6 Impossibly Easy Things

IMG_4606The Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland liked to think of at least 6 Impossible Things before breakfast. Think that going plastic-free is impossible? No way man, its IMPOSSIBLY EASY. Here are 6 Impossibly Easy things you can do, right now, every day, to reduce your plastic use.

1. Don’t buy drinks in plastic bottles. I have been known to forgo a much-craved Coca-Cola in favour of say, a juice, using this method. This is why plastic is not only bad for our planet, it’s bad for your own health. This is fact. Alas, except for the invention of the can. Oh boy, that Coke in a can is a pal-o-mine. I love you canned Coke. You are sweet and frothy and sometimes make my eyes water if I slam your contents down too fast. I don’t wanna hear nobody sassing about how it rots your guts and cleans metal and dissolves severed fingers. I’m giving up plastic man, allow me this one simple pleasure. Sorry juice.

2. Do not accept plastic bags. Under any circumstances. Configure a makeshift tarp out of your t-shirt and wrap it all in that. Push your children in a pram and put your stuff in that. If you have no children, go the granny trolley. Buy those bloody canvas bags they peddle at just about every shop, and when you begrudge buying ANOTHER canvas bag because you forgot yours AGAIN, well now let that be a lesson to ya. Stuff those bags to overflowing if you didn’t bring enough bags, and lug those home, and skip the gym session.

3. Eat KFC instead of McDonalds. Buy the box set 2-piece feed and a canned drink. This is the only safe drive-through fast food. Trust me, I’ve tested it. Don’t even think about requesting no straw through a drive through speaker box, who knows what you’ll end up with besides a quizzical stare from the drive-through person. Eat your ice cream from a cone rather than a cup. Buy the block of Cadbury’s because it’s in a cardboard packet rather than the Mars bar. There is always an alternative.

4. Pack your own cutlery and straw. Come on ladies, like you don’t have room in your overly voluminous handbag for these guys. This is one of the reasons why its actually so easy to be a plastic-free Mama – you’re already toting all that crap as it is.

5. Eat in. Take your time. Smell the roses. Taste your food. Be late for work because you’re chilling in the coffee shop rather than grabbing a quickie take away. Go slow. Just please try not to lose your job.

6. Avoid being sold on conveniences. This takes on many forms. Buy a tub of yoghurt rather than 4 individual containers. Get a big bag of chips instead of the snack sizes. Buy a big bottle of your shampoo and squeeze it into recycled mini-bottles, keep a mini-bottle in the shower so that the big plastic one doesn’t take up too much space. All a bit too inconvenient for you? Well it may be said that all that plastic really is rather inconvenient to our planet. This is not hard to do, and it saves you moolah as well.

Oh gosh, I have learned so many other things you can do as well. And it’s easy!

Why YOU Should Try… Plastic Free July

Hi there,

I’ve had a realisation of late. Instead of being a damned fool and pledging to give up plastic for a WHOLE YEAR, I should have just been like you sensible people out there and tried Plastic Free July instead.

You’ll find all the info you need to get started here at www.plasticfreejuly.org

So you do the pledgy thing and it gives you options to give up ALL single-use plastic or just the top 4 (straws, plastic bottles, plastic bags, coffee cup lids). That sounds a little more achievable. And you can pledge for a shorter length of time, like a day or a week instead of the whole month.

You get heaps of awesome support from the lovely folks during July. And their website contains HEAPS of great tips for helping you do your plastic-free shopping, for gettin’ stuff clean around the house, fixing up the garden, and looking after your fine self so you don’t get stinky.

So… who’s coming with me?

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Who’s coming with me, besides… flipper here.

The Shame Files: Month 4

Get those whips out, all you eco-warriors, and come flagellate me. It’s Shame Files time.

So, once again I say to you… My name is Rachel and I use plastic. This much plastic in fact for April.

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The plastsick challenge: Month 4
“handsoap-graphic”

This month it’s 72 items across 31 days. Disgraceful. And yet pretty. It’s handsoap, and it signifies our recent switcheroo from pump-it liquid hand soap to good old fashioned bar soap. What a revelation, right? Genius.

Thanks dear readers for your helpful suggestions last month. We’s agonna crack this eventually 🙂

Medical Supplies Exempt

Just wanted to raise my hand and shout a little how-de-doo. I’ve been a bit quiet on the blogging front lately, but ashamedly I have something like 18 draft blogs waiting for me to write something intelligent.

It’s just that my “mummy blogger” life has been tipped more strongly in the mummy department of late. We’ve been transitioning the twinkles into daycare, work has ramped up, and we’ve been house-hunting. Yeek.

