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October

Because plastic is too scary – even for Halloween

Whhhooo oooo

Yes its time for spooks, ghouls and zombies to take to the streets and beg sweets.  We have put together a few tips to cut the plastic horror that results. Included are…

  • Get,(or make), some fabric trick or treat bags to take out with you – not to my house obvs.
  • Buy plastic-free sweets for when the ghouls come calling.
  • Use compostable, disposable partyware
  • Make a reusable, burlap witches hat .
  • make your own costumes

Check out the How To Halloween Plastic Free page for details. And please do add your own grisly finds and ghastly zero waste ideas  ….. love Hollies mushed beetroot brains!

 

This Year

see what we got up to the rest of the year right HERE

 

Updates

Compostable Coffe Cups

Look out for the lovely green van. Maybe you can hire it for your events. Not sure. You will have to contact them. As well as a great vehicle they are using compostable disposables. Mmmmmm.
London based
We’re a new mobile catering company coming soon! We’ll be serving excellent artisan coffee and bites out of our gorgeous vintage wagon!
Thanks to @BiopacLtd for our compostable coffee cups & other packaging! #TheWackaWagonCo http://www.TheWackaWagonCo.com

Straw Wars

All Bar One
Are cutting plastic straws…..
It’s simple really, over the next year we’re going to reduce our straw usage by a third.
Don’t worry you can still sip away merrily on our delicious cocktails and soft drinks, and for those crushed ice cocktails we’ll be offering replacement eco-friendly options.
So why does this matter to us? Our own research show just how many straws are in use and in turn, creating an environmental problem. To give you a snapshot of just how many straws we use at All Bar One:
Straws are served in 25% of our drinks
An average of 1,600 straws a week in each bar (about 13,000 a day as a brand)
We purchase 4.7 million straws a year
We need your help, we can’t make this happen without you, the change starts with how you enjoy your drinks and we ask that when you do, you don’t ask for a straw. Let’s all work towards making a difference and get rid of plastic straws for good.
We’re also calling on other bars to join the pledge and get involved in the #StrawsSuck movement.

Check out the website HERE

Weatherspoons
Are also giving up straws for new year.
From January 2018, Wetherspoon chains will no longer automatically put plastic straws in their drinks, instead using only biodegradable paper straws. The pub chain claims this will stop 70 million plastic straws from heading to landfills or finding their way into the ocean, where they can cause damage to all kinds of sealife. The plan is part of a massive campaign called Refuse the Straw, which urges pub chains and restaurants to stop handing out plastic straws willy-nilly.

Read more
HERE

If you really need a straw, there are some options here – reusable or compostable. Read more.

Some more loose food here…

Hi, I have a stall on Northampton Market every Tuesday and Wednesday doing “Scoop and Save Herbs Seeds and Spices” where I encourage folk to bring their own jars, otherwise it’s a resealable reusable freezer bag…

Apples

October is the time for apple harvesting. If you don’t have your own tree you could try a PYO farm. There are hundreds of orchards offering this in the southern counties, rather fewer up here in the north.Check out this great farm finder website

Urban Harvest

Otherwise you coud get involved in some of the urgan harvest programs. They pick and distibute unwanted fruit. Abundance in Manchester is one such. From the website…

“A mature garden fruit tree produces more than the average family can eat. And at the same time there are lots of people in our city not able to access fresh food.

Abundance Manchester is a voluntary project which picks surplus or unwanted fruit from gardens and public trees around South Manchester and distributes it to local groups and communities who can use it. We also collect and distribute surplus vegetables from allotments.”

I have listed a couple more here.

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2017 August

Summer and it’s time for high tea with

Strawberry jam and scones
First pick your strawberries. Unless you have been super organised and grown some, you will need to visit a pick your own farm. Find a PYO farm here ….
Now you can make some jam. I know you can get it in glass jars but the lids are plastic lined. Jam recipe here

And Cucumber Sandwiches
Cakes can be tricky but Asian stores and Polish delis often stock the smaller kind.

And then of course you need a nice cup of tea…
What’s in your tea bag? Paper and tea? you wish! Most teabags contain one or more
Plastic
Thermoplastics
Epichlorohydrin
And have been chlorine bleached.
There are plastic free teabags but they often come plastic packed.
And yet in a strange twist of fate you can get conventional tea bags that contain plastic in compostable packaging.

