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GARBAGE – Cutting Carbons Challenge

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    I used to be a teacher of year one, I know exactly what you mean, Lee! Kids can lose anything at school – even their undies!?!

    You can wrap sandwiches in slightly damp cloth and they will keep really fresh this way. They could have little cloth drawstring bags to store the lunches in. Otherwise, my mum used to wrap ours in paper and then pop them in a paper bag. If you buy things from a deli, the butchers paper from that would be ideal.


    Great thread, suz. It’s so inspiring to read how members are working towards producing less rubbish.

    We produce one small bag of rubbish a fortnight. Still, it’s too much. I’ll try this week to reduce even more. Things I’m doing are:

    * taking my own bags with me when I shop, including my Melissa bag from the ALS swap. I also keep a bag in a pouch in my purse in case I need to bring anything from the store on the way home from work.

    *we don’t eat meat but when I buy meat for the dogs, it’s always from the butcher, without plastic, just paper. The paper goes in the worm farm.

    * stopped using paper towels and drain just on a plate.

    * shop at the bulk food store, taking my old 5kg calico flour bags instead of their plastic bags.

    *waste food goes to the worm farm and chooks.

    * we don’t buy takeaway food.

    * I’m trying to reduce my plastic wrap usage by covering food in the fridge with a bowl or moist cotton cloth.

    *cook from scratch.

    * make my own dishcloths and wash them many times before they are put in the worm farm. They usually last about 18 months.

    * recycle jars for preserves.

    * use powdered milk in cooking to save fresh milk in plastic bottle.


    It is very inspiring, Rhonda. Every little bit helps and if everyone just takes one step at a time, huge changes can be made over time without realising.

    Our bins went out today. What a huge difference a birthday makes! We had 2 adult visitors, so a little extra rubbish is expected, but because my son had a birthday and got lots of presents wrapped in paper and boxed in cardboard and plastic, our recycle bin was totally full. Ususally it goes out fortnightly only half full! We have composted the paper and cardboard that we could, but so much of it was that really glossy coloured stuff that I am not really sure is good for the garden (?). I was very grateful for all the lovely things our family and friends gave him, though.

    How is everyone else doing? And does anyone know were to source a toothbrush that is not made of plastic or can be recycled?


    I saw this at No Impact Man and had to post it here:

    Here are some reasons, taken from the Earth Policy Institute, that I avoid bottled water:

    Although in the industrial world bottled water is often no healthier than tap water, it can cost up to 10,000 times more. At as much as $2.50 per liter ($10 per gallon), bottled water costs more than gasoline.

    In contrast to tap water, which is distributed through an energy-efficient infrastructure, transporting bottled water long distances involves burning massive quantities of fossil fuels. Nearly a quarter of all bottled water crosses national borders to reach consumers, transported by boat, train, and truck.

    Making bottles to meet Americans’ demand for bottled water requires more than 1.5 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel some 100,000 U.S. cars for a year. Worldwide, some 2.7 million tons of plastic are used to bottle water each year.

    According to the Container Recycling Institute, 86 percent of plastic water bottles used in the United States become garbage or litter. Incinerating used bottles produces toxic byproducts such as chlorine gas and ash containing heavy metals. Buried water bottles can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade.

    The rapid growth in this industry means that water extraction is concentrated in communities where bottling plants are located. Farmers, fishers, and others who depend on water for their livelihoods suffer from the concentrated water extraction when water tables drop quickly.

    Tap water is more strictly regulated for health standards than bottled water.


    Perfect Potion would be one of the places I would try (if we still had one :confused: Plant Essentials doesn’t seem as good) for a wooden toothbrush… or the Body Shop $$$$


    I think the body shop still has replacable head toothbrushes.


    Hmm… I don’t think we could cut our garbage down any further than we already do. We keep a little flip-top container on the bench which gets all the vegie scraps, eggshells etc. That goes into the worm/compost bin. We don’t drink soft-drink or fruit juice, so no plastic containers. More than 90% of our food is what I call ‘whole food’ i.e. bags of flour, sugar etc, not packaged stuff made from flour or sugar. I recycle our plastic bags – shopping when I get them and vegie bags. Paper gets burned in our wood fire or goes into the worm bin (worms seem to love snotty tissues… yuck!) We have our own meat, so no plastic trays.

    What annoys me the most, is that we could easily manage a two-week garbage cycle as our small wheelie bin has never been even close to full, but we have to pay for a weekly collection, so we put our bin out every week. Our ‘takeaway’ is pizza that I make myself, using our own chargrilled capsicum, sundried tomatoes etc… Note to self – must get a life.

