personal

I’m Back To Zero Waste!

Not that I’ve ever abandoned it!

I’ve spent the last week in London, with friends, but now I’m back to Belgium and back to focusing on going zero waste. I’ll finally start composting with Bokashi, which will help me figure out what my garbage is really made of. It will be easier to continue finding replacements and better choices on my trips to the grocery store.

During last week I posted on the blog’s Instagram and Facebook. Mostly, I posted about the success I made with my own reusable cup!

I was a bit nervous the first time, asking the lady at the coffee shop in Brussels to fill my cup with hot chocolate, but I guess she was already used to the request, ’cause she promptly accepted my cup – even before I had actually finished asking what I wanted – and filled it up with delicious hot chocolate. After that, already in London, I felt more confident and got a few more surprises. Both times I ordered hot chocolate at Pret-A-Manger I got my cup complimented (because of its design, since it looks like a camera lens). One time I promptly got their 25p discount, the other time I got my hot chocolate for free! The ladies who served me even asked me where I got my cup because they wanted one like mine!

(I believe I bought it on Aliexpress a long time ago, but since there aren’t many places to get coffee on the go here in Belgium, I mostly use it in the house. I made a little pouch to carry it with some fabric I had lying around.)

 

As usual, I brought some books back home. I tend to walk into every bookstore I bump into, but I still find books sold in bookstores a bit expensive, so I buy my books online. When in London, I get them at Sainsbury’s, or on second-hand stores. I always find wonderful books at top-notch prices, and I’m too weak for books to resist them. My Kindle went along for the trip – it always goes – but paper books are close to my heart. Don’t judge me.

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London’s book gathering (2017)

 

This was my third trip to London – yes, it’s a love affair – and it was great to be with friends, to visit new places, to revisit other places yet another time.

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Greenwich

 

I’ll be sure to continue to post regular updates on the blog now that I am back and at full speed, so stay tuned!

Carina Pereira

Composting And Planting

Composting | Bokashi

I bought a Bokashi set, for composting.

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Since vermicompost can’t take onion peels or too many citruses, as well as cooked food, I’ll use the Bokashi to ferment all that first, and then I will be able to feed the worms with it. This way I can actually compost all of the organic waste I make, which will reduce my general garbage a lot.

It was a bit expensive. For the whole set – two buckets, 2kg of starter – I paid €63.51. In any case, it’s an investment, and a good one.

As soon as I return from my one week vacation in London, I’ll start using the Bokashi and I’ll start preparing a worm compost as well. I feel that, as soon as the compost is ongoing, I’ll be able to focus much more on my zero waste goal, and things will be easier.

I’ll keep you up to date about this compost business!

Carina

Weekly Grub Gathering

Weekly Grub Gathering | #2

This week’s grocery shopping was a challenge and I had to bring almost everything packaged.

As I mentioned before, I don’t have a bulk shop nearby, so I have to make do with my regular supermarket for now. I’m going on vacations next week, so I pretty much filled up the pantry with things I need and won’t go bad in a few days.

Let’s take a look.

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  • Grapes

These were the only thing I was able to buy unpackaged this week. I didn’t need any more fruit or vegetables.

  • Cream, butter, and eggs

I still can’t find cream in a glass jar, but the tetra pak goes to recycling, same with the package of butter and the carton of the eggs. I asked friends if they knew of anyone selling eggs unpacked nearby, but I’m still waiting for an answer. Hopefully, I’ll be able to stop buying eggs in a carton for good.

  • Oats, sugar, flour, and breadcrumbs

I use flour and sugar very often, to bake. Breadcrumbs, not so often. I use the oats for breakfast and to make milk. They all come in paper bags, which I recycle.

  • Tuna

I love tuna hamburgers, each can is good for three or four hamburgers, so these will last me a bit.

  • Yoghurt

I want to make my own yoghurt again as soon as I return, so I got half a litter of natural yoghurt in a glass jar for that. The lid is made of plastic, but I can still reuse the jar once I’ve used the yoghurt.

