Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Happy landings

The Worn Again bag has arrived - hurrah! I mention it again not to gloat (not much :), but because the sum-total of the packaging is as follows:
  • a plain re-usable cotton shopping bag, with my address written directly on it
  • some brown parcel tape
  • a paper Worn Again label
  • Royal Mail labels for postage, Signed For delivery, and Local Collect
Inside, the bag and...
  • an order/packaging note (just paper, no fancy returns labels or anything)
  • a paper Worn Again Virgin label (feels recycled) tied on with raffia string
  • a flyer (also feels like recycled paper) about TheNag and AntiApathy climate change action websites
How cool is that? Kudos to Worn Again for showing other companies how it can be done.

I would have actually had it on Friday but I wasn't in to take the parcel - that's phenomenally fast delivery considering I ordered it on Thursday afternoon! I had to have it redelivered to the post office near my workplace, and the unusual packaging was also noted by the counter guy (even if he did just say "I dunno why they put it in that... er... webbing stuff").

I will have to put decoration of the bag on my to-do list, since I'd like to cover up my address! Time to talk to my friend Lizzie about fabric scraps I think :)

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Come fly with me

Just a quickie - I have had my eye on these recycled bags for a few weeks, having read about them over on Inhabitat. I browsed over there today to find they have 30% off until the end of January!

Having invested in a laptop, I've been looking for a bag for it, and the Sherman is perfect. Made from recycled Virgin Atlantic aeroplane seat covers, seat belts, and bits of bicycle inner tube, this is a funky bag that should be hard-wearing - and it's a good example of creative re-use. A bit like Alex's cushions the other week! I'm really looking forward to getting it.

Bonus points to Worn Again for swiftly helping me to correct a mistake I made on the order (chose the wrong colour - d'oh). Good job I noticed as they are already processing it!

Thursday, 8 January 2009

The best laid plans...

I was polishing my halo last night. Having made the last lot of low-waste festive goodies, for presents at Christmas number 3 this weekend, I had 4 egg whites left over. There are already 4 in the freezer (bit of an experiment, not sure that will work but we'll see) so as the oven was on anyway I figured I'd make meringue.

Over to BBC Good Food for a recipe. Egg whites, sugar, whisk, easy. The meringues even keep well in a tin, or will freeze. Excellent.

I glossed over the instruction "Line 2 baking sheets with Bake-O-Glide non-stick liner or parchment paper (meringue can stick on greaseproof paper and foil)." - I don't have Bake-O-Glide (whatever that might be) or parchment, just good old greaseproof. Besides, I'm standing here with a bowl of meringue mix, it's now 9:30pm, the cooking time is 1h45, and I just need to get on.

Big mistake. I now have a large pavlova-size meringue with a resolutely unpeelable papery bottom. Forget superglue, next time you need to weld something, use egg white and sugar. Bah. I'm going to peel the crunchy bits off the top and save them for a pudding, but everyone knows the gooey middle bits (completely 100% stuck to the paper) are the best. In the bin they go.

So, if there are any other egg white recipes out there, I'd love to hear them. Until I find something less prone to disaster (or invest in some Bake-O-Glide or maybe rice paper), I'm just going to have to find biscuit recipes that don't demand only yolks. Very inconsiderate of chickens not to lay them separately, I say.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

That was Christmas...

As the waste blog world is summarising its collective Christmases, I thought I would join in!

We had a pretty low-key Christmas, thinking we would try it at home on our own this year - it was nice, although the family visiting season is now much extended into January. I'm not counting those as Christmas (is that cheating? :)

Our tree is plastic (gasp) but was bought back in hubby's bachelor days and therefore nothing to do with me :) It's decent quality, and will see us through several more years, so I think for now we'll leave the pine needles on the trees in the woods, and not on our carpet. We splashed out on decorations and bought 2 (count 'em) new baubles, loose, which were wrapped in tissue paper. What we didn't do was put our unwanted old decorations on Freecycle - next year!

Pressies given were mainly home baked goodies (gingerbread and shortbread) in cardboard gift boxes. There was barely any non-recyclable waste apart from some butter wrappers and a sugar bag. I chose to use greaseproof paper when packing them, to avoid greasy marks on the gift boxes and make them reusable, but that itself can't be recycled. Choices! We also gave some charity gifts from Good Gifts, gift vouchers, and books.

We'd asked for no pressies, still got a few but they were remarkably good on the whole and included a pretty tin with home made fudge (yum!) and a large Toblerone with cardboard and foil packaging (well thought out, Alex!). Other things like silicone bakeware, a running top and some books all had minimal or no packaging, mostly cardboard. However, special mention has to go to the best and worst packaged items:
  • Best: six bottles of good beer from my brother, in a re-used cardboard box, packed with recycled brown paper packing. A consumable present in fully recyclable packaging and wrapping! Bonus points for delivering it in a reusable hessian bag.
  • Worst: sad to say it was a Hotel Chocolat Dark Chocolate Immersion box from hubby. Six tablets each of six types of plain chocolate... all individually wrapped in plastic, held in a plastic tray, in a cardboard box that was wrapped in film. (Note that the packaging is not fully shown on the website...)
I do appreciate that the flavour is the key with the chocolate (the box came with tasting notes) and so you wouldn't want the types affecting each other - there were ginger, orange and chilli flavours as well as three types of "just chocolate". And the chocolate is absolutely heavenly (yes, there is some left! On twelfth night!). But it is a little bit of a shame to see so much packaging and I have to confess to a brief twinge of disappointment on seeing it (the packaging, not the chocolate). Now that sounds rather mean, and I have to stress that it's no reflection whatsoever on the giver - the scale of packaging simply wasn't apparent until opening. And I suppose if anything I am even more determined to savour and enjoy the contents so that the packaging was not in vain ;)

Food was also a reasonable success. All the fruit and veg came from the greengrocer in paper bags or no bags at all. We visited another local butcher for all our meat, and so there was a small amount of thin plastic waste but no trays or other packaging. We bought a turkey crown and boned ham, so there was minimal food waste there - in fact minimal food waste overall. I didn't get around to making mince pies or bread, so we bought those and a few other sweet and treat bits, and therefore had a few bits of plastic to deal with.

I haven't weighed it all but in a qualitative sense I feel like it's not a bad showing. A bit more planning next year and I'll get those mince pies and snacks sorted too :)