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Sun Block Homemade

The following information is for guidance only. None of the following recipes or tips have not been tested on anyone other than me. I strongly advise you do your own research and proceed very carefully as sunburn is not only painful and aging but dangerous.

That said the following has worked for me. And I have no melamine at all. Which makes me well skilled in the art of tanning without burning and even more so in the art of hiding from the sun. But this knowledge was not easily won.

More

There is lots more information about sun protection here. Do read up before you decide to make your own.

A Tannning History

Growing up as I did I in the 70s in the north of England sun tan lotion was something of a mystery. If it was mentioned at all it was as an expensive and rather pointless luxury talked about in the more expensive women’s magazines. My Granddad was a window cleaner, a man out in all weathers, and he never used anything more than a flat cap for protection from the elements. Even my mother who had been to Spain and had a French pen friend scoffed at such nonsense. Vegetable oil she claimed was all any one needed for tanning. On the few occasions we did see the sun we would lie like chips frizzeling in the heat – till the oil ran out. This usually happened within the first few days as we never had much of anything in our pantry. My mothers housekeeping skills were not of the best.   But even in the short time it was available, I soon came to realise that oil offered  absolutely no protection from the sun.

Having run out of oil mother now claimed that even that was unnecessary. Her latest theory was that you had to burn blistering hard once. Then, when you finally emerged from your darkened room having painfully sloughed the destroyed outer layer skin, you would be immune to the destructive power of the sun. For ever after at the first hint of summer, you would tan a beautiful golden brown. Needless to say this didn’t work either. I burnt and shed but never actually tanned. Lucky we lived in Manchester where Summer, at least one with sunshine, was a rare beast and I only had to suffer this infrequently. But I have come to realise that even if you do build up an immunity to the sun you can still burn – Even people with tans.

I was 15 before I saw real sun. We went to France and a tube of sun tan lotion was bought to celebrate. However it was so expensive that it was severely rationed and we all ended up blistered and peeling and my faith in suntan lotion rather compromised. Most people it seems do not apply enough lotion. You need to be liberal which can be difficult if you are on a budget. And sun tan lotion used to be very expensive and though there are more budget options now, cost can be a consideration.

So I went over to the pale and interesting school. Which involved a lot of covering up. Again fairly easy in Manchester where we hardly ever disrobe.

But then I started backpacking. Maintaining a pallid complexion is hard work when you spend a lot of time outside, snorkelling or mountaineering. I minimise the risk with sensible hats and long sleeve shirts but beaches demand less clothes and swimming of course is always more dangerous with the risk of forgetting the time. Somehow because I am cool in the water I think I am safe to stay out just a little bit longer. And even a short walk up that blazing beach can leave me red and painful. But also and this seems
Really unfair, even cloudy days can lead to burning.

I realised that I needed sun tan / block lotion and lots of it. And it needs to be applied regularly. Even in cloudy weather. I came to this conclusion just as I was giving up plastic. So not only did I have to learn to use sunblock and had to learn how to make it. I have been using zinc based, home-made sun block lotion for about 5 years now. I know it stops me from burning because I burn when I don’t use it. Obviously it has not been tested in a lab and I cannot guarantee results. I still try to limit my exposure to the sun but I feel this cream definitely helps me. I offer this personal account for discussion only. If you do decide to make your own lotion please do more research.

Why Sunscreen
Sunscreens help prevent the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation from reaching the skin.
There are two types of ultraviolet radiation, UVA and UVB
UVB is the chief cause of sunburn and linked to sun cancer. UVA rays, penetrate the skin more deeply, and contribute to photoaging.
You need a cream that protects from both.

SPF
Sun protective factor provided by cream is measured in SPF
SPF factors only measure protection against UVB. You will need a cream that also protect from other kinds of rays.

SPF4 filters out 75% of UVB
SPF10 filters out 90% –
SPF15 filters out 93%
SPF25 filters out 96%
SPF30 filters out 97%
SPF50 filters out 98%
SPF100 99%
Source

Zinc Oxide
I have settled on zinc oxide as the active ingredient in my sun block.
This is a fine white powder easily available on line.
It coats the skins and so reflects the damaging and burning rays of the sun.
It protects the skin from UVA, UVB and UVC. According to www.aromantic.co.uk website (where you can buy zinc and get advice on how to use it), It is one the oldest and most effective sunblock and
It can be easily added to base lotions and oils.

No to Nano Zinc

So zinc is great BUT it is a white powder and stronger mixes can sit on the skin like a pasty mask. Make your lotion too strong and you look like Marcel Marceau. You don’t burn but you look freaky. To counter this some suggest using nano zinc.
Nano or micronized zinc oxide is zinc oxide that  has been ground to a very fine powder to reduce the size of its particles. Anything with a particle size smaller than 100nm is considered a nano particle. This means it spreads more easily and does not leave a white sheen on the skin.The worry is that particles this size may be able to enter the body.
Because of that I use normal zinc. In stronger concentrations it does leave a slight white sheen. It can also leave white marks on dark clothes. Wear white linen is the obvious answer to this. Or work on your locked in a glass box mime.

Using Zinc In Homemade Sun Block

Notes
There are claims that certain oils like coconut oil have a natural SPF. This may well be true but I strongly advise not to rely on this.
None of the below have been tested in lab and you have no accurate way of knowing  what SPF your lotion has. Proceed sensibly!
If in doubt Make your lotion stronger then dilute as you tan.
Too much zinc and you end up with white clown makeup. In this case you may have been overcautious.

You can add zinc to
home made creams and lotions (if you want to make a lotion there are some recipes here)
ready bought lotions
a base oil such as coconut oil.

20% zinc oxide  will give an approximate SPF of 30. That is by weight. So you weigh your base say 100g of cream then you add 20% or 1/5th of zinc. Which is 20g of zinc.You can see from the ratios below that SPF 15 is not half of SPF 30 so you cannot use that scale to work out your SPF factors.
For SPF 2-5: Use 5% zinc oxide
For SPF 6-11: Use 10% zinc oxide
For SPF 12-19: Use 15% zinc oxide
For SPF >20: Use 20% zinc oxide

These ratios were taken from DIY Natural. They have not been tested in a lab proceed with caution

Recipes

Masking Creams
Zinc
Thicker cream
Very strong and thick. To be used on vulnerable areas that burn easily.

