Monday, 26 September 2016

Week 3 - Finding my feet

Last night my partner made bread so we didn't have to buy the bagged stuff from the supermarket. It was a quick and easy wholemeal loaf we sprinkled with seeds. It turned out pretty tasty!

I have found some lovely ladies at Farro who will paper bag fresh cut cheese for me.

We get fresh milk weekly from the farm.

Our chickens have laid 4 eggs that we know of. Two were stolen and possibly more. We think it was a neighbourhood cat (I refuse to believe it would be my own cat even though his weight says otherwise) because we never heard a commotion in the coop and the chickens are unharmed. I found the empty shells in the garden a few days later. We have since put bricks on the roof to stop anything pushing the doors open. Hopefully it works.

I shop at the local fruit and veg store and that's where the majority of our meals come from.

Things like rice and flour I buy from Bin Inn by filling up my own containers. Some cotton drawstring bags would be really handy.

On my partners birthday I wanted to cook something special and meaty so I went to the butchers and took home some brisket in my own container. In the end it wasn't ready for dinner because it hadn't been in the slow cooker long enough. We ate mashed potato and brussel sprouts with some of the sauce for his birthday dinner! But the brisket was delicious the next day.

Next is homemade washing powder and toothpaste!

Day 12 - Goodies from the farm

We went to visit my Nan in the weekend down at the farm. She has a small farm with goats a horse and chickens. I had talked to her earlier in the week and mentioned wanting chickens because I'm bringing home so many food scraps from work. I originally just intended to compost it all but there's so much I thought I better get chickens and as soon as she heard this she said come down and grab some chickens! 
We arrived just as it was getting dark and she already had the chickens in the coop and asked what ones we would like - more what colour we wanted. I loved them all but we chose a black and a brown one. Later that night we would sneak in and catch them while they were sleeping.
A few hours later, before bed we went back out to the chicken coop. We had torches and spotted out the ones we were taking with us. I probably should have tried to catch them myself but I was scared of the screeching and the scratching and the flapping, so was my partner. So in goes Nan. We had low torch light so she could see which ones to grab. She crept up being the brown hen and quickly snatched it. Sure enough it started screeching a sound I had never heard from a chicken. The others near it flapped, squawked and ran to the far end of the coop. Nan tried to hand me the chicken but it scratched me and I dropped it - some farm girl. Then Matt took hold of it firmly under his arm and it began to calm down. 

The next chicken was the same except I didn't try hold this one. We loaded them into the crate ready to take home! So excited!

The next morning they had pooped all through the crate and stank (they really, really stank) so we had to drive home with the windows down. On the way we picked up the coop we bought off Trade Me. Tied it to the roof and drove home at 70kph, even on the motorway. Luckily it was rush hour so we didn't hold anyone up too much. 

Day 9 - wondering how far to take this

It's hard to know how far to take the no plastic choice. A girl at the Boric food market up the road kindly offered to take the plastic off the wrapped parmesan for me so I could take it home without plastic. I declined, saying it would defeat the purpose. The next time I bought cheese at Farro she told me all the huge cheese blocks came in plastic and asked if I still wanted it. I took a slice wrapped in paper and she wrapped it back up and put it back in the fridge.

It would be almost impossible to avoid the bulk wrapping of items. I'm sure when they are shipped and transported it all comes in plastic at some point. It's actually crazy how unavoidable it is. But I'm not going to worry to much about that. Just avoiding anything I take home with plastic.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Day 8 - Happy chickens

I have noticed some forced healthy eating but at least it's coming into summer which means cheap and delicious summer fruit and veg. We made (my boyfriend made) an Asian summer salad with fresh veges and a delicious sesame soy and rice vinegar dressing. Had to pass on some of the fresh herbs until our plants grow. I am yet to find plastic-free fresh herbs.

Went to Mitre10 today and bought heaps of seeds. I have never grown seeds before so I hope I'm not just throwing away money. But how hard can it be! I couldn't buy any seed raising mix which I apparently need. I thought I was doing really well. All the seeds came in paper bags and it wasn't until I got home and opened the bags did I realise that there was a bag inside the bag!! I was tricked into buying plastic when I so sadly declined buying soil, secateurs and seedlings because they came in plastic 

I admit that I wanted to buy some seedlings (in plastic planter trays) so I could fast track some gardening but it was my partner that couldn't let us do it! It's so good to know I have his support and someone to keep me on track.

