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Week 43- fat lips, socks and other surprises

Well summer is upon us and our rubbish free year is soon coming to an end – two months to go.  We are starting to think about what on earth a rubbish free Christmas will look like – what to buy, how to wrap , how to post …  more on that when we actually do it.  I can report on our birthdays though, both of which we had over the last few weeks.   I took Matthew out for dinner and a movie, and this weekend he is taking me away on a birthday surprise weekend.  I love surprises, so whatever we do I’ll probably be stoked.  We’ve found giving someone an experience is a great way to avoid gifting someone plastic -whether its the item or the packaging, it also often ends up supporting local business, so it’s all good.  The other trick is giving consumables,  added bonus people have a legitimate way of making it disappear if they don’t like it.  No questions asked.  Aside from my surprise weekend (which I am picking will be camping somewhere) I received two other presents.  One was cash.  No rubbish there.  The other was a pair of socks knitted by mum.  Mum knits great woolen socks that are hard wearing and really warm – not to mention package free. Good on you mum!  We live at the other end of the island to mum and dad so presents are always posted, and since our challenge started they have always sent packages of brown paper tied up with string (any S.O.M fans humming?).  I love receiving these wholesome little time trips, it reminds me of the 70’s.

Speaking of post, I think the last item of rubbish in our bag was from NZ post.  An Australian home design magazine had run an article on us and sent us a copy in a regular A4 paper envelope, unfortunately it wasn’t strong enough for the journey and it burst, so NZ post came to the rescue with a nice strong durable plastic bag for it and a big apology sticker explaining what had happened.  No one to blame really, everyone did their best, :-)

This week we also had a paint spill in the garage and have ended up with a blob of solid paint.  What do you do with paint?  Is is plastic?  Will it biodegrade?  Are modern day acrylic paints toxic? – i.e. would you be happy for it to be breaking down in your compost heap?

The only other ‘rubbish news’ I can think of to happen this week was that I raided the ‘Lost Ark’ again (the treasure trove of items that will be rubbish when used, but are technically OK to use so long as we don’t finish them).  While biking I collided with a kid on a skateboard, I fell connecting my upper lip with the board as it flew up from the pavement.  Came home and considered not doing anything about it but Matthew raided the box for the disinfectant.  Probably just as well.

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7 Comments

  1. Jen from CleanBin, November 29, 2008:

    I think antiseptic is a perfectly good reason to raid the ‘Lost Ark’.
    As for the paint, I put all kinds of things in my compost from dust to tissues, but I don’t think I’d go that far. Anything that hardens into a solid mass probably isn’t meant to be mixing with your veggies.
    Congrats on getting so far in your project. I look forward to hearing about the next couple weeks and the waste-free Christmas!

  2. KC & G, December 2, 2008:

    Well done guys, we are so impressed with your commitment and it certainly keeps us keen to look out for your blogs. Love reading your blogs – ah “warm woollen stockings” good on your mum Waveney.

  3. Jen from Tasmania, December 3, 2008:

    For Christmas we either give something for Oxfam, or donate to another overseas cause as we don’t need more stuff. Giving experiences is excellent, I think that when we remember the good things of our life it is rarely things, it is mostly experiences. You are inspiring me, thanks. You can also wrap things in newspaper or recycle old wrapping paper or use any kind of paper that comes to your home unasked. We have been trying to limit our landfill by using cardboard milk cartons as the receptacle for any wrapping such as cheese, bits of foil etc that come with your food and are not recyclable and squashing them into the smallest size possible in the cardboard carton, at least it reduces the space they take up. But not having them at all would be much better.

  4. Trish, December 4, 2008:

    Hi

    Last year on the same page as your column was an article about recycling plastic, there is a company that actualy buys reccyled plastic from overseas to make their products. The article said that they were happy to take clean household plastic too. While I agree it is better avoid plastic waste it is good to be able to give them plastic that would otherwise go to the tip. I keep a seperate bag and put bread bags, cling film(even ones with stickers like meat covers when rinsed). They can’t have metal with the plastic so chicken bags can be recycled after cuttin out the metal band. When I am going in the direction of the business I drop them off. I have a few other people collecting their plastic too and I drop that off with mine. The company is Enviroreel, maybe there is somewhere in your area you could put your plastic bag or post it with mail to someone in Auckland to drop off to Enviroreel.

    Hope this is helpful,

    Trish

  5. Jo, December 4, 2008:

    Yes acrylic paint is plastic, unfortunately. (Acrylic – the same polymer as perspex.) I wouldn’t be keen to put it in my compost. Some pigments can be toxic, so, while your paint *might* be made from pigments that are fine, I would be cautious if you don’t know what they are. Thanks for your blog, you have inspired me to make some changes (e.g. switching from margarine to butter – no more proliferation of nonrecyclable plastic tubs! Why didn’t I think of this before?!)

  6. Anonymous, December 5, 2008:

    Is your paint blob an interesting shape. You could perhaps hang it on your wall as a piece of art? Maybe adhere it to a canvas as a background?
    Love reading your blog.

  7. Cath from Tauranga, December 18, 2008:

    I hate all that paper waste at Christmas! I’m creating a collection of wrapping cloths for presents now, at the moment just for use within the extended family, so that each year we give gifts wrapped in calico, tied with ribbon, and eventually everything we receive from family should return to us like that too. I’ve been experimenting with potato prints to jazz the cloths up a bit, and I whizz round the edges with the sewing machine to stop them fraying. Easy, cheap, unique and – most important – reusable.