    For wholesale in Townsville, try this link;


    thanks Rob, I’ll give them a call


    Rob6014 wrote:

    What annoys me the most, is that we could easily manage a two-week garbage cycle as our small wheelie bin has never been even close to full, but we have to pay for a weekly collection, so we put our bin out every week.

    This is something that comes up in my family all the time – there are no rewards for saving. We save water – yet our water is so cheap it makes little difference to the bill. The electricity company has only just introduced a billing whereby higher users pay more for their power. Our garbage bin goes out with at most one bag most weeks but we pay the same as neighbours whose bills are full to overflowing each week. When you drive you are not rewarded for good behaviour on the road, only penalised for speeding etc.

    When I was studying to be a teacher, they stressed to us that you get better behaviour from people if you practice ‘positive reinforcement’, ie rewarding the good behaviour the most. Nowhere ‘in real life’ can I find examples of this….

    Warm fuzzy feelings work for me, but not for many!


    Anastasia wrote:

    1. Taking bags with me on the smaller shopping trips

    2. Visit the bulk foods store – aim to take my own packaging

    3. Do without – am already doing this with paper towel, and have run out of shampoo so will try to make do.

    4. Make your own – already make my own pizza dough, biccies, muffins, cakes, tortillas, dumplings etc… so that cuts down on garbage (though I need to buy flour in bulk). Soap is going to be an issue this week, but I make sure to buy soap that has no packaging. I still don’t have the ingredients to make it :(.

    5. Choose the best packaging – already do this to some extent, although I’m sure I could be more conscious of it.

    How did I go? Well!

    I have been remembering to take a bag with me for the smaller purchases, and on the weekend I took a bunch of reused plastic bags/snaplocks for the fruit and veg. I’m off to bulk foods tomorrow as they were shut when we got there Saturday doh! Am doing without shampoo and paper towel happily, but I *did* buy baking paper after resolving to just use greasing methods. I ended up buying soap (5 bars) in a cardboard carton that doesn’t have individual wrapping, so that wasn’t too bad.

    The hardest part was having to buy lots of cans of tomatoes from Aldi to make up extra meals to freeze. So that is a lot of extra recyclable rubbish unfortunately. However obviously during those weeks we’ll have hardly any rubbish!

    The bin went out this morning with less than a quarter of waste rubbish in it and that’s with me cleaning out the pantry last week. So that’s not too bad. The recycle bin goes out next week so I’ll report on that one next week LOL!!

    How did everyone else go?


    I am quite pleased wiht how I went this week.

    I put one garbage bag in the bin and I had about half the recycling I normally have.:tup:

    I hope this will continue to reduce as I work on bringing less and less packaging into the house.

    Taking my greenbags with me has become second nature and now I also take my recycled F&V bags too.

    I only got one new plastic bag last week from the poultry shop which I re-used to do ‘poo patrol’.:shy:

    I also did a bit of research and found a cleanser that is in soap form that I will try when the one I have runs out.

    I am still looking for a good shampoo and especially conditioner that is not in plastic.


    Michelle I tried the bicarb this morning followed by ACV rinse (which I do usually anyway) and my hair is lovely! If I can figure out an easier way of “shampooing” with the bicarb I may keep using it permanently…


    Hooray – nice work :tup:

    That’s a really good result, Anastasia! The bicarb thing works for my border, she uses it every time now. She has it in a shaker and stands in the shower and shakes it onto her head. Don’t know if that helps you. The bicarb didn’t work for me – my hair just wasn’t the same. 😐

    Michelle, you’ve made some great changes! I am using a shampoo bar (like a bar of soap) and it is great! This week I made conditioner using the recipe from Aussie Soap Supplies and it is lovely. They sell a product called conditioning emulsifier. I ordered some essential oil and some ingredients to make moisturiser and conditioner. They sell from a bulk supply and you can reuse much of their packaging.

    My border made the moisturiser “Beginners Moisture Cream” and it is just beautiful to apply and feels so natural. The recipe made about 3 or 4 pots, so it was great value.

    I made the conditioner. It was simple – just heat water (I used rosemary ‘tea’) and add the conditioning emulsifier and stir. When it cooled, there was my conditioner. The small amount I bought will last me more than 8 months, maybe more than a year, but I might also make gifts, who knows! It works well – as good as any I can buy.

    The recipes page is here:


    Thanks for the link Suz.

    I am really enjoying the challenge to finding alternatives to using plastic.


    I’m having fun too – it really challenges you to avoid plastic because it is everywhere!

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