Friday, 26 July 2013

Plastic Free July

July's not quite over, but it's no longer relevant, it's become Plastic Free Forever.
Of course, having said that I will add it's an impossible task.  We can, at best,choose to use only minute amounts of the ubiquitous stuff.

I've been Facebooking about it over the month, and discussing, amongst other things, our surprise in discovering the strange places plastic  hides from us thwarting our attempts at eliminating it.

Glossy cardboard boxes are often coated in a thin veneer of plastic. You can't tell which ones do or don't until you rip the box at an angle to reveal the layer.

We were foiled by 'foil' that was actually silver plastic.

Glass bottles often have plastic lids, so you go for the tin lids, and then discover they have a plastic 'under'lid and most tin cans (which we normally avoid) have a plastic lining.

You can buy food in bulk bins, but generally it's been dearer than the supermarkets, sometimes by twice as much. We resolved this to some extent by taking in organically grown home produce and bartering it for food staples. 3.65 kilos of romanesco broccoli for polenta, cornflour, almonds, coconut and brown sugar. It cost us $1.05.

The fine ground polenta was to make corn chips as we have a chilli bean meal each week with salad and corn chips. But no one makes corn chips in a paper bag.  I mucked up the first time by trying to grind the corn myself and created an exciting moment or two for our would be dentist, but in the end the chooks and the sheep ate them and we bought fine ground polenta and tried again. They were, incidentally, delicious but also  time consuming.

While we make our own fetta cheese, we don't make 'yellow' cheese, as Caleb called it as a child. Buying cheese at the deli meant asking if they could not put it in plastic, but just wrap it in paper. This was so counter-culture it caused a few raising of brows or complete incomprehension with a side-order of scorn. I'd just acknowledge, yes, we're very odd, sorry about that.

It turns out you can't buy roll your own tobacco in anything but plastic. Trev's one smoke a day habit is not going to be broken any time soon, so we broke our vow.

But I'm not much better, without thinking I bought a pedometer online. When it arrived I opened it up and had the, 'O Ooh' moment. Then I did something even odder. I bought a new dress. A rare occasion. As I knocked back the plastic bag it was about to go in I realised the dress was made from synthetic material. Plastic. Doh!

We've had to change our diet. But we all agree it has not meant our diet has worsened. If anything it's improved.  Even if it does take us longer to shop for it, and sometimes to cook it.

But the biggest drawback has been using plastic packaging as the prime decision making criteria over a list of other essentials we normally pursue. The organic fair trade ground coffee came in plastic,so we bought the chemical instant coffee because it came in glass (but we discovered it had a plastic seal when we got home). We used to buy free-range chicken, but it only comes in plastic, and while we can buy the non-free range and have it wrapped in paper we're not going there. We couldn't buy organic pasta because it came in plastic, but we could buy foreign pasta in a box. Finally found it in a bulk bin and bought it in a paper bag.

homemade peppermints to replace
the box of tic tacs in my handbag
We're thankful we produce all our veggies, our milk, make our own yoghurt, some of our cheese, we have eggs, ducks and we still have loads of raspberries in the freezer, bottled tomatoes, apples and peaches, dried beans, olives and honey, and that we make our own toothpaste and soap and we use that to wash dishes and generally most things around the house. We're also thankful that you can buy unbleached recycled loo paper in a paper bag, but most of all ... chocolate still comes in real foil and paper! Yes!

Conclusions: we need more plastic free options, and living with only a minimal amount of 'new' plastic, is not so difficult. When July ends our challenge will continue.

Thanks to the Plastic Free July Challenge for pulling us back into line.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

A carbon Sink?

I'm enjoying an opportunity to get creative with a couple of RMIT Uni electives on Adobe Photoshop (current) and Adobe Flash (completed) - the latter has resulted in a number of mini flash movies, 
Dead Planet Cake being one as per a previous post. 

 These were for the latest Photoshop assignment. I now have four images to create with a concept of fractured. And yes, I have found a way to use the word for environmental purposes.
 I'm going to try create human landscapes that are being industrialised and polluted, 
though that's a bit of a tautology I guess. 
Very much enjoying doing something creative for a change.