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person with shopping bags

As another Christmas lurks around the corner, I have been drawn to the thought of why do we need more stuff?

In recent conversations I have heard people complain about what to buy for those who have everything? In our society, incredibly, most of us have more things than we know what to do with and therefore don’t relish the thought of receiving more objects.

Fortunately we are gradually finding our way to more meaningful presents. Many charities including World Vision and Oxfam offer the chance to buy a goat, seeds, school supplies etc for people who are less well off materially.

Alternatively buying an “experience” for someone such as a theatre ticket, skydiving or dance lesson, can help expand their world without expanding their wardrobe or waistline.

Even better just spending time with those who would like to see you or who need company, can be a gift that is much more meaningful than things.

The Story of Stuff provides an interesting background to the way we make, use and throw away all our stuff.

Also as we head into Christmas, an example of why free (or almost free) toys can be best, see The Five Best Toys of All Time.

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boy looking at worm factory box

One of our more recent adventures has been the purchase of a worm farm (prior to buy nothing new month!). I was really keen to give it a try – just to see how it worked.

Here’s what we did to set it up.

1) Purchased one worm factory and one box of 1,000 worms (some of these are worm eggs and not live worms).tips for use of worms instructions on box

2) Mixed up some worm soup (peat brick and water).boy mixing muddy water in bucket

3) Set up the box and mounted it on some bricks.green worm farm box

4) Lined the inside of the top level with the cardboard packaging.cardboard instructions lining worm factory box

5) Poured in the worm soup and let it slowly drain.two boys with worm farm

6) Then put in the worms.worms in dirt

Voila, one operating worm farm! The boys had fun and we have now had the worm farm for around 8 weeks and it seems to be working well.

I haven’t put in too many kitchen scraps, as it does advise you not to overload it to start with. I have also noticed that you generally need to cut things a bit finer, whereas with the compost bin I often put vegetable scraps in without dicing them more finely.

One of the main advantages of a compost bin is the worm tea (wee) that comes out the tap at the bottom and if diluted 1:10 with water, is a great fertiliser for your garden.

Well it’s amazing the things I get excited about! My latest discovery is EnviroLove a business focused on the collection and recycling of organic waste.

Image: Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

They have already made great headways into recycling commercial organic waste in Canberra. Essentially they are collecting food waste coming out of cafes, restaurants and teaching facilities and converting it back into soil – brilliant! Why didn’t someone think of this before?

I have been amazed when I have asked at cafes what they do with their leftover coffee grounds and they have looked at me blankly and said “throw them in the bin with everything else”. Anyway great work EnviroLove hoping to hear more about you in the future.

Also check out the article on Jahne Meyer the founder of EnviroLove at Brilliant Idea.

By the way I have finally found a place that packages their coffee grounds for gardeners/composters to take home!