Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Zero Waste Report #7: Got the flu?

Mum & I went potato-weeding the other day last week, & Mum got the fever.. 39°C & more! at first we thought it was just the sun.. but Sis was down with the fever too...!

So we were quite scared..

We were joking around with the pig flu over at MyZerowaste the other day, but let me tell you, if your family has 39°C + fever, you don't exactly laugh about it!

(& Mum *DID* hug an American last week!)

What to do?

I looked online & got scared - they had all the 'official' signs (almost) - though surprisingly, those were 'just flu' signs too!!

& then I read 'just flu' had killed more people than 'pig flu' & that Rumsfeld (?) was in charge of the Tamiflu company (conspiracy theories etc) - & how Tamiflu had killed 14 kids in Japan or something?

I printed out some of the info & didn't know what to do...

Mum said defiantly she would have no Tamiflu anyway!!

Cousin (another one) said potatoes on the head & on palms of hands can reduce temperature... So we tried this..
Mum drank beetroot juice...
Still, she had 39°8C at night, & that is no joke!!

So she & Sis took the 'official' get-the-fever-down/anti-pain drugs... (see pic above)

They are over-the-counter & readily available in pharmacies.. but still.. there's no recycling sign on the packaging, so...?
Mum did ask if at least the aluminum-only packaging of probiotics (far right) can be recycled?

Also, a by-product of the flu (or whatever it was) was a lot of - TRASH!

You can't deny ill people their hearts' desires, can you?
(& traditional cures for.. stomach trouble!)

Sis & Mum insisted on 'overbaked bread' & butter cookies!
(Sis also wanted unhealthier things & didn't get 'em!!)

I got the more expensive 'overbaked bread' labelled with PP #5 recyclable plastics sign.. (who knows, is it really recyclable & does it get recycled?!)
One could get 2 cheapie ones (non-recyclable) for the price! (& they wished for 'plain one' - didn't complain over what I got 'em though! so I guess it was 'plain enough'!:))
Probably the see-through cellophane-like inner wrappings are - cellophane? (& non-recyclable?)
The cookies are not labelled recyclable in any way!!
/Mum seems slightly addicted to them though!)

I also cooked them a lot of thyme tea & blueberry tea & such.. & eventually they did get much better - I think yesterday Mum had more energy than I did!


So now we have quite a lot in the bin! (Remember, this is Week 6 though! - Oops, week 7!! WOW!!:)
we did let it slip a bit, so hopefully next week we'll get back on track & start anew!
/There is some small trash in the bathroom bin too, including some not-so-pleasant stuff! What can I say? Sis can't be persuaded to go for cloth pads or a mooncup or such! She still swears by plastic throwawayables! /sigh/)

I was bashed & trashed at a Slovenian forum, how unhygienic cloth pads are etc - but I was the healthiest one at home at the time?! (Dad had a bit of a cough/cold/flu before Mum & Sis did! He was quickly over it though!)

& now I can say - flu, indeed (any kind) *IS* creating a lot of rubbish!!

& we all need an 'emergency plan' for zero-waste policy when anyone goes ill!!
/not sure exactly how that plan would look, I am envisioning zero waste overbaked bread - & cookies! - somehow! :)/

But could I (or anyone?) make 'em like they are in da supermarkets?
& how would they keep? (would one freeze them? or eat every week/month?)

Mum & sis are much better, still it's better if they don't go shopping & such.. Dad is not to be trusted to go shopping alone though!!

Today he brought home this (& chicken breast not-in-a-container! /sigh/):

Old non-eco non-fairtrade bananas in a plastic bag WITH HOLES!! - cause they were on DISCOUNT! (cheaper)
Why on earth do they need to be in a plastic bag WITH HOLES?
Doesn't this defeat the purpose? (if they got rotten, the bag would leak.. & they'd still get rotten sooner, cause they were put in a bag-?!)

Ah well!!

I've never seen this done before, usually you'd just take 'em - the packaging industry must really be going crazy - ugh?!!

Which brings us to the point: is it better to be ill with the flu - or - packaging crazy? hmm!!
(Not sure if there is a cure for that!)


  1. Hi Layla,

    Taking up the Zero Waste trend is a big challenge for anyone. Carrying the whole family, who are less enthusiastic, is even more of a challenge. Even experienced Zero Wasters struggle with their families, with some compromise necessary.

    I agree that the packaging industry are a bad lot. The best moments are when we have victories over them, like the Zero Waste Easter Eggs. They were powerless to prevent this positive change. There will surely be more successes in the future.

  2. Yes, one must remember the victories!! :)

    Hopefully in time lots of people will be persuaded/inspired to join in with the trend & manufacturers will also be inspired to change!!

    Can you perhaps share some strategies to compromise with or inspire friends or family?

  3. Hi Layla,

    That is a difficult one. Offering to do the shopping for them and buying their favourite items, Zero Waste or not, would be one way. Big annoyances like non-eco, plastic wrapped bananas could be avoided if you buy them all.

  4. Oh Layla, how scary about the 'flu. Still, I'm glad everyone is on the mend now and yes, being ill and decluttering are two of the worst offenders for increasing waste.

    but you did what had to be done and I agree - your family needed their cravings met :)

    Glad all is well now

  5. Yeah, the flu has been conquered! :)
    /whichever it was! :D/

    Rae, thank you for moral support! :)

    I honestly thought I was going crazy with all the trash & ill people in da house! :)

    Hopefully we can start anew next week - it'll be 2 months then!! :)

    John, yes, I find the best way is to do the shopping myself - unfortunately I really HATE shopping (mostly) as I see 'trash' instead of 'pretty things'!!
    (& Mum sometimes decided to do some impromptu shopping or sent Dad before I managed to find out!) Hopefully we'll manage to plan & communicate better!!

  6. Hi Layla,

    I really enjoy Zero Waste shopping, even at supermarkets with their plastic mountains. Just shop on your terms and refuse to compromise. There is nothing more satisfying than putting one over on supermarkets, even if it is only leaving all the packaging there.

  7. Hi Layla!
    Glad to see that your family is now fine.

    You're right, flu is a real problem for waste, with the blisters of medicines, disposable handkerchiefs and every kind of thing that make feel us better... It is really difficult to find alternatives to packaged drugs... but surely if you are able to separate the plastic from the aluminium foil, you can recycle this one.

    As foods alternatives you can bake some cookies for your family, surely they'll taste more good and go back the appetite to everybody! And you can toast slices of bread instead of buying 'overbaked bread'.

    Do you have eco-pads there (plastic-free and organic cotton made)? Your sister can try to use them... I still buy them, I'm still searching for a good seller for cloth ones here in my country.

    Unfortunately industry is still far from the sustainable packaging... we must have a lot of patience and going on to make our choices, insisting on zero waste! ;)

  8. Thanks, Layla, for your comments on my blog (