Special days, gifts & parties

Here’s a guide to celebrating, partying and gift giving.

If you want biodegradable, disposable cutlery try How To Party Plastic Free. Reusable advent calendar? Check out Christmas. Compostable condoms – yes they are in Valentines along with other loved up stuff.

And of course at the end of every party, the washing up. Sigh.

Have fun and drink responsibly….

Pancakes & Pancake day

To make plastic free pancakes in a plastic free non stick pan ... you will need: Eggs in a cardboard ...
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Mothers Day

Flowers and chocolates  are a traditional choice for such days and always welcome. Especially when you choose a few plastic ...
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Easter egg makers are far more environmentally aware than they used to be and it is now possible to buy ...
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Valentines Day

Wethers it's Valentines Day, a very special date, an anniversary or just because,  here's a round up of plastic free ...
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Christmas Crackers Reusable

As they sound - a cracker that can be used over and over again. Probably not completely plastic free, (those ...
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How to wrap gifts plastic-free

Reusable Wraps Wrapping presents – cloth furoshiki using a square of cloth. Crackle paper made from recycled tents. Disposable Paper As much ...
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Here are some more fantastic waste free ideas for Christmas Keep up with fantastic plastic free christmas ideas via our pinterest ...
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How to party…plastic free….

Organising a big bash? Nipping off out to buy some paper plates? WAIT!!! Given the choice between washing up and disposable ...
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Alcohol – to drink

Plastic free booze is hard to find....glup!!!!. But as giving up IS NOT AN are our best choices.... The Plastic ...
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How to wash the pots plastic free…..

By Hand...Sigh Washing up liquid and I use Ecover  in a refillable plastic bottle. I know the bottle is plastic but ...
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How To Buy Flowers Plastic Free

You don't even want to know how many plastic wrapped roses we are going to get through on this one ...
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Greetings cards

Cards  have been the bane of my life , (I mean greeting cards not gambling  - that's all in the past), as many ...
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Trial a plastic awareness game?

Any teachers out there want to trial a plastic awareness game?

The Auroville community in India are tackling plastic waste through education. Sometime ago I spoke to them about a children’s game they were developing – here is an update….

“Last year, interviewing experts was part of our research phase for developing a memory style card game which we have decided to call ‘kNOw PLASTICS’. The game educates children about the impact of plastics on animals, the environment and us.

We are now in the pilot testing phase of the game. Up till now we have tested the game in schools here in and around Auroville, Tamil Nadu, South India. It is a really rewarding experience and so much fun to see the children playing with the cards. So far we have received positive responses but we would like to get feedback from as many other children throughout schools the world over. We are looking to test the game internationally with students from diverse cultural background so that the game is relevant to as wide an audience as possible.

If you know of any schools, organisations or teachers then we would be very happy if you could connect us or test the kNOw PLASTICS game, please find below what this would entail:

  1. Printing the game in colour (we’ll send you the designs and clear instructions).
  2. Find 4 resource persons or teachers to help you or test the game (3-5 student per group).
  3. Playing the game with children and answer questions (takes about an hour and it lots of fun).
  4. Sending us the feedback and if you can Skype/WhatsApp call at your convenience.

Our goal is to complete pilot testing the game by the end of November, so our design team can finalise the game, print and launch it in February 2017.

When we have produced the game we would like to provide a free copy for a school or organisation you work with as a thank you for your assistance in pilot testing the game.

Please do help us test this game!

I really appreciate your time and effort and promise it won’t be a waste of time!

If you can help you can contact Chandra on



Tabbard Tunic Top

This is a simple sleeveless dress with bust darts to add a bit of shape. It looks rather like those old pinafores people used to wear hence the name.

It is easy to wear – either as a comfortable tunic when worn over a tee shirt and leggings or a cool dress for those hotter days. This Summer I hardly need say I have been wearing it as a tunic, over leggings, with a cardigan!

I would be very pleased with it if it wasn’t for the fabric…..

Fabric & Purchase Details

I bought this material locally from the Button Box in Huddersfield Market.  . 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.

Notes On This Cotton – Craft Fabric


It is a silky fabric that creases easily. I mean really easily. I wear it for seconds and it looks like crumpled paper. I am not sure it is a dress making fabric. It was sold in small bales folded on a cardboard board. In a section of the shop called craft fabrics. I think they are mainly used for patchwork and quilting. Is this cotton somehow different?  Rose & Hubble fabrics are sold the same way and the stuff I used for my loon pants worked out fie.  I thought with washing it would soften it as has happened with my loon pants. These are made out of Rose & Hubble cotton. They are now so soft I don’t need to iron them. Actually I never ironed them and while they looked rumpled I could get away with it. Not a chance of that with this top! Still as stiff as a board, needs ironing before I can wear it. Even with my low sartorial standard I feel I have to do at least that. Once on, it creases immediately.

As time has passed it’s tendency to crease has annoyed me more and more. As has the constant ironing.

Pattern New Look 6558

Fixtures & Fittings Cotton bias binding round the neck and arms sold by the meter at the shop.

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 (you can find them here)

Weighs In At

149 grams 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? Share out all the fibres made by all the people on the planet and it works out, (very roughly), 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. Here are the figures in full.



Offset Tunic

Bought some lovely organic cotton cambric from Offset Warehouse an online fabric store that sell greener than green fabrics.

Such as this lovely patterned cambric that is

  1. made from organic (uncertified) cotton
  2. hand woven and printed by hand using wooden “hand-blocks”.
  3. The dyes used in the printing are azo-free
  4. The weaving and printing is done in a cooperative and certified Fair Trade by the WFTO.
  5. As it is a hand-made product, the process uses virtually no energy or water!
  6. can be washed in washing machines.

