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2017 Fairshare Fabrics

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

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

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

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


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

I have pledged to use only my global share.As I don’t like synthetics I try to stick to 3.8 kg of natural fibres.
Just so you know a kingsize double duvet cover from Ikea weighs in at 991 grams and a Marks & Spencer short-sleeved tee-shirt is 156 grams.

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

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

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

Past Years

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

This Year

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

Spain in Winter

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

Clothes

Bought Clothes

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

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

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

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

Made Clothes
Boiled wool shrug 417
Silk tunic 245

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

Total so far 2.596 kg

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

Synthetics
coat
Bikini top 97

More

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

 

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2017 April

And finally here’s a quick preview of the great May Give Away

A set of U.K. Made Produce Bags

Many shops and supermarkets still sell some produce loose. I am talking unpackaged onions, bread rolls and even dried fruit, rice and nuts if you know where to look. (Try here).
But if you want them plastic free you have to take your own packaging. Produce bags are reusable bags that are, (as the name suggests), for your loose produce.
There are two kinds of bags available – cotton and polyester mesh. I prefer the cotton but until now I have had to buy them from Spain and before that, America! Hardly local,
So I was delighted when I discovered DoYourBit, a U.K. Based company who make organic cotton reusable bags from fabric sourced from a fair traded local company.
Yay!

To celebrate Plastic Is Rubbish has teamed up withDo Your Bit and in May will be offering you the opportunity to win a set of 3 drawstring produce bags 34x28cm (with olive green cord).

But if you can’t wait that long or don’t feel lucky, you can still enjoy the frisson of plastic free shopping by buying bags right now from the Do Your Bit shop
Read more about Do Your Bit in the Plastic Free U.K. Directory
Read about produce bags and how to use them here
And the plastic free shopping kit here
You can find a a list of refill/loose food shops here

N.B.
Bulk buy or refill stores are places you can buy all types of food stuff loose.You take as much as you want/need from a larger container and you can usually use your own packaging.These are common in America and Australia, far less so in the U.K. But we do have some.
I have put together a list of stores that sell loose products, listed alphabetically by the location / place name.

Back on the road
off to India so busy packing up my plastic free back pack. I will be taking a mini iPad with me so be prepared for rather less lovely looking posts as I struggle with tiny keys. And of course the dodgy links and poor images.

We are currently in India where the tap water can be challenging. So really glad to see water refill machines offering triple filtered sterilised water appearing at train and bus stations. More information on these and other refill points in India can be found here
Otherwise it’s back to tap water made safe by a steripen. You can find that and other plastic free travel aids here.
And you can see our plastic free backpack, find out where we are and link to other travel related posts
here

Campaign For A Plastic Free Aisle
But first…. Let me take a selfie… Organised by www.aplasticplanet.com.

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

Sounds like a good idea? Wouldn’t it be great to buy plastic free food using your own cotton produce bags? Then here’s what you do. Go to the events page and follow the instructions.

They and the planet will thank you.

Plastic Free…This Month

Plastic Free Lent
Will be coming to an end  (Thursday, April 13). Well done everyone who took part!
Read more via their great FB page.
Hooray for them.

Easter


Easter Sunday will fall on April 16th – and you might like to know that Montezuma’s do an eco egg. The “packaging is plastic free and eco friendly.”

Find lots more good stuff like these refillable, reusable eggs in our  guide to a #plasticfree Easter.

Sign Up

There are now so many plastic free petitions I am now listing them on a separate page. So get your pens out and head on over to the petitions page.
Don’t be silly. I know nobody uses pens, or paper petitions come to that – but if you ever do want to write something try these refillable fountain pens… 

Latest Campaigns
And I’ll just mention this latest campaign.

Against Microfibres
The people behind the story of stuff are now tackling this insidious form of pollution.

A story, a problem and a solution: The Story of Microfibers. This new 2-minute movie explores the impact of synthetic clothing (and the rapid growth of “fast fashion”) on our waterways oceans…and include a strong call for solutions.

It’s why we wear natural fibres. You can see our #plasticfree wardrobe here.

Bloggers

Talking of Plastic Free Lent we have a new blogger in Wales who has been doing just that. You can read about her experiences here.

Product Of The Month

Is of course my steripen that allows me to sterilise water and cut out plastic bottles when travelling.

