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Sun Block Homemade

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. Sunburn is painful, ages the skin and potentially very dangerous.

Disclaimer
Be aware of the risks of listening to someone who
a) doesn’t have any training in this field,
b) most of what they know comes from Google,
That’s me I mean.

If you want a better informed opinion I suggest you head on over to the Aromantics website. They will sell you everything you need to make sun tan lotion including recipes you can download as a PDF. They have been in this game for years and are far more qualified then I am.
The following is an account of my own experiences which may help you in your own research.

A Tannning History

I realised that I needed sun tan / block lotion and lots of it. And it needs to be applied regularly. Even in cloudy weather. I came to this conclusion just as I was giving up plastic. So not only did I have to learn to use sunblock and had to learn how to make it. I have been using zinc based, home-made sun block lotion for about 5 years now. I know it stops me from burning because I burn when I don’t use it. Obviously it has not been tested in a lab and I cannot guarantee results. I still try to limit my exposure to the sun but I feel this cream definitely helps me. I offer this personal account for discussion only. If you do decide to make your own lotion please do more research.

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

Why Sunscreen
Sunscreens help prevent the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation from reaching the skin.
There are two types of ultraviolet radiation, UVA and UVB
UVB is the chief cause of sunburn and linked to sun cancer. UVA rays, penetrate the skin more deeply, and contribute to photoaging.
You need a cream that protects from both.

SPF
Sun protective factor provided by cream is measured in SPF
SPF factors only measure protection against UVB. You will need a cream that also protect from other kinds of rays.

SPF4 filters out 75% of UVB
SPF10 filters out 90% –
SPF15 filters out 93%
SPF25 filters out 96%
SPF30 filters out 97%
SPF50 filters out 98%
SPF100 99%
Source

Zinc Oxide
I have settled on zinc oxide as the active ingredient in my sun block.
This is a fine white powder easily available on line.
It coats the skins and so reflects the damaging and burning rays of the sun.
It protects the skin from UVA, UVB and UVC. According to www.aromantic.co.uk website (where you can buy zinc and get advice on how to use it), It is one the oldest and most effective sunblock and
It can be easily added to base lotions and oils.

No to Nano Zinc

So zinc is great BUT it is a white powder and stronger mixes can sit on the skin like a pasty mask. Make your lotion too strong and you look like Marcel Marceau. You don’t burn but you look freaky. To counter this some suggest using nano zinc.
Nano or micronized zinc oxide is zinc oxide that  has been ground to a very fine powder to reduce the size of its particles. Anything with a particle size smaller than 100nm is considered a nano particle. This means it spreads more easily and does not leave a white sheen on the skin.The worry is that particles this size may be able to enter the body.
Because of that I use normal zinc. In stronger concentrations it does leave a slight white sheen. It can also leave white marks on dark clothes. Wear white linen is the obvious answer to this. Or work on your locked in a glass box mime.

Using Zinc In Homemade Sun Block

Notes
There are claims that certain oils like coconut oil have a natural SPF. This may well be true but I strongly advise not to rely on this.
None of the below have been tested in lab and you have no accurate way of knowing  what SPF your lotion has. Proceed sensibly!
If in doubt Make your lotion stronger then dilute as you tan.
Too much zinc and you end up with white clown makeup. In this case you may have been overcautious.

 

You can add zinc to
home made creams and lotions (if you want to make a lotion there are some recipes here)
ready bought lotions
a base oil such as coconut oil.

20% zinc oxide  will give an approximate SPF of 30. That is by weight. So you weigh your base say 100g of cream then you add 20% or 1/5th of zinc. Which is 20g of zinc.You can see from the ratios below that SPF 15 is not half of SPF 30 so you cannot use that scale to work out your SPF factors.
For SPF 2-5: Use 5% zinc oxide
For SPF 6-11: Use 10% zinc oxide
For SPF 12-19: Use 15% zinc oxide
For SPF >20: Use 20% zinc oxide

These ratios were taken from DIY Natural. They have not been tested in a lab proceed with caution

Recipes

Masking Creams
Zinc
Thicker cream
Very strong and thick. To be used on vulnerable areas that burn easily.

