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What’s In The Bin?

This month we are once again taking part in Plastic Free July (pretty much as it sounds).

We will be keeping track of all the plastic trash we create.

So….Whats in the bin?

Week 1

So far everything in the bin is booze related. There are 2 metal. but plastic- lined caps off beer bottles and 3 foil / plastic lined seals off wine.

 

 

 

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2015 Plastic free July Mongolia

…..is hard. Here’s an update. So far we are totally about  4o items that contain some plastic and 4 plastic wrappers each.

It has been pouring down here (with a light dusting of snow – sigh!), so we have been sitting in a lot of cafes in an effort to keep warm and sometimes try to log on to what they advertise as wifi but is in fact an exercise in optimism. Something I am rapidly running out of.

When we sit we have to buy a drink. Here they serve milk tea. A confusing name because it contains no tea at all. It is a dash of milk a lot of hot water, a dollop of grease (butter?) and enough salt to make your lips twist. It tastes…..another sigh! I’ve tried, I really have – but I don’t like hot milk at the best of times. And these are most definitely not the best of times!

So we have been drinking a lot of plastic related beverages. Never a beverage from a plastic bottle! I’ll never sink that low but glass bottles with plastic lined lids, plastic lined cans and the occasional tea bag (which of course contains plastic).  You can find out more about these sneaky plastics here.

This adds up to around 2 items a day each.

When we have access to hot water we are making our own tea with loose leaves we bought in China.

For water we are using our Steripen to sterilize tap water.

But we have been trekking and camping in yurts so have had to buy some of our food. Outside of Ulan Batur the choice is poor. There are markets but they sell mostly pre packed processed food – plastic packed sweets, plastic wrapped processed sausages, instant noodles and packet soup. The only fresh food is weird buttery cheesy stuff that looks like grimy wax and tastes mildly yet unpleasantly of rancid butter. There are a few shriveled fruit and veg that are extremely expensive and meat. And lots and lots of meat. All around sheep are being skinned or carved up into bloody chunks. Furry feet are discarded on the floor, and once a sheep head staring up from the park bench where it had been absently left.

But we have had to eat something while huddled in our yurt and so we have bought 3 plastic wrapped loaves of bread and 3 packets of biscuits. Rather then leave them out in the national park rubbish bins I burnt the wrappers on the fire. There were simple polythene and so (it is claimed) safe to burn.

Back in Ulan Batur and our hotel gave us a sandwich for breakfast. It was included in the price and made as we thought in house. Today they served it in a plastic box. I ate it anyway. And I bought another packet of real coffee. Plastic packed of course.

Litter 

With all this plastic packaging hardly surprising then that there is quite a lot of plastic trash. Everyday we litter picked in the national park collecting huge amounts of bottles.

Waste disposal methods in the city also leave a lot to be desired. Plastic bags are dumped in the street to to be collected by truck at some point. Stray animals scrabble through it looking for food. Then bin men go through the garbage first looking for cans. Inevitably some plastic rubbish escapes in the process.

Check out our FB album for updated photos.

CAMFORR Keep It Real Keep It Clean

So for Plastic Free July I am begging everyone to join in campaigning for real rubbish. You can read about it here.

Keep Our Glass

And asking folks to sign the petition asking Dairy crest to keep their refillable glass milk bottles.

In the pack

Rummage in our plastic free backpack here

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Plastic-free July

Of course every month is plastic free for me but plastic free July is a time to make a bit of extra effort, promote projects, look at my bin and join with other people all over the world who are taking this time to rethink their relationship with plastic.

What is Plastic Free July

The aim is to cut your consumption of one use plastic, for one month – July. If that sounds a bit much bear in mind that definitions of one use plastic can vary. And how much you choose to cut is up to  you – read my take.
You can  take this opportunity to tackle one item. Maybe get your self a milkman, buy (or make) some produce bags for loose veges or get a refillable water bottle.
You don’t have to do it all at once!

But whatever and how much you choose to do, he plastic you loose is more important than the plastic you use!

