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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
PROFI-MAX Floor Cleaner
profi-max_kitchen
PROFI-MAX Kitchen Cleaner
profi-max_glasswindow
PROFI-MAX Glass Cleaner
profi-max_bathroom
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.

Garden
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

Events 

 

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How to make it yourself plastic-free

There comes a point when living plastic-free  means making stuff. Sometime you just cannot buy what you want and so your only option is to get all Blue Peter, source the ingredients and actually produce something. Turns out it’s quite fun and not that hard! Here are some of the skills I have mastered..erm….sort of ….maybe.

Sew

Making your own clothes is probably the only way to get them totally plastic-free. Plus the only way I can afford fair trade organic clothes is make them myself. And I get to support local fabric shops
Links
How & why  to sew plastic-free here
Fabric & Sewing Supplies

Cookbook

Who knew? Baking – it’s not that bad!  Check out the plastic free cook book here

Making Make Up

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

See all our homemade lotions, toothpaste, fake tan & the rest.  

Ingredients

An introduction to some of the stuff you need to make the above

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Cut Plastic

Want to live plastic free…. or at least massively reduce your plastic footprint? Here are a whole load of plastic free products sourced and used by us as part of our boycott.  While we are happy to try out new products if sent to us, we work for no one and say only what we believe to be true. 

Live Free

Start here with some superfast ways to cut your plastic trash
Sneaky Plastics – but beware of these plastics in places you might not have known about

Plastic Free Products

The easiest way to find a #plasticfree alternative in our huge database of products is to use the search function (#grandmothersuckeggs!) However we have also organised them by category and task. There is even an A to Z index as shown below.

By Category

Everything from food to watering cans to clothes

By Task 

Want to know how to wash the pots, throw a party or sew #plasticfree. Check out these posts organised by task! 
A to z of plastic free – all products sourced organised alphabetically

Buy shops local and online shops

 

Lifestyle 

Make sometimes you just have to make it yourself! With #plasticfree scissors. Crafts and materials.

Composting – it’s the future of rubbish

Travel – how we travel the world plastic free

Links
Links, People & Organisations
Good to Know Information about science, green issues and other related subjects that impact on the plastic debate.

Wrong Place?

Try another chapter….
Welcome a quick introduction to everything
About Plastic  everything you need to know about plastic and somethings you wish you didn’t
Bad Plastic – why you need to cut your plastic consumption
Cut plastic – how to cut unnecessary plastic out of your life & meet the other people doing it.
Links & Projects –links to other plastic free people, the U.K. directory and out other projects
Us & The Boycott –About us the blog and the boycott rules
Site Map

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2016 Fair Share Fabric & Clothing Rationing

The figures are in … In 2016 I used

Total 3.835 natural fibres

Total 318g synthetic fibres

Total 45g regenerated fibres

My Fair Share Fibre Ration

I have 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. As I don’t like synthetics I try to stick to 3.8 kg of natural fibres. You can check my figures here.

So I am over on natural fibres but way under on synthetics.
However in 2015  I bought 3.15 kg of natural fibre products and 3.2 kg of synthetic fibres. – so I had a 65g surplus of natural fibres to use up

Sustainability

You can read my clothing manifesto here

Circumstances
The clothes you wear are dictated by your lifestyle so here’s what I needed to dress for this year:
Returned home from backpacking the tropics. The days of 2 teeshirts, a mu-mu of modersty and backpackers bloomers were sadly over. I desperately needed some new clothes. The next three weeks saw me busy sewing. The design brief was a little more complex this year. Not only did the clothes have to be sustainable & plastic free, they had to be rather more dressy than I am used to. 

Returned home from backpacking the tropics. The days of 2 teeshirts, a mu-mu of modesty and backpackers bloomers were    sadly over. I desperately needed some new clothes. The next three weeks saw me busy sewing. The design brief was a little more complex this year. Not only did the clothes have to be sustainable & plastic free, they had to be rather more dressy than I am used to because at Easter we were fulfilling a long held dream – to be in Seville for the Santa Semana and the Feria.