  • Shredded coconut

I like to add some shredded coconut to my morning oats because I make them with water, so it gives them a nice flavour. I can only find it wrapped in plastic, but it lasts me for a while and then I’ll recycle the packaging.

*

It isn’t easy going zero waste in a small town, but at least I’m buying things with a different, more environment-friendly, perspective, and I avoid plastic as much as possible.

I prefer to continue doing my best, even if most of my groceries are packaged than to just give up because I don’t have the means at hand.

Carina

DIY - Food

DIY Food | Milk & Yoghurt

I promised on Instagram that I would post a recipe for homemade milk and yoghurt, so here you have it.

Both recipes are very easy to make, and even though I use a kitchen robot – the Monsieur Cuisine Plus, from Lidl – you can use utensils you already have at home to make both.

I usually make oats milk – I then use the milk to make the yoghurt – but you can choose different ingredients, like almond, hazelnuts, rice, coconut or even flax seeds. The only thing that changes in the process is that oats take about one hour to soak, almonds and hazelnuts need about eight hours. Coconut and flax seeds don’t need to soak, so they’re perfect if you need milk asap. Rice needs to be cooked beforehand.

I’ll explain dosages and processes for all of the above.

With no further ado, let’s get to work!

Milk

What you need: 

  • Water;
  • A strainer (a cotton strainer is better, but you can use a metallic strainer or a kitchen napkin, even a new sock/stocking, just as long as it allows the liquid but not the rest to pass through);
  • Some containers to pour the drained milk into;
  • A glass bottle to store your milk in the fridge;
  • Oats, almond, hazelnuts, flax seeds, cooked rice or shredded coconut.

 

80gr oats for 1L water

150gr almonds or hazelnuts for 1L water

200gr shredded coconut for 1.2L water

60gr cooked rice to 1.5L water

40gr flaxseeds to 1L water

(You can adjust the dry ingredients in relation to the water, to please your personal taste. Oats, for example, usually ask for 50gr per litre of water, but I find it too thick. It’s tastier if you add about 80gr to each litre. Also, if you prefer your milk a bit sweeter, you can add sugar, dates or even vanilla extract, just add it while blending. Adding peanuts to rice milk makes for a nicer flavour.)

How to make:

  • Soak the oats, almonds, and hazelnuts beforehand. Cover it with enough water. For the almonds and hazelnuts you can leave it overnight, the oats need about an hour. After they’ve soaked, drain the water. If you choose rice, cook it first, any rice will do. For coconut and flax seeds you don’t need to do anything in advance.
  • Throw whatever you chose in the blender.
  • Add the right amount of filtered water and blend at high speed for about two minutes.
  • Grab one container and put the cotton strainer on top of it. Start pouring the milk. I usually use both the cotton strainer and the metallic sieve, for better straining and better stability (the metallic sieve will avoid the cotton strainer from falling in.)

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  • When the milk stops draining, grab the cloth by its corners and wring it a bit to drain the rest.
  • Once this is done, remove the pulp from the cloth, and wash the cloth with cold water. If you make this with almonds, hazelnuts or even coconut, you can use the pulp to make cookies or cake (you can freeze it for later).
  • Then, strain it again, just to make sure you remove all of those little bits.
  • Now, you’ve got milk!

Store it in a bottle, take note of the date you’ve made it, and keep it in the fridge for 3 to 5 days.

 

Yoghurt

What you need:

  • 1L milk;
  • 1 yoghurt (about 150gr);
  • 50gr powdered milk;
  • A cotton strainer;
  • A small container;
  • Esterilized glass jars.