First I make my own rather thick cream and then add the zinc at 20% ratio. This makes a super thick cream which is difficult to rub on large areas but great for masking specified areas. I use it to protect my great big nose and around my eyes.
For general application it is too tough and sticky.
Find out how to make cream here

Oily Cream
Zinc
Cream
OIl
You can thin the above thick cream down by adding oil. N.B. You cant use water for this. Add water and your cream starts to separate when you try to rub it on.
Oily cream goes on way more easily but obviously the more you dilute is lower the SPF factor.
The advantage of this cream is that it is thicker than oil so easier to apply – less dribbling.
It does not separate.

Sun Block Oils
Zinc
Oil – I have used both coconut and rice bran oil

More recently I have cut out the middle man or rather the cream and started adding zinc directly to oil. It would seem that my mother was half right!
Which Oil?
I guess you could do this with any oil but I prefer a lighter oil less gloopy than say olive oil.
I have usually used coconut oil as a base because it is light and easily obtained in glass jars. Some claim that coconut oils has an ability to deflect burning rays but the claims made for coconut oil are prodigious. Do not rely on coconut oil alone.
The problem with coconut oil in the UK at least, it solidifies below a certain temperature. This sun tan lotion needs to be liquid and well shaken before use because the ingredients separate. So if you use coconut oil, warm and shake it before applying.
More recently I used rice bran oil which is much cheaper and easily available. At least that is the case in Thailand. It is a light oil and does not solidify.
VERY IMPORTANT NOTE
The ingredients separate so the lotion must be well shaken before use. If you are using an oil that solidifies like coconut you need to be sure it is liquid and well mixed before use.

SOME OILS MAY MARK YOUR CLOTHING. EXPERIMENT FIRST

Advantages Of Oil
Oily creams and oils are great for the beach because I feel they don’t wash off so easily in the sea as home made lotions do. And the oil itself seems to act as an added protection against the general drying effect of salt water and heat. My skin doesn’t feel as itchy. But then I am only using two ingredients no fragrances, no preservatives.
They give your skin a rather nice sheen.
And it is As Cheap As Chips
Adding zinc to rice bran oil is super cheap which means you can liberally apply this lotion. Very good if you are on a budget. Plus I get to use the oil for other things.
The disadvantages? – well it is rather… oily…

Sun Block Lotion
Zinc
Thin Lotion
Add zinc to a lotion.
Find out how to make Lotion here

Non OIly Sun Block
Zinc
Glycerine
This is a work in progress

But oily sun block is, well, oily. Anywhere near the hairline and it has the disastrous effect of making my locks all greasy. Not a problem on the beach where my hair is normally wet and again the coconut oil help protect it from going madly dry. But in town not such a good look.
Until now I have been adding zinc to a very thin, homemade lotion. It makes the lotion much thicker and I find it rather heavy to wear.

Since the oil zinc success I have tried adding zinc to neat vegetable glycerine. It seems to work fine but this is a work in progress.
The resulting lotion feels a bit sticky when you are applying it but that soon wears off.
It is much lighter than zinc creams.
The ingredients tend to separate so it needs shaking.
It is very very easy to make.

Store Bought Creams
Apparently you can add zinc to a store bought cream to make a suntan lotion. I have never tried this as I gave up shop bought years ago. But considering the success off adding it to oil I can see no reason why this wouldn’t work. Do remember that zinc makes your lotion thicker and much whiter. It might be a good idea to use a thin lotion as a base.
Apparently it helps if you warm them first.
Let me know how you get on!

Applying Cream
Sunscreens are unlikely to be fully effective after 2 hours
According to the skin cancer organisation  “you need to apply 1 oz – about a shot glass full. Studies show that most people apply only half to a quarter of that amount, which means the actual SPF they have on their body is lower than advertised. During a long day at the beach, one person should use around one half to one quarter of an 8 oz. bottle. Sunscreens should be applied 30 minutes before sun exposure to allow the ingredients to fully bind to the skin. Reapplication of sunscreen is just as important as putting it on in the first place, so reapply the same amount every two hours. Sunscreens should also be reapplied immediately after swimming, toweling off, or sweating a great deal.

More

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

Travelling Plastic Free For Months
This discovery massively reduces your plastic when travelling. I carry all my own home made plastic free toiletries with me to avoid creating plastic waste which can present something of a problem. A years supply of sunblock is a lot to carry. So now I compromise. I take my own zinc and buy coconut oil (or rice bran oil) while travelling. I mix the zinc into the coconut oil to make a sun tan lotion great for the beach.

