I tend to think that people who read this blog are already doing whatever they can think of on this issue. But I find that there are stages, not always in sequence, in the matter of waste. I learn new things about what I am using and doing. I find out about strategies that had not occurred to me (like those learned in Japan). I go back to things I used to do. I establish a different level of comfort or dislodge a piece of entitlement. And sometimes a new conversation opens up at home, at work, or more widely–in the case of Australia, The War on Waste has opened new conversations.
So my best jeans went through in the knee and I decided to patch a bit more thoughtfully, as they are my best jeans, and I have so many fit for the garden already! Here is the patch on the inside. I had kept my grandma’s pinking shears for well over a decade even though I couldn’t free them up. I had one more attempt and shazam! I have mended jeans and functional pinking shears (the new sewing machine oil did it)! So the patch has pinked edges.
Here is my stitching grid (yes, an ordinary drawing pencil in pale pink). Since visiting Japan, I’ve read more about sashiko (sometimes called Japanese folk embroidery–but to summarise, running stitch made into a higher art form) and realised the simpler thing would have been to just trace a grid of lines. This worked though! Much more attractive than my previous utilitarian approach, in fact I had a confusing conversation with a gentleman who thought I’d done this just for decoration recently. I had to break the news it was actually mending, not distressed denim–but we shared some puzzlement bout distressed denim as we clearly both wear our jeans out.
This morning, I went for a pre-work walk and took some years’ worth of our dead batteries (including rechargeables) to a recycling station at the Clarence Park Community Centre. They also accept electrical goods and mobile phones for recycling. Community Centres are just SO GOOD. Our local Food Co-op at Clarence Park Community Centre has an excellent range of foods including eggs, honey, flours, seeds, grains, nuts, driend fruits, pulses. It is run by lovely volunteers, and has been running with a view to reducing waste and keeping food affordable for many, many years. National list of bulk food co-ops here.
On the way back, a friend stopped on their bike and asked what I was doing in that spot–and they said Goodwood library also take batteries for recycling. We went on our separate ways and I collected dye leaves on the way home, and they passed me again and stopped to say it had improved their day to see me and remember there are other people who also care for the earth. Aww! (That was the trigger for this post). So there were hugs and there was love and then off they rode and off I walked.
Needless to say there has been more spring guerilla gardening, and I always pick up rubbish while I’m at it.
We already do lots of the simpler things like refusing straws (I started on that in the 1980s); taking our own bags to the shop, packing fruit and vegetables without extra bags, reusing plastic bags, recycling, composting, worm farming and such. But we’ve stepped up to seeing if we can bring less plastic into the house, difficult as that is given the way industry and commerce are now arranged. I’ve been stopping off at Drake’s Foodland Panorama which has a huge bulk section and is on my bus route home from work. I take pre-loved ziplock bags from earlier purchases with me and refill them. It’s not especially cheap but it’s accessible and involves no new packaging. When coming home from my parents’ house, I’ve been doing the same thing with a Coles that has a smaller bulk section (each Coles I’ve seen a bulk section in has a different selection). But in Adelaide, the bulk place to go apart from your local co-op or Farmer’s Market is the Central Market. Needless to say the Markets sell fruit, vegetables, pre-made foods and all manner of other foods. No one turns a hair when I buy bread with my own bags and this is expected by many stallholders. (Random picture of a rosella peeping out of a nesting box–look carefully!).
The Honey Shop at the Market sells all kinds of unpackaged soaps, tea herbs, ingredients for making your own cosmetics and massage oils, plus bulk oils, cleansers (dishes, bathrooms, clothing, you), shampoo, conditioner, moisturiser–and of course honey. They’ve been doing it ever since I first went to the markets in about 1983. There is also the upmarket and relatively expensive Goodies and Grains which has a huge selection. (Random picture of home made sourdough with whole barley rising).
Then there is the much cheaper Tardis of bulk shopping The House of Health (every time I go there I discover more things I thought were not available in Adelaide–like sourdough starter–as well as more things I don’t understand, like freeze dried vegetable powder). You have to be prepared to dance in a very small space here but I can get virtually everything we use for breadmaking, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, FODMAP friendly granola making and more.
Then there’s hankies. I’m one of those who never went over to using paper tissues. But now I make my own and share the love. These were a small amount of double gauze I just could not resist, bought new and sized for smaller friends who have smaller pockets (and smaller noses!) And then there is this stack: an entire fitted cotton bedsheet worn through–soft and lovely for hankies–and gifted to me by a friend. Then I made some more from a vintage paisley green lawn from Joyce’s stash but I gifted them away before taking a photo. And some others from fine lovely cotton from Beautiful Silks’ remnants section. What have you decided to do to reduce waste at your place lately?