My Sustainable House Renovation: Demolition

We started the design process in earnest in 2017, but due to financial constraints stopped, then picked it up again in 2018. Our initial plan was to go up another storey, but we had a hard budget which meant that after spending many many thousands of dollars on plans and approvals, we had to re-start. It was obvious that the two-storey option was super tight from a financial point of view and we would have had to sacrifice all of our sustainability aspirations. So back to the drawing board (literally) it was.

I spent a long time thinking of what I could do then to maintain as much of the existing home as possible, while reducing the size to help meet budget and environmental goals. With new plans drawn up we went into full gear and looked to lock in dates for construction to begin. But something else happened in early 2020…..a global pandemic hit and we needed to pause. We needed to mentally gather ourselves because going into lock down and living in fear was not the mindset that is conducive to risky big plans. But with the situation in Sydney easing and us sensing some form of ‘normality’, we hit the ‘Go’ button in October 2020.

Moving out was hard work. We had over the years accumulated so much which I was not going to have space for funnily enough. We threw out way more than I was hoping to do, but eventually the house was ready for the builders to move it.

The first step was demolition and this was the first and most important lesson that I learnt about construction.

Bye Bye house. Note some of the 1940’s curved features. There used to be some ‘fancy’ brick work too

I went through painstakingly identifying walls to keep, walls to remove. It was this desire to keep as much of the embodied energy in the home that forced most of the design decisions. Well little was I to know that it meant diddly squat! But before I get to that, the demolition did show up some unique 1940’s features like windows which were hidden behind some joinery and a little nook in the wall for when milk was left by the milkman!

Post-war 1940s window feature

As for the rest of the demolition, well it kept going and going until I came back one day and there was pretty much no house left at all! Imagine my sustainable heart sinking.

Where did my house go?

This is also about when two big variations came in. As I am on a sloping block, the house was built on piers. Most of the brickwork was 80 years old and much of the lime mortar worn down, away or non-existent. So my builder convinced me that this was not on and that I should remove the piers and start again. I eventually gave way also because as there was no house left anymore, it allowed me to slightly alter the location of some walls to make my daughter’s bedroom and the kids’ bathroom slightly bigger.

You would have seen from my wishlist in Part 1 of these posts that avoid, reuse and recycle was really high on the list from a materials and waste point of view. The reality became that much waste was generated and while my builder meticulously separated and recycled, nothing was maintained, nothing was reused. Not that I didn’t try. I gave lists and excel spreadsheets and marked what I wanted to reuse. Things like my solid timber front door, kitchen sink, toilets, taps, showeheads. These items were removed and sat in the front yard, but eventually ended up somewhere too. So this was another lesson – if I wanted to keep stuff, I had to go myself, remove it straight away from the site and store it. I simply assumed the builder would keep  things on site until he needed it again.

It was also just as well that I had mentally let go of a lot of my garden because all of the garden beds around the house were destroyed, so a lot of money and love including a massive frangipani tree ended up in those skip bins too.

 What was I doing while all of this was taking place? I was living 10 minutes away in a pretty grotty small home, though visiting regularly to my builder’s chagrin. I was working (mostly from home because of Covid, and trying to keep on top of spiralling costs)!

With demolition finished within a few months, we moved onto construction. But then something else was been happening in Sydney the last few years – La Nina. Stay tuned for my next post on how that affected things.

The Sustainable House Renovation – Part 1

As I sit here in my renovated home, I am able to enjoy the changes I made to improve the life of my family and I.

To make it our own though we enlisted the help of family. My father in-law who has now passed away was an architect, so he set off coming up with some plans for us.  He came up with many different options. We pored over them from overseas and having never seen the house – but sustainability was always right up in the top of considerations.

This renovation was a long time coming. When we bought this 1940’s post-war house in Lane Cove we always knew we wanted to make changes. The house itself though was solid and had ‘good bones’, so we knew we wanted to renovate rather than knock it down.

We never actually saw the house as we were living overseas (Abu Dhabi) when we bought it.  My mum checked it out though and confirmed it was a ‘good one’. We were lucky at the time that prices has stabilized in Sydney somewhat and we could put in a bid that was successful.

He was able to research and came up with good options for us. Top of my wishlist at the time was solar hot water and keeping as much of the house as possible to reduce waste and embodied carbon.