The Plastic Free 2017 Calender

Check out dates for your calendar, petitions to sign the latest Events 

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Swimwear Recycled

Well my Decathlon, unsustainable boy shorts have finally fallen apart and it is time to source some new, more ethical swim wear. Given my …. lets call it chunky…. form,  this is an area where I feel I might have to go with lycra. Yes it’s plastic but I think I need it. So I am looking at recycled, recyclable stretch swim wear as the way to go.

Davy Jone

This is a nice project…Davy Jones have just launched a ranges of swimwear made from ” 100% regenerated nylon yarn from waste including spent and ghost fishing nets. And are designed to last longer, fighting the trend of throwaway fashion and creating something that can keep up with you in all conditions.
WE are looking to build a closed-loop resource system within the brand. While OUR SUITS ARE BUILT TO LAST, when THEY DO eventually reach the end of THEIR life, we want you to be able to return them to us and we will recycle or regenerate the resource content. The target will be to achieve 60% closed loop recycling by 2020.”

Visit the website here 

Rizboard Shorts
If I was younger, slimmer and richer I would go for a pair of these…..Rizboard Shorts for surfers – ladies and gents….
These are designed in London, made in Portugal, from recycled fabric and they have a recyswim wear recycle postcling program to take back old shorts.  Nice designs too.  Some blurb for the website…

“Riz Smith, the founder and creative director, is a London-based designer and surfer. After years of designing swim and beachwear for various global brands, he became acutely aware of the need for something better. With this in mind he set out to build a small, honest brand shaped around the aspiration of creating ‘The most beautiful and sustainable swim shorts in the world’.WE DON’T WANT OUR SHORTS LITTERING LANDFILLS OR OCEANS. SO, IN AN EFFORT TO DO OUR PART WE’VE SET UP THE RIZCYCLING PROGRAMME.

This means working with our customers, you, to create a perpetual loop that transforms waste and old swimwear into beautiful new products.

Today all our shorts are made from 100% recycled and recyclable fabrics. By offering a 25% discount on a new pair of shorts, we encourage you to donate your old unwanted surf shorts for us to reuse or rehome.

Speedos
Here’s another scheme I came across. For those of you who like a sustainable banana hammock….and who wouldn’t. Best of all worlds surely?

Aquafil & Speedo

Aquafil today announced it has partnered up with with Speedo USA. Aquafil, specializes in the production of a synthetic fabric called Econly Nylon 6. It is, according to Sustainable Brands, made from upcycled fishing nets, old carpets and other nylon products that have reached the end of their product life. Better still it is endlessly recyclable.

Speedo specialize in the manufacture of swimwear known for those very skimpy trunks known as budgie smugglers. The ones that make you avert your watering eyes.

Aquafil will be taking Speedo’s left over fabric scraps and turning it back into nylon fibre. This will be used to make PowerFLEX Eco fabric which will turned into more swimwear.

Powerflex consists is78 percent ECONYL nylon the rest is Extra Life LYCRA®.

An article in Sustainable Brands quotes Speedo as saying “the resulting fabric retains its shape up to 10 times longer than traditional swimwear fabrics, is resistant to chlorine, sagging and bagging and is offered in styles designed for both performance and fitness swimmers.”

The article claims that “ECONYL offers the same quality and performance as traditionally manufactured nylon and can be recycled an infinite number of times without any loss in quality.”

What it doesn’t say is how or indeed if you can recycle your trunks.However that should be a possibility. Patagonia uses a similar sort of fabric and runs a return and recycle scheme.

Outerknown

This fabric is also used in  surfer Kelly Slater ‘s new men’s apparel line,Outerknown,

Read more about similar types of synthetic fabric.

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Clothing Manifesto

I have a list of sustainable criteria when choosing what clothes to buy or make. They have to meet as many of the following as possible

Fabric is mostly
made from natural fibres
ideally organic
Fair-trade or U.K. made
Clothes can be gifted/secondhand but only in limited amounts
Have to be fairly made / homemade i.e. made by adults who are paid a living wage or me.
From shops /businesseswith sustainable environmental policies
Or local shops & suppliers
Made using plastic free thread
Fastened with plastic free fixings
Bought in fair and sustainable amounts.
unhung & unpackaged

Natural Versus Synthetic Fibres

My clothes are mostly made from natural fibres because on consideration they are the greenest, biodegradable option. If you need it, there is a quick  intro to synthetic, regenerated, combination and natural fibres here.