I prefer to use natural fibres because on consideration they are the greenest option, they don’t shed plastic microfibres when washed and, even better, at the end of a long and useful life, I can compost them.

Just in case you need it, here is a quick  intro to synthetic, regenerated, combination and natural fibres here. And the reasons why I prefer natural fabrics over the others can be found in detail here.

More Information

Weave/Knit Type Plain, Woven
Thread Count 46 x 46
width 119cm 47″


I had been assured that the packaging was plastic free and it almost was. The fabric came wrapped in tissue paper in a cardboard box but the box was sealed with plastic tape and the invoice was attached to the front in a plastic bag. Sigh!


McCalls M6102 1 hour dress. Really easy

Fixtures & Fittings

No fixings needed.

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
  • Organic
  • Fair-trade
  • Homemade by me
  • Made with plastic free sewing supplies

Weighs In

At 157g.

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? Share out all the fibres made by all the people on the planet and it works out, (very roughly), at 11.74 kg per person of which 3.8 kg is natural fibres. As I don’t like synthetics I try to stick to my fair share of 3.8 kg of natural fibres. Here are the figures in full.



The Fulsome Foolish Skirt

We were planning to visit Seville for the Feria, the big flamenco party. To say it is dreey would be understating. I spent a lot of time wondering what I could possibly wear. The flamenco dresses I had seen looked very elaborate featuring different fabrics, trimmings and all manner frou-frouery. Needless to say I possessed nothing like that. Then, while meandering through the Indonesian markets, I came across some very lively sarongs. They were highly patterned strips of fabric featuring a bold use of color and frantic patterning. If, I thought, I was to make a skirt out of such sarongs, it would look extremely ornate. Not frilly but with a general air of exuberance that would make it suitable for a flamenco night out.

So I bought some. They were amazingly cheap but I was assured they were made from Indonesian cotton. They are not. They are synthetic fibres. I didn’t realize this till I got home, tried to iron them and they melted. I was annoyed. Not only did I have to spend hours scraping away at the iron but I don’t like wearing synthetic fabrics. I’m sure you know that synthetic fibres contribute to micro plastic pollution. When they are washed, they shed tiny, non-biodegradable, synthetic fibres into the drains. These are then washed out to sea where they are now polluting the oceans and being eaten by plankton.

Still I thought I could still make the skirt, wear it for the Feria, and never, ever wash it. After all how much demand would there be for such a lively skirt in my daily life? So I copied a pattern for a circular skirt from the internet, sewed it up and tried it on. It hung nicely but it was full…. very full. Draped over my Rubenesque curves it looked rather tent like – by which I mean a big top. It might have worked if I had made it from a different fabric. Something with less pattern and nicer colors. Lord knows what I was thinking but dominant tints were bottle green and aquamarine blue covered in hot pink and purple flowers. It looked funky in the market place as a sarong; it looked insane as a swirling skirt on a wide berthed middle aged woman. So much so I will not be featuring a photo of me modeling it.

So I now have a huge and very ugly skirt which I can never wash and never wear. But as I can’t bear waste so I am keeping it as a permanent pattern for future huge skirts I may wish to make. In fact I used it as the base for my Japanese Fish Wrap Skirt.


Weight 243g. This counts as part of my fair share fabrics project– a self imposed rationing system where 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.

2016 WLLM Want to share my bath?

Or perhaps you would prefer to post some photos of the local shops you support. Here’s the deal…

“Each year the UK alone is putting over £3.8 billion worth of resources into landfill and evidence suggests that increasing rates of consumption and material possession are not necessarily leading to healthier societies and may in fact be damaging to our happiness and wellbeing.”

Waste less, Live More have had enough and have taken to organizing a week of events to combat this. WLLM is a Keep Britain Tidy’s annual campaign. It is 7 days of awareness raising, rubbish, cutting activities and brings together a wide range of partner and supporter organizations… of which I am one.

Yes, from 19-25 September, ” organizations, charities and businesses, (ME!!!), will be hosting … events and activities which encourage people to waste less and live more – events demonstrating that what is good for the environment is good for us.”

Eek – hosting!? What am I going to do?Well WLLM have kindly put together over 101 activities including having a bath together. Feel free to join me in the tub but I was thinking of something more inclusive. It’s a small tub and I’m a big girl.

Love Local, Photo & Post

Because I move around a lot it’s hard for me to do anything on the ground so I plan to do it virtually. Last year I organized an online litter pick where I photographed and posted pictures of the plastic litter I collected. People were kind enough to join me and I could do that again. BUT…. after my week of eating-plastic-free -but- only-buying- from – supermarkets project I would like to to focus on local shops.

Activity Number 46 looks ideal. It is Buy local – Try buying local for a day. Using local businesses instead of chains is great way of supporting local jobs and investing more money back into the local economy.

Like the litter pick, I will be posting photos of local shops and businesses and the (plastic-free) produce you can buy from them. Once again I invite you to join me. Together we can celebrate, promote and support the independent traders and, (of course), packaging-free, waste-less produce. One day in the week, when out shopping, take a photo of your favorite indie, local shop then post it up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or all of them. A few details on where it is and what it does would also be good.

Post Where?

Post on your Facebook Twitter or Instagram account but do remember to hashtag your photos. You can also post them in the Plastic Is Rubbish Facebook Group group  where they will remain as permanent record of great places to shop. Or up on the WLLM Facebook page.

Tag Them

Use tags #pirlocalshop and #wastelesslivemore

Like this

“love my #pirlocalshop The Hut, Huddersfield #plasticfree kabanos Celebrate indies 4 #wastelesslivemore week.”

Feel free to copy – using details about your own shop I mean. Then you can promote the project with more posts like this one…..

Visit #pirlocalshop gallery & on line photo competition for #wastelesslivemore week. Vote by liking. On line photo competition for #wastelesslivemore week. celebrating indies.


