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Happy Christmas

This month we are
Voting in the Blog Awards U.K.
Making sweet mince for pies
Petitioning Tampax to stop with the plastic applicators
Singing landfill carols
Preparing for a plastic-free Christmas

Vote For Me! You have
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To vote for me in the U.K. Blog Awards. Follow this link and cast your vote
If you want more information visit the site or read my open letter.
Lets tackle plastic pollution at source together.

You’ve Read the Blog now see the film

Was featured by film maker Megan Parkinson in her documentary Plastic Planet A Journey To Zerowaste a nice introduction to some of the U.K. based plasticless and zero waste movements.

This is my section up on You Tube but best to watch it as part of the whole. 

 

Plastic Free Christmas mince-food-featured

As for the rest of December….sigh! But lets not give way! Gird those loins and get busy. My first job is making mincemeat. You can see our sweet mincemeat recipe here.  It”s scrummy,yummy and features our brand new recipe Small Wrinkled Balls Of Christmas Fire! Whats not to love.

Sign On

There’s another petition that you should sign. It’s asking Tampax to stop making plastic applicators. It was started by a Greener Future who say “just along Lake Ontario in Canada my team and I have picked up to 415 plastic applicators we are aware that these applications are not meant to be flushed but it is evident that many users are not following this advice and we would like to stop this problem at source.”
Of course a lot of what actually gets into tampons and sanitary towels the actual fluffy fibre is also plastic so shouldn’t be flushed either. Or, in our opinion, even used to make sanitary products. Thats why we have sourced these #plasticfree alternatives.

Songs

Going out carolling? Here’s a song you might like to learn!

Presents

I am busy buying my passive-aggressive, pointed, eco gifts. These cotton produce bags are for  you, you crazy, double-bagging  freak! No – not really! These are lovely gifts for lovely people …. who doesn’t want to sponsor a hippo? But should you go really hardcore  here are some perfectly good reasons from Unistash to cutdown on presents….
UnstashManifestoUnstash manifesto

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And as for the other festive stuff –  as we all know by now, plastic isn’t just for Christmas. Sadly. So here are a few tips on how to ensure your festive rubbish can be composted to feed next years plants.

Candles – Design, which wax & buy

Nothing sets the mood quite as well as candles but it is hard to find plastic free candles. Most come in a protective plastic ...
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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 ribbons look synthetic), but ...
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How to wrap up plastic-free

Reusable Wraps Wrapping presents – cloth furoshiki using a square of cloth. Crackle paper made from recycled tents. Disposable Paper As much as we ...
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Sticky Tape

Sellotape gets right up my nose. Everything biodegradable on my presents except for that sticky little glistening strip. Now some of you may be ...
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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 partyware, the answer ...
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Advent Calendars

Covered in plastic and full of trashy sweets, they just add to the huge amounts of Christmas rubbish. So here are a few plastic ...
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How to booze plastic free

Plastic free booze is hard to find....glup!!!!. But as giving up IS NOT AN OPTION...here are our best choices.... The Plastic In Booze Metal ...
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Candied Peel

Needed for fruit cakes, christmas puds and mince pies but not so easy to get plastic free. Here are your options... The Nut Shop ...
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Biscuits homemade Christmas Tree Decorations

While in Spain I visited Lidles and I came across a set of festive biscuit cutters in a cardboard box. They might have them ...
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Mincemeat Sweet

No more jars with their plastic-lined, metal lids for me! So what with Christmas coming I need to make my own sweet mincemeat for ...
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Stuffing

You can't have a roast bird without stuffing. I have tried long and hard to find plastic free ready-made but it eludes me so ...
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Sewing

Apologies for the huge amounts of clothing I posted last month. I am way behind with documenting my  plastic-free, compostable wardrobe.  And while I am sorry, there is no doubt that this month you will be seeing more of my handywork as I try to get write ups posted before the end of the year.

And Finally

Green Elvis has led the building. Happy Christmas one and all xxxxxxxx

 

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November

So… whats happening in plastic-free November?
My new blog theme and some new plugins
A guide to a #plasticfree festive season
How to use those leaves to make seed compost
Try trailing the plastic awareness game?
Updates on the #plasticfree compostable wardrobe
Take Action – sign the petition asking UK retailers to stop selling plastic cotton buds

Latest …..Google Verification!