Also talked to my Nan today. She lives on a farm and said I can have some of her chickens! Now all the food scraps I bring home from work will go to happy chickens! Hopefully I can pick them up this weekend, just need to sort out a coop. 

Day 7 - First week done!

I went to another supermarket today - who knew there were so many supermarkets. Farro has fill-your-own egg trays and cheese to buy by 100g. Two great finds to make life easier!

Here are some of the benefits of buying locally (to make myself feel better about the lemon incident yesterday).

  • save on hidden travel costs and energy spent transporting and preserving the product - look at where some of the produce in the supermarket comes from
  • home grown hopefully means less pesticides and preservatives
  • a fresher product 
  • label free, free from hidden packaging (bulk wrapping, protective packaging)
  • money stays in the community rather than going into large corporations, the farmer is getting 100% of the profits 
  • helps promote local agricultural diversity
  • protects genetic diversity rather than having a particular variety chosen for its long shelf life, high production, has a long shelf life and hardiness. Local plants can be chosen for their own unique taste and may not be available year round. 

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Day 6 - Spot the plastic

You win some you lose some.

Sunday afternoon, doing some food shopping and getting organised for the week. Went out to a nearby farm that dispenses a litre of milk for $3.50 into your own jar. They have glass ones for sale. And they sell eggs in recycled cartons. Win! 

Stopped by the local brewery for a flagon of craft beer. Win!

Had to go to New World for my eco toilet paper. Mushroom and leek for pasta tonight but no parmesan. Going to have to find a way around this. 

On our travels my partner and I saw some lemons for sale on the side of the road for $2 a bag! Bargain! So we stopped, paid the honesty box $2 and continued our drive. Then he says, Oh no the lemons! Look at them. Look at them! And I have no idea what's happening. Im looking at the lemons saying What? What? What?! There doesn't appear to be anything wrong with our super cheap, roadside bag of lemons. Wait. Bag of lemons. F***! 

Friday, 9 September 2016

Day 5 - Thoughts and feelings

Thank goodness wine comes in a recyclable glass bottle. I want to go one better though and go to a place down the road that refills flagons with wine on tap. $18 for a litre! They also do heaps of great beers. Will have to keep some empty flagons in the car.

Thought from the other day at the supermarket:
We are literally blind to plastic. We don't see it. It is around E V E R Y T H I NG. But no one sees it. You see the fancy branding and the clever advertising and you see the food inside. It doesn't even enter your mind. And when you get home the food comes out and the plastic goes into the bin. It never has a chance to register. I know because I thought exactly the same way before I started this. I only saw the plastic once it became a barrier for me to get something. All this great food has become imprisoned and I can only peek at it through a little plastic window.

Now I'm mainly thinking shitty food. Chips, noodles, chocolate and the like but try doing your normal shop. Oh shit, that tray of eggs is covered in plastic! Fuck, my milk comes in a plastic bottle. Oh no, not the cheese! How about some rice? Nah uh. Only need half a cauliflower? Too bad you're going to be eating that whole cauli for weeks! Want to fancy that meal up with some herbs? Well you're shit outta luck!
At least they haven't got to the butter yet.


  • Toilet paper is going to run out soon and I am yet to find a brand that isn't wrapped in plastic. Leaves?
  • Tampon substitute in the near future. I never thought I would be one to purchase a moon cup. 

It's easier that I did't start this lifestyle change by immediately throwing out all the plastic in my home because each thing is going to be a challenge and the longer I can stall the next thing the better.

Cat food. It looks like I'm going to have the fanciest cat in town. He'll be dining on off cuts from the local butcher.

I wonder what supermarkets looked like before plastic.

Day 4 - tgif

I work in a café which according to my colleague, is one of the most wasteful industries. Now I'm not about to up and leave my job because I really love the fast pace but there are a few things that really rub me the wrong way so it's time to vent!

People who get takeaway food with the plastic knife and the plastic butter and the bag and then, they sit there with their friends eating it off the table out of their bag. Then they leave their rubbish there to be cleaned up. 

I literally decided to be plastic free after one day of research but I have always been conscious of waste, especially food. So, if you didn't want toast with your eggs why not say? It will be cheaper and I don't have to throw your soggy toast into the bin.

We make around 600 coffees a day. Of that number around 400 are takeaway. Each day. Of those 400 coffees there are two customers that bring in a reusable cup everyday. Two. And the vast majority of our customers are regulars and work in the same building or neighbouring buildings. 

