FinThSat: Lightweight Grocery Bags

Finished Things Saturday is the (usually) bi-weekly counterpart to my UFO Fridays. While there I show you what I’m working on FinThSat is about small finished projects that I didn’t think worthy of a separate post for some time but now just put in this feature. They deserve it! For more FinThSats, look here.

Grocery Bags | HedgefairyIt was my Mum’s birthday last week and because she doesn’t have the time to care about these things I made her a few lightweight grocery bags for loose produce at the super- oder farmer’s market.

Grocery Bags | HedgefairyThe six sachets are made of a second-hand viscose scarf and the ribbons are probably viscose, too, according to my fire test… so they are biodegradable or burnable once they have outlived their usefulness. The only thing my Mum has to do is cut off the seams.

Grocery Bags | HedgefairyThe fabric was horrible to work with, I have to admit. Far too flimsy and slippery. But I think those will not be the last of these bags I’ll make. I already have another scarf thrifted for my own.

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Plastic Free July in Review

106_3061July is long gone by now, and I still owe the world a final view on my own Plastic Free July.

When I weighed the final bag – everything together – some time after ConQuest it turned out at about 500g of single-use plastic. It’s probably not that much but half a kilo sounds like a whole lot to me.

While I’ve read about other’s PFJ fails I don’t consider my July-with-500g-of-single-use-plastic a “fail” (and theirs, neither). I learned so much about my plastic-producing habits! I got to a point where I was able to analyse them so much better thanks to keeping all the litter in a bag that I now know where to best start reducing. I’m inclined to continue the experiment – tracking my plastic waste – sometime sooner than next July, just to see how far I can go without frustrating myself too much.

Things I changed:

  • I started paying more attention to my yoghurt-buying habits. I used to buy it in glass jars whenever I happened to come by the right supermarket but didn’t pay any mind to planning. That definitely changed!
  • I went back to baking more to avoid the plastic packaging of my favourite sweets.
  • We try to plan ahead just enough to get our feta cheese plastic-free from the counter instead of packaged from the dairy isle.

It doesn’t sound much but it makes a difference. And that’s what it is all about, right? A difference. Not necessarily plastic-free perfection, just subtracting a few grams every week. Yes, of course it’s just a tiny drop compared to the vast ocean of awareness and care that our planet needs, but then again: What is an ocean made of?
Drops, exactly.

So I’ll just continue. And maybe I’ll succeed but at the very least I’m not going to make things worse. Maybe I will inspire others to just leave the plastic grocery bags be. Maybe I won’t. But in the end I will feel better without as much plastic, and that’s what it is all about. I hope you’ll accompany me on these continued adventures on my quest to reduce my plastic waste, it’s more fun with friends, anyway.

Have a wonderful week!

Plastic Free July, Week 3

Plastic Free July 2017, Week 3 | HedgefairyThis is the first time I post about this at the start of the actual next week so the tally is a bit lower than during the last two weeks. Hopefully.
Thank you so much for the feta-related input, by the way! We haven’t had anything that required feta since then yet but we’ll definitely look into buying it either from the fresh things counter or in oil.

Plastic Free July 2017, Week 3 | HedgefairyI noticed that next to food packaging craft supply collateral is the biggest offender in my quest for less plastic, but sadly a quite unavoidable one.

The hard facts for Week 3:

Weight: 100g
Not avoidable: Med blister packs, as always, some price stickers
Definitely avoidable: Again, the packaging of my favourite sweets. Gotta stop with that. Gotta bake more instead. One yoghurt container because I didn’t get to the right supermarket in time but after that I just stocked up on glass jar yoghurt.
Probably avoidable: Some of the craft supply packaging? There are still food items which I could probably find a workaround for, too.

Plastic Free July 2017, Week 3 | HedgefairySo far so okay. I think my average is about 120g/week which doesn’t sound all that much, but it that a reason to stop reducing? No, I don’t think so. It’s also fun, actually, it’s like trying to beat your high score in a mini-game.

