26 February 2014
If your household resembles that of an average Australian household, food is the single largest component of your waste. In fact, chances are you are tossing up to 30% of the food you purchase; a staggering 315 kilograms per year at a total cost of over $1000!
Every time we throw out food we're not just wasting money. We're discarding the vast amounts of resources, energy and water that it took to produce, process, store, refrigerate, transport and cook the food. Rotting food in landfill gives off methane, a greenhouse gas that is particularly damaging to our environment. Quite literally, FOOD WASTE STINKS!
The good news is that you can become more mindful of the food you waste and be in a position where you can actively start to reduce it.
This month, Sustainababy is eco challenging you to Reduce Your Food Waste
for a chance to WIN
a Tupperware VentSmart prize pack.
The pack includes a VentSmart Everyday Set, VentSmart Large High Set and a VentSmart Small Set with a combined RRP of $235.
Keeping food fresh has never been so easy! The cleverly designed VentSmart range features a unique air control venting system which helps regulate the air inside the containers to prolong the life of your fruit and vegetables simply by adjusting the slide controls to close, open or half open. The containers also feature a unique deep channelled base to keep food away from condensation, and an illustrated food chart sticker so you'll never forget how to correctly store your produce.
The result? Optimal storage conditions for your vegetables and fruits which keeps them fresher for longer and reduces your food waste! I personally have been using these containers for 14 years and can testify to their outstanding performance and durability.
How you reduce your food waste this month is entirely up to you but may include:
- Planning your meals and shopping list
- Sticking to your shopping list
- Rotating food in your fridge, freezer and pantry to ensure you use older stock first
- Storing your food correctly to prolong its shelf life
- Smartening up your cooking skills and reusing ingredients and leftovers in the kitchen
- Reducing your portion sizes
- Giving waste another life.
Keen to do the Eco Challenge? This is what you’ll need to do:
- Request to join our closed Sustainababy Monthly Eco Challenge Facebook Group here. In this group you'll meet heaps of other like-minded ecoceptional mums doing the eco challenges who can help you along the way.
- For the month of March make an effort to reduce your food waste.
- If you'd like to be in the running for the Tupperware VentSmart prize pack, you will need to tell us how you reduced your food waste throughout March. You can either do this by (1) creating a video and posting the link on our Facebook page, (2) blogging about the Sustainababy March Food Waste Stinks on your personal Blog (and posting the link to our Facebook page) OR (3) emailing a short summary of your journey (500 words maximum) and supporting photographs with subject line "March Eco Challenge” to email@example.com before midday AEDST Wednesday 9th April 2014. Please ensure your summary is grammatically correct as the winning summary will be published word for word on the Sustainababy Blog.
The winner will be contacted by email and their summary will be published on our blog no later than 5pm AEDST Wednesday 16th April 2014. Sorry, our March Eco Challenge is only open to Australian residents.
11 February 2014
Cath Lousberg completed Sustainababy's January Endota Day Spa Eco Challenge to TAKE TIME OUT. This Eco challenge encouraged participants to consider where they come in the family wellbeing stakes and make an effort to put themselves first, at least once, during the month of January. By looking after themselves, ecoceptional mums are best placed to both parent and achieve their sustainable living goals without the risk of burnout. This is the story of Cath’s journey.............
The January Eco Challenge at first seemed like an open invitation to pamper myself, and although I think that all Mums are worth it, being on one family income and busy with a baby and a toddler, I was not able to visit the salon or spa. Instead, I took the challenge in a different direction and looked at how I could Take Time Out and set myself up to keep looking after myself.
Two children keep me on the move, but it is not the same as exercising for fitness. To Take Time Out, I have made a commitment to exercise every single day. This hasn’t meant a particular regime (and weeks of +40 degrees have forced me to be flexible), but there is nothing stopping me from doing a session of star jumps and stretches at 11pm if that is the first chance I’ve had for the day.
In terms of cash outlay, this commitment has cost a total of $200 for the season pool entry, a new pair of running shoes (that I will probably mainly use for walking), a decent sports bra and a pair of goggles. I found this to be cheaper than a monthly gym membership, not restricted to specific hours, and better for the flexibility I need to make sure I exercise. None of it left me feeling guilty, as even those runners have helped to remove one of my excuses for not exercising.
I realise that I am a lucky mother to have two children who sleep well. It is such a waste though if I do not, and the biggest reason for this is completely self-inflicted: I go to bed too late.
As part of the January Eco Challenge, I decided that I needed to focus on getting the sleep I need to keep me on my best game. My husband works long hours and enjoys the mind numbing familiarity of the TV. For a while, I have been fooling myself into believing that sitting down and watching with him was ‘together time’…it truly amazes me how successful we can be at believing our own stories. Realising this cycle has released me and I am happy to go to bed earlier.
With all the lifestyle ‘tweaks’ that I was implementing, I was still able to Take Time Out, by enjoying:
- Child free lap swimming, thanks in part to the fact that my youngest is just old enough to attend the crèche at the local recreation centre;
- Home pedicure – I know it doesn’t last as long or feel quite as good, but I sure enjoy having painted toenails;
- Lunch with friends once in the month and coffee every so often with other mothers and ex-colleagues;
- Family walks whenever the mercury has dropped to a reasonable temperature.
This month I have enjoyed Taking Time Out and I will definitely be doing more of it.
Congratulations Cath! It's great to see that you not only made an effort to Take Time Out during January but you've set yourself up to continue to make yourself a priority in the month's ahead. For your efforts you have won an Endota Day Spa Cocoon Gift Voucher valued at $120. This voucher can be redeemed in any Endota Spa across the country and includes a billabong foot bath, dry body brushing, warm oil cocoon, scalp massage and full body massaging. Enjoy!
