Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Sustainable September 2017 - Day Twenty



Did you know we are two-thirds of the way through sustainable September 2017! Wow... time flies when you are having fun!

For those who are still doing some of the things that we talked about early in the month. The Sustainable September idea of taking your own cup to a cafe has been rather successful. 

 There is often a sign outside the cafe (like this one) that will tell you if the cafe gives you a discount when you bring in your own Keep Cups! One of our local cafes gives a 50c discount when you bring in your own reusable coffee cup! I think that is awesome! 

I also wanted to share with you all a kindness I did in the theme of reusable cups. I gave a friend a reusable mug to take with her to work and anywhere really. Now she has it and has used it a couple times I thought it would be okay now to share the photo of the reusable cup. Because you'll get to know her name with this one! :) 

What did you decide to do with your baking soda activity today? Did you find any other uses for it in the cleaning of your home? 

I remembered after I wrote the post yesterday that The Slow Home Podcast had another awesome episode about Bi-Carb Soda and a couple other simple and awesome environmentally friendly options for cleaning. So check out the link to that episode here. The Slow Home Podcast Episode 144. It should look something like this on your podcast app of choice. 

Sustainable September Day Twenty: Window Cleaning. 

This is another idea that uses things you already have around the house that means that you don't need to buy environmentally harmful chemicals for your home. 

It's as simple as vinegar and newspapers! Check it out here...

ACTIVITY: get down a dirty or should I say clean and clean those windows. 

I hope these ideas and links help you make greener choices and give you awesome cheaper ideas when it comes to cleaning your house. 

With love. 
Daena x

Monday, September 18, 2017

Sustainable September 2017 - Day Nineteen



Welcome to day Nineteen of Sustainable September 2017. 

Last week I talked about buying or making some "bees wax wraps". I had bought some a while ago and after a house sitting trip they had mysteriously gone missing. I had thought they had been thrown out. So I purchased some more when I went to the Dwellingup Bespoke handmade craft and art market over the weekend. I got some new wax wraps from the same wonderful ladies Undisposed, to replace the last lot that went MIA. As I was cleaning up today though I found a single bag of stuff that hadn't been unpacked since house sitting and guess what was inside? My old wax wraps! So now I have 4 wax wraps all to my self! :) 

Which also means I owe an apology to my family for assuming they had thrown them out! Sorry guys! 

Whilst I was waiting for the Internet to be fixed here (fingers crossed it's done now completely) I spent some time using today's idea "use vinegar for cleaning". I scrubbed the communal kitchen stove with vinegar. And it's before and after pictures are pretty cool. But please don't judge the before pictures too harshly. 

The idea for tomorrow is something that builds on today's idea. 

Sustainable September Day Nineteen: use bi-carb soda. 

Today when I was using the vinegar I had some really tough grime cooked onto the stove so I had to pull out my trusty super Bi-carb soda to help with it. Sometimes vinegar alone doesn't work as well, particularly with stubborn grime like this. 
As you can see the cook rings were caked with grime. So I soaked it with vinegar and added some bi carb for an awesome reaction.

Look at all that bubbling... Glad to know it was working. 

This is what they looked like afterwards with some scrubbing. I didn't do heaps of scrubbing because I wasn't feeling great (still had the headache from yesterday). But it came out pretty good! 

You can see the difference here between the front one and the back one. One with baking soda and vinegar the other without. 

That is probably way too many photos of my stove top. Hehehe. 

But the point is that Bi-carb can be a wonderful addition to any household cleaning routine for tough and stubborn stains. 

Here is a heap of uses for Baking soda in cleaning...

ACTIVITY: use one idea from the video above to test out. Find out how simple and easy it is to use baking soda in your environmentally friendly cleaning routine! 

That's all from me today folks. I hope you are all enjoying Sustainable September. 

If you have any other uses for bi carb or vinegar of you have any other cleaning tips and tricks that are environmentally friendly and sustainable, then let me know. I would love to hear about them. 

Love Daena x

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sustainable September 2017 - Day Eighteen



I've got a ripper of a headache so I'll do my best to keep it short. Mind you last time I said that it was one of the longest posts I had written. So maybe I should just forget the headache and do my best. Like usual.

Sustainable September Day Eighteen: Use Vinegar for cleaning. 

