Happy Environmentally-Friendly New Year!

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Hello and Happy New Year from the Daily Grapefruit! It’s been a whirlwind festive season with far too much food and family.

But we’re over that now. Welcome to January! I realise I’m a few days late. I’ve been recovering from overconsumption of my favourites: latkes, zuccotto, stuffing balls and Doctor Who Christmas Specials (I’ll send you the recipes later) but there’s still time to make some New Year’s resolutions.

With six months to prepare, this year’s Plastic Free July is going to kick some serious arse. But why wait for July? Here are five environmentally-friendly New Year’s resolutions to get this year off to a great start.

(1) Try Veganuary
OK, so you’ve missed the first four days. No big deal. Did you know that dairy production uses a shit tonne of fossil fuels? Eating a plant-based diet can help reduce your impact on the environment and it can be healthy too. Just make sure you still eat a balanced diet with all your vitamins and minerals. Don’t get lazy and eat nothing but peanut butter toast for thirty days. That would be very not good. Just saying.

(2) Read. Share. Read some more
Want to read more in 2017? Why not join your local library or start your own book exchange with friends? You might even find a Little Free Library in your neighbourhood. If you are tied to the house/office and can’t get out, you could always order second-hand books online and have them delivered. Try somewhere like Brotherhood Books.

Don’t become a book hoarder like me – when you’re done donate them, pass them on to friends or leave them on the train for strangers to read. Spread the literature love ♡.

(3) Flour + eggs = pasta
Look, I eat a lot of pasta, right? In fact, it’s pretty much the only thing I cook at home. Every 500g of pasta comes in its own little bag from the supermarket. Over the course of a year, that’s a lot of plastic packaging.

OK, I realise these days you can buy expensive pasta in bulk from the wholefoods store. But for the financially bereft amongst us, why not crank out the old flour and egg method. Cut the dough into lasagne or pappardelle by hand or use a pasta machine to get your fettuccine or spaghetti.

At first, you might come up with a doughy, sticky mess. But once you get the hang of it, it’s quite meditative actually. My mum can pump out fresh pasta in the time it takes the water to boil. But she’s a genius. Allow an hour for your first time and work up from there.

(4) Totally broke + no talent = fresh herbs for free!
This one doesn’t need much money, time, space or talent, so it’s ideal for someone like me! I’m currently growing rosemary cuttings in the stairwell of our apartment building (it’s an outdoor stairwell).

I just chopped off some sprigs of a rosemary plant and put them in a glass of water till they grew roots (cost = $0). Then I potted them in some soil enriched with food scraps (soil taken from a family-member’s garden, food scraps from our kitchen, pot scrounged from the side of the road = $0).

If they die, I’ve got nothing to lose. If they live, I’ve got rosemary for my cooking.

(5) Go for long walks
There’s nothing healthier than a long walk by the river, along the shoreline or under the trees. Date night? Go for a walk. Catching up with a friend? Go for a walk. Need a moment of peace and quiet? Go for a walk. It costs nothing – for you or the environment. In fact, walking in nature releases stress, leads to great conversations and gets your lungs full of clean air. Win. Do it every day and you’ll see what I mean.

With those ideas up your sleeve, go on and make this year your best yet! Here’s to a low-impact, high-powered 2017!

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Indoor picnic spots in Melbourne

Hi there! I drafted this post a while ago when the weather in Melbourne was bad. Now the sun’s come out, you might find you need an air-conditioned picnic on those 40 degree days.

OK, so here’s what I’ve been thinking. Let’s say you’re in the CBD and it’s raining. You’ve packed a delicious lunch. What do you do now? You could bust out your waterproof pants and parka while water droplets soak into your sandwich. Or, if you’re me, you could go to a café and buy a coffee for $4 (right now that’s half my fruit and veg budget for the week.) After the coffee, maybe you’re still feeling hungry. Should you stay at the cafe, eating into your ‘rainy day’ money, literally, or should you move on in the bad weather?

Your bank account tells you splashing the cash on solo dining might not be the smartest move. But it’s still raining. Where can you eat your sandwich?

Well, since you asked, I made you this map. These are under-cover places where, with a bit of luck, you can hide out and eat your lunch in peace.  

 

Now, some food courts are fancy and they might not take kindly to indoor picnics, but I reckon I’ve found a few where you can get away with nomming on a packed lunch and maybe even breaking out the old thermos. These are all pretty casual venues so I don’t think you’d get any sideways glances unless you spread out a full picnic rug and start popping champagne. Let me invite you to an indoor picnic. Give it a try.

 

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.

Rubbish

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!