First I make my own rather thick cream and then add the zinc at 20% ratio. This makes a super thick cream which is difficult to rub on large areas but great for masking specified areas. I use it to protect my great big nose and around my eyes.
For general application it is too tough and sticky.
Find out how to make cream here

Oily Cream
Zinc
Cream
OIl
You can thin the above thick cream down by adding oil. N.B. You cant use water for this. Add water and your cream starts to separate when you try to rub it on.
Oily cream goes on way more easily but obviously the more you dilute is lower the SPF factor.
The advantage of this cream is that it is thicker than oil so easier to apply – less dribbling.
It does not separate.

Sun Block Oils
Zinc
Oil – I have used both coconut and rice bran oil

More recently I have cut out the middle man or rather the cream and started adding zinc directly to oil. It would seem that my mother was half right!
Which Oil?
I guess you could do this with any oil but I prefer a lighter oil less gloopy than say olive oil.
I have usually used coconut oil as a base because it is light and easily obtained in glass jars. Some claim that coconut oils has an ability to deflect burning rays but the claims made for coconut oil are prodigious. Do not rely on coconut oil alone.
The problem with coconut oil in the UK at least, it solidifies below a certain temperature. This sun tan lotion needs to be liquid and well shaken before use because the ingredients separate. So if you use coconut oil, warm and shake it before applying.
More recently I used rice bran oil which is much cheaper and easily available. At least that is the case in Thailand. It is a light oil and does not solidify.
VERY IMPORTANT NOTE
The ingredients separate so the lotion must be well shaken before use. If you are using an oil that solidifies like coconut you need to be sure it is liquid and well mixed before use.

Advantages Of Oil
Oily creams and oils are great for the beach because I feel they don’t wash off so easily in the sea as home made lotions do. And the oil itself seems to act as an added protection against the general drying effect of salt water and heat. My skin doesn’t feel as itchy. But then I am only using two ingredients no fragrances, no preservatives.
They give your skin a rather nice sheen.
And it is As Cheap As Chips
Adding zinc to rice bran oil is super cheap which means you can liberally apply this lotion. Very good if you are on a budget. Plus I get to use the oil for other things.
The disadvantages? – well it is rather… oily…

Non OIly Sun Block
Zinc
Glycerine
This is a work in progress

But oily sun block is, well, oily. Anywhere near the hairline and it has the disastrous effect of making my locks all greasy. Not a problem on the beach where my hair is normally wet and again the coconut oil help protect it from going madly dry. But in town not such a good look.
Until now I have been adding zinc to a very thin, homemade lotion. It makes the lotion much thicker and I find it rather heavy to wear.

Since the oil zinc success I have tried adding zinc to neat vegetable glycerine. It seems to work fine but this is a work in progress.
The resulting lotion feels a bit sticky when you are applying it but that soon wears off.
It is much lighter than zinc creams.
The ingredients tend to separate so it needs shaking.
It is very very easy to make.

Store Bought Creams
Apparently you can add zinc to a store bought cream to make a suntan lotion. I have never tried this as I gave up shop bought years ago. But considering the success off adding it to oil I can see no reason why this wouldn’t work. Do remember that zinc makes your lotion thicker and much whiter. It might be a good idea to use a thin lotion as a base.
Apparently it helps if you warm them first.
Let me know how you get on!

Applying Cream
Sunscreens are unlikely to be fully effective after 2 hours
According to the skin cancer organisation  “you need to apply 1 oz – about a shot glass full. Studies show that most people apply only half to a quarter of that amount, which means the actual SPF they have on their body is lower than advertised. During a long day at the beach, one person should use around one half to one quarter of an 8 oz. bottle. Sunscreens should be applied 30 minutes before sun exposure to allow the ingredients to fully bind to the skin. Reapplication of sunscreen is just as important as putting it on in the first place, so reapply the same amount every two hours. Sunscreens should also be reapplied immediately after swimming, toweling off, or sweating a great deal.

More

There is lots more information about sun protection here. Do read up before you decide to make your own.

Travelling Plastic Free For Months
This discovery massively reduces your plastic when travelling. I carry all my own home made plastic free toiletries with me to avoid creating plastic waste which can present something of a problem. A years supply of sunblock is a lot to carry. So now I compromise. I take my own zinc and buy coconut oil (or rice bran oil) while travelling. I mix the zinc into the coconut oil to make a sun tan lotion great for the beach.

Microfine Titanium Dioxide

This is another product you can use to make your own sun block.

“Microfine Titanium Dioxide is accepted as a safe Sun Barrier all around the world. This is because it is inorganic and has a record of having no adverse reactions to it. This makes it ideal for products used on a daily basis.
It can be used in Sun Screens, Moisturisers, Powdered Make-up, Lip and Baby products and virtually any Skin Treatment product.
Adding 5% Microfine Titanium Dioxide to a product gives it a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of approximately 10 and protects against 90% UVA/UVB and UVC radiation. Adding 10% gives it a SPF of 15-20.
Add during the heating of the Vegetable Oil in the Fat Stage of making your product.”
The following information is from the www.aromantic.co.uk website.

< span style="color: #ff0000;">Fragrance
Many recipes on line suggest adding essentials oils. In my opinion there is no real benefit to be derived from this as
they may make your skin more sensitive to light;
essential oils are resource hungry, have a large environmental footprint and should only be used on special occasions.
You can read more here

PLASTIC SPOILER

You can buy zinc on line.
It will come in a plastic bag- booo.
The best you can do is ensure the bags are polythene and so can be more easily recycled.
As I get huge amounts cream out of one small bag of ingredients, I consider it a worthwhile compromise.

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MY plastic trash Plastic Free July

Doing this plastic free July while backpacking in S.E. Asia. I do have to apologise for the very tardy documentation. We are stuck on a fairly remote beach with very limited wifi. I know… nightmare! But we are spending the day in town so here is quick post.

Backpacking certainly makes some aspects PFJ easier. Eating for example. I dont have to worry about plastic packed food because I eat out most of the time. But those of you who know me will agree that I eat very plastic free when at home and will give me a pass on this one?

