Posts filed under ‘waste’

Girl Stuff

Any guys out there? Er… Move along now! Nothing to see here… Don’t say you have not been warned. Continue at YOUR OWN RISK!!!

Anyway… Girls (I hope!). This is  a Diva Cup… Although I suspect that the only people who read this blog already know that, and are way ahead of me on this, but in case you don’t… This here is a pretty accurate depiction of a Diva Cup. If you still don’t know what it is or what it’s Diva cupfor, you can click on this link and learn all about it. Clue: it’s not kitchenware.

Fellow blogger Crunchy Chicken is hosting a neat little Diva Cup Challange over at her blog, with prizes and all, how cool is that. The challenge consists of trying the cup for 3 months and, hopefully, swear off disposables for life. I realized now I screwed up promoting it, it was only possible to sign up until April 30. Oops.

I ordered mine from here at a really discounted price, and received it yesterday. Just it time to try it out before my time of the month is over. How is it? It’s GREAT!!! I was kind of skeptical at first, how could you NOT feel that, it’s huuuge! But I guess the Diva worshipers out there were right… It IS the greatest thing since the wheel. Really.

TMI follows, look away NOW! I have to say, at first the stem was bothering me but then I trimmed it and now it’s perfect. Don’t even know it’s there. And I am still having a little trouble getting it in and out but I know I will get better with practice… OK, TMI over.

Now that I tried it, here is why I think it is countless times better than tampons and pads:

  1. It’s I-can’t-feel-it comfortable
  2. It’s so much cheaper. By my calculations, it should have paid for itself after six months.
  3. The knowledge that I am never throwing away another crappy disposable is priceless.

So if you are still reading this,I hope I didn’t totally gross you out (too much). GO order it NOW! Really… you will not regret it. And if by chance you are a morbidly curious guy still reading this, you can take the opportunity to inform your Woman (or surprise her :D).

Ok… this was the most embarrassing post I’ve written so far. The end.

Photo from Lunapads.

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May 4, 2007 at 7:49 pm 20 comments

Queen’s Day

 Queen's Day 2007

This post comes a little later than usual as I was in Amsterdam on Sunday, celebrating Queen’s day and needed some time to recover. This despite the fact that I did feel some internal resistance to celebrating some dead old ladie’s birthday, but I was not about to refuse a party because of the legitimacy of the occasion, or lack thereof.

The city is a sea of orange people and there is music everywhere. There is also a city wide flea-market, because anyone is allowed to go on the street and sell whatever they want. At it’s worse, the only way to get around is following a people stream in the general direction where you want to go, trying your best to avoid stepping on vomit, horse poo or peoples feet. There is music blasting in the street at every corner, hundreds of party boats cruising the canals, orange bodies dancing (or trying).

I was trying not to let my ‘convictions’ get in the way of enjoying the party, but I couldn’t help noticing the prevailing creepiness of it all. They were people giving out ‘Queen’ masks, a piece of cardboard with a eerie photo of the queen with orange hair. They were also giving out this stupid unfoldable orange paper hair piece that is supposed to represent the queen’s hair.  Most of them of course were on the floor. 

With commerce restrictions lifted for the day, dutch entrepeneruship was at it’s prime. The stuff being sold at the fleamarket was so pointless and random that you were left wondering “Why are they selling this? Who did they even keep it?” Most cafes made a point in hanging ‘NO TOILET’ signs on their windows, while others were happy to make a healthy profit on desperate girls, 1E per pee. Guys didn’t have to go through it because there are plenty of ‘pissing boots’ installed especially for them. Some people were selling 5E rappel rides to the other side of the canal from their windows.

Of course, with so much going on, the police thinks they ought to have a ‘presence’, you know, as a deterrent or something. And for some reason they thought that going through the crowd on horses was a good idea (crowd control?). So guess what a surprise it was when one of the horses climbed on the sidewalk (this on a tiny tiny bridge with nowhere to go) and trampled a few people right in front of us. Seriously, how bright do you need to be to see that coming? *sigh*

Towards the end of the day, the crowds started to clear out, and then you could really see the extent of the damage. The sea of people was replaced by a sea of trash and piss spilling out of the urinals… A whole city completely completely trashed.  And I have to give them credit for not using disposable plastic cups. Instead they had these reusable ones with a 1E deposit. Even so, the amount of trash was unimaginable. The end of a party is not a pretty sight.

And for an environmentally conscious girl like me, this just leaves me wondering, is the ‘fun’ worth the damage? Does wearing orange, getting wasted and dancing poorly really honour her majesty? In the end, all she had to show for was her face lying all over the gutter, side by side with beer cans and vomit.

Photo courtesy Andries3 on Flickr.

May 3, 2007 at 1:39 am 2 comments

The environmental litter backlash

Disclaimer: This post contains reference to bodily functions… kitty bodily functions

So I put the eco-friendly litter pellets in the litter box, right? Cat should crap on the pellets business-as-usual, right? WRONG!!! Turns out cats are picky ‘goers’, which I should have known by now from that other time he pissed on my beautiful suede boots.

