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Wed 29 July

rice ballsDo you know the best $1.99 I ever spent? Ironically it was for something plastic – but one that gets used every day in our house. It’s a rice ball press – a little triangle which you put sushi rice into it and press it down into a professional looking rice ball (well, actually a rice triangle but that name doesn’t have quite the same ring).The rice ball press has freed us from the dreaded uneaten sandwich pile up at the end of the day. Plus rice balls are unusual enough to give you food swapping cred at school. But we do go through a lot of sushi rice and nori – both of which are packaged in plastic.

Before Plastic Free July started, I bought a 25kg sack of sushi rice and a bag of 100 sheets of nori from the Asian supermarket in Dunedin. Why did I never do that before? I’ve been making rice balls all month with no packaging to throw out, plus they’re costing me about half the price because buying in bulk is so much cheaper. Thanks Plastic Free July – that’s a habit I’ll definitely keep up.

 

Sunday 26th July

Today’s story is one of failure. My biggest struggles with Plastic Free July have been when I’m having people round for dinner. Today I had my menu all planned and it involved coriander, spring onions and spinach. They were pretty key otherwise my chicken soup was going to taste very, very bland.

So I bought them, feeling very guilty at the check-out, all in their plastic wrappers. On the way home, I started thinking about how else I could get them without plastic. Maybe at a Farmers Market when they’re super fresh and in big bundles, but not here in Wanaka at this time of year.

Then I realised that they are all vegetables that I can grow in my garden. In other years when I’ve been a bit more organised, I’ve even had them in the growhouse or the garden at this time of year. So, instead of feeling guilty, I decided to feel good about the kale and parsley that I don’t have to buy in plastic because I’m picking it from the garden. And maybe next year I’ll be more organised and have coriander, spring onions and spinach to pick in July too. Go the Plastic Free Garden.

 

Thursday 23rd July

Venus smallOn the Central Otago Plastic Free July Facebook page was a post about coffee. Help! How do I find coffee without plastic? We’re lucky here in Wanaka, with our own local fabulous coffee roaster, Venus. Not only do they make delicious coffee, they also have eco-friendly, plastic-free packaging.

Their packaging is as simple as it comes – just a brown paper bag. But how does it stay fresh? By the ingenious method of selling it as beans, and installing a grinder in the supermarket. If you don’t have a grinder at home, you can grind the beans fresh when you buy them, and then transfer it into an airtight container at home.

Thinking of which, our freshly ground Venus coffee is still sitting in its paper bag in the cupboard. I better sort that out tonight!

 

Read Gina’s Plastic Free Blog from Week 1 or Week 2.