A bit of history

Plastic Free July started in 2011. It is an initiative of the Western Metropolitan Regional Council (WMRC) in Perth, Western Australia and was developed by clever Earth Carers staff. In 2012 Plastic Free July expanded across Perth and in 2013 it went global. They have a great website and are all round good eggs.

My Plastic Free July

I cut all disposable plastics and just to remind you, that includes:
tins & cans:
tetrapaks:
glass jars with plastic/ plastic-lined lids:
Plastic lined cardboard:
Teabags:
Don’t know they had plastic in them? You can read all about sneaky plastics here
Plastic packed personal care and hygiene products. I will as ever be making my own. Sadly the ingredients came plastic wrapped but it can’t be avoided.
Any other plastic goods that I can’t think of right now.

Plastic I find myself using but Try not to
Booze. Itbis almost impossible to find plastic free booze to take out and there is usually at least one social occasion that requires a gift of alcohol.
If the morning after visiting said friends painkillers are required then they will be administered. As of course will any other necessary medicines.

Basically it’s what I do all year without the backsliding on the mayonnaise and wine front.

Keeping in Touch
Facebook groupf eatured

Join in at the Plastic Is Rubbish Support Group where people share plastic free tips.
And Twitter @plasticSrubbish

Hashtags
I encourage UK participants to use the  hashtag #pfjuk for British related posts. Mainly because it gets very dispiriting to hear of a fantastic bulk food store only to find it is based in Sydney.

 U.K. Participants

Every year UK based bloggers have joined in.
It’s really important to link up with U.K. based plastivists who will be sharing throughout the month. While some solutions like solid shampoo from Lush can be accessed UK wide,  many are local.

You can find a list of bloggers who have contributed  here.

Follow My Progress

2017  This year progress will be recorded here 

Past Years

I am proof that you can do this anywhere no matter the constraints
2014 I did it while travelling  in a van. Here is how I did.
2015 I did it with a backpack  check out Plastic free Mongolia
2016  here

More Resources & Info

Loads of plastic free products here… A to Z of plastic free products

And see all our past plastic free July posts here

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2014 Plastic free July, in a van

Last month (July) we took part in plastic free July (pretty much as it sounds) . We are did it in a van.

This is what went into our landfill bin to date. We have nothing in our recycle bin. All other rubbish has been compostable.

Camping weekend with mates Beers in glass bottles with metal caps that are  plastic lined. I don’t know how many we drank  but it was lots.

hay fever tablets packet.

2  bits of Sellotape added while we wernt looking

disposable 30ml taster glass A mistake in the supermarket

Expensive wine with a cork and foil – STILL contains plastic. Who knew?

WE CUT 

tins, tetrapaks and glass jars with plastic/ plastic-lined lids.

tea bags!

plastic packed personal care and hygiene products. This is rather disingenuous as I made up big batches of moisturizer, lip balm, sun tan lotion and toothpaste before we left for our trip. The ingredients came plastic wrapped but of course that wrapping has long since gone to the recyclers. You can find my pretty plastic free resources here .

We we did it  in our van travelling round the UK

Review

So was it hard doing it in a van? In the countryside? Actually no! Travelling meant we had a lot more shops to go at. And there are still loads of local shops out there.

I thought it would be a milk free month but for the first 3 weeks we found loads of milk in glass bottles! The last week was dry but we had sourced some milk powder by then.

We found plastic free pasta (rare)  and rice  but noodles were out.

We avoided supermarkets and shopped locally which meant our diet tended towards traditional english. Mostly meat and 2 veg, soups, omlettes, bread and potatoes but it was good wholesome and seasonal.

For cooking and spreading We used olive oil bought in our own reusable glass bottles and paper wrapped butter.

No glass jars (with metal/ plastic lined lids meant no condiments, preserves or honey. Instead we made some van jam from PYO fruit and salad dressing was oil, lemon juice and garlic. Easy peasy and tasty too.

We even got some plastic free wine and  hand rolling tobacco! Even so plastic free tends to be mostly vice free!