But for me that's not the worst thing. It's when people say, "Take away cup but I'll have my coffee here." This happens a lot. You know you are staying and can use a really nice mug with a beautiful looking coffee so why? Usually they say something like "I don't like my coffee getting cold" but it wouldn't get cold if you didn't drink a litre of milk with it. I think they must like wrapping their lips around that little plastic sippy hole like an overgrown toddler. 

Vent over. 

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Day 3 - This is getting out of hand

This couldn't be avoided unfortunately. I almost cut the tip of my thumb off a couple of days ago. The plaster is the only thing holding it together.  Although I haven't bought any more I used the ones we already had at home.
Then I cut my second finger on the inside of a can at work. It started bleeding immediately and I was busy so had to bandage it asap hence the second plaster. Some things really can't be avoided.
For next time I will look at using cotton which can be composted. As for tape, they often have a synthetic plastic adhesive.
Apparently the plant known as Lamb's Ears is a good replacement as it is naturally antibacterial and absorbent. Although I don't see myself carrying that around in case of emergencies. 

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Bridget's bin

The actual bin. Hopefully it stays this empty! The jar has my cut spring onion in water, ready to grow back for the next time I need it 🐣

Slip ups

No more of this. Time to get organised!

Day 2 Dinner

Last of the store bought udon noodles

Day 2

Today I went to five shops for food
Bin Inn - This was great. Let me fill up my own jars. Will definitely be going back with a long shopping list. Some good ingredients for bread making and cleaning products with no packaging.
Next the local veggie shop in Whenuapai. Almost got out without any rubbish but the spring onion had sellotape around it. I bought it anyway because from now I can regrow it from the roots. Interestingly the owner said they used to use rubber bands which would have been better because at least those are reusable.
Third was Mitre10 to buy some herbs which didn't work out so well because they all come in plastic pots. I asked if they take the pots back but they come from suppliers so no. I bought them anyway. Not sure how else to get plants. Might have to start some seedlings off. At least it's spring so should be a good time for it.
Then Pak n Save. Didn't buy anything. I was looking for a jar of miso paste and some noodles that might come in cardboard instead of plastic but nothing.
Finally Countdown for miso paste. It came in a plastic container. So did the noodles. I knew this wasn't going to be easy. Next time noodles from scratch!
I also started an Instagram - Bridgetsbin !

Monday, 5 September 2016

Day 1 - Supermarket

From today onwards I will not purchase and will try to avoid at all costs any plastic. All packaging must be easily recyclable or compostable. So things like cardboard, paper and glass are good.

One blog suggested starting this by throwing out all the plastic you already have but I don't really see the point in that. I have things like containers that will last a long while before needing to be thrown out so I am going to keep them. However, I will not buy any more.

My boyfriend asked why I can't buy plastic things that I reuse (he was 100% thinking about getting takeout) I said the point is that it is not a sustainable material and at some point that plastic thing will break and go in the bin and never break down but if the take out was in cardboard containers it should be fine.  His response was, "Oh good, so we can still get BurgerFuel?" Yes, and even if the store does use plastic we can take our own jars/plates or something to take it away on ... sounds good in theory. Will be interesting to test out.

So first off, of course, I go to the supermarket. Veggies are good most of the time although a lot, and I mean a lot, of it is wrapped in plastic - lettuce, beans, pumpkin! Unless you want to buy a whole pumpkin, but I probably won't eat it all and that's being wasteful. Which goes against the whole idea. Why do they need to do this? Even the stickers on the apples. This is already hard.

The deli section was good. I took some jars and they were happy enough to fill them. I don't eat a lot of meat so that section is for another day

Next I went to Bin Inn in Glenfield expecting them to have cotton bags or something equally reusable to purchase. All they had was plastic bags, plastic jars or horrendously expensive mason jars. So i left there with a jar of coconut oil.

The next thing is going to be making my own bread. Without a bread maker. Goodbye Vogels


I have been thinking about it for a while and today is the day I have chosen to become waste free!
I heard about it about a year ago and it's always in the back of my mind, so I have done a couple of hours worth of research and I'm jumping in the deep end.
The turning point for me was when I left the supermarket one day without any plastic bags to hold my shopping. I was walking out into the carpark while juggling my food and trying to fish my keys out of my bag. I always try and avoid plastic bags where possible. Now with my keys in hand I looked down at the food I was carrying and realised every piece of it was wrapped in plastic, bundled up for convenience, and here I was trying to do better by the world without a plastic carry bag.
Plastic was so engrained into my life I was literally blind to it.