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Winter Tips for a Busy Family Life

I’ve just arrived back in the office after a few days away with girlfriends.

After months of planning to coordinate the calendars of five busy working Mums (a near impossible process), we had a few days in the beautiful, chilly Blue Mountains. Huddled around the fire we shared stories and wine, comparing parenting adventures as we start to embrace the teenage years with kids, and encouraging each other as we spoke about our evolving lives.

Old friends are so precious, and after a few days, I feel completely reset, relaxed and ready to take on the world.

My life as it has evolved as a mum and business owner is certainly what Pete and I have designed, however in truth, it’s currently far busier than we would choose. Pete has been spending most winter weeks living away from home in Melbourne as we assist councils to kick off their FOGO programs. It’s really rewarding to see our composting programs for food waste expand across Australia. I would encourage you to contact your local council to discuss if a program is not yet in place.

Back in our Newcastle office our little team have been busy as more and more people and organisations make the switch from plastic bags to compostable bags, often prompted by the changing state legislation. I strongly believe the answer to our single use plastic challenges is not thicker plastic bags! Instead, we all need to make the switch to more sustainable options. As FOGO Programs expand, Australian Certified Compostable Bags are an even more compelling solution, with Singlet Bags and Produce Bags able to be re-used for food scraps before they are thrown out for composting.

At home, life with two kids often independently has its own set of challenges, however there are three tips that are keeping us all on track, our Sunday food prep, building in slow moments, and ensuring we accept letting some things go.

         

  • I actually enjoy our Sunday Cook Up, and it means that even after the busiest school afternoons, we always finished the day with a lovey homemade meal, which in reality is simply a quick reheat. Winter cooking is perfect for prepping and freezing with soups and curries, however one of our current favourites is a lamb ragu which basically cooks itself. You can find the recipe here

 

  • Building a few slow moments in the busiest of days is also important. This season we had an abundance of lemons on our trees, which we dehydrated to preserve. I’ve been simply dropping a few of these in warm water each morning to kick start the day. It’s a comforting ritual as I start to wake up and plan the day, and I would like to think the vitamin C is boosting my immunity through the colder months.

     

 

  • Letting some things go… While, the kids do need consistent feeding and love, I do have to confess that my vegie garden is not looking its usual vibrant self. Every time we plant, the rain is so excessive that our little seedlings flood, which is disheartening, especially for the kids. We have temporarily let it go, although I do have a stash of leafy greens which we have grown in terracotta pots. These pots are quite inexpensive, drain really well, and can be moved, so are a little more versatile for the current crazy weather. The increasing prices of fresh greens when purchased is also a motivating factor. You can read our tips for growing leafy greens here. We source all our seeds from Greenpatch Organic Seeds & Plants who are passionate about preserving heritage / heirloom varieties and organic farming. The resulting produce is as tasty as what I remember being harvested from my grandfather’s vegie garden!

And with those thoughts, I’m feeling a little more motivated and may plan to get stuck into the vegie garden again this weekend… that is if any sunshine manages to sneak through the rain clouds.

Enjoy winter

Mel

FOGO bins

‘It doesn’t require a lot of effort’: Sydney council’s food recycling trial extended

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Our team have been promoting Food Composting Programs for multi-unit dwellings for such a long time, and are really excited to be working with local Sydney Councils, who are proving how easily it can be done!
This article was originally published in the Sydney Morning Herald.
Pictured is our Kitchen Caddy customised specifically for the trials, and Australian Certified Compost-A-Pak® liners. This Kitchen Caddy has been made in part of Recycled Material (Milk Cartons, food containers etc)  collected in Council Roadside Recycling programs.

When Erin Clay moved into an apartment, the last thing she wanted to do was contribute to landfill by throwing food waste into the rubbish bin.

So Ms Clay, of Potts Point, was quick to join the City of Sydney’s kitchen recycling trial.

Erin Clay recycles her food scraps under a City of Sydney program. 
Erin Clay recycles her food scraps under a City of Sydney program. CREDIT:JACK CROSSING

“We’ve never really had compost solutions for inner-city living, so I think it’s good when you don’t have a backyard and can’t do it yourself,” she said.

She was familiar with the trial, having initially joined while living in a share house.

The city’s food scraps recycling initiative would be expanded to more than 21,000 households this year, a City of Sydney spokesperson said.

The council provides a small kitchen caddy, a supply of compostable caddy liners and a food scraps bin to residents.

Lord mayor Clover Moore said: “An average Australian family throws out an astonishing $3500 or more worth of food every year, amounting to about one tonne of food waste.

“With approximately 8 per cent of our total greenhouse gas emissions generated by waste, it is vital that we divert as much waste from landfill as possible.”

While other Sydney councils have a combined food and garden organics waste service, the City of Sydney said this option was unworkable given the city’s large proportion of apartment dwellers. In 2021, the council will be assessing more permanent food organics recycling solutions.

“Preliminary results indicate the trial is on track to success, with good recovery and participation rates, low bin contamination, high customer satisfaction, and delivery of multiple environmental benefits,” the council said.

In Woollahra Council, residents can get a free kitchen caddy and caddy liners. “Our residents can create compost simply by placing their scraps into their green-lid bin,” a council spokesperson said.

Woollahra operates under the Food Organics and Garden Organics system facilitated by the NSW Environment Protection Authority. It allows for the disposal of food and garden organics in a combined system that converts food waste to compost and fertilisers.

Penrith City Council has been part of the program for 10 years and Randwick will join in 2021.

 

“It doesn’t require a lot of effort, but you’re still doing something good for the environment,” Ms Clay said.

Having experienced a more specific waste disposal system while living in Japan, Ms Clay believes it’s a matter of education just as much as an issue for councils.

“I think that Australians have a really limited knowledge of where things go … people put coffee cups in the recycling,” she said, calling for more education and accountability, as well as consistency across councils.

The City of Sydney continues to recruit apartment buildings for the food scraps trial.