How to make:

Now, if you have a kitchen robot, like the Thermomix/Bimby, you do it like this:

  • Add the ingredients to the cup;
  • Mix for 15 sec, vel. 4;
  • Cook 10min, 50ºC, vel. 3;
  • Wrap the cup, with the lid on, with a blanket. If possible, place it all inside a thermal bag;

If you don’t have a kitchen robot:

  • Warm the milk up in a pan.
  • Let it reach 45ºC (when you can still put your finger but it’s not really burning, or you can get a thermometer) and turn the stove off.
  • Slowly add in the powdered milk.*
  • Pour half of it into a heat resistant and sterilized jar and add the yoghurt, stirring well. Add the rest of the milk, put the lid on, close well.
  • Wrap the container in a warm blanket.

For both:

  • Leave it wrapped like this for about 12h (you can leave it overnight);
  • If you made it in the kitchen robot, place a cotton strainer on top of a container and pour the yoghurt. Leave it in the fridge to drain the water for a few hours. Once most of the liquid has been drained, it is ready to be poured into sterilized glass jars. I usually pour my yoghurt into one container and then I scoop it out onto a smaller jar to eat or to take with me, that way I don’t need to spend a lot of money in small jars.
  • If you made it in the pan, it’s done and you can now leave the yoghurt in the jar or you can distribute it into smaller sterilized containers.

To make more yoghurt again, just save 150gr from the ones you’ve made last, and voilá! no need to buy any more packaged yoghurts! You can add whatever you like to it: fruit, honey, oats…

*The recipe made in a pan that I checked online uses no powdered milk, but if the yoghurt isn’t thick or creamy enough without it, then mix in the powdered milk with the milk after warming it up. You’ll need to buy the powdered milk packaged but you should be able to find it packaged in cardboard, and it will last for a few batches. Therefore, still better than buying yoghurt in plastic containers.

To make vegetal yoghurt you’ll also need to buy a vegetal-base yoghurt (like soy, for example) the first time around, and make sure the powdered milk is also made from vegetal milk or that you use a vegan thickener.

*

Here in Belgium, I haven’t yet found a place which sells unpacked oats. I buy the ones I use in my regular supermarket: they’re biologic and they come in a paper bag, which I recycle. Same with the powdered milk, as I mentioned above.

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Packaged powdered milk (all in paper)

 

I find it easier to make milk at home because I don’t drink much of it, so I usually make 500ml each time. That way I have no need to throw away milk cartons, and I stop wasting milk that went bad because it sat in the fridge too long.

The oats milk is the cheapest to make since 1kg of bio oats costs me around €1 and I only need 80gr to make one litre. As I now use my own homemade yoghurt to make more, the amount of money it costs me to make the yoghurt is also ridiculous.

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I hope you enjoy the recipes, let me know if you try them out!

Carina.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swaps

Sunday Swap | Milk & Yoghurt

Now, let me just start off by saying that, no, you do not need to have a cow at home. There are many vegetal kinds of milk that can easily be made at home, so there’s no need to start picking books about cow milking just yet. 😉

Although milk cartons are recyclable, if we are aiming for zero waste, the goal is to try and recycle as little as possible. Making our own food is the first step to achieve that, although it may be counterproductive to make everything from scratch.

I live all by myself, and I hardly eat a loaf of bread a week. I can buy loaves of bread packed in paper or even with no package at my local bakery for, at most, a little over €2. The energy I would spend baking it in my tiny oven, plus the ingredients, are probably not compensatory. When it comes to milk, however, things change because with water and oats I can make very cheap milk with almost no energy spent. The yoghurts are pretty much the same: I use the milk I make myself to make them, avoiding all those separate plastic containers yogurts usually come in.

So today’s easy swap is milk and yoghurt, which are so easy to make at home (and you don’t even need a yogurt machine for that!).

Buy yourself a glass bottle to store the milk, a big glass jar to store the yoghurt (I have also a small one I fill up when I need to take yogurt on the go), on my next post I’m teaching you how to make them.

Carina Pereira

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personal

Books | My Zero Waste Exception

I once read in a blog about minimalism, that minimalising doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to get rid of everything you own. You should make one solid choice of something you’re not giving up at all.

