers mostly use sugar (perhaps for a reason) but this was available & we'll see if it hardens proper
- a sprinkling of sugar & coconut flour - these were not in zero waste packinging, I'm afraid - but we had them at home anyway, and they need to be used up! (I think the coconut flour was due last August! still good though..)
...And no other iffy stuff!! (some chocolates are full of suspicious ingredients!!)
- (oh and tap water - for water bath)

I've come across raw chocolate before, which seems kinda intriguing to try sometime maybe.. though opinions on the chocolate forum about this vary (some preferring higher temperatures to kill any bacteria on cocoa beans) So while this is open to further research, I figured any cocoa already fit for drinking must be okay & didn't heat it much, just so the coconut butter melted & cocoa powder dissolved nicely..

Just checked results: it's almost hardened! Kinda like your basic dark chocolate/cake icing!:) YUM! (But will there be any left to see?! lol!)

This chocolate truly will be ZERO WASTE - as there's almost none left!! lol!

Making it did make my day, so I hope reading about it will cheer you up too, & maybe encourage you to do some fun experimenting? :)
/Not sure exactly how cost-effective or really 'zero waste' this would be as a large-scale operation, but in small amounts it's a fun & interesting experiment to do on a rainy-ish day!/
Also, you know exactly what's in it!! :)
And if all fails and world economy collapses, isn't it interesting to know you can make your own chocolate too?;)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Is solid ASPHALT toxic?Neighbour putting it next to garden!

So, the title says it all.

Our neighbour is trying to strengthen the river bank (something the company in charge had been promising for decades!) We live in a flood area, by the river, so strengthening the bank is generally considered a good thing!

He got the material 'for free' (& was happy about it!) - another neighbour had been digging to build a house, and was happy to get rid of these 'leftovers' too.. Mostly it's sand and probably okay (& perhaps good zero waste use?), but not sure about all of it..

I'm not too happy with seeing him put chunks of asphalt in there, along with stones, brick & roofing parts & sand..
So far I said nothing, cause I wasn't sure if solid asphalt could be toxic too, or not-?

Hot asphalt can be toxic, depending on the solvents used (and no, I have no idea what was used here - 'worst case scenarios' include toxic chemicals like benzene, dioxane or toluane.. Do those disaapear when it hardens or could they still be present & leak into water etc? There was some leakage mentioned from waste incinerator leftovers used as roadbuilding materials..)

Didn't find any info about solid asphalt yet...? Is it okay or could it still be toxic?
Does anybody know anything about this, possibly with websites or links?

Also, if he strengthenes the bank, would the river be more likely to 'eat up' our part of the bank? (half of our garden and compost heaps & some trees are in that area so we'd prefer to keep those instead of putting stones and sand there..)

Any ideas welcome!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Gardening Experiments ;))

I am completely exhausted.

& what have I done? Nothing much.

Mum and I have been planting seedlings - tomato & pepper/paprika.

I'm rather a newbie at this, since I only started helping her in this last year.

'Oh I learnt it when I was married already!' she's eager to point out (probably hinting I can easily learn this on my own too - and possibly get married and give her grandkids asap too!).
Thing is, she had co-workers and neighbours to help & conspire with, and did a lot of random trial-and-error too, so I think all those precious years of experience are worth something too! (Plus, no sight of eligible bachelors falling from the roof at the time of speaking!)

So we made a pact. I am the apprentice, and she's my mentor. Sort of.

Oh. We even put it 'on the agenda'! To be done Monday after lunch immediately. uhm.
With all the laptop-drivers frenzy (& little kiddies around), it only managed to be done today. (YAY!! Sis finally got her new laptop to work!! The original shop (yesterday) and a small shop here - that finally fixed it all! - were involved.)

You probably know a thing or two about my Mum by now. If I'm disorganized, she's Mrs Disorganization herself! (I had to learn from someone, didn't I?)

It took probably at least an hour (altogether) to set things up, sort the still usable ex-yogurt pots (according to labels) etc.
Of course Mum has also 'always bought' the peat for the seedlings. I lamented this fact a while ago when we started the first trays already. Still, it had to be used up.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with what we did. Used ex-yogurt pots (mostly #5 & #6 plastics, I think - some were illegible) that had been previously used & already had names of the sorts written on them, & little special pots for this that were also previously in use. And ice-cream & quark plastic pots for the seeds.

She had wanted to buy one of these, but luckily I prevented it! (I thought surely it would be just one more thing to throw away!!)

