Thursday, April 30, 2009

My Dad Rocks!! :)

I just had to say it, lol!! :)

Well, today he brings up the mail & says,

"Oh but I miss the junk mail a bit." (maybe he used the word catalogues)

I freeze a bit, just washing the dishes...
Then he grins & says, "Not really."
I smile.

"I liked them at first," he says. "But now there has been too much of them entirely!!"

I don't know what magic Mom has made over him, or what made him change his mind, just glad he did!! :)

I was fully ready to keep putting on new & new 0.50 EUR stickers! - but now there is no need!!:)

I am just so happy!!

My Dad deserved a big KISS, & he didn't even know why!!
(I had to explain it to him!:)

He still thinks more junk mail would be acceptable than ideal - 'Just the shops near us', but luckily the post office has gone so overboard with it, that he's okay with even the 'no junk mail' option!!

And Sis doesn't really have a 'right to vote' lol & was warned with paying 50 EUR if she peels it off!;)

So yeah, the world isn't yet perfect, but my Dad almost near is!! :)

Now hmm, wondering if my neighbours could use some of these stickers, hmm...?!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Day After - Ugh...!!& a Secret Revealed!!

1 day after 'official zero waste week''s over, & both Dad & sis have gone shopping separately!

At least Sis brought her reusable bagpack & a previously used plastic bag!

Dad is not to be trusted though! (forgot to bring with more than 1 previously used plastic bag! so we have another already-torn mostly-useless baggie at home!) - & both he & Sis bought small packets of coffee!! (separately, each 2 x 100g!)
Just 100g of coffee is in a package almost the same size as 500g!!

Why they couldn't buy it together, is beyond me!

'But this is cheaper,' Sis says.
'I don't want _my sis_ telling me I'm using her coffee,' Dad grumbled.
(We only tease him cause he tells other people they can't drink coffee cause it's unhealthy! And because, well, he gets rheumatism back & is too-cranky if he drinks it!!)

Today, as I brought out the packets for a 'photo shoot' he exclaimed he had no idea we had so much coffee in the house!
& he said 'smaller packages are better, cause coffee doesn't go rancid in them so quickly' - I suggested storage in a tin box separately, & he said we'd just forget it then! So next I suggested storing extra coffee in a glass jar!
We may try this, keep your fingers crossed! Or do you have any better suggestions?

And Sis has bought 1 liter of yogurt in a tetrapak (even though we still have homemade! /sigh!/)

The stop-mail sticker is on its place on the door (Mom put it there!) - 'Dad hasn't noticed it yet!' Mom says...

I hoped I could relax a little after the zero waste week.. no such luck..?!

I feel quite hopeless about it all..

I need to control shopping lists somehow.. (Dad had anti-roach poison 'Biokill' on his list & luckily left it on the table for me to cross it off & promise I'd look for info online. After all I we DID manage to scare off the ants with no iffy chemicals whatsoever!!)

Well, Mom went shopping today too, brought some naked kiwis etc (with reused plastic & cloth bags!)

And now you probably want to know what Mom did!! :)

Final hint:

Mom wanted to boil some 'witches's brew' of anti-slug/anti-snail potion (to pour around 'attacked areas'!), & for me, it made no sense to just, uhm, kill 'em - in nature, animals mostly just kill for food, no?!! - & it was zero waste week!! :)


This is what we had for lunch yesterday! (among other things):)

Some animal lovers (like my Sis!) may be shocked - but actually, it was not so bad!
/And as she's never been vegetarian, I think it's pretty hypocritical of Sis to go 'Oooh!'/

We may need to cook 'em more, & some recipes & pre-prep ideas online are widely contradicting, but as a recipe says, anything with sauteed onions must be good!! :)

I didn't think my Mom would actually do it - but must tell you one thing - my Mom is BRAVE!

& woe for anyone who comes between her & her veggie garden...!! Oh my!!
/another poor rodent suffered a similar fate the other day.. I actually *did* briefly contemplate barbecue too - 'Look how nicely fat he is', Mom said - but you never know what they've eaten before, like Sis said.../

& yes, I did feel sorry for them & was briefly grossed out & fascinated, all at the same time.. I do admire Sepp Holzer in his approach to growing anything (if there are pests, he just plants something they like better than his trees!)
We don't know what snails could love better than our lettuce though?!!

Am contemplating to get his book that was recently published here in Slovenia, & hopefully discover some of his secrets! :)

Until then, I may have to agree with an article I came across: 'many people consider snails to be pests' (& use horribly toxic stuff or terrible methods to get rid of them! - ok, some ideas here are not-so-cruel & might be worth a try too?) - but actually, as another article says, 'they're a good source of protein?!' & completely free too!! So...?! :)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Zero Waste Week: Results!!

So, this week has been the Zero Waste Week for us!!

What was the result?

Of course I wanted to take a pic of the 'main bin' (the one outside'!) to check that no one managed to sneak any rubbish outside!!

I expected to find the bin empty:

Now imagine the shock:

And it wasn't even our rubbish!!

There was a tell-tale indicator on the top (removed immediately!) & 7 more in the neighbours' bin!!

Yes, Dad and the neighbours had had a drinking party outside (the neighbours were sawing wood!) & this was the horrible result!

I promptly picked them up & washed them & they are waiting to dry & be recycled!

If they had the nerve to put rubbish in our bin, I had the nerve to take some out of theirs to have it recycled!

(my neighbours' bin, the attick neighbours': 2 adults+2kiddies - offending recyclables eliminated already!)

(my neighbours' 2nd bin: the downstairs neighbours, Grandpa&Grandma's - Honestly I don't know why they didn't put the rubbish into their 2nd bin? - Maybe the ashes from fire were still hot?