Santa Semana is a week of processions elaborately decorated floats are hauled through the streets, by teams of ‘costaleros’ (bearers) followed by hundreds of ‘nazarenos’ (penitents), many in pointy hoods looking very sinister. This is followed a couple of weeks later with a big party The Real de la Feria where people drink, dance and dress up. The “women wear the traditional “traje de gitano”, literally “gypsy outfits” or flamenco dresses, often in bright colors, and accessorized with matching/coordinating flower in hair, comb, jewelry, tasseled scarf/shawl and fan. Apparently the “dresses are pricey, but worth investing in if you’ll be coming back again – nothing makes you feel part of an event like being dressed appropriately”

Bugger! After nearly a year backpacking, preceded by a year living in a van I can truthfully claim that while all my outfits may well be representative of the modern-day gypsy none of them are fit for a party. This nomad wears khaki shorts, sludgy colored T-shirts (murky from repeated mixed washes) and the emergency muumuu for visiting Iran. Absolutely no bright colors or fringed shawls and definitely no frills.

All I have in my hair is twigs and bits of straw. I haven’t accessorized since my Jackie reading days.

But I am not investing in a dress. I can’t afford it and I would feel ridiculous. More importantly I am living within my fair share of fabric allowance so any clothes I get are going to have to last me the year. They have to theatrical enough for Seville yet practical enough for the U.K.
So I needed something dressy, theatrical yet practical, sustainable yet frivolous
Seville Wardrobe

Chiffon Shirt For the Feria the week-long party in Seville, I made a chiffon top. I know – get me…. in chiffon which I wore with the
The Ebay Fabric Jacket
Downton (Yorkshire Wool) Waistcoat
The Bombazine Skirt
I looked flamboyant at least.
Then back to rather less showy Huddersfield for what I thought was going to be a hot summer. There were a couple of hot and steamy weeks I sewed sleeveless frocks and cool skirts. Then the weather turned obvs! so I had to quickly put together some rather warmer shirts. And buy some T shirts to wear under them.
Had hoped to be back on the road by winter but it was not to be so I had to make a thick skirt that I can wear with wooly tights and leggings.

Natural Fibres

Socks, Vests & Tees
2 pairs of socks from Debenhams 45g each

1 wool homemade 73g
Black vest gifted 144g
Bought In Mostly Natural Fibres (label etc might not be)
White vest gifted 105g
New spotty top – Marks & Sparks 160g
2 no 3/4 sleeve T 156g each
grey vest 105g Marks & Sparks

Trousers
Denim Long Shorts 316g
Linen Pants 414g

Skirts
Wrap Skirt 249g
stripy cotton skirt gifted 231g
The Bombazine Skirt 541g
Corduroy Skirt 300g

Tunics & Tops
Wrap Shirt Lawn Chiffon
Wrap shirt 108g
Offset Tunic 157g
Tabbard Frock 149g
Choir Boy 132g
Liberty Lawn Shirt 96g
Vogue lawn top 110g
Woolen Tunic 288g
Jackets & Other stuff
Yorkshire Wool Waistcoat 178g
Ebay Woolen jacket 180g

Total 3.835

Regenerated Fibres

Bamboo is a regenerated fibre and falls somewhere between natural and synthetcic. Some biodegradae some do not. Bamboo is a form of regenerated fibre. Personally I dont like it but the socks were a gift. Read more here 

1 ankle socks bamboo skull & crossbones 45g

Synthetic Fibres
Huge circular skirt 243g
New Swim Top 75g

Total 318g

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…

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 ...
Read More

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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Where to buy

So you want to cut your plastic? Let’s start with …

Food

Try your local shops first. One of the joys of living plastic free is mooching round the local shops seeing what you can source. You might be suprised. Asian Supermarkets and Polish Delis are particularly good.

Here is a list of food types by category with purchase details

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.

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

Supermarkets & Chainstores 

Because sometimes we have to shop there and yes you can get plastic free and zero waste stuff

Lidles
Morrisons
Wilcos
Tescos 
Whole Food Market – if we have to have supermarkets let them be like this….
All supermarkets list of  packaging less products from Louises Bayfield and her  “POSTIVE PRODUCTS LIST (UK) a list of High Street and Supermar-ket products that have no packaging or in some way help reduce packaging.
Eating for a week, plastic-free, only from supermarkets  – a case study.
Supermarkets feedback
YOU WILL NEED TO TAKE YOUR OWN PACKAGING. Check out the plastic-free shopping kit here.