Microfine Titanium Dioxide

This is another product you can use to make your own sun block.

“Microfine Titanium Dioxide is accepted as a safe Sun Barrier all around the world. This is because it is inorganic and has a record of having no adverse reactions to it. This makes it ideal for products used on a daily basis.
It can be used in Sun Screens, Moisturisers, Powdered Make-up, Lip and Baby products and virtually any Skin Treatment product.
Adding 5% Microfine Titanium Dioxide to a product gives it a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of approximately 10 and protects against 90% UVA/UVB and UVC radiation. Adding 10% gives it a SPF of 15-20.
Add during the heating of the Vegetable Oil in the Fat Stage of making your product.”
The following information is from the www.aromantic.co.uk website.

< span style=”color: #ff0000;”>Fragrance
Many recipes on line suggest adding essentials oils. In my opinion there is no real benefit to be derived from this as
they may make your skin more sensitive to light;
essential oils are resource hungry, have a large environmental footprint and should only be used on special occasions.
You can read more here

PLASTIC SPOILER

You can buy zinc on line.
It will come in a plastic bag- booo.
The best you can do is ensure the bags are polythene and so can be more easily recycled.
As I get huge amounts cream out of one small bag of ingredients, I consider it a worthwhile compromise.

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denim and below the knee

No Daisy Dukes for me! Check out these bad boys! Below the knee, denim shorts with half gather waist. Made for when the weather was warmer only posted now!

Fabric & Purchase Details

I don’t know where the denim was originally made and it boasts no organic or fair trade credentials but it was bought locally from the Button Box in Huddersfield Market. And buying locally and keeping fabric shops open are both very important to me.

It is 100% cotton. I prefer to use natural fibres because on consideration they are the greenest, biodegradable option and, even better, they don’t shed plastic microfibres when washed. Just in case you need it, here is a quick  intro to synthetic, regenerated, combination and natural fibres here. And more reasons why I prefer natural fabrics over the others can be found here.

Design & Pattern

I thought I could adapt the Palazzo Trouser pattern I have already used for the Linen Trousers. I still wanted to use a drawstring waist (no plastic elastic for me!), but didn’t want them to be quite as gathered. The denim is much thicker than the linen so doesn’t gather as easily. I didn’t want to end up with crinoline style shorts.

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Shorts hanging in festoons?

I narrowed the legs of the pants and added darts at the back waist to make a more fitted butt. This means only the front is gathered. The bum bit works well and is a comfortable fit… but the back of the pants have a tendency to hang in festoons? It doesn’t really matter and they might soften out with washing but for my next attempt at trousers I will try a different, proper pattern rather than adapting one.

Fixtures & Fittings
Plastic free drawstring fixing.

Made With
They were  cut out with all metal scissors from the C. Booths Hardware Shop in Huddersfield, sewn together using organic cotton on a wooden reel and made using plastic free sewing supplies (you can find them here).

Sustainable Rating
Natural fibres
Fabric was bought plastic free – no packaging
Supporting a local fabric shop
Homemade by me
Made with plastic free sewing supplies

Weighs In At 414g.

Why the weighing? Well this item of clothing is counted as part of my fair share fabrics project. This is a self imposed rationing system. I use no more than my global share of fibres and they have to be sustainably sourced. Whats a global share? 11.74 kg per person of which 3.8 kg is natural fibres. As I don’t like synthetics I try to stick to 3.8 kg of natural fibres.

More

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coffee press travel mug

I love coffee and I carry my own coffee making equipment with me when backpacking, (yes really I do), but this mug is also great for the office or even for take out.

I have

So I boil the water in the tiffin tin with the huge element. Pour the hot water onto the coffee. Wait for it to brew. Plunge. Sit on the balcony watching the sunrise sipping fresh coffee. I Yes I know its a plastic cup but I can’t give it up I tell you!

Plastic 

I used to carry glass and metal cafetierres but they kept on breaking. I have to admit that this is one of those times when plastic is the best man for the job. I bought mine in Japan but I found something similar on Amazon. Zyliss Cafetiere Hot Mug, Blue Zyliss Cafetiere Hot Mug, Blue £8.99 

Steel 

But when I need a new one I will get one of these stainless steel beauties…..