They are 4 adults: Grandpa, Grandma, the young ones+2 kiddies, and yes they have 2 bins! I've already talked about the rubbish problem with their Grandpa@small bin, & the Mum of the attick@big bin. She said, 'But we are 4!' & I wanted to send her to Mrs A for training!!
This is the Mum that bought her son a plastic Wallee!! instead of teaching them how to make less waste!!:)
Of course she works in a shop (mini-supermarket!) & that makes it difficult to eat healthy & make less waste!!

But how much garbage did we make? Did we manage to go 'zero waste' completely?

Alas, no. But it was a good try. And I'm VERY proud of my family cause they have behaved so well & made so little garbage!!

REMEMEBER, this is the results of TWO weeks worth of garbage!!
(the bin in the front='mixed trash')

(I contemplated whether to throw the old garbage away & start with a clean slate, but that wouldn't be zero waste, would it? The plastic bag accounts for something too!)

All in all, the 1st day was the worst:
- the butter wrapper
- tiny plastic from Dad's tax ID pocket
- plastic sausage-wrapping
- AND a new wrapped butter was started! (with expiration date 20/4/2009 so not using it up wouldn't be zero waste!)
I was totally frazzled & thought I'd 'lost it'!! ;)

Then, other things mysteriously followed: (but surprisingly less & less garbage!;) - I taught people to just leave stuff on the counter!)

- unidentifiable white plastic foil chocolate wrapper
- a potentially recyclable #4 amaranth plastic wrapper (someone was too quick!!)
- a mysterious bit of paper towel? - we may fish it out again!
- some dirt from sweeping the floor on Saturday
(Sis did it! I've gotten used to taking dirt outside & just putting it under trees.. Truth is I'm in two minds about it - as we have wooden floor & stairs lacquered with conventional=toxic varnish, & PVC hall flooring..? so I wasn't as decisive & gung-ho about it.. What do you guys think?)

- tiny bit of thread from mending my pants & putting in new/re-used elastics! Haven't sewn for (at least) a decade so this is a new WAHOO!!;) And it's easier than I expected! darn!;) I also remember heaps!

- maybe some other tiny bits I've missed!

I did remove the non-cloth-hankie plastic wrappers (#4 plastics!) seen above, but honestly they did smell & I'm not sure if we won't toss them out anyway!
(Alas, there's foul smell in the bin! - due to the butter wrapper & the plastic sausage!)

I hate to say one of the yogurt tetrapaks (seen on a pic later on!) was washed too late too, & did smell.. so not quite sure what to do with that either!

There's also some used paper hankies & some hair in the bathroom bin, not quite sure what to do with those either.. (If it were my hair, I'd compost it, others' hair is chemically treated with shampoos, so I'm not sure..?)

The bird's droppings (our sweet budgie's) are collected separately, to be put under trees also.. I read it's okay to put them in compost, but my family is afraid of avian flu or such, & don't wanna risk it..

There's also plastic foil from the 'eco bananas' - I'm thinking to write to the company! & there will be the waxed paper from the carob yummy spread..

The good news is, Mom's made butter AGAIN! :)

(pic from 1st time she made it, no bought yogurt this week!;)

I do hope homemade butter becomes a true tradition!! (Mum said she only used cream from 2 or 3 milks - we get 2 liters at a time: The trick is to take away the cream before Dad manages to usurp it, & after there is some bigger amount of cream already!)

It was surprisingly easy, after all the terror & sweating, my family did their best...!! And I ADORE them for it!!

I felt like a really horrible person for making them do all these things, Mum's gone a bit ill in the process, it was a sucky week weather-wise..

I wanted to bake them a yummy zero waste treat (ispired by the lovely presents from Mrs A & Mrs G!), but alas Mum's bought some biscuits in an unindentifiable plastic container at the fair on Sunday! /sigh/

Must make sure to tell my family of my baking attempts well in advance! /at least she was supporting local economy!/
Mum also bought cheese, & while it wasn't zero waste (came in a plastic bag!) it was local & homemade - & we might turn this into zero waste cheese if we network with the supplier wisely!

The Zero Waste Week was a great learning experience!!

I managed to buy meat in a reusable container AND fix my pants, & I don't think I'd have done it without the zero waste week!!
We also made 1/2 of a weekly menu (after a veery long time!), & remembered to use up the sour cabbage & turnips, before they'd gone completely bad!

We realized this is easier than we expected, but our 'recycling' biz will have to be streamlined a bit (& I may post more about it in advance!)

I hope we will continue to make so little waste - or even less!! :)

Dad was unhappy with all the recyclables on the kitchen counter! - Well, they have to dry somewhere! (He suggested we collect them in the 3rd 'bin department' & Mum rebelled she needs that space for her chemicals=cleaners!)
How & where do you girls & guyz wash & leave them to dry? Do you have a separate box or something?

/Weening Mum off the chemicals may be a learning process & I don't expect her to go 'cold turkey'!/

Also, the recyclables need to be in designated places or they are 'forgotten' (& start to smell!) They also need to be washed regularly enough!
(This is easy if 1 person both makes & washes them, if it's 2 or more different people, & if the kitchen isn't spiffy, err, errors or miscommunication can occur! Stuff can get lost in the jungles of the counter!!)

To avoid packaging from dishwasher tablets (& make Mum happy!), I washed more dishes this week than ever!!
(The eco detergent doesn't wash so well, is a bit abrasive to dishes, & we're not 100% sure the 'recyclable' wrappings are really recyclable!)

Still to call about what actually *is* recyclable in our council.. For the purpose of zero waste week we just assumed everything that (the council & the packaging) says is recyclable is recyclable!!

Alas, I made no dish cloths! & I only got the beekeeping magazines today..
The old beehive is still waiting to be fixed too..

It was raining a lot, so luckily not much noise until Saturday & yesterday/today! YAY!! (& today the neighbours' wood is all sawed, lucky me!!)