Milk 

Delivered in glass bottles but double check before you order

Other Products

Find the  plastic free products you want and the purchase details will be in the post.  You can search by search, or via these menus……
By Category Everything from food to watering cans to clothes


By Task Want to know how to wash the pots, throw a party or sew #plasticfree. Check out these posts organised by task!

Plastic free UK Directory

There are a number of on- line shops listed in the P-f U.K. directory.

Ask Plastic Free Bloggers  

Even though I travel a lot, I cannot cover the whole country! No, really! so I try to link up with as many plastic free bloggers as I can. They will have their own set of links and local resources. You can find them here. 

 Abroad

Shops and products we have used on our travels

Here is my plastic free tool kit…

a to z of plastic free Labels by task 2

Amazon

Finally, if you are still having trouble finding what you want, I have put together an Amazon online catalogue. Yes I know – please read the disclaimer

 

 

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Wasting away – how much rubbish do we create?

Whats new in the bin – check back here for updated rubbish factoids.

“Discarding many human-made items, from plastic straws to nuclear waste to nail polish, rank as events at the same space-time scale as massive earthquakes and global climate change. Since the 1930′s, humans have been making geological garbage.”
read whole article

Plastic Stats

Clothing Statistics – really this is no joke!

Clothes consumption has gone crazy. The introduction of cheap, synthetic fibres has meant that the price of new duds is ...
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Nappies, tampons and wet wipes – dirty!

Nappies The liner or topsheet - made of the plastic polymer polypropylene - sits next to the baby's skin and ...
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Disposing Of Plastic

In this post you can read about the many ways we dispose of plastic. Most plastics are made from oil ...
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Food Waste

Almost 50% of the total amount of food thrown away in the UK comes from our homes. We throw away ...
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Plastic Trash By Country

Since the 1950s, one billion tons of plastic have been discarded. During the first year, sales of Coca-Cola averaged nine ...
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Disposing of plastic – Corrupt

On some servers this post is corrupted. Please follow the link to the replacement ...
Read More

Weee / Electronic Waste

Between now and the end of 2020, WRAP estimates that electronic products purchased in the UK will total around 10 ...
Read More

Latest waste stats

A staggering eight million metric tones of  are discharged into the oceans each year from the world’s 192 coastal countries, according to an international study published in the journal Science in February, which was based on 2010 data.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-12-spanish-fishermen-sea-bounty-plastic.html#jCp

April 18, 2008 and the Ocean Conservancy released a report based on their beach cleanup efforts. On one day 380000 volunteers picked up six million pounds of rubbish data sheets ahowing rubbish break down by type location and source are available to download

Each year 400,000 tonnes of carpet waste is buried in UK landfill
*Based on the Carpet Recycling UK annual survey in 2013 which collected self-reported figures from carpet recyclers throughout the UK and an estimate of incineration of carpets by local authorities.

Carpets are made from natural and synthetic fibres, which still have a value once the carpet is no longer wanted; they can be used in a wide range of applications from sports surfaces to insulation.

Carpet Recycling UK is a not for profit membership association working to increase the recycling of carpet waste across the UK

The 2.5 billion synthetic cups thrown away in Britain every year are made from a mixture of materials which prevents them from being recycled alongside paper and cardboard. Daily Mail

A report conducted jointly by the Alliance for Environmental Innovation and Starbucks found that 1.9 billion cups were used by Starbucks in 2000.[5] In 2006, Starbucks reported that this figure had grown to 2.3 billion cups for use at their stores.[6]

http://sustainabilityissexy.com/facts.ht…

At the University of Washington, a college of roughly 42 thousand students, the Housing and Food Services Department estimates that 5000 paper coffee cups are thrown away every school day.
http://sustainabilityissexy.com/facts.ht…

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Plastics – a big list of the different types of plastic

Plastics can be made in a variety of ways from a variety of materials; shale gas, oil, plants even chicken feathers can all be used to make plastic.
However oil derived plastics are the most common.
Plastics are created from single units combined in a variety of ways. This process is called polymerisation. Different combinations result in different products and there are hundreds of them.
Plastics can be used to make everything from varnish to stockings, bottles to car parts by way of varnish, crisp packets and computers.
Most plastics do not biodegrade and last for centuries possibly for ever.
But then there are other plastics that are truly compostable with a lifespan of months and dissolve in the dishwasher.

