Week Three – tofu and disappearing packaging.

Week three and item number three has been added to our pile of things we can’t get rid of – actually items three to 53 have been added. This week when preparing the woodshed to receive a new load of wood for winter, we discovered a bottle stashed in amongst the leftover wood containing about 50 cigarette butts, I guess the previous tenants were literally sneaking a smoke behind the woodshed! Anyway, www.cigarettelitter.org states that there are different beliefs on the biodegradability of cigarette butts with some studies studies a minimum of a year, some 12 years and others suggesting that the plastic acetate in the filters never breaks down. We’re not sure if the filters are better off in the landfill or burnt on the fire but in the meantime we’re thankful that we have our back up bag!

This week we received some deodorant from Weleda which we’re using because it comes in glass bottles. These glass bottles obviously meant that the packaging had to be sturdy enough to ensure they didn’t break in the post. Therefore, whilst initially disappointed, we understood why they used what looked to be styrofoam balls to protect the product – that was until a closer reading of the accompanying note pointed out that they weren’t in fact styrofoam but some sort of natural product that breaks down in water. It was amazing to watch them disappear like ice melting when we ran water over them. Despite appearances, Waveney and I have no desire to live as if in the 1950s. There is a lot of wisdom to be gained from previous generations in support of what we’re doing, but we’re more interested in how today’s technology can be applied in reducing the amount of landfill waste we’re creating. Products such as these disappearing ball things, and the cornstarch supermarket bags found at www.edengreennz.com, are the types of technology that will have a huge impact on landfill once it becomes more widely utilised.

Years ago I couldn’t really understand what people saw in tofu. However, after living in Asia and including it in a variety of dishes back home, I’ve really come to like it and had been missing it up until this week. We had been unable to find tofu that wasn’t in a unrecyclable plastic wrapping and therefore hadn’t been buying it. This week however we had two litres delivered by South Pacific Pure Foods Ltd, a Christchurch company that also produce Bean Me Up organic soymilk. As we were buying in bulk they were happy to deliver and it came in an icecream container that they will take back and reuse when we make our next order. Obviously two litres is a lot of tofu, so we are going in with some friends and spreading the cost – finding once again that an unintended benefit of the challenge is community building.

12 thoughts on “Week Three – tofu and disappearing packaging.

  1. Can you post some Tofu cooking ideas. I don’t mind it but my partner won’t touch the stuff, if i can find a way to cook it that he won’t know it’s tofu would be great!!!

    I’m sorry Sara we don’t have any recipes that we use for tofu, we just cut it into squares and put it in with stir fry’s normally, or sometimes shallow fry it and then add it to stir frys, but then we’re not needing to disguise it – I can appreciate the challenge you have! Good luck 🙂


  2. I am following your progress with fascination. I am slowly turning our family of five around to creating less landfill rubbish. Can I have your muesli bar recipie? I am always looking for homemade lunchbox fillers that the kids think are as good as the bought stuff. Thanks

    Good effort Kate. We use a recipe from http://www.ecook.co.nz (search muesli bar recipe once at that site) We don’t do the icing on it, but I’d imagine the kids would like it if you did! Cheers, Matthew


  3. I find marinated tofu is an excellent way infuse flavour into tofu. Chop the tofu into 1cm square cubes (you can do bigger if it is soft tofu and smaller if it is firm). Place them all in glass jar, pour in the marinade untill all tofu is covered and screw on the lid. The marinade can be just about anything but my basics are soy sauce, and a flavourful oil. Other common ingredients are chopped garlic, chillies in some form, the left over oil from sundried tomatoes, plum sauce, a dash of olive brine…

    No minimum time really, but it is best after a day or two. Marinated tofu also lasts a lot longer then regular tofu so I often have jar sitting in the fridge for a couple of weeks. Which is great becasue you have delicious very marinated protein ready to fry in an instant!

    Tofu can be fried, baked, put in soups and stews try it out.



  4. Hi guys, am following your progress with interest and am inspired to cut back our household rubbish too. In fact last week, instead of a full – overflowing green bin, we had a barely half -full bin, just with the extra recycling.
    I loved what you said too about the community building.
    Anyway, just read an article from a link on another blog which may interest you (you may already have read it. It just emphasizes the need for everyone to take this a bit more seriously.
    Keep up the great work, and let’s hope more people take up a challenge to reduce their rubbish output.



  5. Have you thought about making your own tofu?
    A few months ago my vegetarian son came home and made his own. He buys soya beans from the health food store (in paper bag), soaks beans for some time then pulperizes them in a blender(Vitamiser)with water and then he strains through a cloth. The residue can be mixed with flour to make cakes/scones etc. The milkly liquid is simmered for about 6 minutes before a tofu coagulant (Nigari) is added. I believe lemon juice can be used instead of Nigari which comes in a plastic container. The curd is then strained through cloth and the curd placed in a container with draining holes with a weight on it.
    He sliced, floured and fried and ate nearly immediately. Yummy
    PS He also planted soya bean seeds in my veggie garden and we are harvesting them now.


  6. Sonja what store did he buy soy beans from? All the places ive tried the seeds wont sprout because MAF heat treats the seed to kill them. Did he buy the tofu coagulant in nz?


  7. Do you know if it is possible to buy soybeans in NZ. We are from Invercargill and are having real trouble finding them to make our own tofu.

    I’m sorry we don’t, but somebody else out there might know. Please leave a comment if you do find out. Cheers.


  8. Hello Joanne, I am from “Bean me Up”. If you buy New Zealand-grown beans, grown for their protein and not their oil, you will be able to make tofu. Beans like this are hard to find because of the climate… that and the wine industry, grapes love the same conditions as soybeans. We use beans grown in Queensland and Canada. Because we are manufacturers we are able to import beans that have not been heat treated. That is because we destroy them….they can’t grow.The fear is legume disease, which we don’t have in New Zealand, coming from imported beans. There is a south island grower who is growing beans but the protein levels are pretty low and it’s difficult to make good tofu with them.


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