The Local Cafe that could

I have recently been conducting a mental survey of my local cafes that offer a discount for reusable coffee cups. My interest in this cause came off the back of the popular ABC series, War on Waste, where a whole episode was dedicated to Melbourne’s take-away coffee addiction.

In conclusion, the show sent a simple message to cafes to help customers think wisely before opting for single use disposable coffee cups, that is, offer a small discount ($.20 – $1.00) to customers who supply any variety of reusable cup. The benefits are endless but let’s highlight a couple:

  • less waste to landfill & incorrect disposal of plastic/paper combo diminished – the environment wins; and
  • café reducing their overheads and need for storage of disposable cups

I am writing this letter because Bayside cafes seem to have a problem recognising the environmental destruction caused by take-away cups, the manufacture and the litter. For the most part, my local cafes have made no effort to challenge their customers to consider their contribution to our appalling waste management record.

One café in Beaumaris told me that they didn’t provide a discount because their disposal coffee cups cost too much money. I told them I didn’t want to use their expensive cups at which point they said, “but we still have to pay for them.” The irony was completely lost on the waiter. Another café in Sandringham mentioned that they were going to offer a discount when they started selling keep cups, I couldn’t see the correlation. A small recognition or appreciation for putting the environment first would go a long way.

I am now opting to buy my daily coffee further afield albeit still in Bayside. There are 2 spots that have shown environmental stewardship in this regard, they are AM:PM on Highett Rd, (Highett) which offer a .50c discount and Public Grind. Let’s celebrate hospitality that encourages awareness of waste and make a coffee that tastes good and feels good too.

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GREEN COFFEE – Reusable Coffee Cups Are Just The Beginning

I am a coffee addict, so recently, while watching Craig Reucassel spread a message for a sustainable future in his TV series, War on Waste, banging on about the disaster of disposable coffee cups, I immediately upped my game. I purchased a new keep cup by Frank Green and I use it most days. It’s not flawless, it’s get stinky if I don’t wash it straight away and it leaks after I wash it but I deal with these matters because it is a better alternative than a disposable cup, which for the most part, are NOT, I repeat, NOT RECYCLABLE. 

I aspire towards a #zerowaste lifestyle. With kids, it’s near impossible but we do our best and in our efforts to uphold our most important values surrounding nature and the environment, we are, as a family, making a difference.

 

My biggest contribution is through a community compost. It’s community because it started in my neighbour’s backyard and then it spread. She had 2 compost bins sitting idly and a few veggie patches that needed some compost love. Within 3 months time of working her compost with the knowledge I had acquired through a permaculture design course (PDC) and a little trial and error, we were off. She also had chickens, their poo make the best compost ever and the eggs, well, what’s not to love? I collected compost from friends/neighbours and cafes. The cafes were my biggest hurdle, suprisingly, it should have been the easiest contribution, they have the most waste.

I asked cafes to supply food waste, they wouldn’t, they said it was too difficult to separate meat and dairy from fruit/veg. Is it really? The eggs you crack can’t go in a separate bucket? So I settled with used coffee grains, I would pick up at least one bag a week. Then another local cafe I noticed used more sustainable packaging for their cylinder coffee waste, it was from NZ, here’s a supplier if you’re interested. So I opted getting my used coffee grain for the compost from them instead. Still no food waste.

Then today, something clicked. Why don’t I care if the cafe I frequent on a daily basis gives a shit about the environment?  What’s their one thing that sets them apart from all the other businesses. There are definitely restaurants and cafes out there that are working towards carbon neutrality, Ladro’s Pizza comes to mind, they have a closed loop system that processes food waste in 24 hours and you can buy in a bag for $2, BRILLIANT.

Fighting for the cause alone, running around helping cafes/businesses become more sustainably viable is exhausting and piecemeal. Cafes need a checklist and then we, as consumers, need a green star system or a badge that is obvious and honorable and will help consumers and businesses make better decisions about the source of their produce, packaging, food waste management, getting customers involved with backyard plots, community composting, food swaps, keep cup discounts. Consumers need guidance but small businesses need help too, it’s an exchange of resources and knowledge that will take us towards zero waste lifestyles.

