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Sponge Cloth Biodegradable

Oh joy – just sourced some plastic free sponge cloths. I love these things. Sponge cloths are  extremely porous and great for wiping up water. Plus they dry really quickly. I love my cotton dish cloth – but it can get a bit whiffy in damp weather. Especially living in the van when it doesn’t  ever really dry out.

But up until now sponge cloths have been made from synthetic fibres and packed in plastic. Which we won’t use.

Not these from If You Care. They are made from 70% Cellulose and 30% unbleached non-GMO cotton. Cellulose and cotton are both biodegradable so when you are done they can go straight on the compost heap.

Better still the packaging is made from  100% compostable PLA-biopolymer derived from corn starch. Tis is  fully compostable plastic. On the pack it says that this is certified compostable by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) and compostable in commercial composting facilities. Just to let you know I compost a wide range of PLA products in my own compost bin.

They are machine washable up to 300 times. And of course being biodegradable, they don’t shed nasty plastic microfibres like synthetic cloths do. (Washing synthetic fabrics and clothing  releases millions of microscopic plastic fibers. These are then discharged into sewage system and ultimately out to sea. Some are ingested by sea creatures).

Washing synthetic fabrics and clothing also releases millions of microscopic plastic fibers. These are then discharge into sewage system and ultimately out to sea.

Buy Online

You can buy them online from Big Green Smile

If You Care do a lot of great kitchen products packed in cardboard packaging, including natural greaseproof paper.

In a shop

Unicorn in Chorlton, Manchester, sell something similar but in cardboard packaging.

More

See all the plasticfree cleaning products we have sourced, right here

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Glitter biodegradable

Yes you can get biodegradable glitter and this Etsy company sell it in compostable packaging. Yay!

Overview
Handmade item
Materials: Biodegradable Film, Certified as Compostable, Compost Home Certified, ISO 17088 2212, EN13432, ASTM D6400

And the bags and packaging it comes in are biodegradable too.

You can buy from EcoEquinox A U.K. Based seller.

More

Read more about compostable plastics HERE

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Vegware – compostable fast-food disposables

Vegware is the UK’s first and only completely compostable packaging company. Vegware is forging and leading its own new sector – combining environmental products and sustainable waste management for a zero waste foodservice sector
 
 What we do to combat the problems presented by plastic over use:
You can’t recycle food with plastic in it, and you can’t recycle plastic with food on it. Vegware’s comprehensive range of eco packaging is made from renewable or recycled plant based material and is completely compostable. So unlike most foodservice packaging, Vegware can be simply recycled after use.

All Vegware has independent compostability certification to prove it can break down in under 12 weeks. Once food waste and disposables share one bin, the little that’s left is cleaner and easier to recycle. That’s why in foodservice; compostable packaging is the key to recycling everything!

Vegware’s range of over 200 completely compostable products include many award-winning innovations resulting from Vegware’s active R&D programme, such as hot cup lids, double wall cups, high-heat cutlery, soup containers and the gourmet box.

 Vegware’s in-house Recycling Consultant offers clients full recycling support and tailored Eco-Audits supporting CSR by quantifying carbon savings by the kilo for every order. In 2013, Vegware’s UK customers saved 925 tonnes of carbon – that’s like cancelling out the carbon from 578 flights from London to New York!  And Vegware’s free service www.foodwastenetwork.org.uk helps any UK business find local food waste recycling. Let Vegware help you go zero waste!

Links:

www.vegware.com
https://www.facebook.com/vegware
https://twitter.com/vegware
http://www.pinterest.com/vegware/

www.foodwastenetwork.org.uk

More

Vegware were kind enough to let us sample some of their products. You can read our review of them here

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 bowls biodegradable

For the plastic free pooch in your life, a biodegradable plastic food bowl!

becobowl

“Eco-friendly and functional, Becothings are tough and durable. The Becobowl is dishwasher safe and will last for years in the home – when you are done, simply drill a few holes in the bottom and bury it in a flowerbed! Because Becothings are made from waste waste rice husks and sustainably grown bamboo, land is not being taken away from food production to make them (phew!). They are made from 80% plant material and the rest is amino-acid resin – they will break down in a few years once they are underground”


They also do scoops, hoops and bones in the same material.

you can buy them and loads more ethical pet supplies from Ethical Pets, a locally owned, on-line company run by Joey and Anna.

