REUSE, RECYCLE, UPCYCLE…. Same thing?
We try to think it into daily routines, talking about some of them in the following post; a mix of recycling in the KITCHEN, BATHROOM, GARDEN etc........ – BUT we must highlight our number 1 recycle/upcycle members of the family: the hens!!! Fantastic – they happily receive and eat all kinds of leftovers from the kitchen and “upcycle” it to wonderful fresh organic eggs….!
... and for a few more of our routines on the subject:
Thinking on how to minimise food waste, one thing is also to at least REUSE/"double-use" the foods before they go into the compost;
Welcoming the strawberry season with buying loads of them right now.
REUSE: The leaves and the steem of the strawberries have a lot of flavour; after eating the actual berry, wash well what is left (maybe the very “end” of the berry, if there is anything left, leaves and the steem) put it all into a glass – we like it together with a piece of ginger – fill up with water (I like to use lukewarm water from boiled water) and leave in for 1-4 hours. Then pour it through a strainer and you'll have a tasty strawberry lemonade! Now the rest goes in the compost - or to the hens!
LEMON as fabric softener:
It has been some 10 years now since I stopped using fabric softener in my laundry and some years ago I discovered how useful the peel of lemons are when added into a load of laundry.
I save all our lemon peels, but them into a small cotton bag (1-2 lemons per laundry) and put the bag in with the clothes. It makes the clothes a little softer and leaves a lovely fresh odour on them. I normally only wash at 30 degrees and once a week at 60 degrees, so my experience is only with laundry at that temperature!
I also sometimes use a lemon peel in the dishwasher, adding a nice odour! And I'm sure lemon peels have many other uses.
COFFEE GROUNDS against smelly foods:
I made a post some time ago on how we make zerowaste coffee and just want to add an extra use for the coffee grounds:
REUSE; we – still – drink a lot of coffee…. and before we add the coffee grounds to the compost I sometimes also use it for rubbing onto a wooden cutting board or on my hands, before washing them, after having cut foods that often leaves a strong smell for example: garlic, onion, lemon etc…. it will minimise the strong smell and then the coffee grounds goes into the compost!
We almost always eat our artichokes this way:
Wash an artichoke well, chop off the base of the vegetable, cut it into half (this will add more of the inside of the artichoke in the water) and let it boil on high heat for about 20 to 30 minutes. Reduce the heat and let the vegetable stay in the water until you are ready to eat it or for about half an hour.
REUSE the artichoke water; You can drink it like a lukewarm tea – adding a teaspoon of honey if you like or add more water to get a lighter taste and leave the rest in the fridge and drink one glass each day for the next 2 - 3 days (that would be the time it is ok to store in the fridge).
This is among other things very beneficial for the skin and as a detox for the liver.
Sometimes I also just bring a jar of the leftover water to the bathroom to splash it on the face in the morning, very refreshing and beneficial for the skin.
GARDEN waste to lit up the chimney or a bonfire
Cutting greens in the garden can result in quite a lot of waste….. but green waste and it really makes us sad to see compostable waste from gardens being packed in plastic bags….!! Every day we see new plastic bags full of green garden waste piling up around the trash containers or just along the streets of our daily route to school, but really.... compostable waste in plastic bags!!!!!
I like to think that many people doesn’t have a choice….. due to the rules of the whole waste/rubbish processes in each area, but we found our way around it:
We add as much garden waste as possible into our compost, but for the rest that might not be as suitable for compost – for example roses (they pinch!), or leaves and thicker sticks we cut them into smaller pieces and fill it into paper bags, leave them dry for some days/ weeks/months (depending on your climate) and we use them during fall/winter to light up the chimney….. then we also avoid using artificial plastic packed starter-tablets.
RECYCLE: mineral water with gas.
We love bobbles in the water sometimes! We never buy soft drinks of any kind, but we still like the bobbles which we get from our waterkefir or kombucha drinks. They taste even better and lasts longer with extra carbonized water.
When buying mineral water you will also create a lot of plastic waste from the bottles – apart from the hard work to carry all these bottles from shop to home!