You can also visit the galleries…..

Check out the Twitter gallery here

Facebook gallery here

Photography Competition

Got the bit between my teeth now. Why not, I’m thinking, combine it with

“Activity No 17 Have a photography competition – Create a list of things or themes to photograph, such as ‘favourite local green space’ or ‘best place to relax’, or ‘neighbourhood’ and ‘sharing’. Have fun comparing your results!”

Add #pirshoplocal hashtag to be in with a chance to win fantastic


I’m thinking Activity Number 39 Make a puppet or sock monkey – Odd socks? Try upcycling them into the ultimate toy/mascot/desk companion.”

Or we can we include “Activity Number 77 Share a bath ?” – a voucher system maybe?

So Trashionistas what do you think? You in?


You can sign up at the Waste less, Live More website and let them know you are supporting them. And if you don’t have any local shops, a camera or shudder at the shared bath, here’s the list of activities – all 101 of them. There is something to suit everyone.

101 Ways to Waste less and Live more

This year we are challenging you do as many of our 101 ways to waste less and live more as you can. Let us know what you are up to via social media (#wastelesslivemore) – we can’t wait to see how you get on!

  1. Become a RAKtivist – Do little things to ‘pay it forward’ as a Random Acts of Kindness activist – leave change in the parking meter, give out free hugs, pick up groceries for a neighbour.
  1. Have a declutter day – If you don’t love it loads or use it often, donate it to a charity shop.
  1. Rediscover the fun of the playground – Jump rope, hopscotch, duck duck goose, hide and seek, limbo, leapfrog, stuck in the mud – PLAY!
  1. Grow from scraps – Give your fruit and veg another lease of life. There are great beginner guides online to get you started!
  1. Take it outside – Take your next meeting, lesson or catchup outside. Remember, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing!
  1. Organise a shared lunch – Everyone brings a dish and you eat together. You’ll get an amazing spread and think of the sandwich wrapper waste you’ll avoid.
  1. Set up a book-swap shelf – Got a spare shelf at work, school or in your local pub? Ask if it can be turned into a book-swap shelf. Give away your books and pick up something new to read 
  1. Organise a street party – Get together with neighbours and plan an afternoon of activities for all. Check with your local council about road closure procedures and permissions.
  1. Have a go at upcycling – Turn something old or unused into something new and usable. Broken umbrellas can become saddle covers, cheese graters can become earring holders – get imaginative!
  1. Support your local library – Rather than buying that book/film/cd you are after why not borrow it from your local library instead?
  1. Make a pinecone birdfeeder – Hang it near a window so you can birdwatch too!
  1. Scoot to school – Micro-scooters are more fun than walking and more eco-friendly than a car.
  1. Give collaboratively – Club together to get a lasting gift – save money and wrapping paper!
  1. Be intergenerational inspirational – Your grandparents or children can help you see the world in a different way – what skills and stories can you share?
  1. Organise a walking bus – Get to work or school on foot and pick up your colleagues or classmates en route – a little fresh air and exercise make a great start to the day!
  1. Support a local community project – Get in touch with your local volunteer bureau and find a project that needs some help.


  1. Have a photography competition – Create a list of things or themes to photograph, such as ‘favourite local green space’ or ‘best place to relax’, or ‘neighbourhood’ and ‘sharing’. Have fun comparing your results!
  1. Sleep under canvas – Even if it’s only in your back garden, get the tent out and spend a night under the stars.
  1. Have a fix-it party – Got a pile of stuff you’ve been meaning to fix? Gather the things you’ll need and invite your friends over for a fix-it Check out YouTube for tutorials on how to fix almost anything.
  1. Make a home for wildlife – Make a bird box, bug hotel or a hedgehog shelter. It’s easier than you think and you can get advice online from theBBC or the RSPB. 
  1. Build a bottle rocket – There are plenty of tutorials online. Too easy? Have a competition with friends – who can make their rocket go the highest? Be safe!
  1. Gift a tree – A great alternative to conventional presents – try the National Forest or Woodland Trust.
  1. Darn it – There was a time when most people knew how to darn. Check out YouTube tutorials or find a friend or family member who can teach you and give those socks a new lease of life!
  1. Get gardening – Even if you’ve only got space for one pot, you can garden. Why not try growing herbs on your windowsill or looking after a spider plant? You can find some great beginner tips and tricks
  1. Spend an evening by candlelight
  1. Pledge to have zero waste lunches – Think about how much packaging you get with a lunch bought out. Pledge to have zero waste lunches for the week – bring in your own from home or sit-in to eat.
  1. Arrange a themed movie night – Invite friends over and watch a movie, follow it with a discussion. We recommend the Minimalism Documentary, My Stuff Movie or Black Fish.
  1. Get a teapot or coffeepot for work – A teapot or coffee pot is a great addition to the office! It’s sociable and the kettle will only be boiled once.
  1. Ditch the disposables – Try to go a whole day or the entire week without using disposables.
  1. Preserve and pickle – Gather old glass jars and fill them with delicious and long-lasting preserves and pickles – there are loads of recipes online. They make excellent gifts too 
  1. Create a new game (no purchases allowed) – Remember making up games as a child? Have fun creating a new game using things you’ve got at home.
  1. Get inventive, Masterchef-style! – Get together with friends to see who can create the best dish from all your leftovers and what’s already in your cupboards!


