Posted in Adelaide, goal setting, green cities, New Year resolutions, Recycling, sustainability

Big effort on e-waste

e-waste
My boot was packed to capacity with e-waste!

While I was participating in the Living Smart SA course one of the things I was committed to was getting rid of the e-waste I had at home. It had just accumulated and needed to go. In October I managed to collect the e-waste into one spot in my garage. That was a big effort in itself. I had to find all the e-waste stashed around the house and then move it outside. I felt really pleased with that part of it. The course then finished, life went on, we had Christmas, then New Year and now it was May and I still had not moved it. I tried to get it all picked up. There was less an a ute load and less than 15 minutes work. For me, I cannot carry CRT monitors easily , nor microwaves, so my first effort of getting it all in one place had been significant. Once this lot is all gone, then it will not be a problem. It won’t build up as it did with all the changes  in technology and it won’t weigh as much because new technology is much lighter and less cumbersome. The quotes for removing it were $100-$130 . That’s $400-$520 an hour. I had been in the wrong job! It means I have had to wait and do some more  planning. Older people go away , are sick or cannot carry things easily. Younger people are working long shifts most days and need a break. I feel pretty proud of myself that that I  completely filled the boot of my car up with the smaller stuff. I had a microwave which was heavy . The rest was straight forward. It’s gone. Advanced Recycling Technologies took  all the stuff and unloaded it for me. They were helpful, nice and right near the ocean! Great views. I have to wait now for help with 3 CRT monitors and 2 heavy microwaves. I can then say I met that commitment and it was my one and only promise to myself at New Year – that I would do something about my e-waste. I feel so relieved now I have done the right thing and so happy. A.R.T is part of the Unplug’n’Drop programme where a number of sites across Australia will now take electronic waste and seek to repair and repurpose rather just sent to recycling or landfill.

Posted in care, eco products, foot care, Health, pampering, sustainability

Sugar scrub

Sugar scrub is really good for your skin because it exfoliates and improves circulation. There are claims it is good for itchy skin. There are also claims it gets rid of wrinkles. My claim is that it makes your skin feel very smooth and a whole lot better. I don’t make jars of it. I make a small amount as I need it. For my hands I put in some lemon juice. When I feel my skin isn’t feeling he best I always find the sugar scrub gets it back into condition. It’s not something I do on a regular basis but I do it often during the course of a year. It means there are no chemicals on my skins and that’s important to me. It means there is no animal cruelty and that’s important to me too. It is easy on the purse and great for the skin! You can read about it on the home made sugar scrub site. Unlike the video, I add no fragrances. I just keep it to oil and sugar.

Posted in eco products, Health, health tips, healthy options, oral hygiene, sustainability

Eggshell toothpaste

I wouldn’t eat eggshells , ground or not and I think medical professionals need to weigh in on this so we get some qualified and expert input. There was a study in Hungary where they found eggshells remineralised teeth. This has now grown into eating them and I am not sure our bodies were designed to process grit. I need proper advice on that. I have tried eggshell toothpaste, though, and use it on a regular basis. It has improved my teeth, is easy to make and it cleans my teeth really well. I have been using it for a couple of months. You do get gritty bits in your mouth but I rinse them out with water as I would do with regular toothpaste. Quora has some interesting answers about this sudden interest in eggshells. I didn’t expect them to be a cavity cure or to regrow teeth as some sites claim. That’s a bit naive, I think. I use a coffee grinder to grind the eggshells finely after I have baked them in the oven. The toothpaste recipe is on the undergroundhealthreporter site

Posted in action, Environment, sustainability

Bokashi Tea

I can update this post now since I have been using my Bokashi bin since after Christmas. I am about to have it completely filled so will be putting that into the compost bin at the front of my house. The Bokashi tea mixed in a bucket of water has indeed kept my front garden in good condition. I have also used it in a very diluted form to water pot plants and then to water some of my plants out the back. It does make a difference. The plants like it! I used the tea in on of my shower drains too. It was always getting a bit blocked and since I have used the Bokashi tea in the shower drain and the bathroom sink I have had no blockages at all. For good measure I have put one lot of Bokashi tea into all my sinks. It’s magical how it easily clears drains. I am thinking I might give it a try on the black mould which grows on my concrete in winter. I have tried everything else. The Bokashi bran keeps the bin  smelling okay but the tea itself is somewhat pungent! I use orange oil to clean around the nozzle and area after I have extracted the juice. I found a little container which sits neatly into the recess of the bin under the tap so it’s just perfect for collecting the tea. I spray that with orange oil spray after I have rinsed it after use. It does keep that smell under control. My next step is to see how it affects my composting and I should know that in the next quarter. The Bokashi bin has certainly been beneficial to my whole composting system.