Garbage: 3 yogurt pots that had been chewed though (?!) /poor mouse! - or whatever chewed it! you have to be pretty desperate to go chew yogurt pots, no?!/
To-be garbage: the bag from the peat! (am not completely happy about the styrofoam or whatsit in the peat either!) and seed bags.. :(
Not completely happy with the use of alcohol-'permanent' marker either! - sellotape+paper+ballpoint pen as an alternative seems even worse (!?) - (What did they use in old times..?)

Would love to use our compost, Mum said it would have to be sifted well (& an appropriate sieve made!) and maybe little animals could be a problem?
We have these little seedlings in the living room or kitchen, on a tray, on the window sill, & there are (mysteriously) too many ants already! (Did they come from the bought soil/peat or through the window? no idea!)

We intended to use toilet roll inners too, for a bunch of them at least, as experimental sideline, but then there were enough yogurt pots so we didn't!

So ideally next year we'd be better organized & use the time better (instead of me waiting for Mum to find things, or decide on how many to plant/sow)

A pack of seeds costs about 0.80 Euro, and pepper/paprika seedlings/plantlings are 0.50 Euro one, so this saved quite a bit of money! (at least 3x6 tomato plants will be needed, and some peppers, and later on other stuff..)

Mum used to buy the plantlings, but since we've got the greenhouse, she grows them herself. She's very free-spirit about it too: 'If they grow, they grow.' She likes to have extra to give to her Sis, if theirs do badly. And if ours did badly we got some from my Aunt too..

I'd love us to grow our own seeds, since the ones bought come in tiny little sachets that are most likely not recyclable and not compostable. (It would be good to check though.) Some are also not really organic, though Mum DID buy some organic ones the other week! :) YAY! (after I told her which shop has 'em!)
I'm curious about this idea: to eat & plant (cherry tomatoes) in the same day?! Is it really possible?!! Full details here (in one of the comments!)
(Actually Mum has saved her own seeds at times in the past, but 'sometimes they came out okay, sometimes they didn't.' Okay. Guess we'll just have to take this risk.)

And, lol, apparently we're not the only ones with weird seedling/plantling practices: meet Gary - random pic found on Flickr! :)

And some more interesting DIY ideas for yogurt pots!
(I like the last one - seems we COULD use those chewed up yogurt cups for some things after all!!)

Overall, I think we saved the world (or at least our house) from quite a lot of plastic clingwrap, throwawayable plastic bags, unnecessary food miles, and other horrors! - so basically I AM satisfied with it all! 2 hours of slight frenzy for all those yummy tomatoes and peppers all summer long!! That's basically nothing!
/& if I were a bit less frantic and perfectionistic - 'Mum, did I tuck 'em in allright?' I might even find this thing relaxing!/

Wish we'd done this when I was a kid already! (Little-Miss-not-so-Green might enjoy it too, but it would be better to do a line without her first.. I think she's not to be trusted completely yet.. maybe next year..?)

If you know zero waste (& non-toxic) alternatives for permanent markers (or more about using own compost for planting seedlings/sowing), please tell!!

Monday, March 9, 2009

No, you CAN'T eat the bonbon!! ;) - & an Evil Plan!! :)

Okay, so today Little-Miss-not-so-Green was over again.

Mum has her over every week so she can help her study. I think she's starting to outsmart Mum though, a bit. (Mum was deeply puzzled by one of her math homeworks, done completely correctly. 1st grade, I must add.)

Also, my neighbour's two sons were over, & we had a lovely afternoon. Puppets & games included. Oh, and guitar, a full orchestra! (with cookie-box-drums and a pencil-conductor!)

But first, Little-Miss-not-so-Green wanted to eat a BONBON!

Hm, bonbons are sort of forbidden in our house. Especially for LMnsG, who tends to be hyperkinetic already! So imagine what an extra dose of sugar would do! /plus, there's the terrible wrapping, which is not zero waste at all!/

To make things worse, the bonbon was in a Christmas sock on a Christmas card, sent to me by a very lovely friend whose daughter is not allowed to eat any sugar! :) /I am wondering if that was zero-waste disposal of any unwanted gifts? hm!)
- & LMnsG has been eying it from Christmas, I hear! (with Mum replying it's not hers to give - smart answer, hmm!! & easy way out!)

So how does one deal with a temper tantrum: 'Oh can I eat the bonbon?!!' followed closely by 'Oh why oh why not?!!'

First of all, one does not cave in. lol!!
'Bonbons are not eaten in our house. I don't eat bonbons.'
'Oh but I do.' (whine) 'Can I eat it?'
'Why not?' (I was flabbergasted for a moment, what to say-?!)
Then I decided to tell the truth. As odd as it sounded.
'Because bonbons aren't healthy. They're toxic' (okay, I exaggerated a bit) 'and I want you to be healthy and happy and have healthy teeth!' (she did have teeth problems a while ago, so she might remember how 'fun' that was!)