But when we priced this up, it was out of our budget and reach, so we decided to live in it first when we moved back with our two children. We managed a few updates like a new kitchen, bathroom, laundry, painting, ripping out carpet, rendering and doing a lot of work in the garden. You’ll see all my gardening posts over the years.

But with a third child and growing kids, it was time to think about what came next. I spent some time looking into opportunities to sell and move somewhere quieter, but as anyone that has lived in Sydney the last ten years will tell you – that’s a pipe dream. So after eliminating that option, it came time again to re-look at the plans that we had. We realized that at the time, we were a family of four and are now a family of five, so we needed new plans.

Through a friend’s connection we found a builder who listened to us and brought on an architect he regularly worked with. Again I made sure sustainability was at the top of the wishlist and went so far as to draw up an excel of all my ‘must haves’. I gave this to the architect at the outset who seemed extremely confused and wasn’t sure what to do about my enthusiasm.

So what was I trying to fix with this enthusiasm?

We also installed solar and tried to look into efficiency measures like LED lights. BUT the house was always uncomfortable. We had tiled floors which were absolutely feezing to walk on in winter. The windows leaked like crazy. In fact some had even cracked. One of the rooms clearly had moisture issues. Our gas and electricity bills were always really high, particularly over winter. Needless to say efficiency and good designs was on the top of priorities.

Some of our wishlist items included:

  • Solar
  • Rainwater tank
  • Double glazed windows
  • Efficient showerheads and toilets
  • Low toxicity materials, paints
  • Certified timber and materials
  • Good construction waste management
  • Reused materials and reusing what we demolish as much as possible
  • Keeping as much of the house as possible
  • Disconnecting from gas – so going fully electric
  • Highly insulated (walls, ceiling, floors, roof)

You can see from this list that there is nothing too crazy on this list. My builder though listened politely, but not only saw dollar signs for variations, but also thought I was being kooky!

So there began the journey of not only educating the builder, but of the battle of realise a lot of my vision.

Stay tuned for more blogs as I take you through the year that was which included Covid lockdowns, supply chain issues and many variations.

Have you had a similar experience? I’d love to hear your stories and share what lessons you learnt.

Plastic Free July

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A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending The Climate Reality Project’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps training along with 800 other like-minded people. It was three days of meeting and listening to inspiring people – all with the aim of tackling global heating.

I have always been quite green and have been writing about my journey as an eco-mummy for a few years now.  While I was there though, I met someone who also said they really cared about plastic pollution in the oceans. She said it like she needed to choose which issue was more urgent and pressing and thereby worth her time and dedication. Then it struck me how both issues are so inter-related.

The process of making plastic is quite complex, as I recently discovered when trying to explain it to a group of year 3 students (part of my Climate Reality presentation advocacy). One thing that isn’t so complex though is the base material that goes into making plastic – fossil fuels (crude oil and gas).  It releases many tonnes of CO2 and other pollutants into the atmosphere during its production and uses energy too, to manufacture. So all in all a very fossil fuel hungry material.  In fact, plastic manufacturing is estimated to use 8% of global yearly oil production.  Despite all of the renewables coming online in the last year, the significant increase in plastic production has been blamed for the increase in CO2 emissions in 2018.

But plastic is fantastic isn’t it? It’s durable, light and doesn’t break.  It’s so flexible that life would seem almost impossible without it.  We love plastic so much that the World Economic Forum estimates that plastic production has sky rocketed from 16.5 million tonnes in 1964 to 343 million tonnes in 2014 with predictions that this will double by 2036!  Since 1950, humans have made 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic and despite the fact that plastic is durable and reusable, most has been disposed, so we keep producing more and more.  I remember travelling in Cuba as part of my year of backpacking before children and seeing plastic bags hanging out on clothes lines to dry. Obviously Cubans saw some value in these bags in that they reused them. The rest of the world though is in an unrelenting cycle of throwing things out.

So where does all of this plastic that is thrown out end up? Very little is recycled and most (79%) ends up in either landfill or the world’s oceans (8 million tonnes every year) slowly breaking down.  It takes plastic between 500 – 1000 years to break down.  That is many millions of tonnes of plastic waste – everywhere for millennia.  When plastic does break down into micro-plastics, then where does it go? Likely in animals and ultimately us!

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When thinking of plastic and plastic waste – also consider that many ‘rich’ countries offload this problem to the developing world where environmental laws are more lax and the problem is ‘out of sight’.  The health impact on those communities from our waste, is shameful. Some countries like China, the Philippines and Malaysia are wising up and sending the waste back.