There are many magical properties of the humble white vinegar when it comes to cleaning. I've been using vinegar in my cleaning routine for a long time now. I dilute vinegar with water and wash my floors with it, I use it full strength for grubby marks on the counters or baked on on the stove, I use it as a fabric softener in my washing. It's amazing stuff. 

I learnt a lot about Vinegar and all its uses with the help of the Slow Home Podcast. It is one to a handful of podcasts that I listen to regularly. A while ago they had a whole series of episodes about cleaning simply and also easily. And they had a whole episode specifically on Vinegar. 

 You can check it out on your phone or tablets podcast app. I use the Apple Podcasts app because I have an iPhone that goes with me everywhere. Which means I can listen to podcasts as I drive around town or whilst I catch public transport. I often listen as I'm doing the laundry or cooking dinner. 

Anyway, back to Vinegar. It is a simple and environmentally sustainable cleaner that is safe for family, friends, neighbors, pets AND the environment. So that's a winner. I used to own a lot of cleaners, one super strong cleaner for every different surface in my house. Needless to say it was quite a lot of plastic and also a lot of chemicals that gave me headaches. So I had to find a better option. 

My brother in law started washing the floors with vinegar years ago and it sort of became a really normal thing for us all to do. We have an Enjo mop we use and we just wet it with equal parts water and vinegar and wipe down the floor (after it's been swept of course). And it's super easy and fast. The smell of vinegar disappears pretty quickly after it dries too so your house doesn't smell like pickles all the time. 

I really like the podcast because it shows you all the benefits of using vinegar and reducing all the other stuff in your house. The benefits include, saving money, using fewer toxic chemicals in your home, simplifying your cleaning routine, minimising waste and keeping the same level of cleanliness as commercial cleaners! 

I love that I can also refill my white vinegar bottle at the Wasteless Pantry too. Which means I'm saving on Waste coming into the home. I'm saving money because I'm not buying fancy cleaners that are specifically for one reason only. I love that it's earth friendly, because it's not going to accidentally poison my family if I wipe down my bathroom with it and then wash a glass with the same thing. If I did that with some other chemical based cleaners I don't know what my life expectancy would be. Heheheh. 

ACTIVITY: make some fancy Citrus Vinegar for your household. 

Don't love the smell of vinegar but like the smell of citrus? Well I have an idea for you. I put my old citrus peels in a jar. I make sure it's full of peel and then pour over vinegar. I seal the jar and let it steep for 2 weeks. Then I use this citrus smelling vinegar like I would use my plain white vinegar. And the smell is a lot more pleasing. You can check it out in the video below. 

I don't recommend spraying Citrus Vinegar in your mouth... watch the video for an example of why this is a terrible idea! hehehe. 

I hope this finds you all well. I'm off to bed with an icepack for my head and a big bottle of water. 
Love Daena

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Sustainable September 2017 - Day Seventeen



Welcome back to Sustainable September 2017.

Today is the last day of this weeks theme of Foods and Storage! When i post tomorrow we are moving on to another theme... which is all about Cleaning. It sounds boring i know... but it will be all about learning how to do wastefree cleaning. Or at least reduced waste cleaning. But for the last one of this weeks theme i have managed to pile a whole heap of ideas into one.

Note: I appologise if its a bit all over the place, this is the second time i have written this post. The first time i had a glitch and lost everything. So here is to take two.

Sustainable September Day Seventeen - find alternative wastefree (or reduced waste) Beverages. 

Soft drinks - If you have a taste for the sweet nectar of soft drinks finding wasteless options is a wonderful environmentally friendly idea. And if you cant find 100% waste free options finding reduced waste options is a wonderful improvement. Apart from going completely soft drink free and surviving on water alone... the best option I've found for soft drinks is a Soda Stream (There are also generic brands of this system available however i have a soda stream so only know about this machine).

These days the most exciting soft drink I, personally, have is Soda Water with fresh lime pieces (so refreshing). But instead of buying the single use plastic bottles of soda water, we bought a Soda Stream so that we could make our own drinks. Now I can get soda water any time I want! Yay! The reusable bottles are plastic (so not perfect) and must be replaced every two years. Whilst the gas bottles are returned and exchanged so that they can be refilled for others in the future (yay! sustainable!). 

