"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Zero waste as far as possible

Lordie, wouldn't I love access to a zero waste store like this...

But that's unlikely to happen in my local town as I fear the demand would be to small to make it a viable option.
Zero waste bulk grocery dispensers
So, in order to do as much as I can to reduce our waste I had a plan.  I am totally passionate about reducing / totally eliminating all forms of plastic that enter this house.  Apart from purchasing a whole bunch of lidded glass containers to hold food / leftovers, plastic still enters in various forms - e.g. cheese, milk bottles, (frying) oil bottles, etc.

As we eat relatively early (6.30-ish), to "fill a gap" RMan went through a phase of nibbling on biscuits and paté late at night - which was only sold in small rigid plastic containers.  So I acquired a collection of those, and used them to store my tomato concentrate in my freezer.  I recently sent those containers to the recycling depot and have decided this year that ALL homemade concentrate will be frozen in ice cube trays and then decanted into a rectangular glass receptacle in my freezer until they are required.  And pate will be home made by moi.

Before we left our town house I purchased 16 mtrs of fabric - ostensibly to make a mosquito / fly screen for our bed.  Unfortunately, it wasn't enough fabric for it's purpose, so it has been sitting on top of my cupboard waiting to be used.

The roll of thin fabric that has been waiting to be used - for
Out of season fruit and vegetables are generally sold wrapped in cling warp - but, some can be purchased individually.  So, I asked a neighbour with a sewing machine if she wouldn't mind knocking me up a few bags from that roll of fabric.  By way of compensation for her effort, I offered her material to make bags for herself as well.
Here are my (A4) sized bags all ready for use
 'No problem," she said.  And, within 10 days, the bags were ready for collection.
I have had broccoli in this bag for a week and it's still perfect
Now, when I buy out of season veggies, I take along my bags, and pop exactly the quantity I need onto the scale to weigh them without the packaging, and then they go into my reusable produce bags.
Ditto this red pepper.  
When they get grubby it's easy to pop them into my washing machine.

Now, given that we do have a local store that sells raw beeswax, all I need to do is find some thin cotton / muslin cloth / cheesecloth so that I can make myself some beeswax wraps with the assistance of that same neighbour and her iron...😉


Marlin Andrus said...

Love it. Another step in saving our planet .

Tewshooz said...

Raw beeswax? Wish they sold that here....candles, lotions and creams and soap. We have slowly been getting rid of all our plastic containers, too. Glass is still the best. Love your bags

Rosemary said...

Great idea. In Knysna you can buy these bags at R15 each. I buy my produce directly from the farmers market in Sedgefield and these would be great for that. Thanks ☺

Dani said...

Marlin - I wish I could do more - much more... :(

Dani said...

Tewshooz - Thank you :D

Does no one have bee hives near you? If so, I'm sure they would sell you some?

Dani said...

Rosemary - R15.00 each??!! Wow! R2.00 fabric, R1.00 draawstring and a sewing machine... :(

Yeah, these will allow me to buy individual fruits / veggies now - without the packaging. Feels good ;)

Sue said...

It's always struck me how "progressive" Europe is. The STATES seem to do everything in their power to make MORE trash, not less. It's ridiculous.
I walk early mornings with a neighbor and we were talking about how our trash is always all plastic. EVERYTHING sold here comes wrapped in plastic. Our recycling center is awesome, but they don't take all that plastic shrink wrap that every item seems to be wrapped in anymore. We are down to one bag of trash a month, but honestly, I have no way of getting past that.
(It's a lot better than the folks that put out 55 gallon cans EVERY WEEK that are overflowing. Unreal the waste that goes out here. I'm embarrassed for my country!!)

Dani said...

Sue - Yeah, between plastic bottles, shrink wrap and straws, they are the worst culprits when it comes to plastic pollution.

Is produce (especially fruit and veg) not sold as single items where you are so that you could put them in similar bags to what I now have?

The USA is not alone - every country has it's "privileged" people who don't give a hoot for recycling / doing their bit. It's u to us "normal" people to teach them then, isn't it ;)

Bill said...

We have bulk dispensers like that in some stores here, but most don't have them. The German chains Aldi and Lidl are rapidly expanding throughout the States now, and while certainly not zero waste, they seem to be somewhat less wasteful (customers must bring their own bags, for example). Of course we still have a LONG ways to go to achieve anything close to sustainability.

Dani said...

Bill - You're lucky. I only know of one zero waste shop in this country, and that's in Johannesburg.

I'd love to open one in our closest town, but fear the town is too small to be viable :(

Daisy Debs said...

Excellent ! Great idea ...I,m off to rummage through my fabric hoard..I know I have some muslin in there somewhere !
You are a star ! Have a great week Daisy :)

Dani said...

Daisy Debs - You're very welcome. I love being of assistance ;)