post

The backpackers coffee press

I love coffee and I carry my own coffee making equipment with me when backpacking, (yes really I do), but this mug is also great for the office or even for take out.

I have

So I boil the water in the tiffin tin with the huge element. Pour the hot water onto the coffee. Wait for it to brew. Plunge. Sit on the balcony watching the sunrise sipping fresh coffee. I Yes I know its a plastic cup but I can’t give it up I tell you!

Plastic 

I used to carry glass and metal cafetierres but they kept on breaking. I have to admit that this is one of those times when plastic is the best man for the job. I bought mine in Japan but I found something similar on Amazon. Zyliss Cafetiere Hot Mug, Blue Zyliss Cafetiere Hot Mug, Blue £8.99 

Steel 

But when I need a new one I will get one of these stainless steel beauties…..

From the Bodrum Website

TRAVEL PRESS SET Coffee maker with extra lid, vacuum, small, 0.35 l, 12 oz, s/s Black:

  • vacuum and made from stainless steel for maximum heat retention.
  • closable lid with a stopper for the opening.
  • slip-proof silicone band around them comes in beautiful colors.
  • Coffee maker furthermore comes with an extra lid
    You can of course get them on Amazon
Bodum Travel Press Set Coffee Maker, Lime Green
Bodum Travel Press Set Coffee Maker, Lime G…
£16.67

Amazon

You can read our thoughts on Amazon here and why we sometimes suggest products sold through them.

Coffee Beans 

I try to buy my coffee loose where I go. I have found bean shops that will grind and give me the coffee in my own reusable bags in Istanbul, Georgetown, Chang Mai and Huddersfield.

 

post

Oh the Plastic-Free Places We’ve Been

On the road? Want to know what’s what plastic-freewise where you are? Check out these posts from our travels. They go back a number of years so some may be out of date – but could be a useful start?

Category Abroad

.....is hard. Here's an update. So far we are totally about  4o items that contain some plastic and 4 plastic ...
Read More
Yes, you might think I am over sharing here but come the zombie apocalypse this information could come in handy. Plus ...
Read More
Glad to see even the smallest of Chinese towns has a bakery that sells loose biscuits. Shame about the bags ...
Read More
But what about the water? In China according to my tap water info graphic the tap water is not safe ...
Read More
Being plastic free in central Tallinn is hard work because unlike other European towns there are no small shops selling ...
Read More
All the hotels we stayed in in China line the bins with plastic bags. When they clean the rooms I ...
Read More
Organized by the Snow leopard Conservancy, these treks allow you access to some of the amazing scenery around Leh. You ...
Read More
Plastic rubbish in India is a real problem. Plastic lasts for centuries, doesn’t rot and is inedible. Burning it at ...
Read More
Plastic rubbish in and around Leh is a real problem. Plastic lasts for centuries, doesn’t rot and is inedible. Burning ...
Read More
I love Iranian breakfasts - fresh bread, eggs, goats or sheep cheese, creamy butter, village jam and honey with black ...
Read More
And don't dress like that. When backpacking we don’t usually stay in the kind of hotels that provide luxurious extras ...
Read More
Every bus we traveled on in Iran dished out snacks. The better the bus the more snacks you are given ...
Read More
When travelling in far-flung places we will not buy water in plastic bottles. NO its just wrong. First... Check if ...
Read More
Want something other than water? You can still get drinks in returnable bottles in China. You can  get yoghurt in glass ...
Read More
When travelling in far flung places we will not buy water in plastic bottles. NO its just wrong. Instead we ...
Read More
There is a lot of loose food available in Spain. Search out small and independent shops and use the fantastic ...
Read More
Just got back from a month in Sri Lanka which was  very wet and very beautiful. There was a lot of exotic, ...
Read More
A tin cup and folding chop sticks  for sure ... but taking your own tray? Backpacking? In China they have some really great food stalls ...
Read More
The Places We Been - the rubbish we seen Wondering where to go on holiday this year? Want to see how ...
Read More
For those of you planning to go overland through Russia this year, here are some plastic free tips. If you ...
Read More
When planning an overseas trip you might want to check if the tap water is actually safe to drink. To ...
Read More
post

Windbreak

Going on a beach holiday in England? You are going to need a windbreak! You can get cotton windbreaks from this company in traditional stripes which look very retro and jolly. Great for day trips to the beach.

