2017 Calendar & Events

Put these dates in your #plasticfree diary


11th & 12th of March

Bea Johnson author of the book Zero Waste Home is coming to town – well 2 towns actually.

12th March Unpackaged is proud to present, for the first time in London, Bea Johnson – the founder of the Zero Waste Movement. We will be hosting her inspirational talk, Q&A and book signing in Bloomsbury, Central London. On the night we will also be highlighting innovative projects and brands in our exclusive Zero Waste showcase.  Read more here…

On the 11th March Bea will speaking in Bristol see the Eventbrite website (where you can buy tickets)
There will also be a talk from our very own Michelle. One of the first plasticvists campaigning.

About Bea
Bea Johnson lives in the USA, She  “and her family are dedicated to living a Zero Waste lifestyle; they generate a mere jar of waste per year. Through her blog and with her book, Zero Waste Home, Bea inspires a growing international community to live simply and take a stance against needless waste. Her passion and positive outlook have earned her appearances on TV and in publications around the world. Grand prize winner of “The Green Awards” in 2011, she regularly speaks at universities, corporate events and conferences. She has become the spokesperson for the Zero Waste lifestyle or, as The New York Times puts it: “The Priestess of Waste-Free Living”.


Big Spring Beach Clean this April (3rd – 9th April) organised by Surfers Against Sewage


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


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

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


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.

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.


Fair Share Fabric Project

In 2015 I pledged to  use no more than my fair global share of fibres and they had 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 


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


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


The results are in and  can be found here.


The counting will start soon….


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.



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.


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.



Plastic-free MasterChef – yes from the telly!

Very excited to be featured in a write up on plasticfree catering by the by the Hungry Gecko AKA Jackie Kearney.

Plastic free family travel

Jackie and family, (husband, Lee and twins), spent a year traveling in Asia during which they bought no bottled water. She is kind enough to say she was inspired by our plastic free travels. Which probably means we banged on relentlessly about our Steripen.


You might think that was achievement enough but so inspired was she by street food in Asia that she incorporated it into her own cooking creating a fantastically tasty range vegetarian and vegan fusion dishes. For those of you who done believe that is possible – well she was top 4 finalist in BBC One’s MasterChef 2011, has worked with, (amongst other great chefs), Yotam Ottolenghi and was runner up for Best Main Dish at British Street Food Awards in 2012.

Street food in compostable disposables

But it don’t stop there. After MasterChef she got a retro silver trailer and started selling her food on the mean streets of Manchester.

It gets better. Her street food is served in compostable disposables.

As she says “From day one with my street food work, I have only ever used cardboard food trays, unbleached recycled napkins and cutlery made of corn starch (at one time I offered wooden cutlery but some people don’t like the taste). Obviously it’s highly frustrating when you take part in an event and other traders are dishing out their food on the cheapest polystyrene trays imaginable. Personally I think these food trays should be banned. Full stop. No arguments. There is simply no need to use such rubbish, and those traders that continue to do so should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.”

Go girl!

Get the book….

Her food is so good she got a book deal. Here it is – you can of course buy in on Amazon but why not visit a bookshop.

If you really cant cook, you can buy Jackie does her own range of sauces.

Eat with Jackie

You can try her food at festivals and events. Or even book her for your event. How classy to have the silver Zeppelin serving food at your wedding?

Manchester folks can join dining club and enjoy a five course Asian inspired fine dining menu in Jackie’s South Manchester home. Or get her to come and cook for your dinner party.

Plus pop up events.

All relevant info is on her website.


2017 February

In this post you can read about
News & Events
Plastic Free…This Month
Planning Next Month

News & Events

New Product – Cleaning Products – for home, business and car

A reduction rather than a plastic free solution, this company offer concentrated product in a capsule form that you then dilute in water. Both the capsule and the product that is. The capsule itself is water soluable – hooray no plastic.

From the website…
Wolf Formulations Ltd has developed a wide range of innovative green cleaning products which are designed with a practical single dose water soluble eco capsule concept. The super concentrated eco capsules have the cleaning power of the standard ready-to-use cleaning products, whilst reducing waste and minimising cost. Our range of green cleaning products have been developed to offer complete cleaning solutions for household, motor vehicle and professional sectors.

