Archive for the ‘Water Conservation’ Category


April 24, 2011
Grace Miller


The first post by Grace Miller (12)

Now, as you know or at least I think you know that recycling is a big part of our lives if we start now we will make our world a better place to live in.

You can recycle lots of things like cans, bottles, paper and aluminium, but there are some things that you can’t recycle like glade wrap, plastic, leftover food.

recycled rubbish

rubbish waiting for recycling

We can also recycle clothes, shoes, blankets, toys, books. You may be thinking how on earth do you recycle these things, well it is very easy gather up your clothes, shoes and other things you don’t want and then either take them to charity shop(hand in hand) or hand them down to friends and Family.

Guess what! You can recycle food as well but not just any food if you recycle things that had to be eaten straight away after being bought of open it would go mouldy. But don’t just have to recycle food you can also give food away to people who don’t have food like baked beans, tin corn, baby food, tin fruit and basically anything that is in a tin, it will stay fresh.

compost pile

compost pile

Also if you are into gardening another way to recycle your food is to make a compost bin or pile. Get a few hundred worms, a bucket or make a pile of fruit, vege’s, anything that not cooked foods, dirt and there you go a worm house, just make sure that no pets or animals eat it. Then once the worms have fertilised the food you can put it on your garden to feed your plants.

recycled wheelbarrow

recycled wheelbarrow – growing yummy food!

You can also recycle water. Water can be recycled out of water bottles, dog baths,  cups and out of the washing machine. The water from the washing machine goes through a pipe and down in to your garden, but don’t put the washing machine water on the vegetables or fruit gardens because the soap power is in the water.

When you go shopping do you put your food in plastic bags or cloth shopping bags? Well instead of using plastic bags try to use the cloth bags. If you throw plastic bags into the recycling bin it takes 400 hundred years for a plastic bag to disintegrate so next time you go shopping please try and use a cloth bags it is just going to help the world a little more.

old socks

Ethan's sock re-used (too many times!)

We can also reusethings in your house hold like milk bottles, fruit cups, ice cream boxes, lids and containers.

recycled container

Container recycled for Ethan's toys

The containers can be used to put paint in, sandwiches for lunches, beads, craft things and even plants. We can also recycle and reuse clothes by wearing them more and that will reduce the water supply in your house.

So before you recycle, reduce the things that you buy and throw away like I said before put the food in your garden, make use out of what you do every day.    Then if anything is left after we reduce it, we can reuse it and make things out of it, after all that we can recycle      

By recycling paper, clothes, and food is wonderful for our land, body’s, but we can also just let nature grow and instead of cut down forest that we still need let the plants grow, die, plant themselves again by the seed and eventually we will have a place of wonder and life.

home grown corianda

Live life to the full, make every moment worth the ride.

And if you reduce, reuse and recycle you are helping the world become a better and safer place for us, the environment and living creatures of our world.


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Canberra Environment and Sustainability Resource Centre Sustainability Challenge

November 11, 2010


Recently, the Canberra Chronicle featured the Millers for their part in the Environment Centre’s Sustainability Challenge. The text of the article follows;

THE Millers are just one of the many
Canberra families choosing to reduce
their impact on the environment by
taking part in a month long challenge.
More than 100 Canberra households
have signed up to take part in the
Canberra Sustainability Challenge in
an effort to reduce their carbon
emissions by changing their habits.
The Canberra Environment and
Sustainability Resource Centre
(CESRC), in association with the ACT
Government, has provided these families
with an easy kit to help them
throughout this challenge.
The challenge encourages families
to calculate their carbon footprint, pick
from a list of ideas to reduce it, and
record how easy or difficult it is to
keep up the challenge over 30 days.
Brian Miller said his family had
always been interested in environmental
issues, but was encouraged to
take up the challenge by CESRC
‘‘We went to a fete at Evatt Primary
School and I saw the little stand they
had there and went and spoke to
them,’’ Mr Miller said.
‘‘I guess we’re sort of involved in
that sort of stuff a lot anyway.
‘‘Basically there’s a list of things
they thought we might do to reduce our
impact on the environment.’’
The list is divided into categories,
including food, mileage, energy, waste
and transport, and the families are
encouraged to choose five things and
chart their progress.
‘‘You could look through and see
we doing these things already, or
maybe we can’t do them for some
reason, and are they the sort of things
we might do for this 30 day challenge,’’
Mr Miller said.
‘‘So we picked a number of things,
then put them on a chart.
‘‘The idea was to do something
more. Not to say ‘oh we’re doing that
already’, but to do something more.
‘‘We decided to try to do one meat
meal a day, to put a minimum amount
of water in the kettle … to not use the
second TV, to try and not bring plastic
bags home, and to walk to school.’’
Mr Miller said because his family
was already quite environmentally
conscious, some of the challenges
weren’t too hard to incorporate into
their lives.
‘‘We’re quite interested in all this
stuff,’’ he said.
‘‘We’ve got chickens and veggie
gardens and compost piles.
‘‘Unfortunately my wife tripped
down the stairs and hurt her ankle.’’
This made it hard for her to walk the
children Grace, 11, and Ethan, 7, to
‘‘Some of them we couldn’t do
every day,’’ Mr Miller said.
‘‘Things like the meat meal weren’t
as easy as we thought.
However, he said he would happily
continue to use minimal water in the
‘‘It’s just another one of those
awareness things,’’ he said.
CESRC are encouraging more Canberra
families to get on board with the
30 day challenge. CESRC will also be
holding a number of events over the
coming weeks, including sustainability
workshops and tours of award winning
sustainable Canberra homes.
If you would like to participate in
the Canberra Sustainability Challenge,

