Monday, 21 August 2017

A great workshop on reducing waste, recycling and worm farming

Last weekend we had our Simple Living Toowoomba 'War on Waste' workshop which was really well attended. I am sure we could have kept going for a few more hours as there was so much interest in this topic.

Our co-ordinator, Margy, started off the morning by showing us the Keep Cups that she and her hubby have bought recently. I really like the colours but was putting an order in for some reusable bags with ONYA as we were given a 15% off voucher so ordered one of their red reusable cups instead. I was also going to buy some produce bags but found I could order some from Racheal at Birdsong Market Garden for $2 each so will do that.

For those who use straws there are stainless steel ones that you can buy these days.

Racheal then demonstrated how she makes her beeswax wraps and brought along a few of her experiments so we could feel how the fabric ends up after being treated.

Firstly she put beeswax in a bottle which was sitting in water which came to the boil, then added pine resin and a few drops of Argan oil she had which needed to be used up. Olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil can also be used and when I did a search online on how to make beeswax wraps I found a tutorial done by Beekeep and they sell a blend of jojoba oil, pine resin and beeswax to make their wraps. Several people asked where to buy pine resin and Racheal bought hers on Etsy from Fine Cosmetics but it is also available in Australia from Ballina Honey. They also sell kits.

After the mixture had melted it was poured over a piece of fabric on a tray....

....which was brushed evenly over with a paint brush before being put into the oven. I am not sure what temperature Racheal had the oven on but it would have been a low one I imagine.

In no time at all we were passing it around to see and feel the result. Her wraps certainly clung to the dishes well. Racheal is going to write up the instructions when she has time so I will link to them when that is done.

Then we were shown a presentation by two lovely ladies from our local Council on how to properly use our recycling bins and what to put into them and what to leave out which was very interesting as I wasn't aware of some of the information. It is a good idea to contact your local council if you live in Australia and see what information they have available on this topic. I am not sure what other countries do as regards recycling but I am sure it is common practice everywhere.

Not only did the ladies speak about recycling but also about composting and worm farming.

We can use our bins for rubbish and throw out food scraps and so on which then go to landfill or else we can compost them or start up a worm farm which are readily available for purchase in Australia from places like Bunnings which have these products to choose from including boxes of worms. The council ladies brought along a box of 500 worms to give away to those attending. Now I am not sure how these were divided up but I left it to everyone else to fight over them :-)

They also showed another option for a worm farm which you can make yourself out of styrofoam boxes.

After seeing the 4Corners program 'Trashed: The dirty truth about your rubbish'  recently on where recycled products ended up especially glass which was being stockpiled in warehouses down south, I asked where our glass goes to and apparently it goes to Brisbane. One thing I learned is that you can put clear, green or brown glass bottles and jars in the recycling bin but not blue or white and also you can also put in empty aerosol cans which was a surprise. Anyone in the Toowoomba region can check out the info on this page on the Council's website. I am sure other Councils would have the same information available. 

As I said earlier we could have talked for ages on these topics as it was a really enjoyable and informative workshop. We will be taking a break in September due to the Carnival of Flowers starting on the 15th as a lot of people will be busy then looking at our beautiful gardens. The temperatures this past week have gone from hot to cold so the poor gardeners will be spending lots of time trying to get their plants to flower at the right time. There was a lot of debudding going on in the park gardens I believe but the cold weather we are having now will slow everything down but the gardeners are very experienced and used to dealing with fickle weather although this past winter has been quite extraordinarily warm in the main.

UPDATE: Racheal has written out the instructions on the Simple Living Toowoomba website War on Waste and the Beeswax Wraps

Have a great week everyone!


  1. What a great workshop, Chel. Thanks for the info about the beeswax wraps...a friend and I were discussing them not long ago and talking about how resin is needed to get them to "stick" to containers properly. I need some new wraps as mine have had a lot of use! I bought the set I currently have but want to make my own this time around so I'll be getting some resin and following the tutorial you've posted. Thanks! Meg:)

    1. I hope it works for you, Meg. Racheal's looked really good.

  2. I know exactly what you mean by you could have chatted for many more hours as it is such a large topic area. Sounds like this workshop goes under the 'one of the best yet' category. The more people to come onboard with wanting to learn and find out more the better.

    1. We didn't even touch on topics like clothing, Kylie. Such a huge subject.

  3. What a fantastic sounding workshop Chel. I wonder if there is similar on the Sunshine Coast? I'd love to attend one and will have to do some research to see if I can find one close by. Thanks for the information and links. Cheers Lyndie

  4. Lyndie, I hope you find a group. I know there are a number of people ip there who are interested in simple living topics.

  5. Always interesting workshops at the TSLG. This one appears to be no different. I could have come, but it was David's first day off, after an 8 day, working week. We all crashed at home, and enjoyed a particularly lazy weekend. ;)

  6. You will have to come to the October one or we will be in trouble, Chris ;-) I have just been rereading your blog posts on propagating pineapples as we bought a pineapple with five tops at the market recently. I had already planted two from the pineapple I bought back from the Sunshine Coast. Hopefully we will end up with at least one pineapple.


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