Friday, 16 August 2013

My first 12 steps to less waste

Thinking about what can be my first steps to a life with less waste I found out that there are a few things that I've practiced for some time and a few other things that are easy to change.

1.Drinking tap water
I changed to drinking tap water instead of bottle water some years ago. So - how lucky -
here I'm on the right way already. And you can vary the taste by adding herbs, flowers
or lemon slices. And besides that looks very appetising too.

2.Drinking tea
Often I drink homemade tea or iced tea that I make from tea bags or loose tea. Here I
could do better if I buy loose tea  in a tea shop or at the pharmacy and let it fill in my own glasses. 
Next time I'm going to refuse the stickers as well. 
 In June I picked elderflowers and dried them. That's the tea on the right.
I bought a tea strainer that complies with my urge for decoration to avoid the paper bags.
 The tea inside is date tea from Munich Tollwood. It consists of - naturally - dates, raisins, coconut chips, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom. Mmmmh! Very Moroccan!
Or I could make tea from garden herbs like melissa or mint that grow in my garden a lot.
Maybe that would be the best. 
I've also heard that black currant leaves would make a fine tea. I want to experiment with that
in the future. Using crockery from the fleamarket means less waste as well.

3.Making coffee
I think we're almost the last ones who make coffee in a simple stove top stainless steel
Italian espresso maker. All the others have espresso machines that often use capsules
made from aluminium. But I could improve our technique by asking to fill the fresh
ground coffee in my own glass. So there would be no waste at all.

4.Making sweet things myself instead of buying them lavishly packed
I like baking and so that's not too much hassle to bake cookies and cakes to have them
in stock. On the internet you can find some recipes for cakes in glasses and I tried some
and want to try more. I don't want to use the freezer for storing them because I only
have a small one and I don't want to consume electricity for that if there are other ways.
Unfortunately I can't buy flour and sugar in bulk here. And I've never heard of unpacked
butter. But I can buy eggs in the whole food shop and bring my own egg carton. Flour
and sugar are packed in paper and I think that's a bit better than the plastic package of
supermarket sweets.

5.Making my own chutneys from market fruit
   If you often eat vegetarian then chutneys are a nice addition to your meals cause they give variety to your
   dishes. I also tried different recipes and you can store the chutneys for at least half a year.They make a
   nice present too. I learned the ones below in a cooking class last autumn. And since then I've made lots of
   them cause they run out all the time.

6.Making my own jam 
   There's a strawberry field at the end of my street where you can pick your own strawberries. So I made
   strawberry jam and in a few days the sour cherries on my cherry tree will be ready for beeing picked and
   I'm going to make cherry jam from them as well. Nothing's better than fresh jam on a buttered bread. And
   the best: It's almost waste free. Next time I won't use labels.

7.Buying local honey
   There are lots of beekeepers around here and you can buy local honey at our weekly market. Even a
   colleague's son is a beekeeper and she can bring me his honey to work so that I don't have to make an
   extra step to get that. I don't know why I haven't done that before. Every beekeeper takes the glass back
   happily because they have to pay 50 ct for each. So that's a really easy way to reduce rubbish.

8.Buying quark and joghurt in returnable bottles
   That's new! I found a whole food store in the town that sells these from a farm nearby. So I've made up my
   mind to buy that instead of the usual plastic yoghurt pots. And I drive past that shop when I come from
   work so that's no extra driving.

9.Making my own pesto
   I've said that above. When you like vegetarian food it's nice to have something that gives an extra taste.
   My  followers know that I like to attend cooking classes and there I learned how to make pestos from
   wild herbs from my garden like garlic mustard or ground ivy. In the future I must ask my mother for
   hazlenuts that grow in her garden and use fresh lemon juice instead of bottled juice. Cheese can be bought
   at the counter in the whole food store. But I still must find out where to buy olive oil and salt from bulk.
10.Refusing plastic bags
I've already practised that for a long time. I always take three fabric bags with me when I go out to run errands. If they're dirty I wash them and it takes a long time until they wear out.

11.Buying fruit only when in bulk
There are two whole food shops not far from my home. They offer fruit and vegetable in bulk. So I decided to buy them only here cause that's really not too much hassle and you can save plastic wrapping and else. And there's another benefit: I can buy lots of different fruit because I can take only one or two from each kind: 1 banana, 2 grapefruit, 4 apricots, 2 pears, 3 apples, ...
 To be honest I took the pictures above at Viktualienmarkt in Munich where I've been very seldom but they present their fruit and vegetables very nicely.

13.Buy purses at op shops or fleamarkets
One half of my purses are thrifted and I even made one myself. Crocheting a purse means a little bit of waste because of the ball band around the yarn. But it's made from paper and maybe that's acceptable. Though, purses mostly aren't plastic wrapped, aren't they? So that's not that much change for the better. But it means REUSE something instead of buying a new one. And that's right too, isn't it?

Well, this is the wee beginning of my less waste challenge. I hope I will find further steps to reduce waste in my daily life. Have you got any ideas?

Miss Maple


  1. Superb post and tips, my sweet friend. I was so, so happy to move back to my home town last year and finally have palatable drinking water from the tap again. Though one could safely drink the water at our old apartment in Toronto, it had an unpleasant taste, which I didn't like, and DH couldn't stand, so we often bought bottle water or used a water filter instead. What a joy to have clean, sweet tasting tape water to quench our thirst with again here.

    ♥ Jessica

  2. Oh this is just wonderful lady.......mother earth breathes a sigh of relief when lovely people take steps to be kind to her.
    Love V

  3. All positive steps to reduce, recuse and recycle, well done! Can you compost your organic waste at all? I put our used tea bags and coffee grounds in the compost, along with all our vegetable/fruit peelings, etc, it's really cut down on what goes in the rubbish bin, and we recycle paper, cardboard, glass, tins and plastic too. xxx

  4. Wonderful tips Miss Maple and I ALWAYS love to read about and see pics of all the goodies you reap from your amazing garden! xo

  5. i love love love your list! i try to do these things as well, there were a few i didn't really think of (like buying fruit in bulk.. and i've never made my own jam). thanks for sharing this!

    lindsey louise

  6. some great tips there! I always buy my grains in bulk and store in glass jars plus I never buy fruit and vegies that are not in season - that way I know they are cheaper and sourced closer to home!


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