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Letting go of a trashy life – Zero Waste Tip for November – Toothpaste

I searched for ways to upcycle toothpaste tubes and honestly, I wouldn’t waste the time.
So, finish that tube, wrestle the hard plastic under the nozzle with scissors and shove it into that ecobric of enlightenment.

From now on, you can make your own toothpaste for next to nothing and without all those nasty chemicals that you haven’t heard of.

Mix 3 tablespoons of coconut oil, 3 tablespoons of sodium bicarbonate (bicarb/baking soda) and you are ready to go.

Spoon a pea size onto your toothbrush and brush, brush brush.

If you want to go easy on the flavour, add some stevia and peppermint oil drops. For more recipes, click here

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ZERO WASTE TIP OF THE MONTH – The Odd Sock

THE ODD SOCK

If you are reading this then you can probably think of a few uses for that odd sock before retiring it to either the ecobric (if it’s made of polyester) or to the compost bin if it is made from natural fibres. The obvious way is to use it as a rag for cleaning.

There are so many uses but my favourite are:

Collect silica sachets from all your empty pill boxes and put them in old sock. Leave it on your dashboard to stop it from fogging up in the winter.

They are great for protecting things in storage: e.g golf clubs, safety glasses, sunglasses, shoes, tennis balls (or any small balls), breakables, game pieces and so on.

Cut them up and stick them to the bottom of furniture legs to use them to protect your floors.

Put the odd sock over your vacuum nozzle to get small bolts and jewelry that may get lost in cracks and keyboards.

Make a small heat bag for you, your loved ones or pet. Simply fill with beans or rice and sew closed. A minute in the microwave and you have someting to keep the bed warm. Sew two together and you can drape it around your neck or place anywhere to ease tension and encourage healing.

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ZERO WASTE TIP OF THE MONTH – 5 Litre Plastic Bottle

5 litre plastic bottle

HOW I ENDED UP WITH A BUNCH OF 5 LITRE PLASTIC BOTTLES…

I was stockpiling water in 5 litre plastic containers when day zero was imminent. I was afraid that we would be left high and dry when and if the taps were switched off. Now that I have large rain tanks collecting our storm water, these bottles are just taking up space. I am hesistant to drop them off for recycling so researched ways to upcycle them.

There are quite a few innovative ideas hence I decided to post the pictures I found rather than explain one idea, step by step. These are easy projects to complete as you can see from the pictures. The websites, with more information, are included in some of the pictures.

Have fun and please share your upcylce ideas with us 🙂

Upcycling a 5 litre plastic bottle
Peg holder

 

Shopping basket
A Basket
shoe organizer
Shoe organiser

 

Lamp
Making a lamp with plastic spoons

 

Upcycling plastic spoons
Plastic Spoon Lamp

 

Toiletry bags
Toiletry bags

 

Beach Bag from plastic bottles
Beach Bag

 

Beach Bag from rope and plastic bottles

 

 

Swan containers for plants
Swan containers for plants

 

Carry Bag from plastic bottles
Carry Bag from plastic bottles
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ZERO WASTE TIP OF THE MONTH – Wine Corks

UPCYCLING WINE CORKS AND PICTURE FRAMES

Corks are biodegradable but surely they can have a greater purpose rather than just going into the compost bin or sawdust eco toilet. I was absolutely right. They can be made into many things, one of them being a cork board to stick up notices, shopping lists,goals, bills and reminders.

You can use an old picture frame where the glass has been broken or you can make your own.

What you will need:

A glue gun with glue or glue applied using a brush or squeeze bottle
A collection of used old wine corks saved after parties, braais, get togethers and restuarant outings 🙂
An old picture frame where the glass broke or a frame made from pieces of wood bought from the hardware store or salvaged from an old building site or your community
Clear finishing coat.
Paint (optional)
Serated knife to cut corks

Some Tips

The wine smell on the cork will fade with time but if it bothers you, you can soak them in 10:1 water and vinegar solution and leave out to dry or you can leave them in the sun for a day.
If some of the corks have loose ends from corkscrews, you can break them off or cut them with a serated knife so they have a clean finish.

HOW TO MAKE THE CORKBOARD

If you don’t have an old picture frame, you can buy plywood or pine or any sustainable wood from the hardware store. If you know your neighbours or community, you can find old scraps of wood to use instead of buying wood. You will need to make the backing to a square or retangle size of your choice. Cut the wood to fit around the backing as a frame and join together with wood glue. Use clamps or weights to help the pieces stick together and for the glue to set overnight.

You can paint or varnish the frame for it to suit your current decor but this is optional.

Pick a pattern for your cork board. You can use our pictures to inspire you 🙂

Glue the corks onto the backing in the pattern you desire. You can cut the corks to fit along the edging of the frame.