Problems with Synthetic Fibres
Like most other plastics many synthetic fibre do not biodegrade so are difficult to depose of.
Synthetic fabrics  shed plastic microfibres when washed which are being consumed by plankton.
They cannot be dyed.
And more reasons why I prefer natural fabrics over the others here.

I still wear some synthetic fibres but only for specialist clothing that doesn’t need washing often. Tags plastic we use, clothes.

 

Buying Ready Made

Buying ready-made, plastic free clothes is a real chore. While I might choose to buy cotton that does not mean the clothes I buy  will be entirely natural fibres. Even if it says 100% cotton, you will often find that the washing instructions are printed on a synthetic fabric, the thread used to sew may be polyester, that buttons zips and other fixings and finishings will almost certainly contain synthetics.

Plastic Free Packaging
And even if I can get plastic free clothing there is the packaging and presentation to consider
While you may see clothes in shops unpacked, many fabric items come to the shop plastic packed for protection. Even clothes hanging unpacked on hangers will most probably have arrived plastic packed and then been unpacked .

Hangers
And you will of course see clothes hanging on hangers. I used to think that when the clothes arrived at the shop they were hung on hangers that would, if I refused them, be re-used to hang more clothes. This is not the case. Many clothes now come already hung hangers.  If I refuse a hanger chances are it will not be reused but may thrown away, possibly recycled.

Recycled Plastic Packaging
Though the bags and hangers can probably be recycled I have no way of knowing if they will be. Even if they are, recycling is only a more responsible form of waste disposal. It still comes with an environmental cost. Just because plastic can be recycled is no reason to use it to create everlasting trash and in such ludicrous amounts.

 

Price Tags & Labels
Even if you manage to source a packaging free item there will be size label, stickers, price tags and irritating plastic ties to contend with. Even cardboard labels will most likely be plasticized.

Buying On Line
While you might avoid the hangers and price tags by buying online there is onward packaging to contend with. In my experience many companies send stuff out in plastic and refuse to otherwise stating that they need the plastic is needed to protect the product. Even the greener companies do this.

Buying Second Hand

One way to cut the packaging, hangers and price tags is to buy second hand. It is also in many ways a greener option than buying new but I don’t like it.

I have no problem with buying or better still being gifted second hand clothes but there are a number of issues to be considered. For me the most important are you cannot use your money to influence how the clothes were made and by whom. Buying second-hand clothes made in sweat shops out of unsustainable fabrics are not, to my mind, guilt free.

Yes it is greener but the plastic packaging rubbish has still been created, fair-trade, organic and natural fibres may not be available and they still use those irritating plastic tags to attach their own labels. But most importantly I feel that charity shops take some of the guilt out of excessive consumption. People feel good about giving clothes to charity it helps raise money for good causes, helps people who cannot afford to buy new and so on. It also means that the donor can go out and buy more clothes. It does nothing to reduce the unsustainable levels of clothing consumption. In fact too many clothes are donated to charities and they simply cannot sell them all in the host countries. Many of the clothes donated to charity shops are sold to second hand dealers. You give to Oxfam, (and lots of other charities), they sell it to textile businesses (not charities) who make a profit from selling it in developing countries. The second hand clothes trade  is credited with hindering the development of sustainable industries in developing countries. You can read more here.

Sustainable Clothing

I only feel comfortable buying sustainable clothes. I mean clothes made from cloth woven from fair-trade, ideally organically-grown, natural fibres, by people paid a proper wage. The articles then need to be sewn up in safe and healthy environments by adults who can live off what they earn. Problem is I can’t afford those kinds of clothes on what I earn.

So I shop at M&S. one of the more sustainable high street stores and pretty good value. They also do reasonably good quality cotton basics. They sell a lot of stuff unhung and they actually reuse their plastic hangers. But….. much as I like M&S I have to admit that they can be a little… erm…. stodgy? And some of the above plastic related issues still apply,

Making Your Own Plasticfree Sustainable Clothes

Seems to me the only way to get completely compostable clothes that are, sustainable, affordable and plastic-free as possible is to make them yourself. So I dragged out my sewing machine and started stitching my own sustainable duds in sustainable amounts.

