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Posts from the ‘Sustainability’ Category

Plastic Free July inspires a Plastic Free “making bee”

Take a look around your bathroom and see if how much you can list which doesn’t come in “single use” plastic? Chances are if you use “mainstream” toiletries and bath products they come packaged in some sort of plastic which is designed for the “single use” of delivering that product from the factory where it is made to your body.

Many things which we use each and every day, and probably don’t even think about how much waste we are producing come in “single use” plastic:

  • Soap – usually packaged in plastic or plastic coated paper
  • Toothpaste – Plastic squeeze tubes
  • Shampoos and conditioners –  the majority come in plastic bottles
  • Facial cleansers, toners, moisturisers – again generally plastic bottles
  • Deodorants – Plastic or aerosol cans

While some of this packaging is recyclable, recycling really should be at the end of the sustainable options (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle) we could go on about how bad “single use” plastic is, Transition Gawler is about focusing on what we can do, and what we can do now, so hence why this Plastic Free “Making Bee” was organised.

A group of friends who were inspired by Lucy Dodd’s commitment to take the Plastic Free July Challenge, decided to get together and have a “making bee” to make some Plastic Free toiletries and bath and body Products. The idea behind it was to try to reduce the amount of single use plastic that came into their households from toiletries and bath and body products.

The products made were:

  • deodorant made from coconut oil, bicarb soda, arrowroot flour, and essential oil,
  • Bath Bombs made from bicarb soda, citric acid and essential oils and food coloring
  • Moisturising bars made from Cocoa butter, beeswax, coconut oil and essential oils
  • Body Scrub made from Epsom Salts, bicarb soda, oil, loose chamomile tea, lime and orange essential oils, citrus zest
  • Face Scrub made from oat meal and essential oils

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Lucy is also planing to make and sell “Plastic Free” toiletries and bath products to raise funds for the 1 Million Wommen Sumatra Challenge which she is participating in. Funds raised will be used to support the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme and to assist 1 Million Women fight Climate Change, by encouraging Australian’s to live a low-carbon life. Lucy is looking to reuse small jars to use as packaging for some of the products, so if you have jars that are around the 1 cup or smaller size, she would appreciate being able to use them, or if you would like to find out what products she is selling, you can find her through the Transition Gawler Chat Group or Contact Us and we can put you in touch with her.

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Plastics Recycling – The Hard Stuff

Waste reduction is an important theme for Transition Gawler. Thanks to Paul Koch and Gawler NRC the Soft Plastics Trial will continue and hopefully grow. But thats not where our efforts need to end. Paul has provided the following idea for a great project that we would like help to get up and running in Gawler. So anyone interested please contact us as we need all the help we can get.

“It is possible in Gawler to recycle much of the plastics in the household.

The most important issue around recycling is separating the different plastics into specific types. Once separated, it moves off to different companies that granulate the plastics and manufacture new products.

If it is a rigid plastic and has a recycling triangle on it, it can go into the yellow topped recycling bin. Some rigid plastics, that don’t have the recycling triangle can also go into the recycling bin.

Soft plastics such as plastic bags, films etc can be recycled via the current trial that uses yellow bags that go into the recycling bin each fortnight.

Other plastics though, that we find around the house, such as old irrigation line, plastic chairs, old plastic toys etc can be recycled , but not necessarily through the yellow bin. (Please note, the white PVC material used for underground drainage cannot be recycled)

The material in the yellow topped  bins goes down to NAWMA where it travels  through a process of mechanical, then hand sorting. The sorting process is designed to pull out specific materials to go into a particular stream for recycling. Plastic items that we tend to use outside aren’t  easily sorted,  so if they go into the recycling bin,  may be missed, going on to general waste and land fill.

One way of effectively recycling this material is delivering it directly to NAWMA. The material then goes in to a ‘mixed plastic’ stream which is taken off to produce things like garden furniture, garden stakes etc. In fact the material is a very valuable resource for these products, so it shouldn’t go to land fill.

We could start a  recycling program for these  ‘mixed plastics’  by setting up a drop off point for Transition Gawler members. It would be best to use a tandem caged trailer. This will give us the volume to make it worth a trip. Once the trailer is full it could be taken down to NAWMA and unloaded. There is no charge for clean plastic of this type. Maybe this could become the focus of our fund raising in the new year unless someone donates one in the meantime?

Like other forms of recycling it’s important not to mix up other materials. In this case you would be after only the plastics. For example if it is an old plastic toy, just the plastics, not any metal bits. These can be recycled separately.