If you would like to sponsor future Sustainababy Eco Challenges and introduce your product or brand to our large following of eco parents, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
6 February 2014
This guest post is written by Katie Butterworth, mum to gorgeous twins Bert and Pixie and blogger at Yummy Green Mummy. Katie shares with us her aspirations for a sustainable lifestyle and the extra challenges of eco-parenting twins!
We were over the moon when I became pregnant… it was such an exciting time for us. We then found out we were having twins and, mostly because there are no twins in either of our families, we were gob smacked!
I’d always considered myself “green” but there were many areas of my lifestyle I had yet to tackle, like a vegie patch and eco clothing. Once the twins were born however, I very much went on a mission to create the best possible life for them.
New from Old
Our excitement of expecting twins was soon accompanied with the realisation of just how expensive getting our home ready to welcome the twins would be. One cot to start with but we’d need two fairly quickly, two car seats, two high chairs, a double pram, a car that could accommodate a double pram, nappies, wipes, bottles - the list seemed never-ending! To not only help with finances, but also to be sustainable, we sourced as much as we could from online second hand sites and saved a tonne of money in the process.
I always hoped I could breastfeed, but the idea of feeding twins was daunting! I managed pretty well – though with a little help. We gave them bottle feeds too as I was so drained trying to keep up with the demand. When night feeding, my husband would also get up to help out, as I just couldn’t do it on my own - one would need burping while the other was still feeding, then that one would cry and vomit over the other one… it was a very complicated affair and because of this I didn’t really enjoy it as much as I wanted to. I dreamt of that one-on-one connection some women breastfeeding having with their babies but mine was mostly just exhausting! We used glass bottles initially as these are more eco-friendly than plastic, however switched to BPA-free plastic bottles once the twins started holding them themselves as the glass was too heavy.
Now this is a tricky subject for me… Before the kids were born, I bought a complete set of reusable cloth nappies, intending to use them from the start. Despite the twins being normal sized babies, it was clear the nappies were too big even on the smallest size. So I had to wait until they were a little bigger. Once they fitted into the nappies I then realised that the brand I bought just didn’t fit the twins well enough and frequently leaked. I reluctantly sold the nappies and went back to biodegradable disposable nappies. I have however found a brand of cloth nappies that works for them, and I use these when the kids are at home. This is still not my ideal and I wish I could say I use cloth nappies 100% of the time – but I can’t and that does sit uncomfortably on my shoulders.
I don’t know if we would have been different with just one baby, but we used mostly second hand clothes. Initially this was to save money but we soon realised the many other benefits.
You can get so many sweet items from car boot sales, the Salvos (charity shop), hand-me-downs, online selling sites. Of course we buy new as well but I try to buy from a market with local designers or from sites like Etsy with lots of handmade recycled kids clothing. The twins are now 22 months and are mucky and covered in food most of the day. I just don’t see any point in buying tonnes of nice clothes for them, as they get ruined quickly and you end up being too precious about them getting dirty, and where is the fun in that?
We live in a rented property so we’re unable to dig a vegie patch (which we desperately want to), however we have recently started growing our own herbs and fruit in tubs. It’s been such an amazing experience to have with the kids. They’ve helped us plant everything and had so much fun, they get covered in soil and compost, and love watering and weeding and smelling their hands after playing with the mint. Oh and they’re pretty good at pulling up newly-planted herbs, and bringing soil into the house, but that’s all part of what makes it fun, no?
Bath time is a very special time of day, as daddy is normally home - the bathroom is filled with squeals and laughter like it’s Christmas (and that’s just from my husband!). We have always used a natural hair and body wash, moisturizer and toothpaste on the kids, but recently we’ve stopped washing their hair - only rinsing it with water – and their hair is fine, neither greasy or smelly. Sure, it doesn’t smell of shampoo but it’s clean and without the help of chemicals. We might have to rethink this once their hair gets longer and knotted up more, but I’ll tackle that if and when it happens. I’ve also stopped shampooing my hair, and instead using bicarb soda to wash and apple cider vinegar to condition – this is working so well and my hair looks and feels great.
This is an important area for me; all kids need toys to grow and learn, play and imagine. It’s a beautiful moment when watching your child playing an imaginary game with their toys. We have tried to keep to a rule of second hand and eco friendly toys. I think if you start the kids off when they’re young having second hand toys, it won’t be a big deal when they are older and getting them for Christmas and birthdays. A lot of what the kids received for Christmas just passed was second hand, and they loved it all. This also meant we saved money and were able to buy them a fantastic wooden eco dolls house, equipped with solar panels, wind turbine, veggie patch, compost, recycling bins, water tank and a Bio-fuel car - it’s amazing!
Living a green way of life has required a bit of forethought, and probably more so since having kids regardless of whether we had twins or not. We do come up against challenges and are sometimes tempted to take the easy, less ethical route. When we look around our home at the old and eco, wooden and handmade toys and furniture, we feel quite proud to have made the effort.
Being a new mum is so tiring, we all have so much guilt on our shoulders about the smallest things, so adding to that with trying to live eco is difficult. I would say to any mum wanting to take this path, don't put pressure on your self - it can be a big step for people. Even if you change one small thing at a time that is more than you had before, and you should feel great about that! Lifestyle changes don't happen overnight, most of us don't have the time or money to just flip our lives around, but if you’re passionate about it, take your time and you'll get there.
Starting Yummy Green Mummy was a way for me to share my experiences with other mums, teach myself about products and develop ideas on green living. I’m excited at how fast our passion as a family for a green life is growing – watch this space!
Thank you so much Katie for sharing your eco-parenting journey and giving us a snapshot of life with twins. It sounds like you’re doing an ecoceptional job!
Does Katie’s story resonate with you? We’d love you to share your experiences of eco-parenting twins or young children close in age below.