Tuesday, 26 March 2013

WOW!!!! (More research is needed :P)

Holy! I just saw a post from my Aunt on my facebook wall about an invention to clean up the ocean. 


(Hopefully this link works...) 

If not here is the gist "Boyan Slat has unveiled plans to create an Ocean Cleanup Array that could remove 7,250,000 tons of plastic waste from the world’s oceans. The device consists of an anchored network of floating booms and processing platforms that could be dispatched to garbage patches around the world. Instead of moving through the ocean, the array would span the radius of a garbage patch, acting as a giant funnel. The angle of the booms would force plastic in the direction of the platforms, where it would be separated from plankton, filtered and stored for recycling."

There is a TED talk on it as well that I have yet to watch. I saw the article and got so excited that I had to immediately write a quick update. As soon as the video loads (ha ha) I will watch it!!
So far it sounds pretty good. Definitely worth some more thought.

Monday, 25 March 2013

New Zealand: Three successes! (one fail....ish)

*First off, apologies to anyone who is reading this blog and isn't able to see the photos. Something is off with the internet here and I can't fix it :(. When I get to Indonesia I will try again (and possibly won't be able to fix it till Canada....who knows). On to the update.*

Well I have been in NZ for just over a week now and it is about time for an update. 

Good news!!! New Zealand has a bulk section!!! Wahooo. Sad news, you can't bring your own containers....but still. On the right track! I have a photo but the internet here is so poor that it won't load :(. I will have to update that later.

I needed to get a do-dad for my camera strap so that it wouldn't fall off my wrist and my mom took me to this great store (knowing that I am plastic waste free this year). It is called David's Emporium and it is a bulk dollar store (ish)!!!! It's great! Here I am in front of this huge wall of buttons (again, I will have to update this later). You can buy as many as you need without any packaging!! Hurrah! The store really is good though.

Another exciting observation - I went out for ice cream and the product itself came in a big card board box (instead of a plastic tub). How great is that! Good work New Zealand.

The not quite success (and good thing I have a polite Canadian clause into my rules) is that I haven't quite got my family on board. If I am with them shopping (all the way to the cash register) then there is some better flexibility for not using plastic. However, if I am not part of the shopping crew then the plastic sneaks in... Since we are family I am making more of a fuss about it than I would at someone else's house (you can be less polite around family :P). They are pretty happy with reusing any plastic that comes into the house, but not as happy to eliminate buying it all together. As a "guest" I don't have a huge amount of say but I am creating a bit of a movement. I have also turned down a lot of things (chocolate and such) if it is coming in plastic. I'm not 1005 happy about it, but it is better than nothing.

Until next time...

Sunday, 24 March 2013


I came across this picture and was saddened. It is on exhibit at the Zurich Museum of Design in Switzerland. 


Garbage released in the sea every 15 seconds.We suck.

Monday, 18 March 2013


I never thought that I would approve of vandalism but a colleague of mine showed me this picture.


She found this on Facebook, posted by the Plastic Pollution Coalition. I am not sure if that means they are responsible for the stunt (that happened in Vancouver, Canada) or not. I think that it is just brilliant. It really brings to light what is happening in the ocean.

Course bringing to light is not really the right word. I have been told to cut the rings that come with cans to avoid this since....well I'm not sure. A long time. At least since grade 6 I would say. However, it is still an issue and I think this is such a good way to showcase it.

Well done vandals, well done.

PS I hope the plastic was recycled afterwords! 

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Small vacation summary

Well I was able to finish my vacation. Hurrah! There was one incident of plastic use, a milk container, which I needed for my breakfast.  I was in a hotel and didn’t have any other option :(. The plastic itself is recyclable so hopefully it got recycled but I wasn’t able to see it through. I should start to keep a tally or something.

Then I had a week left in Australia which was quite easy to be plastic free. I used my plastic Tupperware container. I ate a lot of pasta in my last week :P.

 I will really miss this pasta place. The owner recognized me (or at least my container) and complimented me on how sustainable I was being. He also mentioned that I was the only one doing it. I'm not surprised :P Not many people carry around plastic containers. Which is too bad. I have gotten some free meals out of it :P.

Now I am in New Zealand and I will be evaluating the ease to be plastic free here. Challenge one: getting my family on board with the plan...

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Pre - post-vacation-update rant

Well I am angry. I am not sure what caused this anger, other than a few minor things and the inability to sleep in my hostel last night... yah that could be it. Either way, I am sick of living in this disposable waste society. Get it together Australia!!! Thank goodness I am leaving soon. Gah. 

The story:
Since I was feeling a bit blah and could use a pick-me-up I decided to have a coffee at the airport. I shopped around for the best price and I saw an organic fair trade stall! Hurrah. I decided that price aside I would support them. Luck would have it, they were also the cheapest!!  I am not quite sure how that worked out but I wasn’t going to question it. All excited I got out my travel mug (so I wouldn’t be creating any unnecessary waste J) and approached the counter with my money. And then it took a turn for the worst. My take away mug is too tall to fit under the machine (which I know) and so she was unable to make me anything. Well no, that isn’t quite true. She could make me a coffee in her paper cup and then I was allowed to pour it into my own mug from there. And then she would throw away the cup. Well yes, that is exactly what I wanted, what a wonderful suggestion. So I walked away from that and went to another coffee shop, this one with the ability to make to stay coffee. 

Full of hope and anticipation I held onto my mug and approached the counter. Sadly only slightly better news here. Apparently (according to “Skybury Coffee”) reusable mugs pose a huge health and safety threat with all the disease and contamination that the carry. The mug is not allowed to cross the counter line. Again, they offered to make me a coffee and I could pour it into my mug. I took them up on this offer since they at least could use reusable glass to make the coffee, unlike the first place. 

Clearly you have to pick and choose what to support. What is better – less waste or fair wages? Well if we don’t decrease our waste eventually we will be living in a dump. If we don’t support fair wages then some people will continually be living in a dump. If we boycott the industry together no one will get wages fair or not and we will end up with some really cranky North Americans. Gah.

This did bring up one question for me, as all great scientific research starts. What kind of contamination could possibly occur with the bringing of your own mug? It seems quite odd to me that this problem has never occurred to Canadians. To my understanding, Canadians are very concerned with health and safety. You know, kids can’t touch each other at school or day care anymore because tag is such a dangerous game. Don’t let them wear scarves because they might choke (not that it is cold in Canada in the winter or anything...). But the most important one of all, don’t let their backpacks touch!! That is how all diseases spread. How is it possible that a country so that so clearly controls health and safety could miss such an important issue? We allow take away mugs everywhere!! In fact, most places even give a discount to customers who bring them. Oh dear. Clearly Canada is going to go downhill. Thank goodness all the coffee drinkers in Australia will be safe.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Plastic free vacation??

Hello everyone! It has been awhile since I have posted anything about my plastic free journey. I have taken 3 weeks off from work and have been touring around. 

My first couple days in Brisbane were very easy to accommodate because I was mostly alone. I was hanging out with people but every time we went out I was able to choose plastic free options.

It got a little bit harder once my tour started though... There were times when we had to buy our own meals and my choices were pretty limited. In the food courts for example, most places only have plastic utensils and plates. And of course, I would forget my container. I tended to chose sandwiches then. 

The included breakfasts were an issue. I could handle it, but had to have dry toast. The real trouble started on the sailing ship. We weren't allowed to bring glass onto the ship so plastic was the only option. I had some wine in my water bottle and am happy to say that all the plastic on the ship got recycled. So I didn't feel as bad with the box of wine I had.

I am only 2/3 done with my vacation so I am sure there will be more to tell. Until then...