Spray the frame with a clear varnish/epoxy/paint to create a finished look (optional)
You are now ready to hang your corkboard.

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BREAK FREE FROM PLASTIC

Save the world from plastic

HISTORY OF PLASTIC

Plastic has been around since the late eighteen hundreds and these invented substances have been called plastics because of their plasticity. Plasticity means that these materials can be molded and stretched into something. It is an ambitious task to research and study plastics. Instead of baffling you with poly this and poly that and academic level science talk, I decided to give you some background to plastics in the form of compelling videos.

These videos will give you a brief history, and tell you how they are made and also what happens to plastic in various situations.  I attached the videos because they are far more appealing to what I could write, which may send you into a glassy-eyed slumber of boredom.

MORE HISTORY AND HOW PLASTIC IS MADE

 

 

HOW TO AVOID PLASTIC

Now you know what plastic is and that we should avoid it. I can’t help but feel proud to say that we retired our kitchen rubbish bin. Yes, there is no rubbish bin in our home. There are other things though, like ecobricks and recycling containers, and I am happy to share some tips, tricks and solutions to help you on your journey to deplastify your life!

Avoiding plastic
Deplastify your life

This lovely picture is great head start. I suggest printing it and sticking it on the fridge or where you will see it often. It’s also a good idea to take a snapshot and save it as your phone’s background for a while until you get the hang of it.

 

JOINING THE MOVEMENT AND DOING YOUR PART

More information can be found from Plastic Free July.
Another link to  more information can be found here from Two Oceans Aquarium who have launched the #ReThinkTheBag Campaign.
Let’s do It are going global on cleaning up the planet on World Clean Up Day on the 15th of September. Download their World Clean Up Day App to map polluted hot spots and add to their world wide data. This data will aid communities to pick places to clean on World Clean Up Day.

SUCCESSFUL PLACES THAT HAVE BANNED PLASTIC BAGS

Did you know that Greyton in South Africa has gone plastic bag free? They are officially the first and most noteworthy town in South Africa to ban the plastic bag. Whoop whoop Greyton!

Who else have done this?
Bangladesh (March 2002)
Taiwan (January 2003)
Bhutan (June 2005)
Tanzania (2006)
San Francisco (March 2007)
China (January 2008)
Delhi (January 2009)
Mumbai (January 2010)
Maldives-Baa Atoll (2009)
Philippines (January 2011)
Italy (January 2011)
United Arab Emirates (January 2012/13)

There is a petition to ban the plastic bag in South Africa fir the reason that many South Africans don’t discard plastic properly. Add your name to this petition by clicking here.

A #BreakFreeFromPlastic Campaign has been launched by Greenpeace because plastic has such a negative impact on the environment. Their Cape Town volunteer group are looking for more volunteers to help them raise consumer awareness and clean the Black River. To step up as a volunteer, you can email info@unicorncafe.co.za. Communal service is a great way to gain experience and knowledge because you learn so much from working with different people and implementing projects. If you are looking for a job or want to build your CV, adding community work is attractive to the employer because it shows that you are a team player and care about social or environmental issues. Doing community work certainly also shows that you have initiative and a ‘can do’ attitude which puts you above other applicants. To find out more about why volunteering and community service helps you, click here.

Finally, ecobricking is a great way to contain plastic that you cannot avoid. Click here for more information.

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Zero Waste Tip for June 2018

zero waste
MAKING BIODEGRADABLE WET WIPES

A very special lady, Avril Powrie, shared this marveloous recipe for making your own wet wipes.

What you will need:
A rol of kitchen paper towels cut in half
200ml boiled water that has cooled down
1 teaspoon biodegradable shower gel
2 teaspoons aloe vera juice
1 teaspoon almond/grapeseed/olive oil
5 drops tea tree oil
5 drops of essential oil of your choice
1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar

Use a container that will fit the roll comfortabley – a 1 litre yoghurt container works.
Mix all the ingredients in the container, then insert the cut in half paper towel roll.
Invert for a few minutes until everything is soaked through
Open and extract the cardboard core and voila! you have home made wetwipes without the plastic in the fibres.
Cut an X in the lid and pull the roll from the inside out through the x cutting
Feel free to play around with your own ingredients to find out what suits you.

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REPLACING SINGLE USE PLASTICS WITH REUSABLE BAGS

zero waste

Those bags that we can conveniently tear off a roll at the grocery store to weigh our fruit and vegetables in, is called single use plastic. This means that this plastic cannot be recycled and if it breaks, it cannot be used for anything else apart from filling an eco brick.
If you think of all the single use plastic that South Africans use every year, it seems to add up to quite a lot. Now think about how many people around the world use single use plastic and how much plastic that would be in a whole year. I find it quite a scary thought.

Unicorn Cafe supplies bags to use over and over again when buying fruit and vegetables in the grocery store. They are called fresh bags and can be found here.

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