We did some work in the garden today, & I went to fetch some zero waste honey.. :)

Oh, & I can't tell you what Mum did - it's too horrible!! - & the post is already too long! Must wait till next time! :)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Aww, my Dad bought me earphones!! :)

Not the fancy, ROCKSTAR earphones!

The hardcore, anti-noise earphones!! :)

And they are naked too!! :)

/pic found here/
Well, almost!

Amazingly, they came in just a thin cardboard box, with paper instructions. I was quite delighted!

Not quite sure what they are made of (their cousins were said to be made of PVC, so checking would be ideal) & they do say the ear-thingies are replaceable & to be replaced 2x a year :(

Not sure if I'll keep them either, must test if they aren't too heavy for my neck!

As for pics about what Mom did - didn't manage to get them yet! (can you tell I'm just fiddling with my neighbours' digital camera & still working out its kinks?;)
Also, I may have more to report tomorrow!

But this is a hint:

/pic found at this gorgeous blog with more amazing pics/

PS. 2 plastic wrappings of non-cloth-hankies made it to the bin today, invisibly, must go fish 'em out! /sigh/
Advice #2 for zero waste week: always check the bin first thing in the morning before anyone manages to get anything else in it!

PPS. The chocolates are well-hidden now! Sis went & hid some of them herself!! :) Bless her!!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Zero Waste Report #5: Zero Waste Week!! :)

This is how we started - quite good, from last week!! no?
(Truly only sis & I were at home most of the time!)

(paper on the right, mixed trash in the front, Mum's cleaning chemicals & some plastic bags to use for trash in the back)

Okay, it isn't finished yet.

& methinks we won't do so fabulously as Mrs A (who only produced one plaster!) - but it was a great experience anyway, & we did do some things that well, we I just kept putting off before.

DAY 1: Monday
I managed to talk to a local popstar's Mum about music & garbage - all before breakfast!
(maybe she'd be interested in doing/supporting a Swaporamarama/swishing event?!! keep your fingers crossed!)
She also said they find new homes for all furniture & clothes (teenage girls get pretty excited!)

Dad threw butter wrap in the bin. I yelled: 'No! We have zero waste week!'
He was slightly confused. 'You promised,' I said. (Actually, this was extending it a bit, he didn't actually promise, but I said it was my wish for birthday!)

Then, he needed a plastic wrap for his tax ID & I happily provided one I got in the bank the other week & felt guilty about!
'But it doesn't fit in my wallet!' he said & asked Mum to cut it off.
'Oh no,' I was desperate! 'It'll land in trash!'
'Oh no it won't,' Mum said, 'It'll end up in recycling!'
(Hmmm..? unlabelled unidentifiable plastics..?!)

I helped prepare zero waste lunch (with leftovers & lamb's lettuce from garden! & hokkaido pumpkin from the cellar!)

Went to town in search of eco yarn for dish cloths, didn't find any.

In the evening, some plastic-sausage wrapping was in the bin too! /sigh/
(Sis decided to fry some, it was a bit old already.. so I guess it's better to eat it than throw the whole sausage away!)

/My secret sneaky plan was to just extend the zero waste week so we will have 1 whole week of 'zero waste'!! lol!! hmm..?!
Of course I didn't tell anyone yet!!/

DAY 2:
The unidentifiable plastic foil chocolate wrapper ended up in the bin too!! :( Grr!! (I know I should've hidden it!! even Sis says it's better to just hide chocolate from her!! ugh)

On a happier note: My Dad is now anti-nuclear! :)
/He used to be pro-nuke! so this is huge accomplishment! :) not exactly sure how it happened, but it did!/
He also accompanied Mum & me to the place where computers lie on the grass..
(Though he still refuses to accompany me to a great site where they have best trash-separating record in Slovenia! 50% diversion from landfill! The #2 is said to achieve only 20% diversion! - I called the probably #1 trash expert in Slovenia & he invited me to visit! I'm so excited! Can't wait!
Or to the sub-mayor, his mate, about the computer monitors & TVs etc. 'It's none of my business,' he says!!)

It would be best if the computers would be put into a container, the expert said. Like my neighbours figured out already (I talked to a bunch of them about this!)
Most were supportive that this isn't right, one who used to work for a similar trash company said the computers are probably waiting for the other company (that deals with them later on) to pick them up!

Everything is behind the fence...

So does it make sense for the trash company to put the monitors into their own container, or would it be better to rent one from the 2nd PC-handling company?
I am still a bit confused about it all, & too much of a chicken to call anyone! (& not sure who to call or see about this!)

Dad bought some bread in paper bags, even though we've discussed cloth bags before. But he didn't know where the cloth bags were! /sigh/

Oh, & my Mum fished paper towels out of the mixed trash! (Quite promising!)

The bin magically doesn't seem to have any more trash than before!! YAY!! :)
/am afraid to ask where Sis's non-cloth-hankies end up!/

DAY 3: EARTH DAY!! - sunshine!
Mum & I planted the tomatoes to the garden, Dad worked in the garden almost the whole day too..

We planned a fancy meal to celebrate Earth Day, but ran out of chicken!(that was stored in reusable plastic containers in the freezer)
So I finally braved out & bought meat with a reusable plastic container, at the mini supermarket!! Quite an accomplishment for this ex-vegetarian!!

A keep-it-cool bag inside a cloth bag! Mum invented this & it looks & feels pretty nifty!

Not only that, I even washed the darn plastic containers by hand! (yuk!)
/It's better to not put plastics into the washing machine, as heat makes them emit iffy chemicals../
Oh, things we do for Earth!! /I think I wouldn't do it if it wasn't for Earth Day & zero waste week!!)

