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simple living tips

Simple gifting ideas for an eco Christmas

Craft Tutorials, Slow & Sustainable LivingEllie BeckComment
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Let’s be truthful here, if we wanted to have a truly eco Christmas we’d probably not even celebrate at all… but I love giving gifts, and I love any excuse for family to gather around a special meal together. And if once a year we all make the extra effort, perhaps it’s worth it. Also - it’s absolutely and totally possible to celebrate without forgetting the ethos that you live with the rest of the year, and also a great time to share that with others in your family through your choice of gifts (that you either give or ask for).

I thought I’d share a few ideas of what we work through each year. And to be truly honest here… every year is different, some years I get it more right, other years I throw up my hands and let some things go. Every year is a learning lesson for me, in being more humble in my opinions, guiding my children through the crazy drama of the world, and their expectations, and other people’s expectations. In learning what to push my ideals and wishes on, and what to step back on. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you might work through it too - in a gentle way…

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Gifting:

  • Make something. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you make, it’s the made item that really matters. That fact you took the time to create something with your hands and heart, rather than picking something off a shelf. It’s a good way to talk about your environmental, political, socially-responsible ethos with friends or family… perhaps a simple note on the gift, so they could look into it later, rather than heated discussions on special days.

  • Gift special food items - jams, chutneys, pickles. If you can’t make your own, don’t worry, there’s lots of little markets around at the moment where people are making lovely things to share like that. This way you’re also supporting someone else in their making. Imagine a whole box of cherries, mangoes or stone-fruit gifted - something that might be out of the financial reach of your giftee.

  • Buy handmade, from a local market or artist or gallery. Or find a local online person - searching on Etsy local is a good way to find your community.

  • Gift an experience or a voucher to help them around the house or garden, or the commitment to take them somewhere special - even a picnic at a local creek might be something they don’t do very often.

  • Plants are always a beautiful gift, in my mind. Think about the space they live in, and what time they available to care for the plant. Sometimes a pot of living herbs is enough, or a fruit tree and the promise to help plant it.

  • A family photo or art work by your children - framed perhaps. Older family members often don’t need more things, and artwork is a beautiful and special memento for them.

It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. The best gifts, in my heart & mind, are the ones thoughtfully gathered for that person, rather than the mad dash to a shop to meet a specified budget. (I used to work in retail, and saw way too many people on Christmas Eve doing that horrible mad rush - it made my heart sigh and huff while I tried to guide them to the best options on the almost empty shelves).

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Gifts to ask for:

While it would be ideal sometimes to not have to give gifts, I know my children would not be happy with that option. And my in-laws love giving gifts too. And, actually I love gifting things as well. So.. if you know you or your kids will be receiving gifts, then pre-empt the plastic throwaway junk, by getting in early with some suggestions.

  • Beach towels

  • New sheets - send links to beautiful organic or thoughtfully made items, rather than a vague suggestion

  • An experience or membership to somewhere.. local art gallery, museum, music, drama or sports lessons for a year (or a term), a ticket to a concert or live performance

  • A voucher to an art or book shop - let them know the details of your local shop, so you can support local businesses

  • While it’s not entirely personal, teenagers often seem to want vouchers for music downloads

  • We asked for a tent as our family gift one year - so think about one big purchase that would help your whole family

  • And if you know they’ll want to purchase a toy or a ‘thing’ let them know about easy options for places that fit your ethos. Biome* is a great online site with so many options for everyone in the family. I particularly love many of these wooden toys.

  • Or suggest something very practical, from a shop they’re more likely to feel comfortable shopping at, such as a trampoline which will last for years and be a great addition to any family garden.

Wrapping gifts:

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I’ve shared a few ideas here, that will guide you along a more sustainable path, but also make for unique and beautiful gifting. And it’s likely you or your children will receive cheap throwaway wrapping paper and cards - a few options are to try and save the paper to reuse (talk with your children about how to carefully unwrap gifts prior to Christmas Day), or make sure that it’s recycled rather than lumped into the rubbish bin with everything else. A few extra moments to remove sticky tape and plastic ribbons, and put them in the right recycled boxes or bins depending on your local council. Sometimes you doing this, quietly in the corner on Christmas day, sparks a conversation that might make a small change in others.

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Food Waste:

I suppose the simplest I can say about this is; if you’re part of deciding what food you’ll have for your family or friend celebrations remember that less can be more. Choose locally grown where possible, less packaging, order organic meats from your local butcher (we don’t eat meat - but I know that lots of butchers have this option, if you keep on asking them), make less food.

