Diary of a waste free May part 2

Laura is a Melbourne University student who attempted to go totally waste free for the month of May. She kept us updated throughout the month about the lessons she learnt along the way. Find the rest of her wise words here in part one of her diary.

Lesson 8: It’s okay to fail – Straws   

My first straw for the month! I totally forgot to ask for no straw when I ordered this drink. WHOOPS!! Straws create a HUGE waste problem and we only use them for a tiny amount of time. Rather than put myself down though, as my friend my friend pointed out, I already had the straw in my drink so why not enjoy it. My iced long black was delicious, even through a tiny plastic tube.

Lesson 9: DIY Toothpaste

This week we ran out of toothpaste!! It was only a matter of time before our little plastic tube of minty freshness ran out. After a quick google, I found a homemade tooth pste recipe. With a healthy degree of scepticism for brushing my teeth with bicarb soda I gave the recipe a go.

Basically, it’s just bicarb soda and some peppermint essential oil. The verdict? It was OKAY…. Pretty weird having a mouth full of bicarb soda, but in an attempt to keep the waste free challenge up I’m going to stick with it. The peppermint oil helps mask the bicarb and some recipes add lemon or orange zest to take away the bicarb too.

Lesson 10: Reusing coffee

Being a Melbournian , I drink my fair share of coffee. Whilst coffee grounds can be composted and are awesome for the garden, I’ve been keeping mine and using them as a body scrub at night. Sure, my coffee grounds don’t come in an instagrammable bag, but they’re significantly cheaper (free!) and make for an awesome exfoliant.

We also ran out of coffee this week, which meant I had to find a non-packed alternative! Seeing as we don’t have a coffee grinder and the only bulk I could find were whole beans, I had to hunt around until I found a store at the Queen Vic Market that would grind their coffee beans into my own container – and you get a discount when you BYO!

Lesson 11: Its okay to fail AGAIN – Soft Plastics

Another forgetful moment this week. My workplace was inundated with packets of nuts, and knowing that we had run out at home and that a kilo of nuts costs half my Centrelink payment I thought “beauty”, I’ll grab some to take home. It wasn’t until I arrived home that I realised the nuts were in plastic packets!! DUH!  These moments are important because they’ve helped me become more aware of my actions and have helped me to take a step back to really look at how easily we accumulate waste.

Lesson 12: Homemade cleaning products

Bicarb and vinegar, that’s pretty much all you need to give most things a good clean (plus some lemon juice). Both I got in bulk from the wonderful CERES environment park in Coburg. Bicarb soda can be used for EVERYTHING! Which I’m sure our grandparents would tell us is no news flash.  Just BYO containers and fill up. Now I can bake a cake, clean my teeth and scrub the sinks all at the same time!


Lesson 13: Some things can’t be replaced.

I’m missing corn thins! Those babies are my perfect snack and I cannot find a package free option anywhere. I did find one recipe online about how to make your own but that was a failure, mushing popcorn in a food processor with water is not the secret process to making corn thins. As a substitute, I’ve been making pre-popped popcorn – I got this in bulk and its pretty much a deconstructed corn thin (totally Melbourne of me).  Also coconut cream – I attempted to make a coconut curry by replacing coconut cream with desiccated coconut mixed in a food processor with water but this just made chunky coconut bits – still good, but not  so creamy.


Waste Week 2:

The nut packets and the straw, an old sock that has so many holes in it I can’t fix plus one plastic spatula that had begun to peel off in our cooking (yuck!).  The toothbrush head is from the bamboo toothbrush; the body can be composted but not the head. Also missing from the picture is our toothpaste tube and a coffee packet that we finished this week.