And of course travelling plastic free comes with its own challenges but we have done it before and know what to pack. You can see my plastic free pack here. Except, and I can hardly believe this, we left our water bottles at home. Actually, why am I acting so surprised? We are always leaving our water bottles places!

When Your Water Bottle Lets you Down

So when we got to Malaysia, Georgetown (the Pot Shop in the market), I bought this; a shiny stainless steel, wooden trim, in the style of Kleen Kanteen but a fraction of the price, water bottle. That came in a cardboard box. Woohoo with knobs on. Got home to find it wrapped in a plastic bag! 
But we used the bag for our rubbish and not the plastic lined bin in our hotel room so I guess you could say we saved on a plastic bag? actually we never use the plastic lined bins when back-packing. Because we don’t use plastic, we don’t make that much rubbish. Any we do create we release into the wild. By which I mean we put it into a communal bin.

Train Food Traumas

As the local train was 2 hours delayed so we went for lunch, in a cafe, where everything was served on china, with real cutlery and cups. A plastic free meal was safely negotiated. Feeling confident I ordered a cold coffee. I discussed at length about how I didn’t want a straw with a very sweet girl who spoke reasonable English and was full of enthusiastic agreements. So I went ahead and ordered an icy frappe choco caramel coffee. It came in a plastic cup with domed plastic lid and straw from the takeaway stall across the road. It was very tasty though.

 

When it finally arrived, the train was a lovely hodge podge of carriages of differing ages and styles. Some were ugly commuter rail cars with vinyl padded seats, others old-school timber lined carriages with hard wooden seats all painted bright ginger and looking like something from the Wild West. In the interests of going plastic free we chose them.

The train showed no interest in making up for lost time rather it dawdled along. It was a long journey, a very long journey and even the intense caffeine/ sugar rush of the capo frappe choco shake eventually wore off and was replaced by a hunger pangs. There was plenty of food for sale and the sellers were happy to mount the train and bring it to you direct.

Sadly Thai vendors have taken to wrapping their food in plastic. Everything but some lurid orange chicken legs in steel bowls came plastic bagged. We didn’t fancy the chicken. In the end I bought some sticky rice wrapped and cooked in deep green banana (?) leaves. When we came to unwrap them we found they had been tightly tied with red plastic string. They were like tiny little sweets. The leaf wrappers went out of the window where they would biodegrade back into the jungly earth if they were not wolfed up by strange hairy beasts first. The string of course had to be kept to be thrown away in a bin when we eventually got off the train, to be (hopefully), taken to landfill. The whole procedure revealing just how ridiculous and unnatural plastic packaging is.

Good Plastic Bad Plastic

Other plastic includes the stickers off our new (plastic) ninja snorkelling masks. Which may seem strange, hypocritical even. But I dont shun all plastic. I think it is a fantastic material with a role to play. I think that we are misusing it and abusing it. We dont need to make plastic stickers with it for instance. And please note the plastic lighter is harvested from the beach. I didn’t buy it I was gifted it by the sea.

Had To Be

Tin cans and bottles of beer – sorry I have lost count about 20 cans of beer (plastic lined) and 4 bottles of beer (metal caps are plastic lined) I would guess. It is hard to avoid this. If you want to visit a bar in the evening with friends you have to buy a drink.

I dont mind taking my own water to the table in a restaurant ( especially now I have super classy bottle), but I draw the line at drinking from my own bottle in a bar. Even if they didnt say anything, I’m absoltely sure that would think I was smuggling in my own booze and I couldn’t stand the shame.

General

2 straws obviously my mimes were not too good

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2017 Calendar & Events

As well as boycotting plastic in your daily life there are an increasing number of campaigns you can support. In this post you will find:
Featured campaign the latest project:
Annual events – dates for your diary:
Petitions you can sign right now.

Featured Campaign

But first…. Let me take a selfie… Organised by www.aplasticplanet.com.

A Plastic Planet campaign are collecting thousands of films of ordinary people demanding  a Plastic Free Aisle in supermarkets. Why?  They want to mee t with the CEO of a top supermarket and need to prove consumer demand.

Sounds like a good idea? Wouldn’t it be great to buy plastic free food using your own cotton produce bags?  Then here’s what you do….

Video yourself on your phone saying: “My name is [First Name]. I am a Plastic Addict but I am ready for change. I want a Plastic Free Aisle.”
Send the recording to: addict@aplasticplanet.com

Cut and paste the below message and put it on your Facebook timeline along with your video nominating three friends who you think care about our planet and our health to do the same.
“Hi everyone.

I’m backing A Plastic Planet’s campaign to get a #PlasticFreeAisle in supermarkets. Plastic is killing our planet and will affect our health but at the moment there is nothing I can do on my own to stop plastic use. Supermarkets respond to consumer demand. As a consumer I am asking for a plastic free aisle where I can shop guilt and worry-free.

A Plastic Planet are collecting thousands of films of ordinary people demanding change, which they are bringing to the CEOs of the biggest supermarkets to demand a Plastic Free Aisle.

I nominate X, X and X:

My name is [First Name]. I am a Plastic Addict but I am ready for change. I want a Plastic Free Aisle.”

Post your film to: addict@aplasticplanet.com
Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to keep up with our campaign!

More

There are some places in the U.k. That already do this. You can find them here.

Loose Food A to Z

Find out if a shop near you sells bulk food loose. This is stuff that that normally comes plastic packaged ie rice, pasta and salt. And yes these shops do exist in the U.K. There’s just not many of them.

Heres a list of towns with shops selling loose

Dates For Your Diary

These annual events are recurring.
April
Big Spring Beach Clean this April (3rd – 9th April) organised by Surfers Against Sewage

July
Plastic Free July is a world wide event.
Every year, in July, people everywhere try to cut their consumption of one use plastic, for this one month.
Read more here

September
Zero Week Week runs the first full week in September.The aim is to cut the trash going to landfill.
Read more here

The Marine Conservation Society (MSCUK) organises The Great British Beach Clean Up

Petitions

Go straight to the petition…

Bottle Deposit Return Petition
Placing a small deposit on plastic bottles and cans would dramatically increase recycling and reduce marine plastic pollution. Surfers Against Sewage’s Message In A Bottle campaign site. 