Plastic reused

On the plus side I have harvested 4 lighters from the beach shore still with fluid so I am using them up before discarding, a hair bungee #2old4bunches #dontcare! and strip of velcro from a sandal I think which now secures the table in the back of the van

Week 4

we spent it coming up from heart of Wales and back into the real world. No more cheese making farmers, no local shops selling milk in glass bottles and no more PYO farms!

On the plus side loose powdered milk from Barmouth meant not having to drink black tea everyday.

Week 3

So far there has been no tins, no jars and no plastic packaging. In fact you can see all the plastic waste we have created to date here.

Saturday, Sunday and Monday No plastic

All made so much easier by being in Aberystwyth. Cheese. fish and chips, fags yes hand rolling tobacco – all plastic free! I tell you about the tobacco just so you know. My addiction is coffee and for a while there I was having trouble finding loose coffee beans! Thankfully I found the Mecca Coffee merchants on our last day. Big plastic fail averted! Or may be I would have turned to tobacco. No milk for a couple of days but I can handle it!

Friday 17th  Plastic Fail

VB finished his hay fever tabsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA. I suppose he can’t help it…

Thursday 17th No Plastic

Bumped into yet another milkman …. honestly hardly suffering at all

Wednesday 16th No plastic

No milk today but loads of fresh fruit from a PYO strawberry farm. Yum.

Tuesday 15th No plastic

Got another unpackaged lettuce loads of fresh veg in the shops and some great chorizo sausages in the butchers. All bought loose, with our own packaging, and so, plastic free. And the campsite where we were staying – his son-in-law is a milkman so we got more milk in glass bottles.

I have used no plastic packed personal care and hygiene products. This is rather disingenuous as I made up big batches of moisturizer, lip balm, sun tan lotion and toothpaste before we left for our trip. The ingredients came plastic wrapped but of course that wrapping has long since gone to the recyclers. You can find my pretty plastic free resources here

Week Two

Summary

It has been a lot more traditional English cooking meat and two veg easy enough to buy loose and local though remember to take your own bags. 
Really not missing pasta and noodles (yet!) but very glad to have got hold of some brown rice. It adds a bit of variety to the carbs!
There was another sneaky plastic to add to the list – the plastic IN toothpaste – yuck!

I have used no plastic packed personal care and hygiene products. This is rather disingenuous as I made up big batches of moisturizer, lip balm, sun tan lotion and toothpaste before we left for our trip. The ingredients came plastic wrapped but of course that wrapping has long since gone to the recyclers. You can find my pretty plastic free resources here

14th Monday No plastic

Back on the milk as the campsite owner is the father of the milkman. Finished our plastic free drinking chocolate.

13th Sunday No plastic

No food either! Back off the milk as we have moved off the farm. Couldnt be bothered searching out a supermarket so ate what we had in the van. Omlette and a very simple stew of veg and lentils – twice. But who cares! We got wine!!!!!

12th Saturday No plastic

Got some loose unpacked smoked salmon  from a Polish Deli yum!

Friday 11th PLASTIC FAIL

VB used a disposable taster glass but we did get PLASTIC FREE WINE which is a huge success. Picked up a whole load of loose foods including sultanas, lentils and brown rice from the bulk bins at Wholefood Market.

Thursday 10th No plastic

Another great fruit picking day – raspberries and strawberries. Pork pie from the butcher for lunch  and the last of the lettuce.

Wednesday 9th PLASTIC FAIL OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bought some mustard seeds today sold loose, weighed out into a paper bag. Get home to find 2 sneaky bits of Sellotape were added while I  was looking in the fridge.

More cream cheese lovliness for lunch and bangers and mash for tea.

Tuesday 8th – No plastic

Farmer made cream cheese and bread for breakfast, purple soup for lunch (red cabbage in a soup looks most peculiar) and fantastic stir fry for tea with Lidles rice, loose ginger, garlic and chilies.

Week One 

7 days done and I have used no tins, no glass jars with metal lids and no other kind of plastic packed food. No plastic beauty products. In fact no plastic at all apart from the plastic coated foil from the wine bottle.