From the Bodrum Website

TRAVEL PRESS SET Coffee maker with extra lid, vacuum, small, 0.35 l, 12 oz, s/s Black:

  • vacuum and made from stainless steel for maximum heat retention.
  • closable lid with a stopper for the opening.
  • slip-proof silicone band around them comes in beautiful colors.
  • Coffee maker furthermore comes with an extra lid
    You can of course get them on Amazon
Bodum Travel Press Set Coffee Maker, Lime Green
Bodum Travel Press Set Coffee Maker, Lime G…
£16.67

Amazon

You can read our thoughts on Amazon here and why we sometimes suggest products sold through them.

Coffee Beans 

I try to buy my coffee loose where I go. I have found bean shops that will grind and give me the coffee in my own reusable bags in Istanbul, Georgetown, Chang Mai and Huddersfield.

 

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How Backpackers Live Without Bin Liners

All the hotels we stayed in in China line the bins with plastic bags. When they clean the rooms I assume they grab the bag out of the bin and throw it away along with the rubbish. Gasp! Think how many bags that amounts to!

As we don’t use plastic (or toilet roll) we don’t actually make much rubbish. Our bin isn’t even full.

Certainly not full enough to justify a whole plastic bag going to landfill. Which of course we don’t think is ever justifiable.

So we take our rubbish out with us and dispose of it in a communal bin.

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Sometimes we reuse we a bag to save a bag. That is we harvest a bag that has been used for something else, (by someone else, we don’t use plastic disposables), that is littering the streets and use that for our rubbish.

And while we are talking about stupid hotel plastic WTF is this all about. Glasses in plastic bags!

See how we live without bin liners at home when at home, here.

This post is my contribution to Zero Waste Week (‪#ZerowasteWeek) the brainchild of Rae Straus (also featured in our P-f U.K. directory). Each day, for 7 days, we will feature a tip to help you eat, drink and – ermmm – excrete in the most sustainable and rubbish free- way, backpacking kind of way. Each post will appear up on our advent calendar of trash free tips. See them there.

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Take your own …. tray???

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tin cup and folding chop sticks  for sure … but taking your own tray? Backpacking?

In China they have some really great food stalls that set up on the streets late at night. They serve beer and a whole range of kebabs. Ahh the joy of sitting down, relaxing after a hard day of jostling, knocking back a cold one and munching on a grilled body part…..but wait! There’s a problem. They serve you your food on a metal tray…. good, covered with a plastic bag…WYF! Which they then discard! No washing up, lots of litter. Yes I thought China had banned plastic bags too but it would seem not.So we got our own metal tray. We eat our food off that and at the end of the night we take it home and wash it. You don’t get rid of us so easy….

This post is my contribution to Zero Waste Week (‪#ZerowasteWeek) the brainchild of Rae Straus (also featured in our P-f U.K. directory). Each day, for 7 days, we will feature a tip to help you eat, drink and – ermmm – excrete in the most sustainable OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand rubbish free- way, backpacking kind of way. Each post will appear up on our advent calender of trash free tips. See them there.

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Mosquito Repellent

It’s that time of night when sitting on the balcony becomes a feat of endurance rather than a pleasure and it’s down to those vile biting mosquitos. Time to take action… but what kind. I could of course slather myself in DEET…

DEET Was developed by the American Army and remains the most effective form of bug repellent known to man. It is a great weapon in the fight against malaria. But it can irritate my skin and has had other negative press. Plus it comes in plastic.

So what of the alternativee? Needless to say the internet offer everything from wristbands to essential oils. Lots of testing has been done which conclude that these range from considerably less effective to completely useless. “Two devices in particular came under harsh criticism from the scientists: bracelets containing herbal extracts and sonic mosquito repellers, which claim to use high-frequency sound to drive away mosquitoes.” And dont bother with citronella candles. You can read the rest here.
That said there is some evidence that certain essential oils (including citronella) might  work.SO let’s discuss the options.