/still some sulking ensued, but she was given bread and cheese by sis, and a bit of cooked fruit juice - the only 'sweets' still sort of allowed in da house, though I'd prefer to not have even that when she's here, but Oh Mom can't be persuaded-
& the girlie was then distracted by a carefully planned educational game/magazine & then by the neighbours' kiddies.. - I think she has a bit of a crush on the older Little-Mr-not-Green-At-All!/

So, now I have an evil plan. I will try to green my Terrible Neighbour's (green-wise, otherwise they're an awesome family!!) little sons!! :)

I wonder if it will work-??!!

/I think one of the first steps could be to show them this awesome video of Little Miss Green and her Mom - and maybe try to do something similar with OUR rubbish?! - Oh Mum will be so glad! lol!/

We'll see how this goes!!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

New Laptop!! :) - Not mine, yet! - & suspicious amounts of housework!! hm!

My sister's bought a new laptop, so the house has been frantic.

Word of advice: NEVER buy a laptop on a Friday!!

Also, never buy a laptop on a whim! (if you can help it!:)
/& without having techie people notified in advance!/
She's had trouble uploading drivers and getting the sound to be heard, and all techie people we know were kinda busy.. My sis is kinda techie too, so she did the DIY - some of it went well, but no sound.

No surprise, many others had the same or similar experience, as found on online forums.
Hopefully the things can be resolved in a day or two.

Dad is milking the cows at Uncle's again (he's had another tiny operation & must rest for at least a week), I may even go up a few times myself again, but the memory of the terrible cold (the first time we were there) kinda haunt me still.. I do miss the cute cows & cats a bit.. :)

Sis (& the whole house) has been kinda in a laptop driver-seeking frenzy (I guess I would be too..) It's difficult to focus on other things if you have visitors (uncle &Dad) over half the day and a sister who admires your googling skills :)
/'How do you find those forums?' she says!/

Luckily, this will enable us to have each own computer to work on, so hopefully the hours can be better (& the PC turned off earlier..:) hopefully helping reduce energy & time waste.. (I know a PC AND laptop can use more energy than just one of those, but often sis & I just found ourselves procrastinating by the PC 'cause it was free'.. :) instead of properly working..so time management will hopefully be easier now.. once the drivers are installed proper..)

I am also oddly relieved that I don't have to buy a laptop now! It was driving me mad, trying to research and find the 'most zero waste' & 'low-toxic' & generally best & most affordable laptop!
/Though EthicalConsumer is kinda helpful (may be a bit dated though?) & Guide to Greener Electronics by Greenpeace offered a lot of info too! Those Guides have changed so much every few months it was difficult to tell who's actually REALLY better at any given point of time! (& it was driving me mad, kinda, lol!!/

/The terrible news of bad 'recycling' practices with regard to computers had me worried too.. For example, see this movie - quite shocking!!/
It would be MUCH easier if we KNEW exactly WHERE all our recycled stuff goes, no?
/The companies say it's all completely trackable, so why not put up little films and charts/maps and independent organisations monitoring them?/

I would be much happier to buy a laptop (or anything else) if I were sure what would happen to it afterwards!

I also had a thorough talk to myself (& did some heavy journalling) AND as a result, did immoral amounts of housework this weekend! (Okay, partly cause it was International Women's Day & I wanted to help Mom too!)

I wanted to give Mom some flowers, but Sis is allergic to pollen (or the chemicals that come with it? we live near a chemical factory, remember?) and also, Mom said it's a shame when the flowers wilt so quickly and all.. & they're much prettier outside in Nature!

Helping with the dishes (& lunch) - or other housework - is a REAL zero waste gift!! (and Mom appreciated it greatly, I think, lol! She's even written a tiny play about little kids helping their Mom as the ultimate 8th March gift when we were small - we enacted it on 'celebrations' for our street when we were kids!)

/I really hate doing the dishes, can you tell?!! :) I hate to admit, but it's true!! I'm always worried about the dishwasher liquid. We have an 'eco' one now, but it has artificial food preservatives in it, which I've been allergic to as a kiddie already!! - And that's the 'eco' one, god knows what's in the other ones!!

Also, I got really upset by any (excessive) tetrapaks garbage in the bin I might accidentally see! had a word with Sis, hopefully she'll do better now!/

- WASHING THE DISHES IS ZERO WASTE! Why? It's better than throwing them away, no?