Going back to the Climate Reality training conversation, I was struck by what Natalie Isaac from 1 Million women said: Don’t just talk – you must live your values in your everday life.  Now I am generally good about my plastic use and I’ve resisted going ‘full hog’ in eradicating plastic in my life because – well I’m a busy working mum trying to live life on a budget of sorts. So the idea of going to 5 different shops to get my weekly groceries doesn’t have much appeal. I have seen articles about people with a little jar showing how much waste they’ve produced in a year and have rolled my eyes about the improbability and impracticality of it all!

BUT, when I went to my daughter’s class to present on climate action, I used plastic as a way for kids to make a difference because through this action, the benefits are two-fold: reduce plastic waste and reduce carbon emissions.

After the talk a few days ago, I got thinking about my own home. Luckily Plastic Free July: https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/ is about to kick off and my family and I have decided to participate. We’ve taken the challenge to avoid single use plastic packaging and target takeaway items.  I have no idea how we’re going to go, but I will share our ups and downs every week.

I encourage you to also take the challenge and to get you started here are some resources that can help:

For me, I have started! I went to a wholefood store in Lane Cove (Source) and stocked up on some snacks for the kids that I can put in their lunch box.  Keep an eye out for my weekly blog where I’ll share tips and an uncensored take on how we’re going as a family.  Please join me in taking the challenge.

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DIY Gifts from the Heart – Christmas 2017

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Another year has flown and what a year! Highs, lows, fun times, not so fun times.  For me, 2017 has been a time where I’ve focussed on my career and family.  My youngest daughter has started pre-school and while she loves it, it’s taken a little one for this spirited one to settle into the new routine of her Montessori pre-school.

2017 was also the year where my middle daughter started ‘big’ school. Going from Montessori to a public primary school was quite easy for her and she’s thrived and done very well.  She’s one of those kids that loves to learn anyway – which is lucky.

For my son, 2017 has been a year of cementing friendships and perfecting the art of lego making!  With his two closest friends moving to another school and overseas, the next year is going to bring lots of changes for him.

For me, I’ve managed to do a few things that have been on my ‘to do’ list for a long time – getting chickens and continuing my gardening around the house.  Work has rewarding with me having completed some great projects and made wonderful friends.  The year ends however with me saying farewell to my previous job and welcoming another one.

As the year ends however, I like to work with my children to give family something home-made, from the heart and special for Christmas.  This year, I decided on home-made granola!  I like it because it’s simple to make and you can be creative with it.  It also went down a treat!

Here is what you need:

  • Jars
  • Nice ribbon
  • 5 cups of rolled oats – this is the base
  • 1 ½ cup puffed corn
  • 1 ½ cup rice bran
  • ½ cups goji berries
  • ¼ cups cacao nibs
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • ½ cups pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cups pecan nuts
  • 125 ml Maple syrup
  • ½ cup coconut oil melted
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt

Method:

M pecan

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160° C
  2. Cover baking tray with non-stick baking paper
  3. Mix all the ingredients except the goji berries and puffed corn.
  4. Add the maple syrup and coconut oil and mix through.
  5. Spread on a baking tray and put in the oven
  6. Once it’s starting to look golden – add the puffed corn (this is so that the puffed corn will be crispy, but not burnt)
  7. Depending on how you like it, you can leave it a little longer (it should take about 20 minutes all up) until it is more toasted
  8. Removed from the oven and mix through the goji berries. Set aside to cool.
  9. Once cool add to jars and decorate as you please.

M mixing

 

Enjoy – nooshejan!

May you have a peaceful, healthy and prosperous 2018 full of love and joy.

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Urban Farming in the ‘Burbs

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Life sure has been busy of late. Three young children and their activities along with work keeps me super occupied.  I have however found the time recently to finally realise one of the items on my home ‘to do’ list. It may have taken a while. Like a really long while, but finally our home has welcomes four chickadees!  Our hens joined our family about 4 weeks ago.

My children have had some experience with chickens are part of ‘chook chat’ at their school. The four chickens at school are cared for on a roster by students, mine included.  Students collect the eggs and every now and then do a big cook up. I love this way of engaging with the kids.

So with the ice broken, I decided to get the ball rolling at home and get our own chooks.  It’s taken about a year from the time I bought the coop – to constructing the run – to finally getting to the exciting part – making the trip to a nursery to buy our hens.  It’s been worth the wait though.  Pepper, Caramel, Blackie and Tiny Ninja are now well and truly at home with us.

