Low-waste recipes and DIY · Non classé

Hits and misses of a low-waste life

Since we’ve been trying to reduce our waste, we’ve also tested lots of recipes and tips to lower our waste. Some of them were great and have become parts of our routine, and others, were, well, not so great. Keep in mind that it’s only our experience, and that you might end up loving what we hate and vice-versa!! The best way to know is to try and see what works for you!!

Hits and Misses of the Zero Waste Lifestyle
The amount of trash we produce is horrific, let’s face it. Photo by Bas Emmen on Unsplash

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Non classé

Of winter and the wonders of layering

It’s December, and it’s cold here near Paris, which is quite normal and even a bit reassuring, if I’m honest. I cover my car in the evenings to be spared the tedious task of scraping off ice in the mornings, I watch my favourite shows buried under a plaid and make my family hot cocoa on Sunday afternoons. I rather like winter, in fact (I like all 4 seasons if I’m honest, although summer is a bit of a bother when you don’t tan). But as someone who tries to have a rather minimalist and most of all sustainable wardrobe, it can be a challenge to dress at this period of the year.

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Low-waste recipes and DIY · Non classé

Guide to a low-waste, cheap and long-lasting wardrobe

Clothes have always played a big role in societies throughout the ages. They used to tell what you were doing for a living, how well off you were, if you were married or a widow, and so on. Today they have lost a bit of their most specific meanings, but they still say something about you, whether you want it or not. They’re ‘our chosen skin’ as Safia Minney from People Tree would say. And today’s clothes are very different from what our ancestors used to know: once expensive and well-cared for, they are now cheap and disposable. Fashion trends don’t last more than a few weeks – as does most of what the fast fashion industry produce. It’s an ecological and social disaster on all levels. So, how can we do different? Here’s what I have done.

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Non classé

Prepping or not prepping

Okay, this is a bit different than what I’m usually talking about here, but I figured I might talk about this anyway.

I’m sure you have heard of preppers. When we think about them, we usually come up with a vision of a middle-aged dude in camouflage clothes with a half-crazed look in his eyes talking about his plans to drink filtered urine and hide in his self-made bunker where he stores cans of ravioli and guns. Right.

Prepping or not prepping...
And toilet paper. I mean, if shit hits the fan, you’ll need some. Erm.

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Low-waste recipes and DIY · Non classé

Easy chair upcycling!

 

We are in the process of redecorating our dining room – we take all our meals there, and we like to have family and friends over to share good food,  it’s a very important place in our appartment, and we would like for it to be a bit nicer. But instead of running to Ikea to buy new stuff -which is often our first impulse, let’s be honest- we’re trying to do it in a frugal, low-waste way!

Our 4 chairs are about 13 years old and in good condition, except for the seat cover: it’s straw, and with 2 children and a cat at home, it’s definitely seen better days. We’ve decided to see what we could do to make it look nicer, and comfier!

 

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Non classé

The trap of zero-waste products or how marketing gets us

It has happened twice in the past weeks. Two different occasions when I caught myself just before committing the inexcusable.

Okay that’s a bit over dramatic. But, still. I’m not immune to marketing strategies, no one is, and taking the time to think about our purchases is always, always a good plan.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine told me that she had bought menstrual underwear, and that they were awesome. Great, I told myself, an awesome low-waste invention! Let’s find a company that makes them locally and buy some! I browsed the internet, found two French candidates, and debated which one I was going to buy from. Then I thought… wait a minute. I have a menstrual cup that is perfectly okay and that I’m very happy with, and a dozen of reusable pads for nights and lighter-bleeding days that I’m also very happy with… Do I need those fancy panties? I don’t. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an fantastic idea, and I might buy some for my daughters when that time comes, but right now… I don’t need it. I have all I need at home, already produced and paid for. Damn.

Then last week, as I thought about our upcoming vacation, I thought that I needed to buy some of those bamboo sporks to keep in my bag. You know, because once a year my family goes to the beach for a week and during this week we like to buy ice cream, like, twice, and they give you those stupid plastic spoons to avoid having to witness you licking your frozen treat like a pleb. So I browsed the internet, again, in search for those cute bamboo sporks. Only I couldn’t find any that weren’t sold by Amazon, or were so cheap that they couldn’t be honest. I was feeling quite frustrated with the whole thing, when I remembered that I, in fact, own spoons. Quite a few of them. And that I could put some of them in my bag once a year. I could even use a scrap of fabric in my stash to sew a small pouch for them. They would work just as well, and would cost me – and the planet – nothing. Damn.

How marketing gets us with zero waste products
These will do. With style.

Have you read Zero Impact Man, by Colin Beavan? You should. He writes about facing the exact same issue as I did: deciding that he’s now going to bring his own bag to buy his groceries, he starts looking for one of those weird net bags (he mentions that it’s French. I’m French and I have never seen anyone shop with them here. Weird. Might be like French dressing made of mayo and ketchup. Stop it.). Then he remembers that he has perfectly good bags in his appartment and that he doesn’t need to buy a new one.

Our first impulse when we need something – or think that we need something – is to buy. And with the zero waste being trendy right now, there’s a huge market for products that promise to help us reach a more sustainable way of life. But we must keep in mind that not buying new stuff is the most sustainable that we can do. When we need something, chances are that we have it already – or something close enough that will do the job just as well. And if not, then someone else has it and doesn’t want it. They’ll donate it or maybe sell it to you for a few bucks.

The stuff you are looking for probably already exists somewhere. It might even be in your own home. Buying new should be a last resort, not a first reflex. Let’s change our habits!!

Low-waste recipes and DIY · Non classé

Cut-off jeans, despair and eco-anxiety

A few weeks ago, I decided to cut off a pair of jeans. It’s a kid’s pair of jeans. I bought it second-hand years ago. My oldest wore it, and my youngest. It still fits her, but it had holes at the knees that I couldn’t possibly repair and that my daughter wasn’t very happy with (she’s too young to be into grunge clothes. Is that still a thing anyway??).

So I made shorts out of them. Simply cut them off just above the holes, folded them twice and back-stitched the hem with a contrasting (and daughter requested) pink thread. My daughter was pretty happy with them, and I was as well.

Refashion cut-off jeans
Holey jeans to cute shorts!

A little act of resistance in this crazy world, I thought!

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