  1. Chit-chat for charity – Organise a coffee morning – get people baking, donating and chatting to raise funds for a local cause.
  1. Patch it – Patch the holes in your jeans and tops rather than dispose of them – make the patch blend in for a ‘good as new’ look or go bold and make a statement!
  1. Share your skills – Can’t cook but can play the guitar? Get together with others to swap your skills.
  1. Get your office growing – Plants are a great addition to the office – they encourage a positive and healthy atmosphere so get planting with colleagues. Herbs are easy to grow and can be used in your lunches! 
  1. Play team sports – Organise a game of football or ultimate frisbee in the park with friends or colleagues.
  1. Lift-share – This week, try to make no journeys in the car alone. You’ll be reducing your environmental impact and have someone to chat to. Too easy? Travel further afield using a scheme like Blablacar.
  1. Make a puppet or sock monkey – Odd socks? Try upcycling them into the ultimate toy/mascot/desk companion.
  1. Love your local park, river or beach – Go to your local park, river or beach and show it some love. Are there any Green Flag parks or Blue Flag beaches near you?
  1. Join a choir – We have a great choral tradition – it is sociable, creative, keeps your brain active and it is great fun!
  1. Give a hen a home – Contact the British Hen Welfare Trust to give a hen a free-range future. Over half a million re-homed hens to date!
  1. Try geocaching – Use a GPS-enabled device such as a mobile phone to treasure hunt for geocaches near you. There are over 2.5 million globally!
  1. Eat seasonably – Seasonal fruit and veg need less artificial input, have less environmental impact, taste better and are often cheaper. Check out your local market, grocer or food store and don’t be afraid to ask if it’s in season.
  1. Make a musical instrument – Make a rain-stick using lentils, a guitar using plastic bands or a tambourine using bottle tops. Too easy? Form a home-made instrument band and record a song!
  1. Buy local – Try buying local for a day. Using local businesses instead of chains is great way of supporting local jobs and investing more money back into the local economy.
  1. Organise a spoken word or unplugged music night – Why not get in touch with Sofar Sounds and host a gig in your living room?
  1. Set up a stuff library – Need a drill for that DIY project? Bored of your DVD collection? Set up a real or virtual library to share the things you have, helping everyone’s stuff get used more and gather less dust.


  1. Harvest rainwater – Make a DIY rainwater harvester to collect rainwater for use on your lawns and gardens. Too easy? Why not install a more permanent domestic rainwater harvesting system?
  1. Join your local transition town – ‘Transition towns’ are grassroots groups aiming to increase self-sufficiency to reduce environmental impact. Check out the one in Totnes.
  1. Buy milk from the milkman – Fewer plastic bottles and more reusable glass. Why not get your orange juice from the milkman too 
  1. Scrub naturally – Use sugar, sea-salt or oatmeal to make your own microbead-free exfoliant – there are plenty of tutorials online.
  1. Food-share – Become a food philanthropist and grow food to donate to local charity partners.
  1. Row, row, row your boat – Gently down the stream.
  1. Organise a Big Tidy Up – Visit the Big Tidy Up website and order a kit to get you started.
  1. Be a lover, not a leaver – In restaurants a lot of food is wasted through preparation, spoilage and what’s left behind on the plate. If you’re eating out, commit to asking for a doggy bag and LOVE those leftovers!
  1. Yarn-storm your garden – Decorate your garden with colourful knitted or crocheted yarn installations.
  1. Do a bug hunt – Join the Big Bug Hunt or just see which creepy crawlies you can find in your garden or local park.


  1. Join a veg-box scheme – Fresh organic veg delivered straight to your door to help you eat in-season and get creative in the kitchen.


  1. Stargaze – You don’t need any special equipment and a good place to stargaze might be closer than you think, even if you live in an urban area. There are lots of free guides online, including the Dark Sky Discovery’s website.


  1. Go zero waste – Try to produce no waste for a day.


  1. Host your own DIY Olympics – Use what you have to make hurdles and javelins, toss bean bags and relay with buckets – the possibilities are endless… Don’t forget to make medals for the winning team!


  1. Go paperless – Think before you print, switch to paperless billing – you’ll never have to open a bill again (well not a paper one anyway!)


  1. Make a cork memo board – Collect wine corks and upcycle them into a functional and stylish cork board in just a couple of hours.


  1. Fly a kite – Get yourself up the nearest hill and enjoy the simple pleasure of flying a kite. Too easy? Make your own kite from recycled materials and fly, fly away!


  1. Buy nothing – When was the last time you went a whole day without buying a single thing? Give yourself, the planet and your wallet a day off.


  1. Have a (non-computer) games night – Get out board games or a pack of cards and have an evening of fun together.


  1. Go walkies! – Borrow a dog from a family member, friend or neighbour for the day – they make great companions for a walk!
  1. Re-love some stuff – Check out a local car-boot sale or charity shop – enjoy the thrill of finding a bargain or unexpected treasure!
  1. Go for a bike ride – If you haven’t got a bike, why not borrow or hire one, take a nice ride in your local park or explore your local neighbourhood using pedal power!
  1. FoodCycle – Find your local FoodCycle Hub, where communities unite to make sure no good food is wasted, and get involved.
  1. Race to save water – Challenge family members and flatmates to keep showers to less than three minutes. Who can be in and out the fastest 
  1. Become a citizen scientist – Join project like the British Trust for Ornithology Survey – collaborate with other members of the public and professional scientists to collect and analyse data about the world around us. 
  1. Plan an overland holiday – Pick somewhere on your wanderlust list but don’t get on a plane – go by boat or train and make it a real adventure.
  1. Host a ‘jumble trail’ – Like a car boot sale but along your street, communities coordinate to set up stalls outside their houses to sell bric-a-brac, toys, vintage clothes and cakes.
  1. Create unique reusables – Organise a workshop get the people involved in customising their own canvas shopping bags or water bottles to take home and use.
  1. Share a bath
  1. Organise a ‘Give and Take’ day – Give or take days are a great way of getting rid of items that you don’t need, and taking items you do. Left over items can be donated to local charity shops.
  1. Make your own – These days we can pop into a shop or go online and buy almost anything we like. This week, commit to making your own – bake real bread or make a gift for a friend.
  1. Arrange a scavenger hunt – split into teams and see which team can capture the most photos from a list of miscellaneous objects.