Why DEET
Just to reiterate N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide (deet) DEET is the most effective insect repellent ever.
Then (2-(2-hydroxyethyl)-piperidinecarboxylic acid 1-methyl ester (icaridin), p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD), and ethyl butylacetylaminopropionate (IR3535)-based repellents also provide protection against biting arthropods,
Malaria & Other Nasty Deseases
Malaria is extremely dangerous and kills masses of people each year. DEET Will protect you from mosquitoes and many other disease bearing blood suckers. If you are in a malarial prone area then it is an essential means of protection and I advise you consider it. Medical plastic is exempt from the boycott. To quote DEET must be the “first choice for those visiting areas where malaria or other arthropod-borne diseases are endemic remains formulations with higher concentrations (20–50%) of deet.
Higher concentration icaridin and PMD preparations are the most useful alternatives to deet where they are available”
Read more here

How Strong?
What do these concentrations mean? A higher concentration of DEET means it will last longer. 20% DEET offers up to 6 hours of protection. 50% DEET which offers 12 hours of protection. If you sweat heavily you’ll need to re-apply it more often, obvs.
According to the British Medical Journal anything with over a concentration of 50% DEET will not be any more effective. Read this very good write up that discusses all the issues and gives clear advice on how DEET should be used. Access it here.

Bad DEET
But if you are not at risk from malaria you might want to limit your exposure to DEET. While DEET is generally thought to be safe there are reports of possible reactions. On a personal level I find it irritates my skin but then again so do most perfumes and some soaps. However it is not just me. Reactions to DEET have been documented. And they can include Hives or mild skin redness and irritation. The more you use the worse it gets. People using products containing a large amount of DEET over a long period of time may have more severe skin reactions that include blistering, burning, and permanent scars of the skin.
Wikipedia are even more worrying and report that
In the DEET Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) in 1998, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported 14 to 46 cases of potential DEET-associated seizures, including 4 deaths. The EPA states: “… it does appear that some cases are likely related to DEET toxicity,” which may underreport the risk as physicians may fail to check for history of DEET use or fail to report cases of seizure subsequent to DEET use.[21]
The Pesticide Information Project of Cooperative Extension Offices of Cornell University states that “Everglades National Park employees having extensive DEET exposure were more likely to have insomnia, mood disturbances and impaired cognitive function than were lesser exposed co-workers”.[22].
Read it here

Which Alternatives Work
So for those munchy twilight hours when the biting, but non-malarial carrying beasts are out DEET seems rather a chemical sledge hammer. In these cases I have been using Cintronella essential oil mixed with Rice Bran oil as a mosquito repellent. Based on nothing more than a quick skim of alternative bug sprays on the internet and the fact I have some Citronella oil. The internets claims all kinds of wonderful qualities for Citronella but I tend not to believe them. So consequently I didnt know if my homemade repellent really worked i.e.if it actually repels Mosquitos. But I felt it did and it certainly seems to soothe bites and reduce irritation. So I decided it was time to do some research.

Citronella
Citronella is  obtained from the leaves and stems of different species of Cymbopogon grasses. And it might just work. This is a quote from some research that seems reputable.  “From the available literature and information, we can conclude that the complete protection time for citronella-based repellents is less than 2 hours”
Read more here

But 2 hours is all I need. I can live with the occasional bite at other times it’s the twilight feeding frenzy I object to.

Using Essential OIls
Essential oils are concentrated and so should be used with some care.
Do not apply neat to the skin.
It is good practice to do an allergy test
Do some further research into the oil you plan to use

Disclaimer
Be aware of the risks of listening to someone who
a) doesn’t have any training in this field,
b) most of what they know comes from Google,
That’s me I mean.

Making Mosquito Repellent
You should never use essential oils neat so the Citronella has to be blended with a base oil. And there is very little data avaialable on what kind of percentages to use for the oil to be effective against biting beasts.

Generally Most essential oil/ aromatherapy sites say that mixes of essential oil to base oil should not exceed 5%.
A good rule of thumb when seeking to make a 2% dilution is to add 12 drops of essential oil to each fl. ounce (30 ml) of cold pressed carrier oil, lotion, vegetable butter or other natural lipid/moisturizer.
There is a useful dilutions chart here

And then there is this:
For adults:
Sensitive skin: .5 to 1 percent dilution = 3 to 6 drops per ounce
Normal, healthy skin: 1 to 2.5 percent dilution = 6 to 15 drops per ounce
There is lots of useful information here

My Mosquito Oil
So I added Citronella to a base oil at a 5% ration. I have used coconut oil, rice bran oil and rapeseed oil as bases. All work well.
I spread this on all exposed flesh when the sun begins to set. I only apply it once.