Well, for me, that thing is books.

For the past months, I’ve had this feeling that if my house is crammed and untidy, then my life is a mess, which isn’t true at all. My life isn’t a mess, I’m quite at peace with where I am at the moment. Not settled, just content. Maybe that’s why I decided to go zero waste in the first place: I’m emotionally balanced, so I want my surroundings to be, too. One thing feeds the other.

I used to live together in a three-bedroom house with a crafts’ lair (mine) and a man cave (his). So, with plenty of space to store things, I didn’t even realise that I was actually collecting stuff I would not use and that I didn’t need. When we split up in 2015, we had doubles of pretty much everything except the bed. Tables, furniture, couch, you name it. So, my one bedroom apartment on the rooftop ended up with more stuff than it should have.

I’ve always been the sort of person who would save something just in case. Whose eyes would shine at the sight of a freebie, even if there was not much use for it in the long run.

Moving again, and the hassle it was to pack and carry everything, made me break-up with clutter for good. Instead of looking out for new things to buy, I started looking in for things that I could sell. This way, I sold most of what I didn’t need and gave some more away. Thank god for Belgium and its second-hand sites; I’ve made great bargains this way and got rid of a lot of my stuff, too.

I’ve also had many hobbies over the years; even when it comes to crafting, I went from Hama beads to working with felt, from making fabric bows to embroidery and knitting, jumping from one craft to the other until it was too hard for me to bother, or it became too uninteresting. Needless to say, crafts mean… supplies. Supplies I’m still getting rid of by selling or, in the case of the fabric bows, reusing the fabric I bought to make bags and bowl covers.

There are still a few things I’m pondering on selling, but I want to make sure first that I’m just not going bonkers on all this keep only what you need mindset, to find out later that I need to buy things to replace those I already had. So, I’m giving myself time to decide, those things are not in the way or filling the house up too much, anyway.

Books, however, I never felt like they were an intruder to my peace of mind. I brought them with me from Portugal, I’d take them with me again, pack them with care and time, anywhere. They’re a comfort; some I have reread until the pages turned yellow, others went back to the shelf immaculate, but they are all loved and they are all mine. (A little too Gollum, maybe?)

I know what you’re thinking: no need to give up on books, just get an e-reader! But, I already have an e-reader! I love my Kindle, it’s super practical to carry around in my purse so I can always have a book to read in times of need, it’s perfect for my annual vacation back to Portugal, two weeks in which I read about seven books, that would just not fit in my small luggage. It saves space, it saves trees, too. Still, I’m not yet ready to give up on printed books.

I can live without Nutella if need be, or even without crisps, or chocolate (gasp!).

Now, books are never going. Not without a ferocious fight, anyway. It’s the one thing I don’t mind having around, even if there’s no room on the shelf anymore. Where I have books, I have a home.

How about you? What’s the thing you’re not giving up on your zero waste journey?

Carina

DIY - Home

DIY Home| Fabric Bags

Last Sunday Swap was going from plastic bags to fabric bags.

Since I’m an apologist of making everything I know how – or I can learn – myself, I’ve decided to try my hand at making some fabric bags.

I bought a sewing machine ages ago, when I started making some fabric bows and felt dolls, but I never got the hang of it. Some weeks ago, when I decided to go zero waste, I dusted it off and gave it another go, with the help of some youtube videos.

I have no idea why I was unable to learn to sew with a machine the first time around. Even with my machine – which cost around €30 and works as cheap as I paid for it – this time I was able to make a few simple bags with no hassle.

So, if you have a sewing machine at hand, one that you can borrow from a friend, or the patience to hand-sew, this tutorial was made for you. I used the fabric I had lying around for this. You can ask some friends for fabric scraps, reuse old sheets, or you can even buy some cheap fabric at local markets, online… But if you can reuse, then reuse it! If you can avoid wasting money… you know the drill.