  1. Get crafty with bottle caps – There are loads of creative ways to reuse your beer bottle caps or milk bottle caps.
  1. Theme your next book group – Pick a book with an interesting social or environmental theme such as The Spirit Level and 10 Billion for discussion at your next session.
  1. Green your roof – Whether it’s a few pots on a flat office roof or getting a professional to waterproof your shed roof and cover it in vegetation – make the most of space available and bring nature closer to home.
  1. Go dairy-free – Cut out cheese, cream, butter, milk and eggs for a day. Too easy? Why not try and last the whole week?
  1. Do good, get fit – Join the Good Gym – a group of community-minded runners that combine regular exercise with helping those in need 
  1. Create your family tree – Get together with family members to map it out and share memories using photos you have around the house.
  1. Go birdwatching – There are lots of apps available to help you identify birds from their calls or appearance. How many different species can you spot?
  1. Get together to doodle, paint, sketch, draw… – Get together and whip out the colouring pencils, pens and paints. Get messy and creative!
  1. Break the bag habit – Stop using single use bags and invest in a nicer reusable alternative.
  1. Forage – September is a great month to forage for nuts, berries and other delicious treats. Guides online will help you identify safe produce. Remember to leave plenty for wildlife and check local bylaws on foraging before you set out!
  1. Visit your nearest green open home – The National Network for Low-carbon Open Homes enables you to visitopen homes in your area to see what others have done to become more energy efficient.
  1. Build a den – indoors or outdoors.
  1. Plug-out – Turn off the wifi, phone and all other electronic devices for a day and fill your time with other waste less, live more activities. We don’t want to hear about this one on social media..!
  1. Volunteer with your local Scouts / Guides group – Channel your inner Bear Grylls and contact the Scouts / Guides to offer your skills.
  1. Make rubbish art – Get creative by making art and sculptures with recycled materials.
  1. Go meat-free – Cutting down on meat is good for you, other people and the environment, so why not try going without meat for a day. Too easy? Why not try and last the whole week?


  1. Try an outdoor gym – Outdoor gyms are springing up everywhere enabling people to exercise in the fresh air for free. Check with your local council website or the Great Outdoor Gym Company to find one near you.
  1. Swish your clothes – Bring friends or colleagues together to swap items of clothing you no longer want and find yourself a new outfit.
  1. Write and perform a song, poem or play – A great activity for children and adults alike and you might discover you’ve a talent you didn’t know you had.
  1. Go swimming outdoors – Get down to your local lido or swimming ponds – enjoy!
  1. Turn off the TV – Try going a whole evening without watching any TV. Too easy? Try the whole week!


…Phew! Happy Waste less, Live more Week 2016!

We have tried to ensure that all information provided in the Waste less, Live more Week Challenge was correct at the time of inclusion. We do not guarantee the accuracy of this information and we apologise for any errors. We take no responsibility for the content of third party websites that may be referenced in the Challenge. The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them. If you have any problems with the site or wish to comment on the content, please contact us We accept no responsibility for any activity undertaken by you as part of the Challenge. Please seek professional advice regarding any of the activities where appropriate. We strongly recommend that if children are wishing to partake in Challenge activities, they should be supervised by a responsible parent/guardian for their own safety and well-being.

Supermarkets & Eating Plastic Free

Sometimes supermarkets can surprise you – check out the plastic-free and reduced packaging products here…
Whole Food Market – if we have to have supermarkets let them be like this….

All supermarkets list of  packaging less products from Louises Bayfield and her  “POSTIVE PRODUCTS LIST (UK) a list of High Street and Supermar-ket products that have no packaging or in some way help reduce packaging.
Eating for a week, plastic-free, only from supermarkets  – a case study.
Supermarkets feedback

YOU WILL NEED TO TAKE YOUR OWN PACKAGING. Check out the plastic-free shopping kit here.

Case Study

Is it possible to eat plastic free buying only from supermarkets?

Eating Plastic Free Food 

Plastic free food is food that is unwrapped  but for me it also includes

From Supermarkets!

Now many people think you cannot be plastic free and shop from supermarkets. I agree it is not easy

And let me say right now I don’t like supermarkets. They are killing off the local shops and take money out of the community. But for many people they are the only option. Because they have killed off local shops. Vicious circle. But this is about plastic-free food NOT supermarket politics so I am going to prove that you can eat plasticless and shop at supermarkets.

How to do it…

If prepared to eat seasonally, traditionally (think meat and two veg with spuds), and cook from scratch, supermarkets if they are big enough to have meat and fish counters can supply you with a fair variety of food. If you are depending on Tesco Express you are going to go hungry.

Bring Your Own Bags

You will also need to take your own packaging. Check out the plastic-free shopping kit here.

Ingredients for a week

I got an a big sack of unpackaged fruit & veg from Tesco,

It included leeks, potatoes, onions, carrots, broccoli, courgettes, peppers. apples, a melon, mushrooms and bananas.

Apart from the peppers (Holland), and Melon (Spain), and bananas (forgot to look), it was all grown in the U.K.

I got loose ginger and garlic from Tesco. The chiles I bought a while ago from the Asian shop but I have seen them loose in Morrisons.

Eggs & oats in a cardboard box.

Back to Tesco’s for lard in paper. Sainsbury’s and the Co-op do butter in paper.

Meat and fish can be bought unpackaged from the counters but I ask that they use our own compostable biobags.

The brown rice I bought loose from Wholefood market sometime ago. White rice can be bought in a box from Lidles.

