#plasticfreejuly Wrap Up

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As I review the Challenge Checklist I am pleasantly surprised by what we were already doing and what we’ve achieved in just one month. It has been easy to create new habits with our shopping, with storing food in the fridge.

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I’ve bought this book by a local Hobart family who have been living a specific lifestyle for a few years. I’ve only read the early chapters but it is inspiring and practical. It focuses on the key R’s of waste free living:
Refuse
Reduce
Reuse
Recycle
Rot
Reframe

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The book talks about our consumer society, food miles and the benefit of buying local, eating seasonal produce, connecting again with where our food comes from, the effort and energy needed to grow it.

It talks about composting, growing your own, getting to know your local farm shops and markets, being part of a local community, buying in bulk, preserving food that is in season to last through winter, foraging, natural remedies, repurposing, upcycling. It talks about thinking how our parents and grandparents lived before plastic. Is there anything we can learn from them?

It has recipes, suggestions, solutions. I don’t know that I’ll be making my own mascara or toothpaste but never say never.

So I’ll wrap up Plastic Free July in beeswax. Thanks for all the support, comments, inspiration and for joining the discussion. Let’s all try to make a difference, no matter how small. Our changes have a ripple effect. Let’s create a new normal. Hopefully our politicians and multi-national companies will soon get on board.

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Changing Seasons – July

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It’s mid-winter here in Hobart. We’ve had more rain than usual and more snow on our mountain. However, we have been able to get out most weekends, a bush walk, a beach walk, to “Festival of Voices” events and a visit to the picturesque town of Richmond where I played with black and white photos of the historic bridge.

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A partial lunar eclipse coincided with the 50th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11. I was fascinated by the various documentaries on the moon landing and the role that Australian telescopes at Honeysuckle Creek and at Parkes, played in relaying the tv pictures from the first moon walk.

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I have finally completed a long overdue crochet project. Three and a half years ago I was given a kit with 75 different yarns, 3 patterns to follow plus a colour chart. I have worked it on and off but was determined to complete the scarf and wear it this winter. I added my own variation, stripes to compliment the squares, easier and quicker to crochet. I’m happy with the result and it’s been warm and cosy on these cold days.

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As part of my Plastic free July Challenge, I attended a workshop to learn how to make my own beeswax wraps. It was much easier than I anticipated and we learnt two techniques. We used a recipe of Tasmanian beeswax, pine resin and jojoba oil. With our fabric on a sheet of baking paper we painted the hot mixture onto our fabric squares, then with a second sheet of baking paper on top, we ironed the fabric to spread the wax evenly. Peeled apart, the fabric soon set when held up in the air. The other method required a heated tray, or baking tray in the oven. The workshop was friendly, informative and relaxed and we each came away with four new wraps.


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The days are drawing out and rather than getting home from work in the dark, I’m now capturing sunsets on my walk from the bus stop.

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I’m linking this post to Su’s Changing Seasons Challenge.

#PlasticFreeJuly – Dilemmas

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I’m looking at the plastic that is still ending up in our recycling bin and I have a dilemma.

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We purposefully buy locally produced milk and orange juice and both come in plastic bottles. We could buy them in tetra pak cartons, but then the food miles is a huge compromise and we are not supporting our local Tasmanian economy. I was surprised to see one carton of juice on the shelf with this labelling.
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We need to find a butcher in our new suburb. We have taken the convenient option and been buying prepacked meat from the supermarket. That needs to change.

Another dilemma is soft fruit and cherry tomatoes, that are packed in plastic boxes. Raspberries and blueberries are a favourite with my breakfast cereal or porridge. Small tomatoes are sweet and an easy option with my packed lunch. So far I haven’t given up these favoured healthy foods. I have frozen blueberries in the freezer but they are a “Product of Chile”. So more food miles and still in plastic packaging. I plan to grow tomatoes so that will be a seasonal solution. Perhaps I could plant some raspberry canes too.

This month I have only really tackled our food shopping. Cleaning products and toiletries are a whole different quandary.

#plasticfreejuly is just the beginning ……

Although our council collects recycling rubbish each fortnight, there are concerns where our plastics go when they are out of our vicinity, out of sight. Australia has a big problem. Two years ago, China stopped taking our recycled products. Now, Indonesia is returning several shipping containers of “contaminated waste”.

There are companies here making products from recycled plastic. The reusable produce bags I purchased, street furniture, public benches, bollards. Some councils are resurfacing roads with a plastic by-product. I have pencils and a rain jacket made from recycled plastics. But so much more needs to be done on a national level as well as local and individual scale.

Tasmanian beaches are generally rubbish free, but I have picked up some bottles and the plastic rings from bottle tops. I now purposely cut the plastic rings before I put any in our recycling bin, so they can’t strangle a bird or animal if they end up somewhere unexpected.
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Our Garden – July

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It’s been a quiet month in the garden. I’m trusting that seeds we’ve planted are germinating and growing underground, waiting to shoot when warmer weather arrives.

