31 March 2016

Waste degradation time

Used paper collected for paper recycling in Ponte a Serraglio near Bagni di Lucca, Italy

Unfortunately, one of my family members is allergic/asthmatic and this comes with enormous consumption of paper tissues.

We're very conscious of the fact that this is an unnecessary strain on the environment.

We already stay away from the small packs, and only opt for tissues made of recycled paper and packed in easily recyclable packaging, but that's still a lot of trash.

So I started looking at the degradation times for tissues, and on ecowarriors.it page I've found the following list (I've sorted it according to time):

Average waste natural degradation time in the soil:
Waste materialTime to degrade
A cardboard box2 months
An apple core3 months
Paper tissues and napkins3 months
Matches6 months
Newspapers6 months
A cotton or woollen garment1 year
A milk or juice carton1 year
A cigarette end1-2 years
Chewing-gum5 years
Magazinesover 10 years
An aluminium can for drinks10-100 years
Telephone and top-ups cardsover 100 years
A glass bottleabout 400 years
A disposable diapercirca 400 years
A plastic bottle or bag100-1000 years
Plastic dishes and cutlery100-1000 years
A polystyrene caseover 1000 years

I think the colours are pretty self-explanatory.

And since tissues land in 3 months green category, we've decided to place them simply into our compost box. 

As my husband said: "We'll return our bacteria to the environment ;)"

29 March 2016


Expired Meds
Hello Boots, get ready for collection.

Sometime at the beginnings of her page Bea has mentioned how important de-cluttering is for her to STAY on track.
And even if she didn't say or suggest it, it was my first thought too.

To start a zero waste life, first, I need to get a hang of this whole mess around me.

I am wasteful. And I need to organise my house much better if I want to embark on this journey, because in my opinion for a working mum - read very busy person with barely any free time to spend - zero waste is not an easy step.

There are times where I opt for fish and chips for dinner (even though when we cook we strive to use fresh and organic ingredients as much as we can), simply because by the time I pick up my daughter from nursery, and my husband from train station, it's already 7pm and way too late to cook anything from scratch. But really? I don't want to do that. I want to be able to quickly dish out some food from leftovers if need be, but at least my own, with ingredients I am sure of and cleanness standards above any fish and chip joint.

But my house is messy; it is disorganized with the lack of structure extremely busy people get when they just don't have the time or will to even think, when evening comes.
Tired. One of the things I can tell about myself almost every single day.

Yet, here I am, spending my Easter break cleaning!

I've started with the biggest offender, which is my pantry. My oh my.
I've found so much food which has gone to waste because it was stuck at the back and forgotten. Also due to the fact that so much of the stuff was in plastic bags, they somehow got into this poetic state of hugging all corners and disappearing from sight. This all had to go.

De-cluttering creates a lot of waste!

There was a whole basket full of stuff when I finally finished. Good that 80% of it was recyclable, as in paper cartons and plastic bags. Some went to my compost box, but there still was a lot which will just go to incinerators or landfill.

But it's the last time from me I hope. At least not in that extent.

The second undertaking of mine was to clear the med-cabinet. As much as we're both very opposed to swallowing multitude of pills and dealing with any minor pain with paracetamol (generic British approach to health issues, strongly encouraged by GPs - go on NHS, prove me wrong, I hope you will!), we still managed to accumulate a lot of old plasters, painkillers (yes we DO use them, only not so much, probably why some expired too), some supplements and several half-empty cough syrup bottles.

BTW. There is a very good cough syrup recipe my mother has taught me, only it needs fresh new year growths of a pine tree, which these days is not so easy to come by. Luckily I have one in my garden. So instead of buying chemical stuff, next year I'm having that made. And possibly replace one of the two ornamental shrubs in my front yard with another pine.

De-cluttering takes an awful amount of time. 

Good that I have taken extra three days off, I will spend them cleaning.

And I hate cleaning. But this time with bigger purpose it feels exhilarating. I'm crazy I know :D

All right, break finished, time to take on my child's toys. Another mound of mostly unused stuff which I could second-hand or reuse.

If you are lucky to live in an area where they collect kitchen waste, you may still find yourself in the situation I was in quite often. Lack of biodegradable liners.
Nowadays I get them from Amazon.

24 March 2016

Know your plastics

I have touched this touchy subject in my first post, but this topic really bothers me.

I remember listening to an old radio interview from the 1950s and it struck me that people were so crazy about plastic there because it was durable, colourful and they didn't have to deal with tonnes of leftovers of it...

So much different now. But still, enter any shop and look around. What do you see?
Packages upon packages of things. 90% plastic. Or paper covered in plastic (yes milk cartons for example, or baby food). Kitchen utensils, house cleaning equipment, clothes.

Everything these days seems to be made of plastic.

And it isn't safe. But we chose to ignore it.
We know more and more and younger people fall to cancer and there may be a connection, but we opted to ignore it.

But there are people who are bothered.
Take a look.


This is an empty blog.
It is as empty as my house is full.
Full of clutter, rubbish, hoarded items which were choking me for a long time.
I didn't really realize it until now.

Hoarding with excuse

I was always trying to take care of the planet, recycling and such, but I am also guilty of enjoying shopping too much.
And I have not been throwing things away, because I am a hand-crafter too, so everything can be re-used. Right? No.
Problem is that I don't have time for crafting at the moment, and all my crafting materials started looking like regular junk.
As much as it pains me majority will have to go.

Kitchen management disaster

Also... My kitchen looks like hell. I have so many accessories, so much kitchen equipment, and lots and lots of food.
Some inevitably always gets wasted, some can be stored forever until it gets forgotten. Then I buy some more of it, and at some occasion get a nasty surprise that we already had, lets say dark rice, and now have 4 kilograms of it and will have to eat it for months to come.

We will all drown in plastic one day

Rubbish also bothered me to no end. Especially plastics.
We've all seen the famous infographics about how harmful plastics are, and if you're a rare breed that haven't here it is:

Working mum zero waste doubts

And suddenly, yes, because I am such a slow-poke, I've found and article about Bea Johnson. Actually my partner has found it and sent over.

My first thoughts were:
My god... she says it isn't more expensive, but even getting all containers replaced with nice glass ones in one go is going to kill my budget!
Also, her work isn't like mine, where I spend 8 hours at my desk far from home, and 2 hours commuting. I really want to spend the rest with my daughter, and not worrying about zero waste dinner for tonight.

But still. What if it actually is manageable?
If I could de-clutter my house?
What if I could in the end manage my family's life better?

That's why I want to try.