I also managed to buy 1 eco healthy carob spread (Sis complained 'there was nothing in the fridge!') - alas, not ideal packaging!
glass jar, & recyclable #5 PP lid, but unrecyclable wax paper under the lid! Also, the lid not so easily reusable as metal lids for new jams or such!
It seems the local stores have only jams or pickles and sauces, or unhealthy sugar-laden choco-spreads in fully reusable glass jars!! :(

& I did buy eco bananas in a non-naked state! /Oi!/ They seemed to be going bad & I feared they'd just chuck 'em away at the store! (better to just chuck the packaging - plastic foil! :( - I did talk to the sales assistants & they agreed less packaging would be better!!)

In the evening, Mum & I went to a book presentation by a relative!
He told about the old times & how things were done then.. Very interesting!
The book is very interesting too!

/I was afraid to approach the sub-mayor & mayor & network & ask them about the PCs on grass & under pine trees though.. Chicken!! It just.. didn't seem an appropriate setting, & I thought more privacy for such discussions would be better! - Also, didn't want to 'steal' attention or limelight from the author!!/

DAY 4: Thursday - rainy
I read the book by the relative.. very interesting!
Was amazed how much hard work was necessary for some things in the old times (& decided there must be better ways!)

Mum & I went shopping. Bought only 2 naked avocados in another mini-supermarket! (We wanted to buy more, but what?! Almost everything was overpackaged, or unhealthy, or both!!)
I am a horrible sister!! - I didn't let Mum buy yogurt for sis in tetrapaks or plastic packaging!! (We have sour milk/homemade yogurt at home!! If sis wants bought dairy, she can buy it herself!)

Mum & I bought a sticker for 'no catalogues'!
Mum had been swearing at the damn catalogues before, & said she'd buy it!
'But what will Dad & Sis say?' - 'Oh it'll take a while before he even notices it!' lol!! My Mum ROCKS!! :)
/pic & explanation in Slovenian on what is & isn't stopped by the sticker found here - stops supermarket spam mail, to not get free newspapers you need to contact the post office & pay a small fee again/

We'll see.. It's cheap, less than 0.50 EUR - comes with a bit of waste, though - as all stickers do! It prohibits by law to put unwanted mail/catalogues in the mail box! (Got an odd look from a post office worker that always gives me odd looks, but she gave it to me, lol!)

& if Sis peels it off, she can be fined about 50 EUR?!! (Much bigger penalties for a biz, up to 5.000 EUR! - article in Slovenian)

DAY 5: Friday - today!
not sure what will happen - stay tuned! :)

OMG My Mom just did WHAT?!!

/will let you know as soon as I get some pics!/

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Happy Zero Waste Birthday!! :)

Well, word of advice: if you're thinking of having a zero waste week tied in with your birthday, uhmm, maybe not.

Thing is, at a certain age, a girl's b-day refuses to be a day of all delight, but becomes a day of somewhat dreaded anticipation!
Mix this with dreaded zero-waste week anticipation (will they or won't they?), and possibly some April-like weather, & you get yourself a big bundle of nerves! lol (which can maybe only be soothed with some zero waste cocoa!)

Also, there is a question of pressies (or their wrappings!) - as a fellow Slovenian zero-waster from a forum admits.
Not to even consider any b-day parties or such!

(gorgeous pic & lovely gift-wrapping idea found here)

So, this year I'm refusing to have any party or such, & also I'm refusing PRESENTS!
Yes, you read it right!

'What shall we buy you?' Dad said.
'Nothing!' I almost yelled. (I had been black-mailing them into co-operating with the zero waste week & hopefully this'll work?!)
I asked for a HUGE present: ZERO WASTE WEEK!

I think they would much rather buy me a car.

So, forgive me for a bit anguished post the other day. It was 2am and there was still BIG NOISE from an outside party-in-a-tent at a local hotel! Grr!!
(Horrible music too, or I would've gone there!;))

And Dad had been cutting wood (loud!) almost whole of the day!
With my hyperacusis (collapsed tolerance for sound) - not a fun time to be around at all!

So, with wood-cutting being on the menu for the next week too (by Dad & then the neighbours!) I must reconsider my zero waste week a bit.

You know, I had such romantic notions!
I would cook excellent zero waste meals & knit dish cloths. /sigh/

Now I may need other things to do to take me away from home (and how can I police my family & see if they behave if I'm away from home?!)

'We'll just toss things in the toilet,' Mum said.
'No waste - does this mean no poop too?'
Yes, they were kidding me (most likely - I hope?!) but still, after reading Mrs A's excellent back posts (of when she was getting ready for a zero waste week) I see I've left a HUGE step out - that of a family meeting!

I mean, I've tried to inspire Mum with videos of Little Miss Greeen & Jen@Clean Bin. I've talked to her about the importance of these things (as we all know, & as Dad today confessed, women are the decision-makers in everyday shopping for groceries etc!)
I scared Dad with reports of plastics being toxic, & talked about John Costignane's efforts (guys can relate easier to other guys!:)

Still, I'm feeling very doubtful if this will work.
I didn't manage to get to the farmers' market this Saturday (as planned), Sis is still sick (& refuses to use cloth hankies) & Dad has threatened to marry me off & have it done with.

What gives me hope is that they still took with a small reusable plastic container to get cake for Sis in (I refused any cake, even for my birthday! - felt really yucky after eating some at Uncle's anniversary!!)
/& I didn't bake cause I thought Sis didn't really need the extra non-nutrients!!/

Also, I realized we had a very zero waste lunch yesterday, quite 'by accident' (& without any further planning): homegrown potatoes & lettuce, & sauteed rabbit liver (frozen in reusable plastic containers) with homegrown onions.
(image found at WorldCommunityCookbook with mennonite recipes and such!)

Also, there was very little trash in the bin - a package from frozen peas & a few small cellophane wrappings (from previously bought dried fruits - BZW - before zero waste/visit to Farmers market that is) and such..