The Millers

Our list of possible activities for the challenge follows;

Food Miles
Grow our own vegetables
Buy organic food products
Be vegetarian (Sheryl fully, others part-time by default)
Reduce meat intake by going to one meat meal per day
Plan menus to reduce food waste
Keep chooks
Buy less processed food and more local

Use dish and clothes washers only for full loads
Use energy saving cycles on these machines
Cook with the lid on
Cook in single pot where possible
Fill Kettle only with as much water as you need
Dry clothes on clothes line
Use sun for heating and lighting during day
Turn the heater off at night
Don’t use the second TV
Replace incandescent lights with compact fluros
Wash clothes in cold water
Use hot water bottle instead of electric blanket

Do not use insinkerator – use worm farm and compost
Recycle egg shells on to garden as snail deterant
Freeze unused fruit for later use
Collect scraps from supermarkets and playgroup for chickens
Empty half full water bottles onto garden
Resue washing up water on plants with scale or aphids
cut grass longer – compost clippings
Use re-usable shopping bags – try 30 days plastic bag free
Recycle and reuse as much as possible (very little rubbish to landfill)
Re-use plastic packaging rather than garbage bags
Buy second hand goods

Walk to work or school twice a week
Take fewer car trips
Use ethanol fuel

And below, some of the systems which we are working on to build a sustainable lifestyle;

Run business from home office to reduce travel and premises energy use
Grid connect solar power
Solar hot water service
Composting bays for garden and kitchen waste, and paper
Composting of dog waste (use on non edible plants and safe areas of garden)
Worm tubes in gardens for soil conditioning
Chooks and chook run for eggs, compost, weeding, fertilizer and fun!
Wicked garden bed (water saving)
Grey water recycling (from laundry onto grass and non edible gardens)
Re-use collections for later use in garden and household projects
Garden plan for edible plantings (vegetable beds and fruit trees)
In house energy monitor to raise awareness and provide benchmark

A long post this time. more shorter ones soon…


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These garden beds are wicked!

June 15, 2010

lined with black plastic to hold water layer

Wicked gardens beds have been seen on several TV shows recently and seem to be popping up in several publications and websites too. Or is it just that I’m looking for them now?

Whilst being wicked, as in wicking water up into their soil, they would also appear to be pretty wicked in the way they can save water and also create an environment which looks after the soil in wonderful ways.

Worms also seem to be an important component of the design of these beds, and need to be added rather than just hope they will turn up, as you can do for conventional beds, because the impermeable barrier used to contain the water also, of course, stops the worms getting up into the bed.

The following is a picture story of the construction of our first bed so far. Subsequent posts will address it’s use, worms, success or otherwise, and links to reference sources we used.

We did use treated sleepers for this bed so the plastic liner has been extended to the top of the wood to minimise leaching effects. If you have any concerns about using this material, go to the CSIRO website for details.


Laundry grey water surge tank

May 16, 2010

We have been dumping the waste water from our washing machine on the back lawn for years now. It seemed like an easy thing to sort out with the back of the house being 5-6 feet higher than the ground, and the backyard sloping away more after that. I’d previously cut a hole in the floor and run a pipe through and out the back steps to a longer pipe which we move around the back lawn as we remember.

There has always been the worry that the machine may be pushing too much water for its motors capacity, despite the gravity drop of 5 feet or more. And sometimes the pipe across the lawn doesn’t drain out fully, so it can be the case of the motor having to push this collected water ahead of it, or possibly drawing it back into the machine, resulting in dirtier washing than you started with.

Laundry grey water surge tank

Hence, the latest addition, a surge tank to collect the rush of waste water from the washing machine and allow it to slowly, gravity feed out via the original pipe and a short length of agi pipe.

We used a new molded garbage bin as the tank and several joiner pieces as the entry and exit points for the pipes. I managed to make the lower hole in the tank a tight enough fit for the joiner to make it water tight without additional sealant. The end result is fairly neat and tidy. I even made a small paving stand for the tank.

We seem to be washing clothes constantly at our place so it wasn’t long before the system could be tested. All good, although the agi pipe does empty its contents fairly quickly and over a small area. Not sure how to get it spreading out more. Perhaps by running it across the slope the run off will be over a greater area?

First test – no leaks!

Agi pipe to distribute water across lawn

This project has me thinking of other ways to use waste water from the bath and shower.