Plastic Free July 2018

Next month it’s Plastic Free July, and I’ve decided to join the challenge.  Ever since I started this blog (and perhaps even a little longer) I’ve been trying to make small steps towards a more sustainable way of living. I’ve blogged about it on and off, and have tried to bring about some changes in this household of ours.

One of the things I’ve been struggling with is the amount of plastic that enters our household; trying to find ways to reduce the amount of single use plastics in our home, and searching for practical alternatives.  For example, we all use our refillable Dopper bottles on a daily basis,  I avoid buying coffee on train stations, unless I bring my own thermos. And on the rare occasion I do buy a coffee to go, it’s in a paper cup, without the plastic lid ( which always leaves me a bit anxious of bumping into people on the platform though). But there’s still lots of improvement to be made.

Joining a world wide challenge to avoid single use plastic for a month is a great way to be inspired and to figure out new ways of avoiding plastic and reducing the amount of (plastic) waste we produce.

Plastic Free July started in 2011 as a local Australian initiative. Today, millions of participants worldwide avoid take part. Ofcourse, the intention is to not just skip single use plastics for a month and then to fall back into old habits. I hope this month will bring lots of inspiration, new ideas and good new habits. Hopefully we’ll be able to structurally reduce our plastic waste from now on.

Still, if it were that easy, avoiding single use plastics wouldn’t even be an issue. So, how to get through this challenge?

  • Take small steps and don’t be too hard on yourself
  • Be inspired by others: register on Plastic Free July and benefit from all the useful information you can find on their website
  • Be part of a (online) community. For example, start following the hashtag #plasticfreejuly on Instagram to come across lots of inspiring accounts: motivate each other

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One of the projects I’ll be working on this month, is to replace empty soap and shampoo bottles by solid, plastic free alternatives. There are quite some alternatives available, although it did take a little search, trial and error.

I found shampoo bars at Leven Zonder Afval and Lush, and still have a large piece of Aleppo soap, which I once brought along from Turkey (I remember how, in the village where I spent many months in my early twenties, we used this soap for everything, from washing our hair, to our clothes and even our dishes. See…..it can be done…why not here in an urban Dutch environment?)

It’ll be a little challenge to get the kids to work with me. 3 (almost) teenagers with their own beauty routines and outspoken opinions on what is ‘normal’ and what is not… atleast they all fell in love with the Lavender handsoap in the kitchen.

 

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Over the coming weeks I’ll try to post some updates on our plastic free adventure. Will you join in too?

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“No fuss” Mothers day

A cup of tea, an apple and a banana, served as ‘breakfast in bed’ at 7 am.

Handmade little gifts and  a crushed chocolate heart we shared together.

Sweet notes found at random places throughout the house.

Sisterly quarrels, as usual. Today is just another day.

Sunshine, kids playing out in the park.

Two bruised knees, one torn pair of pants. Red cheeks and shiny eyes.

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Time to read a while, Dave Eggers “Heroes of the Frontier” it is.

Daydreaming a little of packing up my bunch and travelling through Alaska in a Camper too.

Early dinner, kids helped to clean up and ran off to play some more in the evening sun.

Not so bad, not so bad at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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…..

 

 

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!

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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.

After the rain…… counting my blessings

we’re living in an apartment that seems to shrink with every passing year. The bigger the girls get, the bigger their need for a space of their own, and the more I sometimes long for a bigger house.

But then again, whenever I look out of my window I have to pinch myself: is this true? : living in a city in the most populated part of the country, in a hugh apartment building…and yet… this is our backyard…….

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Today when the sun came out after a long and rainy Saturday, I went for a walk in our ‘backyard’ and took some random pictures of all the green that was surrounding me. I am particularly in love with the cow parsley that grows in abundance at this time of the year.

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No, we won’t move away easily from here… we’ll make do with the lack of space inside for now, and try to venture out as often as we can.