Week 25- snowballing

People keep saying snow is on the way for us Cantabrians, but all we are getting so far is rain. But there is a ‘snowball’ to comment on never the less. Over our 6 months of rubbish ducking, as we blog and answer comments, or meet people at various events we hear of more and more people embarking on their own rubbish challenges, (shout outs to Melanie and Carrie!). Perhaps it is hyperbole to speak of it as snowballing movement, but our actions have so far had more influence than we would have ever imagined. Last week we met a woman, Jules, from the Lyttelton Time Bank who is nothing short of a ‘fan’. She has been wanting to be rubbish free but has felt overwhelmed by the task of research, sourcing etc. When she found our website and found that the information was already all there – especially for Christchurch people – she decided to commit to one bag for the rest of the year. She has two boys, 7 and 5, so it will be really interesting to see how they go. Of course it will be heaps harder avoiding rubbish with kids, lucky for her the kids are really into the project too. Matthew and I will be ‘mentoring’ Julz, which means among other things, a tour of our rubbish free house and direct dialing privileges! In return she will credit us with ‘timebank‘ credits, which we can ‘spend’ on any service offered by other timebank members. I will get some more fruit and veg bags sewn I think, given how bad I am at sewing. What a great system!

In regards to the what-to-do-with-bones conversation one person commented that they burn theirs in their logburner! I bet Clean Air Canterbury wouldn’t want me to be promoting such a practice, but whose to say? It might be totally fine. Any scientists out there want to do an emissions test? There was also a very interesting comment from a hospital doctor responding to my rant on a restaurant using disposables, she writes:

I really admire what you two are doing but what ever you do don’t get sick or have a baby this year. I used to be appalled by the amount of rubbish created by take-aways (still am) but it’s a drop in the ocean compared to the waste created by hospitals. The birth of one baby creates enough rubbish to fill a home skip. When I first started practising in the 90’s the only dispossible things used during surgery were our gloves, blades and swabs. Now almost everything is disposable except for a few instruments. Glass bottles and steal bowls have been replaced with plastic, linen sheets have been replaced with a horrible paper plastic sheet, even our gowns are often disposable. It’s cheaper apparently than paying people to clean up and the companies’ sales men convince hospital managers it’s more hygienic.

Unbelievable! What a can of worms. On a more positive note, the razor blade issue has resolved itself. I found the blades at the supermarket, but ensconced in plastic, and therefore out of my reach. I briefly considered emailing the Plastic-Free woman in California, who apparently solved the same problem by buying the blades bulk and now has some ridiculous amount. Read about her razor blade blog here. I thought she might be up for sending me some. (but then there’s the carbon foot print thing! arghh!) Meanwhile Janet, a reader of our blogroll, emailed us offering her blades. She inherited them from a farmer friend who passed away, because he was on a farm everything was bought in bulk and so she has had this huge stack of blades sitting around for years – decades actually. They fit my razor perfectly and we are delighted with the old fashioned packaging. Each one is wrapped in wax paper and slipped into a card pocket. Each pack of 5 is in a cardboard pack which is wrapped in cellophane. These would have originally been for individual sale. I am sure this brings back memories for some of you. By the way, cellophane is a natural product, that breaks down. If only manufactures thought of plastic free solutions these days, but as the doctor commented, things just don’t seem to be going in that direction. Yet.

4 thoughts on “Week 25- snowballing

  1. I am now inspired to find my own ‘old-time’ non-disposable razor – will be so much cheaper in the long run, let alone the incredible waste of plastic involved with the usual ones from the supermarket. Maybe you can become a distributor of the matching ‘old-time’ razor blades! Sounds like they are tricky to find.


  2. re the comment about hospital waste…..Homebirths don’t create much waste/rubbish -you are using your own towels,bedlinen,clothing etc. I have had 3 homebirths and I don’t recall my midwives having a huge amount of disposable equipment, if any. There was also very minimal “clean up” (apart from doing a load of washing). A friend recently had her 2nd baby at home and planned for there to be nothing ‘single use’ – includes using reusable nappies/post partum pads etc. So it can be done!!


  3. the amount of disposable items in healthcare is scary. My father was being cared for at home prior to his passing, and the rubbish created was horrifying. My mother was having to dispose of about 1 1/2 rubbish bags full only of the disposable products used by the nurses and caregivers (who, by the way, were all absolutely wonderful).


  4. As far as the razors are concerned, use a old style safety razor for men, check out trade me or this handy web site http://mancave.co.nz.

    Using a safety razors is much cheaper than the disposable ones you buy at the supermarket and produce less rubbish and no plastic waste.

    It takes a while to get used to the new way to shave, but its better for the planet and your wallet.

    Thanks guys enjoying your web site.



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