We also get some cheddar cheese from Tesco. It was cut off the (plastic – wrapped) block but wrapped in our own packaging. The plastic is not in our bin. You can read up on how we feel about this, here.

You can get bread rolls loose from Tesco but I don’t like them much, the co-ops are much better. Lidles and Waitrose do loose loaves of bread. Almost everywhere does croissants. I also used my bread machine and plastic wrapped dried yeast.

More information on all of the above can be found here…

Non Supermarket Beverages

Drinks were tea and coffee which you can’t get plastic free at the supermarket. Milk was from the milkman. Read on…

Fizzy drinks were carbonated water made with the sodastream mixed with homemade ginger and lemon syrup.Read on…

Meals For the Week

  • Porridge with bananas
  • Toast and butter
  • Croissants and fruit
  • Omelette and other forms of egg


  • Butties from the shop
  • Butties made at home
  • Veg soup – anything that is looking a bit sad and needs eating up thickened with potatoes. I would prefer to use lentils but I cannot get them .

Dinners bag compost Plantplas

Day One Stir Fry left over steak from Sunday, lots of veg in a spicy tomato sauce served with rice.

Day Two Roast chicken and veg with home made gravy from chicken juices and flour. Wine (plastic lined screw top), was added.

Day Three a rich and meaty stew made with stewing steak served with boiled potatoes. Meat and veg were from Tesco’s.

Day Four Bangers and mash made with Tesco’s chippolata sausages – the only ones they had loose.

Day Five Mushrooms and peppers were added to the left over day three stew to make a rich goulash that was served with rice.

Day Six Bacon ribs from Stockport Market – yes I know its not a supermarket but I felt so sorry for them. Stockport Market used to be huge spreading across the square and down the side streets. Now there are hardly any stalls outside. The indoor market was open for business but there were not many shoppers. I bought some meat, veg and loose sweets. Such a shame.

Day Seven pork from Tesco’s used in a stir fry made with coconut powder that is not plastic free. It comes in a plastic sachet. BUT I made my own noodles. First time ever. So easy!

You can see photos over on Facebook


Trying to go plastic-free – try the plastic is rubbish support group.

More info

Products you can buy plastic free from supermarkets. because sometimes we have to shop there .

A list of shops selling loosefood that normally comes plastic packaged ie rice, pasta and salt

Check out the plastic-free shopping kit here.

The Plastic Free Cookbook





Creams & Lotions – Recipes

It is so easy to make your own creams and lotion that once you start you will never look back. The advantages are huge; you get to control what goes on your skin, be way more eco-friendly and save a whole load of cash. You can make almost anything the cosmetic companies sell but without the palm oil, dodgy chemicals and weird colours. Though you can have all those too if you want.

You will need
Oil, butters & waxes. There are hundreds of vegetable oils. Different skins like different oils and you will have to experiment to find what is best for you. Generally speaking the richer the oil the heavier the cream, the more water you put in the lighter the lotion. There are hundreds of vegetable oils. Different skins like different oils and you will have to experiment to find what is best for you.  See my guide to oils here.

Water There is much talk of using distilled water but I use tap.

Cooking thermometer – VERY useful.

Emulsifiers: Water and fat do not naturally mix, you need to use an emulsifier.You have to add other ingredients to turn what is basically salad dressing into lovely thick cream. So in addition to oils and water you will need an emulsifier.

Preservatives – optional I don’t use it as it cause skin irritations. Oil on its own does not go off – there is no water for bacterial to feed on Once you have added water to oil your creams are vulnerable. This is useful but optional. I don’t use it as it cause skin irritations. I have had a few pots of cream go mouldy but we are talking maybe 5 in the years I have been making my own creams.

Pots to put your cream in.

The cream making process is simple
Mix the oils and emulsifier and heat to a certain temperature.
Mix the two together. Ta da.

Except when you find yourself looking down into a pot of oily soup. And that is down to the emulsifier. It didn’t do it’s job!
There are a few completely natural emulsifiers but they  do not give consistent results. Most commercially used emulsifiers are manufactured.
They are derived from coconut oil and palm oil. More recently, rapeseed has been used.
But some are produced from pig fats. Check what you buy.
A combination of VE Emulsifier, MF Emulsifier and Cetearyl Alcohol works every time and can be used to make a wide range of products from thick creams to thin lotions.
VE Emulsifier or Glyceryl Stearate is a vegetable-based emulsifier
Cetearyl Alcohol is a vegetable based emulsifying wax
MF Emulsifier or Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate  can be fermented from lactose (milk sugar)but more commonly comes  from nondairy sources such as cornstarch, potatoes and molasses.

Please note that VE Emulsifier & MF Emulsifiers do include palm oil but in tiny amounts, Be sure to buy from a good practice supplier.

Palm Oil
Please note that all the above may be derived from or include palm oil. Be sure to buy from a good practice supplier. For example there should be something this note on Aromantics VE emulsifier “The Palm oil that is used in both in MF/VE emulsifiers comes from suppliers that are either members of the Round Table of Sustainable Palm Oil or a subsidiary company or who are members of FEDIOL which supports sustainability. FEDIOL is a European industry federation based in Brussels”.
You can read more about palm oil here.


Heat the Fat Stage ingredients in a double boiler ( or a metal pot on hot water) until above 75°C. Use a thermometer to check
Boil the water add the MF emulsifier and other Water Stage ingredients.
Keep both hot – make sure both liquids are above 75°C.
Take off heat
Pour the Fat Stage into the Water Stage in a slow steady stream before they drop below 75°C.
Mix well – I use a hand blender.
Allow to cool. Whisk occasionally to achieve a nice creamy consistency. As the mixture cools it becomes thicker and more creamy. It will reach its thickest consistency when it has cooled down to room temperature.
When the temperature is below 40°C you can add active ingredients
perfumes or essential oils and other magical things to make you look years younger.
specialist ingredients to your base to make for example sun tan lotion or self tan.

