Week 22 – Raiders of the Well-Hidden Ark.

Well its been a rubbishy couple of weeks for us, unfortunately. We discovered that the dog food bag – that we especially switched to because we thought it was sturdy paper with a wax lining – actually has a plastic lining. Does anyone know of a good solution for dog food? If forced to I guess we would look into making our own, I’ve seen people do it before – throw away grades of meat with cooked rice I think. Seems like more hassle than its worth though. We also had a couple of things blow onto the section and a couple of items arrive in the mail. One was a package from a company that knew we were rubbish free but wrapped the item up in packaging tape and slapped a big plastic courier pocket thing on it. We are now half way through our challenge and all our rubbish still fits in the shoe box – its getting pretty tight in there now though. Oh we also had a close call with a couple of couches we have ended up with. We took them to the dump and were in the process of leaving them in the rehoming section (in Christchurch anything useable goes to city run ‘Super Sheds’ which are giant second hand stores – excellent service) when the guy came out and said – “Sorry, can’t take anything with rips in them, you’ll have to take those through to the dump.” Whoops. They were good enough for us! We just put throws over them. We did think about dumping them since we were there, but then it dawned on us that that would be breaking the rules of our challenge. We totally forgot! So we have taken them back home and hopefully will be able to rehome them via trade me or freecycle.

We are still struggling to wean ourselves off plastic… at the start of the year we went through the house and put all the slow cycle rubbish stuff in a box, and then taped the box up and stashed it at the back of our highest cupboard. By slow cycle I mean stuff that will become rubbish eventually, like a twink pen, but isn’t technically rubbish until its used up. So in theory I could use twink this year so long as it doesn’t run out before the year is up. Grey rule bending stuff! This is why we hid the box so well, because we didn’t really want to play the game that way. However, there has been some raiding going on. Once for twink, a couple of times for the glue stick, but repeatedly for my plastic disposable razor. I wax my legs, which is all rubbish free (the tub is #2), but haven’t been able to / wanted to wax my under arms. Ugh! I actually even tried scissors! I don’t recommend that technique either. I have been on the look out for an epilady on Trademe, but upon reading up about them, it seems they all rip the hair out at the root just like waxing. This last month the disposable plastic razor showed signs of blunting, which meant I really had to solve this problem. Luckily for me I had been telling a few of my friends about the dilemma and a last weekend a friend turned up with a mint stainless steel razor, her sister spied it for me while in an antique store (thanks Nell!). It uses the old razor blade system. I remember my dad’s blades, sharp and dangerous, sitting in the bathroom cupboard. I am sure the blades will still be for sale somewhere, but it will require a bit of a hunt around as I haven’t seen them for years.

Since we went down to one blog every fortnight it seems that there is always too much to say and not enough space to say it. I think this is partly due to the rules changing back to no bread bags, cheese packets etc, which makes it much more of an interesting challenge. So we are reverting back to weekly blogs, and Matthew and I will probably alternate writing them. Keep up the good work everyone. We constantly hear how our rubbish free efforts are encouraging others to start recycling, composting or switching to the butcher etc, its awesome to see our small effort have an impact!

12 thoughts on “Week 22 – Raiders of the Well-Hidden Ark.

  1. dog food solution: bulk bye some cheap cuts of beef bone or something and feed him that. Also a friend of mine says when she has nothing else she’ll crush up some weetbix and mix it in hot water and her dog loved it! Also cold porridge.

    Good thing about dogs to is that, unlike cats, they can survice on a non-meat diet so don’t really on having meat every day.


  2. Hi – just wanted to say that you have inspired me to reduce my rubbish!!! First thing is food scraps so we will be starting a compost ASAP. That will probably get rid of half our rubbish! Also found out from our council website that we can recycle more plastics than we thought we could so thank you for making me take a look around and work out what we can do!!!!


  3. I use an epilater and they are not actually that bad. The worst is the first time as that is when all your hairs are coming out at once, but if you can put up with that, then the rest of the times will be less painful – hairs all grow at different times so you are only pulling out a portion of the hairs at any one time. And once you have bought the epilater the only additional cost is the very small amount of electricity it uses.


  4. I am really enjoying reading your blogs in the NZ Herald. I try hard to recycle but I don’t do too much about not acquiring rubbish in the first place. Waveney, I’d like to endorse Naomi’s comments. If you switch to waxing or an epilater, you will not regret it on the personal side. The first time is definitely the worst, and after that you have to have a pretty low pain threshold if you can’t tolerate it. The results are well worth it.