Plastic Free July, Week 2

Plastic Free July 2017, Week 2 | Hedgefairy

New here? Read my initial post about this year’s Plastic Free July here and my review of week 1 here.

Thanks to not feeling well but rather dizzy instead I didn’t go LARPing last week after all. The good thing about this was that I had more control over my plastic use habits and that I could finally get my new copper coil (which would have been even more of a pain if I hadn’t taken the week off anyway).
I’ve had dinner at Rus’ place one night and he took care of the cooking so I can’t account for that because I had been confined (by means of glares and a wrinkled nose) first to the sofa with a hot water bottle and then to the bathtub because of that summer cold that I had going on the days before and the menstrual cramps. Again, I have wonderful people around me. ♥
Same goes for the three days I spent at my Mum’s place although we both try to buy as little single-use plastic as possible.

Plastic Free July 2017, Week 2 | HedgefairyThe hard facts for Week 2:

Weight: 100g (realistically probably around 150g again counting the things from when I was at Rusty’s and my Mum’s)
Not avoidable: plastic packaging for IUD (not in the bag because I wasn’t thinking of asking my gynecologist for it because I was busy being in pain), medication blister packs, feta packaging (there’s no way I’m giving up feta)
Definitely avoidable: jelly dino packaging, biscuits packaging (I bought them because I hoped the insides of the paper packaging were paper, too. Alas, no such luck.)
Probably avoidable: Okay, the feta packaging. There must be some way to at least get larger packages for less plastic per meal-with-feta-cheese. And the single use gloves for hair dyeing, but only if I found henna in my colours without them included around town. I’d rather have the gloves than having the stuff shipped to me (because that wouldn’t be exactly a more sustainable way…). If you want pictures of my freshly dyed hair don’t bother, there wasn’t much of a change. Yet.

There’s also a crunchy peanut butter jar in there – creamy PB we can get in glass but the crunchy stuff is hard to get if it’s supposed to taste as good as the one from this plastic jar. I’m also not sure if I could find sour cream in glass as well. I’ll have to look for that next time I’m near a bigger supermarket.
Also in there: second-hand plastic packaging. Sometimes I buy craft supplies from the thrift store and just like their first-hand brethren they are still packaged in plastic. It’s a shame but it’s still better than buying them newly-made I guess…

I’d really like to up my plastic-free game during the last two weeks of the month again but I fear that it’ll need some serious planning and I’m… really not good at that. But we’ll see, and I’m not giving up hope just yet.

Zero Waste Guilt Trip

I’m great at guilt-tripping myself. If guilt-tripping yourself was a competitive sport I could well be a professional player on national level. Which isn’t a good thing, by the way. It sucks.

Sadly the whole litter problem isn’t an exception to this massively unfortunate talent of mine. I am always not good enough. There is always something where I’m willing to sacrifice an option with less single-use plastic for my own comfort and afterwards I’ll beat myself up for it, first for not choosing the plastic free option, then for allowing myself this luxury, then for being angry at myself for allowing myself this luxury. It actually follows me through the day then because I’m really really bad at letting things go that I’ve done wrong (or think that I have done wrong).

Urbex: Emptied | HedgefairyStrangely in a world of “treat yo’self” and general indulgence it’s surprisingly easy to feel in the wrong for material choices. For some it’s veganism, for other it’s trends, for me it’s sustainability, plastic avoidance and general eco-friendliness that I am trying to achieve but feel like I horribly fail with.

I just can’t keep a capsule wardrobe. I’ve tried but I am too vain to be content with so little choice.

I keep buying my favourite vegetarian jelly dinos even though they are packaged in plastic and are sugary and therefore also unhealthy.

I was too lazy/tired/hurty to go to the supermarket further away and bought plastic-packaged yoghurt out of convenience.

I’m still not as good as [insert sustainability/zero waste blogger here].

I know that most of this is utter bullshit. So what if I can’t keep a capsule wardrobe (more on that soon, the post is already in the making), most of my clothes are thrifted anyway. So I allow myself to slip up for my favourite treat once in a while. That’s okay. So I didn’t go the extra ten minutes to the other supermarket. Who cares.
The thing is, even typing this feels horrible. I have this stupid, unhealthy urge to save the world all by myself, to eradicate single-use plastic (and banality, while we’re at it) as a one-woman superhero team.
The thing is, that’s absolutely unrealistic.

