Thanks to all the old schoolers out there who descended on the blog Matthew wrote a few weeks ago to suggest that I use a colouring-in pencil instead of a highlighter. Its just as good and so simple! Why didn’t I think of it? It’s a classic example of how we somehow get weened of something simple and sustainable and a generation later we have no idea how to something without plastic. Speaking of plastic free, we tried soap nuts for the first time. Very novel I must say, and despite all the feedback that they work I just wasn’t convinced that these acorn-shell like things in a cotton bag would work. The instructions say to soak them in warm water first if you are going to do a cold wash, so we did that and then threw them in. Unlike soaps, soap nuts don’t leave a residue that needs to be rinsed out so you can save water by reducing the length of the cycle, and once the clothes were clean and dry we noticed that our clothes didn’t smell of anything at all. Which is a good thing I guess. This particular company, www.scarecrowfarm.co.nz, also sells lavender or lemon oil that can be added to make the clothes smell more or less like a mainstream brand. We were generally very satisfied with how the wash came out, but there were a couple of t-shirts (the tight under the arm type) that resisted cleaning. I am pretty keen to try a warmer wash next time and see how that goes, and I need to do a control test. I.e. I don’t usually go smelling under the armpits of clothes after we’ve washed them, so I will do a regular wash and see if its just the fragrance screening the smell or if it really does do a better job of washing. Either way, I hope the soap nuts do come through because they are such a fantastic concept, apparently you can even grow your own tree!!
In other rubbish news, a small pile of rubbish was found yesterday when Matthew trimmed the really overgrown lemon tree in our front yard, we haven’t done it since we bought the house five years ago. Really, if we knew better we wouldn’t go near the garden in a rubbish free year. It seems every time we do we unearth a new ensemble of discarded plastic bags, tape, string…plastic doesn’t break down. Whoever lived here before us didn’t mind so much I guess. But we have also been creating rubbish of our own accord. Apart from the dental floss this is the first time we have chosen to use the ‘grace’ of one bag, (the official challenge is one year, filling no more than one bag of household rubbish for the landfill). We needed a new hard drive and ‘needed’ wireless. So we just went out and bought them both new – packaging and all. We were impressed actually to see how much the industry has changed their packaging in the last couple of years. Everything used to come in Styrofoam and now computery stuff and phones etc often seem to come in the egg carton type molds instead. Great to see an industry changing. One step forward… The only packaging form both purchases that we were unble to recycle were the plastic sleeves that the individual bits came in. We also rehomed a computer last week. It hasn’t worked since we got back from Canada last year, we tried all sorts of things to resurrect it, but finally gave up and took it to Molten Media. That was a good feeling – diverting such a large and noxious item from the landfill. Molten Media have lots of tecky staff that will reconfigure it andmake it a good cheap computer for someone to buy. If you live out of Christchurch I encourage you to google for an equivilent service in your area.