(here’s the tutorial which taught me to sew with a machine.)

I use these bags to buy fruit and vegetables in bulk at my supermarket, and I’ll be sure to take them with me when I have the chance to go on a trip to a bulk store (there are a few a bit far from my place that I intend to visit, eventually). I even made some smaller ones for sandwiches and cookies, that way I don’t need to use foil or cling film anymore. I find them very cute and they’re easy to wash as well.

Let’s ditch those plastic bags for good!

 

 

Fabric bags

What you need:

  • Fabric;
  • Sewing machine, or needle and thread;
  • An iron;
  • Scissors;
  • Some ribbon, or any sort of string.

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How to make it:

  • First, you need to cut the fabric to the size you want. Personally, I take the fabrics I have – which are all one size – and then I fold it in half for one medium bag, I cut it in half for two small bags, or I sew two fabrics together for big bags.

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  • Next, make a hem all around. I use the iron to trace it and then I sew it.
  • Now, if you’re using two fabrics – or more – sew them together!

 

  • Time to measure and make the ribbon/string hole. This ribbon will allow you to close the bag. On the top part of the fabric, iron again an hem to form the ribbon hole, with room enough to allow the ribbon of choice to pass through. Sew it.

 

  • Once this is done, it’s time to sew the bag all around, except the top which needs to be open. Please make sure that, as you sew on the sides, you don’t sew all the way up as that would close the holes where the ribbon must pass through.
  • With the help of a safety pin, pass the ribbon through the hole.

 

  • And your bag is done!

 

I hope you can easily make your own fabric bags from now on. I like to end my ribbons with a little bow.

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If, like me, you’re using scrap fabrics, you may need to adjust the way you make the bags. Sometimes, to get a bag that is taller than it is larger, I need to fold my fabric in half at the bottom and the top hem is split in two. I still pass the ribbon through, as if the fabric was all together. You can see a bit of the ribbon on one end, but it works just fine.

You can also sew the two fabrics together turned inside out, leaving a little bit on the sides at the top open, to allow for the hem of the ribbon hole, and then turn it the right side around. That way the seams would look perfect too and it would be quicker. I’m not sure if it would be as sturdy, though, because I never tried it that way.

Next time, I’ll teach you how to make the fabric bowl covers you can see below!

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Stay tuned!

Carina

Weekly Grub Gathering

Weekly Grub Gathering | #1

Nowadays I plan my trip to the supermarket thinking of ways to bring as little package as possible home, and when I can’t avoid packaging, I look out for the products which are more environment-friendly.

Luckily, my local supermarket – Colruyt has a handy app where I can check for products and add them to my grocery shopping list. That way I know straight away my options, how much things will cost me, and if they come in bulk or not.

Maybe I should start by stating that I do not have a bulk store nearby. The closest at hand, Prana Bio Bulk, is a 30km ride from Dessel. It’d be crazy to shop there every week, especially when I already take half an hour – by car – each way to get to work. I’m planning a trip there in a few weeks, however, and I hope I can buy a few things in enough quantity to cover some of my needs – at least coffee, tea and other stuff I can only find packaged nearby – for a little while.

Still, I’ve only just begun this zero waste attempt, so I’m trying to adjust my needs to it. I consume more fruit and vegetables – which I can find in bulk very easily at my usual supermarket – and I avoid anything that I would buy only due to my greed. I mean, everyone needs some chocolate once in a while, certainly, but maybe not every week? Plus, I now make my own milk and yoghurts, and cookies! So, there are at least a few things I can stop buying. Of course, I need “material” to make these, but I happen to make them all with oats, water and peanut butter. I filter tap water, so I don’t need to buy it in plastic/glass bottles, I buy the oats in a paper bag I then recycle, and the peanut butter comes in a glass jar which I reuse for storage. The peanut butter in a jar is actually a bonus here, because I’m still gathering storage, and it allows me to spare money by not needing to buy any more jars.