Read up about it here.

After which you will no longer want to use a conventional tea bag ever again. And you will have to be super rich to afford the cleaner greener alternatives even if you can find them in plastic free packaging. And please let me if you do.
So what to do when you want a nice cup of tea?
Loose leaves are the way forward. But how to steep them? If you are brewing up for the WI, a teapot is fine but what when you want a quick cuppa for one?
You can get cotton bags that you can use to make your own teabags but really who can be bothered with that kind of faff.

I have found that a steel mesh single cup infuser works perfectly. It sits on your mug, you fill it with loose tea, let the brew, brew then remove. Really no effort at all and very easy to empty into the compost bin after. Mine was given as a gift but I have found something similar on Amazon

Fun In The Sun

Don’t forget if you are going out berry picking to slap on some sun block.
Sun protection even on cloudy days is vital. But dont listen to me, have a look at www.skincancer.org website an invaluable source that should be read by everyone. Though you might find yourself spending the rest of Summer cowering in a cellar coming out only after dark after doing so.
But educate yourself and you can enjoy the sun sensibly.

More

There is lots more information about sun protection here. Do read up before you decide to make your own.

Oily Sun Tan Lotion

The following information is for guidance only. None of the following recipes or tips have not been tested on anyone other than me. I strongly advise you do your own research and proceed very carefully as sunburn is not only painful and aging but dangerous.

I have been mixing up sun tan lotion using zinc from home with rice bran oil bought in a Thai supermarket.
It chose an oil in a plastic bottle but there is a reason for that. On the island we are staying I have seen several points where plastic bottles are collected for recycling and none for glass. I have seen a lot of glass bottles piled up round the bins. Judging by the dust and weeds they have been there a long time. So I while I could have got coconut oil in a glass jar, I chose rice bran in a PET plastic bottle. principals are fine but not if they add to everlasting waste trashing up this island. And glass also lasts forever, is heavy and costs a lot to transport. PET plastic bottles are easy to recycle. They are the plastic most often collected by litter pickers because they have a value.
So I chose to buy one big plastic bottle of oil because it is most likely to be disposed of “properly”.

I added the zinc to oil to make lotion which so far seems to be working. You can see my recipe here. making your own sunblock

Rest Of The Oil
It was a very big bottle so I used some more oil to make
suntan lotion you can see my recipe here.
It can also be used to make

After sun lotion
I don’t believe all the hype about essential oils. That said it seems that lavender essential really might help with burns. And it is grown locally in Yorkshire. So I use lavender oil added to a carrier oil to make a soothing after sun lotion.

Mosquito repellent
I also use citronella essential oil mixed in a carrier oil as a mosquito repellent. I don’t know if it really works by which I don’t know if it repels Mosquitos. I feel it does and it certainly seems to soothe bites and reduce irritation. Obviously mosquitos present a real risk of malaria and you should consider your options very carefully before you proceed with this option.

Essential oils
Essential oils are resource hungry, have a large environmental footprint and should only be used on special occasions.
You can read more here

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2017 June

Hello there. We are now in Japan where it is suprisingly green. Lots more trees than I expected. We are travelling round in a carvan. That is a car big enough to have a fixed bed in the back but no more. It came with a little camp stove and some bowls. We are staying in rest stops. These are car parks with toilets where you can sleep the night for free. It’s fanatastic but its not a campsite and cooking has to be quick and discrete. And there are no pot washing facilities.Or showers come to that. It’s an interesting experience. More of which later.

In the meantime…..

New Kid On The Blog

Sarah from Devon blogs about living plastic free in this lovely part of the world. Read about it here.

Leighton Buzzard

Read this great write up of shopping for packaging free products in Leighton Buzzard. Everything from brushes to beer refills. Thanks to Vicky and her great blog

 

Tea Bag Update

Some interesting news about tea bags. Seems that they can be made from compostable materials after all. As I’m sure you know, conventional teabags contain non-biodegradable plastic but some companies are bucking this trend.

@pukkaherbs
Nope, our tea bag paper is made of a special blend of natural abaca (a type of banana) and plant cellulose fibres. And no other packaging either according to twitter users.

But sadly not completely true.  “The paper used to make the tea sachets (envelopes) does have a Polyethylene lamination. We are working on a recyclable solution as we speak”.

oh dear.