- COOKING (FROM SCRATCH) IS ZERO WASTE! Why? Better than throwing tons of pizza boxes away, no? ('polluted' paper or cardboard is unrecyclable here. Maybe-compostable, if in small amounts & if the paper/cardboard is 'okay' - no iffy chemicals used, but still, 'zero' is better, no?)

It's making it so much easier for me to do housework, just reframing it this way..

It may sound silly, but it helps!! :)

Hope you had a FUN day!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Get Organized!! - the Zero Waste Way! - But How?

This is something I really want to do - get organized!

I think I must start keeping track of all the letters and e-mails and stuff... what I wrote to who, and what I still intend to.. all contacts, specifics.. companies and shops where I have talked about some stuff already..

Also, how to keep track of all the excellent websites and blogs etc? (I think there are websites to help with this, but forgot, which! :)

I already have a few folders on the computer and in RL, I'm guessing more can be done.. Computer is not 100% reliable so some RL backup at least would be good.

Being zero waste, I will try to not actually buy any more binders or folders, but either make or reuse! (some are re-used from Mom's old office already, anyway! much better to give 'em a new life than throw away, no?)

Now this quest to Get Organized isn't new. I have checked out Simpleology, the excellent website of GetOrganizedNow, everything I could read online on Getting Things Done, FlyLady's excellent home-organizing tips! - but still!

Some methods (Simpleology, GettingThingsDone) can be incredibly paper-intensive! How is that eco-friendly? (especially if you haven't been able to source completely TCF paper yet!) Or, some people use a PDA! (a little electronic gadget which needs batteries and energy to run, plus toxic chemicals and valuable resources may be necessary to make it, AND there are chances to drop it or damage it or forget it in places! & thus put all those valuable resources to a horrible end!) Okay, some PDA-phones with wonderful multitasking abilities exist too, but surely that would mean abandoning my dear old Nokia? (that still works okay!)

BIG binders are not compatible with any occasional backache and remain on the shelves/unused for too long. So these are best for 'archives' rarely accessed. Tiny folders can get everywhere (& I admit I may have too many already) - easier to use though.

I have even a few binders on organizing, lol!! & I still don't feel very organized! :)

I have been guilty and frustrated with all those little (or bigger) pieces of paper that-still-may-come-handy someday.. (Such as, shopping lists, daily to-do lists (often just left on their own to actually do themselves!) - sometimes even writing things down somehow signalled to my brain - 'It's done! No need to do it now' - out of sight, out of brain!)

So I resorted to good ol' journal! I go through these notebooks pretty quickly though, like 1 a month... So finding chlorine free is really a must..

Am also intrigued by the so-called Hipster PDA too!!

(ballpoint pens and markers are largely a no-no though, they go into landfill! & yes, I have sinned in the past! especially 'gift' one-time-use only pens are a waste of resources! so I try to stay away..)
/the zero waste idea would be to use paper printed on one side or 'scrap' paper - we've done it in the past, including old envelopes and Grandma even sacrificed old bills and such!/

& Interesting idea for a DIY Hipster nano-PDA! (if you have a lot of business cards, which I don't!:)

(okay, the metal staple is not exactly zero waste and reusable, maybe something else could be used?)

I actually had a system in place a few years ago, that kinda worked.. (before it become kinda overwhelming) - so I think it would be great to do it again..

I watched David Allen of the GTD fame & decided a de-cluttered mind is definitely worth it (& already almost filled a small notebook with my to-do's and thoughts! /sigh/)

It is TRUE that my mind was MUCH calmer then, when I had the SYSTEM to rely on, so I'll try to set up one again! (& already started de-cluttering my e-mail inbox!:)

So, how do YOU manage to get yourself organized - possibly the ZERO WASTE way?

Any suggestions Welcome!!

I'm not 'naturally organized' so I need all the help I can get! :)

PS Since this decision I already managed to de-clutter my room a bit, analyze our recycling booklet (results to be posted! some of them shocking!!), unsubscribe a catalogue (& find another to unsubscribe!:) Ahh! Feels a bit better!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Zero Waste report #2 - The Terrible Cold!! - Zero Waste Style!

Well, I wanted to give weekly reports like the lovely Chez Green family over at Myzerowaste have 'em, but last week couldn't think of anything to 'report'! hm!

Basically, I haven't been doing any new experiments! - although I think I MAY have found a potential useful use for one of the strangest 'leftovers' in the bathroom! lol!! /will post about it one of these days.../

My Dad can't be trusted upon to buy cheese 'the zero waste' way, so now Mum and I will try to do it whenever we can..