Make a menu plan, and talk with your family about who will bring what. Don’t over cater - children seem to eat less when they’re running around playing, and adults seem to overeat when there’s too much food sitting in front of them.

If you do have left overs, keep in mind the excess plastic that many people use for putting food away, and look into these alternatives - beeswax wraps (buy these beautiful handmade ones here, or learn to make your own here), or invest in some reusable containers. Or simply put things in the fridge, in a bowl with a plate over the top. Or I love the idea of these linen covers.

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Simple Days & Slow Moments:

The lead-up to Christmas and the final weeks of school term, and even the year, can be full with events, gatherings, stress of things to buy, places to go, things that we need to do. Try to look at your diary, and say no to some things. While there might be some guilt around not going to the neighbourhood party, it’s also important to be gentle with yourself and give yourself and your family quiet down-time. A Do-Nothing Day really is the best thing for everyone in these full and busy days. Especially if you live anywhere near me, where it’s hot and tiring and the weather seems to sap all energy from you.

Choose what feels most important to you, and work with that. Don’t be forced into a full 24-day Advent Calendar of events, perhaps try a simple tree of moments instead (I’ll share more about this soon… my girl is making one this weekend). Write letters and cards, rather than needing to drop in on everyone in your address book.

Hop off devices for a little while, and spend time in the garden or looking through books for inspiration. Sit and make some gifts, instead of spending every weekend at the shopping malls - I promise that you can make gifts almost in the same amount of time as it takes you to drive, park and trawl the aisle of the shops… And you’ll be much saner for it.

And if finding / making / creating time just isn’t happening - remember to breathe. The simple, yet often rushes past, practice of deep breathing nourishes our bodies in the best way. Breathing through your nose, gently and deeply slows our bodies and minds down, and allows us to think clearer and be a little more peacefully in the moment. Exhaling, though your nose (not mouth) in a mindful intentional manner let’s go of so much pent up stress and energy. Try it at the supermarket, when you’re in the middle of a busy stressful morning or  ‘negotiation’ with children, or when life is making you feel overwhelmed and anxious. It’s the simplest way to reset yourself.... I’ve been practicing it more than usual lately and feeling the benefits immediately. 

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 *I receive a small commission if you purchase through this link; it doesn’t affect what you pay, it’s just a way for Biome to thank me for spreading the word about the good that they do. Thank you for supporting me in this way. 

Plastic-Free or Low-Waste Living : Is it expensive or hard?

Slow & Sustainable LivingEllie BeckComment

Today marks the beginning of Plastic Free July, a worldwide challenge to encourage us all to minimise our plastic usage, look at our daily habits, and make small but significant changes. It's not about overhauling your whole life or home, but about making actionable changes to your days, that can carry on easily through the year. 

Like any trends, starting on a plastic-free, zero-waste or low-waste lifestyle could be expensive, but let me tell you it doesn't have to. I suppose it comes down to your way of living and the way you choose to action on certain plastic-free ideas. Of course, to make some changes might cost you an outlay to begin, but sometimes this counterbalances by making savings in the long run.

Here's a few simple tips on how to begin your plastic-free journey without it costing the world (or your wallet):

plastic free July : simple easy ways to start your low-plastic journey now

Slow & Sustainable LivingEllie BeckComment

Are you joining in Plastic Free July this year? Even though we live a relatively 'plastic-free' lifestyle "compared to regular people", I know that there's so so much more we can do in our family. Little changes to make big differences.

The aim of #plasticFreeJuly is to reduce or refuse all single use plastic during July. Of course, the hope is that you'll start on a new journey of seeing how easy it is and continue on. But having one month to reset your ideals is pretty cool - cause I find despite my best best intentions we still end up with single use plastic in our shopping and home.

I've got some really cool and easy tips to share with you

what does simple living mean to me? and how you can bring it into your life

Slow & Sustainable LivingEllie BeckComment
Ellie Beck Petalplum blog simple living

My simple slow life does not look like what I've seen on Instagram or in a Kinfolk magazine. Mostly it's a mundane-ness that just happens and exists, and while extremely beautiful isn't always particularly photographable. But I think we need more of this to show the realness, the rawness, that the messy creates beauty. I thought I'd share some of the things that mean slow & simple to me; perhaps you've been wanting to move towards a simpler way of living but unsure how to move past the busy and messy and overwhelm.