I don’t get whats the big deal with the wooden pellets but the fact is, from the moment I filled the litter box with the cat refused to go anywhere near it. Instead, the little bastard decides some old towel I once used to clean up after him is more ‘cosy’ to crap on… I guess there was some sense to that “mix with usual litter” recommendation. I thought I could outsmart the system, boy was I wrong… Fortunately that all took place in the balcony, and his crappings were very neatly arranged on the towel, so they were easy to clean up…

But of course, for some reason I decide that if I put his crappings in the litter box that would somehow persuade him to go in the litter box… Well, wrong again! In the end, this whole deal ended with an emergency supermarket run for regular litter, after the cat refused to piss or crap for a whole day…

As soon as we removed the pellets and replaced them with regular silica litter, the little kitten sprinted over there and finally did his business. Now I have a bag of wooden pellets sitting around and a cat who runs from them like from Mr. Hoover.I am still going to try the ‘increasingly mixing’ trick but I honestly don’t have much hope for it. That cat is one clever little rascal.  And this is why they say that hell is full of good intentions…

No pictures today… And I’m sure you guys apreaciate that 😀

Edit: The good thing about having an american boyfriend is that he points out that despite the fact that I keep hearing  ‘sway’, it is actually spelled “suede” 😀 Thanks, honey!

April 18, 2007 at 1:27 pm 6 comments

Toilet paper issues

Tree free? What about chlorine?This is just a short post about my full-of-indecisions and enviro-dilemmas sustainable-attempt of a life. I recently purchased my first ever pack of recycled toilet paper… Which is all well and good, but now I am wondering if it is really better for the environment if I buy the said paper.

You see, when I buy a package of regular virginal toilet paper, it’s normally never less than 12 rolls, wrapped in plastic. The thing is, because recycled paper is so unusual, I always have to buy it in small packs of 4. So if I buy 3 packs of recycled toilet paper, I produce around 2 times more plastic waste (I emphasize that here it’s not possible to recycle plastic) than if I buy a 12-pack.

The package brags about being made out of polyethylene plastic, and therefore free of evil PVC. However, what concerns me is that not only there is no mention of the post-consumer content, as there is no mention of the bleaching method. Since nothing is said about oxygen bleaching, I can only assume that this paper was chlorine bleached, which is about as nasty as it gets. Details about recycling paper and the nastiness of bleaching can be found here and here, for example.

And so, my friends, while I don’t find any other kinds of recycled paper, I think I am going to keep using trees… I have to say this is not an easy decision to make, and I appreciate any input anyone has on this matter.

April 10, 2007 at 12:50 pm 13 comments

Wasting money

First, I would like to thank everyone for visiting and for all the nice comments and the support we’ve been getting with this project. You guys have been great… I totally wasn’t expecting that this blog would do so well, less than a week since I started promoting it. No hate mail yet… I guess we’re not that cool yet, but I don’t mind. It builds my moral…

Second, I would like to apologize to my friend Ana… She was always an out-of-the-closet environmentalist and we used to make fun of her for being so naive back in university. She was always getting on everyone’s case about saving water, walking instead of driving, and other eco-nazi stuff like that. Sorry Ana!

One Green little kittenI’m still overwhelmed by the amount of plastic I’ve got in my trash and in my fridge, waiting to be trashed. I’m developing a solution for the kitty litter problem. I recently got some really eco-friendly litter. It sounds great, but I will still have to see how it measures up. It’s made from pressed forest waste, the stuff that results from forest cleaning, tree free. Its local and you can put in the compost bin. So I also got some compostable bags, and the big plan is to put the biobag in the bucket and use it for the kitchen waste and the litter.

I still have some concerns about this whole thing, though. The compost bags say they should be changed up to 2 weeks and and you can’t put stuff that is too moist in them. I am worried the poor bag is going to fall apart with the kitty wastes. As for the litter, it was about the same price as clumping litter, the problem is that you “should” change it 2 times a week, which will be quite expensive and also quite a pain. So I think next time I will try another kind, like wheat or corn, or whatever I can find here. But at least I am saying NO to plastic bags from now on.

My big trash bag is still lasting, almost two weeks now. The compostable bags I found didn’t come in the medium size, and in the end I decided that its not worth using a compostable bag to incinerate our trash in. I paid E1,89 for the 10 compostable bags, which I can make up with what I’m saving on trashbags. Those are normally around 1,5E for 20 but they are lasting 4 times as long now.

I was also quite happy to find out that my favorite tea filters that I use to brew whole leaf tea are actually oxygen bleached and compostable… I know its a little wasteful but I just like them so much… and they are made in Germany, which is fairly “local”.

April 6, 2007 at 1:27 pm 3 comments

Let there be Compost!

    

Soon after I bravely decided to drag (!)  my boyfriend into this lifestyle experiment, he was quick to introduce our first major behaviour modification. #30 on the list- how I have stubbornly refused to recycle our organic waste (even though the collection bin is right by the regular container).