 

I set my new Bokashi bin up after Christmas. I use my small compost bin to collect the food scraps over a week and then it goes into the Bokashi bin with the Bokashi bran. Could not be easier. I am getting the tea or juice now which is very exciting! The main use for it will be my front garden which has sandy, dry soil even though I have put so much organic matter into it. It just sucks it all up. I am hoping the Bokashi juice will take the strain off my front garden and help keep it well fed and more able to sustain itself through our hots summers in South Australia. The Bokashi bin contents will go into the the compost bin out the front and maybe once in a while I’ll put a binful into the compost bin out the back. Today I have also tried what was suggested in this video . I have put Bokashi juice into my sink drains and the toilet just to see what happens. I am now getting plenty of juice but was pleased to hear in the clip that I need not worry if I don’t because it will depend on what I feed the bin. I have also used the juice today on my pot plants to see if it improves them. They are pretty healthy but it would be nice to see them even lusher. In about a month’s time I should be seeing a difference in all these things and I shall report back. By then I should have my worm farm going and they love Bokashi tea!

Posted in action, conservation, gardening, sustainability

Compost apps

compost binIt was only idly wondering which made me go to the Apple store on my iPad to see if there were any compost apps. They have apps for everything. Why not compost? A couple came up but I have done an online search and appcrawler has come up with a lot of paid and free compost apps. The benefit of having hem on a device is the device can go in a plastic bag if necessary and you can still use it. They are more portable than a book outside and lighter. I’ll try a couple of the free apps first but I was looking at Home Composting, which is paid because it looked like the sort of app I’d find useful. I want to see how they work first, though, so the free apps are the way to go.

I am sticking to my promise of getting my composting really well organised this year. I was given the little bin on the left for Christmas. That gets all my kitchen scraps. There is a plastic black pail with a handle inside. I just put my first pail into my bokashi bin today with the  bokashi bran. My big compost bin in the garden is getting plenty of brown matter at the moment and I put soil in there as well as the canister of  bits from my vacuum cleaner. The bokashi bin will empty into it and I shall have plenty for my worm farm too when I get that going in the cooler weather. At any stage I can break my compost chain and just dig a trench in the veggie patch and bury the organic scraps directly into the soil. Plan B for if I need to bypass the steps for any reason. As it stands my composting process just got a whole lot easier this year because I have thought about it. I am hoping the apps will give me some even better approaches.

Posted in Environment, sustainability

Typology of Green Consumers

typology of green consumersTypology of Green Consumers – No Such Thing as a Green Consumer?: “The typology that we have developed from our research represents a breakthrough in understanding greener consumers.”

I didn’t even know there were such things as translators, exceptors and selectors. What type of green consumer are you because we have been analysed!! I think I am an exceptor…but irrespective of the label…we can all be greener!

Posted in Environment, good habits, growth mindset, happiness, positive attitude, positive mindset, sustainability

Stuffocation

I first heard the word “stuffocation” at the Living Smart course I attended last year. It’s a brilliant word and says so much. We are forced too much into consumerism. There is a frenzy about it and we are stuffocating in it because we now have rubbish disposal problems which have become nightmares. Our stuffocation has affected oceans , in particular, we have created great piles of e-waste which are hideous, our plastics are blocking waterways and decorating our landscape inappropriately and much of this plastic cannot be broken down easily or at all. There is no easy fix for this. Stuffocation is then a good word to remind ourselves what we are doing to ourselves. It is also a reminder we need to keep thinking and address the issue in a logical fashion so we can change our lives and world around and get the balance back. James Wallman has done much to get us thinking about the implications of all this stuff and then what we can do about it. For some reason I am not allowed to find the interview via WordPress on YouTube which features James Wallman and Lily Coleman. Treehugger explains the stance and rationale of James Wallman well and you can see that he advocates swapping things for experiences in order to create a better life with less waste.  My own personal preference is for upcycling and repairing. Europe has gone big on repair cafes and I am hoping the trend will take off here. I love repairing things or repurposing them so they function in a different way and upcycling for many has become a very creative outlet for their skills and knowledge.