My sister (who drinks Diet Cola) and I (soda water), had a couple of drinks so I could show you all how my soda machine works. You can add concentrated syrup which is basically flavouring that comes insmall bottles that can give you about 7-9 Litres of flavoured soda. I like it because it significantly reduces the amount of single use plastics that would come into our house. 

Coffee pods - by now most of you know that I don't drink coffee. But I have heard about the amount of waste coffee pods causes and the damage it does to the environment. I even wrote about coffee pod waste for the last few years so here are the links... 2015 and 2016. These links will help you understand all the information about why coffee pods are less than okay for the environment. 

These days there are lots of coffee pod machines on the market. The coffee pods are a disaster for the environment. However, there are other options to throwing the pods in the bin. One is to recycle them (assuming you are using recyclable coffee pods like Nespresso). A second alternative is to buy reusable metal coffee pods like this one... 

This is what it looks like with its little reusable lid.

This is what it looks like without its little lid on. Its very cute.

I took these photos whilst at the Wasteless Pantry. It looks like an amazing product which only improves with any quality coffee you can fill these little pods with. I don't have a coffee maker with or without pods and I don't drink coffee... So if you have one and use one of these I would love to hear what you think! Good or bad!

Loose Leaf Tea - Better than t-bags is loose leaf teas when it comes to reducing waste. I am a tea lover! I have heaps of loose leaf teas and a tea strainer that I use daily. Even as I write this I am drinking a cup of my favourite decaf tea that I also have in the photo below. 

That is my tea strainer with a Red Green Vanilla tea from T2 (a Roobois with vanilla). It's super yummy and I'm not even sure if it even comes in t-bags. Last year I wrote all about the problems with tea bags so I'll link that HERE. Needless to say loose leaf teas are better and can be easily composted, whilst many t-bags contain plastic so are not compostable.

If you want to buy without even the packaging from places like T2, bulk stores like The Wasteless Pantry have tea that you can purchase package free. I have been eyeing off their Chocolate Roobois tea. If i didnt already have half a cupboard of teas to work my way through, I would definetly get some.

But that least me on to another idea from last year.

Kettle filling - An idea of how to save money, energy and water is to only heat your kettle with just as much you actually need. This can be as simple as filling the mugs you want to use with cold water and then pouring that water into the kettle so you fill it with only how much water you use. I did a blog post on this last year also. You can check that out HERE. 

ACTIVITY: Upcycle old drinking containers.

For ideas on what to do with old beverage containers check out this short video of 4 ideas of what to do with milk containers.

For several more ideas and hacks... check out this awesome collection of 25 ideas of what to do with a range of drinking containers (usually soda/cola/pop/soft drink bottles).

This is a reminder to use what you have in your house already for this, instead of going out and purchasing more to make these crafts/hacks. I say this because any plastic item that is in an altered state (like it has been cut up) often cannot be recycled. So if you do choose to use these ideas think about how you can use the WHOLE bottle not just a part of it, because the left over bits will end up in landfill.

I hope this finds you all well.
Daena x

Friday, September 15, 2017

Sustainable September 2017 - Day Sixteen



Hi everyone,
Sustainable September is all about 'Making life a little kinder for our planet and all those who live here'. So i am looking at fun and hopefully useful ways to make your life more environmentally friendly but also kinder.

I have only just started this next one this year. Because i always forgot to pack them... but i do it all the time now. And it is one more way i am illiminating plastic coming into the house.

Sustainable September Day Sixteen : Use reusable Produce bags.

You can get them from a range of places. They are often made out of sheer curtaining or calico/100% cotton fabrics. They come in a range of sizes. The few that I have bought have come from Onya Bags.
You can check them out or even buy some on their website whose link is above.

However I tend now to make them myself. Which leads me to the days suggested activity.

ACTIVITY: Make your own reusable produce bags.

I use old bits of netting and old curtaining to make my own produce bags. I tend to make them fairly small because I dont like to buy too much of the nice things I want like dried fruits or even dark chocolate coated sultanas for a family member. You dont want to buy too many of them when they can be quite expensive, and they are are not the greatest for health in large quantities.

However you can make the bigger ones too. I just havent needed to yet because i already have the ones from Onya! So when they wear out i will be making my own.