Firstly - simple living doesn't mean white walls and minimalist furniture. It can, but it doesn't have to. Our home is rich and full of patterns and texture and colour, and anything but a minimalist home.

Simple living to me means a mindfulness and a slow way of being. A connection to the rhythms of life and our days, a slowing down of our outside activities. It's about our buying habits and purchases. About our eating and composting and disposing of waste. About our spending time as a family more importantly than wasting time being something that people expect us to be. It's about the things we choose to do instead of the things we feel obliged to do.

Some of The practical things of simple living are:

  • Choosing our purchases wisely, and not buying things just because. Before you buy something new see if you can find it from your local op-shop, buy-swap-&-sell group, ebay, gumtree / craigslist or perhaps your friends or family have one they no longer need. We haven't bought a new toaster for quite a while - I found an excellent and perfectly working toaster on the council throwout pile one day, and when that stopped working we found someone giving away quite an expensive toaster through buy-swap-&-sell facebook group. We've recently purchased 2 kids' beds from this online local group for much much less than the cost of a new bed. Before we buy anything new we make sure it's going to be used regularly and is needed in our home.
  • Clothes shopping is not a weekend hobby. Before we go shopping for any new clothes we make sure there's no hand-me-downs packed away, or hidden extras at the back of the cupboard. And we talk about if we really need it, or we simply think we want it. In our family we don't go clothes shopping because we're bored or killing time or it's our weekend hobby.
  • We make do & reuse. Some of the things that I use over and over again before throwing out might surprise you. For example baking paper - I buy a non-bleached recycled baking paper from the health food shop, perhaps it's a little more expensive than the regular bleached trees-cut-down one from the supermarket. But I use it over and over again for my baking until it's no good any more. Then it goes in the compost. I don't ever buy plastic wrap - these beeswax wraps are great to use or metal containers that can be used over and over again - or if for some random and rare reason plastic wrap comes into our home we fold it up and use it again. Once my daughter brought home a paper bag she'd had popcorn in from school canteen for us to re-use : that made me smile big time! I make washcloths for the kitchen myself either by crocheting the cloths or cutting up old worn out towels / tea towels.
  • We stay home. For me the best weekend plans are no plans. Staying home and working in the garden or pottering about in my studio will pretty much out weigh a whole lot of activities that many people seem to do all weekend long. I'm happiest being slow and quiet. Friends or family for lunch or a picnic by the beach is often less stressful and more fun than going to a cafe.
  • We spend less money. Means we work less. I love that balance. We've chosen to work less hours so we can spend more time with our children or working on our art practice. Things we don't buy very often - magazines, new books, dinner & the movies, clothes, weekly flowers, new jewellery, cushions, ornaments & trinkets.
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Part of the journey of simple living is realising that it's not always simple. Sometimes it's tricky and you have to walk a fine line of wants & needs - especially with children. But when we come back the mindfulness of our Self I realise again and again where I want to be putting my money, my time, my thoughts. I want to actively choose how I spend my days - and you can too.

Ways for you to start a simple living journey:

  • Say yes to the things that bring you joy. Say no to the things that society (magazines, social media, your colleagues or family or school friends) tell you you should be doing.
  • Re-think the way you re-use what you have. Simple living means carrying a bottle of water with you everywhere you go and a re-usable coffee cup rather than buying & throwing away that plastic every day. Simple living means taking your own shopping bags rather than using plastic bags. These things take a bit of getting used to; re-wiring your brain and being a little bit more organised, but it won't take long if you're eager to make the switch.
  • Stop buying things! Yep - I mean it. Try a week without buying anything except food and transport needs. No magazines, no takeaway coffee, no pretty little scarf that you just needed to have. Just try for one week and see how that feels. You don't need to quit buying everything, but this might reset the way you think about what you do buy.
  • Stay home for one day this weekend. Give is a go. The kids might complain that they're bored, you might start to get a bit itching that you need to go something. JUST DON'T. Don't get in the car, don't walk down the street. Just see what it's like not doing anything much at all. That's part of my simple living.
  • Go to a farmers market for your weekly vege shopping. It's much more enjoyable than the supermarket, often cheaper because things are in season & local and also because you're not swayed to buy all the other things at the checkouts. It's less stressful and more mindful. And you could even manage a pretty sweet Instagram snap from a farmers market visit!
  • Cook more food from scratch -but with simple ingredients. Try using no cans or packets (less packaging and less cost), or minimise what you do use. I'll be sharing our delicious humous recipe in a few days - I make it from dried chickpeas no plastic in sight, yet it's an enjoyable process that doesn't take too long. Simple cooking is about wholesome meals, cooked with love, but they don't need to take up all your day to create them.