Pour the Cream into jars and label.


Here are some sample recipes.

Supermarket Cream (My recipe)

You can buy all these ingredient from the supermarket.  I cut the olive oil with the lighter almond oil because I find it rather heavy.

Makes One liter of cream – have a big pot ready!

Fat Stage

      • 25 g VE Emulsifier
      • 20g Cetyl Alcohol
      • 70ml Almond Oil Tesco’s or Asian Shop
      • 30ml Olive Oil
      • 20g coconut oil Tescos or Asian Shop

Water Stage

      • 800ml water
      • 40g MF emulsifier

Fancy Aromatics Recipe

To be honest I think this recipe has way to many ingredients but I like this company, I have used their products many times and think that this will probably make a nice cream.

It is also useful to have a recipe that lists by percentages.

You can experiment and use different oils, or even less oils. Just make sure the percentages stay the same. For example you can cut the thistle oil and use 10% Apricot Kernal Oil.

By percentage

Fat Stage (above 75°C)
2% Cocoa Butter
3% Macadamia Nut Oil
7% Apricot Kernel Oil
3% Thistle Oil
2.5% VE Emulsifier
2% Cetearyl Alcohol

Water Stage (above 75°C)
4.5% MF Emulsifier
69% Boiling Spring Water
2% Glycerine

Third Stage (below 40°C)
1% Preservative 12 or Eco
1% Vitamin E Simulated Natural
2% NFF Complex
1% Essential Oils of your choice

From Aromantics

Rich Tropical Delights Cream (My recipe)

Much easier far fewer ingredients. I cut the olive oil with Almond because I find it rather heavy.

Makes One liter of cream – have a big pot ready!

Fat Stage

      • 25 g VE Emulsifier
      • 20g Cetyl Alcohol
      • 70ml Almond Oil
      • 30ml Coconut Oil
      • 20g Shea butter
      • 10g Cocoa butter

Water Stage

      • 800ml water
      • 40g MF emulsifier

Design Your Own

You can adapt the mix of oils for the above recipes based on your personal preference.

If you want to design you own from scratch, follow these guidelines…

      • Emulsifiers 5-8%
      • Oils 12-20%
      • Water, Additives, and Botanicals to 100 %.


If you want a thinner cream add more water at the water stage.

Anti Aging, Sun Tan Lotion & Fake Bake

You can add  specialist ingredients to your base to make for example sun tan lotion or self tan.

Take Care

      • That everything you use is clean, very clean.
      • Make sure you have enough pots to store your cream in.
      • That you label it – and date it. Believe me you will forget!

Trouble Shoot

Cream too thick? You cannot add more water once the mixture has cooled. This ruins the cream – it will not rub in. You will need to make a thinner lotion and mix your creams to achieve the desired consistency. You can add more oil and mix well. This of course makes your cream more oily.


I store my creams in old jars but for display  I have bought some glass jars with metal lids.

Aromantics is a good and ethical supplier of ingredients but expensive. I buy a lot of stuff in bulk from other suppliers. Ebay is a good source. Prices vary so do shop around.

Plastic Spoiler

Most plastic base ingredients come in plastic bags but I get huge amounts cream out of one small bag of ingredients so I consider it a worthwhile compromise.

Making Personal Care Products Hairspray featured

Its quicker then  trying to choose between a hundred different shampoos and it’s really simple, fun to do, so much cheaper  and  I get to control what goes on my  body, where it comes from and what environmental impact it has.

Lots more info here on  toothpaste and other products  

and making other stuff – here.


Making creams while travelling

You cannot carry a years supply of home made cream in your rucksack so here are some ideas about making your own home made creams in hotel bedrooms.


Here are some cream and lotion recipes

If this is your first time making lotions I can also recommend the Aromantics cream making starter pack from  It comes with everything you need including, sadly, 30 little plastic pots to put it in. All the ingredients were wrapped in plastic bags as well. Hmmm. On the plus side, the cream is really easy to make and they send you several different recipes.


Gift wrap reusable and made from old tents

I have to admit to using synthetic tents. I feel this is one instance where plastic really is the best product for the job, (remembers sleeping under canvas and shudders #plasticweuse). But what to do when your trusty old tent is no longer up to the job. Well you could re- use  it to make crinkly sounding wrapping paper. Or if you don’t camp, or sew, you could buy some recycled Glastonbury tent wraps form these guys….


FestiWraps are made from tents, discarded at UK music festivals such as Lattitude and Glastonbury, and then collected by us. Tents that cannot be recovered by charities and would normally be sent to landfill, are collected, cleaned and used to create fabulous reusable gift wrap. The wrap itself is made from two outer layers of tent fabric sandwiched around a piece of ground sheet.  This creates a crinkly sound like paper folding and un-folding, bringing the emotional sounds and experience of a wrapped gift to life.  The fastening cord, which makes the FestiWrap so quick and easy to use, is made from the recovered tent guy ropes. You can buy here.


The picture was taken from this website where you can see Glastonbury trash shots.

You can find other gift wrap options here, plus biodegradable sticky tape, string and pretty ties

Some reused plastic sails here




Did you know that simply by steeping herbs, peel and fruit in alcohol you can make extracts? I discovered this quite by accident when researching what to do with an excess of leggy lavender from a rampant bush. I found a post about lavender vodka and because I refuse to follow recipes, I used far too much lavender.  Rather than a delicately flavoured beverage I ended up with a murkey liquid which, lucky for me,  turns out to be an extract.

Make Your Own

Extracts are strongly flavoured plant extracts. They used to flavour drinks and food. They are a great way of using up a glut of something and preserving it for use later in the year. They are incredibly easy to make and have to be the easiest way of preserving.

