Live Below the Line 2014 – Day 1

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So day 1 Friday March 28th, is done and even though I had to go on a road trip from Wicklow to Cork it was actually OK – nobody was injured or eaten!

Unfortunately my Internet connection is down so I can’t do a proper post until tomorrow morning, but I can let you all know that one tea bag does indeed service 3 cups of tea!!

Food wise I ate porridge and soup but I will say I ate over budget at dinner time – I had a family engagement and to save myself the embarrassment of losing the plot due to lack of food, I did have a very small piece of chicken with my plain rice! But in all honesty it was a piece of chicken thigh which when I do the math probably was OK. What I am going to do just to make myself feel better is add an extra day onto my 5 day Live Below The Line 2014.

There is a link to my Concern page herehere
Where all funds will be greatly appreciated as I am taking charge of all cash raised and buying animals for some needy families. Thank you to those who donated so far – you know who you are and I am very grateful to you…!

Give me hope – Green Johanna

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It is that time of the year again when the back yard compost bin produces the most lovely black compost fit for the most royal of my flowers and veggies. I was very lucky to receive a Green Johanna and Pet Pooh Loo from Great Green Systems as part of My Waste Free Home initiative where I am taking care of my own home’s waste on site.

My Waste Free Home means that I needed to find an environmentally friendly solution for all my house hold waste needs. Reducing my costs as I would be using my local recycling centers for the vast amount of items that can be recycled, so many more recyclable items can be recycled here that can go in your green waste collected by waste providers – saving stuff from landfills and reducing your house hold waste costs. At the moment I still have a bin for landfill but there is very little going in here. I hope to create a scheme where neighbours can share the cost and service of a bin for landfill as once you have your Waste Free Home implemented it runs very efficiently.

Food waste is a huge factor in everyone’s home, there is always stuff to throw out. For me the solution was to have a hot composter where everything from the kitchen could go and break down into my garden compost. Even meat and fish remains can safely be discarded – keeping your bins smell free!

The Green Johanna works amazingly well. I have mine since autumn last year (2013) and I put all of my food and garden waste into it throughout the winter. The result is some amazingly fresh smelling black compost that has been applied to my roses, rhubarb and worked into the soil. The compost must be turned regularly to keep it on track to break down more efficiently – something I need to do more of, it also give your body a good workout doing this!

It is a great feeling to be able to solve some of your own waste issues and the Green Johanna, in my opinion should be installed in every home. Having a composting system also helps children understand nature that little bit better, emptying the kitchen compost bin is also a great chore!

Happy composting everyone!! 🙂

 

It is ZERO Waste Week

Zero Waste Week

So, I was delighted to find out that yes there is a week dedicated to Zero Waste and it started yesterday 2nd of September and runs to 8th of September. Making a world of Zero waste deserves a week all to itself and if every house hold took part can you imagine the impact this would have??

As I am compiling my findings from my own Waste Free Home I am uncovering a few essentials that are needed within the home to really make it work:

  1. You have got to really WANT to save as much of your Trash from Landfill
  2. Your home needs to be organised with a well run kitchen – this really helps reduce food waste
  3. Your home recycling centre needs to be like that in an IKEA catalog – supper functional and organised – this makes it easy for the whole family to join in. I know that not everyone wants to do this so making it super easy is key.

Recipes – having a few easy and useful recipes that can be whipped up in a jiffy to salvage spoiled or left over foods are great. My top recipe that is fool-proof and tastes great as bread or muffins is Rachel Allen’s Banana Bread – HERE is the recipe. I always add an extra banana if I need to use them up – and I don’t fuss about the orange id I don’t have one handy.

I am realising that going old school in the kitchen and in the home really works. Even investing in Victorian style cleaning equipment and giving more elbow grease saves on chemical cleaning products that are just nasty. I found a store in Monkstown, Co. Dublin that sell a large selection of natural cleaning brushes – The Blue Door. The Downton Abbey style kitchen is one that should be emulated and shaped into the modern world – personally I would LOVE a Downton Abbey kitchen or even a house for that matter…..

If you want to find out more about the Zero Waste Week check out the website HERE.

