Zero Waste Week 2016

Oh dear. Zero Waste Week could not have come at a worse time for me this year. Not only did it clash with first week back to school, including D’s first trek into full time but I failed catastrophically before it even started. 

This year’s theme is food waste and I was planning to use the week to show hubby how much easier it is when we meal plan. We used to meal plan often but it’s fallen by the wayside over the past couple of years so this was going to catapult us back into a routine. 

Unfortunately it didn’t quite work out that way. Our fridge freezer is 13 years old. It’s the original one we bought when we first moved in together and has survived 3 house moves and 2 years in storage. However it has started showing its age so we decided after we came back from holiday we would buy a new one. Maybe the fridge freezer heard us talking about getting a new one and we hurt its feelings (lol) but it didn’t make it that far. We came home from holidays and were greeted by a big puddle on the kitchen floor and a freezer half full of defrosted food. 

We had no idea how long it had been like that so we had no choice but to throw everything out. I was devastated. Not only at the monetary waste but also the irony of all the food waste days before I was meant to encourage others not to waste food!!

So this week has been a write off as we had to decide on and buy a new fridge freezer plus restock it. On the upside our new freezer has see through drawers so we can see what we have just by opening the door. 

Hopefully that’ll help reduce waste as nothing will get “lost” in there. 

Have you been taking part in Zero Waste Week? Has your week been better than mine?

Zero Waste Giveaway

GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED!

Zero Waste Week seems ages ago now but when I wrote my pledge I promised a giveaway. Being a bad blogger 😉 and also extremely busy with the start of the new school year, I am only now getting around to it! Oops!

In keeping with the Zero Waste theme, I am giving away 5 handmade, reusable make-up remover wipes. 

These wipes can be washed in your machine at 40* and reused. By using and reusing these wipes you can cut your dependency on cotton wool pads and/or balls. 

These reusable wipes have been handmade by me and can be purchased over on my crafty Facebook page. However, if you would like to win your very own set of 5 complete with a knitted basket to store them in, all you have to do is comment below telling me whether or not you took part in Zero Waste week this year. The names of everyone that comments will go into a hat and a winner will be randomly chosen by either myself or Little Lady who loves being in charge of picking giveaway winners 🙂 

The competition opens as soon as I press the publish button on this post and ends on Sunday 27th September 2015 at 5pm BST.

Please feel free to share the giveaway with all your friends 🙂

Gift Wrapping

Making handmade gifts is such a lovely feeling. The thought and time that has gone into each one. Knowing that you haven’t just gone out and bought “something nice”. But once you have made it, it needs to be wrapped and gifted.

After all the time you have taken to handmake a present, rushing out to buy supermarket wrapping paper isn’t really going to do your handiwork justice. So how do you wrap your handmade items using items you already have and not create excess waste?

You could wrap your gift in leftover fabric

alternative gift wrapping with fabric

Image from here

Or you could use newspaperalternative wrapping newspaper

Or old books

Alternative wrapping paper

Brown paper works well as you only have to buy one roll and then personalise it for each occassion.

alternative wrapping

And let’s not forget those yummy hobnobs from yesterday. Why not use a paper plate to wrap those?

paper plate wrapping

If you’ve been inspired by these, why not check out my Pinterest Gift Wrapping board for more ideas?

 

Homemade Hobnobs

Yesterday I shared some of my favourite upcycled gift ideas. However, I think there’s nothing quite like receiving some nice biscuits at Christmas. Maybe that’s because I’m too tight frugal to buy nice biscuits very often during the year? If there’s nothing quite like receiving nice biscuits then homemade biscuits goes one step further.

This is not my recipe and I could never claim it to be. This recipe came from a poster on the MSE forums. It’s quick, it’s easy, you’ll have most of the ingredients already and most of all it’s yummy! I’m sure you can already think of a few people who would appreciate homemade hobnobs for Christmas. So let’s get to it

Recipe

8oz Self Raising Flour
8oz Sugar
8oz porridge oats
8oz Margarine
1tbsp golden syrup
1tbsp hot water
1/2tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

Method

Mix the flour, oats and sugar.
Melt the margarine, syrup and water in a pan.
Stir in bicarbonate of soda and add to the dry mix
Mix well

Take some of the mixture and make into a smallish ball
Put the balls of mixture onto a greased baking tray and flatten slightly with a fork.
Bake in the oven at 180*C for 15mins or until golden brown in colour.
Allow to cool on the tray
homemade biscuits
Whenever I make a batch of these I have to hide some so that they don’t all get eaten in one go. Everyone in my family loves these. I keep them in the biscuit tin (a promoted chocolate selection tin) but to be honest they don’t last more than 3 days in my house.
Homemade hobnobs
When giving as a present (if you manage not to eat them!), wrap them in greaseproof paper and tie with raffia or ribbon, whichever you have handy. You’ll be the most popular visitor all Christmas.

