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.

January Trial

We are now in our trial month. We put our rubbish bin outside in the shed. The first time I found it irriating was when I went to put a piece of dental floss in it (still don’t have an alternative to dental floss). Spent ages pouring through recipe books trying to find things we can eat. There will be lots of beans and lentils consumed before we can come up with more ideas. Matthew was disappointed to find out he couldn’t buy most diary products, tofu and falafel. We could eat meat by taking our own bag to the butcher, or recycling the plastic bag it comes in from the delli, but we don’t often buy meat as we find we eat enough of it when we are out. We’ll have a go at making our own naan bread and tortillas, got as far as downloading some recipes.

We also have been busy outside, we are now ready to build a dog poo self composting toilet, aka pit, also handy for fingernails, chiken bones etc. The great thing about it is that it has a lid and is rodent proof (we jut bought a recycled plastic bin and cut the bottom out of it). We’ll get some sawdust to sprinkle in so it doesn’t get smelly. What else? we bought a bucket – stainless steel for $25! That took will power when we knew we could get a Wharehouse plastic wonder for 99 cents. Maybe we will have that bucket for the rest of our lives!

I got hungry when I was out today and bought a pie, plastic wrap in the bin…

By the way, christmas went well. We gave our nieces and nephews a hand made baking kit and, where possible committed to baking with them and then taking them on a picnic. Seemed to go down well. Oh and we both like our new deoderant from Weleda. Packaged in glass with a spray top. So far so good.