What’s A Sustainable Amounts Of Clothes

Of course one mans over consumption is another’s nothing to wear so how to decide what is sustainable?

This is how the equation works for me. We cannot exceed current levels of production. We cannot expect others to want less than we have. Therefore we can only consume our global share

Whats a global share?11.74 kg per person of which 3.8 kg is natural fibres.  all You can check my figures here.

See my global share here…

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Do Your Bit Produce bags

DoYourBit is an organic cotton reusable bag company locally run in the UK that aims to put an end to the excessive amount of plastic packaging we find in shops and supermarkets like Tesco or Asda. The goal is to focus on package-free items which produce zero waste. From fruits and veg to bread or nuts, to be used for non-food items or also as gift wrap instead of using the disposable one time use stuff most people use nowadays – you can use these bags any way you wish!

Originally from Canada but now living in the UK, when I first moved here it came as a shock to me how much plastic there was and how few zero waste options there were. I began searching and it wasn’t even possible to buy produce bags locally. I had to order them online and have them shipped from elsewhere in Europe. Since then, I decided to start up DoYourBit with the hope of spreading the word of using less plastic disposables and creating change in a world where plastic is everywhere. My goal is to help everyone do THEIR bit to reduce the environmental impact they have on the planet.

Not only is DoYourBit a local company but the material is also locally sourced from a fair traded fabric company which helps us do our bit by buying locally as well! You can use these bags for everything; at the bakery, farmer’s markets, supermarkets etc. They are 100% handmade and machine washable.

Details:

  • Drawstring bag 34x28cm (with olive green cord)
  • Sets of 3 or 5 bags available

*Different bags sizes can be requested and custom-made for customers

For more information, you can visit DoYourBit at

FB @doyourbituk

Instagram @doyourbit.uk

Etsy doyourbit.etsy.com

Ebay ‘DoYourBit produce bags’

More 

You can find more reusable produce bags here

And check out our guide to buying food plastic free here…

Loose Food A to Z

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

Please note…

This post was written by the contributor and  is  a PfU.K. Directory submission.

And the Pf U.K. Directory is…?

…a directory of UK-based groups, organisations businesses and individuals who are responding to the problems presented by the misuse of plastic. That does not mean anti-plastic necessarily but certainly plastic-problem aware.

The DIRECTORY is to promote their fantastic work. Read more here…

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

 

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Pet Food

Pets are not really my area of expertise. I had a goldfish once but that’s it. So please if you can add anything useful to this post, dive in.

Homemade Dog & Cat
When we were pet sitting in Loas, we would buy meat from the market and boil it up with rice. That kept 2 dogs and 3 cats going.
1 kilo rice
1 kilo mainly liver and a bit of intestine
Boiled the meat – drained the water used that to boil the rice.
Mixed the two together.
Lasted for 9 feeds they were fed twice a day.

U.K. Wide General
Range home stores do loose dry pet food. For everything from dogs to hamsters.
Some Weigh & Save shops also do it.

Local (West Yorkshire) General
Huddersfield market has a pet food stall that does loose dog chews and birdseed.
Earnshaws timber merchants do loose WILD birdseed.

Remember to take your own bags..


Packaging

While these shops provide bags and they are almost always plastic ones. You will need to take your own plastic-free /reusable bags, tubs and bottles.

Tare

The weight of the container may make a difference at checkout. Some shops  subtract the tare weight but other don’t. The tare weight is the weight of the empty container.

More

Useful post on pet poop composting at home, here.

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Dog poop bags and composting waste

This is something I really hate …. plastic bags of dog @*%! hanging from the bushes.

But then plastic bags of dog poop anywhere are a bad idea and a big problem!

According to PFMA (Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association) the dog population of the U.K., in 2014, stood at 9 million. The average dog according to Streetkleen produces 340g of fecal matter per day x 9,000,000 dog population = 3,060 tonnes of poo per day x 365 days per year =1,111,900 tonnes of dog poo annually.

Why Not Landfill?

Putting plastic bags of poop in landfill is problematic for the following reasons

  • Biodegradable waste does not do well in the unnatural conditions of landfill. It bubbles away producing methane another more potent greenhouse gas.
  • The non biodegradable waste, plastic, is there for ever.
  • As of April 2016 Landfill Tax is £84.40 per tonne . At over a million tons that poop costs a lot.
  • we are running out of holes

What to do?