See sharewaste – an app/website linking community composters, I have already had someone dump their food waste into my bin. Bokhashi is a brilliant intermediate composting system for business or homes without space for a garden compost bin.

 

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Dad’s ultimate tip – Invest, Voila!

I was 17 and had a metaphorical foot on the pedal. I was working a summer office job, saving for a car that I would buy the minute I turned 18 and passed my licence test. Dad said, ‘let’s make a deal.’ The deal was that he would match my savings dollar for dollar. I was a damn good saver and had a whole summer to work, full time with no real expenses, I was living at home.  

By the end of January I had saved $2000, with Dad’s financial input I would have enough to purchase a second-hand car. I started circling the Trading Post ads that fit my budget and desire, ideally I didn’t want to emulate the shit-brown colour car my sister had acquired but I knew looks weren’t everything. My 18th birthday was nearing and Dad tried to make a new deal. He said, ‘you can use your Mum’s car whenever you like, why don’t you put your money into shares?’ This sounded to me like the worst idea ever but, what did I know? I eventually agreed and thanks to Mum’s generosity it turned out I didn’t really need my own wheels.

Mum’s car

Mum and Dad left for a ex-pat position in Singapore at the end of that year and Mum’s car became my car. I kept saving and eventually had enough money to buy a one way ticket to London. My spending money was the investment from 3 years before, which had doubled.

That 2 year sabbatical from Melbourne was the beginning of my life as an independent woman, I was 21. I can’t think of a greater gift than a investment in my future travels, the experience itself was epic. Great idea Dad, you’re the best.

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Karma Police

It was this track, released some 20 years ago, that was played live and acoustic in a loungeroom on Saturday night at a party, that made me want to share  this Radiohead anthem. I heart Radiohead.

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Protest

I can put my money where my mouth is, easy. But can I help raise funds for the same cause? Maybe I can make you, the reader, click with curiosity.

In Australia, we have an unfair and damaging approach to people seeking asylum. Refugees need our support more than ever, they face an uncertain, terrifying future due to unnecessary demands for refugee applications to be received by early October.

The ASRC (Asylum Seeker Resource Centre) is continually raising funds to support refugees/people in crisis. This is not someone else’s drama, we live in a globalised world and refugees are our brothers and sisters. Please donate something so they can live their lives knowing people actually give a shit.

If you have already donated recently to this cause, then tell your friends to do the same. Wave the flag. Protest this unhealthy scaremongering of people in need by the Australian Government.

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Devouring Audio

I have no talent for putting on voices but as a professional podcast listener I think I am losing my own voice, opinions, thoughts and storytelling delivery? It’s not actually a bad thing, I feel like I find the equivalent of a new good book, Every Single Day. My communication to whoever will listen is as a puppeteer of all the incredible stories and knowledge I am ingesting as part of my podcast addiction. Some voices are just so tasteful, especially Brian Reed from S-Town.

It all started with a gift I received for my 40th birthday, a quality pair of Jabra Wireless Bluetooth headphones. This premium listening device has given me licence to listen anywhere and everywhere and when audio comes through your ears directly, the story gets personal. I wildly traverse from narrative stories to interviews to true crime and everything in between. I have a few years of favourites in my arsenal that I can revisit or share and I have relieved myself of any ‘stay-at-home Mum boredom’ that was creeping in, urging me to turn on the telly. Daytime TV does not compare to podcast/radio shows, period.