(I’ll eventually try my hand at making peanut butter, but this comes with a funny story for another post.)

Now, let’s take a look at what I bought this week.

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I usually take this rad pink bag to carry everything. It was a gift from the city hall to the inhabitants of the city I used to live in. It’s made of fabric and plastic, and as long as it’s still good to use, I’ll keep using it. I have two other bags, one made of plastic and one made of fabric, for when I need to bring home more stuff.

The smaller bags I used to carry the stuff in bulk were made by moi. I’ll post a tutorial for those this week still.

  • Lentils

I never tried lentils before so I’m planning on cooking them this week, probably with some rice. I can’t find them here without a plastic bag, but I suppose they will last me a while.

  • Grapes

They’re cheaper if I buy them in a plastic package, but it was one of the things I promised myself when I started this: if you can dispense some extra cents, do it for the zero waste. Also, if there’s something I can easily ditch the plastic from around here, is fruit and vegetables. I can’t fail in that.

  • Lemons

Again, more expensive than the ones in a package. Still, I can buy only what I need, instead of having to buy a whole kilo, which is more than I can consume before they go bad.

  • Tomatoes

Here we call these candy-tomatoes (snoeptomaten). Even though I’m not a big fan of raw tomatoes, I love these! I put them in a salad, or I just eat them as they are for a quick snack.

  • Peanut butter

Comes in a jar, albeit with a plastic lid. I will keep it and reuse it once it is empty, so it’s very handy. I’ve bought it to make cookies today!

  • Cream

I haven’t yet found a recipe for cream, and I use it for a lot of desserts. In my group of friends, when we plan a dinner together, I always make dessert because I love baking. A friend of mine is moving to a new house this week and, for the house warming party, I am in charge of making… you got it, dessert. I’m going to make something simple: just whipped cream mixed with condensed milk, and coffee-dipped cookies, with frozen strawberries and strawberry sauce on top.

I can’t find cream in a jar/bottle. I suppose I could have bought it in a bigger package, but I’m still not sure how much I’m going to use, so it’s easier to buy it individually, otherwise I’ll end up wasting. I use it for cooking too, and I’m not sure how I can find a replacement for this. Any ideas/easy recipes?

Both the plastic from the lentils and the tetra pak package from the cream will be separated for recycling. I’ll eventually write a post on the blog about how we take care of our garbage here in Belgium.

*

This week was a smaller batch, I spent around €13, because I actually cleaned down my pantry/freezer, and was able to see better what I have in store. I have a bit to eat down before I need to start buying more meat and fish, at least.

This eating your pantry down was actually an idea I got from Zero Waste Memoirs. It’s a wonderful blog, I signed up for their Going Zero Waste In 30 Days newsletter and I’ve been getting very good tips. If you’re starting as well, you should definitely check it out!

And this was my weekly shopping. Want to share yours? 🙂

Carina.

 

Swaps

Sunday Swap | Bags

Pretty much every household I know has plastic bags kept inside plastic bags. More plastic bags than they will use in a lifetime. Plastic bags from the supermarket, plastic bags from stores, plastic bags all around.

Plastic has a very short recycling life – so much so, that recycling plastic is called downcycling, because it will end up in landfills pretty fast. This said, when it comes to packaging and zero waste life, plastic is the thing to avoid. If you have to have any product in a package, choose paper or glass, don’t choose plastic.

An easy swap when first starting the zero waste journey, are plastic bags. Here in Belgium, all supermarkets and some stores charge a few cents for the plastic bags. You need to buy it if you want to have it. In Portugal, a similar decision was approved by the government last year, but people freaked out. It takes learning and it takes some cultural assimilation to accept that you should pay for bags; it takes some care for the environment to understand why.