A highlight has been these deep pink camellia blooms. The buds were covered in aphids and ants so I was delighted that one spray treatment resulted in such beautiful flowers.
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We’ve trimmed our variegated hedge.
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We used sprigs pruned from the rosemary bush to make lamb kebabs. They cooked nicely on the barbeque. Yes we are the crazy neighbours who barbeque in the dark on cold winter evenings.

I’ve been buying a gardening magazine and watching back shows of Gardening Australia on tv. I have a lot to learn about gardening in this vast southern land.
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As we come to the end of the month there are signs that spring is around the corner with dwarf narcissus appearing. And today, another camellia has bloomed. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the colour in our winter garden.
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#PlasticFreeJuly – Positive Changes

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Three weeks into this challenge and I’ve made some positive changes

I’ve stopped using plastic produce bags that are provided in our supermarkets. I’ve bought reusable produce bags, some cotton ones, others that are made from recycled plastic bottles. They work well for shopping and keeping cauliflower, lettuce, etc in the fridge.

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Where possible I’ve bought produce from farmers markets or at local shops.

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Some items on the checklist have been easy to tick. For over a year, I’ve been using a keep cup for any take away coffee. We have metal drink bottles that we take out instead of buying water. At home we have a Soda Stream for sparling water or flavoured drinks. I don’t use straws and haven’t bought balloons for many years, although balloons were always a part of birthdays when our daughters were young.

I guess I’ve been making conscious decisions for a while. When we moved and had an outdoor washing line again, I bought metal pegs, not plastic ones.

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We have also changed to a sustainable, ethical, plastic free toilet paper, made from bamboo.

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We are far from being “plastic free” but we are making changes and reducing the amount of plastic that we buy and place in our recycle bin.

Work anniversary

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I have been in my current job for twelve months. It’s nice to celebrate my first anniversary with this Aged Care service provider.

I enjoy my admin and finance work, processing supplier invoices, creating client contribution bills, taking phone payments and reconciling our bank account. I admire colleagues who deal directly clients, organising the services they require. I admire our Social Workers, Exercise Physiologists and others who visit clients in the home. I’m happy in the background working the numbers. And I can knit at work!

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This company has a great ethic of health and wellbeing for clients and staff. We have a monthly staff program that encourages us to step away from our desks, computers and phones for a few minutes during the work day. We have team exercise challenges, we’ve had “Where’s Wally?” hunts around the office. Most recently we were all encouraged to knit squares for a charity blanket. We all took turns knitting a few rows of the squares, during our work day. It inspired several new knitters and created a warm, colourful blanket.

We write on the bathroom mirrors, compliments…. a gratitude journal. All these ideas create a friendly and joyful workplace.

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Sunday Stroll – Tranmere Coastal Path

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This morning I stepped out for a stroll along our local coastal path.

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It was a chilly 8°C with a good covering of snow on Mount Wellington, across the river. But with more heavy rain forecast it was good to get some fresh air.

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Yesterday was rain all day so I did some chores then spent the afternoon with Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire. The joy of afternoon movies on a winters day 🙂

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#PlasticFreeJuly – Beeswax Wraps

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Beeswax wraps are an easy alternative to cling film or single use plastic food bags. They are reusable, washable and last up to twelve months. They are becoming increasingly popular here.
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We started using them to wrap cheese in the fridge and they have been great. We now use them for wrapping leftovers, cooked meat. Also for sandwiches and snacks. I must try them in the freezer.
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Beeswax wraps are made by infusing squares or rectangles of cotton with a mixture of food-grade beeswax, pine rosin and oil, usually jojoba or coconut. The waxy coating makes the cloth waterproof, but breathable and “sticky” like plastic wrap. I have bought ours but apparently they are easy to make yourself. That is a challenge for another day.

Have you seen them or used them?
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A Big Sing

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It’s the fifteenth year of The Festival of Voices in Southern Tasmania. A two week celebration of choirs, solos, a cappella, duets, various music styles, many free events, some ticketed concerts, workshops.

The highlight is the free open air “Big Sing Bonfire” held in Salamanca Place. Last night was a perfect still, mild evening, attracting a large crowd covering all generations.

The crowd was in good voice, joining a band and performers on stage, singing along to Queen, Abba, Carole King, Aretha Franklin and others. The finale was “Love is in the Air” by John Paul Young which everyone sung in three part harmony. Such a joyful evening.

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Before the bonfires and once they were alight.

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A foggy morning

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Hobart and its suburbs were shrouded in fog when we woke this morning. The fog ebbed and flowed down the River Derwent all morning, giving glimpses of the opposite shore.

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This particular river fog is called “Bridgewater Jerry” and is rather stunning, fast moving, appearing like a scarf or ribbon flowing down the river.IMG_3632IMG_3628IMG_3645