Confused? Find out more here  What is plastic -an introduction.
Don’t know your P.E.T.s from your polymers?  Check out this collection of definitions essential for understanding plastic!

A List Of Plastics

Click on the name to find out more

Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene -BOPP when polypropylene  is biaxially oriented, it becomes Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene -BOPP the crisp crystal clear stuff used for greeting cards, the plastic wrapping round boxes of tea etc.  It is easy to coat, print and laminate to give the required appearance and properties for use as a packaging material.
Bioplastics are made from plants rather than oil.
Bio- degradable /Degradable Plastic has  additives to make it bio-degrade or maybe compostable plastic!
Cellophane is one of the first plastics. Proper cellophane is plant derived and biodegradable. However the term is often applied to a petroleum derived product.
Compostable Plastic  has been certified compostable and can naturally biodegrade such as PLA plastic.
Degradable plastics – with added chemicals to make them break down more quickly.
Ethane derived plastics – ethane comes from plants, oil coal and gas
Halogenated Plastics include

    • Chlorine based plastics:
    • Chlorinated polyethylene (CPE)
    • Chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC)
    • Chlorosulfonated polyethylene (CSPE)
    • Polychloroprene (CR or chloroprene rubber, marketed under the brand name of Neoprene)
    • PVC
    • Fluorine based plastics:
    • Fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP)

These are known as the poison plastics are carcinogens are produced when they are made and ageing when they are disposed of.

HDPE- High-density polyethylene plastic code 2  Used to carrier bags, toys, bottle s and a whole load of other stuff.  

LDPE- Low density polyethylene plastic code 4  used to make everything from soft clear bags to parts that need to be weldable and machinable

Nylon is often associated with the fabric of the same name but can be used to make all manner of things from fibre to  moulded objects.

Polyethylene (polythene) derived from ethane.

      • High-density polyethylene (HDPE)
      • LDPE- Low density polyethylene plastic code 4
      • Cross-linked polyethylene (PEX or XLPE)
      • Medium-density polyethylene (MDPE)
      • Linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE)
      • Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) 
      • Very-low-density polyethylene (VLDPE)


PLA a plastic derived from poly lactic acid that is certified a compostable plastic. Fact Sheet or all posts

Polyethylene terephthalat PET or PETE plastic code 1 most often used for making fibers and bottles

Polyurethanes  can be used to make almost anything from cushions to varnish. Used to make  flexible foam in upholstered furniture and rigid foam such as shoe soles. It also comes in a fluid form in  varnishes, adhesives and  sealants.

Polypropylene PP plastic code 5  is used to make ropes, thermal underwear, carpets, plastic parts and reusable containers of various types. Used in the automobile and construction industries, some car battery casings, oil funnels, and plastic drinking straws, laboratory equipment, loudspeakers, automotive components, and polymer banknotes.

Polystyrene – PS  plastic code 6 disposable (ha!) products to food packaging like fast food clamshells, meat trays, protective packaging  and loose fill peanuts. Difficult to recycle.

Polytetrafluoroethylene  (PTFE) is a synthetic non stick coating for cookware to armoured bullets. It is an efficient lubricant and can kill budgies. Check it out.

Polyvinyl chloride PVC  plastic code 3  PVC is known as the “poison plastic” because of the lethal chemicals produced during its manufacture and possibly again when disposed of.

 Silicon and silicone rubber– Plastic? Rubber? Just plain weird? Used for everything  from ice-cube trays to adult toys to cake tins it certainly gets around. So what is silicone??

The main polymers in use are

      • polyethylene,
      • polypropylene,
      • polyvinyl chloride,
      • polyethylene terephthalate,
      • polystyrene,
      • polycarbonate,
      • polyeurothene
      • poly(methyl methacrylate) (Plexiglas).

According to Wikkipedia they account for ” nearly 98% of all polymers”. Wikkipeida

Most of the plastic products we use are derived from these polymers with alternative plastics accounting for the rest.

Most of the base components for these polymers are derived from oil.

Why Do Some Plastics Have Numbers?