Straws
Introduce a 5p charge on plastic straws to reduce the UK’s plastic waste, for both the environment and the economy. Sign Here.

Boycott plastic straws completely or use a reusable/ compostable alternative.  

Tampax
As the leading tampon brand around the globe we are reaching out to you to stop a very serious environmental hazard: plastic tampon applicators. Sign here

Find out more about menstruating plastic free, here.

 

Cut Food Packaging
Please sign the petition to ask the major retailers (and our lovely local farm shop) to end plastic packaging on foods!

Find a whole loads of plastic free foods here – and how to cook them!

More on the above

Read more about the potions here….

Bottle Deposit Return Petition

Surfers Against Sewage have just put out a petition which I think we all should sign….
Stop marine plastic pollution by introducing a small, refundable deposit on all plastic bottles, glass bottles and cans to recycle the 16 million plastic bottles thrown away every day.
Why is this important?
In the UK we use a staggering 38.5 million single-use plastic bottles and a further 58 million cans every day! Only half of these are recycled, so it’s no surprise that many of these end up on our beaches and in our oceans.
Plastic bottles take 450 years to break down, killing marine life, harming the coastal ecosystem and ruining our beaches.Placing a small deposit on plastic bottles and cans would dramatically increase recycling and reduce marine plastic pollution.
For full information on deposit return systems please visit Surfers Against Sewage’s Message In A Bottle campaign site. 

Update on the SAS petition
Today Coca-Cola have performed a dramatic and unexpected U-turn, publicly coming out in support of deposit return systems for the UK!  This is fantastic news for the campaign!
Adding to this great news, earlier this week, the CEO of Suez, one of the UK’s largest waste collection and recycling companies also added his support, going on record on how deposit return systems can benefit communities, the economy and the environment!
Click here for more news on these stories.
It feels like the tide has really turned and we’ll be handing in the petition to Government in the coming weeks.
Thank you for signing the petition Bring back bottle deposits to stop plastic pollution in our oceans, can you help spread the word by forwarding the link below to your friends?
https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/bring-back-bottle-deposits-to-stop-plastic-pollution-in-our-oceans-1

Tampax

As the leading tampon brand around the globe we are reaching out to you to stop a very serious environmental hazard: plastic tampon applicators.
An alarming number of tampon applicators are washing up on shores all over the world, some beaches even have to be closed after large numbers of them flood the beach after a storm. In the past two months of cleaning up beaches JUST along Lake Ontario in Canada, my team and I have picked up 415 plastic applicators. We are aware that these applicators are not meant to be flushed, but it’s evident that many users are not following this advice and we would like to stop this problem at the source. Sign here

Plastic Free Food

Opting for food without plastic packaging could be a huge relief for our limited resources, however until the supermarkets change their packaging this is going to be difficult for consumers who frequently go for convenience in our ‘one stop shop’ age.
We need to act now before this problem gets worse – it’s not one to hand onto the next generation.
Please sign the petition to ask the major retailers (and our lovely local farm shop) to end plastic packaging on foods!

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2017 Fairshare Fabrics

In 2015 I pledged to  use no more than my fair global share of fibres and they had to be sustainably sourced. I was trying to determine what is a reasonable amount of clothing. After all one mans over consumption is after all another’s nothing to wear. However there can be little doubt that we in the UK are consuming fibres in a hugely unsustainable way.

Heres how many textile fibres are produced annually: Total fibres, both natural & synthetic, around 8.5 million tonnes Rough calculations suggest that the average amount of fibres per annum, per person in the world, works out at 11.74 kg

We in the UK are using 55kg of fabric per person and 35kg of that is on clothes. We are obviously taking more than our share of fabrics produced.

If everyone on the planet was to have 35kg of clothes each year, production would have to triple.Fabric production like everything has an environmental impact. I would argue it is not sustainable for this to happen.
So if we cannot produce more, we have to consume less.


Whats a global share?
About 11.74 kg per person
of which 3.8 kg is natural fibres.

I have pledged to use only my global share.As I don’t like synthetics I try to stick to 3.8 kg of natural fibres.
Just so you know a kingsize double duvet cover from Ikea weighs in at 991 grams and a Marks & Spencer short-sleeved tee-shirt is 156 grams.
Why not use 11 .74 kg of natural fibres? I would argue that it is not sustainable for us all to have 11.74 kg of natural fibres a year. This is one of the promoted benefits of plastic, that it takes the pressure off natural resources. Synthetic fabrics mean less land grab to grow cotton. But synthetic fabrics like any other plastic are massively polluting.
So if we cannot produce more, we have to consume less.  This is how the equation works for me:
We cannot exceed current levels of production:
We cannot expect others to want less than we have:
We cannot swamp the market with synthetics:
Therefore I have to live with my global share of natural fibres.
But can it be done? Cautious reply after 2 and a half years is yes it can.

You can read more on the subject and check my figures and sources here.

Whats Sustainable Clothing?
Plastic-free, fair-trade, ethically made and lots more.You can read my clothing manifesto here
You can read more on the subject and check

Second Hand Clothes
Can I buy second hand clothes to supplement my allowance? No. I can buy second-hand but it has to count as part of my allowance.

Past Years

My Wardrobe
At the end of 2014 I had 45 items of clothing.
2015
I purchased 3.15 kg of natural fibre products and 3.2 kg of synthetic fibres.
2016
I purchased 3.835kg natural fibres, (including 65g surplus of natural fibres from last year to use up) 318g synthetic fibres, 45g regenerated fibres
More information on all the above can be found here

This Year

Activities I realise that clothes are dependant on lifestyle so I have included a history for each year outlining what we did.

Spain in Winter

I needed warm as were were spending January in Spain. Contrary to popular opinion it can get very cold. Despite this the houses are not built for the cold and what with the tiled floors and wall and high ceilings can get pretty uncomfortable. can Warm lounge wear is the order of the day.
I bought a pair of cashmere pyjamas from TK Max They consist of a jumper which is really rather nice and could be worn out normally and a pair of long johns ditto. They were rather expensive but is my last experience of cashmire, the big scarf, has been extremely positive I thought it was worth the money. Also when researching for all wool leggings I found they were all expensive.
These though described as pyjamas and can be worn round the house. I spent many happy hour both during the day and night sleeping and lounging in my cashmere pyjamas and they  stood up to it well.