And Mum did buy just 2 yogurts & some tuna cans in the regular shop the other day! (She was afraid to buy anything else, bless her!)

Ideally we'd have talked more about all this & planned meals well in advance, but it was really hard to keep track of Mum & Dad coming & going, they've been chopping & sawing wood at our relatives' farm.. (& a bit resentful I didn't help, I'd love to but noise really really isn't a good idea to be around! even with earplugs, it's mostly too loud!)
Dad & I had a good talk yesterday, & I hope he'll come to terms with this.. He thought I was 'okay already' (& indeed I was much better than before) my hyperacusis still had occasional lapses though.. (especially if sleeping 4 hours only!)

(awesome pic found at this awesome site: ExperienceChocolate!)

& I hate to admit the chocolates I had gotten (from Granny & other relatives) say they are in recyclable #5 wrappings (?) - in fact the ones that aren't weren't even for me to nibble on!! /blushes/
/I hate to admit they're the yummiest ones though, so I guess I'll have to write to the manufacturers to consider different packaging!!/
I think I'll trade one of mine for one of those, but what to do with the packaging? It's half eaten so ideally it would be put into hiding until ZW week is over?!!
Some Euros by Granny were highly appreciated anyway, & at least those are zero-waste!;) /I wish they weren't accompanied with unhealthy yummies though!!;)/
& I did shudder at the sight of a Harry Potter DVD too (yes I'm a secret fan!) - as CDs & DVDs are non-recyclable here! /sigh/ But honestly, for a HP fan, this won't be trash for many many years - hopefully!! :)

(image found here)

I still haven't called the package retrieving company, out of fear what I'd find out mostly! (& to not put a hamper on my Sis's & Mum's recycling efforts & motivation! hmm!)
Sis has a solution for all our trash & $$$ worries: start a recycling biz! /sigh/
I did tell her how chemically iffy such factories can be, hope it'll get into her recycling-yes, reduce-no pretty head?!
(Of course that *is* the same person who thinks that CocaCola is the world's answer & healing aid for everything!!)

& I've yet to talk to local authorities of the street!
If the weather will hold I may venture out to Lush, or try to source some organic cotton for the dish cloths anyway...

& what on earth do you do with plastic bags that were used to hold meat in the freezer? (Mum says wash 'em & put in the plastics recycling bin, as our green guide booklet says plastic bags go in the recycling bin-?! Is it really safe to put 'em in?)

I think we may just have a let's-assume-they-recycle-everything-they-say-they-recycle week, & see how it goes!

Will we manage to go zero waste or not? at all?

Will I (& the rest of us!) be able to resist all the chocolate?!!

Stay tuned!

& if you want to give me something, I will shamelessly copy LittleMissGreen & ask for zero-something to avoid landfill! Maybe you can finally make (or knit?;) some dish cloths, or give up just a little something? doesn't have to be a lot!
any little bit will do! :)

Friday, April 17, 2009

My Mum Made Butter!! :) Yum!

Well, I have been hunting for zero waste butter everywhere...

Truly, I have...

And no naked butter in sight! /sigh/

So after a neighbour said her boyfriend makes butter(!) & I lamented at home how Dad eats all the cream before we'd be able to make some, & gave them as an illustrious example! - finally, some cream was saved this week.. (it also helped Mom & Dad were away from home most of the time! making wood at Aunt's..)

Mum just used a little pot & a hand mixer.. then she showed me how she pours away the 'water' (I drank most of it - yum!) & just rinses the butter & does things to it with a spoon.. (no fancy equipment used here, just going about it as simple as possible!)
/pic found on Wikipedia/

I talked of what people online say or use.. (so Mum used a sieve too, before, she didn't)
She was told the mystery of butter-making by a woman we used to get milk from.. before that, she didn't know how..

It's really simple & quick.. (Poppy may have fumbled with it more, but we had a smaller quantity too..) and also more cost-effective... (considering we get milk anyway.. and this is just a by-product!)

Mum also said if we want to make quark/cottage cheese, we can oder extra 2 liters of milk & just make it! :)
/The woman making quark didn't come to local monthly non-farmers-market this week! Sis said we can visit her though if needed, so quark sources covered! ;)/

(pic found here )
Mum &I talked of maybe using the soapwort instead of soapnuts as a more local alternative, for hair washing & washing the clothes.. (apparently the soapwort has 20% saponins in the root, soapnuts only 15%?)
Found some recipes for shampoo, haven't found any for washing clothes yet! Any recommendations?

/pics found here/
I also want to make a dish cloth & have looked at patterns online.. only found some brightly colored cotton in Mum's boxes.. not sure if it's okay for dish cloths.. would prefer organic/eco cotton..
Does anyone know if mercerized cotton is okay for dish cloths?

Am rather dreading zero waste week cause I feel totally underprepared, & still haven't planned the menus! /sigh/ And Dad will be sawing the wood much of the time, & I really hate too much noise!!
Sis said, 'Can we have it next year?' lol

Some Horror Gifts from Easter/b-day in advance include non-zero-waste chocolate, & sadly, I couldn't resist it! /sigh/ Hopefully it will get eaten before ZW week - or wait till the end? /Or..?!/ Can I cheat? ;)

Better news:
I called the local newspaper & they're interested in articles how to make less waste. (I said nothing about zero waste week cause I'm not sure we could pull it off! lol) They would be published end-of-May & then once a month, so I have time! :)

Got the 500 media contacts of Slovenian media too (YAY!!:)), & not sure what to do with them?!! (slightly overwhelmed, lol!!)

Tomorrow we can't go to the Farmers' Market as Mum has other things, Sis seems slightly ill, & Dad wants to be sawing wood! /sigh/ & I still haven't renewed my drivers' license! /sigh/

The computers I ranted about a few weeks before were discovered under the pine trees and on the grass (!!) at the local wastewater center! /sigh!!/
Definitely something must be done about this!