Plastic codes are the number you find on some plastics to identify the polymers used. There are many more plastics than numbers and new plastics are being made all the time. Find out more here

 Brand Names

 

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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:

  1. You don’t like that hormone inhibitors and toxic chemicals can leach from plastic packaging into your food,
  2. You hate plastic pollution,
  3. 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

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. You can get them here and here.

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.

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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Fruit & Vegetables

There are several options
Buy fresh loose at a shop or supermarket.
Vegetable/Fruit Box – where seasonal produce is delivered to your door
Visit a pick you own farm
Grow some
Foraged
Frozen
Dried

Huddersfield

Things to do with fruit

Buy


If you are lucky enough to still have a green grocer do support them and buy your veg there.
Weekly markets are another good option.
If not many supermarkets do sell some veg unpackaged.

BUT when you commit to buy unpackaged, your choice may (will!)  be  reduced. Often  soft fruits like strawberries are almost impossible to find unpackaged and you have to wait till Summer and pick your own. Organic produce is very often packed in plastic to make sure no one tries to pass it off as cheaper non-organic. Sometimes you may have to choose between packaged, fair-trade or unpackaged, not. You have to decide which criteria are more important to you.
Bearing in mind all the above, It is possible to have a varied diet – but you may not be able to have what you want whenever you want. If you choose to buy local fruit in season you will find it tastes better, is more likely to come unpackaged and, in the case of fruit,  less likely to be waxed. In short be flexible, buy local(ish), see what is on offer and think what you can with that.

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

Fruit & Veg Boxes

A vegetable box scheme is an operation that delivers fresh fruit and vegetables to your door. Their are plenty of schemes produce to choose from. Some are small scale organisations but there are a few nationwide operators, many guarantee  locally grown produce, others concentrate on organic. Generally you pay a fixed monthly sum and get what is in season,  some offer a limited choice. But there are new suppliers popping up all the time with different options.
Packaging is often reduced but there will be some. Do check before you choose a scheme.
This Indépendant article on the 7 best schemes is useful read. You can also ask the Plastic Is Rubbish group for tips.

Pick Your Own

Go to the farm and pick your own. Most of them do fruit- usually soft fruit, but some also do vegetable. Find one near you with this great farm finder website.

Grow 

Its easy and fun. You can start with basil in a pot perhaps a few lettuces in a window box or get yourself and allotment. However big or small your project nothing beats home grown fresh food.

Foraged 

Check out mother natures bounty – nettles, elderberries and blackberries are free, wild and so almost certainly organic.

Frozen  

you can buy  frozen fruit & veg loose from these suppliers  

Dried Fruit

Sometimes whats on offer is so boring you might want to turn to dried fruit. There are a few places you can buy  dried fruit loose and unpackaged. Try the loose food list

More

Waxed Fruit

Wax is added to fruit to make it last longer and /or look better. Coatings manufacturers guard their trade secrets and are tight-lipped about their ingredients. There is a big science in wax coatings. Fruit wax can be either natural, like carnuba wax, or they can be petroleum based. Some are also coated in shellac resin which is secreted by the female lac beetle. A lot of vegans are very vocal about this, as it is an animal based product being sprayed on produce. Read more here….

Soft Fruits Huddersfield  
Summer, a time for soft fruit strawberries raspberries and blackcurrants. Hurrah….but of course they all pre-packed in plastic tubs. We are lucky – we do have an allotment and do grow our own. But what with the slugs and the greedy guests we never quite have enough to see us through so we on a hot, sunny weekend we drive off to our local pick you own farm Bently Grange
Find one near you with this great farm finder website.

Urban Harvest 
Urban Harvest, Leeds: This group harvests unwanted apples and juices them. You can join in or just buy the juice. More details here
Abundance, York is a similar urban harvesting project but it gives the fruit to community groups.
It “identifies fruit growing that would otherwise go to waste, and redistributes it to charities or community groups that will make good use of it.

Fantastic Things To Do With Fruit

Got a glut? Over picked at the farm? Storing seasonal fruit for the hard times ahead? Here are some things you can do:

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Bad plastic – Introduction

Most plastics are oil derived and non biodegradable. Which means plastics last for decades, centuries possibly forever. We are using this everlasting product to make items that are used once and then discarded. Items that end up as litter.