Hobnobs wrapped as gifts

Upcycled gift ideas

Day 2 of Zero Waste Week. How are we doing?

As I mentioned in my pledge post our christmas this year will be mostly handmade and/or upcycled. An easy enough concept but coming up with good ideas for gifts is actually pretty hard. As you can imagine I have spent a lot of time searching the internet (Pinterest is a favourite) looking for ideas. I can’t share actual gift shortlists here as I obviously want them to be a surprise but I can share with you some of my favourite upcycled gift ideas.

I have tried to chose gifts that use items that most of us have or can get easily enough. So here goes.

Rock plant labels. A perfect gift for the gardener of the familyHandmade garden labels

Homemade crayons for the Lego enthusiast – big or small 😉Lego crayons

Coat/key hooksDinosaur coat hooks

Dinosaur coat hooks from here but of course you could use anything to make hooks. Lego pieces, old keys, spoons, forks

Upcycled fork hooks

How about a cake stand made out of mismatched tea cups and plates? Upcycled cake stand

I love this idea and suspect that most of us will have a few mismatched cups and plates. I know I do. If not, why not have a browse around local charity shops?

So there we have a round up of my favourite upcycled gifts, however, both Jen Gale and Rae Strauss have lots more ideas for upcycling on Pinterest. So why not pop over to their boards and be inspired?

ZWW – my pledge

On Wednesday I told you about Zero Waste Week and it’s theme for this year. The theme is Re-use and I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can use that theme in our family life. We re-use a lot of things already.

We re-use glass jars to store food in the fridge. Very handy to write the “use by” date on using a wipe off marker too. We re-use shopping bags and I always have one in handbag, plus a few in the boot of the car for bigger shops too. We re-use the backs of Christmas/birthday cards to use for notepaper and re-use printing mistakes as drawing paper for the kids.

I wanted ZWW to stretch me, like last year, but I also wanted to make sure that it wasn’t a gimmick, that it was something that would be useful in our everyday lives. After a lot of thinking we (hubby and I) came up with our pledge:

We will re-use and re-purpose items that we already have, or can get second hand, to have a handmade Christmas (as far as we can)

As many gifts as possible from us at Christmas will be handmade. This includes upcycling and repurposing as well as making from scratch. We will try not to buy anything new and either use what we can or buy second hand.

During ZWW (7-13th September) I will be offering tutorials on handmade gifts so please do come back to have a look. I won’t be able to list all planned presents as I know my sister reads this blog periodically and I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise. 😀 I also plan to end the week with a giveaway so be sure you don’t miss out on that.

Are you planning to take part in ZWW? What’s your pledge?

Zero Waste Week 2015

Zero Waste Week is fast approaching and I need to start making preparations. I took part for the first time last year and loved it. I have since incorporated a lot of tips and tricks I learned through social media last time around, into our everyday lives. This year it runs from the 7th-13th September and I have the priviledge of being a Zero Waste Ambassador this year. Yay! Go and check out the names I am in with though. Talk about giving me an imposter complex lol! Big names in the Zero Waste/Sustainability category.

Last year I didn’t do very well during the week. You can read my pledge for last year here and how I got on here. On the upside, it wasn’t much after ZWW that we finally cracked the potty training and D has been an absolute star since. So proud of him and his efforts 😀

This year the theme is Re-use. There have been a lot of pledges made already and as always there are tips and resources on the website if you were looking to join in. You can find the website here. Rae, the lovely lady behind all this has even given a list of ideas to start you off. They include:

 

  • Reuse shopping bags
  • Reuse foil for zero waste lunches
  • Reuse jars for storage
  • Reuse leftovers as ingredients
  • Reuse blank paper for notes
  • Use a refillable bottle

These ideas are so simple yet so effective. Here in Wales (and Scotland now too) we already have the 5p carrier bag tax charge so reusing shopping bags is second nature to most people here now. I believe the charge is coming to England in October so what a perfect way to prepare yourself than to practice during ZWW?

 

Zero Waste Week – They think it’s all over

Well here it is. Zero Waste Week is over. How have we got on? What have we learnt?

Well I have to admit my pledge didn’t exactly go to plan. D chose last week to come down with “man flu” (he has a cold!) Potty training took a back seat as it is nigh on impossible to get a toddler who is feeling sorry for himself, to do anything you want them to do. So we are still using nappies. On the upside, we are using less nappies as D does enjoy siting on the toilet. Getting him to give me a bit of warning is the hard part! So we are still trying. We have given him a bit of a break and will get back to it after his nursery days this week.