(Mom said to put them in newspaper too, but I'd prefer to talk to local officials first & try to deal with this quietly & diplomatically, if possible!! alas, I'm no diplomat! & when I think of the damn computers, some of them half broken on the grass, near a river (!) I get headache!! ugh!!)

Head of a local charity agrees a reuse station would be a good idea..
Now if only I could convince the officials etc? & get some money from EU?
(They give money for MUCH stupider projects!!)

National garbage policy is said to be updated in 2 months.. NGOs should definitely have a say, but will anyone bother to do anything?

I feel so... tired, & alone, & ... ugh, not sure exactly what to do & how to go about it..?!! I am just 'poor old me', not so healthy at the time either!! - how can I change any official politics?!!
/img found here/
at least I weeded out the strawberries today! :)
now if only weeding out silly official policies & practices would be as easy!!

Hmm, maybe this is normal before a zero waste week?!! Do tell!! :)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hoppy Zero Waste Easter!! :)

In Slovenia, every Easter Saturday (mostly) young girls and women take a food basket to church for blessings.

What's in the basket? Ham, potica or bread, a root or two of the horseradish plant, and easter eggs.

(This is not my basket! just a random pic found here - I still haven't got the digital camera!!)

Now you know my Mom: she is a great fan of the plastic bags.
So every Easter, the Easter basket was full of goodies in plastic bags!

But this Easter was zero waste Easter: how could we put plastic bags in the basket?!

So Great Consultant aka Granny came to help:
"What did you do in the old times?" I asked.
"Just stuffed it in the basket," she said.
"Put a cloth underneath, and a pretty cloth on top, and that's all!"

So we wrapped the potica in cloth wrappings, put the meat into a Curver/Tupperware-style reusable plastic container (Granny couldn't remember what - if anything - they used back then, maybe paper bags from groceries), and slipped in the horseradish roots and the colored eggs!

We had colored the eggs with onion peels, blackcurrants (from 2003) & raspberries (from 2005, both in reusable ex-icecream containers), but I have to admit the onion peels produced the best color! (& are mostly zero waste too!)
/Last year blackcurrant-colored-eggs were very beautiful too, maybe we did it a bit differently or the eggs were a bit different - & darker - this year!)
We just made them one-colored, as I wasn't happiest about cooking the eggs in nylon stockings! (and that method would produce waste too, no?!)

My Mom's heart was sinking, when she thought of colored easter eggs naked on the pretty cloth linen, but we tested them on an ordinary kitchen cloth & the color didn't come off, so they were safe to go!

Usually, she put some oil on the colored eggs to make 'em shine, but to avoid oil on cloth disaster, we just skipped that stage - & the onion-peel-colored eggs were very beautiful anyway!

(pic found here)

At church, I *did* wonder what in everybody's basket was!!

Grandma said that a joke at the time was that a woman carried a very heavy & rich-looking basket & then tripped, and old shoes came flying from the huge basket! (We did wonder if that was true too!! :))


& may it be HOPPY too, to burn all those calories! ;)

The traditional Easter breakfast here involves ham, homebaked potica, bread, yummy horseradish-apple-egg sauce, easter eggs, and other optional items like cheese etc!

note to self: be in time to prevent paper napkins being added to the Easter breakfast! I never know what to do with those! not safe for recycling, not sure about burning them or putting on compost, they do look chlorine-bleached, hmm!
You should see the look on Mom's face when I suggested those were not zero waste, bless her! Ahh, maybe next year!

And some more ideas to decorate Easter eggs next year:

Drapanka from Poland made by scratching
(Picture, more info & ideas found here)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Of bees & farmer markets :)

I am due more than a few blog posts! :)

After lots of ranting & frustration last week, things seemed better the next day already.

'Don't think I'll eat no _plastic sausages_ later on too,' Sis said, 'for the Zero Waste week' - (magical words!) 'so be it - but later on, no.' She paused. 'Unless you cook me supper every day.'

Hmm.. point taken!
My dear sister seems to lack supper initiatives & resorts to _plastic sausages_ - I've given the matter some thought, & realized we need more zero waste alternatives for supper (& I MAY even cook some suppers! oy!)

Then, Mum & I visited the FARMERS MARKET - finally!! Pure bliss!! Naked food everywhere!! :)

I felt so... happy!!

I had really started to feel guilty for eating anything non-zero-waste recently, so seeing huge tons of zero waste food (even goat dairy products - cheese & yogurt! & meat!!) I was really thrilled!!

The organic products aren't cheapest, but at least one CAN buy zero waste AND organic!! :)
/okay, goat milk & meats aren't organic, but at least they are naked!/

I also got the schedule for the organic health food store, & so on Tuesday a miracle happened:

I was soo happy!! :))

I also met an amazing shop assistant, & we chattered about zero waste alternatives & soapnuts (she suggested trying vinegar on the stains!) & other fun things!!
Best of all, she also shops with her own bags & had the low-down on some shops! (where you can buy the produce this way, & where you get kicked out! /sigh/)

So on Saturday I bought some yummy vegan sunflower mayonnaise and another spread (in glass jars!), zero waste pumpkinseeds (yeah!!) - a bunch in a paper bag & a 'starter set' for my own 'naked' pumpkinseeds from a tiny old lady who wrapped it into a piece of an old magazine! lol!!

I was asked if I am a journalist since I keenly scribbled all the zero-waste options (and prices!) into my trusty old notebook..!!
(How else am I to remember everything?)
So now I was even offered media contacts - WOW!! :)

I explained about the zero waste week & some people were interested - a guy selling organic stuff even asked what would be a better solution to cellophane, I said no idea since I'm still learning.. Hopefully something will be figured out..