This is an introduction to the darker side of plastic with links to more information on the following. Read on or jump to your subject of interest via the menu on the right.

Bad Plastic-  An Introduction

Over the past few years it has been growing on me an ever-increasing hatred of plastic. This may seem an unreasonable reaction to a product that is strong, lightweight and waterproof all at once, that houses my computer and stops the electricity from running out of my plugs. O.k. I don’t hate all plastic what I actually hate is the abuse of plastic. I hate the way this incredibly versatile product is used to make stupid trashy one use items that quickly become everlasting rubbish.

 What is plastic?

Most plastics (and we are talking millions of tons each year) are distilled from oil.

Ethane (one of main ingredients of plastic) can also be obtained from coal, gas and plants as well as oil.
Naptha and ethane derived plastic are non-biodegradable plastics.

There are (a very small percentage of) other plastics with different qualities but most plastics are oil derived and non biodegradable.

Read more here…

How much rubbish?

Because oil derived plastics are cheap, plentiful and versatile we use them for just about everything including one use throwaway objects and packaging. In the UK alone we generate 3 million tonnes of plastic waste annually, 56% of which is used packaging, three-quarters of which is from households. (waste on line)

We, all of us, are creating huge amounts of rubbish which is extremely expensive to dispose of.

Everlasting trash

Because most plastics  do not biodegrade plastic lasts for a long time  possibly for ever. It cannot be composted or left to rot where it is dropped or dumped like organic rubbish. Every bit of plastic rubbish has to be collected up and specially disposed of… and this isn’t easy.

Burning it at best adds to global warming, at worst can release extremely toxic chemicals. It has to be done with care.
Put it in landfills and it just sits there.
Recycling is not always an option and it comes at a cost

Read more here

 Plastic Litter

We use plastic for fast food packaging, sweet wrappers and disposable cups – things that are used for minutes before being discarded. Things that end up as litter… but because it is made out of plastic, has a  huge life span. We have created everlasting litter that is increasing exponentially with distressing consequences.

Planet trashed 

Perhaps the most obvious problem with plastic is our plastic trashed planet looks extremely ugly. Visit our gallery of world-wide plastic pollution to see the evidence.

Planet Damaged
This everlasting litter is not just a visual blight but dangerous too.Plastic pollution is damaging our world.

  • Drainage systems get blocked with plastic causing flooding,
  • layers of plastic trash choke grasslands and lakes
  • rivers and waterways get clogged with plastic debris.


Sea of rubbish 

Since the ocean is downstream, much of the plastic trash generated on land ends up there. ” It has been estimated that 6.4 million tons of debris end up in the world’s oceans every year and that some 60 to 80 percent of that debris, or 3.8 to 5 million tons, is improperly discarded plastic litter “. Encyclopedia Brittanica.  Marine debris, a polite term for mostly plastic trash, is already a huge and troubling problem.

  • Everyday tons of trash gets washed ashore and cleaning beaches is increasingly expensive.
  • 70 percent of discarded plastic sinks to the bottom, smothering the sea bed and the bottom feeders who live there.
  • Fish and sea birds ingest plastic which can kill them.
  • Read more here

 Micro pollution

Traditional plastics degrade rather than biodegrade, which means they simply break up and fall apart into smaller pieces. The plastic has not changed its structure as such – merely fragmented. And it seems the process can continue indefinitely. Particles of plastic of 20 microns in diameter (a width thinner than a human hair) have been identified.

Sources of micro plastics are
Degraded plastic – larger plastic products breaking down into smaller pieces
Cosmetic products that  contain tiny plastic beads which are washed off and washed out to sea.
Synthetic clothing that release thousands of plastic fibres every wash.
Read more here

Killer Plastic

Plastic in the environment presents a danger to animals in a number of ways.They eat plastic trash mistaking it for food which causes internal damage and blockages.Even if the plastic doesn’t kill them outright a diet of plastic is nutrition free. Animals that eat plastic are underdeveloped and underweight.The chemicals in plastic can poison them.Many get tangled in plastic twine and ghost fishing nets and starve to death.

Find details and reports here.

Plastic Poisons.

The first stage in plastic production, the polymerisation of raw material.
Then substances such as fillers and chemicals (sometimes called monomeric ingredients), are added to give color, texture and a whole range of other qualities.

