Week 4: sustainable flying, really?

As I mentioned in my last post, we’re going to Norway! The last few days of my Plastic Free July will be spent on a plane, in Oslo and on a bike somewhere between Oslo and Trondheim.

I’ve always felt a little bit guilty about my penchant for overseas holidays. But since starting this project, my internal sense of irony has grown to the point where it’s pushing against my forehead from the inside (like a dalek eye stalk). I. Am. A. Dilettante. There. I said it. I’m an environmental dilettante.

I’m not sure that’s what I want to be anymore.

Having said that, there are several good reasons to go to Norway, one of which is friends, the other of which is cycling. Yay!

Now, on to the sustainable, plastic-free whatsit …

Carbon offsets

The internets tell me that my return trip to Oslo will generate 6.478 tonnes of carbon emissions. That’s the size of a large-ish elephant. And that’s just for one passenger.

So, what do we do? Well, Carbon Neutral in Western Australia is conducting an accredited reforestation project. Businesses can purchase carbon offsets through their website. Since we have a small consulting business, we’ll be purchasing credits for our flight. Maybe it’ll help in some small way. Maybe it won’t. It’s a half-way house solution.

On the plane

Airline meals come with oodles of plastic. Then there are the headphones, blankets and all that jazz. How am I going to deal with that?

There’s no way to avoid airline food waste. A quick internet search tells me anything I don’t eat will probably get thrown in the bin. Nobody’s going to want my second-hand ‘Asian Vegetarian’ meal option.

I think I will enjoy my meal (if I can) and then recycle the plastic packaging in Norway. Seems a bit extreme but I’ll do it because, well, why shouldn’t I?

I think I can bring everything else I need, so I won’t be unwrapping any airline blankets.

in flight

My in-flight kit

I’ll be back with an update from Norway in a month. Plastic free July will be finished but I’m going to continue the sustainability journey here at the Daily Grapefruit, I just won’t be spamming Facebook quite as much. Over and out.


Panic Buying


OK, so I fly to Norway in a week and a day. This is confronting because:

  1. I won’t be earning any money while I’m over there.
  2. I don’t cope well with long haul flights. They give me no sleep and make my body turn against me in multiple ways. Oh, and they give me cankles (the cankles I can handle, the rest not so much).
  3. In Norway, I may possibly meet one of these Ghastly Arachnids of Doom … which means dealing with my not-so-mild phobia before I go.

So, yes, my mind has been melting these last few days. As a result:

  • I found myself in Coles buying discounted white capri pants that were two sizes too big. That’s right, I panic purchased cheap middle-aged mum-wear from a supermarket. Still not sure why.
  • I went to Hudsons today. Not only is Hudsons one of the worst places to get coffee in Melbourne, but they serve bad quiche. I bought a bad quiche, with a side serve of plastic cutlery and I sat alone eating it while planning a visit to Emporium. “Is there anything more hipster than that?” I hear you say. That’s right, I think my superego has melted. Beneath this counter-culture façade is a raging “normal”, just waiting to break out. Help me, I’m trapped in the body of a composting, meat-shunning cyclist!

Side note: I felt bad about the plastic cutlery, so I brought it home with me. I’m not sure that helps and it may technically count as hoarding. But I’m going to try and use it on the plane and then bin it when it inevitably breaks at some point during the trip.


Week 3 – An Amazing Transformation Occurs

What’s this? One minute I’m chucking vegetable scraps in the freezer to save ‘just in case’. Next minute, wait? Is that? Vegetable stock from scratch? Hello.


I totally mashed the edges of the photo. That is how much I can be bothered with life. And I still made vegetable stock.

This is the easiest, laziest thing to do on a Saturday afternoon when you can’t be arsed leaving the house.

  • Roughly chop some onion, carrot and garlic (& maybe celery if you have it – I didn’t)
  • Fry them in a big pot for a few minutes
  • Add a lot of water
  • Throw in some herbs like bay leaf, parsley and thyme (no need to chop)
  • Add your veggie scraps from the freezer if you have them
  • Cook for ages

I have never done this before.

The thyme in the stock is the same bunch I used a few weeks ago in my easy bean recipe. It keeps for ages in a glass of water, or even just in a dry glass on the windowsill.

I think Plastic Free July might be working some crazy magic on me. I actually enjoyed making the stock (for all five minutes of “active” making). I even went on to make potato and leek soup and vegetable curry. And I cleaned the kitchen. Something is very wrong with this picture.

This is tidy, by the way

29 Acacia Road, Dandytown

Such rubbish. Wow.

I just did a household rubbish audit (ew, gross). This is how much rubbish the two of us have generated for the past two weeks, after I filtered out the recyclables and the compost.


