DIY workshop food for thought

Di Millow explaining how to make washing powder at the MAKE workshop in Cambridge last Saturday.

It was a full house in the Victoria Room at the Town Hall last Saturday, as locals gathered to find out how to make their own cleaning products at a two-hour workshop. The MAKE workshop was run by Di Millow from the Dairy Farmer’s Daughter, in conjunction with the Waipa District Council.

Council’s waste minimisation officer Sally Fraser said they had been pleased with the response to the workshops, which were run in Cambridge and Te Awamutu.

“It’s great to see so many people in Waipa interested in making their own products.  Homemade products are simple, help cut down on the amount of plastic packaging we buy and give us the chance to reuse containers we already have,” Sally said.

“If each attendee made every product they learned about, they could each replace over 30 commercially packaged products every year.  For the whole group that’s over 1,200 plastic containers,” Sally added.

Participants were given a recipe sheet and a pack of ingredients to make their own moisturiser at home. Recipes included washing powder, dishwashing powder and flowing soap, as well as lip balm, deodorant spray and toothpaste. Not only was there a focus on the reduction of plastic, but the workshop also emphasised the health benefits of eliminating chemically-laden products from the home. When manufacturers look at the effects of chemicals on the human body, Di explained, they do not look at how those chemicals might react with other chemicals and what the results might be of that. For example, shampoo suds will mix with bodywash and conditioner residue, and who knows what that will do when it’s inhaled in the form of shower steam. She also took aim at Triclosan – an antibacterial agent that has now found its way into everyday products, including Colgate Total toothpaste.

The results from an electronic LUMI survey at the workshop – using small remotes for voting – council found that before the workshop, only 16 per cent felt 100 per cent of the 37 attendees felt comfortable making their own products at home, a number which jumped to 74 per cent by the end of the presentation.

Sally said after the success of the workshops, council is hoping to run more with the Dairy Farmer’s Daughter again next year.

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