In the meantime, it seems I'll have to make my own pasta!! (& am dreading it!!:)
Also, we still haven't sourced any naked butter, so we'll have to make that too! (but Dad keeps eating the cream!!)

When I look at the bin - it looks somewhat disheartening - there is still quite a lot of stuff in it, & some of it smells a bit! /sigh!/
It is pre-holiday & 'spring cleaning' time, so I'm hoping that's at least partly the reason!

When I look at the cabinets, raisins & some previously bought amaranth, millet puffs (& rice noodles - don't ask!) seem in iffy packaging, other stuff is mostly in paper..

Alas, Mom *did* buy store-bought yogurts again (at least some of them are organic so we can test them!:), & quark.. & heavily wrapped store-bought chicken! /sigh/
(She said, 'I forgot to bring the container for it, I had no intention to buy it!' - as if that is an excuse, hmm?! )
& butter & yeast-in-unrecyclable-wrappings.. (I didn't dare to buy yeast-in-a-jar in the health food store, it was in iffy-looking tiny balls-?! & well, we don't wanna risk the potica..)

She did get the cheese with the reusable container, and 2 naked avocados! And *she beamed proudly*: hankies in cardboard! lol!
/It was a huge thing for her, as she previously got 'em in plastics! often in small-10-hankies-a-piece-plastics within the outer plastics!/

(Apparently, compared to what the girl I met told me, my family still seems to have some potential! :) She's fished out recyclables out of the bin in front of the house!! & her brother was shocked: 'What will the neighbours say?' We both agreed they might even learn something!;)

On a happier note, a neighbour is willing to give me beeswax for my zero-waste-candle project, and mentor me about the bees!!
Uncle did give permission to renovate an old beehive & keep experimental trial of bees there!! :) YAY!! (Both he & Dad are scared of the bees, but Mom & Aunt & Cousin support me whole-heartedly, lol!)
(and to rummage the attic!! YAY!! apparently there's even some old linnen pre-yarn & a repairable spindle!)
We even found an old Grandpa's diary/notebook/notes about the production of the farm & the crops & payments & debts & such in the old beehive.. I was really touched..

Uncle said he was going to fully demolish the tiny hut one of these days - so I came just in the knick of time to save it! /not sure if it's worth saving, though Dad said it could last a year more, for my experimental bees!/

I talked to Aunt about maybe having a reuse station locally.. She thought she could mention it to the council..

Another Aunt offered some sources for more local meat directly from farmers... (not organic yet, so still looking a bit.. at least there are options..)

Also, a not-for-profit internet TV has approached me to do stuff for their studio?! /a bit bedazzled about this, & not sure how it could fit into my bee-keeping schedule etc?!!)

So many projects & only 1.. me!! :)

Alas, the way to my sister's and my dad's heart as well seems to be doing the dishes!! /sigh/
& yes I did wash the windows with water & vinegar today! :)

Mum still can't be fully trusted on the purchases (got some organic cookies in cellophane from the Farmers Market!) so I guess I'll have to do those for Zero Waste Week myself! (And we'll visit the Farmers Market again!)

Anyway, life seems pretty exciting, & even if I do not fully make it for the zero waste week, we've learnt a lot through this!
(We've avoided the farmers market before as it's 30+km away & at a most inconvenient time-Saturday morning, but it's worth it to go at least 1x a month!! and visit Granny at the same time..)

Also, why we are surrounded by tons of farms & still have to buy most things wrapped in plastics in shops, flown in from across the planet, totally evades me!!
(maybe stuff for future projects, lol!!)

And how was your week? :)

must dash to make some zero waste carrot-beetroots-apple juice! yum!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Zero Waste Report #4: What was I thinking??!! Going BANANAS! lol

Well, I think there is 'no way' that we can pull off the 'real zero waste week' so I definitely won't be telling the media about this, lol!!

It will be just an experimental week 'just for us' & hopefully we'll come out wiser...

Dad & Sis just 'don't find any sense in it' - especially 'since other people are polluting so much. They both told me to tell other people to make less waste first.. ugh.. (which I intend to, but 'small steps'..)

At least I did TELL them both about the zero waste week - they didn't take it so well, lol. But then again Mum didn't take it so well at first either!!

Sis also bought some non-eco bananas AGAIN & really drove me BANANAS!!
(found here)

I was soo proud after we had an almost 14-days of (clean! not-smelling!) trash in the bin, & then first Mum had a baking day & some butter-remains landed in there, then Sis put in the banana peels, so the trash had to go outside...!!
I admit I lost some enthusiasm after that!!

Ideally we'd have 1x/a month bin (or less), but will we ever get there?

Some dry fruits in TINY packages and in cellophane were bought again, ugh!! :(
And some pumpkinseeds in non-recyclable plastics! ugh!! /they don't even taste that good!/
I really hate shopping (where others see YUMMINESS, I see TRASH!!) seems I won't be able to leave 'em alone to shop!! ugh

Grandma hasn't found zero waste butter yet, hopefully Mom & I are going to the organic farmers' market on Saturday! (I ate some coconut butter on bread instead - it tasted.. odd!!:) might be okay with a hazelnut spread or so..)

On a happier note (after I had ALMOST given up!), last Saturday Sis *did* ask if her tiny 100g coffee bags are recyclable & even googled up the recyclability(!) (alas, it's #7 plastics, so I was dubious) - of course she found nothing useful, so still someone would need to be called, most likely..
We talked and she said maybe she could buy in bulk (to make less waste)..

(found here)

I am still afraid to call any authorities or the companies dealing with this.. I did contact a local semi-journalist & talked about maybe-writing for a local newspaper, but haven't actually called them yet..

(found here)
I actually talked to my waste-ful neighbour the other day, & asked her 'How come they make so much waste?!' lol
She said, 'well, there's 4 of us' - and they're in the attic, with kitchen and living room all-in-one, so having a compost bin proved too smelly.. (They at least take out bigger piles of eg potato peels on Sunday to the compost heap)
And they do recycle tetrapaks, kiddies got containers at school..
We were distracted by kiddies running around half naked in the cold, so we couldn't fully discuss it all..