Obviously we are not talking about huge percentage of active ingredient here. Certainly not the 30% of DEET creams. How effective this oil is I have no way of knowing. I can only say it seems to work for a limited period of time.
AND PLEASE NOTE
These blends have not been tested for skin reactions or allergies. It is worth remembering that DEET lotions have been used for years and have been well tested.
I am telling you of my own experiences for your information only. You should do a lot more research before proceeding. And proceed with caution.
None of the above have been tested on anyone other than me. All I can say Is that I have used essential oils for a long time with no ill effects…..
Also
Essential oils are resource hungry, have a large environmental footprint and should only be used on special occasions. You can read more about essentials oils, what they are and how they are obtained here.

Buy

Plastic Alert
Vegetatable oil will nearly always have a plastic element unless you are lucky enough to find a refill service. Even if you buy in glass the lid will be plastic lined. But even so this represents a huge reduction in you plastic consumption. Read more and links on where to buy, here.

Same goes for essential oils.

More

There is an interesting breakdown of mosquito myths here. Plus some useful advice on how to avoid them.
And this is an interesting article on using plants to deter insects
And I am looking into this.
“PMD: Lemon Eucalyptus (Corymbia citriodora) Extract
The principal repellent component of lemon eucalyptus extract is PMD, which is the main by-product of lemon eucalyptus hydrodistillation.
The active component is prepared through acid modified extraction of leaves or a synthetic version of PMD is used in the majority of commercially available preparations.”
Read about it here.

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Glasses / Tumblers/ Pint Pots

When we go travelling, camping, partying or picniking, we take our own steel tumblers for wine and other beverages. They don’t smash like glass and are light weight and easy to carry.

Tumblers

These glass size tumblers are great.  We got ours in India. You can often find something similar in Indian/Asian shops.

Pint Pots

At festivals we like to drink pints. But they often come in plastic. Forget festivals even. In the U.K. there is a worrying trend in pubs to serve drinks in plastic pots, especially if you are drinking outside. It is really horrid. So we need to take our own pint pots out with us and preferably something that won’t break in our bag and cant be used in a street fight!

We did consider buying a Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Pint Cup. This holds just under a pint and is made of stainless steel BUT we had serious reservations that have prevented a purchase.  First it’s not quite a pint, second it is imported from America and finally they are very expensive. The cheapest is being sold  £7.95 per glass.  Not that green and frankly over our budget.

So we stopped going to festivals (increasingly more than we can afford) and try to drink in pubs that serve in glasses.

Glogg Pots

However Glogg felt our pain and came up with some  proper, U.K pint pots made from stainless steel, right here in England. And at £5.00 a pot – just about affordable! Wahey!

This is from the website….

Sustainable

  • Stainless steel is the no-compromise alternative to disposable paper or reusable plastic cups
  • Diverts landfill waste with each use

Durable

  • Can be reused indefinitely
  • Won’t deteriorate over time

Safe

  • Constructed from certified 304L food grade stainless steel
  • Won’t shatter like glass or shard like plastic

UK Designed and Made

  • Quality, without compromise
  • Supporting British jobs, skills and industry
  • Reduced environmental impact compared to Far East imports
  • UK trading standards compliant for sale of alcoholic drinks

Buy

You can buy from  the website…. or via Amazon.

Onward Packaging 

I wrote to them about their packaging and here’s the reply

Our pint cups have taken a lot of blood, sweat and tears to turn into a reality and we are immensely proud of them!

All cups bought from our website just come in a cardboard posting box with no extra packaging at all. While we are not wholly against plastic, we are very much against waste of any kind and it just isn’t necessary to send people packaging they are simply going to send to landfill. Of course, the box can be reused or recycled.

We do also sell through Amazon fulfilment centres and, unfortunately, cups sent to Amazon have to be in plastic bags to comply with their regulations. We never purchase plastic though, we always reuse bags from elsewhere. The local printers we work with often have products that come to them individually packaged but that don’t need to be repackaged once printed, so we use bags that they no longer need. We know it isn’t ideal but it is the best we can do to avoid waste.

Hopefully that tells you what you need to know but feel free to come back to me at any point with any other questions.

Using Them

There is of course no guarantee that you can use them in the pub of your choice. Pubs often have funny ideas about using and then reusing pint pots. But the more of us keep on asking the more likely change is. See you at the bar!