At the moment we are having internet problems so downloading and uploading blog content is a little trickier. I am hoping to get them sorted out by tomorrow.

I Hope this finds you well,
Enjoy this short and sweet sustainable September blog post!
Love Daena xx

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Sustainable September 2017 - Day Fifteen



Welcome back everyone,

This year for Sustainable September I am focusing on 'Making life a little kinder for our planet and all those who live here'. One way I am doing that is reducing the amount of plastic I use. So that means finding alternatives.

Sustainable September Day Fifteen: Get rid of Plastic Wrap.

There are a few ways to go about this. Like I did last night with a family members dinner plate. I just upturned a second plate to use as protection instead of using plastic wrap.

I recommend this when you are heating stuff in the microwave too... although be careful when cooking in the microwave, because... it is HOT!!! Steam can burn just as badly as direct heat... so always be careful when using heat.

You can simply use reusable containers too. we have a whole heap of reusable plastic containers. Yes I know I have spent a lot of this month already talking about how bad plastic is for the environment. I do believe I can do better in the future. But there is no point in me throwing away reusable plastics to replace with glass yet. My main problem is with single use plastics but I am still minimising other plastic that I'm brining into the house. I will continue to use my already well used reusable plastic containers until they die, then replace with glass only when I need to. Throwing away something that is useful to become 'more eco-friendly' seems a bit backward. However, when the plastic reusables we have do break or become unhealthy (some reusable plastics we have start bubbling at the bottom) then we recycle it and then, and only then do we buy a more environmentally friendly option.

One of the other alternatives to plastic wrap I have started personally using recently, and LOVE, is Bees Wax Wraps.

What are Bees Wax wraps? They are fabrics (cotton, linen or silk) that have been cut and coated in liquid beeswax, then dried. They can then be used like you would use Plastic Wrap, but instead of the plastic wrap automatically sticking to itself, the warmth of your hands helps the wax soften so that it adheres to itself. this makes it so much easier to use.

I bought two smallish Bees Wax wraps from Undisposed, a local company promoting reusable eco-friendly items like my cutlery set (which i also got from them). I love them. I would have photographed them to show you, however they have recently gone missing. I used them all the time when I was house sitting but I'm not sure what happened to them since. I suspect one of my eager cleaning housemates may have disposed of them thinking they were rubbish... but i am yet to know for sure (so i hope they can forgive me if i find them later somewhere else).

You can purchase Beeswax wraps from a range of places. I know the local bulk foods shop I go to regularly, and love, The Wasteless Pantry sells them too.

You can wrap almost anything in them... like this...

You can also use the Beeswax wraps like oragami in a way! The following video shows you how to make a sandwich pouch from Beeswax wraps. 

The only thing that is not postitive about Bees Wax wraps is that they cannot be used in the microwave (hence me giving you the ideas for using upturned plates). The wax melts and causes problems in the mircowave if you use them in there... hence not recommended. But apart from that... they are so easy to use. 

ACTIVITY: Make your own Beeswax wraps.

I hope you have a wonderful day. 
Sending lots of love, and big hugs to you all, 
Love Daena 

Ps. I don't get any kickbacks or money from the places that I recommend here. I recommend them because they bring value to my life and I really enjoy their products and services. Just so you know! 😘❤ X

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Sustainable September 2017 - Day Fourteen



Hello my Sustainable friends,

Welcome back to Sustainable September!

Today has been a long and busy day for me so I will keep this as short and sweet as I can. 

Yesterday was all about packaging, I even shared how hard it can be for a person with allergies and intolerances to get unpackaged items. However, today I found some gluten free Sweet Potato crisps at a bulk store (instead of buying a plastic wrapped packet of Sweet Potato crisps). I don't buy them very often because they are not that good for me. However seeing as I am currently on the Auto-Immune Protocol Paleo Food lifestyle where there are not many easy access foods, this is the best of a bad bunch.

Sustainable September Day Fourteen - Store food so they last longer.

I must admit that this one is new to me. Some of these tips and tricks may not apply to everyone, depending on what you purchase at the shops or farmers markets. I heard a whole heap of these from one of my favourite Podcasts... The Slow Home Podcast. Brooke McAlary has a wonderful podcast and blog that talks about slowing down and one of the things she discussed a few months ago (after the Australian Broadcast of War on Waste) was how to REDUCE waste. Here is a screenshot of my phone and the podcast athay I will be talking about today.