Clothes

Bought Clothes

cashmere pyjamas weigh in at 517 g
My cardigan is falling apart so I bought a new cotton cardigan from TK max Pure cotton it weighs in at 187 g
My green skinny fit trousers  from Marks & Spencer’s 357g

My sarong weighs in at 212 g From Indonesia pure cotton very thin very beautiful.
knickers

Terms
By gifted I mean something that people have passed on to me because they no longer want it. Second hand but not purchased.
When I say cotton/ natural fibres that doesn’t include buttons and other such stuff which will almost certainly be synthetic. As might be the thread used to sew the fabric.
Unless you are talking about my own homemade clothes where I can tell you exactly what plastic has been used.

Sewing
I can’t afford to buy eco clothing but I can afford to make it. I have been stiching like a demon and this year most of my new clothes have been handmade. Sadly my sewing skills are not so great. There are ome rather strange outfits in there. You can read my plastic free sewing tips here…

Made Clothes
Boiled wool shrug 417
Silk tunic 245

Liberty dress 218
Billy Bunter shorts 168
grey silk wool mix trousers 275

Total so far 2.596 kg

tee shirt bought in Malaysia

2 towels in Japan

Details
I will be posting more info on all my  clothes later in the year.

Synthetics
coat
Bikini top 97

More

I will be posting more information as the year progresses. Do check back.

 

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May

Here we go gathering nuts in May talking of which did you know they did loose nuts in Lidles? Of course they offer you a plastic bag to put them in but if you take your own cotton produce bags you can get your nuts plastic free. Which brings us to this months fantastic give away.

Giving Away

U.K. Made cotton produce bags – win a set for free…. Many shops and supermarkets still sell some produce loose. I am talking unpackaged onions, bread rolls and even dried fruit, rice and nuts if you know where to look. (Try here). But if you want them plastic free you have to take your own packaging.
Produce bags are reusable bags that are, (as the name suggests), for your loose produce. Until now I have had to buy my produce bags from abroad so I was delighted when I discovered DoYourBit, a U.K. Based company who make organic cotton reusable bags from fabric sourced from a fair traded local company. Yay!
To celebrate Plastic Is Rubbish has teamed up withDo Your Bit and in May will be offering you the opportunity to win a set of 3 drawstring produce bags.
Sorry this offer is only open to people living in the U.K. Enter by clicking the link and following the instructions to either visit the Do Your Bit Facebook page, comment here on the blog or tweet. OR all three. You can also  tweet once a day, everyday for a better chance of winning. Good luck. By June you too can be shopping plastic free. Read more and enter here 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Or Buy Your Own

But if you can’t wait that long or don’t feel lucky, you can still enjoy the frisson of plastic free shopping by buying bags right now from the Do Your Bit shop

Read more about Do Your Bit in the Plastic Free U.K. Directory

Read about produce bags and how to use them here And the plastic free shopping kit here You can find a a list of refill/loose food shops here.

Yoghurt

We make our own yoghurt. It is easy enough and theoretically you should be able to use your own home made live yoghurt to make more live yoghurt. However we find that after a while our home made live yoghurt seems to loose its strength and we cannot make more using this batch. Soevery few weeks we need to buy a new container  of yogurt for a fresh culture. Just found out you can freeze your yoghurt starter culture. And buy starter cultures on line. https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/s/ref=is_s_ss_i_0_8?k=yogurt+culture&sprefix=yogurt+c

Plastic Pollution

Saw and photographed some dreadful instances of #plasticpollution in India. You can see all our dirty pictures here on our Planet Trash FB page. Its why we travel plasticfree. You can see our plastic free backpack, find out where we are and link to other travel related posts here

Packer Tracker

Off to Malaysia on our way to Japan. Is the tap water safe to drink in Malaysia. Or  Japan come to that? I can find out using this super cool website ” can I drink the water.”  I pick the country you want and read the result. Japan? All I  need to take is my refillable bottle. Malaysia? No. But it does have a few water refill machines that are cheap and easy to use. You can read about them here Otherwise it’s back to tap water made safe by a steripen. You can find that and other plastic free travel aids here. Sign Up There is a Canadian petite to ban non compostable Produce Sticker Labels WHEREAS composting is available and encouraged in most communities and many backyards in Canada; AND WHEREAS the use of plastic non-compostable identification stickers contaminates the finished compost in commercial and private compost facilities; The petition is to change both domestic and import regulations related to food labeling to require compostable stickers or vegetable based ink/food safe stamps on all fruits and vegetables sold in Canada. Interesting. You can sign it here. Do it quick it is being delivered in mMay https://www.change.org/p/lmlga-may-2017-attendees-stop-non-compostable-labels-on-food? More There are now so many plastic free petitions I am now listing them on a separate page. as you already have your pen out, head on over to the petitions page. Don’t be silly. I know nobody uses pens, or paper petitions come to that – but if you ever do want to write something try these refillable fountain pens…  Latest Campaigns Coming up….

Product Of The Month

Not plastic free but recycled and recyclable. For those time when you need to use Lycra, and we see swimwear as one of those times, let’s make the synthetic we use as sustainable as possible. This is a nice project…Davy Jones have just launched a ranges of swimwear made from ” 100% regenerated nylon yarn from waste including spent and ghost fishing nets. And are designed to last longer, fighting the trend of throwaway fashion and creating something that can keep up with you in all conditions. WE are looking to build a closed-loop resource system within the brand. While OUR SUITS ARE BUILT TO LAST, when THEY DO eventually reach the end of THEIR life, we want you to be able to return them to us and we will recycle or regenerate the resource content. The target will be to achieve 60% closed loop recycling by 2020.” And they are made in the U.K. Visit the website here  Find other ethical swimwear here

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Plastic Free For Free

ITs another greatgiveaway from a company called Greencane 
They make #plasticfree tissue products including loo roll. Wahey.