We have eaten well but meals have tended to traditional English with a focus on potatos, meat, fresh veg and quite a lot of bread. All of which we have managed to buy locally. All bought loose, with our own packaging,. We have only visited Lidles to buy some rice. We thought we would be living diary free but after one milk free day there has been an embarrassment of milk. We have even had soft cheese which I rarely got in Huddersfield.
>I thought it would be hard being in the van travelling round places we didn’t know and being away from the town. Instead being out in the countryside has meant lots of Pick Your Own farms and even people selling produce outside their front doors. What’s that all about then? We have had strawberries cherries a lettuce, potatos free range eggs and even a couple of naked cucumbers.

I have used no plastic packed personal care and hygiene products. This is rather disingenuous as I made up big batches of moisturizer, lip balm, sun tan lotion and toothpaste before we left for our trip. The ingredients came plastic wrapped but of course that wrapping has long since gone to the recyclers. You can find my pretty plastic free resources here

Day by Day

Day 7 Plastic free

More of the same.

Day 6 OMG!!!! PLASTIC FREE with knobs on!!!! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Can’t begin to tell you how exciting today has been. Remember I was saying how if you want to be really plastic free you would have to grow your own and rear sheep. Well I am practically doing that. OK I am picking my own fruit and veg. You know where you go to the farm and pick the fruit yourself? Well this one also did vegetable – dig up your own beetroots, pick your own lettuce and gather your own cherries to name a few. And we are  staying on a farm where they have goats, We can buy fresh squeezed milk and home-made soft cheese! SOFT CHEESE and a lettuce. It don’t get much better than that.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Day 5 PLASTIC FAIL 

Fruity muesli for breakfast. Loads of home-made cakes at the village fete for lunch ( feel a bit sick). Quiche from the bakers for tea with new potatoes and green beans from the market. Expensive wine with a cork and foil – STILL contains plastic. GRRRRRR! feel even more sick!

Day 4 Plastic free

Leominster has a market butchers and bakers managed to gets lots of plastic free food and some loose tea. No teabags for us as the bags contain plastic. Yes the bags!

Milky porridge for breakfast, missed lunch, salmon new potatos and veg for tea.

Day 3 Plastic free

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The local shop in Eardisland sells milk in glass bottles and some unpacked veg but nothing else.

Decided to walk to Pembridge to get some more food. No shops other than the one general store which sold tourist food. You know the kind local honey, mustard made by monks, organic raspberry cordial and so on. All extremely expensive and all plastic packed. Managed to get an unwrapped loaf of bread.

Food today
Veg omelette, cheese sandwiches, mashed potatoess with all manner of steamed veg and left over cheese sauce from last night.

Day 2 Plastic free

Oh! We got some plastic free milk …rather too much infact!

Beguildy – tiny stop on the road – one pub, one shop come post office  that sold milk in glass bottle. VB so excited he bought 2 pints which we will not be able to keep fresh in the van. Hot milk at bed time.

Veg omelette for breakfast Veg soup for lunch Cauliflower cheese for tea. White sauce made with the special oil  cheese bought loose in Bridgnorth and milk

Day 1 Plastic free

Wondering if we can live without milk….

Watery Porridge for breakfast

Cheese sandwiches  bread from the baker, butter in paper, loose cheese from shop ,Bangers and mash – bangers from the butcher in our own compostable packaging, loose spuds and veg

 

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Plastic free July Bloggers U.K.

Each year a good number of British bloggers sign up for Plastic Free July.

“What” you cry “Live plastic free? for all of July?”

Not quite! It’s all about cutting one use plastic – bottles, bags that kind of thing. However definitions of one use plastic can vary.
The aim is to cut your consumption of one use plastic, for one month; how much you choose to cut is up to  you – read my take.

A bit of history

Plastic Free July started in 2011 in Australia  in 2013 it went global. They have a great website and are all round good eggs.

It’s really important to link up with U.K. based plastivists who will be sharing throughout the month. While some solutions like solid shampoo from Lush can be accessed UK wide, many are local.

