Furoshiki – waste free wrapping/carrying

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Learning and drooling at the beautiful fabrics, all at the same time

Recently, I went to a free class run in Bern by Live Green, to learn the Japanese art of Furoshiki. I love a good course/class and jumped at the chance to learn about this versatile technique/skill.

Furoshiki is a brilliant, no waste option for wrapping and carrying things. The fabrics come in different sizes, to be used for different purposes. Our teacher, Ye, said most Asian (Japanese, Chinese, Koren) households used to have one or more and they were used for everything. But her husband Mike noted that, unfortunately, this is a tradition of the past and plastic products have taken over. He said in Japan it is currently experiencing a revival with the Zero Waste movement, which is great to hear. Continue reading

A Tale of Two Sicilys … Part 1

IMG_7487Sicily … oh, Sicily … the name conjures up all sorts of images – blue seas, blue skies, scarf-wearing nonnas, ancient villages, the mafia, sun-ripened tomatoes, vineyards, fresh seafood, and if you like detective stories, you’ll be thinking Inspector Montalbano too.

We’ve just come home from another fantastic two-week holiday, but it isn’t all of the above. There’s another side to Sicily that is never promoted. And why would it be? I feel torn about writing this post, because I couldn’t wait to go back after last year’s initiation, but it needs to be said.

Sicily is trashed. Majorly trashed.

This is what we are led to believe it looks like …

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Waves and sunshine and boats and ruins … what’s not to love?

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Doing better in the bathroom

Over the past few months, I’ve been using up all the plastic containers of lotions, potions and promises floating around the bathroom cupboard. I was reusing the ones with spray nozzles to hold homemade alternatives, then impatience and a chance conversation at the local chemist led me to better alternatives.

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Who knew brown could be so pretty? New brown bottles, old clear jar.

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Asking can’t hurt …

I’ve been going to an awesome Turkish kebab restaurant near work (in Bern, Switzerland) for a falafel roll or mezze plate at least once a week for almost a year.

It’s cheap, it’s pretty healthy and the people are nice. Sometimes I eat in, sometimes it’s to go.

Last week, I thought I’d try something different.

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Our new friend, the butcher

We live in a small village, just outside the centre of Switzerland’s capital, Bern. During the week we don’t really eat meat, but on the weekends in summer it’s nice to throw a sausage on the barbecue or have a lasagna with salad.

During the first week of Plastic Free July, I took my own container to the meat counter at one of the two big supermarket chains. It was their main store in Bern. I chose some lamb and asked if it could be put in my glass container. The man refused, citing health and safety regulations. I tried to “strike up a discussion” (notice I’m not using the word argue!) that I took responsibility for my own actions and it would be fine as I would be eating the meat that night. He said no (man, I hate that word!), and because I had no (there it is again!) time to go anywhere else, I accepted the lamb, wrapped in a thin sheet of plastic and put inside a waxy, one-use-only paper bag.

As I walked off, feeling verrrry disappointed, I heard him tell a co-worker I wanted to use my own container. I didn’t hear any more of the discussion, but I hope it got them thinking! But this little exercise inspired me to hurry up and find a plan b … to refuse the refuse … because there’s always a plan b, right? Continue reading

The easiest of starts

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The beautiful lake of St Moritz in Switzerland … momentarily spoiled by the sight/blight of this …

One of the easiest and simplest ways to reduce waste it to ditch the one-use plastic water bottles. They don’t all make it to the recycling plant.

While the photo above isn’t the best quality because I zoomed in, the eyesore was enough to snap my sister and I out of our blissful state while taking in the glory of St Moritz lake, in Switzerland, during her recent visit.

This is what the lake looked like elsewhere …

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Welcome

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Hello, and welcome to refuse the refuse. You can also find me @refusetherefuse on Instagram and you can email me at refusetherefuse@gmail.com.

It’s a slow process, requiring patience and planning, but steps can be taken to minimize our impact on Earth’s resources.

Others have gone before me to blaze the trail of zero waste, but I find the term “zero waste” gives a scary impression. People read zero waste and baulk (or balk) at the idea, because it seems so impossible.

I don’t think I’ll ever be totally refuse free, but I’m trying my hardest.

Would you like to join me on the journey?