So many paper packages have plastic lining, making them hard to recycle

Basically, the big ticket items this week are:

  • “Paper” packaging that is lined with plastic e.g. the coffee bag, deli paper, the failed taleggio experiment and individual teabag wrappers and tags.
  • A roached old pillow case that we used for cleaning our bikes, which I then tried to use as a bin liner (now it’s all gross and rolled up inside the paper bag).

I was surprised how much organic material we are still reflexively throwing into landfill: things like breadcrumbs, teabags, paper bags, eggshells and orange peels all mysteriously ended up in our rubbish instead of feeding the bokashi monster. (We have a bokashi bin in the kitchen of our third floor apartment. Every couple of weeks, we empty it into the compost bin we installed on a patch of dirt in our car park downstairs.)

We were also throwing out a large amount of soft plastics, like cereal packets. These can be recycled through REDcycle.

All up, we have generated about 150 g of landfill per person in the last two weeks (that stupid pillow case is taking up most of the weight). We’ll see if we can beat that next time!




Lazy Honey and Ginger Tea


Today I’m fighting a nasty cold. It’s not something I’d usually go to the doctor for (not unless it gets bad anyway). But I might normally pop a few cold and flu tablets and rely on caffeine to keep me awake and get me through the day.

This time, I decided to look up a few more traditional cold and flu remedies. I found a “recipe” that even the most cold-addled person can prepare in two minutes – another advantage: no plastic!

  • Crawl out of bed (definitely the hardest part)
  • Boil the kettle
  • Roughly chop some Fresh ginger (about half the size of your pinky finger). You can eat the peel, or save it and make it into broth.
  • Put the ginger in a mug with the boiling water.
  • Add a teaspoon of honey.

Voilà, honey and ginger tea! Drink it while it’s hot and you can eat the ginger pieces at the end if you like. I did. It’s making me feel much better (temporarily at least).

Disclaimer: I’m not sure honey and ginger does anything medically, but staying hydrated is definitely important when you have a cold. I can’t taste anything at the moment. It just tastes tingly (from the ginger) and soothing (from the honey and steam).

Plastic-free milk? (Week 2)

bottle-841433_1920This week, I finally made it to La Latteria in Carlton. I parked my cyclocross bike out the front and stepped blithely over the threshold, red Ortlieb pannier in hand, ready to buy milk in returnable glass bottles.


As I rocked up to the fridge, full of optimism, I found all the glass bottles were gone. In their place was a sign in shaky capital letters that simply read: ‘milk in glass bottles – no returns’.

So I left. I just turned around and got the hell out of there. I laughed at myself for thinking I lived in a magical land where people would sterilise and re-use milk bottles.

The other person (the one I live with) and I put our heads together to see if we could figure out a solution but it was really tough. We even toyed with powdered milk which you can buy in tins. But the version we found turned out to have a plastic lid anyway. Until someone starts selling milk powder from bulk bins, or milk in returnable glass bottles, it seems reasonable to continue buying recyclable plastic. And I will continue to be sad.

Plastic: 1; Grapefruit: 0


Grocery Challenge (Week 1)


Today’s haul: pasta, bread, carrots, ginger, leek, broccoli, baker’s flour, toilet paper, three kinds of cheese, pasta sauce, dish washing liquid, coffee.

Hi peeps, look what I found! Most of it came from Piedimonte’s supermarket. Wild Things Grocer coughed up toilet paper, bulk flour and dish washing liquid (I brought the old milo tin and jar from home). The huge wheel of cheddar, coffee and large bread came from the old-school Italian deli on Miller Street in Fitzroy North. That old deli is the best. The bread is so cheap ($2.50!) and the coffee was reasonable at $7, freshly ground on the spot.

I found all this within a 15 minute walk from home. Hey, you pay more rent, you get to walk to places – gotta be some perks, right?

(Partial) success … bread, pasta and cheeeeeese

  • I brought a paper bag with me just in case. Ended up using it for some of the bread. No strange looks from check-out person. Excellent.
  • Margaret River cheddar is wax coated. What is wax anyway? Who knows?
  • Taleggio seems to be wrapped in paper. How is this possible? I will find out. It came all the way from Italy though. Boo. Many carbons. Poor choice.
  • Barilla fettuccine is just sitting in a cardboard box – no sneaky plastic inside. It’s much cheaper than the organic macrame version at Wild Things. Correct.

All the cheeses have stickers on them, but whatever. Also, the deli man felt obliged to give me unnecessary deli paper (which I discovered is plastic coated … whyyyy?)

I’m not at the stage of making my own tomato pasta sauce from scratch. Don’t even go there. I need to level-up before that can happen.

Happy no plastic month to my friends who are also having a go at this!