2017 U.K. Participants 

find them here

Previous Years

2016

the lovely Pip- squeaking @Pip_Squeaking of   arefugefordaffodils.wordpress.com in her second year now. 

Vicky@busygreenmum I blog about homegrown and foraged food and drink, reducing waste and buying less to reduce our carbon footprint and maybe save a little money on the way. allotmentrecipes.wordpress.com

Helen McGonigal@SpotofEarth Blogger & freelance writer, literacy workshop consultant, author of Mummy Makes Milk, mum of three, wife. spotofearth.com

New Plastic-free U.K. Directory member Jerry Bottles. Read about them here. Tweet them @jerrybottles

Libby Darling – “I run a beaching cleaning group and local eco/education Charity here in Rottingdean, just outside of Brighton, I have recently led a plastic free challenge in May & June to my local schools etc and it’s on going!
It’s not easy but it’s worth every moment!”

Fiona Hancox – no details as yet but on board!

2015

Author and TV presenter @nataliefee has joined the #pfjuk campaign and is spreading the word in Bristol and beyond! She is also the latest plastivist to join thePlastic Free U.K. Directory.
Ethical Superstore  are also promoting the campaign

Bristol and its Michelle author of the great blog Plastic A Lot Less and @beingpall

 

 

2014

These British bloggers signed up for the challenge. Their blogs are fantastically useful and specially good for local info and resources:

 

Plasticfree U.K. Directory

bin to beach featured

You can find more plastic free bloggers and campaigners here

Plastic Is Rubbish Support Group

For help and tips visit the Plastic Is Rubbish facebook group. It’s a great resource.

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2017 Plastic Free July

Of course every month is plastic free for me but plastic free July is a time to make a bit of extra effort.

What is Plastic Free July

The aim is to cut your consumption of one use plastic, for one month; how much you choose to cut is up to  you – read my take.

A bit of history

Plastic Free July started in 2011 in Australia  in 2013 it went global. They have a great website and are all round good eggs.

My Plastic Free July
I try to cut all disposable plastics including the lesser known sneaky plastics

Progress Reports
As this page can get rather full I tend to report my own progress separately .
A Day By Day Update –  right here

1 straw obviously my mimes were not too good
3 plastic line cans of beer because I get so bored of water

 U.K. Participants

Who is we? Every year UK based bloggers have joined in.
It’s really important to link up with U.K. based plastivists who will be sharing throughout the month. While some solutions like solid shampoo from Lush can be accessed UK wide,  many are local.

First off we have Lisa at www.less-stuff.co.uk

and Sarah at www.facebook.com/rhubarbandrunnerbeans

Pip- squeaking @Pip_Squeaking of   arefugefordaffodils.wordpress.com in her second year now. <

From Bristol it’s the Cheeky Girls of Green:
Author and TV presenter @nataliefee. Read about here in thePlastic Free U.K. Directory:
And Michelle film maker, writer of the great blog Plastic A Lot Less and tweeter @beingpall.
They are the brains behind numerous campaigns, the latest being

Get on the list

If you are tweeting or writing this year go to that post and add your details in the comment box.

You can find a list of bloggers who have contributed in the past, here.

Keeping in Touch
Facebook groupf eatured

Join in at the Plastic Is Rubbish Support Group where people share plastic free tips.
And Twitter @plasticSrubbish

Hashtags
I encourage UK participants to use the hashtag #pfjuk for British related posts. Mainly because it gets very dispiriting to hear of a fantastic bulk food store only to find it is based in Sydney.

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My take on Plastic Free July

The (lightly edited) text has been taken from the Plastic Free July  website... the comments in red are my observations

The challenge is quite simple…attempt to consume no single-use plastic during July.

Plastic Free July is a simple idea developed in 2011. It aims to raise awareness of the amount of plastic in our lived by encouraging people to eliminate the the use of single-use plastic during July each year.

It is an initiative of the Western Metropolitan Regional Council (WMRC) in Perth, Western Australia. It was developed by clever Earth Carers staff.
Plastic Free July started as a local community initiative in Perth’s western suburbs in 2011 to educate residents on the important notion of ‘reuse’.
In 2012 Plastic Free July expanded across Perth and even attracted interstate and international interest.
So in 2013 we’ve throw it open to the world!!!