I have listened to some absolute rippers of late and although I think that most of them come under featured lists, there is a reason they are popular and I have to share them. I have mostly listed specific episodes because not all podcasters are good interviewers, so in that format it is largely the talent that captivates me. Here goes:

  • Homecoming is a beautifully crafted narrative from Gimlet media featuring Catherine Keener. Storytelling doesn’t get much better than this, the characters, the story and the delivery are perfect.
  • Phoebe’s Fall produced by Fairfax is sad, riveting and eye opening. It’s a one-off series of investigative journalism of a true crime, set in Melbourne, Australia.
  • Undone is a short series of podcasts that illuminates an event in history and connects it to modern day times. Have you ever heard of the disco demolition in Chicago in 1979?
  • Tim Ferriss chatting with Ed Norton, so much insight into NY life, drama, crowd funding and surfing. His chat with Debbie Millman is also worthy of an hour of your time, especially if you work in creative industries and grapple with artistic expression in the commercial sphere.
  • Marc Maron interview with James Hetfield (Metallica frontman), gold. Listen to it in your favourite podcast app, look for WTF with Marc Maron, it’s episode #775.
  • Malcolm Gladwell series, Revisionist History, my favourite episode…all of them, start at the beginning.
  • Ten Questions with Adam Zwar – the interviews with Yumi Stynes, Lally Katz, Wendy Harmer and Jane Kennedy are all standout.
  • Wilosophy with Tim Minchin. When Tim gets on a rant about Trump it makes so much sense, he can articulate an argument perfectly.

Stay-at-home parents used to watch crappy daytime TV to escape the drudgery of the cleaning trenches, now we can be inspired, uplifted, engaged and mobile thanks to digital radio advancements, mobile technology and the internet. I love podcasts and I vote.

If you want more recommendations, I have them ready to go, just ask in the comments.

 

 

 

 

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Breastfeeding, 10 months in…

Django is my second child, he is a boy, he is 10 months old. I have breastfed him since he was very first born. He was naturally delivered without intervention in a local hospital birthing suite. For the first 3 months of his life he did not sleep very much. He cried, a lot. Actually his temperament and energy to sustain screaming in the early months was very much like his big sister, who is now 3 1/2 years old. I have many theories about why they screamed and why I had no control to placate them both, but they are just theories and the 3 month hurdle is long gone. Post that short period, that feels like a lifetime, it’s really time to get down to business, because consistency and structure help.

Roxy&Django

Sleep deprivation and too much responsibility over a period of time, caused a mental health issue, namely anxiety, to rear it’s VERY UGLY head. It is a difficult time to recall, the pressure associated with that time and sleep deprivation eradicates memory. That is why it is very difficult to empathise with new mothers, our memories of that time are skewed.

All throughout my life my mother repeated a mantra that I cried for the first 2 years of my life. I may have. However, when she would visit Django she often cited her experiences of my early life, changing her story, “you didn’t cry THIS much”. I probably didn’t, but her memory of that time is a fantasy. I don’t even remember specifically how my daughter behaved in that time or how she made me feel and that is only 3 short years ago. And, what difference does it make when you are ‘in it’ anyway. Comparisons of babies are of no use and no help to the mother who is drowning not waving.

I am a stay at home Mum. Breastfeeding, for me, is an ideal catalyst to healthy growth and connection for a newborn and beyond. It has definitely been worth the effort for me and my kids, although, I will never know what the alternative could have produced. I will never know if part of my anxiety was bred from a forceful drive to make breastfeeding work for us. It did and it also didn’t. Django was overfed because he cried so much, I thought breastfeeding him on-demand would comfort him, turns out it just depleted my energy stores and turned his poo green! Gross. My lovely neighbour knocked on my door one day to spruik a miracle cure from a pharmacy in the burbs, it kind of worked, so it was, indeed a miracle! He also naturally grew out of his neediness and tummy pain, his upper and lower brain (tummy) were developing.

postscript

This baby is now nearly 2. I wrote this post in the midst of breastfeeding him to document how I felt about his development and our journey to that point. Obviously this is a brief account, but I am happy to have written something down from that time and be able to re-read it knowing we have come so far. He is a walking, talking, feisty, independent and very cuddly little man. I am grateful for his presence despite his obvious drive to send me loopy.

 

 

 

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