Cleaning At Home Or Work

They do cleaning products for kitchen and bathroom cleaners both for the domestic and businesses market.
Of course keen readers of this blog know we have covered those bases already. .
However it could be a useful option for professional cleaners who need to use or distribute a lot of products.
PROFI-MAX Floor Cleaner
PROFI-MAX Kitchen Cleaner
PROFI-MAX Glass Cleaner
PROFI-MAX Bathroom Cleaner

Washing The Car 

What caught my eye was the car cleaning products. I always use washing up liquid (refillable) a sponge and whenever available, a boy scout…. but I guess purists out there might prefer something more specialised.
AUTO-MAX Car Screen Wash
Car Wash & Wax Shampoo 3x9ml
AUTO-MAX Car Wash & Wax
Car Window & Mirror Cleaner 4x5ml
AUTO-MAX Window & Mirror Cleaner
Car Screen Wash
AUTO-MAX Gift Sets

Not so green?

Sadly the onward packaging doesn’t look so good. It appears to be a hard plastic case? Recyclable? I don’t know. And it appears to vary depending on the product. I am contacting the manufacturers for more info. But in the meantime here’s what I got. Anyone out there used them?

Sign Up

Surfers Against Sewage have just put out a petition which I think we all should sign….
Stop marine plastic pollution by introducing a small, refundable deposit on all plastic bottles, glass bottles and cans to recycle the 16 million plastic bottles thrown away every day.
Why is this important?
In the UK we use a staggering 38.5 million single-use plastic bottles and a further 58 million cans every day! Only half of these are recycled, so it’s no surprise that many of these end up on our beaches and in our oceans.

Plastic bottles take 450 years to break down, killing marine life, harming the coastal ecosystem and ruining our beaches.
Placing a small deposit on plastic bottles and cans would dramatically increase recycling and reduce marine plastic pollution.
For full information on deposit return systems please visit Surfers Against Sewage’s Message In A Bottle campaign site. 

I know nobody uses pens, or paper petitions come to that – but if you ever do want to write something try these… 

Plastic Free…This Month

Featuring plastic free fruit and veg – an update

Valentines Day 14th

It’s the big one of course! Valentine’s Day approaches.  We have got plastic free candles to set the mood, flowers without the wrap, chocolates,  sweets and cards. Even a few ideas for trash free gifts.
If your plastic-free sweetie is also a minimalist, there are some nice alternative ideas!
And if all this does the trick, some plastic reduced condoms you can compost.
Too much info?
Head on over here to get loved up!

Pancake Day

February 28 is Shrove Tuesday and you are going to make pancakes. Check out these plastic-free cakes fried in a plastic-free non stick pan. Yum!

Keep well 

Got the sniffles? That’s not so sexy. Try a reusable inhalers and eucalyptus oilBreath easily and cut the trash.
Stop chapped lips with this home made lip balm. It really works! With refillable tubes or metal tins.

While it is still a bit cold to be out there, thoughts now turn to the garden and the seeds that need to be sown for the coming year. You need to start planning ahead for plastic free seedlings.
You can buy plastic-free seeds and find instructions on how to make your own paper seedling pots here. Plus other great plastic free garden related products.

Planning Next Month

The life #plasticless needs forward planing

Bea Johnson is coming to town will be speaking in Bristol and London. You can read more here.
There will also be a talk from our very own Michelle. One of the first plasticvists campaigning.

Plastic Free Lent
Lent 2017 begins on Wednesday, March 1 and ends on Thursday, April 13
Last year some folk are took part in a plastic free Lent. I would love to tell you more about this project but I don’t know a great deal myself. It is organised by peopel in Bristol (I am pretty sure of that) and has run for a couple of years now. It has a great FB page.
Here’s some blurb “Welcome to the Lent Plastic Challenge. A group for all those who are ready to challenge themselves and take on the pesky single-use plastics that pile up in our modern life.
To support your challenge, each week we will have different theme. So you can start off in the first week with one item and build up gradually”
Hooray for them.

