Saturday, 5 December 2015

Plastic free chicken feed

It can be difficult to avoid plastic packaging when it comes to animal and pet food. I have been determined to reduce the amount of animal food I buy in plastic packaging, which means buying in bulk and/or making my own.

My latest endeavor is heavily supplementing my store bought chook food with grains I've sprouted myself. Sprouting grains releases nutrients that wouldn't ordinarily be accessible to chickens in dry food. Here's how I did it:

  • I bought several same sized tins from my local recycle centre and punctured holes in the bottom of them with a nail (don't make them too big or the grains will fall through).
  • I bought organic grain and soaked a couple of handfuls overnight, giving it a good rinse before placing it in one of the tins. 
  • I then repeated the procedure the following day or two, so there wasn't a huge amount sprouting at the same time. And again until all tins had grain in them.
  • The tins are stacked on top of each other and rinsed twice a day, with the oldest grain on top.
  • The grain is ready after six days; keep the rotation going (with three tins, you will need to soak new grain every two days).
  • To give the chickens the calcium they need, I dried out their egg shells in the sun, then crushed them up and mixed them with the sprouted grain.
  • The chickens loved it!
This site offers lots of advice if you'd like to give it a go.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Plastic free crackers - best recipe out there

If you are like me, you have a savoury-tooth and love your crackers and cheese as a stop gap before dinner. The problem is that most crackers inevitably come in plastic, and sometimes several layers of plastic.

This is a recipe given to me by one of my fellow 'Plastics Anonymous' members two Plastic Free Julys ago, and they are absolutely delicious and very easy to make. It is adapted from a Wendyl Nissen recipe.

110g wholemeal flour
110g rolled oats
1 tsp salt
40g each of sunflower, sesame, linseed, pumpkin seeds
350ml warm water
2 tsp olive oil
For extra taste, add finely chopped garlic and fresh thyme

1. Heat oven to 130c. Mix all dry ingredients and add water and oil.
2. Oil a large oven tray (you may need two if small) and spread the mixture out over the trays. Spread it is as thin as you can without creating holes in the mixture. Bake for 15 mins.
3. Remove from over and cut into cracker size pieces. Put back in oven for 1.5 to 2 hours until golden.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Breadmaker heaven

I can't believe it's taken me two years to suss this one out. It can be hard to buy bread free of plastic wrapping, and making bread by hand is very time consuming. So I bought a secondhand breadmaker for $10 and now have fresh bread whenever I want.

Aside from the obvious plastic involved in purchasing the maker, I can source of all my ingredients in bulk (I use paper bags which I reuse), and best of all, the organic alternative to the non-organic is not much more of a cost.

For those of you living in New Zealand, Bin Inn is now stocking more and more organic products in bulk. If they don't have what you want, just ask. They are always keen to meet demand.
Yum! To keep it fresh I wrap my bread in material
that is infused with bees wax. Works really well.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

The Inspirational Beth Terry

Beth Terry, plastic-free queen of the world, has just released the second edition of her book How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too, complete with foreword by Jack Johnson. It is the bible of living a less plastic-dependent life and is well worth a read let alone purchasing if you want a lifestyle change. 
And guess who features in the international section? Yes, Tina Ngata and I proudly represent the Aotearoa chapter. Check it out!
You can purchase the book from Amazon or

Sunday, 3 May 2015

On the road to a plastic bag free New Zealand

New Zealand is disappointingly still behind many countries in being progressive with single-use plastic minimisation. Here is a great starting point - curbing the use of plastic use through legislative change. And about time too! When I lived in Ireland nearly 15 years ago they were already well down this path. I was quite shocked to find that if I wanted a plastic bag I had to pay for it, but it worked excellently as a mechanism to stop their use.

If you would like to be part of this change, apart from not using them yourself, be politically active and support this petition to ban plastic bags in New Zealand. It is hosted by Greenpeace and addressed to the Minister for the Environment, Nick Smith. 

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Be the Change interview

This is really rather lovely; I was interviewed by 4 year old Matai for his and his father's website Be the Change, which documents stories of social and environmental change in New Zealand.
Robz and Matai take these stories and educate people around the country through song and tale telling (and on bike no less). They are a very effective team.

It's quite long, so you might like to be selective with your watching, but all the key messages about plastic and packaging are there along with lots of tips. Watch here.
They may well be coming to a town near
you, so keep an eye out.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

9 months after my year finished

I am proud to say that I am still going strong on being as plastic free as possible, though am not as rigid now that the rules are relaxed. It's been fairly easy to maintain a mostly plastic free shopping diet because of the habits I fell into during my year. In fact, I find it really hard to buy plastic, and it's not just habitual; it feels like an ethical as well as a political stand that I am making.
This is my pantry 21 months after starting my plastic
free year. You won't find much plastic in there! Thank
goodness for bulk bins.