Check out the mission statement…

We sell Recyclable & Recycled; Vegan & Vegetarian; Biodegradable & Degradable; Non-tested; Non Toxic; Certified Organic & non-GM; High-Welfare; Fairly Traded & Made in the UK, Low Carbon & Sustainable pet products.

We make ethical shopping easy and enjoyable.

We always provide balanced and honest information about the products that we sell.

We want to raise the profile of ethical pet products.

We will always try and provide the best possible customer service.

Whats not to like? I almost want to get a pet…

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Cardboard Cups & Pots

So you find what looks like a cardboard container full of yummy ice cream or you see that your favourite coffee shop does paper cups. You remember something about waxed paper. Hooray.
STOP
To make paper or cardboard water proof, they are laminated with polyethylene, a plastic resin. These products are in effect very thin plastic containers reinforced.

Other Issues
cardboard containers are made from virgin wood because there are major problems using recycled paper. Regulations are strict about what materials you can use to package food and drink and recycled paper isn’t strong enough.

Recycling
Because these cups are made from paper and plastic they are difficult to recycle. The parts have to separated. Though this can be done it is a complex procedure which adds to the cost of the recycled product.
many recyclers say that they don’t recycle paper cups. Though some claim to. It’s a murkey scenario at best.

Compostable Alternatives
There are compostable cardboard products for food on the market. They are lined with a clear, certified-compostable, cornstarch plastic (PLA).
Vegware for example do a full range.
But  there would need to be far more, large scale municipal composting schemes for this to be a properly effective answer but can check out this rather sweet cup to compost scheme here.

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.

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 

More

Fooled again? Check out the lesser known sneaky plastics 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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Disposable Cups

Disposable cups are made from plastic lined paper, polystyrene or plastic.

To make paper cups water proof they are laminated with polyethylene, a plastic resin.

Sustainability is Sexy claim that paper cups are made from virgin wood because there are major problems making paper coffee cups  from recycled paper. Regulations are strict about what materials you can use to package food and drink and  recycled paper isn’t strong enough.

We use a lot of disposable cups.

Here are some figures. As you can see, cup waste is huge!

Stats

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]

And just recently the Guardian reported that “A conservative estimate puts the number of paper cups handed out by coffee shops in the UK at 3bn, more than 8m a day. Yet, supposedly, fewer than one in 400 is being recycled.”

According to the paper industry, Americans will consume an estimated 23 billion paper coffee cups in 2010. Rob Martin, the Vice President of Merchandising and Production for Tully’s Coffee, estimated the 2006 use usage at 16 billion paper cups.[4]

Some Solutions

Polystyrene & Plastic

Why anyone would want to drink out of a polystyrene cup is beyond me. The drinks taste horrid which many be due to the nasty chemicals that go into polystyrene. Plastic cups too are awful. Flimsy and tacky.

Polystyrene is difficult to recycle. Difficult but not impossible …

For those of you who insist on using plastic cups there is  the  save a cup recycling system

Save a Cup was established by the vending, foodservice and plastics industries as a not for profit company. It was set up to collect and recycle used polystyrene (plastic) vending cups. Today the service has been extended and now includes cans, pods, plastic and paper cups.

Paper/plastic Cups

Because these cups are made from paper and plastic they are difficult to recycle. The parts have to separated. Though this can be done it is a complex  procedure which adds to the cost of the recycled product.

Leading many recyclers to say that they don’t recycle paper cups. Though some do. It’s a murkey scenario at best.

Compostable Cups

There are compostable products  on the market. they are made from clear certified-compostable, cornstarch plastic (PLA)  or paper cups lined with the same. Vegware for example do a full range.  But  there would need to be far more, large scale municipal composting schemes for this to be a properly effective answer for the above amounts of waste. You can check out a rather sweet cup to compost scheme here.

Take Your Own Cup

Of course none of the above address the issue of creating massive and unsustainable amounts of trash by using disposables. Don’t be part of the problem – take your own reusable cup and use that instead. You can find a great range of cups here.

 

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iPhone Case

So I was given an iPhone by my very dear kind and generous friend when he upgraded. Never been so excited. Until now my phone has been an ancient Nokia that was sturdy but certainly not smart. So along with all the useful apps (turn yourself into a zombie), and joining Instagram, I needed to buy a case. Getting a plastic free one is not easy so so when I saw these wooden cases for sale on eBay I was overjoyed. I foolishly thought they were made out of wood.That they had actually carved the entire case out of a block of wood.

Of course they hadn’t. It was a slip of wood stuck onto a plastic case. Really I am so dumb sometimes.