 Once the process is successfully running, it could be made available to the wider community. For example collection could be linked into food swap events. This way you would have a public location for drop offs.

The other form of hard plastic we can recycle are the smaller pieces such as the  lids off containers,  and milk bottles  and other small hard plastics you find around the house, for example old tooth brushes, credit cards, margarine container  lids etc etc. If we put them straight into the recycling bin they are too small to be picked out of the sorting process, and they tend to be lost to land fill. A solution for these plastics is to collect them into a clear plastic bottle, like a cordial bottle and when it’s full, screw on a lid and then pop in into the recycling bin. When it gets to NAWMA it can be identified by the sorters, as it is a clear bottle and taken out to go into the mixed plastic stream.

Recycling is a great way of reducing the materials going to landfill. With a little bit of effort it is possible to recycle almost all the plastics you find in and around the house.

A program like this would be a good, community, grass-roots  initiative to tackle a problem , plus value the material that would normally go to landfill.”

Thanks Paul for this great idea. Lets make it happen.

Zero carbon house doors open for one last weekend

 The TS4 Living award winning zero carbon challenge home is open to the public for the last time this weekend – Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 October 2013.

TS4 Living won the State Government’s Zero Carbon Challenge in 2012 to design and build a three bedroom zero carbon house at
Lochiel Park Green Village, in Campbelltown.

This award winning zero carbon house sets a new standard for contemporary sustainable design and construction. Completed in less than 16 weeks the house is zero net energy, carbon neutral in 32 years, uses 70 per cent less potable water than a conventional home, and connects the owners with the environment via daylight and native landscaping.

Brett Aylen and Paul Hendy of TS4 Architecture will be at Lochiel Park to showcase the home and answer any questions. For more information please visit http://www.ts4living.com.au

Opening times:

Saturday 5 October from 11am until 3pm

Sunday 6 October from 11am until 3pm

Address:

12 Mundy Mews,
Lochiel Park, Campbelltown, SA 5074

Contact:

Brett Aylen, mobile 0423 151 093

Sustainable House Day – Sunday 8th September 2013

If you are interested in finding out more about how to make your house more sustainable, take this oportunity to  look inside houses that have been designed, built or fitted out with sustainability in mind, and talk to owners, receiving unbiased advice.

Sustainable homes are opened for free, providing a fantastic opportunity for people seeking to make their homes or rental properties greener.

To find a participating house near you check out the list of open houses in South Australia here.

What is Sustainable House day all about? Here’s what the organisers have to say on their About us page:

Sustainable House Day started in 2001 as an initiative of the Australian Solar Council.

Over 200 homes opened their doors to over 40,000 people on Sunday 9 September 2012 as millions of Australians continue to embrace renewable energy, recycling and other practices designed to lessen our impact on the environment.

Homes opened for free, providing a fantastic opportunity for people seeking to make their own homes or rental properties greener.

Sustainable House Day gives people the chance to get a real-life look inside houses that have been designed, built or fitted out with sustainability in mind, as well as the opportunity to talk to owners, receiving unbiased advice.

As event organisers we’re seeing greater investment in harvesting water and solar energy as communities realise our resources are finite and likely to become more expensive. By becoming energy efficient today, you’ll be on the front foot to save on energy bills and help the environment now and into the future.

Each year the average Australian household contributes 13 tonnes of greenhouse gas to the atmosphere—enough to fill more than 700 balloons every day, while each household also draws an average of 73,000 buckets of water a year – enough for around 12 baths a day.  Do your bit to reduce this by getting involved with Sustainable House Day.

Once again local community groups across Australia will assist in the management of their area’s open houses and ancillary events.

Without the generous support of our national sponsors, EnviroShop, Yingli Solar and Apricus, Sustainable House Day would not be possible. Their invovlement enables the event to reach all states in Australia.

This year Sustainable House Day is managed by Adelaide based eveSolutions. eveSolutions  is owned and managed by Pia Vogrin, a Sustainable House owner and volunteer at previous Sustainable House Days.  As someone who is passionate about Sustainable Living, Pia is more than happy to answer any questions you might have – even before the day.  Pia’s contact details are below.

The aim of Sustainable House Day is to provide an enjoyable, informative day that contributes to local community awareness of sustainable living.

If you are interested in getting involved in Sustainable House Day 2013 we would love to hear from you.

Pia Vogrin  pia@evesolutions.com.au This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  0419 853 614