My Waste Free Home Ireland – Starting Monday July 1st 2013

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After watching the film Trashed starring Jeremy Irons – I first felt a mixture of emotions such as rage, sadness and a huge drive to follow out my dreams of making a difference in the world. The idea for A Waste Free Home became more apparent. Sorting out my own trash problem,  and my families trash problem out in my own home. Reverting items that were usually sent to landfill because I have no where else to send them – partly because I too have relied on the convenience of paying someone to magically make my trash problem disappear – the term “throwing things OUT” comes to mind.

People need to take account for their own trash problem and governments need to step up and start following San Fransisco’s zero waste model. In San Francisco it is a federal offence not to adhere to the 0 waste model and sort out your trash, even if you are visiting the city!

My Waste Free Home will be a home where I have NO Trash Bin going to Landfill or Recycling bin that costs me money. I will sort all of my own recycling and deposit for FREE at my local recycling facility. I will also have to really get to know the products and produce that I can buy that will allow me to recycle EVERY part of the packaging. This will probably be the most difficult part as we all know packaging is confusing and sometimes excessive and I have no idea how some companies get away with producing a product that majority of the time is worth LESS than the packaging. I also am not alone in my home I have a hungry (not so green) husband and a three year old (going to be very green) little girl, both of whom love items already that come in not so recyclable packaging that I will need to find a way to either 1) Hand Back the Packaging when I purchase it or 2) Find a replacement product that comes in recyclable packaging…..!

I am lucky to be able to get great green companies to support my endeavours such as Great Green Systems who have kindly donated a Green Johanna and Original Organics who donated a Pet Poo Loo Wormery . I am now all set to deal with the waste that I was usually sending to landfill – with two dogs and a daily poo to clean from each I used to send them to landfill in biodegradable bags. And the only other items to go into my trash bin was food waste and some packaging that couldn’t be recycled.

I will be dedicating a section of my home to a recycling depot. My local authority recycling centre will receive my recycling waste on a weekly basis. I will also be visiting my local authority recycling centres around the country and documenting my findings, bringing you as much information as possible to help you make informative decisions about YOUR waste.

I am not saying this will be easy – it would if I lived on my own, but I have to coax the whole family into my way of thinking. I my mind my way of thinking is the correct way in terms of the environment and how we can do our bit. I am putting it down as a family carbon offset – if we work hard all year on My Waste Free Home we can cash in on our family holiday!!  Not only the money we save on our bins but also the CO2 saved on the following:

1) Landfill not only the physical space the waste would have occupied but also the environmental lechet and other nasties that would follow.

2) Transport from the waste truck pick up at our home going all around the city back and forth and the machinery at the landfill needed to burry and dig – big diesel guzzlers!! Lots of CO2 saved here.

3) The purchase of bought Compost – No need to purchase this as I will be making my own very excellent two varieties of compost. One from the pet poo (perfect for the non edible plants) and one from the Hot Composter (perfect for the veggies).

4) I will be cutting back completely on items that are packaged in non recycling packaging and emailing the company to tell them so! This can only be good for the environment and not so good for the company – named and shamed also!!

My motto is to ‘make it cool to care about the environment’ and I also hope to drive you all to make simple, manageable, informative steps to change towards living as Environmentally Responsible as possible.

If you would like to know more or get involved please contact me below:

email: mywastefreehome@gmail.com

Facebook: My Waste Free Home 

Instagram: /clairelewisco

Twitter: @claireLOK

Linked In: http://ie.linkedin.com/pub/claire-o-keeffe-lewis/24/782/4b7

Today is World Environment Day – June 5th

World Environment Day

Today is June 5th, World Environment Day 

“The theme for this year’s World Environment Day celebrations is Think.Eat.Save. Think.Eat.Save is an anti-food waste and food loss campaign that encourages you to reduce your foodprint. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), every year 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted. This is equivalent to the same amount produced in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, 1 in every 7 people in the world go to bed hungry and more than 20,000 children under the age of 5 die daily from hunger. “

So today I am going to teach my family, like I do everyday, the importance of food and why we should NEVER take it for granted. It should be respected as a commodity just like gold. If you take a loaf of bread, the energy from the sun needed to nurish each grain of wheat, the nutrients from the soil that go into its glorious growth. The water, the human hands needed for production, the manufacturing, the distribution all for a slice of bread. Break it down and THINK about the energy and effort from the earth to produce FOOD. So why waste it so freely? Just because you have the money to buy as much bread as you wish should not be reason, it is actually harmful to teach our children that it is ok just because you can get more.