But how do you dispose of dog poop  responsibly and environmentally?

This might be an answer –use compostable plastic bags such as  BioBag dog bags and get a pet poop composter. You can read more about compostable plastics here and you can find cheaper than Biobags by Googling.

Pet poop composter

I believe that composting is the future. A household that can turn its own waste into food for the plants is truly sustainable and delightfully green. And who wouldn’t want to be any of those?  I have a number of compost bins BUT I don’t have a pet so cannot try this. I thought of getting a puppy but apparently  they are for life, not just for composting.

How they work…

Now as I understand it, the pet waste composter is a bin set in the ground. Chuck the pop in and nature will deal with it naturally. It will compost away. Just to reiterate, the resulting material is left in place. It is not meant to be used as compost, rather that the composting process is used to naturally dispose of dog poop!

Have a look at these ready made dog waste composters. You bury it in the back garden and drop in the poop.

Here is an Australian product called Yard Art in action

Here is a home made one

And an  article,  you can read on the subject.
Using the Compost…nooooooooo

MATT SULLIVAN writes a thoughtful and informative piece about the joys and perils of pet poop composting. As he says “several writers discourage pet owners from the practice at all. Others gave specific warnings of not using the final composted product in any edible gardens. A handful wrote that the compost from domestic animals was safe and could be used in vegetable crops.”

But, despite doom laden warnings, he goes ahead and uses worms to compost his dog dirt. It’s a success and he concludes that “even if you have no desire to add compost to your garden, I believe it makes sense to be a good steward of your animals. You feel good, help out the environment, and have an excuse to spend time outside.”

Wise words.

English: A worm composting bin. Worms are eati...

A worm composting bin. Worms are eating the newspaper bedding and producing compost. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

More

You can find hundreds of different composting methods here  including links to worm bins and underground composers.

This is an interesting idea – biogas from dog poo. 

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India Water Refills

Plastic rubbish in India is a real problem. Plastic lasts for centuries, doesn’t rot and is inedible. Burning it at best smells bad and adds to the green house effect, at worst is lethal. In short plastic cannot be easily disposed of. Plastic waste requires special disposal facilities which much of India does not have. A lot of plastic trash ends up dumped.

Steralised Water Machines

So it is really good to see water bottle refill kiosks appearing at train and bus stations. As they sound, they refill your bottle with cool, safe water for a few rupees.

Water Refill Places

Here is some specific information for towns I have visited. Some of it is rather old now and may be out of date.

Please add any refill schemes you know of in the comments below.

 Arambol

Go to Double Dutch Restaurant and get your water bottle refilled with safe, clean filtered water for a fraction of the cost –  saving money and the environment.

Kaza

The good folk atecosphere Kaza will  refill your water bottle with steralised water for free though they would like you to leave a donation.

Leh

Boiled, filtered water refills can be got from the Woman’s Alliance, Ladakh Ecological Development Group LEDeG, Dzomsa and some other places. You can pick up a map from LEDeG showing all of them or download it here.

Dzomsa. This shop refills your water bottle with boiled filtered water. They have shops on Old Fort Road and Main Street and maybe one more (though they are not all open out of season).

Rajasthan Jhodpur

Refill your water bottle from the water cooler in the square by the clock tower. It tastes good, is indeed cool and there is no charge. We treated ours with our steripen water treatment system – see the end of the post for details.

Udaipur

Has refill kiosks at the train and bus station.

Varanasi 

There is a water refill kiosk at the Train station. In the streets, shops will refill your bottle from water dispensers. Tastes fine but those of you with suspicious natures might want to steripen it too.

MORE

No refill place? Sterilise your own water.

When travelling in far flung places we will not buy water in plastic bottles. NO its just wrong. Instead we sterilize our own using a SteripenThe easiest way to make safe pleasant tasting water.

EVEN More

For other water refill points the world over check our big list
More plastic-free travel posts? Try the index
And of course….. how to back pack plastic free

 

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How to buy food plastic free

If you want to  shop plastic-free then you need to take your own packaging. Seems like a lot of bother? Well, here are  some reasons why you might wish to consider this option:
You don’t like that hormone inhibitors and toxic chemicals can leach from plastic packaging into your food,
You hate plastic pollution,

You love being zero waste

You find a place that sells your required product unwrapped. This can be  anywhere from your local butcher to the cheese counter at Morrisons.
You take your own packaging and ask them use that. Bit embarrassing at first but stick with it – I do it everywhere.