They will be giving away a cardboard box  containing

32 Rolls of Toilet Paper (8 packs of 4 rolls)
6 Rolls of Paper Towels (3 packs of 2 rolls)
3 Boxes Facial Tissues

How Plastic Free

The products come in individually wrapped packs.
All the packaging is paper, card and or cellophone.
The cellophane is certified  as commercially compostable.
Delivered to your door in a cardboard box from their Brighton warehouse.
There may be some plastic tape on the box but they are working on that!
Anyone trying to live a plastic free life will know what good news this is!
I have reviewed these produce – you can read my review here.

Enter Here

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter by clicking the link and following the instructions to either
Visit the Greencane Facebook page and leave a like
Comment here on the blog on why you want to wipe #plasticfree
Tweet our cheeky tweet
OR, for a better chance of winning, all three.

SORRY but this is only for people living in the UK

Buy

Can’t wait? For lots more info and to order products  visit the website

Composting Plastic At Home
FYI While most agree that some  plastics are indeed compostable, many say that they can only composted in large scale municipal schemes. I have used and composted a number of compostable plastic products

Want to Do A Giveaway

Got a product that helps to cut plastic trash? You might be interested in doing a giveaway in conjunction with Plastic Is Rubbish. So far we have worked with Bea Johnson, Do Your Bit produce bags and Greencane toilet tissue. All the details can be found here.

Sorry BUT you missed it….

Do Your Bit Produce Bags From a U.K. Based company who make organic cotton reusable bags from fabric sourced from a fair traded local company. 

Buy Here

Never mind, you can still enjoy the frisson of plastic free shopping by buying bags right now from the Do Your Bit shop

Tickets to see
You missed out on tickets to see Bea Johnson but there will be other opportunities. To win great free #plasticfree stuff.

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Oils, fats, butters and marge – plasticfree/reduced

These are the plastic-free/reduced oils and butters I use.

Vegetable oil
Cold pressed U.K. grown rapeseed oil in glass bottle (some plastic), or cans (plastic lined)
Olive oil refill (no plastic) when I can get it. This is  expensive and rare and only used for salad dressing. Find oil on tap here
Lard & Dripping– greaseproof paper- for most cooking and frying.
Butter – greaseproof paper- for spreading, cooking – comes in paper.
Margarine – greaseproof paper- occasionally for cooking cakes – comes in paper.

Vegetable Oil

Pre-packed oils always have a plastic element – if it comes in bottles it will have a plastic lined cap and probably a plastic pouring widget in the bottle top. Buy it in cans and there will be more plastic caps plus the cans are plastic lined.Read more here.
If you are lucky you might find a place that sell oils on tap. Then you may be able to use your own refillable bottle. You can find a U.K. wide list of places that sell oil on tap here
Where From & Made How?
Other things to consider when choosing which oil to buy are product milesThe carbon cost of importing heavy glass bottles full of olive oil is high. If choosing an imported oil you might prefer to buy a can over a bottle. Cans are lighter and costs less to transport.
Local Oil. Or you could choose a locally sourced oil. The only oil grown in the U.K. in any quantities is rapeseed oil. You can get this in glass bottles in store or 5 liter cans online. More about  rapeseed oil here.

Petrol In My Vegetable Oil? Most commercially produced oils are solvent extracted. This involves a chemical solvent like the petroleum-derived hexane.
 Cold pressed oils are a better optionYou can read more here. 

Buy & More
Plastic free oil details here

Lard & Dripping

I have gone back to lard as the most economical plastic-free, frying option.
I also make pastry with it
It is of course an animal fat.
It is U.K sourced.
It comes in what is (possibly), plastic-free, greaseproof paper. It’s really hard to tell!  Read more about that, here.
Buy & More
Plastic free lard details here

Butter & Margerine

Before the boycott I ate marge as a healthier option but you cannot get decent margarine plastic free. It all comes in plastic tubs. So I went back to butter.
But what about the risks? seems butter is not so bad for you after all and some margarines are poison!
” there never was any good evidence that using margarine instead of butter cut the chances of having a heart attack or developing heart disease. Making the switch was a well-intentioned guess, given that margarine had less saturated fat than butter, but it overlooked the dangers of trans fats.”
“butter is on the list of foods to use sparingly mostly because it is high in saturated fat, which aggressively increases levels of LDL. Margarines, though, aren’t so easy to classify. The older stick margarines that are still widely sold are high in trans fats, and are worse for you than butter. Some of the newer margarines that are low in saturated fat, high in unsaturated fat, and free of trans fats are fine as long as you don’t use too much (they are still rich in calories).”
From Harvard Health 
Butter
Turns out I love butter.
I use it for spreading and cooking
It is of course an animal fat.
It is U.K sourced.
It comes in what what is (possibly), plastic-free, greaseproof paper. It’s really hard to tell!  Read more about that, here.
I have to buy the paper option because foil is definitely  plastic lined!
Buy & More
Plastic-free butter details here.
Margarine
Ugh! Not so keen on marge at least not the (possibly), plastic-free, greaseproof paper. It’s really hard to tell!  Read more about that, here.
I have to buy the paper option because foil is definitely  plastic lined!
It comes in what is( possibly), plastic free greaseproof paper. I have to buy the paper option because foil is plastic lined!
Buy & More
Plastic-free margarine  details here.

More 

Lots more plastic-free food here.
What are  oils, waxes and butters?

Look out for these other sneaky plastics

Oil we don’t eat
Oil we don’t eat…. palm oil

Lard & dripping

I am a lard eater! Yes, I know... sounds strange right? Until now I have always used a liquid vegetable oil ...
Read More

Oil Vegetable Cooking Refill

Vegetable oil is difficult to source plastic free. Buy in glass and the metal caps will have a little plasticized disc ...
Read More

Rapeseed Oil

Rapeseed (Brassica Napus) or rape, oilseed rape, rapa, rappi, rapaseed is the bright yellow flowering plant grown in swathes all over ...
Read More

Coconut Oil

Is a hard oil which has a very low melting point. When the weather gets warm it will get liquid ...
Read More

Palm Oil

While I was in Malaysia I got to see some orangutangs. Most of them were in the rehabilitation center which ...
Read More

Oil Vegetable

Vegetable oil is difficult to source plastic free. Here are the options... Glass Bottles Buy in glass and the metal ...
Read More

Butter & Margerine

Back in my more innocent days I used to think that butter wrapped in foil was plastic free. Till the ...
Read More
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Let’s Do A Give Away

We love promoting plasticfree products and a great way to that is to give somethings away for free. Who doesn’t love a freebie?