And then there is Google verification. WHAT DOES THIS EVEN MEAN?!!! for years now Google has been asking me to verify my site then refusing to accept my attempts to do so. In fact I think it was trying to add my access-code-to-my-header-page<what//the$%6&R.U.asking4> that messed up my last site and led to the recent theme change.
But because I am really STUBBORN and refuse to be beat, I installed this plugin
Google Analytics for WordPressThis Google Analytics for WordPress plugin adds and enables Google Analytics tracking code on your website.Version 1.1 | By praveenchauhan1984 | View details.
So, I am now verified with Google. Is that a good thing? I have no idea! I just add it to all the other Google mysteries that haunt me. Like why I have 2 Google ranks for the same site and how my Google stats never match my WordPress.

Other Blog Business

Another day another theme. My blog was loading so slowly. I tried everything but I think the actual theme was badly compromised – by my own ignorance. I was using Flagman – Retina Responsive News WordPress ThemeVersion: 1.01 By ZERGE. Flagman is Responsive, Retina Ready, WordPress theme.
It was great program, really easy and intuitive to use and a great introduction to fancy themes. All faults were as a result of my own cak handed incompetance.I loaded the wrong stuff, made changes, and at one point even managed to delete all my work. I generally bodged and buggered around till I damaged it in some fundamental way which of course I lacked the skills to recognise and correct. So I decided to start again with a new template. A free one from WordPress Themes. I was planning to reload and return to Flagman but actually I rather like this new look and new theme.

DiscoveryVersion: 2.3 By Template Express a highly customizable, fully responsive and Premium design WordPress Theme. With a focus on simple customization, Discovery allows you to add your own logo, header, featured areas, social media links and much more with a click of a button. This multi-purpose theme has a premium quality design that can fit the needs of any website.Blah blah…

It needed quite a lot of tweaking but the end result is a much speedier load.

However it lacked certain features I had come to enjoy in my paid for Flagman theme. One was the blog map showing all my posts. Useful for readers to navigate their way around the blog and for me to remember what I have written about.

Thanks then to this cool little plugin
WP Sitemap Page Add a sitemap on any page/post using a simple shortcake you paste in a page or post Version 1.6 | By Tony Archambeau.
You can see my site map here…

While searching I found this – a page view count that you can add to show how popular posts are. “the Page Views Count Plugin. Use the Page Views Count function to add page views to any content type or object created by your theme or plugins. Version 1.4.0 | By A3 Revolution” . So as of this month I can see how many visits each post is. Nice. The only page it doesn’t work on is this one which it says is massively popular. Much as I would like to, I really can’t believe I’ve had over 19000 veiws!

Other blog related posts are
Building My Blog – notes on how the blog has developed over time
Does Size Matter – how popular am I and does it matter?

Christmas christmas

Too early for the C word? I know Halloween is hardly over but you need to plan ahead in the plastic free world. For example if you want to make a reusable advent calendar you need to start collecting loo rolls or get sewing. Or at the very least order online. You will also need to get some biodegradable sticky tape, think about making fantastic home made candied peel even some sweet mincemeat. See how to plan a plastic free Christmas here

Then there is the office party (groans!). Given the choice between washing up in the tea room sink, and disposable cups, the answer may seem obvious. However at the end of the night when the black bin bags come out that decision may seem rather environmentally unfriendly.  So we put together some plastic free party tips here.

Leaf Mold

Another C word and one of our favorites. Yes it’s composting. Hooray! You can use all those Autumn leaves to make seed compost. Instructions here

Playing Gmes

The Auroville community in India are tackling plastic waste through education.

“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. 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. Follow the link to find out what this would entail.

Party Frock? OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Not quite but here are some shorts what I have made!

And a choir boy shirt
And a frumpy corduroy skirt
a new post on patterns! Get those ruffled shirts!

And an update on my Fair Share Wardrobe

Sign Up

Call To Action Switch The Stick Sign Up

Switch The Stick is a campaign and petition to get plastic cotton buds out of the drains and off the beaches. It has been organised by  Michelle and Natalie (both can be found in the Plastic-Free U.K. directory). They  are asking UK retailers to stop selling plastic cotton buds by the end of 2017.

cotton-buds-personal

According to Switch The Stick ” Waitrose and Johnson & Johnson announced they’d make the change to paper, and the Coop and Marks and Spencers sell paper-stem buds. Now we need to make sure the others do the same.