After some good tips from a work friend, we ended up buying two Australopes and two Isa Browns from New Leaf Nursery: http://www.newleafnursery.com.au/ They were especially selected by the chook whisperer there for our family.  The good thing about the Australope hens is that they lay eggs throughout their lives.  The Isa Browns we bought because of their good nature.

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So far all are pretty friendly, though not super friendly because we’re not at the stage where they come to you and sit by your feet. We’ve had the occasional toe and leg pecking, but after holding them and spending more time with them they seem to be coming around. They especially love me because I’m usually the source of food!

Now, if a garden of veggies and some fruit and now chickens wasn’t enough, last week I discovered a new mysterious bird.  At first I thought it looked like a cross between a quail and a duck. After many misses in trying to photograph it, the bird ended stuck on the trampoline.  After taking some great photos, I sent them to my local Council for identification. They confirmed, that it was not a quail, but a Bush Turkey and while I am a friend of wildlife, I am not so sure about having a bird make itself at home in the garden I have spent some year building up.  Time will tell whether it decided to stay. So far the hens are wary, but the Turkey doesn’t seem fazed.

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Now with my garden project pretty much complete, I can sit back and enjoy the years of work and planning that’s gone into my very own urban farm.   Or maybe not!  Next on my ‘to do’ list: ‘bug hotel’/ native beehive and possibly a frog pond. ..watch this space!

My tips for keeping chickens (so far):

  • Choose a spot in the garden with some sun, but not too much;
  • Talk to your local Council about what their requirement are. Besides not keeping a whole lots of hens and telling my neighbours as a courtesy, my Council didn’t have any specific requirements;
  • Buy the hens and move them in together at the same time, that way you don’t have any problems later with introducing a new hen to the flock;
  • They LOVE grain and get quickly get fussy with food if given the good stuff all the time. So balance out some boring food with something exciting;
  • Get them used to you straight away by spending time with them. Mine aren’t too excited about being held and to be honest I’m still getting used to them too, but now we’re all getting used to each other; and
  • Get the kids involved in feeding them and enjoy!

Clean and green cleaning

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I feel as though I never have time for my Blog anymore.  If life with two kids wasn’t busy enough, with three young kids, it is off the rails. I feel that I spend a lot of my time trying to stay afloat.  Added to that is my professional job which is a source of inspiration and contentment, but also at times stress.  Also I have little time for my garden (which is suffering this summer), let alone quality time with my husband or relaxation. To ease the ‘time’ factor in my life, I have thought about getting in a cleaner or other help.  One of the things that stops me about a cleaner is my high eco-standard.  Ever since I did my Palm Oil Detox, I’ve been using natural cleaning products and I’m nervous about the chemicals that might be used by a professional cleaner. For now, I’m opting to keep my natural cleaning standards and do it myself.  The reasons to use green cleaning products are simple:

  • They’re not toxic to the health of my family or the planet;
  • They’re cheap; and
  • They’re simple and effective.

What do I use? There are basically two ingredients that I use the most, though I do also use ‘Natural’ cleaning products from the supermarket (mostly to clean my toilet and sometime the shower recess when it gets a bit too icky!):

  1. Bicarbonate of soda;
  2. White vinegar.

 

Bicarbonate of soda

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Discovered in ancient Egypt, this sodium compound which is called Natron was used in the mummification process.  Over time, European chemists discovered that another form of pearlash was effective in helping the baking process.  In 1791 a French Chemist Nicolas LeBlank turned common salt (sodium chloride) into soda ash (sodium carbonate).  This was later developed into sodium bicarbonate in the USA.

Bicarb soda is like this miracle ingredient used in so many things. I’ve used it to make natural toothpaste I’ve done this by dipping my toothpaste and then brushing. The taste isn’t the usual minty taste that I’m used to, but trust me, my teeth were super clean and shiny afterwards!

My mum’s used it as deodorant and she swears by it. I’ve not tried this though. I have also heard of people that don’t wash their hair with shampoo, and instead do a ‘dry shampoo’ using bicarb soda.

For cleaning I use bicarb soda a number of different ways.  I add a little water and make a paste. I use a toothbrush and clean the grouting in between tiles in my bathroom and to generally clean the bathroom and kitchen sink. I also use it to keep my pots and pans looking good.

Bicarb soda is also great at keeping things smelling fresh. There has been instances where my fridge will get very smelly. All I do is either keep a packet of bicarb soda opened in the fridge or even some fresh coffee grounds.