So if you have a product you want to promote and Wish to work with us, this is how we organise a giveaway. However  we are always open to suggestions.

In the following, the organisation giving the gift is referred to as the donor .

Briefly the donor offers a product to give away, we organise a draw and promote it and the product on our blog. The donor should do the same. The winner is chosen at random. Their details are passed on the donor who send the prize on.

The Giveaway Draw

Is done via Rafflecoptor ( who organise on line draws).
Terms and conditions are agreed with the donor. i.e. Only residents of the U.K. can enter.
The link is designed.
The resulting code is then pasted into blog post and looks something like this.

Rafflecoptor giveaway portal as seen on the blog post. And tha bags are not green but white!

To enter, participants then click on the link and are directed to a range of options.
For our giveaways they have to
tweet a tweet containing your Twitter handle
visit your FB page
comment on the Give Away Page (more on give away pages below).

Each action counts as an entry to the draw.
Participants can do all three thereby increasing their chances of winning,

Entries  go into rafflecoptors virtual hat.The winner is chosen at random.
The prize is sent directly to them by the company doing the giving.

Advertising the Giveaway

Both parties should promote the giveaway as widely as they can.

Blog

I promote the giveaway  on my blog in a variety of ways

The What’s On Page
Every month I do a round up of latest news, plastic free finds and other topical stuff.

In The Previous Month
I advertise the giveaway the month before in the Whats On page. First in the news as a shoutout and then in more detail in later on.
You can see an example from the current giveaway here

In Giveaway Month
When the giveaway goes live, it is featured in the current months Whats On page but this time with the link to the Rafflecoptor giveaway like the one shown above.

See an example from the current giveaway here

The Giveaway Page

It is also promoted on the separate give away page. The giveaway page focuses on your product only, has more detail and again links to the  Rafflecoptor draw.  This is the page entrants will be directed via tweets and FB links.

See an example from the current giveaway here

Side Bar On All Posts

Give away is featured in the blog sidebar.


The giveaway page is also linked via a widget on the blog side bar which appears alongside of every post. The widget has a picture and brief description of your product and a countdown.

Social Media

Plastic Is Rubbish a rapidly growing group where folks can share, rant and post about living plastic free. Join us here.
Planet Trash A Facebook of plastic pollution.
Facebook page Plastic Free U.K. a visual library of U.K. plastic free finds we come across
PlasticSrubbish Twitter account
Plastic Is Rubbish Instagram
And have a Pinterest page

Want to do one? Contact us now.

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Tana Lawn Tunic

I didn’t actually need another tunic top but I have been possessed by a sewing demon and I simply cannot stop buying fabric especially when I came across this.
Liberty Tata Lawn.
It was in Abakan a Manchester fabric shops At first I thought it was some strange kind of silk. Maybe even a synthetic fibre. It was so fine and was covered in lovely design of what looked like pomegranates.
Abakan is a rather grim no nonsense shop which sell huge heaps of synthetic fabric by weight. For sure they have a small craft fabric department but since the disaster of the endlessly creasing Tabard Dress I am right off craft fabric. To find something so lovely and so obviously suitable for shirts was rather a shock.Which led to a quick bit of research.

Liberty Prints & Fabrics

I can tell you that Liberty is an amazing fabric shop in London. But also a huge part of British design history. In 1875 Arthur Lasenby Liberty  opened Libertys the shop selling ornaments, fabrics and objets d’art from the east. By 1884 Edward William Godwin  a distinguished architect joined the team and Liberty’s started making clothes. By the 1890s Arthur was working with English designers connected with the  Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau movement and his fabric designs had become massively popular. In the 1920s, Liberty began to produce small floral prints known as Liberty Prints. They were printed on one of their most famous fabrics Tana Lawn, still a Liberty best-seller.
In 1924 the mock-Tudor flag ship store store was built. It was designed by Edwin T. Hall it used, timbers from HMS Hindustan and HMS Impregnable. In proper Arts and Crafts style it was built using authentic and original Tudor techniques.
By the 1940s Liberty was firmly established as the supplier of must-have silk scarves.
Come the 1950s and 60s, an Arts & Crafts revival meant even Libertys old designs were still cutting edge. Art Nouveau designs were redrawn and coloured to make them more appealing to modern designers. They were used by all the great names.
But back to me and my fabric revelation.

Tana Lawn

is extremely high quality cotton. This was taken form the Liberty website….
Taking its name from Lake Tana in East Africa where the original cotton grew, Tana Lawn cotton is unique. Made from specially selected ultra-fine long staple cotton and finished without the use of crease-resisting chemicals or irritating allergens, the result is a famous masterpiece of fabric technology: fine, cool, comfortable and durable, with brilliant reproduction of colours and prints.

Fabric & Purchase Details 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

While Abakan might be a little bit grim they  sell at a discount. Tana lawn normally retails at around £22.00 a meter I got mine for 12.00. If you cant get to Manchester they have an online store. They don’t stock the whole Tana range – for that you will have to try Liberty or other shops.

As far as I know Tana Lawn boasts no organic or fair trade credentials but it was bought locally from Abakan in Manchester and buying locally and keeping fabric shops open are both very important to me.

It is 100% cotton. I prefer to use natural fibres because on consideration they are the greenest, biodegradable option and, even better, they don’t shed plastic microfibres when washed. Just in case you need it, here is a quick  intro to synthetic, regenerated, combination and natural fibres here. And more reasons why I prefer natural fabrics over the others can be found here.

Design & Pattern
McCalls M6102 1 hour dress. Really easy. You can see my patterns here.

Fixtures & Fittings
None needed

Made With
It was  cut out with all metal scissors from the C. Booths Hardware Shop in Huddersfield, sewn together using organic cotton on a wooden reel and made using plastic free sewing supplies (you can find them here).

Sustainable Rating
Natural fibres
Fabric was bought plastic free – no packaging
Supporting a local fabric shop
Homemade by me
Made with plastic free sewing supplies

Weighs In At g.