This link gives you 50 Different Ways to REDUCE your food waste. So I will pinch some of the things from this list that i have used in my own kitchen to save on waste. Have a look at the link above so that you can see other awesome ideas that apply to you. Then share them with me... i want to know what works. :)

Some of this stuff I have also learned through trial and error.

Did you know you can freeze a whole lot of stuff? For example, do you have a half used glass jar of Pesto? Instead of throwing out the left overs (or letting it sit in your fridge to go mouldy and rot before throwing it out), use an ice tray to separate single serves of pesto and freeze. It is usually in about tablespoon quantities. So you can throw it into some other things you make in the kitchen later.

Celery - For me, If I buy celery, I need to cut it up into smaller pieces for dips and snacks because if I leave it as a whole it tends to wilt without being touched. If it is cut then it gets eaten fast and there is a lot less waste. I cut them, then store them covered in water in a reusable container. Drain them before eating. Changing the water every second day.

I often use Celery in making Vegetable Stock, along with a lot of other veggies (you can also use celery tops and leaves for stock).

Carrots - In my house, if they are precut they get eaten faster. I cut them, then store them covered in water in a reusable container. Drain them before eating. Changing the water every second day.

If I have some whole carrots starting to get bendy I use them in my Green Smoothies. In the mornings I make a smoothy that contains a carrot, a handful of spinach leaves, half a cucumber, a cup of blanched kale, half an apple, the juice of half a lemon, either half an avacado or a teaspoon of olive oil, and then I add other bits like a handful of Berries, sometimes some limp celery, or over ripe banana or pears, or other fruit or veggies that are starting to look a little sad.

I often use Celery in making Vegetable Stock, along with a lot of other veggies (you can also use celery tops and leaves for stock).

Berries - For firm berries, you can rinse them in vinegar, dry them and store them in the fridge on a bed of papertowel in a plastic container. For more details about how to care for them check out this indepth tutorial about how to make your berries last longer here.

Any sad looking berries (not mouldy) can be thrown into a smoothie too.

Spinach/Lettuce/Kale leaves - I discovered that if I trim then wrap my lettuce, kale and spinach leaves into the damp clothes (damp teatowels) and then put it in a reusable container it lasts a lot longer than when I used to buy them in plastic bags.

This is my pink tea towel, my English spinach and a reusable plastic container I store in my fridge. 

Hard Cheese - Although I do not use Cheese (or any Dairy) personally, my family does. When we have bits of hard cheeses left over we chuck the extra bits in a container in the freezer. When you have a small container in the freezer full, put it in a blender and blend it all up together and you can use this extra cheese for making things like Cauliflower cheese or nachos. I learned this one from Jamie Oliver. We love putting parmesan rinds in soups. Cauliflower soup with parmesan is awesome - I remember this, even though I dont eat it anymore.

Bananas - Don’t compost your squishy, over-ripe bananas. Peel, slice and freeze on a tray, then transfer the rounds to a container. These are perfect for for banana bread, smoothies, protein pancakes, or my favourite is Banana Coconut Ice-cream (Daena Friendly & accidentally Vegan!). 

VeggiesKeep all your veggie offcuts, peels, skins and trimmings in a container in the freezer. When there’s a good amount, put it all in a big saucepan, cover with water, and cook for a few hours. It makes a delicious rich (free!) veggie stock that can then be frozen and used as needed.

Meat - Only keep out what you’re cooking in the next day or two. Separate the rest of the meat into meal-size portions. Alternatively you can take containers to the butcher and ask them to separate the meat into meal sized portions for you. You can then put it in the freezer with a lable if you need it. 

ACTIVITY - Start a Waste Free Cookbook. 
Basically it involves finding your favourite recipes to use up any of your usual food waste.

Do you often have too many bananas? do they get black and end up in the bin because you dont know what to do with them? Well how about finding a good banana bread recipe? Or peel the banana and put it in the freezer to use in smoothies, cakes or ice-creams. 

There is so much information here. You can take on whatever you want to do and give it a go. You don't have to do everything at once, I don't want to overwhelm you! 

I hope this finds you all well, 
love Daena xx