Tesco, Sainsburys, Boots, ASDA, Morrisons, Lidl, Aldi, Superdrug and Wilko are currently reviewing their policies on cotton buds … which is why we need to show them how many of us support the switch to paper!”

They already have over 11000 signitures. If you havn’t done so already do add your name. It’s so easy to change this and millions of fish will thank you
The petition is now on 38 degrees (new link here)
lots more information about Switch The Stick, can be found here 

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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.

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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.

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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.

Galleries

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

Prizes

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?

More

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.

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  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!

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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?

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  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 athello@wastelesslivemore.com. 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.
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September

First an apology. I have moved house and my internet provider didnt move with me. Not through want of asking. So I have been on and off line. Obviously going for a social media detox albeit subconsciously. I am trying to keep abreast but there is only so much time I can spend in Costa Coffee. I dont like leatherette or chains, they get snotty about the amount of wifi I expect for one small expresso. In a china cup if you dont mind! They do! They mind a lot.

I have been trying to get by using my phone but no contract means I have very limited data. Add to that awful coverage and cut outs, posting has been a hit and miss affair. In short sorry for the late and rather scrappy update of #zerowasteweek2016 (read it here), bad spelling, insane predictaive text and missing words.

Here is the rather later September update

Sign up….

Please do support this campaign…..

Michelle and Natalie the best U.K. anti- plastic campaigners I know are running a campaign asking UK retailers to stop making plastic cotton buds by the end of 2017. These pesky sticks wash down the drains and up on the beaches. Heres a quick update

We meet with the large retailers in just 10 days to ask them to#SwitchtheStick!! We need to keep the momentum of this petition goinghttp://switchthestick.org/ Likes and shares are great, but it´s SIGNATURES we really NEED!

If you use cotton buds you can plastic free ones here….

Waste Less Live More Week

From 19-25 September, ” organizations, charities and businesses, (including ME!!!), will be hosting … events and activities which encourage people to waste less and live more. They have kindly suggested over 101 activities including having a bath together. Feel free to join me in the tub but it’s a small tub and I’m a big girl.

And after my Zero Waste 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.

So for all of WLLM week I will be posting photos of my local shops and businesses and the (plastic-free) produce I buy from them. I invite you to join me. 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.

If enough join in I will combine it with Activity No 17 Have a photography competition and will offer a fantastic prizes Activity Number 39 Make a puppet or sock monkey perhaps or back to Number 77 Share a bath ? – a voucher system maybe?

So Trashionistas what do you think? Will it work? Are you in?

You can read more about it here….

Zero Waste Week

The first full week in September is Zero Waste Week. Zero waste week is organized by Rae Strauss. Each year there’s a theme. This year it is food waste. My zero waste week has been a celebration of loose and unwrapped food. As bought from supermarkets! Is that even possible? Find out how I got on, here.

Free Fruit

Blackberries are ripe – lets go picking. Not a huge fan of the jam but love bramble jelly with ham or cheese!

Subscriptions

I am moving over from Jetpack and other hungry plugins which may affect your subscription to the blog. If you want to continue getting up dates by e-mail, please re-subscribe  here. Many thanks.

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August – Soft Fruits & Fun In The Sun

Well Summer has turned and Autumn approaches. It’s time to begin harvesting and gathering in the frumity. No idea what frumity is but  I guess it is akin to a hey nonny nonny and fertility symbols. So pencil in the weaving your wicker man, plan future blackberrying and and get yourself down the PYO farms where the strawberries and raspberries will be ripe. The joy of #plasticfree soft fruit is beyond words.

There are some useful links here …. and I plan to make this raspberry extract next.

Extracts

Yes, I accidentally got into extracts and flavoured spirits just last week. I am very pleashed with the reshults, occifer….

If you want to give them a go,  lavender is now flowering and can be used to make  floral vodka (think Vladimir Putin in a dress) or flavoured extracts which can be used to…. cant think how else to put this….. but flavour stuff.