And then in amongst all of that a couple of weeks ago we had a health scare with our little F-man. He spent a night in hospital after suffering two seizures, and lemejusay it’s something I never want to experience again. I cannot speak highly enough of the amazing staff at Gold Coast Hospital, my amazing mama who was there to help and scream at the 000 woman, and the rest of our fantastic supportive family and friends who have cushioned us through it all. Our May plastic tally will be a little bit skewed because in the face of all that, ya just gotta say to hell with it and load up on the plastic conveniences. Oh, how that plastic water bottle and plastic-wrapped sandwich in a plastic bag brought me joy when we’d been in waiting in hospital without having had breakfast, and without having had word from the doctors about what was wrong.

And, hooray for plastic medical supplies. We are so lucky to live in the first world where we receive excellent medical care for free. Because I now have an eagle-eye for all things plastic, as I watched my little boy all hooked up to all the drips and monitors and the like I said a silent prayer for all that plastic. It was helping keep my boy well and I absolutely loved the stuff. I went to Claire Bowditch’s concert last year with my lovely friend Bec, and as Claire introduced a song she talked about how when she became a mother, she felt as though she gave birth to her own heart. Which, she said, is lovely, until she realised that this made her more vulnerable as she had to watch her heart walk around and who knew where her heart would go, what dangers it might encounter. I dripped out a little tear as I sat in the audience and listened to that, but never before this incident had I felt the power of that statement. Man, just when I thought I was ready to be a mum. I’m not cut out for this kind of heartache, to watch my precious special little boy be so sick. Let me assure you all, he is well, but there was a while there where everything was confusing and scary and panicky. I had no idea what might happen to my heart.

Now, I don’t want to sop out too much, but I’ll just leave youse with some words from the man of the moment himself. Yes, he is a genius, but no, he can’t actually talk. A few weeks ago we had the Doreen Virtue pack of Unicorn Oracle Cards strewn around the place as the kids liked playing with them and pretending to read what the card said. F-boy kept picking up this same card time and time again, on a different day after all the cards had been packed up and scattered again, he kept bringing us this same card. It said, Relax – Everything’s Okay. And down the bottom, Don’t worry, it’s all going to be fine. Thanks bubby, you are precious beyond words.

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The Shame Files: Month 3

Time to self-flaggelate again. It’s the Shame Files.

My name is Rachel and I use plastic. More plastic than ever in March!

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The plastsick challenge: Month 3
“bag-graphic”

Hmmm, so it’s 93 items in 31 days, brought to you in visual form as a “bag-graphic”. More nappies, yes, but also a lot of rogue food packaging items.

I’ve been looking around, but… I like cheese. I like filtered water. I like Maltesers, for chrissake. And I can’t readily find alternatives, yet. Does anyone have any ingenious suggestions for doing the groceries plastic-free?

TIA. Now bring it on, April!

Inbuilt Octupescence

Dear Ikea octopus peg thingy: I love you. I honestly love you. So why you gotta be hatin’ on me?

I’m slowly getting the message that you want to break up. You’re breaking up all over the place. And I can’t deny it any more.

Oh, but I had such plans for us, you and me, together, forever. Or, at least I thought we would last longer than a year. Was I foolish for assuming that I could expect that I could rely on you, put my faith in you, trust you, that we would last? In the beginning you would delightfully hold my smalls as they dried on the line. I even tried to keep you out of the direct sun too much, as I thought that you wouldn’t appreciate it. I tried to keep you happy. I thought that we might last.

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Vale, dear friend.
Your bright intact pegs in the foreground bely your shameful degrading pegs in the background

You know, I was even able to deny your slow withdrawal, a creeping quietness, a very steady and gradual decline in your responsiveness to me, so that it seemed that, just maybe, we were going to get through after all. Your metal links that held your pegs onto your legs would fall off, and I would scrape them off the ground and patch you up. I thought this care and attention would mean something.

Yep, I really didn’t see it coming.

But, it seems you weren’t alone. Your friends the plastic pegs just couldn’t hide it any longer. The jig was up for them. All within the space of a few weeks, one by one, the pegs started to snap. Like a great natural disaster, it started with a few isolated incidents, a slow drip feed, until all of a sudden, the onslaught. It was peg carnage, as at the tender age of only 2 years, I lost about half of the pegs to this terrible wasting disease.

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A crime scene photo: The shocking death of 3 pegs that were never built to last.

So, where do I go from here? How do I pick up the pieces of your tender little plastic bodies and move on? When a beloved pet dies do you replace them? How long should you wait? What is the proper conduct here?

The problem is, now I really don’t know if I can trust again. When I bought you, you were all shiny and new, you were not cheap, you seemed to display a sense of quality and durability. But I was gravely let down by your behaviour. It seems that it was all front. And, like a fool, I fell for your deception.