Reusables 

PRODUCE BAG
These are reusable bags that can be used instead of the plastic bags supplied by shops. Use them for veges, and anything else loose and dry,
I use a cotton or net produce bags.
Find out more about
 synthetic mesh bags
organic cotton produce bags

TUBS 

For meat, fish and other stuff I try to use a reusable plastic tub whenever can.Which means I take my own tub to the butchers and ask them to use that. I use a plastic tub because it is water proof, lightweight, I have had it for ages and there is lots of wear in it yet.

If you are worried about chemical leaching you might not want to use plastic tubs. As you know if you wash plastic at hot enough temperatures to clean the container properly, it is more likely to leach chemicals. And that plastic leaches more chemicals as it ages.

If this worries you can get metal or glass dishes. Glass is heavy so I would recommend metal dishes.

And some times, it doesn’t matter what I take, I get refusals. Supermarkets especially are not keen on this and will argue long and hard. Even some local butchers will refuse.,  in which case I use…..

Disposables

The following products are certified compostable and I compost them at home in my bin once I have done with them. They can also be safely burnt.

For meat and fish I use bio plastic  (corn starch bags – made from vegetables) 

For cheese and such like its old school paper bags.

At the deli counter  where I get humus, pate and the rest, I use these compostable PLA pots.

More

Though I recommend finding reuses for your disposable packaging, (for example using the bio bags to line your compost bin),they are of course disposable. This  might not sound like the greenest option but it is still a whole load better than plastic.

Compostable?

What is compostable? To be classed compostable, items must biodegrade within a certain time (around the rate at which paper biodegrades), and the resulting biomass must be free of toxins, able to sustain plant life and be used as an organic fertilizer or soil additive. For a man-made product to be sold as compostable, it has to meet certain standards. One such is the European Norm EN13432. You can find out more here.

Taking it home 

Carry your shopping home in  a reusable  carrier bag – natch!

My bags of choice are those old granny favourites, string bags.

I also have some tiny fold up carrier bags which come in very handy.

More

Though I recommend finding reuses for your disposable packaging, (for example using the bio bags to line your compost bin),they are of course disposable. This  might not sound like the greenest option but it is still a whole load better than plastic.

I compost all this packaging in my own compost bin. Yes even the cornstarch plastic bags and pots.

Loose Food A to Z

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

Buy Packaging

Being committed to local shopping, I prefer to buy that way whenever possible. I would encourage you to do the same. One of the joys of living plastic free is mooching round the local shops seeing what you can source. If you can’t buy local please do check the links above to the suppliers and buy direct from them and support their online businesses.

If you can’t do that then I have put together and Amazon catalogue. Yes I know…

flip & tumble Reusable Produce Bags- 5-PackEco-Bags Products, Produce & Bulk Bags, 3 BagsEco Bags String Tote Bag Long Handle Cotton Assorted Earthtones, ctWhite Reusable Muslin Bags with Draw String for Spice, Herbs, Tea, Mulled Wine, Bouquet Garni Infuser Sieve - 3" x 3.5" (10 pcs)5 Litre x 180 bags Compostable Bags - Biobag Kitchen Food Waste Caddy Liners 5 Litre - EN 13432 - Biobags 5L Bin Bags with Composting Guide6 Litre x 150 bags allBIO 6 Litre 100% Biodegradable & Compostable Kitchen Caddy Liners25ml Clear Biodegradable PLA Pots with Lids x 50 (Food/Craft/Storage Containers)

Amazon is a very dirty word at the moment and I thought long and hard before suggesting them.  Heres why I went ahead….. No we are not entirely happy with Amazons recent history. However, we have always found their service to be good and their packaging usually compostable.

If you buy a product via this link we do get an affiliation fee for this. This is not why we do it.

 

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Water steriliser – SteriPEN

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

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

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

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

It kills

Viruses

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

  • Hepatitis

Bacteria

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

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

Protozoa

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

  • Cryptosporidium
  • Giardia

It Does Not Filter Water

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

Effective?

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

Charging It Solar, Battery or USB?

