More home baking– Nicola Dalton and family
We are making changes to old habits, and I am definitely more aware of the waste going into the green bin. Through some small changes and a little planning, I reckon that the green bin waste is now half what it used to be six weeks ago.We are cooking a lot more fresh food,baking bread and buns instead of the packaged alternatives, it’s great because it’s healthier for the kids as there are no extra preservatives: you can’t trust a cake that has a shelf life of three months, can you?With the heels of our lovely home-made bread I am making bread crumbs in the food processor for the Sunday roast.The kids are loving all the home baking so much that I have to make two of everything,otherwise it doesn’t get as far as the lunch boxes the next day. They love to help me mix the cake mixture and putting the mix into the tins, but when it comes to the cleaning up,they always seem to disappear, but I don’t want to put everyone off because there’s generally only a bowl and spoon and a few ingredients to put away.We have had lots of really interesting school lunches, rice pudding with diced mango, fruit smoothies… In a smoothie taste is all that counts, and you can whiz up any fruit you like + ice + milk. Most are sweet enough but if not, add a teaspoon of honey or a handful of grapes.I do the same thing at the end of the week with the veg, and I call it left over veg soup. It’s delicious and kids take it to school in flasks, with some home-made brown bread,perfect for wet, wintery days. The key is to blend it up so they can’t see the veg.Our blue bin is only going out half as much as it used to. And when I’m buying I’m less inclined to purchase if I can get something without packaging or with packaging that is 100% recyclable.I got some funny looks when I removed the card covering at the supermarket a couple of weeks ago, and asked the supermarket to send it to their recycling bin!But things like that will force the shops to look at ensuring there is choice available to help reduce packaging. If there are any supermarkets happy to get involved and take back their unnecessary packaging I’ll shop there.
Packaging– Orla Dynes
One of the beauties of this project is that for every problem you encounter, someone out there will have a solution – if you just ask. For example, we have five cats and when I started the project I decided I had better wash out the cat food tins so that they could be recycled.As anyone who does this job knows, it is pure gross – I would prefer to change nappies any day.But when I complained to a friend of mine who once had a 21-year-old cat, she said:“Give them the food in boxes! You can recycle the cardboard and it’s far better for them anyway.”Now I can assure you that five out of five cats do not prefer this method but they and the planet are better off.Another problem I encountered was the whole issue of organic food. I am prepared to pay a little bit more for organic produce but am really against the fact that it comes in packaging which leaches gases into the food and has to be disposed of afterwards.Some plastics can be recycled but a lot are destined for landfill.One night at a Westmeath EnvironmentalGroup meeting, we were all allowed one moan per person. Mine was about packaging.Someone suggested the Fairgreen market on Thursday mornings. All of the produce is organic and you can bring your own bags.Now I can assure you that four out of four people in my family prefer this method as the food at Fairgreen is nutritious, delicious and great value!Some 15 per cent of the price of every product we buy goes on the packaging. Then we have to consider all of the resources used in both the manufacture of packaging and its eventual disposal.Our national waste would fill nearly 500,000 trucks every year. Put end to end,those trucks would form a convoy that could stretch from Malin Head to Mizen Head 17times.As the participants in this project will testify,there are alternatives to this mess. All you have to do is ask a little, and read a little.Hopefully, one day the saying ‘good things come in small parcels’ will be changed to ‘good things come with no parcels’!
Anyone have more suggestions?
This last month has been quiet, just continuing what I’ve already stared, like shopping for ingredients with meals already planned in my head. Apart from no waste, I’m feeling more organised and that’s a welcome step for me. I’m still using the coconut oil for hands, face and hair. It’s lasting for ages.I have discovered my small dog likes my food even though it’s all vegetarian, so I cook a little extra for her. Today it was just cabbage and spuds added to her nuts. She loved it.This means the bag of nuts lasts longer and just as important – fewer non-recyclable bags in the waste bin.I’m using bread soda with a few lavender drops to get rid of smells in the car – just think of wet dog smell. It’s also a lovely scent to have anywhere in the house and there’s absolutely no need for artificial air fresheners.My sink was blocked the other day. This timeI put vinegar and bread soda (again) with hot water down the sink and then used a plunger.Problem solved. Why didn’t I think of these things before?So far, all the changes have been so incredibly simple. I think it’s really just a matter of trying to live more simply and acting on it day by day.What did our parents and grandparents use before we had all the plethora of household cleaning products and cosmetics.I’d love if some readers would help us out and give us some more ideas. I’m sure the Westmeath Examiner would love to publish them and then we’d all benefit. Finally Christmas, a lovely time for family and friends and for giving. But many of us get caught up in the shopping frenzy and there’s so much stuff out there.If you want to keep it simple, why not doKris Kindle for family, where every family member just buys for one person. It’s only one gift you have to buy and you can put thought into that gift and make it special. It means less stress, less stuff and less packaging and there’s still a gift for everybody under theChristmas tree.