Mothers Day March 
Now the madness that is Valentines Day is out of the way you can start thinking about Mothers Day and here are some excellent ideas on what to get the old dear and how to wrap it up.

The Plastic Free 2017 Calender




Sew Plasticky Obsessed – guest post

Was delighted and rather flattered when the wonderful Offset Warehouse asked me to guest post. This fantastic company sell organic, fair-trade fabrics, proper cotton on a wooden reel (very hard to find!) and peace silk (doesn’t result in the death of the silk worms). They have a great customer service. And they will post your fabric out in cardboard boxes. Plastic free. All round good guys.

And they have a great blog, Sew Obsessed, full of useful posts on how to make your own beeswax wrap or zero waste skirt. And of course there’s my contribution on how to cut plastic consumption – natch!

Sign up and you get loads of useful tips and 5% discount on your next fabric order. Order now and make your own reusable witches hat for halloween!


Clothes – Homemade

Why make you down clothes?
It’s the only way to get true plastic-free outfits free of synthetic threads, fixings, labels and packaging:Plus I can’t afford to buy ready-made sustainable clothes, but I can (sometimes), afford to make clothes from sustainable, organic and fair-trade fabrics
Click each garment to see how sustainable it is. You can see a full list of my sustainable clothes criteria here

Stuff I Made


Bloomers – homemade

Just because I am backpacking don't mean I can't make pants. Recently I have been wearing the Mu Mu of ...
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Headscarf homemade

Made while backpacking! I hate the sun on my head so I need to wear a covering of some sort ...
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How can you have so few clothes yet still have something you never wear? Fearing the harsh Mongolian climate I ...
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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 ...
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The MuMu of Modesty

This big and rather tent like top is extremely easy to wear. Long trousers, short trousers, no trousers even! With ...
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Tunic Top – Fair-trade, organic-cotton, plastic-free & homemade

How can you afford fair trade and organic clothes on a budget? Make your own! I wanted a long tunic ...
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Loon Pants

I was so pleased with my Scrappy Bo-ho Tunic I decided to make some lounge pants. Actually I wanted to ...
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Boho Tunic

BoHo Tunic For summer I want something light, cool and colourful  so I made this tunic  using fabric scraps left over ...
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Tana Lawn Tunic

I didn't actually need another tunic top but I have been possessed by a sewing demon and I simply cannot ...
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Choir Boy Shirt

I have been making cotton tunics for a while now and while I love this very easy to make garment ...
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Navy blue, A line and below the knee…

A sensible, deep blue, below the knee A line skirt. I wear it with leggings or tights. Yes it sounds ...
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Plasticfree, compostable, homemade and below the knee

No Daisy Dukes for me! Check out these bad boys! Below the knee, denim shorts with half gather waist. Made ...
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Tabbard Tunic Top

This is a simple sleeveless dress with bust darts to add a bit of shape. It looks rather like those ...
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Offset Tunic

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

For the Feria the week-long party in Seville, I made a chiffon top. I know - get me.... in chiffon ...
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The Experimental Wrap Around Shirt

This is what I wanted to make but I couldn't find a pattern so I decided to adapt the Mc ...
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Ebay Fabric Jacket

Sometimes you need to go cheap and Ebay has some great fabric bargains. I got myself some great woolen fabric ...
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Downton (Yorkshire Wool) Waistcoat

This loose waistcoat is a made from fine light weight wool that was woven in Yorkshire. Yes a  locally made ...
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The Bombazine Skirt

Back home from the tropics and I desperately needed some new clothes. So I have been busy sewing. First off ...
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Grey Linen Trousers

I made these Palazzo Pants (super-wide leg pants) in grey linen They hang in gentle and flattering folds. I feel ...
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Wrap Skirt

I made a simple wrap around skirt a lovely linen cotton mix printed with delightful carp delineated in a typically ...
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You can read my sustainable clothing manifesto here

You can see the rest of my wardrobe here.

And find other clothing related posts here

Plastic Free Sewing Supplies Can be found here


And lots of cool Pinterest stuff clothing related stuff here…

Follow Plastic Is’s board Clothing, Fabric & Fibres on Pinterest.