Cotton Windbreaks  
Our lovely striped windbreaks in a multi stripe of greens, lime, tangerine and burgundy, with thinner black and white stripes, have four wooden poles and give excellent shelter in exposed areas on the beach or in the garden. Made from 100% cotton with a handy pocket for your bits and pieces. Rolled up with two velcro straps to secure. From The Stripes Company

Price £75.00

Recycled Plastic Windbreaks

But I have to admit there is one, hard to refute, argument for buying a synthetic fibre windbreak for long term use in the U.K.  Yup, you got it. Rain. Lots of it. Damp cotton gets mouldy while synthetic fibres don’t.

If you want to use your windbreak over an extended period of time, round your caravan say you might want to look at this. Windbreaks made from recycled sails. Still made from man made fibres (plastic) but let’s face it – no matter how big this blog gets, how popular or influential , I can’t ever see sails being banned. That being the case let’s reuse them as windbreaks.

From the website

Not only have we made many windbreaks to be used on the beach, we have made windbreaks for people to use around their caravans, to use next to their tents and recently to place around their decking. We have also made bespoke windbreaks personal to the customer so please get in touch with any query you may have, we can probably make it.

  • Hand stitched on the Isle of Wight
  • 4 panels, 5 poles
  • Super quick dry
  • Very light yet very strong (that’s what sails are made for)
  • Easy to clean
  • Free carry bag (made from old sail bags)
  • A totally recycled/upcycled product (other than the cotton)

The 4 panel windbreak comes with five poles and four panels, each measuring approximately 1.2 metres high and 1 metre wide. All poles measure 1.5 metres high with a 2cm diameter.

Price: £135.00.There’s the sting!

More

Maybe you could make one? Let me know how you get on!

Why choose natural fibres – there are a few, powerful reasons why we prefer natural to synthetic fabrics, you can read them here.

Lots more British Holiday related #plasticfree tips here.

post

The Places We Been – the rubbish we seen

The Places We Been – the rubbish we seen

Wondering where to go on holiday this year? Want to see how much plastic trash will be littering your beach…….

The following places have been featured on our Planet trash Facebook page , our visual guide of world wide plastic pollution.

Latest Album Mabul, Island off Borneo, Malaysia

India 
Chokin Cochin 8 photos
India 
Cochin revisited 8 photos

India 
Gokarna Town 10 photos

India 
The Prom, Kochi 9 photos
India Andamans – trouble in paradise
24 photos

India Arambol the nasty stuff 36 photos

India Beach Clean Up Andamans 17 photos
India Everyday Streets 16 photos
India Fort Cochin Beach8 photos

India Gokarna Beach India 2012 7 photos
India Kannar Beach7 photos
India Kudle Beach,8 photos

India Ladahk – Plastic protest and why 13 photos

India Land of Kings 11 photos

India Village life 8 photos

India Walk to Om Beach8 photos

Indonesia Bali 12 photos

Iran 
Plastic in the desert 7 photo
Iran The Persian Gulf 11 photos

Iran Water & Iran8 photos

Laos A Typical Village in Laos 12 photos

Laos After the fair 4 photos

Laos Hongsa Dump Loas 6 photos
Loas Loas, Luang Prabang 7 photos

Malasia our bit of beach 12 photos
Malasia Perhentians 11 photos
Malasia Tioman Island 11 photos
Malaysia Perhentians 13 photos

Mongolia Mongolia 7 photos

Myanmar Inle Lake Myanmar 6 photos
Myanmar Kingpin – bridge over the river 6 photos