Also, I had a terrible cold (brought on by the damn incinerators, I think!! just reading about them makes me - ooh!!) Or the too many Amazon-books that I tried to cram all into my head. And Beppe Grillo totally scared me!! (I had nightmares of nanoparticelli coming in through the window from the next-door factory!!)
Or it was the donuts, and a few not-so-healthy days before that. (Carnival was here!) Or, my Sis brought it home. As we both got it at the same time.

My Sis took the Coldrex anti-cold med. I was tempted, very tempted.
But I looked at the box and thought, 'Is this zero waste?' uhm, not.
I couldn't help but feel guilty at the thought of having to throw away the pill cases. Also, when I read 'caffeine' - the stuff usually made me jiffy, even when not messed up!!

So, instead I took my trusty old Louise Hay into my hands, and looked for her words of wisdom. Of course she was spot on, as pretty much always.

"Your thinking has become narrow. Wish to run away. Leave me alone." LOL!! SO TRUE!!
So instead, the right mantra is to be: "I'm always completely safe. Love surrounds me and protects me. All is well." Hm!

When I actually focused on the lovely communities going the zero waste way (instead of trying to figure out the evil ways of the incinerators or if they are really so maybe-green as some say they are) it helped heaps too!!

Basically that's probably what Louise Hay has been saying all along: focus on the solution and not on the problem! Hm!

So, the good news: my gorgeous cousin has now signed up for an eco course at the Uni (after receiving a loong pep talk from me last weekend, lol!) - I wish those courses were just part of every curriculum, unfortunately they are completely optional mostly - but the good thing it's her assistant professor's favorite course!!

Some friends and acquaintances were vaguely interested too.. (or at least didn't run away screaming, as I had feared! though one has avoided me for more than 2 weeks on account of feeling guilty for the many non-eco diapers they throw away! she has a lovely baby boy!!)

There is a thin line between inspiration and completely terrifying someone (at times) and I'm not always sure of it!! lol (seems like Beppe Grillo may still have some problems with this too!:)
So, I am still looking for ways how to tell people about this without completely scaring them or making them go on the defensive or thinking I completely lost it! lol

My Mum is now interested to try washing her hair with the soap nuts too, as I told her how some people on the online forums are delighted with them & even have more hair volume this way!

I also suggested that cloth diapers might be recommended to a local 'mothers' home' (for mummies that need to get away for a while & stay in a place before going on their own.. they might be excited about cloth diapers there too & start using them on their own later on too? It would also be more cost-effective for the home..) We'll see what comes of this, but it's another 'seed' planted.. :)

Some Moms here in Slovenia seem quite happy with them, although there are many different varieties, and it also depends on the baby, as all are different..
Personally, I think if we could survive & prosper in cloth diapers (Mom said she washed every 2 or 3 days then too) babies today could too.. (especially as more modern varieties are around) My cousin's baby (that's another cousin!) couldn't stop wetting her pants (at 3 years old) until the doctor advised taking away the disposable diapers!!

Of course, another thing was tested this week: my resolution to stay with cloth cleenex!!
In fact, I must tell you I wasn't sure if I'd last myself.. but was immensely cheered up by the lovely cloth handkerchiefs with lovely little flowers and such! (They rock!) Only used up maybe 5 altogether, and still keeping 1 or 2 around 'just in case'...
They're a nice childhood memory as we always used them, as far as I remember.. before the paper hanky frenzy.. (I do admit a few tissues of - recycled! - toilet paper too, lol!)

Other than that, nothing much to report. I wish I were 'perfect', living the zero waste lifestyle already.. but it's a (sometimes slow) learning process.. I do wish more people here in Slovenia were 'on board'.. (still didn't dare talk to my neighbours! ough - & Of course I didn't want to give them any germs either!! Although I don't believe in this 'germs' stuff much, it much more depends on one's immune system.. but if the immune system is already low, well.. just heard one neighbour is still ill, mostly due to soda pop, his wife says - I said 'better not have any in the house then,' but his wife 'loves 'em soo much' too!! OoO - and then quickly changed the subject! hm! It's difficult to change habits, yeah, sometimes.. Still, I think health comes first.)

The number of allergies and illnesses here scares me too.. Not everyone is so lucky to get better with Louise Hay & cloth hankies alone.. (& some herbal tea & juicing of beetroot+carrot+apple - yum!)
And instead of campaigning heavily for healthy air - people just go buy drugs or ionizers (I was heavily tempted last week! still am!) & succomb to advertisements telling them to stay in and use drugs, ugh!!
I do think HEALTHY AIR is more important!! :)

Hopefully other people will start realizing it too.. Some already have.