And this from Twinings Few things in life are as fresh and delicious tasting as loose leaf tea – or as simple and convenient as the teabag. The good news is, our pyramid shaped silk teabags let you enjoy the best of both worlds. We call them silky pyramids – although the bag is in fact made from a manmade, biodegradable fabric. Looking through the prism-shaped mesh, you can see the beautiful whole dried leaves of tea or colourful buds, where they’ve got just the right amount of room to swirl about in the hot water and release their flavour.

You can read more here.

Sounds good right. Hold your horses… sadly the rest of the packaging for the tea bag is plastic and very much so. A reply on twitter tells me Our pyramid envelopes are made from PET 12um / Polyethylene EVOH 60um which unfortunately is not recyclable.

One step forward!

Which is strange because Twinings do conventional teabags ( made form plastic) in compostable packaging. Or at least they used to.

Twinings Tea recently announced they will be using a compostable packaging for their Everyday tea line in the UK. The packaging is made from Innovia’s Natureflex NM material. http://www.sustainableisgood.com/blog/2009/02/twiningstea.html

Could they not combine the two to make a completely compostable product?

In the meantime it’s back to loose tea…

How Much Plastic

Myself  and others form the PLastic Is Rubbish Facebook group will be tracking our plastic consumption for a show and tell at the end of the month. This is not a competition or one upmanship but an out of interest kind of project. Feel free to join in. Don’t need to do it for a month, a week or a day will do.
Post at the end of the month, each week or whenever works for you. A list, photos, total weight however you want to record it. Post them in the plastic Is Rubbish group with the hashtag #myplastictrash.

Any other ideas on how to organise such a project greatly welcomed as I am talking off the top of my head here.
I can tell you now mine is going to be dreadful. I am in Japan and everything comes plastic packed!

Plastic Free June

Want to really cut your plastics? Then this  is a great campaign organised by the Marine Conservation Society (MCSUK).The MSCUK is a UK charity “that cares for our seas, shores and wildlife”.

The Plastic Challenge takes place every year in the U.K. in June.It is organized by the

The MSCUK “have a vision of a world where plastics don’t end up in our seas and on our beaches, where they persist and impact our marine life.”
So they challenge you to give up single use plastics for a month (June), and get sponsored whilst doing it. The money goes to support MSCUK projects which are many and very worthwhile.

You can read more about it here

Giving Away

Getting ready for our next giveaway. Plastic free loo roll, and tissues and kitchen wipes. In a big cardboard box. Wahey!
Is from a company called Greencane 
They make tissue products and will be giving away a
 Mixed Box
a cardboard box, containing

32 Rolls of Toilet Paper
(8 packs of 4 rolls)
6 Rolls of Paper Towels
(3 packs of 2 rolls)
3 Boxes Facial Tissues

The products come in individually wrapped packs.
All the packaging was paper, card and or cellophone.
The cellophane is certified  as commercially compostable.
Delivered to your door in a cardboard box from their Brighton warehouse.
There may be some plastic tape on the box but they are working on that!
Anyone trying to live a plastic free life will know what good news this is!
I have reviewed these produce – you can read my review here

So call back soon to enter the giveaway!

Buy

Can’t wait? For lots more info and to order products  visit the website

Composting Plastic At Home
FYI While most agree that some  plastics are indeed compostable, many say that they can only composted in large scale municipal schemes. I have used and composted a number of compostable plastic products 

Biodegradable, Compostable Plastics

What is biodegradable? Biodegradable products break down through a naturally occurring microorganism into simple, stable compounds which can be absorbed into the ecosystem. More about biodegrading here

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. Read more about compostable plastics here

More Info

And you might like these other health & hygiene posts.

Packer Tracker

In Japan where thanks this super cool website I know can I drink the water. It’s the only thing I can get plastic free!

 

Plastic Pollution

Saw and photographed some dreadful instances of #plasticpollution in India. You can see all our dirty pictures here on our Planet Trash FB page. Its why we travel plasticfree. You can see our plastic free backpack, find out where we are and link to other travel related posts here

Sign Up
There are now so many plastic free petitions I am now listing them on a separate page. as you already have your pen out, 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

You can read about other campaigns and campaigners here.

Product Of The Month

With summer coming it has to be fake bake lotion – of course! No point waiting for the British summer. Tan yourself . How to make your own fake bake and does it really work?

Rest Of The Year

See the plastic free diary here.