But if you do want a biodegradable iPhone case you could try these compostable plastic cases from Pela. I haven’t tried them as I now have not really wooden case. But if I had my time again….

Heres some stuff from the website:
“Our mission is to make durable, eco-friendly, and biodegradable products as an alternative choice to conventional plastic products.”
“Our phone case is made with a unique blend of non-toxic, plant-based biopolymers mixed with annually renewable flax shive. Our cases will biodegrade in a composting environment which means less waste in our landfills and oceans.”

Sadly you have to import these from America which might make them rather less eco-friendly and they say nothing of the onward packaging though I would guess a company as aware as this one would have that covered. If you find out do let us know.

Or you could try making one

iPod or iPhone Case Stand | AllFreeSewing.com.

See all our office and electronics posts HERE

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Straws Compostable

The picture shows a turtle with a plastic straw stuck in its nose (You can watch the video in full here). Every years hundreds of thousand plastic straws end up polluting the environment. Ecocycle estimate that 500 million straws are used in the US every day alone.

If you must have disposable straws, (and none of these great reusable options suit), then why not try these compostable ones made from cornstarch. They look and act  just like  plastic straws…  but they are made from PLA cornstarch and are certified compostable.

Find out more about compostable plastic here.

You can buy them from Vegware. They do everything from black cocktail (1000 for 10.00)  to jumbo smoothie.

I have seen  paper straws on ebay but (as far as I know), they are not certified compostable and  may be plastic lined. They certainly are plastic packed.

Any one know any more?

Composting

One type of certified compostable plastic is  Poly Lactic Acid (PLA) plastic.

Some say that PLA plastics do not break down in home compost bins. THEY ARE WRONG. We have used and composted a number of  PLA plastic products.

You can see the PLA products we have used here.

More

Or you can try these  reusable stainless steel beauties or glass straws. 

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Snact in compostable packaging

Snacks… so good when trekking, so hard to source plastic free. The best we have is loose nuts as sold at Lidles,  Until now!

Take a look at Snact. Fighting food waste and plastic pollution and making some fine tasty vegan goodness while they are at it.

They “make snacks from surplus produce. That’s produce that would otherwise be thrown away for being too big, too small, too ugly, or simply too abundant. Tonnes of perfectly good fruit and vegetables get rejected before reaching shop shelves in the UK. We turn that surplus into healthy snacks that contribute to one of your five a day.

Already like them but here’s the really good stuff. “fruit jerky will now be available in 100% home compostable packaging – the first of its kind in the UK!”

Our new innovative packaging, developed by Israeli start-up TIPA, is just as durable and impermeable as ordinary plastic – but it biologically decomposes within just 180 days and becomes a fertiliser for soil, behaving similarly to an orange peel.

Currently they do 3 flavours
Apple & Mango
A full and juicy flavour combining the natural sweetness of mango and tartness of apples.
Apple, Blueberry & Banana
A guaranteed crowd-pleaser with the deep flavour of blueberry and a subtle hint of banana sweetness.
Apple & Raspberry
Naturally sweet, tangy & punchy, just like you’d expect raspberries to be.

All are
100% fruit
Vegan & gluten free
No additives or preservatives
Less than 65kcal per bag
Made in the UK
In home compostable packaging. That means you can compost the wrapper at home!

Buy

You can find out more about Snact and buy bars here

More About The Snacks

Hand made on a family farm in Kent with whole fresh fruit sourced predominantly from British surplus produce, it is vegan, gluten free, low calorie, and counts towards your five a day. We don’t use any concentrates, additives, or preservatives, just 100% fruit.

Until they went BANANAS
Their new banana based bar will be out soon. Congratulations on raising the money to do this “Bananas are the most popular fruit in the world, but also one of the most wasted. We want to stop 1.4m bananas going to waste every day by turning them into awesome food waste-fighting delicious banana bars – or if we may: the best bars on and for the planet!”

More About The Packaging

Tipa have developed a a bio- plastic which I take to mean made with plants. It is compostable and meets composting standards. “Tipa’s products, compounds and films comply with EU 13432 and ASTM D6400 standards and are certified for both home and industrial composting through the OK Compost mark by the Vincotte institute. Tipa’s materials also meet food contact regulation requirements in Europe and the US.”  And they say it can be composted at home.

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

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Greencane Tissues/ Paper Products

A while ago a company called Greencane sent me some tissues through the post. Not just tissues but toilet paper and kitchen roll too. A great big cardboard box full.  Since then I have been busy mopping, wiping and sneezing.  I now feel qualified to comment.
To conclude, the tissue was as soft and absorbent as any I have used.
But it was the packaging that thrilled.