My attitude was always respectful towards food, this was given to me by my mum. If you didn’t eat what was on your plate then that was your lot, nothing was waisted in our house and we all had the knowledge of where food came from. It is simple to teach children about food production in ways that you would not think are meaningful but are little seeds that are planted in the minds of children. For me the following stand out the most from my childhood:

  • We had gooseberry bushes that needed to be picked each summer – we made jam and crumbles
  • We had chickens – I was in charge of the egg collection, we also ate one which was not as successful as my father hoped it would have been!!
  • We had a sea side summer house : blackberry picking was done, so was crab fishing and mackerel fishing in August. I still love nothing better than a freshly caught mackerel grilled with salt and pepper for breakfast, lunch or tea.
  • Rhubarb patch – crumbles and jelly
  • Spring onions for salads

Today if you feel the urge teach your children or yourself to break it down when thinking of everyday food. Respect it and enjoy it but never ever waste it.

I will be starting My Waste Free Home come July where I will be teaching the basics in dealing with ones own waste on their own land. One of the areas I will be documenting is food waste how it can be reduced and how to turn true leftovers into great compost using a hot composter. Check out the Facebook page and give it a like to keep in touch. It will be starting in my house on July 1st 2013 🙂

Happy World Environment Day XX

The Less Is More Challenge for 2014

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I am getting things ready for The Less Is More Challenge April 22nd, 2014. I hope that this challenge will grow exponentially as the founding year – 2013 was a great success. I would love for all the green brands that I mention in my 10 steps to back this challenge even more going forward. These green brands are Bobble, TerraCycle, Ecover, Lillies Eco Clean, The film’s HOME and Trashed.

The Less Is More Challenge primarily was created to challenge the less green in society who are the majority, hence my eagerness to challenge them. Even though I say the less green in society, I don’t mean it in a derogatory way as I know that life is a very busy place and governments and schooling do not do enough in my opinion to help the situation or put much emphasis on instilling life long learning commitments for our own earthly journeys. I use my tooth-brush model to explain what I mean by this – we are not born with the knowledge to brush our teeth twice a day we are thought by our parents. We are also encouraged by the dental professions to have healthy teeth for our life time we need to look after them. Now why are we not doing the same thing for the EARTH which we need to survive a lot more than fluoride tooth paste!

All 10 steps of the challenge are easy to accomplish to instill positivity and hopefully lifelong commitments to change for the good of the planet. What I hope is that year one someone will take the challenge and complete if not all 10 suggestions then as many as they can. Then year two they might make more of an effort and with the highlight events I will be having on August 22nd and December 22nd I hope to drive home the positive message that we all can make a difference. With global consumerism at an all time high and the trash problem out of control it is up to each one of us now to try to make our own little difference.

All you got to do as part of the LESS IS MORE CHALLENGE is to do as many of the following:

  1. Pack a lunch for work.
  2. Use a reusable bottle for your water – Bobble Bottles are great for filtering as you go and are offering a discount during Earth Month.
  3. Do not purchase Clothing for one day. But if you have to try to only purchase clothing that give back and make an effort to tackle environmental issues in the production of the product. I don’t think in one day you will in counter a fashion emergency!!
  4. Swap a Chemical Based home cleaning product for an ECO alternative, two of my favorite companies are Lilly’s Eco Clean & Ecover
  5. Recycle & discover TerraCycle and the ways you can help to “Eliminate the Idea of Waste”!
  6. Buy local organic produce or pre think your shop for the week to reduce food waste.
  7. Plant a Tree and/or a plant that native bee’s LIKE.
  8. Cycle to work or take public transport.
  9. Watch the film HOME & film Trashed.
  10. Just open your mind for one day to the little things you can do to instill change in our world globally starting with yourself!

If you would like to find out more check out The Less Is More Facebook page or sign up to my Claire Lewis Blog (bottom right of this page)