Myanmar Kinpin Burma 9 photos

Myanmar Myanmar 11 photos

Myanmar Take Me To The River…11 photos
Myanmar Woodland Bottles 2 photos


Nepal Khatmandu 13 photos

Nepal Nepalese journey 10 photos
Nepal Pokara Holy Lake 4 photos

Nepal Pondicherry17 photos


Philippines El Nido 10 photos
Phillippines Sequillor Philippines 5 photos

Spain Spain 5 photos
Spain Spain Loose Food 27 photos

Sri Lanka Sri Lanka 11 photos

Thailand A day at the races 6 photos

Thailand dirty streets dirty rivers 9 photos


UK Carnewas and Bodruthan steps 7 photos
UK Colne Valley Yorkshire England 14 photos

UK Green unpleasant land 10 photos

UK Loch Eriboll 12 photos
UK my childhood beach8 photos
UK winter wonderland 10 photos
UK Worthing Pier 13 photos
UK Tesco Garage Plastic Glove Pollution5 photos

Vietnam Halong Bay 2011 5 photos

Vietnam Market Vietnam 4 photos

Vietnam SihanoukVille Port -Plastic Sea 5 photos


Hotel Toiletries

We don’t often stay in hotels that supply toiletries but they are common in Iran and you only have to be staying in a cut above grotty, to be offered them in abundance. I recon it’s a combination of the Iranian’s love of plastic disposable products, and being hospitable….and the better the hotel the more you get. We have been offered everything from sewing kits to shower hats to shampoo.

Poor hubby, he so loves a freebie and its hard for him to say no – but he loves the planet more so we refuse these complimentary products and use our own stuff.

Yup! The easy way to avoid plastic crap in hotel rooms is to bring a wash bag full of your own products. This works whether you are in Iran or Huddersfield…. we have a set of reusable travel bottles which we fill up with home-made products, we leave them in our wash bag along with spare wooden toothbrushes and hey presto, ready to go, anywhere, anytime.

Of course you don’t have to make your own stuff you can buy your toiletries in bulk then decant off into smaller bottles as needed.

You can get sets of plastic bottles from chemists like Superdrug though be warned the cheaper bottles are not very durable.

Muji also do a good range of handy, pretty bottles.

Camping shops have some great hard-wearing options though they are more expensive.

If you really don’t want to use plastic you can get metal bottles (usually plastic epoxy resin lined), though please note they are not so good for backpacking. They tend to crumple under pressure.  You see  choice of bottles, and plastic versus metal discussion, here

If you want to make your own plastic free cosmetics have a look at this

 

post

Water Refills World Wide

Find out first

Of course water in many countries the water is actually safe to drink – you can find out where here.

Sterilise Your Own Water
When it’s not we don’t buy water in plastic bottles. NO its just wrong. Instead we sterilize our own water using a Steripen ….

When a bottle refill service is offered we will use that instead.

Find A Refill Service

S.E. Asia Thailand & Malaysia
Phillipines
India
China

Water At Home

The U.K.  is one country lucky enough to have safe drinking water BUT sometimes when you are out and about it can be hard to access tap. These worthy schemes  aim make safe, free, tap water available.


Water Bottles

Check out which water bottle here

 

post

Lunch box or tiffin tin

Street food in Asia is good and cheap but sadly now involves a lot of plastic. These days it is mostly served in polystyrene (Styrofoam), clam shells. We don’t want to give up street food but don’t want to add to the rubbish.

Our solution is tiffin boxes. They come in all sizes are just great for taking you rice and numerous curries to work with you or, in our case eating out  at street stalls.

We got ours in China and they are an essential part of our plastic free travel kit.

We have tried several types of tiffin tin including  a two tier sandwich box handy for  bits and bobs, a big bucket of a thing with a tightly fitting but not waterproof lid and a small round tin.

We use them for

  • fried rice and snacks
  •  juice in plastic obsessed Thailand.
  • heat water in when we need to make our own emergency tea.
  • as a cooking pot out in the jungle.

