19 ways to have a waste-free wedding

Posted on September 14th, 2016

When I turned forty, I wanted to celebrate with my nearest and dearest. But I didn’t want to just “chuck a party” with a whole stack of booze and booze-soaking food and…wastage. I wanted it to matter and, so I put it together as sustainably as I could possibly make it. I bought nothing new, used produce that was going to be thrown out and kept as many ingredients as possible within a 100-200km radius of the event.

Recently I read about three couples who did similar, for their weddings. Waste free! This stuff gets me excited.

Kat and Michael's homemade Tasmanian wedding - see below.

Kat and Michael’s homemade Tasmanian wedding – see below.

And so below, a list of ways to have a waste-free wedding. If you have a wedding on your radar, that is.

1. For the wedding meal, team up with an organisation that creates meals from food past its “sell by” date that grocery stores and bakeries would have otherwise thrown away.

2. At the end of the event, encourage guests to take home any leftovers.

3. Find your wedding dress on online classifieds website (like Gumtree) for $105. You might have to get a few alterations made, but the previous owner will be glad the dress is going to be used again.

4. Get your wedding rings made from reused metals. Read more

I’ve been a nomad for six years. This is what it’s done to me.

Posted on September 6th, 2016

I’ve not lived in my own place, with furniture and belongings around me, for a good chunk of my life.


Image via benchandcompass.tumblr.com

I’ve never owned a fridge. Nor a washing machine. Nor an iron.

Six years ago I gave everything away, reducing my belongings to two suitcases, and decamped to a (frugally furnished) army shed in the forest just outside Byron Bay.

Since then I’ve lived out of two suitcases of belongings (sometimes just the one, for six months at a time), buying very little and roaming from Byron to Sydney to the Northern Beaches to London to Europe. And back. In and out of Air BnBs. Creating a community around me in Paris, London, Narrabeen – finding great yoga classes, cafes and libraries to work in, friendly grocers, friends in random places.

I got as far as buying a couch once. But moved before really getting around to sitting on it. It’s now in a tiny storage shed, along with a few other bits and pieces. I’m down to one suitcase again.

There’s much to say on living life as a nomad. Perhaps I’ll say more soon.

But today I wanted to share another thought I picked up in Olivia Laing’s The Lonely City (last week I shared the value of loneliness).

She, too, is a nomad, living between sublet accommodations. Like me, she enters other people’s spaces, and Read more

No, avocado toast every day is not a good thing

Posted on August 30th, 2016

Clean eating and JERFing is all very well…until it becomes dementedly unsustainable.

Image via The Kitchen Cleanse

Image via The Kitchen Cleanse

We’ve seen it happen with chia seeds and quinoa, where the fashionable demand for these new foods have seen crops dwindling for the communities that rely on them as a traditional, staple food, with prices hiking by sometimes 4-5 times. Ethical consumers should be aware that poor Bolivians can no longer afford their staple grain (quinoa), due to western demand raising prices.

I recently wrote a post – Sorry, but you shouldn’t be drinking almond milk – to highlight the sustainability issues behind the scenes of our fashionable alt-milk obsession.

I hate to be the mirror-holder-upper to our bourgeois culinary habits, but today I need to flag the Problem With Avocados.

Around the world we’re eating a lot of avocados. Cafes serve a whopping half a fruit on breakfast plates. Raw foodies add a whole one to their smoothies. Avos are now everyday food, treated as base for a meal, not as a decadent accompaniment. Today, avocados are the most posted food on Instagram.

In Australia, plantings are set to double in the next decade to 110,000 hectares to cater for the demand and the industry’s aim is to get Australians eating five kilos per person per year.

Some might see this as a wonderful thing. But we must look at the implications of our eagerness to Avo Everything.

Well, first, they’re sucking up a lot of water. By one estimate it takes 272 litres just to grow half a kilogram (two or three medium-sized) avocados. This is a problem broadly. Especially here in Australia.

Read more