So what do they mean by plastic free?

We have set some basic rules but have deliberately left the challenge simple so you can consider the issues and decide how it will work.

How can I go plastic free when everything around me is plastic?
Don’t worry, you can still use your computer, phone, car, etc during July. The challenge is about reducing single-use disposable plastic such as bags, straws, water bottles – you know, the packaging that you use for five minutes but lasts forever.

What do I do about milk?
Some brands are available in glass or cardboard cartons, just ask your local store or do an internet search for brands.

NB cardboard cartons will be plastic lined

Check out our recipes to make your own soy and nut milk.
How do I get meat, chicken and fish that is not in plastic bags/wrap?
Ask for it to be wrapped in paper or bring your own container, most shops are happy to fill them.
It’s best to explain what the challenge is about – otherwise shop assistants tend to put their hand in a plastic bag to pick up your produce and then throw the bag away!

What about using biodegradable or other environmentally friendly bags?
Single use plastic is, well, single use plastic. The idea of the challenge is to avoid single use plastic, however its made. ‘Biodegradable’ and ‘environmentally friendly’ are both terms without a single definition and can have wide ranging meanings.

I use compostable plastic (PLA) because my challenge includes finding sustainable packaging. If I am going to use compostable disposable paper then I am going to use compostable disposable cornstarch plastic

Is foil okay? As in foil around chocolate or chip packets?
Again, it depends how serious you want to get about the challenge!
Apparently chip packets are often made out of metal coated plastic film.
Use the scrunch test to check whether it is aluminium foil. If it springs back when scrunched in the hand it is not aluminum foil and most likely contains plastic!

I do not use plastic coated foil. The scrunch test does not work on certain types of plastic coated foil – you can read more here.

Are cans okay to purchase? I hear they’re often lined with some kind of plastic.
It depends how serious you want to get about the challenge!
Apparently most tins and cans are lined with plastic – usually containing BPA. (All most all tins are plastic lined)
There is information on the net about health concerns with these types of cans. If you want to be completely authentic about the challenge you would keep those tins in the dilemma bag.

Just keep any plastic you buy for your dilemma bag.

They do not mention glass jars with those pesky plastic lined metal lids. All metal lids are plastic lined!

So their definition of plastic free July (and believe me I am in no way being critical here) can mean only giving up what is obviously plastic (and only plastic) one-use packaging. Composite items like plastic coated card and tins are not necessarily included. Now the purists amongst you may well argue that products containing plastics fall well within the remit of  a single-use plastic and I (with reservations) agree. Here’s why…. 

  • If you want to raise awareness about how much plastic we really use then hidden and less obvious plastics have to be included. So many people for example are unaware that cardboard containers  have a plastic coating.
  • If you are at all concerned about BPA leaching into your food then you really need to know that tins are plastic lined.
  • You can find out more about sneaky plastics here ( watch out for those cardboard boxes with plastic inners)

However giving up tins, plastic lined papers and glass jars with plastic lined lids does make the project much harder….and while I feel that these points are important and do need making,  I think it is fine to tailor plastic free July to suit your own needs and circumstances. So it could mean anything from total hairshirt- no plastic- arghhhh to giving up one particular type of plastic, replacing a disposable with a reusable or going plastic free for a day.

According to Katheryn at Second Hand Tales “when you register there are different options ranging from living plastic free for a day, week or the whole month. You can also choose to avoid all single use plastic or just the top four which are:

1) straws

2) plastic bottles

3) plastic bags

4) coffee cup lids”

So go with what feels comfortable and do what you can.  As it says on Plastic Free July website …

“Remember it is a challenge, not a competition. The challenge is intended to make you think about all the single-use plastic you consume every day. Whatever you can cut out is a job well done!”

If you are giving it a go, in whatever capacity, please do link up with me @polytheenpam and others in the UK on twitter #pfjuk. And you can find lots of other bloggers here