Zero Waste Heidelberg/Rosanna/Viewbank

Our vision of a post-transition future includes “Zero Waste Homes” becoming common as we transition our suburbs to sustainability.

Our events — Decluttering, Green Cleaning, DIY Home and Bodycare Products, Beeswax Wraps, and Reducing Plastic in Everyday Life — can help you get there one step at a time.

We engage the local community with talks, workshops and film screenings. Check our Events and Newsletters for zero waste themed activities and read 100 Steps towards a Plastic-Free Life by core group member Penny Grose.

Composting has its own page on our website as the topic is so big!

We’re also affiliated with Rethink Waste Banyule, where we work on all these topics plus more.

Our favourite films about the plastic pollution problem:

Baykeepers (2014, Australia) available online
Bag It: is your life too plastic? (2010, USA) available on Kanopy via YPRL

Our favourite Australian zero waste blogs:

Treading My Own Path by Lindsay Miles
Gippsland Unwrapped by Tammy Logan
The Rogue Ginger by Erin Rhoads

Search the blogs for answers to all most of your zero waste questions!

 

Green Cleaning

Did you know that water and elbow grease will clean most things?water going down the drain of a stainless steel sink

The petrochemical industry expanded rapidly during World War 2. After the end of the war, demand for products dwindled, so they started great advertising campaigns to convince us that we needed all sorts of products to be attractive, successful, and … responsible housekeepers. An array of toxic cleaning products made their way into our homes and since then it has become common for kitchens, bathrooms and laundries to hold shelves of synthetic cleaning products, mostly in plastic bottles.

At our Green Cleaning events, learn tips and tricks for cleaning your body, clothes and home with low cost and low environmental impact. Be inspired to simplify and reconnect with nature!

We use hot water, lemon juice, sea salt, locally made olive oil soap, homemade fruit vinegars, white vinegar, bicarb, citrus peel, essential oils and soapwort to clean almost everything. Cleaning cloths are made from old towels and t-shirts and scrubbers from homegrown loofahs and millet.

Top 3 Green Cleaning Tips

1. Avoid plastic cloths and scrubbers.

Sometimes they are more effective cleaners than natural fibre alternatives, but their broader environmental impacts count them out of the green cleaning routine. If you already have some, consider using them up, then replacing them with upcycled old towels and t-shirts, and bought or homegrown loofahs and millet brushes. A stainless steel scrubber is the next best choice: effective and durable, although very resource intensive.

2. Choose plant-based (i.e. renewable and biodegradable) substances over synthetic.

Citrus juice and peel, essential oils, soapwort and natural vinegars are at the heart of the green cleaning toolkit. Sodium salts (sea salt, bicarb, washing soda, borax) are next on the green cleaning shopping list as they are safe to use sparingly, but be aware that some of these substances are mined and produced industrially.

3. Use less.

Since water will clean most things, try using less cleaning product each time you wash, e.g. clothes, until you find the smallest amount needed to do the job.

Basic Recipes

DIY surface spray(s)

2 cups water + 2 Tbsp castile soap — OR — 1 cup water + 1 cup vinegar

DIY cleaning paste

1 cup bicarb + 2 tsp castile soap + 1 tsp water

Notes:

Made with distilled water, these mixtures will last longer, however tap or tank water has a smaller environmental footprint, so we encourage you to make only as much as you need for a few weeks using tank water.

Essential oils can enhance the products with their pleasant aromas and anti-microbial properties, especially lavender and tea tree.

Don’t use vinegar on hardwood, marble or granite!

If you want a spray bottle, consider saving one from a friend’s recycle bin rather than buying new.

Good Books from YPRL

Green Clean by Jill Potvin Schoff

Clean Green by Jen Chillingsworth

How to Clean Green by Linda Kita-Bradley

 

Beeswax Wraps with Jo Massey from EcoOddly

Jo, who is also a member of the Transition 3081 network, shares her sustainable living practice and events at www.facebook.com/ecooddly. Contact her there to purchase beeswax wraps, deodorant paste and toothpowder, or to hear about her upcoming workshops.

Maude Farrugia, writer and illustrator and also a member of the Transition 3081 network, wrote up Jo’s technique for making beeswax wraps for Pip magazine here.