I received a Mixed Box
Neatly packed in a box, a cardboard box, were
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 were individually wrapped packs.
All the packaging was paper, card and or cellophone.
The cellophane is certified  as commercially compostable.

Anyone trying to live a plastic free life will know what good news this is!

About

Tissues 

Personally I prefer  reusable handkerchiefs or loo roll but there are times when a box of tissues come in handy and then there are problems. Buy what you think is a cardboard box of paper tissues and  you may find the hole, the one you pull the tissue through, has been reinforced with a plastic collar.
Well these are cardboard all the way. Yay!

Find out more abut plastic free tissues here.

Kitchen Roll

I don’t use kitchen roll. I have cotton dishcloths that can be used to wipe up spills, loo roll for sticky fingers and cotton napkins for fine dining… but if this is your thing you can now get it plastic free.
THIRSTY & STRONG!
Our 100% biodegradable paper towels comes in a convenient 2 roll pack with each roll having 80 sheets.

Toilet Rolls

You can buy  loo rolls in PLA compostable plastic packaging but buy in bulk and the packs come packed in normal plastic!?!
These guys will deliver,  in a cardboard box a
total of 48 rolls thats 12 packs of 4 rolls.
Each roll 300 sheets, 2 ply.
UK £23.80 per carton

Read more about going to the toilet plastic free, here.

More Details

There is a sticky label which peels off at the packet and looks just like plastic but I have been assured that this too is compostable cellophane. I quote: “This is a biodegrable water based coating to protect the core paper of the sticker but over the last few shipments has got thicker and thicker to the stage , I agree ,it seems like plastic.plus is proving hard to compost. So over the last 3 months have been working hard on minimizing this coating.But proved too hard so have made the decision to do away with coating altogether and next week i get first shipment with new label.”

The Paper

From the website: “Up to 70% of our paper is made from a mix of recycled sugarcane and bamboo fibre (bagasse), a byproduct of the sugar refining process. (Bagasse supplies are virtually unlimited worldwide). To obtain both strength and softness we need to then add 30% certified wood pulp = Sustainable.”

In a letter:

Real United Nations thing with our sourcing.
Timber from Canada.
Sugarcane from Thailand .
Bamboo from China.
Bags are supplied by Australia Company.not sure exactly where made .
Then all made in a very modern factory in Southern China.
All these suppliers carry environmental accreditation .
Including no GMO and Bpa.
I have over the years done a lot of work with our supply chain and with over 200 plus organic type stores we have had a lot of questions asked of us.

Delivery

They offer a home delivery service for the UK from their Brighton warehouse which is proving increasingly popular.

Buy

For lots more info and to order products  visit the website

Composting Plastic At Home
While most agree that some  plastics are indeed compostable, many say that they can only composted in large scale municipal schemes. As we don’t have many large scale municipal schemes this they say is a pointless advantage.I say the days of large scale municipal schemes is fast approaching as governments aim to divert biodegradable rubbish from landfill sites.
AND I have been composting my PLA plastic for years. We have used and composted a number PLA plastic products (including Biobags , Deli pots  and disposable Cutlery)
It does take longer than other products and  sometimes I have found shreds of it in my compost but I dig it into the soil where it quickly disappears.

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. 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.

Read more about compostable plastics here

More Info

And you might like these other health & hygiene posts

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Plant Pots Compostable

Took this form a very interesting article here. I will be looking into them more closely in the future

Low-‘e’

Regarding energy use and carbon footprints, the lowest ‘footprint’ container by Jiffy is the CarbonLite. It is made primarily from low-e bio-based plant starches, and uses less total energy than either plastic pots or pots made to be compostable. Roelof Drost from Jiffy talks about how this low energy pot came to be: “Instead of focusing on the end of the life cycle of a product (recycled, composted) here we focused on the beginning of the life cycle of the product and asked ourselves how much energy is used to get to the desired result. Taking that route, we have created a container with an extremely low carbon footprint. This is what it should be all about — using as little input material as possible to get to the desired result. These pots are usually less expensive to make than other bio-based pots. That’s real sustainability.”

The CarbonLite pot is Vinçotte OK biobased certified. On a basis of the formulated percentage of renewable raw materials the pot is rated two-star bio-based. This means that more than 60 percent of the raw materials are renewable and in the case of CarbonLite pots are renewable plant starch based. The pots are recyclable.