 

White vinegar

 

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You can buy big containers of cheap white vinegar in most supermarkets. This is my secret weapon around the house. I use it to clean the tiles in my bathrooms, my shower recess, windows and pretty much any surface.

I often add some bicarb soda and vinegar to a load of washing and it brightens up my clothes.

My other tips is to pour a little bicarb soda down the drain and then add vinegar – watch the frothing action, then leave for half an hour and come back and pour boiling water down the drain. A wonderful way to keep your drains clean and fresh without the use of harsh chemicals.

Both of these products can be bought so easily and are really effective and cheap. You also won’t feel so horrible and congested afterwards and your hip pocket and the planet will thank you for it.

DIY Gifts from the Heart – Christmas Olives

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2016 has been a whirlwind of a year and life doesn’t seem like it’s going to slow down any time soon.  I guess that is the life of a working mum of three kids. And a mum with a garden too!

Despite all the mayhem, there has been many fun days too. My children are growing and coming into their own.  But as we got to the end of the year, we still managed our Christmas DIY Gifts from the Heart. This year, we decided to make Herb infused olives for our family.  As usual, I spend the year saving jars and then decide what to do with them.  Here is what to do in case you’d like to make your own:

What you need:

  • Old jar, cleaned and boiled to sterilise
  • Olives – we used plain olives and a mix of black and green
  • Olive oil
  • Herbs – we used the following from our garden:
    • Chillies
    • Thyme
    • Lemon myrtle
    • Sage
    • Rosemary
  • Decorations/ wrapping
  • Some helpers 🙂

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What to do:

Add everything together. I filled half the jar, added some of the herbs and pressed a few against the glass to make it look pretty.  The jar was filled, I added the olive oil and decorated the jars.

herbs

The idea of the gift is also that once the olives have been eaten, the herb infused oil can be used to make salad dressing – just add lemons/ lime juice or balsamic vinegar.  This gift is so easy to make and looks special too.  Nooshejan

My own verge garden

Last year, I wrote a blog piece about verge gardens and whether it’s safe to have food growing so close to a road.  My piece showed that if you take certain precautions, that it should be okay.

So after my research, I decided to strike out and make my own verge garden.  I have a corner block and thankfully the long side is on a quiet street.  Last year, I decided to move a few things around my backyard. Rather than get rid of my timber planter boxes, I decided to move them onto my nature strip.

I excitedly and busily moved all the soil with the help of some kiddies. I added some compost and planned to extend my vegetable garden.

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I then had an idea to get the neighbours involved also. To start a ‘gardening club’ of sorts with my neighbours. There are many families with children around me, so I thought it would be a great chance to get to know neighbours and for my children to meet some children that live close to us.

So I planned two weekends of neighbourhood activity.  One week to plant the seeds and the following week to paint the planter boxes.  I put together a flyer and went door knocking.

The response: a bit underwhelming!

In the meantime my children were very excited about the ‘Gardening Club’ we were starting in our neighbourhood. On the agreed day, at the agreed time we all started to plant our new garden. Unfortunately with the exception of one of my immediate neighbours, no other neighbours came to help us plant our new vegetables. My children were a little disappointed, but we got together and planted some lovely things: carrots, flowers, chillies, zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, lemongrass, parsley, sage and so on.

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In the immediate time after the planting, I did get a few ‘looks’ from passers by. A verge garden is not a common sight in my part of Sydney, but I think most have gotten used to it. I’ve even managed to share some of the produce with a few neighbours, which they’ve loved.

So, some tips for a verge garden:

  • Dial before you dig  http://www.1100.com.au/: you should call this free service to make sure there are no utilities or any issues where you decide to make your garden;
  • Have raised beds;
  • Talk to neigbbours before planting and see whether they’d like to be part of the planning.  Even though I provided all free plants, seeds and compost, my neighbours weren’t engaged, but your might be;
  • Plant some flowers too to make it pretty and attractive and attract pollinators like bees; and
  • Enjoy.

Waste Free Birthday party?

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Children’s birthday parties can create so much waste. The party itself is usually a very intense 2 hours of pure mania. So usually being super eco-minded is tricky. Also, my life is very busy and party planning ends up happening fairly last minute.

This year though I’m going to try and have a low-waste party for my daughter. Can I do it?

Well we’ll find out tomorrow. I will share my experiences with you – my failures and successes.