Manufacturers are not obliged to reveal what they use in their plastic mixes. So while the polymers used in base plastics are mostly considered to be harmless, the potential toxicity of the additives is often unknown.

It is claimed that many of the additives used have not been passed as fit for human consumption and that more research needs to be done on the safe handling and ultimate disposal of these plastics.

More worrying still they leach from plastic into us.

Other plastics like PVC will, when burnt, release dioxin one of the most powerful carcinogens known.

Plastic particles attract persistent organic Pollutants (POPs). POPs are a small set of toxic chemicals that remain intact in the environment for long periods and accumulate in the fatty tissues of animals. Bottom feeders eat the plastic pellets and so the POPs enter the food chain.

Costs

To add insult turns out plastic isn’t even that cheap!

To conclude

So while plastic is a fantastic product with many wonderful applications, it has a dark side. Using to make one use disposable and short-life items that quickly end up as everlasting rubbish seems incredibly foolhardy. Which is why I cut unnecessary plastic from my life.

Here is my plastic free tool kit…

a to z of plastic free Labels by task 2

All Posts

Plastic Costs A Lot

According to some "the environmental cost, including carbon pollution released during production [of plastic], is staggering ...
Read More

Bring back real litter!

Since the introduction of plastic, litter has been hijacked and turned into something unsustainable. I want to ...
Read More

Plastic Chemicals & Food

Plastic packed food is unappealing in many ways. For me the most immediate problem is ...
Read More

Micro-plastics & pollution

Micro plastics are microscopic or very small pieces of plastic that can be found in ...
Read More

Dirty Beaches, Polluted Sea

Most plastics are oil derived and non biodegradable. Which means plastics last for decades, centuries ...
Read More

Persistant Organic Pollutants

I was under the impression that pops was some kind of horrid Yorkshire dish involving ...
Read More

Chemicals & Additives In Plastic

The first stage in plastic production, the polymerisation of raw material. Then substances such as ...
Read More

Everlasting Litter

Because plastic is so cheap we use it for just about everything. The world’s annual ...
Read More

Wasting away – how much rubbish do we create?

Whats new in the bin - check back here for updated rubbish factoids. "Discarding many ...
Read More

Plastic Trash By Country

Since the 1950s, one billion tons of plastic have been discarded. During the first year, ...
Read More

Plastic kills and injures animals

Plastic in the environment presents a danger to animals in a number of ways. First ...
Read More

Dioxins & Burning plastic

So, is it safe to burn plastic? Well most plastics don't  burn easily - it melts and ...
Read More
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Meat & Fish

You want flesh…. you want it now. Sadly you are not a Zombie so you  have to use the normal channels.
Shops – where so much of the meat comes plastic packed. So what to do?

First find some unpacked meat or fish.
Sadly butchers and fish mongers are becoming rarer and I would urge you to support your local shop if you have one. Need to find a butcher – try this site.
But if you don’t a lot a supermarkets have fish and meat counters.

Having sourced the meat you now have 2 options

Bring your own reusable container or tub
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 them for ages and there is lots of wear in them 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.
You can get metal or glass dishes and use those instead. Glass is heavy so I would recommend metal dishes.

Disposable Bags


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. Their argument is if there was a bug in the tub that made you sick, their product might be blamed.
Keep calm and read on.
After being turned away from a supermarket meat counter I decided to see what they did in Modbury the plastic bag free town. Modbury is as as I am sure you know, the first town in the UK to go plastic bag free. I spoke to the lovely Simon Wilkinson – the Modbury butcher. He told me he used biodegradable  corn starch bags made from PLA plastic  -made from vegetables they are fully compostable.
So I went online and got myself some 6 litre bio bags, the right size for a medium size chicken.

Buy 

Since then compostable PLA bags have become available everywhere. You can buy them in most supermarkets and there are lots of online shops to choose from. There are more details here on what bag to buy and from where.

Disposing Of Bags

I recommend finding reuses for your disposable packaging, (for example using the bio bags to line your compost bin). And then I compost them.

NB Some say that PLA plastic bags do not break down in home compost bins. THEY ARE WRONG. We have used and composted bio bags for years now.

More
Need to find a butcher – try this site.
Other plastic free packaging
Find out lots more about compostable plastic here