Why the weighing? Well this item of clothing is counted as part of my fair share fabrics project. This is a self imposed rationing system. I use no more than my global share of fibres and they have to be sustainably sourced. Whats a global share? 11.74 kg per person of which 3.8 kg is natural fibres. As I don’t like synthetics I try to stick to 3.8 kg of natural fibres.

More

 

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Nottingham The Roasting House – coffee

We’re a micro coffee roastery based in Nottingham. We roast all of our coffee in very small batches to order. Our environmental and ethical values guide us in how we run our business. We have a zero waste to landfill policy informs our purchasing decisions and use only 100% recycled and recyclable paper packaging and labels for our coffee. At events when serving hot coffee, we use both ceramic reusable cups and fully compostable takeaway cups.

Website: roastinghouse.co.uk

Twitter: @roasthse

Please note..

This post was written by the contributor and  is  a PfU.K. Directory submission. We have not tried this product but it sounds great! Would love to see that packaging…
And the Pf U.K. Directory is…?
…a directory of UK-based groups, organisations businesses and individuals who are responding to the problems presented by the misuse of plastic. That does not mean anti-plastic necessarily but certainly plastic-problem aware.
The DIRECTORY is to promote their fantastic work. Read more here…

Got a project?
It is very easy to get a project featured. Each contributor submits a short synopsis of their project, focussing on the plastic aware element and I post it. You can read the submission guidelines here.

More

Find  more plastic free coffee & tea here…

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Choir Boy Shirt

I have been making cotton tunics for a while now and while I love this very easy to make garment I fancied a change. I OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwanted something with rather more space to move. The tunic pattern has fitted sleeves which can be a bit grabby under the arms if I wear them with a T shirt. Plus the body while not fitted has no extra space. I have to be careful when removing my tunics. I am not always careful tending to yank them off to the cracking sound of splitting stitches.

So I thought I would try me a gathered shirt with some raglan sleeves. A raglan sleeve is a single piece of fabric that extends from the collar of the garment over the shoulder and down to the underarm.

There is no seam around the shoulder rather that the seams attaching the sleeve to body run diagonally across the front and back of the shoulder. This results is more room in the underarm area allowing a greater ease of movement. Which is why it is often used in sports wear. And considered less formal than a fitted sleeve.

Fabric & Purchase Details

I bought some grey lawn from the Button Box in Huddersfield Market. This is more like a muslin it is softer more crumply and looks like a looser weave. I don’t know where it was originally made and it boasts no organic or fair trade credentials but it was bought locally and buying locally and keeping fabric shops open are both very important to me.

It is 100% cotton. I prefer to use natural fibres because on consideration they are the greenest, biodegradable option and, even better, they don’t shed plastic microfibres when washed. Just in case you need it, here is a quick  intro to synthetic, regenerated, combination and natural fibres here. And more reasons why I prefer natural fabrics over the others can be found here.

Design & Pattern

I found this pattern in a charity shop. New Look 6133.  It seemed to fit the bill give or take a frilled collar. I made it longer so it was more smock like. I cut the neck lower  and rather than a draw string, I  gathered the fabric and sewed it into place and attached a thin collar.

I tried it on. I looked like a choir boy!

I had to add pin tucks underneath the bust to give it some shape. Then rather than gather into cuffs I added pin tucks to the billowing sleeves to give them some shape too.

Fixtures & Fittings
Needs none

Made With
Cut out with all metal scissors from the C. Booths Hardware Shop in Huddersfield, sewn together using organic cotton on a wooden reel and made using plastic free sewing supplies (you can find them here).

Sustainable Rating
Natural fibres
Fabric was bought plastic free – no packaging
Supporting a local fabric shop
Homemade by me
Made with plastic free sewing supplies

Weighs In At 132g.

Why the weighing? Well this item of clothing is counted as part of my fair share fabrics project. This is a self imposed rationing system. I use no more than my global share of fibres and they have to be sustainably sourced. Whats a global share? 11.74 kg per person of which 3.8 kg is natural fibres. As I don’t like synthetics I try to stick to 3.8 kg of natural fibres.

More

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Navy blue, A line and below the knee…

A sensible, deep blue, below the knee A line skirt. I wear it with leggings or tights. Yes it sounds dreadful but it’s good for cycling in. I made it from a soft corduroy which I think stops it looking like too much like a school skirt. While it really is much nicer than the description implies even kindest friends would class it under practical rather than glamorous

Fabric & Purchase Details

I dont know where the corduroy was originally from and it boasts no organic or fair trade credentials but it was bought from my local fabric shop LeonsAnd buying locally and keeping fabric shops open are both very important to me.

It is 100% cotton. I prefer to use natural fibres because on consideration they are the greenest, biodegradable option and, even better, they don’t shed plastic microfibres when washed. Just in case you need it, here is a quick  intro to synthetic, regenerated, combination and natural fibres here. And more reasons why I prefer natural fabrics over the others can be found here.

Design & Pattern

I used the Mc Calls M6770 Misses’ Jacket, Bustle/Capelet, Skirt and Pants patterns as a very loose guide. The Mc Calls pattern features a bustle. My corduroy skirt doesn’t!

Fixtures & Fittings

I didnt bother with a waistband just turned the top over and fixed it using used bias binding. This is 100% cotton, bought by the meter and from a cardboard roll. I fitted a zip at the back The zip is metal and synthetic fibre. It is sold unpackaged. N.B.metal zips are not so easy to fit as plastic as they are bulky, dont sit as neatly in the seam and tend to flash and glint. Plastic zips are finer and so less obvious. As I always wear long tunic tops it is not an issue for me but you might want to consider it.

Made With

They were  cut out with all metal scissors from the C. Booths Hardware Shop in Huddersfield, sewn together using organic cotton on a wooden reel and made using plastic free sewing supplies (you can find them here).

Sustainable Rating
Natural fibres
Fabric was bought plastic free – no packaging
Supporting a local fabric shop
Homemade by me
Made with plastic free sewing supplies

Weighs In At 300g.

Why the weighing? Well this item of clothing is counted as part of my fair share fabrics project. This is a self imposed rationing system. I use no more than my global share of fibres and they have to be sustainably sourced. Whats a global share? 11.74 kg per person of which 3.8 kg is natural fibres. As I don’t like synthetics I try to stick to 3.8 kg of natural fibres.

More