We live in an age where we can’t really go without plastic if we still want to stay connected to the world around us. My phone, my tablet, my laptop, my means of communication are all made of plastic. My rain coat is made of some kind of non-natural fiber. I take a plastic bottle with me to work because glass would be so much heavier, and I also use it when I go swimming because I’m afraid of a glass bottle slipping from my hands, covering the floor in shards (and I’m not even sure if glass bottles are allowed inside our local indoor pool). I can’t get feta cheese without plastic and it’s literally not possible to get non-plastic packaged toilet paper here in Germany (there used to be a brand in the 90s that packaged in paper, I remember that from my childhood). And I kind of refuse to switch to reusable toilet cloths because even my eco-friendliness has its bounds.

Rust | HedgefairyThe thing is that I try. And I have to learn that trying and being happy about my personal progress is better than trying and beating me up about not being perfect.
The thing is that there are so many tiny triumphs to be celebrated that if I actually celebrated them I wouldn’t even have time to beat myself up.
The thing is that I should just do that.

So here are my tiny triumphs from the last few weeks:

Seeing Rusty switch from bottled water to a refillable glass bottle for work.
Learning that yes, I still have single use plastic but it’s mere 150g in one week!
Finding a milk packaging made of 40% chalk which makes for less dead dinosaur-based packaging than your usual milk crate.
Re-using the waxed paper from our farmer’s market cheese.
Getting through my menstrual cycles without any “female hygiene” (just call it menstruation, ffs!) product waste.
Avoiding the offered plastic-and-paper bags at the supermarket’s baked goods isle once more by just stuffing the bread into my normal, washable canvas bag.
Collecting litter in the park during a walk after a grumpy cashier at the supermarket purposely overheard my “I don’t need a bag, thank you” for my one bagel-without-anything-on-it. With said bag.

Sure, nothing among those things count as world-shattering. But they still count, and they still make me happy. I’ll have to concentrate on that instead of making me relive my slip-ups again and again and again. I’m currently at my Mum’s and I’m going to make produce bags for her trips to the supermarket because she doesn’t have the time to but I do. And that’s another triumph.

I’m fed up with beating myself up for not being the perfect zero-waste blogger or a shining example of sustainability. I’m doing my best and that’s a pretty good thing to do. And I hope you don’t feel bad, either.

What tiny triumphs have you had lately, sustainability-wise or other? I want to read about them in the comments!

Let’s count our blessings, not our curses!

Pictures are a teaser from my latest urbexing trip. More to come!

Plastic Free July: Week 1

Now that we’re (a bit more than) one week into July it’s time to take a step back and look at my single-use plastic waste so far.

Plastic Free July 2017 | HedgefairyKeeping a separate bag for my single-use plastics proves to be really useful for the analysis of my plastic use patterns. There are a few things that I simply can’t avoid and some that are so easily avoidable that it’s almost funny that I didn’t up until now.

Most plastic waste in this bag is stuff I shared with others, though, in proportion (which means that we simply cut the packaging in half for my bag). This is something I struggle with so far – you can’t make the people around you follow your goals. I can’t make my boyfriend – who does most of the cooking around here – quit using things packaged in plastic. He has to want this on his own, everything else would be toxic and stressful. I’m not a missionary, and there is nothing more annoying than someone who desperately wants you to change your ways through shaming you into submission, be it by words or passive-agressive silence.

106_2692Plastic Free July 2017 | Hedgefairy

The hard facts for Week 1:

Weight: 150g
Not avoidable: contact lens fluid bottle, medication blister packs
Definitely avoidable: yoghurt container, sweets packaging, bath additive pack
Probably avoidable: misc. food packaging

I’m out camping (read: LARPing) from Wednesday to Sunday this week and I’m sharing food with four others so I really don’t know yet how well this will go plastic-wise. We’ll see.