Search This Blog

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Ecologically Diabetic

Diabetes guilt comes in many forms, including the shiny plastic packaging that each and every one of my diabetes supplies comes in.

I really started to notice my diabetes waste in early February when I was trying to cram 30 days of diabetes in the small spaces between my thermal underwear, toothpaste and multitudes of scarves for my Europe Honeymoon.

For every box of test strips, I was filling my recycling bin with a cardboard box, a round tube (as I stuffed all the test strips from one box into one canister) and some folded up paper (presumably instructions) that I have never ever read. For each box of canula sets I folded down way more cardboard than was actually needed. Everything that I needed to stay alive was compacted down into one small black packing cube, and one big pile of environmental guilt.

Fitting all this....
...into this!
 (for reference, this bag is roughly the same size of an A4 piece of paper, and about 5cm deep)

In Italy trash was just part of the scenery on a train trip, forcing my mind to the bags of waste that filled my bin every week back home.

When I got back to Australia, I started researching how to live in ways that were more ecologically sustainable.

There isn't much I can do diabetes wise, but where there are small ways to cut back on what ends up in Landfill, I will. Buying one of those monster kilo chemist bulk bag of jellybeans is better than buying cartons of poppers. Buying test strips that come in boxes of 100 instead of boxes of 50 means I am halving my box-waste, and wearing CGM means using and producing less test strip waste. Fingers can be wiped just as well on the back of a dark pair of pants as a disposable finger wipe (I actually had some DB wipes for a millisecond, but refused to use them on the principal of producing less waste).

I also reuse reservoirs until the markings have completely faded from them, but that was probably more of a wallet-friendly decision as opposed to a green decision. It just sort of serves a dual purpose.

If I was really creative, I could probably go down the route of Ciara Carew and design some fashion from old reservoirs and strips, but I will leave that to the pro.

Diabetes is not the only waste-producing culprit in my household. I was super excited to ditch all those little plastic baggies that you stick meat and veggies in and order some fresh produce bags, a bread bag, and some reusable beeswax cloth wraps to wrap foods in (like my cut cucumber and sandwich, below).

As we use sauce jars, I wash them out and stock them in a newly cleared space in the cupboards, ready to store deli meats and to freeze foods in.

An unexpected gain of my ventures into trying to buy and store foods with less waste, is that buying in this way somewhat forces you to make healthier, fresher food choices. I look for the items that come with little or no man-made wrappings, which is basically the fresh produce sections. I always know what veggies I have, because I marked all the mesh bags - whenever one runs out, I pop it straight into my bag so I can see at a glance which veggies I need - and I know instantly if I can make the recipe that I want at home or if I need to pick something up. When I'm prepared, I eat less take-out. Bread is now straight from the bakery, where I pick up high fiber-low GI, sliced and placed straight into my cute blue bread bag. Meat is bought fresh - I am that crazy lady who shops with her own containers, and asks the deli workers to place it straight into my tared jars. No plastic.

Win for the environment, win for my body, win for a guilt-free mind (and probably, an inadvertent win for my BGLs!)


  1. Oh no kidding we certainly generate a lot of waste. I have often wondered if we could use Earth Day to suggest ways to reduce refuse. Maybe next year?

    I referred your blog to the TUDiabetes web page for the week of May 2, 2016.

    1. That would be great to see for earth day. Medical waste is just sort of tricky because everything has to be so sterile.

  2. Catching up with your posts!
    This is so awesome. Good on you for trying

    I've also come to the conclusion that the little A4 black bag is Hermione's satchel because there is no other way you could have got everything in there

    1. It took some juggling!! But I got it all in. I removed all the packaging, even the reservoirs were taken out of their plastic wraps and all fitted into a small ziplock bag to save on space.