The alcohol used is usually vodka and the general rule of thumb seems to be to buy mid range. Too cheap and the nasty flavour intrudes, too expensive and it is a waste of good vodka. Some recipes also suggest rum.

The method is the same.

Take the herb put it in a jar cover it with vodka and leave in a cool dark place remembering to shake occasionally. Time steeping varies with the herb and the recipe.
Once done you strain off the liquid through a sieve and them some fine cotton.
Here are some steeping guidelines.

  • Lavender – flowers steep for 4 weeks
  • Vanilla use the beans steep for two months.
  • Mint leaves one to two months.
  • Citrus Extracts use the rind of the fruit but not the bitter white pith. Use organic unwaxed fruit. steep for 5 to 6 weeks.
  • Cinnamon bark (sticks) steep for two weeks.
  • Berries  6 to 8 weeks or longer.
  • Apparently extracts will keep for  3-5 years.

    Interesting articles
    Three main reasons for using alcohol 



    I have long wanted a Soda Stream to make my own fizzy water for soft drinks and, more importantly, mixers for gin -the best of all spirits. For now I am buying tonic in tins (but they of course come plastic lined), or bottle (plastic-lined, metal cap and very expensive!).

    But it has to be a SodaStream Crystal Sparkling Water Machine ( see one here) because these take glass bottles rather than plastic.

    Until now there have been 2 drawbacks to this scheme. Recently I have been traveling… a lot. No fixed abode means no large kitchen appliances. Extended travel also results in limited income and those things cost around £110.00 pounds. Yes I am sure I would make the money back in the long run but in the short term I simply don’t have the cash.

    Recently however the planets have aligned. I now have a kitchen and I got a bargain on Ebay. A new Soda Stream machine in original packaging for less than half price. Given my gin drinking habits, I will soon make that back!

    Yes the machine is plastic but I consider this to be plastic that ultimately cuts my plastic consumption. And of course it is cutting my consumption of  disposable plastics while it is a reusable item.


    The Soda Stream itself was well packaged. The box is shiny cardboard (maybe plastic coated) with one little plastic carry handle. Inside it was all brown card protective units. Yay!

    The Ebayer I bought it off sent it wrapped in bubble wrap, corrugated cardboard and plastic tape.

    If I had got it from a shop it would have been almost plastic free… but when you are skint you often have to compromise. Sigh.

    Bottles & Gas

    It was so cheap because it came without a bottle. At least that is what I understood the blurb to say. So I bought some gas and a glass bottle from Amazon. I know it was wrong of me and I wont do it again but they too were bargains.

    The Amazon packaging was cardboard with plastic tape and the original soda stream gas and bottle packaging were (plastic coated?), shiny cardboard.

    The gas bottle itself had a plastic cap and a seal. And a plastic sleeve with information printed on. I see no reason why this could not be paper.

    Not In My Bin….

    The tape had to go on my monthly plastic tally but the boxes I free-cycled. There’s always Ebayers who need packaging.


    To make fizzy drinks you need to mix the carbonated water with concentrated cordial. You can buy a range of Soda Stream mixers to make all manner of beverages from cola to tonic. They come in plastic bottles and while this represent a massive cut in overall plastic consumption, I think it is avoidable.

    You can buy cordial in glass bottles from most supermarkets but it is really easy to make your own and you get to control how much sugar and other nasty additives go into them. I find commercial soft drinks, even tonic, to be way too sweet.

    To date I have made raspberry fizz and ginger and lemon sparkle. Both taste great with gin!

    Raspberry Fizz

    Go to Bently Grange PYO fruit farm and get some raspberries. Boil them up with some sugar. Strain. Add fizzy water. Yay!

    Ginger & Lemon Sparkle

    Boil ginger pieces, lemon juice and sugar. Strain. Add fizzy water. You can save the ginger to flavor other stuff with. Goes great with melon!

    Grapefruit & Lavender Blush

    Juice of the grapefruit, few heads of lavender the last dollop of jam. Add some sugar, boil.


    If you put enough sugar in I guess these cordials would last a long time. I don’t use much sugar so I make small batches and keep them in the fridge for a few days. If I make a lot I  freeze the cordial as cubes of icy flavour.

    Find more recipes in the plastic free cookbook



    Anyone out there want to subscribe to my blog? Desperate to read my posts as they steam… hot off the press I mean? Well now you can. Finally got an E mail subscription plugin thats free, easy to use and set up.

    So here’s your chance to sign up. Please do -would love to have you aboard..

    Email *


    Facebook groupf eaturedI have 2 Facebook pages which  highlight the problems of plastic pollution and the people tackling it and a  group for chatting sharing and hanging out with like minded plasticless folk.

    Please do feel free to join me at any or even all (keen!). I would love to have you along Here is a quick intro followed by more detailed note.

    • Plastic Is Rubbish–  group, join, share, rant, post. A resource for plastic less living.
    • Planet Trash – A page of images showing  plastic pollution the world over and the biggest list of anti plastic groups on Facebook. If you want to be on it, contact me there. Read more here.
    • Plastic Free U.K. – linked to the U.K. plastic free directory. This page is linked to the U.K. plastic free directory, a list of U.K  groups, people, organisations, businesses and individuals interested in tackling the consequent problems of our misuse of plastic. If you have a project please send a write up so we can feature it.

    Instagram Also got me an Instagram account which I now almost understand..

    Pinterest Love it – people there are so creative. Loads of really useful ideas and pictures of lovely #plasticfree products.

    Twitter Natch!


    You can read more about plugins here.

    The above plugin is called Email Subscribers & Newsletters and is by Store Apps.  It makes my longterm plan of ditching Jetpack a little bit more achievable.