    OK guys! I will put it on my list of things to do before I die… but since I have the razor now I’ll stick with that if I can. I actually do wax my legs and have tried unsuccessfully to wax armpits. Apparently talcum powder would have helped a lot but I am such a minimalist I hate buying things like that for such a singular purpose. Anyway a friend just told me that corn flour is the base ingredient of talcum powder so I might give waxing another go with that. Oneday.


  5. I enjoy your postings very inspiring. Re the dog food my mother used to cook for her dogs, she thinks it was a recipe from Alison Holst? which had lots of rice and veges and chicken. It was a long time ago so the details are a bit hazy sorry. But the dogs always looked great probably much better for them than many commercial dog foods


  6. Hi there

    Love your site – very inspiring! Re shaving – I have just discovered a razor sharpener. http://www.sustainablevillage.com/servlet/display/product/detail/34539. Apparently it reduces your need for blades by 75% and the sharpener is made from recycled plastic. I have just ordered one – I’ll let you know what I think when it arrives.

    cheers Rebecca Blackburn

    thanks Rebecca, I checked out the link and it looks like a great way of getting extra mileage out of the disposable razors! Let us know how it goes, w


  7. I think that Bin Inn might again be your friend in regard to the dog food – I’m fairly sure that you can get dried dog food there that you can take home in your own bag
    keep up the good work 🙂

    thanks for bringing that to our attention. Will check it out.


  8. Maybe NZ women are not ready for this alternative suggestion, but how about not shaving at all if you are serious about reducing your environmental impact?!

    I stopped shaving about 10 years ago after thinking about how much time and resources (shavers, water, soap) I wasted shaving. It may not seem like much but it easily adds up to an extra 30 mins in the shower each week or 1800+ hours per year.

    I wish that everyone would just accept that it is normal and OK for women to have hair, not just on their heads! P.S. I met my husband after I stopped shaving and it didn’t put him off!

    it is always good to be challenged on that one! Good on you for going the extra mile. I know that shaving really reduces armpit smell – which is a bonus if using the natural alternatives as they are deodorants not antiperspirants. And I am quite happy with the amount of time it takes, which for me would be more like 5mins every couple of weeks – perhaps I am not so thorougher?!


  9. On dog food: have you ever thought about just giving your dog any food leftover from your own? Of course, you should check out, if there is something that can harm your dog, but it should be just fine giving him anything he likes… 🙂


  10. Regarding underarm waxing (and legs too), have you tried sugar waxing? It’s an easy do-it-yourself “wax” made of sugar, water and lemon juice, and uses cotton strips that are washed and reused. I just tried it first time, I normally suffer waxing my underarms and strangely enough with sugar it hurt a lot less! Same goes for legs and bikini, much less pain.

    The receipt is easy:
    2 cups sugar
    1/4 cup water
    1/4 cup lemon juice
    Mix the ingredients in a pot and boil the mixture, stirring frequently, until it’s about 120 degrees, or until a drop of it in a glass of cold water forms a ball that holds the shape (it takes about 1/2 hour). Then pour into a glass jar and let cool about 30 more minutes. Then with the back of a knife spread a little bit of the mixture on your legs/underarms/etc., and use strips of cotton to remove just like waxing. An old pillowcase works very well.
    At the end you can wash the cotton strips in warm water, let them sit until the sugar is dissolved and voila’! Ready for next time.
    Next time warm up the sugar in a pot of water (bagnomaria, not sure how it’s called in English sorry!).

    I love your challenge, thanks for the inspiration and the great ideas! I’m trying to reduce my rubbish as much as possible (no Binn Inn around here unfortunately). You’re a great example!!!


  11. You guys are doing a great job and inspiring others also.Try leaving your razors in veg oil,they will stay sharp longer-also store your bars of soap in the airing cupboard among your towels-it makes your towels smell nice and your soap last twice as long!!If you start to grow your veges you may be able to use your odd bits of rubbish as bird scarers..tie them to bits of string and suspend above seedlings? Regards Brendon Johnson


  12. Re: underarm hair removal
    I realise that this is somewhat of a belated response, but have you considered plucking with tweezers? Although a slow process, same benefits as waxing without as much pain AND is a zero waste option. And no sticky wax residue!


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