Well, never again. I can now see that your plastic parts are no good for me. I’m better than this. I know now that when I fall for the allure of plastic, I am buying into a lie of a product. You were never meant to last. If you break, I am expected to buy more of you so that the company that made you can make more money. It is inbuilt obsolescence at its worst. You will break easily but you’ll take hundreds of years to fully break down in landfill. Oh, you might seem to be easily and cheaply replaced, so that some people might not even care that you don’t last. But I need more from a peg than that.

See you later, mate. I’m going wood. Or bamboo. I think they’ll make me a lot happier.

Hitting The Right Note

This post is all about gettin’ your groove on plastic-free.

My Facebook followers will well know that we had a CD buying incident a few weeks back. I had bought the most recent Triple J compilation in all its plasticised glory. And I’d rationalised this purchase because I have a wee little collection going and I just wanted to maintain my cute little stack that sits on our bookshelf, rather than just download the digital copy.

I had not anticipated however that the bloody ABC would further thwart me in my plastic-free efforts. The CD case was double-packaged (cardboard cover over the CD case) and had the cutest little plastic google-eyes stuck on the cardboard cover. Freakin’ google-eyes people. Freakin’ cute adorably irresistible google-eyes on a hotdog. Well, they had me at “please buy me, I’m cute”. I bought it from the ABC Shop though and at least it wasn’t further wrapped in the weird clingy plastic you get from places like JB Hifi. And I’ll keep it long time. I promise.

The Infamous Insidious Triple J Incident

The Infamous Insidious Triple J Incident

Well.

I should be a bit more careful about the example I set. Hubby came home not a week later with a new CD for him. Foals – Holy Fire. It’s a good album. I really like it. I did not like my husband at that moment.

I love the way that boycotting plastics has awakened us to just how ubiquitous they are. When we made the commitment, CDs and DVDs had not naturally occurred to me as being made from plastic. But they are. The disc, the case, the packaging. My good dear friend Ange quickly pointed out that this means my lovely husband can’t buy any more first-person-shooter X-Box games. I freely admit I was happy about this. But me, I loves me some good tunes, and I really like having The Real Thing rather than a digital copy and I struggle to correctly file and sort my iTunes. I know I’m not alone in this, seriously it’s like taking a second job.

So, here’s the story with CDs. Your disc is made from polycarbonate (#7), combined with other materials like lacquer, aluminium and other metals. And mysterious chemicals that nobody could know about or pronounce. I found this poster on the Cd DVD lifecycle from the US Environmental Protection Agency to be really informative, and I highly recommend the read. Your CD case, tantalisingly referred to as a “jewel case”, is made from polystyrene (#6). And you might get it all wrapped up like Christmas with a silky layer of polyethylene (#4). You can’t even go all retro and switch to records. They’re vinyl. Polyvinyl chloride. PVC. #3. Bad.

So, are us plastic-free souls banished to a silent and grooveless world? Or worse (gulp!)… FM radio?

Well, of course not.

So, how to be a greenie and still be a groover? Here are some ideas.

1. Digital downloads are the obvious choice. No disc, no case, no packaging. But don’t steal from the artists, use certified sites. I have heard dodgy things about the iTunes monopoly and Spotify having very low returns for artists. But I don’t know what’s better. Help?

2. Many artists (usually independents) will use all-paper packaging around their disc. And if you feel that it’s more ethical to support artists directly rather than the Apple juggernaut, or you would prefer to support your local independent record store, I say go for gold. The plastic is only one factor in the overall picture of being a responsible citizen of the world, after all.

3. Take care of your shizzle. Don’t just leave your discs on your car dashboard or within reaching distance of your biscuit-fisted toddler. And if you do get plagued by scratches, use toothpaste*, it works a treat. *Oops, toothpaste is usually packaged in plastic. What else you can use I do not know.

4. As Beth Terry urges us, THINK BEFORE YOU BURN. Aren’t these fantastical Clouds supposed to be saving us from ourselves in the form of cyber back-up? Am I right? I may need someone to come explain The Cloud to me. Or there are also flash drives, which yes are usually housed in plastic but at least they’re not single use and can hold heaps of music files.

5. Buy all of your music second-hand. Now, if you are sourcing a groovy little record player you just have to score maximum hipster points by buying up all those irresistibly dodgy albums. Just think, you would be rescuing them from landfill and that makes you a hero.

6. Get thee to the disco. It is a form of resource-sharing (like car-pooling) where that one record will service the purposes of several music lovers all at once.

Ooh, well now I’m finding myself a little bit partial to number 5. Just think of the potential…

You could become the proud new parent of this,

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Or this,

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Or even…

this.

The Worst Album Covers Ever Created (23)

Yes, that says Let Me Touch Him by The Ministers Quartet. Happy listening everyone!