Books, books, books

I’ve always loved to read, and remember reading several books at a time as a teenager. Secretly reading novels during boring economics classes, and being totally lost in a book, wherever I was.

Now, with three kids and a busy job, I don’t always find time to read. However, there’s always a point when I start missing books too much, and pick up reading a again.  And well, currently I.am.reading. On the train, in bed way beyond bedtime, a book in my bag wherever I go, reading more to the kids before they go to bed, even listening to novels on Storytel while working out or washing the dishes.

But how green is reading. All that paper, all those trees? What’s better? An e-book or a paper book? I use both actually. I feel infinitely rich having a dozen unread books on my Ipad, but I do prefer the look and feel of actual paper books.

I did some research online to figure out what was better: paper books or e-books, and well, the answer isn’t always clear.

In general, it seems, reading e-books is better for the environment if you read a lot of books, if you use a device you already own and also use for other purposes ( like an Ipad), and if you use your device for a long period of time.

Paper books are increasingly printed on recycled paper or on paper with the FSC quality mark, and  the wood of which paper is made is after all a renewable resource. But still.

Anyway, here’s what I do to keep my reading as green as possible:

  • When reading e-books or listening to books, I use my Ipad, and I’ve had it for several years and many more to follow I hope.
  • I look for books, for myself and the kids at thriftstores. You’d be surprised how many beautiful and new-looking books you can find.
  • I share my books with family, friends, colleagues at work. Some books go round and round from one person to the other for months.
  • There are books I’ll always keep, but those I’ve read once and don’t wish to keep, I give away or sell online. Off they go, to a second life.
  • And then of course there is the library, where one single book can be enjoyed by many.
  • We also have two ‘Little Free Libraries’ in our neighborhood, where we occasionally bring some books, and find some ‘new’ ones to take home.

And well, not all my kids love reading as much as I do……….perhaps their lack of enthousiasm compensates a bit for my ‘book hunger’, and we’re all quite balanced after all 🙂

 

cs lewis
Source: siminiblocker.tumblr.com on Pinterest

 

 

Reduce plastic waste #2

Slowly slowly we are getting used to a different way of consuming. And slowly slowly the plastic pile is decreasing.

More and more I try to buy in bulk and make my own.

Really, once you’ve remembered to pour some water on your beans or chickpeas the night before and let ‘m soak, making your own burgers or falafel is hardly any more difficult than tearing open a package of ‘vegan burgers’.

And, promising the kids to make them popcorn once we get home after a trip sounds ( and probably is) a lot more cosy than proposing to open up a bag of crisps. And no, I don’t mean plastic wrapped microwave popcorn. I mean actual corn, bought in big packages, sprinkeled in a pan, and popped. Do you know a little handful of corn easily makes four servings? And a jar filled with corn, means about ten cosy snackmoments, popping corn?

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I’m  a happy person since I’ve discovered our local Turkish supermarket sells big big bags of basic products such as corn, rice and flour.

And I’m an even happier person since we’ve got our own pop up package free store in town. Here, you bring your own bags and jars, and fill ‘m up with mostly organic products. My daughter and I went here for the first time this week and filled up our jar with organic chickpeas and had a nice chat with the guy running this place. Hopefully this fall Leiden will finally have it’s own big, real, permanent package free store! So, lets start saving up our jars, and sew our own cotton bags ( to be continued!)

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Lately I’ve been experimenting with falafel and hummus recipes. Pinterest, and ‘blush’ videos on Youtube have been my rescue! why not give it a try too?

And if you have any succes recipes that include amaranth, let me know. That jar in the picture just doesn’t get emptier since I don’t really know what to do with it …..’blush’, again…..

 

 

Reduce plastic waste #1

Remember my new years resolutions? The plan for 2016 was to reduce the amount of plastic used in this household of ours.

If you are not collecting your plastic seperately, I recommend you start doing so. It really is an eye opener to see how much plastic one collects during a week, a month…..

we collect our plastic seperately and at the moment it’s enought to fill a plastic bag a week. I take this to the shopping centre to throw it away in a special container. But, collecting our plastics seperately so they can be recycled is one thing…. now it’s time to start reducing the amount of plastic that enters our household (and that wille leave it again eventually). But let’s do this step by step.

Step 1: try to avoid replacing plastics (and make your own stuff)

If I run out of something that’s packed in plastic..let’s see if there’s an alternative to replace it. Like, for example, deodorant. I ran out of my storebought, chemical, packed in plastic deodorant, and decided it was the perfect occasion to try and make my own, rather than running to the store to get myself a new one, in a new plastic container that would sooner or later be discarded.

I have heard many positive stories of home made deodorant, so, why not?

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I used a recipe I found on the blog Leven zonder afval ( living without waste).

All you need is a (re-used) glass container coconut oil, baking soda and corn starch (optional: glycerine and scented oil). I understood the glycerine helps to make it smoother, but since I didn’t have any, I skipped it.

All you need to do now is mix 4 table spoons of (soft) coconut oil with 3 table spoons of baking soda and 2 table spoons of corn starch, plus a few drops of your favorite scent if you wish. Stirr, well, store in your container and make sure you have clean hands, or a clean teaspoon every time you take some of this mixture out of the jar. You just need a small amount per armpit, so this little jar should get you quite far.

You can keep your deodorant in the bathroom, but on hot days,  it can turn quite liquid so you might want to store it in the fridge.

And PS: it works! It works really, really well.

now, let’s see which other steps we can take…….

 

 

Laundry adventures

I named my blog ‘this green adventure’ because I aim at giving our live a greener, more sustainable twist. Discovering new ways to do so is an ongoing challenge and an adventure.

Today, let’s talk laundry. In a household with 3 kids, the laundrypile is an ongoing nightmare…a never ending story.

Laundry detergent is used, well, quite a lot as you can imagine, and for some time I’ve been wanting to step away from the regular stuff sold in the local supermarket. So, I started using vinegar as a softener, and decided to make my own laundry detergent. I collected empty bottles to store my homemade detergent in, looked up recipes on the internet and.that.was.that. Somehow I never got round to actually making the stuff. Was this to be the end of a greener laundry pile?

Well, no. Luckily I discovered Seepje, a laundry detergent made of the shells of the Sapindus Mukorossi fruit. The Sapindus trees grow in abundance in the Himalaya area, and the organic shells sold by Seepje are harvested by local Nepalese farmers who receive a fair price for their produce.

The shells contain saponine, a natural soap which is released once the shells get in contact with water. You simply put some shells in a cotton bag and add it to your laundry in the machine. You can even use these when washing by hand, and each batch can be used up to three times. For an extra scent you can add a few drops of etherical oil. just pick your favorite smell!

seepje

There is also a  liquid version available which contains 70% sapindus shells, and is just as easy to use as your regular liquid detergent.

I am a big fan. I usually use the shells, and today I tried the liquid version for the first time. Probably not the last though!

Maybe one day I might still try making my own, but for now Seepje enables me to wash in a more sustainable way.

In The Netherlands, Seepje is available through the website and in stores like WAAR.

If you live outside The Netherlands, you can check at Seepje if one of the websites listed also ships outside The Netherlands. Or look for products containing Sapinus Mukorossi or ‘soapnuts’ near you.