I'd love to hear how your simple living journey is going. You can read more here on my slow simple living posts.

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always seeking simplicity

Slow & Sustainable LivingEllie Beck1 Comment
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Life has been crazy lately. I know I keep saying, or at least I feel like I keep saying this. Ahh. It's a whirlwind of all things all the time. All my stupid talk of breathing and slow living and intentional - it seems beyond useless when the everyday reality is doing the school run, spending all morning feeding Bubba at nap time, washing the dishes and then thinking about what food we need takes up all the brain power I have. I have no more space. I'm like those horses you see with blinkered headpieces on, where I can't see beyond my nose, can't think past this single one day's events or activities. How can I plan what I'm doing next week when I barely even get through one whole day with any focus or thought power left over.

Coming up to these last weeks of school, and the lead up to what ends up being the busy hectic stressful time of year I'm re-thinking lots of things. How my days drift away, pulled mostly by a 2yr old who just wants to play and explore, and have his mama by his side at all times. How it seems I'm in the car more often than not, driving here and there for different events or reasons that I can't barely fathom fit into what I thought I wanted. Not in a bad way, just in the way that you end up tumbling down a different path than planned or even vaguely thought about.

I know a lot of this currently has to do with be mentally and physically exhausted, breastfeeding full time takes so much out of my body. All day all night. He's not drinking as much during the night, but he's still there right beside me asking for me, holding on and needing me 24hrs a day. I know that'll all change soon enough and things slip into a different version of how the new is.

But until then - I'm working out ways to save my sanity, and to make sure I actually get my to-do list in a rational manner, not rushing to deadlines constantly and screaming at my kids because the house is always a mess. Usually I try to do everything all the time; half an hour on the computer while Sam drops the kids at school (and has Bubba in the car with him), or a few minutes here and there while River tries to drag me away… neither of which leads to real thought-processes. Fitting creating work into moments around family.. while sipping coffee before the school rush, or while River is playing for 3 minutes on his own, or in the car while we're driving somewhere. None of this leads to real dedicated creative artistic practice. It's excellent for getting my craft on - oh golly yes, so good to work within the family days… but in terms of artistic personal development it doesn't leave much room.

How do you do it? How do you make it work, fit it all in? Squeeze the extra moments out of the days?

Here's how I'm going to try:

  • Set regular days for regular activities - i.e. every Monday is home-duties day
  • Narrow down what I work on each week, set structure for my creativeness where I flip and change each moment / each day what I'm working on. One thing per week. Will that work for me and my multipotentialite personality? Probably not. Maybe let's say one 'project' each week.
  • Schedule days without the children - a whole day just to myself. To not have to make breakfast, or scurry them out the door, not have to make dinner or think about the time all day long.
  • Spend 15 minutes each evening writing my thoughts on the day and my list for the next day.
  • Work on simplifying the house and the daily mess that seems to build up.
  • Go with the flow….. I must admit I'm fairly good at this generally, but at certain times when I've got lots on my mind it becomes harder - but last week after my daughter's circus class during the weekday we decided a picnic dinner by the river was just what we all needed. Saying "yes" to the right things is sometimes so simple and I forget that.

It's an always journey, I think/feel - there's not final destination… the more simple we become in our daily life the more I long for, aim for, wish for. To bring it down right to the bare minimum of nothing - but is that possible if I'm also actively part of society and those complications (family, friends, school, money…..).

Tell me, if you will - what are you doing to tread your simple path…. how do you navigate the complicated challenging times, the 'unsimple' parts of life…. ??

live with intention by Petalplum :: on simplicity

Continuing the plastic free journey - 5 simple tips you can implement

Slow & Sustainable LivingEllie Beck3 Comments
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So Plastic Free July is over, but that doesn't mean you need to quit all the good that you've started. In fact, now is the time to really reassess how you went and how you want to continue. To look at the challenges you came up against, as well as the wins that you had. Yay! Don't stop the conversations in your family, with your friends or even at the supermarket. Keep on working towards less plastic use in your life every single week.

I wanted to share with you some of the simple ways that we reduce plastic. These become everyday ways of living, so you don't need to think about it too much. I believe that we're all going to have the best chances of change if we don't make it too hard for ourselves.