But you can use other stuff too. Check here for inspiration on the exciting homemade extracts!

Sun? What Sun!

Don’t forget if you are going out berry picking to slap on your homemade sunblock lotion. If you are lucky enough to see the sun this year that is. Here in Huddersfield it is, and has been, grey and dreary.

Good job I know how to make #plasticless  self tan.

Holidays

Stayvaction? In the U.K.? Check out these windbreaks

Backpacking? You might want to look at the plastic free travel guide.

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Plastic Free July – what’s happening….

 

This month of course is Plastic-free July.

What is Plastic Free July 

The aim is to cut your consumption of one use plastic, for one month – July. It is a great way to challenge you relationship with plastic. We have done it for a few years now.

Plastic Is Rubbish Support Group

This year I set up a Plastic Is Rubbish Facebook group where people share plastic free tips. It’s a great resource.

Ecosewing? Saturday 16th July

The first ecosewing and pampering experience ever probably – sounds like fun!

Fun In The Sun

Going on holiday? Read our plastic-free travel guide, get a SteriPEN and make your own sun block!

Other Projects

Check out our other ongoing projects and see what our plastic free buddies are up to here….

The MSCUK plastic challenge is over for this year. Well done to everyone who did the full month. It has been great to see this project get bigger every time. Hope everyone managed to raise lots of money.

Sad to have missed it? Dont worry there is always next year.  Read more about it here.

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June

The Plastic Challenge takes place every year in the U.K. in June.

It is organized by the Marine Conservation Society (MCSUK).

The MSCUK is a UK charity “that cares for our seas, shores and wildlife”.

The MSCUK “have a vision of a world where plastics don’t end up in our seas and on our beaches, where they persist and impact our marine life.”

So they challenge you to give up single use plastics for a month (June), and get sponsored whilst doing it. The money goes to support MSCUK projects which are many and very worthwhile.

You can read more about it here

Rest Of The Year

Happy Christmas

This month we are Voting in the Blog Awards U.K. Making sweet mince for pies Petitioning Tampax to stop with ...
Read More

November

So... whats happening in plastic-free November? My new blog theme and some new plugins A guide to a #plasticfree festive ...
Read More

September

First an apology. I have moved house and my internet provider didnt move with me. Not through want of asking ...
Read More

August – Soft Fruits & Fun In The Sun

Well Summer has turned and Autumn approaches. It's time to begin harvesting and gathering in the frumity. No idea what ...
Read More

June

The Plastic Challenge takes place every year in the U.K. in June. It is organized by the Marine Conservation Society ...
Read More

January

In this post you can read about News & Events To Do...This Month To Do...Next Month News & Events A ...
Read More

 

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Fair Share Fabric Project

In 2015 I pledged to  use no more than my fair global share of fibres and they have to be sustainably sourced.

Whats a global share?

About 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.

Whats Sustainable Clothing?

Plastic-free, fair-trade, ethically made and lots more.You can read my clothing manifesto here

History and Figures

I started the Fair Share Fabric Project, (#fairsharefabric), in January 2015. I was trying to decide what is a sustainable 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. We have to limit ourselves to the current global share.

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.

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.

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

By Year Synopsis 

(if you want more details go to My Clothing Diary)

2014

My Wardrobe  This is what I started with At the end of 2014 I had 45 items of clothing.

2015

I bought 3.15 kg of natural fibre products and 3.2 kg of synthetic fibres.

2016

Ongoing – updates can be found here.

 

 

 

 

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A Totally Useless Coat?!

This has been a bad year for raincoats. My dear old coat that I had had for years, the faithful chum that had been up the hills, down to the shops, round Myanmar was looking… diseased. A white bloom had appeared on the collar and cuffs. I thought it was from my home made suntan lotion and it just needed a good wash. Big mistake. Turns out it wasn’t suntan lotion but the waterproof lining disintegrating. Washing only hastened that process and the coat, and everything else, came out of the washing machine covered in tiny white flecks of micro plastic.

We had only a few days before we left for China. I had to get a new lightweight waterproof coat quickly. I am way too tight to pay hiking shop prices so I went to TK Max. I ended up with a navy-blue, middle-aged anorak. It even had a belt! But it was cheap.