Posted in Environment, projects, sustainability

It’s all about the bees

I was lucky to be able to attend the beekeeping workshop organised by the Willunga Environment Centre and it didn’t disappoint. Apart from all the useful information I was given I also received this lovely Caryopteris plant which is bee and butterfly friendly. Adelaide is supposed to be a bee sanctuary and we are making some good inroads into that but not enough information is getting out. There are things we can easily do to help support bee populations. We need bees. They pollinate what we eat. Europe lost around 38 million bees to insecticides and GMO crops. They have learned and got some good urban bee keeping programmes going. America has had bee colony collapses from diseases, insecticides and pesticides. All this is widely publicised but then there are organisations like the beekeepers of New York who are working hard to counter the the loss of bees. Urban and suburban areas are well suited to helping sustain bee populations because we can limit our use of insecticides and pesticides (do we want those on our food anyway??) . We can help the bees and the video shows us 4 easy ways of doing that. Urban bee keepers Australia wide are doing their bit and have been creating some good connections for bee keeper training, bee awareness and increasing the number of hives. The  Adelaide bee sanctuary is part of that bee sustainability network and it’s an opportunity to increase the number of hives through sponsorship. Bee keeping in South Australia can be hard, especially when we have bush fires. We all need to think and work together. The beekeeping workshop was one way of doing that. It helped new keepers become encouraged and find contact with support. It helped people like me develop a plan of how I could help support bee populations and health. We have stingless bees in Australia , too, and not enough is broadcast about those. They produce honey in small quantities and might be more suitable for some people , some areas and some venues. The momentum is building and we are now aware a lot more education around bees needs to be done so we can join together and get healthy bee populations again. We have expert beekeepers in South Australia.We also have numerous people well trained and well versed in biodiversity . We need to work together to strengthen the bee sanctuary project so it is a reality for all of us. It’s not like bees don’t contribute to our economy and wellbeing.

Posted in Environment, health tips, healthy habits, healthy options, sustainability

Home made shampoo

 

 

 

I have wanted to try making home made shampoo but had a lot of thinking to do. I grew up when dry shampoo was a thing. I hated it. It made my hair dull and cloggemeltandpour shampood and it never ever felt clean. I am sure all those powders go into your pores and then they can’t breathe. I haven’t enjoyed putting chemicals in my hair either because your pores would absorb those so I was an early adopter of organic shampoos. I don’t like the notion of putting bicarbonate into my hair. Futurederm explains my point of view reasonably well.  Bicarb is a household cleaner, it’s very alkaline. I don’t want it in my hair. So I have been thinking. Castile soap is used to wash and condition wool and fibre and is also quite strong. I wasn’t wholly keen on the idea of a shampoo made from Castile soap because I thought it would be too harsh on my hair. So I have been researching and looking things up. The video shows the basic approach I have taken and thenerdyfarmwife has some good ideas which helped me get an action plan together.

So what have I done? I looked at the ingredients for the melt and pour soap. I thought they were better than using Castile soap. When I was making my soap the other day I saved a third of a cup and poured it into a bottle. I added a third of a cup of coconut cream. I then added some vitamin E drops , some fresh rosemary and some lemon zest. I topped the bottle up with orange flower water (distilled water would be fine) and left room for it to expand. I shook it up well on a regular basis during the day. Next morning I used it. It’s quite thick and like a hair mask . It conditioned my hair as well. There was some lather and then it vanished. It cleaned my hair well and it made it feel stronger. For me this is a once a week treatment.

I made a spray to put on my wet air with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to about a cup of orange flower water. It fits nicely in a little spray bottle and by the time I had put  that on my hair felt renewed.

Castile soap shampooToday I used Castile soap and coconut cream. About a third of a cup of each. I added a few drops of Argan oil, a teaspoon of honey , a few drops of vitamin E and topped it up with orange flower water. It’s quite thin and didn’t lather so I have just added some more Castile soap for the next try. It cleaned my hair all right but I don’t find this shampoo to be as good as the other one. Not for my hair. I think it will help , though, and I might have to fiddle around with the quantities until I get it right for my hair. Everyone’s hair is different and so you do have to be prepared to try adjusting the mixture.

I am just wondering what will happen if I mix the two shampoos together! Best of both worlds and it might be right for me. In any case, I am happy with the way this has gone. I wasn’t expecting it to be perfect but it has turned out far better than I anticipated and so I shall persist until I get it right. Experience is a great teacher.

With the Castile soap I used the one recommended for babies and generally it seems to be recommended to add Castile soap and other liquid in the ratio of one to one. Oil will cut back lather. I have used plastic containers because  glass  and I in the bathroom never go well.