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.

Slow Living Aspects – Herbs

Slow LivingToday I sat down and just cut dried rosemary for an hour. We still had it hanging over the kitchen door from my old place, from before we moved here, or maybe I had brought it home from work sometime during winter. I had Rosemary written on my small grocery list for work, for things that I can get there, locally and plastic free and organically grown.
“We still have rosemary, did you know?”, I asked Scoundrel over breakfast and he got the sprigs down for me where I cut the yarn that held them together.

We keep our herbs in old jars with simple painter’s tape labels. I like it this way, it’s simple and it agrees with both of us, our tastes in interior design being quite different at times.
Cutting store-bought and hence plastic-packaged herbs from our grocery lists is something we just took on this week, as one of the first things for Plastic Free July (and hopefully many months to come). We won’t be able to substitute our spices but things like rosemary, basil and thyme are no problem. I get them from the farmer’s market I work at and they are fairly cheap during summer. One bundle goes a long way and makes for half an old pesto jar of dried and cut herbs. They also smell divine and look fantastic when hanging to dry in the kitchen.

106_2675This was so fascinating, by the way! On top is our own, air-dried rosemary and on the bottom is the freeze-dried stuff from the supermarket. It surely holds the colours better but I’m so happy with the rustic appeal of the home-spun version. It feels a bit like living in a cottage, but in the big city. A great combination for me, and sitting down, watching something calming or listening to calming music and cutting and storing my herbs is almost like meditation to me. I can’t wait for our sage plant to grow strong and big so we can harvest it, too.

Do you grow herbs or decorate your kitchen with bundled-up sprigs?


Up for a Challenge: Plastic Free July ’17

It’s almost July and for me (just like October and November) this is a challenge month for me.

Last year I tried to go plastic free in July, felt like I failed miserably came August and felt rather disheartened about attempting zero waste but still being myself too much to give up completely.

Because you know what?

Trying and not being as successful as you wanted to be is still better than not trying at all.

So where is this going this year?

I’m going to try.

I want to have a decent image of what amount of single use plastic I had to throw away over the month. I want to check my progress more thoroughly. I’m not quite sure yet of I’m going to have a waste jar or bag – my problem with this would be packaging of things like fish or dairy that leave residue that can (and probably will) go bad after a while. I could of course clean the packagings before putting them in the jar/bag but that’d strike me as somewhat obsessive for what I want from this challenge. My current idea is to document my single use plastic with pictures instead, maybe once a week? If you happen to have a great solution please let me know in the comments!

What I also want to do is share more of my ideas, tutorials and craft ideas for less waste (because let’s face it, I’ll never arrive at “zero”, and that’s okay). I’m experimenting with a plastic-free (or at least less-plastic) bathroom right now! I hope I’ll manage to write about streamlining your things, too, without sacrificing the things you love or will probably need. No promises, though, I know my scatterbrain.

I hope you’ll accompany me on this journey, either as fellow participants or as casual visitors in the temple of doom sustainability or just as an audience as I try to do my best and not succumb to the temptation of veggie jelly dinos every other day.

So, are you coming?

Plastic Free July – Week 1.5

We’re almost two weeks in. So far it’s going abysmal.

Why? Because we had more than one week of contaminated tap water. I usually don’t buy bottled water but had to recently, and let’s face it, plastic bottle six packs are easier to carry than the whole box-with-glass-bottles thing. Well, at least the bottles were returnable. By now the alarm is over and we’re able to drink from the tap again.

It’s also surprisingly hard to find the time for conscious grocery shopping at the moment, not only with the internship (where I work nine to five) but also with all that happened last week.

Things that are really hard to come by without plastic wrapping this week:

  • nori
  • pasta (there is one brand with paper packaging, and they’re homophobic)
  • pills
  • toilet paper
  • lactose-free yoghurt

I plan on starting over this week though, with decent bentō and non-bottled water. Maybe I’ll even find the time to make pasta from scratch, but I wouldn’t bet on it…

I hope your Plastic Free July (if you partake) is going better than mine so far!

P.S.: Thank you all for your kind words. I really appreciate them.