Other plastic free aids we carry include tin cups and folding cutlery and reusable folding chop sticks. Yes we clank but we don’t leave behind rubbish with a lifespan of centuries. And if that sounds smug….don’t care.

If you want to buy in the U.K. they can be found in all good Asian Shops, numerous green shops on line and of course Amazon.

Here’s the rest of our plastic free travel kit and our new travel page showing where we’ve been what we found and how we did it plastic free.


post

Water steriliser – SteriPEN

Its easy to give up bottled water in England but what of when you are abroad? in countries where the water is not so reliable? India for example.

I have travelled a lot in India and over the years have seen plastic pollution rise to horrific levels. A lot of that plastic rubbish is empty drinking water bottles many of them discarded by tourists. I refuse to drink bottled water because I don’t want to add to the plastic pollution.

But you might also want to consider this;  some of the drinking water bottles in India, claiming to contain purified water have been refilled with tap water. There are recurring reports about this and  it seems to be a fairly common scam. Empty water bottles are collected, refilled with tap water (if you are lucky), and the cap glued back on. To quote from but one source, “You cannot rely on the bottled water available in public places in India, because of the rampant refilling of used bottled water bottles by the racketeers in India.”

So what to do? The steri pen is my solution to that particular problem. Stick the sticky bit in a liter of water – switch on and 90 seconds later the water is safe to drink. Works by UV light.UV light destroys virtually all viruses, bacteria and protozoa. It weighs next to nothing and is tiny.

It kills

Viruses

A virus is a small infectious agent that replicates only inside the living cells of other organisms.

  • Hepatitis

Bacteria

Bacteria are microscopic living organisms, usually one-celled, that can be found everywhere.

  • Campylobacter
  • Cholera –
  • Escherichia coli –E coli
  • Legionella –
  • Salmonella
  • Shigella

Protozoa

Protozoan parasites live in the cells and tissues of other living creatures. Protozoans can cause problems, from targeting the central nervous system to diarrhea.

  • Cryptosporidium
  • Giardia

It Does Not Filter Water

This is not a filtration system. It does not remove  other contaminants such as heavy metals, salts, chlorine or physical dirt. You have to find clear water. I usually use it on tap water or fresh water.

Effective?

I have used it the world over to sterilise tap water and river water.  I had no tummy troubles at all – which was rather a shame as I was depending on a bout of Delhi Belly to help with my weight loss programme.

Charging It Solar, Battery or USB?

You can choose from solar, battery operated or USB rechargeable Steripens. I have tried them all. The solar charger was way to slow and I quickly had to find an alternative. However that was some time ago and things might have improved. The battery powered was the only option available to me when I bought my first PEN. The batteries (CR123) can sometimes be hard to find abroad though of course it very much depends on where you are. On the plus side the batteries do last a long time ( longer than a charge), but they do present disposal problems and it is not always possible to find a safe place to bin them.

This time I went for the rechargeable Freedom PEN which can be charged via a USB port. I am pleased with it. It holds the charge for days though that obviously depends on how much water you sterilise.

Other Benefits

On a long trip it soon pays for itself and then goes on to save you a considerable sum

You never run out of water. You may not be able to buy water or boil it. That’s the time you are glad you got a SteriPEN.

It doesn’t change the taste of the water – which is not always a plus point!

More

You will need a water bottle with a wide neck to accommodate the width of the PEN as it needs to be submerged in water.

It will do 1 or 1/2 a litre of water at a time. Get a bottle that is one or the other. We found half a litre of water each was as much as we needed to carry.  With a PEN we can always sterilise more when needed.

For more information visit the steriPEN site and check out great reviews of the product here and here.

Find out all about refill points, filters and other water related information here.

Buy

You can buy a SteriPEN in the UK  at shops, on line and of course Amazon.

Travel Plasticfree

Here’s the rest of our plastic free travel stuff and useful tips