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

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

Other Benefits

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

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

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

More

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

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

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

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

Buy

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

Travel Plasticfree

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

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Wales Plastic Free Lent

When did our lives become so plastic? Plastic chairs, plastic cups, plastic toys, plastic packaged food; where does it all go? In our little family of 5 with 3 small children, we recycle as much as we can but still, our bins heave. Looking at the contents of our waste bin, much of that is plastic food packaging. We are not alone as 60% of household waste is packaging. Our oceans swirl with billions of pounds of plastic, with sea birds and mammals being killed in abundance. Recycling is not the answer because once it is in existence, plastic never goes away and virtually every piece of plastic ever produced is still here in some shape or form. We have given up buying plastic for Lent and are really interested in how this will affect our daily lives. We will let you know how it goes!’

We will give up using plastics for lent. We plan to get an organic box, go to the butchers with our own Tupperware, use the milkman and also try to find a solution to the many other plastic dilemmas posed in a family with small children.’

 

A bit more…

This post was written by the contributor. It is a PfU.K. Directory submission.

And the Pf U.K. Directory is…?

…a directory of UK-based groups, organisations businesses and individuals who are responding to the problems presented by the misuse of plastic. That does not mean  anti-plastic necessarily but certainly plastic-problem aware.

The DIRECTORY is to promote their fantastic work. Read more here…

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

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Straws – reusable

I don’t use straws but if I did I would go for one of these.

Do note I have not used these myself  so I cannot say how well they perform or what the onward packaging is like. You will have to check with the suppliers. Any one who has tried them, can review them or can recommend some other great product please do  leave a comment.  Together we can make changes.

Bamboo

Super fun for a cocktail party – haven’t tried them myself yet but will do….. You can get them from boobalu  an ecofriendly online store

or these from Amazon

bamboo straw

  • 12 pack of bamboo straws.
  • The ecological choice for your health and the planet.
  • Washable. Reusable.
  • Made from 100% Real Whole Bamboo Stalks
  • Each straw is 10 inches in length
  • You can find a range of reusable straws on Amazon

 

steel strawsSteel Straws

Urban techno chic! I love the look of them, stainless steel straws for the classiest of drinkers.

USA -Can be bought with a whole load of other good stuff from Reusable Bags (USA based).

Or you can make your own

UK – You can find a range of reusable straws on Amazon

Glass Straws

The glass straw man?? Yes he makes reusable glass straws. Glass straws may sound like a bonkers idea, but read this and then decide

I haven’t used them myself but if you fancy giving them a go they are currently available in the UK from EBAY and from this UK based online shop A Fine Choice

Disposables

If you must have disposable straws buy these compostable ones. 

Campaigns

Join the straw wars here.

Buy

Being committed to local shopping, I prefer to buy that way whenever possible. I would encourage you to do the same. One of the joys of living plastic free is mooching round the local shops seeing what you can source. Coffee Evolution were doing take away ceramic cups for instance.

If you can’t buy local, please do check the links above. They look direct  to the suppliers.  Do consider buying from them and support their online businesses.

If you can’t do that then I have put together and Amazon catalogue. Yes I know…

4 Straight Metal Drinking Straw Stainless Steel Reusable Straws Stylish ref.112.z90/4 4 Metal Drinking Straw Stainless Steel Reusable Straws Stylish ref.112.z89
NRS Healthcare Clear Safesip Drinks Glass a…
£5.99
4 Straight Metal Drinking Straw Stainless S…
£5.49
4 Metal Drinking Straw Stainless Steel Reus…
£5.49
6 Metal Drinking Straw Stainless Steel Reusable Straws Stylish ref.112.z89/6 Kitchen Craft Stainless Steel Two-in-One Drinking Straws / Stirrers- set of two Stainless Steel Zack Vitis Straw Spoon Set/4
6 Metal Drinking Straw Stainless Steel Reus…
£7.49
Kitchen Craft Stainless Steel Two-in-One Dr…
£4.75
Stainless Steel Zack Vitis Straw Spoon Set/4
£12.00
Sustainable Bamboo Drinking Straws - 12 Pack
Sustainable Bamboo Drinking Straws – 12 Pack
£6.00
Amazon is a very dirty word at the moment and I thought long and hard before suggesting them.  Heres why I went ahead….. No we are not entirely happy with Amazons recent history. However, we have always found their service to be good and their packaging usually compostable.

If you buy a product via this link we do get an affiliation fee for this. That’s not why we do it.