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Zero Waste in the South Island Part One: The 6 Day Tramp

Hello all! You may have noticed I have been majorly absent from my blog since the launch of the Community Fridge. I have been keeping busy with the community fridge, answering inquiries, working, the usual life stuff, and trying to throw in a good work/life balance by taking lots of mini holidays. So far this year I have been camping in the far North (Tapotupotu near Cape Reinga), WWOOFing in Raglan, tramping and road tripping the South Island, volunteering at WOMAD (New Plymouth) and WWOOFing on Waiheke Island. I have a few more breaks booked in, including a yoga retreat this weekend and a trip to Australia to visit my family. If you want to follow along with my adventures, I tend to keep my Instagram fairly up to date.
Earlier this year I went to the South Island for a wee tramping/exploring holiday with my friends. I haven’t done many multi-day hikes since starting my waste free journey, only over night hikes, so this provided a new challenge for me.Myself, the BF and two close frie…

Avocado Dye and the many uses of Avocado Pits

Me at the free avocado orchard in Mangere
I have been discovering how versatile avocado seeds/pits are lately! I save them to use in my homemade shampoo, as inspired by The Rogue Ginger (this shampoo is fanatstic by the way) and grate them to add in my cooked meals and smoothies. Any that I don't use get tossed in my worm farm where they will inevitably sprout and turn in to trees- I have a decent amount (all in pots) which have grown over the years, and have given many away. Additionally, I discovered Avocado Stone Faces on Instagram- she carves avocado pits and turns them in to jewellery and pieces of art! I am not that talented or patient however.

My homemade avocado shampoo

My tallest avocado tree

As well as discovering uses for things I would usually compost or throw away (see also: Aquafaba) I have been researching natural dyes. It seemed logical that I would eventually turn my stash of avocado seeds in to a natural dye, and while researching I discovered that the peels could also be used in the dye. As it is currently avocado season I asked my household to save up all their pits and peels for me, which took all of one day. I had an older shirt that was a slight off white colour that I don't wear that much anymore, as I wore it heaps traveling and it ended up looking a bit dull and sad.

I loosely followed this tutorial here, however I have a fair bit of dyeing experience as I went through a major 'tie dye everything' phase when I was 15 (the hippy is strong in this one). 

Making the avocado dye: 
I used about 5 pits and one peel for my first attempt, these were all washed and more or less dried out before hand. Roughly chop up the pits and peels, you can grate them if you wish, I chopped mine in to decent chunks. In a large pot, simply cover the chopped pits & peels in water and bring to the boil, then simmer for a few hours. Cool and strain out the chunks, making sure to compost these.

Preparing the fabric:
While your dye is simmering, simply soak the fabric in either a salt wash or a vinegar wash, this will help the dye set. I used salt as we have a large container of it that my Mum found and had no idea how old it was, so naturally she gave it to me knowing I'd use it for something (and she was right).

Rinse and wring out the fabric and then toss it in to a bucket with the avocado dye. This is where you can get creative, if you want a darker colour leave it for longer (a day or more) and for a lighter colour only a few hours should suffice. If you want patterns, twist and tie the fabric, or leave it loose and even for a standard block colour. I bunched mine up loosely, for a subtle tie dye look, and soaked it for two days after finding  the colour too light. 

Once you are happy with the colour give it a thorough rinse (separately) and hang to dry on the line. 

Before and After:

Next time I will use more seeds and for a more vibrant pinky colour.

In you live in Auckland there is a free avocado orchard in Mangere, near the airport. The orchard is part of the Otuataua Stonefields, and is owned by Auckland Council, click here for more info. I have been there twice, and had little luck so far. I first time we went around March last year which proved to be too late in the season so we only got a couple, so I went again January this year and found I was too early as the avocados were really small! I will have to go some time in February. Also make sure you have some form of long grabber stick/pole, as the trees are really tall

Let me know how your avocado seed experiments go!

The free avocado orchard in Mangere

Too small in early January

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