vlog

Soon we’ll be releasing a one minute ‘vlog’ (video blog) everyday for 30 days, and then once weekly after that. Before we get busy filming all this, we want to know exactly what Plastic Free Tips you’d like to watch and learn from.
Is it . . . what do I use as a moisturiser? What nappies does my baby use? How do we buy our coffee plastic free? Let us know and we’ll be happy to vlog about it!

Promotions:
If you know of, or own a company that sells plastic free items, we are willing to feature these in our vlog and blog if the product’s environmental credentials are sound, and there is no or minimal plastic used in the product, packaging and postage. You can use the contact form or email gina@plasticfreelifestyle.com for further information.

Thank you

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How does one survive with out bin liners? People get pretty emotional about this one for some reason.  Bins are usually plastic anyway – so no need to line them again with plastic.  Just place the rubbish straight into the bin, and if you have moist/wet rubbish use newspaper to wrap it in before placing it in the bin. Then empty the whole bin into your large wheelie bin.
I have found I generate less rubbish since I started a plastic free year, and organic waste can easily be composted.

Ecology Provisions range uses recycled stainless steel and natural bamboo (a sustainable resource) and the company has a philosophy of considering every aspect of development and manufacture process of a product in order to reduce the environmental impact of it’s products and packaging. I brought an icecream scoop and a zester – I love the fact the packaging is made from 100% recycled materials, and can be placed back into recycling. The product is even tied to the packaging with brown string – no plastic tags here! They have a lovely earthy look too.

I’ve been using these for a few weeks now, and they are great. They come in eco-packaging which is 100% recycled cardboard, and there are a variety of cloths for different household purposes eg. windows and kitchen. No chemical detergents are needed and my mirrors and shower walls are streak free. When they are dirty, just throw them in the wash – they last for around 300 washes.

Delicious package free body and hand soaps can be found at homemade craft fairs, health stores, organic stores, farmers markets and co-ops, but supermarkets often offer no choice but to purchase commercially made soaps in packaging. Luckily a few supermarket soaps are packaged in cardboard not plastic so look out for those ones.

Safe toilet paper can be found in major supermarkets and offer ‘original’ and ‘super white’ toilet paper options. Their environmental cred is pretty impressive:Made from 100% recycled paper, are 100% Australian owned and made, not rebleached, no added fragrance, Biodegradable tissue, safe for all systems including septic, and they are endorsed by Planet Ark.<For more information on Safe toilet paper and other great Planet Ark endorsed products visit Safe toilet paper.

I have been refilling my old laundry liquid and laundry softner containers at CERES Environmental Park store, but another option availble at supermarkets is Aware laundry powders that are made with plant oil based surfactants instead of petroleum oil derived surfactants and are biodegradable with no phosphates added. Phosphorus chemicals in conventional detergents feed blue-green algae and lead to algal blooms. This contributes to the build up of weeds and algal slime in our waterways and choke other precious aquatic life forms by using up the available oxygen. Other benefits are the packaging is recyclable and uses 85% recycled board, and it is safe for grey water systems. For more info visit Aware.

 

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One of the many benefits of living plastic free is healthier food choices. In general, wholesome natural foods are more often available in plastic free packaging than highly processed foods and buying takeaway isn’t really an option (with the exception of pizza). Whether you do your grocery shopping at supermarkets, independent food retailers, farmers markets, healthfood or organic stores, these following tips are easily applied:

Keep approx 5-10 re-usable bags in the boot of the car (or enough to carry twice your normal shopping in case you have a splurge one week), and a small fold up bag in your handbag so you’re never caught out needing a plastic carry bag. The main discipline here is to waltz the bags straight back out to your car as soon as you’ve taken the last item out so that you are never in the situation of needing a plastic carry bag.

Produce can be loosely purchased without the need for individual plastic bags.
When selecting fruit and vegetables, place them directly in the basket or shopping trolley. There is no need to place them in individual plastic bags, and checkout staff don’t seem to mind as long as you assist them by placing all items together eg all apples in a cluster, all kiwifruit in the next cluster and so on. If you don’t like the idea of loosely placing produce in the trolley, purchasing reusable produce cloth bags is another option.
It’s best to wash fruit and vege before eating. If I have time I do it all at once when I return from shopping using a large bowl of water and a vege scrubbing brush – plastic free coconut fibre brushes as well as other household cleaning brushes can be ordered from the Redecker range http://www.shopsaison.com.au/products.
If you are based in Melbourne CERES Environmental Park have a Fair Food program where you can order local organic produce boxes which are delivered to “Food Hosts” scattered around the city & suburbs. The food boxes don’t contain any plastic (unless you order any special additional shop items), and may offer you convenience if you are very busy and live or work near a Food Host. For more info http://www.ceresfairfood.org.au.

Nuts, seeds, oats, grains, legumes, pulses, beans, dried fruits and ready made muesli are regularly available in bulk buy and can be placed in paper bags from healthfood/organic stores, co-ops, and some farmers markets, but this does get a bit trickier to purchase plastic free from a supermarket. I have to travel close to 25 to 30km each way to reach a bulk buy place and I buy enough to last me a month or more so I don’t have to travel so often.

Elgaars yogurts are currently available throughout Tasmania and Victoria and are being distributed nation wide shortly. They come in different flavours and sizes and are housed in a glass jar with metal lid. They refund you 40 cents each time you return a jar to participating stores. As some facebook followers have mentioned – it is apparently quite easy to make your own yogurt too. I’ll be giving this a go for sure over the coming weeks!

Choosing to eat natural butter over highly processed margarine is a great way to avoid plastic containers. Eggs are in cardboard containers and many co-ops & healthfood stores welcome you returning empty ones for re-use. There are so many tin foods – seafood/fish, vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, pulses etc. Thankfully most family sized chocloate bars are packaged in cardboard or paper & foil (yay!).

Milk is readily available in cartons and if you can see the carton labelled as “PurePak” made by Visy then this can definitely be recycled. If it is a “Tetrapak”, then you need to check if your council does recycle this or not but most do. Some companies such as Elgaars is selling milk the good old fashioned way – in glass bottles. Jams, honey, mayonnaises, tartare sauces, salsas, pickled/preserved foods such as gherkins, olives etc all have some brands that offer them in glass jars with metal lids and easily found at major supermarkets. There are also options to buy sparkling water, juices, sodas, wine, beer etc in glass, cartons or aluminum cans.

I have shaken and rattled almost every cereal box in the isles of supermarkets to ‘listen’ for a plastic free cereal (they do make a different sound!). The only one I have found is Uncle Toby’s Oats, and Uncle Toby’s Multigrain Oats.
You can use these oats for porridge, or to male your own muesli by adding dried fruit and nuts.
Some bulk buy places sell different varieties of cereal, which is a good option if you fill your empty cereal containers or paper bags with it.

Mmmm. . . crunchy peanut butter! Both crunchy and smooth peanut butter is available in a glass jar and metal lid from the Macro Organic range at Woolworths, and it’s only around $4 – great value. 😉