It's been a slow but steady week, with us approaching gardening activities early in the morning and late in the afternoon as we prepare the garden for the Summer heat, and also working through all of the numerous and enjoyable things that we do to make our home function as we like it to. Some of my thoughts filtering through all of this though have been about an article I read this week on the War on Waste called Waste not want not, in the October edition of the Australian Women's Weekly. I don't buy many magazines anymore, however I still like to buy this one and read about all of the inspiring things that women, and often younger women are doing in the community. It is still one reliable way of keeping informed about a variety of issues from a woman's perspective.
The AWW article quotes some disturbing statistics which I trust are correct and well researched:-
"In a little more than 60 years, humans have managed to fill the planet with 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic, most of which won't breakdown"
"If we keep up at the current rate, the world will be awash with 12 billion tonnes of plastic by 2050"
"On average, each of us throws away 200 kg of packaging a year".
"We waste 1 in 5 shopping bags of food."
The Australian Women's Weekly, October 2017, p.76-79.
The article describes how some warrior like Business women and young Mothers some of whom are also Bloggers are striving for change on a larger scale by empowering women to wage war on waste by changing the way we live. I also know that many of the brilliant blogs I read by women more of my generation are addressing these very issues as well, and younger women are proving they can also play a huge and effective role in this campaign with their young peers. Erin Rhoades, a new mother and online blogger at "The Rogue Ginger" plots her journey online. She raises a couple of interesting and achievable ideas. Erin suggests that we simplify our bathroom routines. Instead of using face wash, body wash and hand wash all in separate plastic containers, she uses one bar of soap. I am working on this idea, which in theory sounds great, however my older skin now requires a much more emollient rich cleanser than it used to so I probably need to research that and make my own enriching soap, something I have been thinking about for a while.
We need to look after our fragile skin in this climate, so a good quality, chemical free and moisturising soap is very important. This is a call to my soap making friends, Ladies, I need a recipe for a good soap, that ticks all the boxes, which I can try. Nanna Chel on her informative blog,
Going Grey and Slightly Green, features a lot of soap making so she may have some ideas. I know there are some good ones that can be purchased as well for those who are more time poor. I feel like rising to the challenge to make my own. Natalie Isaacs was the CEO of a cosmetics company, and launched the 1 Million Women movement, empowering women to change the way we live and rethink our waste expenditure. Leeyong Soo is a sewing and vintage clothing blogger inspiring people to "repurpose clothes". All of these young women have attracted media attention in their quest to change the global waste epidemic.
Just below is a reusable shopping or market bag, again with the Pickling theme, and purchased in California by our friends on holiday. I love it. It's off to the Farmer's Market with this one.
The recycling and disposal of used clothing is now recognised as being a global problem and has become a recurrent theme in any discussion about Global Waste. According to the environmental movement, Greenpeace, and I quote, "the average person buys 60 percent more items of clothing and keeps them for about half as long as they did 15 years ago". I don't think I am average anymore, as I now sew some of my own clothes, and also mend them when needed and use accessories to update them for different occasions when needed. However when I was working it was a different story. I could justify spending much more on clothes.
Mending clothing isn't difficult however it is a skill which unfortunately seems to be disappearing, and is a way of looking after and keeping what we already own. We all have favourite items of clothing and these can be easily mended if the hem comes down, a seam comes apart, or a button falls off. I would happily do this for a friend who doesn't feel able to do it themselves, and help them to learn how to do it at the same time. Many women that I know are now op shopping more for their clothes and are consciously sourcing more ethical brands of clothing. Some real gems can be found in op shops, however you still need to sort through lots of stuff and select carefully, and wash it well when you take it home. I am very careful with synthetics though and during Summer here in the hot subtropics I just don't wear them anyway. Poor quality synthetics have flooded the clothing market, and the discarded items are often shipped to developing countries to presumably solve their problems. We make our problem their problem. These items will eventually become waste. If I buy an item of clothing, I try to buy quality, something I really like, and whilst it might cost a little more, I will wear and cherish it for many years,and mend it when necessary. My paternal Grandmother was a tailoress, my Mum was also a good seamstress and made most of my Dad's shirts, and also sewed a lot of her own clothes and also mine when I was younger. This love of good quality clothing must be in my genes,
Mr. HRK and I married 40 years ago before recycling, the War on Waste and Climate Change were part of our everyday vocabulary. Now people are calling my type of wedding a zero-waste wedding, ha, ha. I wore my Mother's beautiful full length, embossed ivory satin, 50's style Wedding gown, with a sweetheart neckline. It had to be taken in by a friend who was a tailoress, as I was a Size 8 in those days and I still have the dress packed away in an acid free box and wrapped in acid free tissue paper. What do I do with it though? I doubt anyone in my family will wear it now, perhaps a museum would like it, or should I sell it on ebay? Orchids were always going to be in my Wedding bouquet so some came from my Mum's plants.
|Entering the Church on my Wedding Day in Mum's Wedding Gown which was taken in to fit me|
My concession to having something of my own to wear was buying my own lace edged wedding veil and pearl studded Juliet headpiece which I still adore. The cost of weddings has become exorbitant for young people, so it seems sensible to do a complete turnabout and opt for a zero-waste wedding, like the Rogue Ginger did. There might have been a little waste, but zero-waste was the goal for Erin. However everyone wants their wedding to be beautiful, so it's about compromise.
Anyone who watched the War on waste series on TV recently couldn't help but be inspired to incorporate more recycling and the removal of plastic into their daily activities. I am working towards achieving a a plastic-free life on a daily basis or at least recycling the plastic I use. I was recently given some great little reusable elasticised plate covers in different sizes , which I now use all the time to cover leftovers in the refrigerator and basically replace Cling Wrap. After washing them in hot soapy water for reuse, I leave them in the drawer next to my remaining roll of Cling Wrap to remind me to use them. Old habits can die hard sometimes. Other things I am doing are asking my butcher to put my meat into a reusable container, the hardest thing being to remember to take it with me, just like the reusable shopping bags. They are left in my car so that I remember them.