Amazingly it didn’t rain in Manchester before we left so I didn’t get chance to test it. That opportunity came in Xian, China where it didn’t stop raining. Turns out my new coat was bloody useless. So much so I cannot see what purpose it was actually meant to serve.

Now I want to make this quite clear from the beginning – I bought this coat from the outdoor wear section of TK Max. Yes it was massively reduced but at the time but I thought it was because of the particularly aggressive, ugly shade of navy colour and home counties, walking the golden labs style. I had my doubts about the silkiness of the fabric but modern shower proof fabrics are a huge step away so from those rustling plastic bags sold as cagoules back in the 70’s.

What persuaded me to buy was that it was so well made! There were all kinds ofoutdoorsy sort of features like a zip that opened from the top or the bottom, double fastenings with a flap to seal the pockets, a removable hood, overlapped seams and two layer of fabric on the shoulders for increased protection. Features that screamed “weather-based scenarios seriously catered for”.

And, and I cant say say this too often, it was in the outdoors section of the store. Surely I might be forgiven for thinking that this would be a reasonably weatherproof kind of coat. I was not expecting base camp performance but showerproof at least.

This coat did not offer the smallest degree of moisture based protection. Rather it sucked it up like a sponge. Thanks to the flaps and double front fastenings, the zip and pockets didn’t leak but everywhere else the water flooded through. Even the lightest of drizzle passed through in a moment. Which made it no good for the U.K. nor, (as it turns out), Xian. In 5 minutes I was soaked and freezing cold.

Which leads me to ask what purpose is this coat meant to serve? Is there some fashion I am unaware of? An indoors, outdoors kind look that I know nothing about? Are people sipping cocktails in Barbour look alike jackets that dissolve in the rain? Ravers off clubbing in Wellington boots made out of cardboard? But if that is the case then why was this jacket hanging up in, and I am going to say this again, in the frickin outdoor section!

Lucky we were near a Chinese supermarket that had an outdoor clothing section which sold jackets. Jackets you could actually wear out doors. Raincoats that repelled the rain. Fancy that!

So I bought one. Yes it is made from synthetic fibres but this is an example of plastic being the best material for the job. My new coat is light-weight, folds up small, dries out quickly and doesn’t get as mouldy or stinky. It is great for back packing. And it’s rain proof.

fabric rationing featured Both coats are counted as part of my Fair Share Fabric Project. In 2015 I pledged to  use no more than my fair 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.  You can see how I am doing here.

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Snood

How can you have so few clothes yet still have something you never wear?

Fearing the harsh Mongolian climate I made myself a snood/hat/scarf multi tasking sort of thing. It is knitted wool, stripy fabric backed with black knitted cotton which I bought from my local fabric shop.

It forms a loop of loveliness that can be worn as a scarf or a hat or both.

It is very warm and the cotton stops any itchy wool business, but I don’t like it.

Even when it got cold in Mongolia I rarely put it on.

So that’s the hubby, modelling mohair, in the tropics. Yes, I am still lugging the bloody thing around with me!

I sewed it using organic cotton on a wooden reel. I cut out them out with my all metal scissors. There is a metal hook and eye at the front, the elastic in the back is probably plastic! Want to make some? You can find fabrics, sewing supplies and purchase details here. 

It counts as of my Fair Share Fabric Project.

In 2015 I pledged to  use no more than my fair 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.  You can see how I am doing here

I don’t like synthetic fibres for a number of very good reason so I will be using mainly  natural fibres.

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Trousers homemade

Yes, I am a member of the all-female, Indoenesian-based, Madness tribute band. What? You haven’t heard of us? I made these super loose trousers with fabric from Leons in Manchester. It is a linen cotton mix Nice but rather too heavy for the tropics.

The design I made up myself. They are pleated at the front and elasticated at the back.

They hang in voluminous folds.

I sewed it using organic cotton on a wooden reel. I cut out them out with my all metal scissors. There is a metal hook and eye at the front, the elastic in the back is probably plastic! Want to make some? You can find fabrics, sewing supplies and purchase details here. 

These trousers count as of my Fair Share Fabric Project.

In 2015 I pledged to  use no more than my fair 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.  You can check my figures here.

I don’t like synthetic fibres for a number of very good reason so I will be using mainly  natural fibres.