I at least asked her to call my Mom if she has any still-good toys or such, so she could give it to the charity NGO.. (Mom also picked some good-enough kiddie shoes out of their 'big garbage' pile..)

I've researched some GOOD stuff about no nappies, zero waste hair, & some other things.. Mum FINALLY tried the soap nuts - & they wash REALLY well!! YAY!! :)

(pic found here - ours look a tiny bit different, are in halves - was told they must be without seeds to wash well!)

Cheese is still being bought with a reusable container :) YAY!! we made some yoghurt again too! :) - & Sis BOUGHT some too! :( (In TETRAPAKS, of course!! ugh!) still feels like 'too little'...

We got attacked by ANTS & I did find some great stuff online, befuddled them temporarily with cinnamon, & they returned.. :(
not sure what to finally use - as natural as possible!!
It seems best to find their entry ways & close them - but how? (there seem many, they seem to find new ones) & what with?

(pic unrelated & found here)
My cousin from the farm (yes, that one!) asked Mom to research a machine for throwing artificial fertilizer around.. and it's SUCH a shame, cause they live in such beautiful nature, & they could have an eco farm, & they're looking into fertilizer dispensers and buying milk in tetrapaks!! OoO (& disposable nappies!!)

I was ranting whole day today & Dad told me to rant at coz - I said it would be better if he did, a man with more authority, but Dad wanted none of it! although he keeps going there to help & COULD wield some influence!! Grr!!

Saw this great documentary A Farm For the Future (cca 50 min) & it did make me think - I wish I could show & present it to my coz & his wife too!

Also, the nuke firm is selling energy cheap to households, & all a TV show focused on was how advertised 10% reduced price isn't really 10% & consumers might be thus misled, & how they might have monopoly & iffy gov/non-gov position (with money landing who-knows-where).. not a word was said on how bad nuke power is!! grr!! - I want to kick someone's tushie!!

Still don't know what to eat - my tummy isn't happy.. :(
Been reading romance books out of desperation - at least they are zero waste - my neighbour's!! :D

On the other hand, as a winner of the FABULOUS Eurovision blog award

on Mrs A's The Rubbish Diet together with the awesome Danda from Italy & Esther from France (who I hope will post more!) - is it really time to despair? Or RE-THINK?! Hmm!!

So happy to be in the company of other totally wonderful bloggers (some of whom I definitely wanna research more!) - and hopefully I will be inspired by the Muse/s of blogging (or Muse/s of rubbish, if there exist any?) re: what to do?

Disposal of 'Big Garbage' and Electronics

We had a 'big garbage disposal' week this week.
I had been in a frenzy ever since I read the leaflet that asked people to put out their old furniture etc AND old computers or TVs (!)...

As it is, computers & old TVs (full of toxic chemicals) etc were waiting for 2 days IN THE RAIN (!), mostly unprotected (some in plastic bags) - the leaflet just said 'protect appropriately' - now everyone could interpret that as wished!

(This is a random pic but looks similar to some of our neighbours' stuff!!)

The 'mixed garbage' truck came first & 'gobbled up' some chewable (&probably burnable) 'trash' (without sorting any plastics or such! - I only hoped there was no #3!), then a truck for electronics came & old fridges & such were hauled onto it.. not very gently, I may say..
So at least some of it was sorted, not sure where it went afterwards.. Ideally it would all be transparent and on websites of appropriate companies..

Still not happy with it..

Some really pretty stuff was put out there.. in the rain.. A bird cage, a CD stand, a very pretty cabinet.. Some kids jumped with their dirty muddy shoes on bed matresses and a suntanning folding chair.. & smashed some of the stuff, almost throwing something in a nearby lady's head!!
I did give 'em a good talking to, but still!! (One would hope their parents would teach them better, no?)
When we were little, we found treasures in the 'big garbage' containers.. (like the big bag we & later generations of neighbours' kiddies played Postman with!)
One neighbour had just dumped beautiful clothes (& another neighbour thankfully pulled them out & gave for the charity NGO!)

Ideally a reuse station would prevent such crazy goings-on!
Wouldn't it be better for all those pretty things to be safely deposited & sorted & if necessary repaired & people with lower income could get them for free or very cheap?
Like in the USA: a great video - in Berkley etc. you can buy gorgeous stuff for little or no money!!

Nova Scotia, Kanada: I LOVE the cute furniture/home renovation shop (shown at 19:10) in the video presented by Paul Connet about the recycling/zero waste system in Nova Scotia

Another cool video by Prof Paul Connet: in Burlington, a non-profit picks up old PCs, fixes them or puts parts to reuse or recycling and sells cheaply, families with low income get coupons to get stuff for free..
it's also a job-training center & creates new jobs..

Both neighbour & I would love an old computer mouse (for the very old PCs), such a reuse station might actually have a proper one!!

I talked to Mum about it, & she thinks a reuse station would be a great idea too..
Another idea I thought about a lot would be a used/pre-loved clothes fair or swap.
Mum talked to her charity NGO 'boss' & she seemed interested in a 'clothes swap' event or something like that too.. I wonder if it could be 'pulled off' in a fancy way..
I REALLY like Swishing or Swaporamarama - great video with its founder.
/Especially as I was invited to a wedding, & asked to be a bridesmaid!! in a turquoise blue pretty satin dress!! with golden (or non-golden) pretty shoelets! - How to do this the zero waste way??!!/

So, these ideas are still in the talking stage.. Ideally more people would know about them & become enthusiastic about them too..
I did talk to a few neighbours on toxicity of computers etc, they were touched a bit.. It would be good to have a better system next year ideally..