 

New Year Resolution – Give your Coffee Pods the Flick

source: http://theconversation.com/what-our-love-affair-with-coffee-pods-reveals-about-our-values-30068 

I was never much of a coffee drinker until fairly recently. I never liked the taste – not really through university and not really in my earlier days of working. At the moment however I enjoy a cup of coffee a day. It’s more the habit of it that I enjoy. I like taking the time out to prepare and drink it.

My husband on the other hand is a coffee drinker from way back.  Every day without fail he’ll have a cup at about the same time.  Over the years the standard of coffee drunk has increased. From the instant coffee to buying his own beans, grounding it and using various methods to extract the coffee.

When we moved to the UAE, he bought a cappuccino maker. We felt very fancy. Then it broke and after some reading I bought him a better one for Father’s Day one year. He broke it! then I arranged to get it fixed – then he broke it again and again! In the end we had to get rid of the cappuccino maker.

When we moved back, we managed to acquire my sister’s cappuccino maker – which my husband promptly proceeded to break. So after that I had to put my food down and say no more cappuccino makers. This happened to be about the time that the coffee pod machines became super cheap and stores like Aldi started to sell the pods very cheaply too. Despite my reservations my husband bought one and thankfully in a way he’s managed to not kill the machine. Except that every time we made a cup of coffee it was filled with guilt. Guilt about all the pods we were throwing in the bin. The plastic that was never going to degrade and the mountains of coffee pods that must surely be filling up landfills.

Some facts about coffee pods:

  • Australians are consuming about three million pods a day.
  • More than 1.5 million households in Australia own a pod machine, a number forecast to double by 2018 with reports the capsule coffee market is on track to overtake the grocery bean market.

Apparently, the inventor of the coffee capsules, K-Cup, who sold enough capsules in 2013 to circle the earth nearly 11 times, wishes that he never created them in the first place and is said not to use them himself “No matter what they say about recycling, those things (K-Cups) will never be recyclable,” John Sylvan told The Atlantic. “The plastic is a specialised plastic made of four different layers…I feel bad sometimes that I ever did it.” (http://www.ecocaffe.com.au/news/3-million-pods-a-day/ )

Lately we’ve justified the use of our machine because there is a recycling point in Lane Cove. While this is better than disposal, the multiple layers of plastic and aluminium used means that it is in fact very difficult to recycle coffee pods and in many cases unless the aluminium pods are collected by TetraCycle who have specialist way of collecting and recycling the pods, they are not recycled at all. Certainly the plastic pods are not recyclable, therefore end up in landfill.

Then there is the compostable or biodegradable coffee pods. These are a lot more expensive than the average coffee pods and again there is no simple way of throwing them in your compost bin and hoping for the best. You need a special commercial composter to compost them. If they’re thrown in the bin in the hope of biodegrading in landfill they end up emitting methane – a very powerful greenhouse gas.

In short, the whole thing stinks and with 3 million pods being used every day, it doesn’t take much of an imagination to see that this is big problem.

About six months ago though I decided that enough was enough. Being an eco-mum, I wasn’t just concerned about what to do with the pods afterwards. My concern was about the use of resources to manufacture the silly pods in the first place. So I decided to go back to the way coffee is made in other countries like the Middle East and Italy – using the Moka Pot. This is a stove top coffee maker where water boils in a lower chamber and the steam creating pressure that then passes the vapour through the coffee to an upper chamber. It’s kind of like magic really!

I bought myself one of these pots along with organic fair trade coffee. The results have been good. Taste wise I like it and I especially like the process and the aroma that drifts through the house.  Time wise- it does take longer, but from a waste and materials use point of view it really is the way to go.  Especially as I compost all my coffee grinds and apply that on my vegetable patch.

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My husband on the other hand remains unconvinced. He swears that he likes the taste of the coffee pod machine more and while he’s usually very supportive of my eco-ventures. This is one where he is standing his ground – excuse the pun! I on the other hand will continue to put forward the case that our house needs to be a pod free house.  I urge the millions in Australia and beyond to follow suit.

With the new year just recently started, I ask everyone to make a pledge for the planet and enjoy a guilt free cup of coffee and if you make the pledge try and convince someone else to do it too!

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For more information on why coffee pods are harmful, please go to:

http://theconversation.com/what-our-love-affair-with-coffee-pods-reveals-about-our-values-30068

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2013/apr/10/rise-coffee-pod-machines-nespresso