So, not quite gone to plan. However, I have learnt a lot this week and there are quite a few things I have incorporated into our daily lives already. The first thing I learnt was that our local council will take TetraPak cartons in our brown (recycling) bin. I have always been told that they couldn’t be recycled. But they can. We drink quite a bit of fruit juice (I know, I should really squeeze my own) so that’s a big saving from our green (general waste) bin. Why not check out the link to see if your council will recycle them too?

I have also discovered that you can get reusable swim nappies. Now this is fab for us as D and I have just started parent and toddler swimming lessons. I hope to buy some next week to cut down on the disposable ones we currently use.

Apart from all the new things I learnt from found Zero Waste Week, there was quite a bit I realised that I do already. We have already shunned plastic carrier bags on favour of cloth ones when we go shopping and we use EcoBalls in place of washing powder in the washing machine.

Did you take part in Zero Waste Week? What one thing could you do today to reduce the waste you send to landfill?

Zero Waste Week – Day 1

It’s here! Zero Waste week started today and will be running all week. Here was my pledge in case anyone missed it.

We actually started preparations for this week about 3 weeks ago. We decided, due to D’s age (2yrs 9 months) we would start potty training rather than go down the reusable nappy route. I went out and bought big boy pants (only cheap ones mind as I was sure I’d be consatntly washing them!) and dug out the potty. We tried for almost 2 weeks and although we had progressed from just weeing in his pants to him actually telling us he needed to go (albeit seconds before he started weeing) it was hard work.

First off, D seemed quite frightened of actually “letting go” while sat on the potty. We did, eventually ditch the potty and go with a step and a child’s toilet seat to use the toilet instead. He was happier to go on the toilet as he has seen the rest of us use the toilet (is it a normal thing with children that they want to be in with you?) and we did get some results.

It was, however, very hit and miss. To put it another way, my floor hasn’t been so clean since we moved in 😉 I was starting to stress and he was hating being in wet pants. I had hoped that the feeling of wet pants would spur him to tell us when he needed to go, but I don’t think he was realising he needed to go until he was actually going. Then he would get upset that his pants were wet.

Nursery didn’t help either. They obviously have a lot of children to look after and can’t dedicate their time to just one child. The first day he just came home in a nappy and the following week he refused to use the toilet all day. Now surely it can’t be good for him to hold it in all day?

Everything came to a head last week when we were packing to go on holiday. A friend had very kindly offered us their house to stay in. They haven’t lived there long; it was going to be a 2 day drive to get there; they didn’t have a washing machine.

After almost 2 weeks, I finally admitted defeat and put a nappy back on D. And as much as I hate to admit it, I was less stressed on holiday, without having to worry about where he will have an accident next, and D was a lot more relaxed too. He continued to tell us when he was doing a wee and we changed his nappy and offered a sit on the toilet each time.

I am currently washing all his pants ready for a second try. He is in nursery today so was sent with nappies. Tomorrow, while at home, he will be put in pants and then after his last day in nursery this week (wednesday) we will try again.

I did feel like a failure putting him back in nappies but I must remember that the theme for this year’s Zero Waste Week is “One More Thing”. I have already saved almost 2 weeks’ worth of nappies from landfill, and each time I replace with his nappy with pants, that’s another one saved from landfill.

One step at a time.

Zero Waste Week

Zero waste week is fast approaching. Now in it’s 7th year it is running from 1-7th September. In previous years, the concept of going completely zero waste was insurmountable for me. With 2 small children and a full time job, I just couldn’t see how I would do it. This year’s theme, however, is “One More Thing” so one more thing you can save from landfill. That is something I can do. By cutting down on one thing I can make a difference. And it’s not just me. If all of us stop one thing from going to landfill then we can make a huge collective difference.

When I signed up for zero waste week I was asked to make a pledge and submit a selfie. Haha! You won’t believe how many pictures I made hubby take of me and I’m still not happy with the photo!! I am on my way to run club and standing by the kitchen door! I wonder if there are any tips online on how not to look like an idiot in a selfie?? Anyway…..here’s my pledge

IMG_3481.JPG
I think I look a lot like my dad in this photo!

To my shame we have always used disposable nappies with both little lady and D. It’s the main reason zero waste has been such a foreign concept to me. We probably put out a green (waste) bin that is only half to 3/4 full every fortnight so I don’t think we do too badly. But nappies are our downfall.

D is 2yrs 9months old now so is plenty old enough for potty training. Maybe a bit too old, I’m not sure. Little lady was definitely potty trained by this age but we have been concentrating so much on his speech problems that to be honest, I hadn’t realised that we should start potty training 😕

So, pants and floor cloths at the ready. We start potty training now.

Please check out the Zero Waste website for more details on zero waste week. What would your pledge be?