The reality is we're all busy, stretched as it is already past the extra time we have to make everything from scratch, go the extra distance to get food from a different place, or re-think everything we eat, wear or do. It has to be simple otherwise it won't last, it has to fit into our lives in a semi-streamlined manner. That's not to say it will always be easy. Sometimes it'll be hard.

My kids keep challenging me, I keep challenging myself, regular everyday stresses of life keep challenging me. I find that the times we fall down are when we're extra busy, tired, stressed, over-worked. We buy things we wouldn't normally - to treat ourselves when we're feeling down, or to make the evening a little easier for that day only. That's ok - remember. That's ok.

Our current society isn't geared towards plastic free. Some days it's seriously hard to push against that, to live a different way, to say no to the children (or ourselves) and not buy the plastic things. Some days I just give in, wearily.

  1. Be Organised, Write a Plan - I'm writing this for me, because it's when I haven't planned our week out then we fall down. When we are rushing or tired or there's no lunches for the kids that I let go a little. Setting plans of what day you'll bake the biscuits  or bread (instead of buying them), what day you'll soak & cook the legumes (instead of buying them), planning the farmers market shop into your regular weekly shop. What are your kids having for school lunches for the next 2 weeks?
  2. Arm yourself with great, yet easy, items to help you on the way. Saying "no" to plastic bags at the supermarket, or even the farmers market or fruit shop, is SO much easier when you have a system of what to use instead. You can't be carrying an armful of tomatoes every time you forget your bag. These produce bags are designed to make it easy for you to remember to take them with you, to use them, and they weigh less than 1g on the scales. In fact they're made from recycled plastic themselves, so there's a double yay! Make sure you always put them straight back into your basket, reusable shopping bags or your handbag so you already have them when you're out.
  3. Embrace the plastic free living with lovely reusable items - coffee cups, water bottles, straws and disposable cutlery are some of the worst offenders in the plastic world. Seriously you use a coffee cup or straw for less than 10 minutes and then it hangs around in our environment for eons and eons. Taking your own glass or metal drink bottle and reusable coffee cup is easy, and people don't look at your strangely at all. Taking a straw, fork or spoon does take a little more pre-planning. I carry little spoon-forks in a fabric zippered purse I made, and metal straws are easy to slip into my handbag too. Often you have to pre-empt people giving you straws & forks, as it's so automatic for them. When you're ordering your milkshake just remind them gently a few times.
  4. Set yourself some goals and what items are non-negiotables in terms of what you'll never buy/use, as well as what items you know you can't replace (even if for the short term). I very rarely ever buy tinned veggies, beans, etc . I never ever get water in plastic bottles; if we're out and forgot our drink bottles we'll ask for water in a glass or get juice in a glass bottle. I'll never ever get plastic bags at the checkout. But I will buy my kids occassional treats in plastic packets. We do buy cheese, coffee & milk (when necessary) in plastic. Sometimes it's about some give & take, what you can each day. If you're making changes then even small steps are much better than no steps.
  5. Be gentle on yourself. You'll slip up, I know it. Well - unless you're some version of perfect, then please tell me your ways. But the truth of anyone I know on the plastic free/ low plastic journey is that there's some items you simply can't get plastic-free, and some things it's really hard to compromise on. I wrote a list here of some things; this is the reminder to be gentle on yourself. Forgive yourself and move forward.

I'd love to know where you find  your inspiration for plastic free living - online forums, magazine articles, friends in real life who can motivate and encourage you. And of course online friends. I have great conversations on Instagram about plastic free living, slow living and the journey towards it all. Let me know what blogs you're reading or what books. If you want to read some more, check out my sustainable living posts.

Are you on the plastic-free journey for life? Do you think joining Plastic Free July helped you start, or have you been living plastic-less for a long time? I love that it's a growing conversation in our communities (both in real and online). Having these real discussions, sharing advice, tips and products to use really helps to make it easier.

going plastic free ~ overcoming the challenges

Slow & Sustainable LivingEllie Beck2 Comments
Ellie Beck Petalplum blog Homegrown veges peas in a pod and purple carrots with childs hands

We're a third of the way through Plastic Free July, and I'm shyly admitting that we've failed in more ways than expected. Actually, we've failed worse than a regular month - which, *if I do say so myself*, our regular living isn't entirely that bad.