My reasons for doing so were mainly because I was fearing that it would be stinky to keep our organic waste in the house for a few days, rather than dumping it in the big trash bag, which we then would take out more frequently. Then, I was also too lazy to think about finding a solution for storing our organic waste.

After we made decision last Monday, we debated for a while on how exactly we ought to go about it, and even considered *gasp* using a plastic bag. In the end we decided to use a plain old bucket, which we lined with a little newspaper in the bottom and keep it on the balcony. I also debated whether dumping the newspaper in the compost bin was acceptable, and then decided that it was, since apparently it is common to add newspaper in home composting.

We started our little bucket last Tuesday, and on Saturday I took out a healthy amount of 3,5 Kg of organic waste. Yay! Because of that, my ordinary waste bag is still going strong since Monday, no smells. Another nice thing about recycling food scraps – we don’t have to take the trash bag out as many times, which means we can save on plastic trash bags and a little money (we had to buy them). Unfortunately there are no alternatives to trash bags, for now…

And now for the bad BAD news. Now that I recycle all my paper, glass, and bio-waste, I was made aware of this shocking conclusion when I looked into the regular trash bag- it was all PLASTIC!!! Oh crap… What am I going to do about all this plastic? Especially in this @#$%^& country, where you can’t even recycle it?!!!

So it looks like our next challenge for sustainable living has become clear – trying to get rid of all this over-packaging. I’m not quite sure how to go about it yet…. I fear it will require a lot of sacrifices at the supermarket… *sigh* Maybe we can just shop more at the market and less in Alberthein… And still have my litter cleaning dilemma – I use the plastic bags from the market for that…

On the plus side – I noticed I just ran out of plastic wrap and I am boicoting buying any more of it. We still have tinfoil though…

 —————————————————————————-

Update:

I have just learnt that biodegradable (“afbreekbaar”) trashbags exist at C1000, the “other” supermarket (Albertheins’ scrubby cousin). I will investigate whether I can afford biodegradable bags if I subsidize them with the money I save by not having to buy so many of them…

April 3, 2007 at 6:21 pm 3 comments

Where we are

(Oh how I love double meanings….)

I figure I should explain a little about the contexts that surround this blog. Despite the fact that I got my inspiration from a series of American (and Canadian) blogs , I have to point out that this is NOT an American blog. This is a blog grounded in my reality and environmental experiences, which are deeply related to living in the Netherlands.

And still, I feel a connection to the American blogsphere, not only because it was the source of my inspiration but also because my boyfriend is American, and like it or not, I know that at some point in the near-midterm future we will be relocating to the US. I know that at that point, I will have some serious adjusting to do, together with my green lifestyle policies, and, accordingly, with this blog.

But now for a brief explanation of what living in the Netherlands implies for our lifestyle, and what is the current status of our struggle towards sustainability.

Transport:First of all, the country is tiny… and flat. We live in tiny town. We don’t have a car. There are cycling paths on every street. Cycling is the main form of transport around our tiny town, and that’s what we do. There are special saddle bags on the bag of our bikes which allow us to carry a surprising amount of groceries. And for outside town, the public transport service is pretty good. So the transport part is already as green as it gets here, so I won’t be talking much about that. Flying, however, is a problem, with such an internationally scattered life, but I will get back to this some other time.

Consumption: We always bring our own bags for shopping. Especially because grocery bags cost 20 E cts in most places. But I have to admit that sometimes I get small plastic bags (that are free) because I use them to scoop out kitty dumplings out of the litter box… I am currently looking into tackling this problem. Other than that, I also have to say that I have been, inadvertently, following the Compact buy nothing principle. I haven’t bought anything since Xmas… This was, for me, a source of consumer depression for a while but I’m over that now that is fits so nicely into our newly acquired reduced consumption goals.

Food: Regarding food, we have been, generally, going for organic stuff, except when organic is WAY out of budget. I still haven’t decided weather I want to go for “local” in this place. Consider that this super-small, overcrowded country is the third largest exporter of agricultural products in the world. I don’t even want to think about what they do to their food here, but I will mention that there are ongoing rumours about horse meat in meat products and sugar injections into strawberries. I will investigate into local vs. organic further on, but I have to say that for now my preconceived judgement prefers tomatoes transported from Spain…

Energy: A lot of wasting in this department, you can have a look at The List. Last time I changed a light-bulb I bought a CFL. Other than that, all the other lights are the regular type… and I’m not going to change them unless they burn out. The house is rented and I don’t expect to be here long enough for CFLs to “pay for themselves”. We don’t have a drier. We merrily hang our clothes on the balcony and the laundry rack when its cold. I’ve never known any other way to dry clothes…

Water: Let’s see… I share showers a lot 😀 the toilet has flush control and we don’t own a dishwasher, for better or for worse.

Heating: Its central. We have been abusing it a little, especially because the landlords don’t send us the bills. But its spring now and we have been cutting down on it.

Waste: We recycle all of our paper and glass… No plastic or metal, sadly, because they don’t have collection for that.

So there… that’s about all there is to know about the environmental conditions of our little household.

April 2, 2007 at 2:25 pm 2 comments

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