More

If none of the above suit I have tried to source some alternatives. 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.

Plastic Reusable Branded Glasses Featured Branded Cups

If you are having a big party or event you might consider theses reusable branded cups. Yes they are plastic but they get reused throughout the night and can be kept at the end as a keepsake. A great compromise where glass cannot be used but disposables are just too wasteful.

Compostable Disposables

If you really must use disposables here are some compostable options….

More

If none of the above suit I have tried to source some alternatives. 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, I have put together and Amazon catalogue. Yes I know…

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

Primeshop-30ml Stainless Steel Tumblers Glasses Drinking Cups for Camping Garden BBQ
Primeshop-30ml Stainless Steel Tumblers Gla…
InterDesign Polished Stainless Steel Forma Tumbler Audi Stainless Steel Tumbler Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Pint Cup - 473ml/16oz
InterDesign Polished Stainless Steel Forma …
£10.49
Audi Stainless Steel Tumbler Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Pint Cup – 47…
£8.48
Not quite a pint, pint tumbler. Read the reviews.
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 may one day get an affiliation fee. That’s not why we do it. Good job as we never have made enough to get paid. We do it to show what is available

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Lunch box or tiffin tin

Street food in Asia is good and cheap but sadly now involves a lot of plastic. These days it is mostly served in polystyrene (Styrofoam), clam shells. We don’t want to give up street food but don’t want to add to the rubbish.

Our solution is tiffin boxes. They come in all sizes are just great for taking you rice and numerous curries to work with you or, in our case eating out  at street stalls.

We got ours in China and they are an essential part of our plastic free travel kit.

We have tried several types of tiffin tin including  a two tier sandwich box handy for  bits and bobs, a big bucket of a thing with a tightly fitting but not waterproof lid and a small round tin.

We use them for

  • fried rice and snacks
  •  juice in plastic obsessed Thailand.
  • heat water in when we need to make our own emergency tea.
  • as a cooking pot out in the jungle.

Other plastic free aids we carry include tin cups and folding cutlery and reusable folding chop sticks. Yes we clank but we don’t leave behind rubbish with a lifespan of centuries. And if that sounds smug….don’t care.

If you want to buy in the U.K. they can be found in all good Asian Shops, numerous green shops on line and of course Amazon.

Here’s the rest of our plastic free travel kit and our new travel page showing where we’ve been what we found and how we did it plastic free.


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Chop Sticks Folding

The curse of the plastic chopstick wrapper means that eating plastic-free South East Asian style  can be hard work. So too can carrying full size chopsticks – they are too long and pointy for comfort. So it’s a big cheer for the clever Chinese for these push and click “folding” chopsticks.

Open them up slide them together and they are full size sticks. Pull them apart and seal them in the handy carrying pouch and they are easily transportable little things of beauty. Made of stainless steel and wood they look and feel good.

They are also  great for taking to places closer to home where they give you those disposable chopsticks.

We got ours in Beijing but you can of course get them on Amazon.

Lifeventure Knife, Fork, Spoon Folding Cutlery Set Travel Stainless Steel Foldable Pocket Chopsticks Silver Tone Pair
Lifeventure Knife, Fork, Spoon Folding Cutl… Travel Stainless Steel Foldable Pocket Chop…

 

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 in the posts.  They link direct  to the suppliers.  Do consider buying from them and support their online businesses.

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

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 these links are for 3rd party sellers, we have always found the Amazon service to be good and their packaging usually compostable. In the absence of anything else we feel we can recommend them.

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

More

Also useful is folding cutlery and tiffin tins. Here’s the rest of our plastic free travel kit

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Cups BYO

Any one lucky enough to see the photos of Vladimir Putin bare-chested in camo  will have some idea just how butch the Russians can be. A fact reinforced by the number of camping shops in Moscow selling rugged man’s stuff. And they don’t get much more rugged than this tin cup, double wall construction and complete with sturdy clip to attach it to your rucksack. So I got one.

I take a reusable cup travelling with me because  I am highly dependant on take out. I don’t want to use plastic cups and so-called paper cups are plastic lined so I take my own cup and use that instead.

I have to say, as reusable cups go, this one is as good as Vlad on horseback – and you can’t get better than that!