Some years ago we bought a machine to make sparkling water (in this case a Sodastream) and since we have lovely tap water we can always make carbonized water at home in a zerowaste way. We have several cylinders and only refill them once a year; cylinders which are recycled and gives 60 litres of mineral water per cylinder.
If we add flavour to mineral water we use for example:
Leaves from mint or Melissa
The strawberry lemonade mentioned in this post
... or making something into something else....!
OLD SHIRTS as substitute for paper towels and handkerchiefs.
Old shirts from children, women and men, also skirts or dresses….. the typical light weight cotton works great as substitute for paper towels or handkerchief. Thicker cotton from for example old table cloths could be made into fabric napkins.
UPCYCLE: Cut the old clothes into squares in the size you like and sew the borders or if you don’t want to sew, just cut them with zig zag scissors and you have them ready to bring along in your bag (the thin cotton) or to use at any meal as napkins (the thick cotton)
OLD TOWELS and other clothes to substitute cotton pads
Cotton pads are useful for cleaning the face and many other things. Instead of buying cotton pads wrapped in plastic and having to throw them away after every use, make your own reuseable ones.
UPCYCLE: old towels, sweat pants, sweat shirts etc. can be upcycled to reusable pads, just cut in the size you want, zig zag the borders to get your reusable cotton pads.
SHOPPING bag from an old T-shirt:
Before handing over your old clothes to NGO or friends, you could upcycle one or two T-shirts – maybe the ones with holes under the arms etc. – to tote bags:
UPCYCLE: Cut off the arms to a tank top like shirt and zig zag or sew the border of the arm holes. Lay it inside out and sew together the bottom (the other end of the t-shirt) – then you have a useful cotton bag to keep in your bag ready for any kind of shopping then you do not have to buy plastic bags.
KITCHEN CLOTHS from old knitted cotton clothes:
I have long ago substituted all my “yellow” kitchen cloths (the ones that might contain microplastic) with my own knitted organic cotton cloths (see earlier blogpost with two knitting patterns for kitchen cloths) – or upcycle old knitted cotton clothes to kitchen cloths!
UPCYCLE: Cut as many squares (in the size you like your kitchen clots to be) from old blouses, cardigan etc. On your sewing machine – or ask someone with a sewing machine – to zig zag all the borders once or twice depending on the length of the stitches and then your reusable cotton kitchen cloths are made! If you use a thin knitted cotton maybe you want to sew two squares together.
REDUCE – here referring to reducing the amount of packaging:
Bring your own packaging when shopping is a great way of zerowaste shopping, but not everywhere you will find places where you can buy “unpacked”, so I also try to buy as much in bulk as possible to reduce packaging and we try use what is bought in bulk for as many daily routines as possible.
Just a few ideas to mention is:
OIL – sunflower, coconut, olive or other oils. We use a lot of different vegetable oils in the kitchen and I try to buy the oils in 2 or 5 litre bottles cause then I have both for cooking and also for face oils, which minimizes the amount of plastic bottles in the bathroom and with the right storage adapted to each oil the shelf-life is long.
Oil cleansing for the face: For years I have only used oil cleansing of the face. I fill up a metal box with olive oil from the kitchen (and we are even so lucky to know the olive oil farmer so I get it directly from the farm) and keep the box in my bathroom where I use it daily for cleaning the skin – and the kids use this, or avocado or almond oil, at night to hydrate their skin. I normally just wipe it around my face with a homemade cotton pad, then lukewarm water and sometimes skin tonic before hydrating with a homemade oil serum.
If I have more time I will follow the procedure described here: https://wellnessmama.com/7569/oil-cleansing-method/
A good idea is to try different oils to find out which ones suits your skin best.
Skin tonic: I buy apple cider vinegar by the litre and have it stored in the kitchen (I use it a lot for adding to muffins, to slow cooking dishes, making bone broth etc.) Having the APV at hand I make my own skin tonic from 1 part APV mixed with 3 parts water (boiled and cooled) adding a few drops of lavender oil for the smell and then I have it in a glass spray bottle in the bathroom. When you first make it you should try smaller amount and different ratios, to find out which ratio suits your skin the best.