I went to Dusseldorf, in Germany, a few weeks ago and you even have to pay for bags in clothing/shoe stores there, something that doesn’t even happen in Belgium yet. After the first impact of what do you mean they don’t give you bags to put your clothes in? I realised how right they are. So, now I’m carrying a bag with me when I go shopping for clothes, and reject the bag from the store, which they will provide straight away and without even asking.

Also in Dusseldorf, I found a cafe where you would pay a deposit for a glass bottle and they would refill it with water for free, then you’d bring the bottle back and they would refund you the deposit, rather than using and wasting plastic bottles. Neat!

If you need to buy fruit or vegetables, a fabric bag will do. Don’t bring home those thin and tiny plastic bags which will quickly deteriorate. Take big fabric bags, small fabric bags, tiny fabric bags with you. Enough for the groceries you need. Don’t be afraid of being different; I used my fabric bags last week and no one at the supermarket complained, or made any comments. I actually felt quite good about myself.

Plus, if you find a place to buy in bulk, you’ll need those fabric bags. They’re prettier, sturdier, neater.

You can even make your own and spare some money. I’ll leave a tutorial up on the blog during the week!

Still, should you throw away the plastic bags you already have at home? No. Zero waste is about reusing what you already have, not throwing everything away and starting from scratch. Use them for the garbage you still make, give them to friends so they can do the same, use them all up.

Even though I take fabric bags with me for fruit and vegetables, the larger bags I use to carry all of my groceries are old ones I already had, plastic ones. I’m not throwing those away or wasting money buying fabric bags while they’re still good to go, while I’m still reusing them.

Reusing is better than swapping. Swapping for reusables is better than to keep throwing away.

Carina.

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Composting And Planting

Composting | How To

The last couple of weeks I’ve been reading and watching a lot of videos about composting. While some people make it all seem very simple, some other information turns composting into proper science, giving the impression that, if you do something wrong, you’ll have a whole lot to deal with.

There are many ways of composting; most of the composting techniques include only vegetables/fruit scraps, tea bags, eggs and newspaper. One, named Bokashi, also uses the food you cook. For those who are lucky enough to have a garden, compost seems pretty easy and straightforward: you can just dump the fruit and vegetables in a spot of choice, or you can dig up and dump them directly into the ground, or you can buy a compost bin, prepare it a bit and then start adding the food scraps to it. There are tons of videos out there showing how easy it is, and how well it works.

Bokashi, as I said above, allows you to add cooked food, which would be very interesting, and you can easily have the bin inside your house, but you still need somewhere to bury the compost once it is fermented. Also, you need to buy their compost product on a regular basis, otherwise the compost won’t work, which can become a bit expensive. The bins (you’d usually need two), are already a high investment (the cheapest set I found, with two bins and a bag of their product, costs close to €70).

Where I live, in Dessel (Belgium), recycling is mandatory, but composting isn’t.

We can own a bin, provided by the town hall, to dump fruit/vegetable scraps, and a truck comes to pick it up every two weeks. I could choose to do this, I suppose, get it over with. The two problems are that, one you have to pay €12 a year for the bin, with the risk of that value becoming higher if you make more scraps than usual, and two you don’t get to make your own compost, and you still need to use bags to dump the scraps in the bin, – albeit biodegradable – so this was not the option I was looking for. Plus, I want to lower the €56 euros I already have to pay every year to have my regular garbage dealt with, not add €12 to it.

My research was not fruitless, however, because yesterday Leafeco made composting easy. After so many questions, Dani simplified the life of those without garden, who still want to make compost. Take a look at the video.

Compost with worms is a thing, and you can do it inside your apartment. I know, having worms inside the house, even if it’s inside a closed box, may not be for everyone. Personally, I have no problem with it. Later on, I can even buy a Bokashi bin and, once all the scraps are fermented, I can add them to my worm bin. Boom, zero regular garbage waste.

I’m going on vacation in two weeks, but as soon as I return, I will order some worms, buy some boxes and compost, borrow a drill from friends, and prepare my own worm bin.

I’ll keep you up to date on that!

Carina.