Thursday, 4 July 2013

How to open chook bags and Plastic Free July

Firstly, Plastic Free July!  Liz asked me recently if I was taking part and I had one of those 'Aargggh!' moments!  I intended to post about it in June in the hopes of encouraging you all to join in.  Life's been a bit busy around here.

Plastic Free July is an initiative of Western Earth Carers.  They aim to encourage people to reduce their rubbish.  Yay!  The idea is that you keep track of the single use plastic that comes into your home during the month of July.

It's not to late too register.  I know that because I only registered this morning!  You can choose to just do a day or a week if you think the whole of July is daunting. 

I encourage you to take part.  It is a very educational process.  I was feeling quite cocky about it and looking forward to telling you all about how little plastic we use.  After all we're a very careful family when it comes to producing rubbish!  Hmmm!  Not so!

We're into the fourth day of the challenge and I have a little stash of single use plastic already!  Yesterday I shopped.  I needed scissors desperately because my little crafters have lost my scissors yet again!  This time they've been missing for a couple of months, so I assume they're not coming back.

I felt no guilt buying my new pair.  After all, it's a sensible, practical purchase!  Didn't occur to me that they were encased in a plastic sleeve until I got home.

I also bought a couple of DVDs for the kids.  Of course they had a plastic wrapping.  We hardly ever buy DVDs but if you'd been at the supermarket with my whinging, misbehaving children you would have been racking your brain for a way to keep them occupied too!  The silly thing is, they've been wonderful at home - it was just the supermarket that was boring them to the point of misbehaviour.  I really shouldn't have bought the videos.  Mind you, cooking dinner last night was a lovely, peaceful affair because they were all in the other room watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

I also bought a bag of oranges.  Duhh!  Why didn't I buy them individually?!  I usually do.  Of course the mesh bag is some sort of plastic. 

The final plastic was the packaging from some mozzarella we used for a broccoli lasagne last night.
My stash on day four!
I'm keeping all of my bits of plastic so that I can see exactly how much we have created when the month ends.  I'm keeping them in an old bread bag and I soooo hope it will be big enough.  I think I will get better at stopping to think before every purchase, not just the ones I make regularly, by the month's end.  What a great concept Plastic Free July is!!! 

Now!  Chook bags!  You know the bags you get at the produce store?  They might have chook food, chaff, wheat, horse food.... 

Well these bags are frustrating!  You cut the string at one end and cross your fingers!!  Sometimes the entire row of stitching just unzips before your very eyes, leaving you with a feeling of satisfaction and smugness!  Other times, try as you might, you cut one end and pull.  Nothing!  Cut the other...  Nothing!  Argggh!  In the end, in sheer annoyance, you just cut the top of the bag itself while fuming that you wasted five minutes on trying to find the Secret String!
Well, during the course of  splitting up our bulk buying we had to open a few of these bags.  The conversation of the Secret String came up and Cynthia thought she knew the answer.  Something to do with which way the stitches ran.  You pull it in the same direction as the arrow created by the stitches.  We tested a couple and sure enough........
 Can you see the arrow formed by the stitches are pointed toward the right?
 So cut the strings close to the left and pull toward the right!  Sometimes it doesn't work as easily as others.  Just tug harder until it comes loose or cut again a little further up.
Ta Da!!


purplepear said...

Thanks for the tip with the feed bag. It has always been a bit hit and miss with that one, but now the bag we get it's the bottom that comes off and I've never had a problem. maybe some new stitching? I'm a bit like you and think I wouldn't have much plastic either. maybe I'd better go register also.

Farmer Liz said...

Wonderful, I knew you'd enjoy PFJ! I have a small stash already too, and each time I think "why didn't I notice that before I bought it??", I might improve by the end :) That secret string was a mystery to me until I had to open 2 tonnes of 20kg bags of organic fertiliser when we planted sorghum, you get after a few repetitions! Now it works for me every time.

Zara said...

Opening the chook feed bags often leads to frustration here. I shall follow these instructions next time. x

Busy mum of 3 said...

I don't think I could take on another July challenge, I'm 5 days in to Dry July this year!

Linda said...

Good luck with your bag opening! And Busy Mum, that's a challenge!! ;-)

Jodie said...

Hi Linda,
Did you know that once you tally up your plastic wrap bits and pieces you can recycle them via the RED Group- (they are collecting via coles stores) sorting and sending to a Melbourne company called Replas. I have been to the replas factory- its pretty cool the stuff they are doing... to take a disposable waste product and turn it into something useful.

Barb. said...

I'm doing PFJ too. I cannot get those bags even though the husband is always telling me how...scissors are a lot quicker and easier.


Linda said...

No I didn't know that Jodie. Thanks for sharing. Do Replas allow members of the public to look through? I'd be interested in having a look.

Barb, LOL! I'm too determined to be beaten by a string!

Jodie said...

Hi Linda,
Not the actual factory.. ..they have a showroom type place where they host school groups and community groups. Some of the councils run "follow your waste tours" which I am sure they would host.(we went for work to where they build all the furniture etc..there is another place where they mould the plastic...colleagues have been apparently theres not much to see all the flaked/ chipped plastic goes in one end and comes on the other as moulded planks). The good thing about where they actually construct the furniture is that all the little bits that get drilled out for screws etc are swept up and sent back through the moulding line - so no waste.

Linda said...

Love it! Thanks Jodie. It's good to hear about different things happening. I'll check to see if they have a website and show my kids.

Peascod said...

I also get frustrated in buying the produce in bulk that now comes with plastic net bag (oh for the days when they were cotton cording). I found a use for them...I put them in the "crazy found item art supply bin" and the kids cut them up and paste them on their collage art projects. Makes a cool texture. The art project may not last a millennium, but the plastic will hehe. But it is a way to use it a second time rather than just tossing it out.
I also use them to make scrubbies for cleaning pans. Cut them into 3 inch squares (I like them small-you could do them larger too) several thickness thick. Crotchet around the edges making sure to catch all layers. I usually do 3-4 rows.
I also use them as grocery produce bags. I remove the labels and fold down the top a few times and crochet a couple of rows around the top. (you can also sew a binding with fabric too) I then lace (or thread through the cloth binding) a piece of heavy string through the top edge for a drawstring. I have also seen them made by sewing on straps instead. I like the drawstrings as it allows closures to keep produce in the bag.

Linda said...

Wow Peascod! I love how resourceful you are! Love the idea of using the bags for scrubbies.