On the first of July I had to buy supplies to top up my workshop kit for my natural dye classes… rubber gloves in plastic packets. Cause not everyone wants blue hands like me! And then I ran out of time (and gas for our oven) to bake a birthday cake for my Grandma and horror of all horrendous horrors had to actually buy a cake. {I'm whispering that, because I never ever ever buy cakes. I always make them. I don't think I've ever bought a shop cake in a plastic packet ever}. And one time I was so tired after a whole day out - working or school-event-planning or something I can't even remember - and we were home late and we bought those little spinach pies in a packet to bake in the oven. These are things I don't buy very often - and you know, especially not when I say let's join #plasticfreeJuly.

I told my dad we were taking part of this annual event, and he half snorted - because my dad is the sort of person who lives his own quiet life doing his own thing that just so happens to be the sort of slow living, quiet plastic free, back to basics, living a regular but whole real life. He does not have an account on Facebook, nor Instagram - he does not even have a mobile phone. He's not a full on hippie, but just a regular living guy - living a meaningful life. He also laughed slightly scornfully at the new trend for 'mindfulness' and 2 minute meditation...... This whole hashtag slowliving thing does sometimes go a bit too far.

So - the 'not doing so well' at Plastic Free July got me thinking about the challenges we face in making changes to our life, and the way it sometimes seems the whole of society is geared towards making it not work. Buying milk in Australia without plastic is really hard - earlier this year almost all the cardboard cartons were replaced with plastic bottles. Previously we had been buying 1L milk in a cardboard carton, that brand now only offers plastic for ALL their sizes. There are still one or two cardboard cartons available, but only from Coles and not from our local IGA or even the farmers market, plus it's at least twice or more the price.

Other things that we eat in our everyday meals are cheese, coffee, yoghurt, tofu, and the occasional organic meat that Sam eats (us others are vegetarian) - these are our biggest and hardest to not get in plastic. I know that I should be making our own yoghurt, and it's on my list when life gets less busy…(haha). I haven't done a full stocktake of our plastics list, but

the things we don't buy include:

  • margarine - we only ever buy butter wrapped in paper
  • plastic bottles of drink or water - we drink our tank water (filtered) and very occasionally buy juice in glass bottles
  •  frozen berries in plastic packets
  •  biscuits, crackers, popcorn, chips in individual bags (we do occasionally buy chips when we're on car trips, and corn thins cause baby likes them!).
  • pasta in plastic packets (we buy the one in a cardboard box, and compost it) or pasta sauces
  • dips, hummus, etc in plastic tubs (we make our own hummus from cooking our own chickpeas)
  • tinned veges
  • oils, vinegars, dressings in plastic - we buy Aust olive oil in a big tin and vinegar in glass and make our own salad dressing
  • lettuce or fresh veges in plastic wrap or packets - we shop at the farmers market each week, or the local fruit shop and choose to not buy the plastic wrapped/bagged items.
  • throwaway cleaning cloths, plastic dishwashing brush or single use wipes - we use hand crocheted fabric cloths in our kitchen and a wooden dishbrush. We also keep old toothbrushes for cleaning little things or rubbing at a spot on clothing once I'm dressed (I have a 20month old - there's always a spot on my clothes!).

Oftentimes it might mean we go without - my kids are very regularly telling me I'm mean and horrible and why can't I be like the other mums, but I refuse to buy the convenience prepackaged lunches or the snack pack treats. I simply say no and we just don't have them in our home.

Also....I could write a whole blog post on the plastic things that do come home. I'm the only one who uses a bamboo biodegrade toothbrush, the others don't like them and my persuasive skills aren't that good!

BUT - I know the biggest challenge is time and finding the time to make alternatives. Because not as many families as mine are happy to put up with not having the items - my husband is ok to live this way, but I know some husbands aren't. Which makes it super hard for one mum to make a difference in her own home.

So, my advice if you're on the plastic free journey is:

  1. Be gentle with yourself - don't try and cut back on everything straight away if it's going to mean mutiny
  2. Start slowly - make changes to the things that you can do without, but slowly. Don't guilt yourself or others around you, and don't let other "perfect" zero-wasters guilt you either. What you're doing DOES make a difference.  You not taking plastic does change things, even if the whole rest of your street uses plastic. I can't help but hope that our small changes will slowly but surely change people's perceptions, and the possibilities for our future. And if we aren't prepared to make a few sacrifices for our children's future...well….

How are you going with plastic free living - is it a massive challenge, are you only cutting out the top 4 plastics (straws, coffee cups, water bottles &  plastic bags), or eliminating all / as much plastic as you can?