But reusable cups are not just for travellers.

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 with only  one in 400 is being recycled.

You can read more about disposable cups here

Good enough reasons to take your own reusable cup to the coffee shop.

Buy

I don’t know if you can buy such a good cup in the effeminate, decadent West but you will find something in outdoor shops that might do. Most do a good range of camping cups.

More Options

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

Some of the products featured may come plastic packed or even be made of plastic. They are included because if a product reduces the consumption of plastic disposables or packaging waste then, we feel,  there is a strong justification for using it. You read more about using plastic to cut plastic here.

Reusable silicon cups with lid

They wont break in your bag and will save the planet – result. You can buy them from Onya – the people who do the mesh produce bags.

Heres some blurb from them

Did you know you can take your own reusable coffee cup to most coffee shops?  They will fill it instead of the usual disposable one and some of them even offer you a discount! red_lge

Features:

• Foodgrade silicone cup/lid

• Eco friendly and reusable

• Dishwasher safe

• Withstands up to 200ºC heat

• Cool to the touch

• byocup and lids are not available separately.

The byocup silicone story

We are conscious of the fact that manufacturing reusable cups also   has an environmental impact, so we have put a process in place to    recycle the cup responsibly.

At the end of its life as a byocup, please return it to us and we   will forward it to a silicone recycler in India who will turn it into   charity bracelets or key rings.

Ceramic Cup

If you don’t like the sound of that or prefer something ceramic try the I am not a paper cup – a pottery cup with reusable silicon lid.

I know it looks like a polystyrene version but thats the joke. It’s also double wall construction so it will keep your drink hot and your hands cool. Shame about the plastic packaging! You can buy them here.

notpapercup-pr

Catalogue

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

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

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

 

Yellowstone 300Ml Stainless Steel Mug Creative Tops Katie Alice Cottage Flower Doubled Walled Porcelain Travel Mug with Silcone Lid Glass Mason Jars
Yellowstone 300Ml Stainless Steel Mug
£3.24
Creative Tops Katie Alice Cottage Flower Do…
£9.05
Glass Mason Jars
Aladdin 31843 Double-Walled Drinking Cup with Handle 0.47 Litres Helikon Swedish Army Folding Cup Camping Hiking Olive Primeshop-30ml Stainless Steel Tumblers Glasses Drinking Cups for Camping Garden BBQ
Aladdin 31843 Double-Walled Drinking Cup wi…
£16.88
Helikon Swedish Army Folding Cup Camping Hi…
£3.95
Primeshop-30ml Stainless Steel Tumblers Gla…
Amazon is a very dirty word at the moment and I thought long and hard before suggesting them.  Heres why I went ahead….. No we are not entirely happy with Amazons recent history. However, we have always found their service to be good and their packaging usually compostable.

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

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Cutlery – travel

The buffet cars on Polish trains are so cute. They are relatively modern but have an old-fashioned feel. Perhaps it’s that they have tables, serve proper meals and the order is taken by uniformed staff. Even the food, while not being actually good, is acceptable. Proper cooked dinners of the meat and two veg variety. Yes it’s more canteen food than fine dining, but as most fast food in Britain doesn’t even meet that low standard we were satisfied.

We were not so pleased with the table ware -. Plastic cutlery arghh. Luckily we had planned for just such a contingency and brought our own knife fork and spoon. Of the folding variety. Not just for trains, if you want to backpack plastic free through Europe these are essential for the street fairs selling yummy food.These folding forks have enabled us to enjoy shovel up fried potatoes and spear a sausages guilt free..

You will also need your own tiffin tins to put the food in.

Ours Are all metal and come in a polyester carry case but with no extra packaging. we bought them from Blacks in Leeds.

Folding chopsticks are also very handy.

And here’s the rest of our plastic free travel kit

Lifeventure Knife, Fork, Spoon Folding Cutlery Set Travel Stainless Steel Foldable Pocket Chopsticks Silver Tone Pair
Lifeventure Knife, Fork, Spoon Folding Cutl… Travel Stainless Steel Foldable Pocket Chop…

 

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 in the posts.  They link direct  to the suppliers.  Do consider buying from them and support their online businesses.

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

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 these links are for 3rd party sellers, we have always found the Amazon service to be good and their packaging usually compostable. In the absence of anything else we feel we can recommend them.

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