Thursday, 23 July 2015

A few Plastic Conclusions

Couple of things I have discovered on this plastic mission:

One month is not long enough.

I realised half way through the first week of this challenge how big the challenge actual is.
This challenge involves going against a tide of behaviour and habit.
This is about turning a giant boat around to avoid hitting an iceberg.

So I have decided to keep this diary going and to keep on trying to give up plastic beyond one month.

One of the main things I have realised is you can't just go out and buy non plastic products, even they have a plastic legacy. You have to use up the plastic products you already have and think about how you can reuse this plastic moulded carcass left behind.
Then be a conscious consumer.

Campaigning is high on the agenda for change but asking them to not stock plastic will achieve nothing it is too big a deal. But asking them to provide an alternative to plastic is doable.
Campaign for choice and encourage others to make that choice will help turn the tide.
Publicly thanking companies that do give the choice will encourage them to continue to do so.

Cutting out plastic is directly connected to consumerism

Going out and buying a load of stuff that isn't plastic is just feeding the consumer addiction.
I am a consumer addict, I get the endorphins that make me feel better to shop and no this is not a good thing and is the main cause of my plastic consuming slip ups.

It is much harder to break habits that you associate with comfort, self-reward and a way to get through the day.
The desire for these consumer comforts identify a deeper discomfort that needs to be tackled, through exercise, meditation, creativity to name but a few.
Many times I have bought things to feel better, justifying it in my head, only to feel anger and guilt at myself when I add it to my hoard of 'stuff', stuff I barely have time to look at.

So breaking free of consumer comforting is a big part of the battle against plastic.

New is not better, new is a temporary hit that will subside after it is no longer new.

People 'the consumer' want plastic as it make life in the temporary convenient and hygenic.

I have been intrigued by the response to my plastic challenge.
Many people have said it is impossible, and I am inclined to some degree agree.
It is impossible to do it alone.
But why is it so hard, how has it become so integral to our western lifestyle?

Much plastic is used with food to retain cleanliness, hygiene and to prevent damage.
Which is ironic considering how much damage, dirt and pollution plastic is causing.
The consumers perspective is very much in the 'right here, right now' bubble of thinking, they don't wish to think about the big planet picture, it is too much responsibility and releases feelings of sadness which then trigger buying a 'treat' to feel better.

Plastic has made things cheaper, it's adaptability to create many different useful parts of life has made it thrive in everyday living.

My thought is, as a consumer, we need to push a little harder to think of alternatives to Be creative.
Shops instead of just giving away plastic knives and forks, they could sell beautiful (branded) reusable cutlery travel kits.
Already we are seeing the alternative of beautiful reusable cotton bags as an option in stores.
Perhaps coffee shops could provide reusable lids for your coffee, or keep the one you get and reuse it for next time, trends are made by many people doing something new.

As a consumer, think before you automatically consume, it is very hard but I will keep trying.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Day 12 and a half: A Plastic Complaint

Just look at all the pointless plastic cutlery, it is quite disheartening.

They could use wooden utensils, that would be a step in the right direction.
And yes I didn't manage to refuse the plastic lid because they didn't hear me in time, poop.
I wonder if there is an alternative to a plastic lid....anyone want to invent a biodegradable one?
I am going to try to write some complaint emails to companies.
I shall share with you when I do and encourage you to do the same.

And here is the complaint I wrote:

"I enjoy your food and find the environment of your stores comfortable and welcoming.
This month I am trying to quit plastic because as I'm sure you are aware, plastic doesn't degrade.
It just goes into our oceans and back into our food chain whilst releasing toxins and killing of our oceanic life.

Will you consider using sustainable wooden utensils like your competitors LEON do?
I don't think their food or restaurants are better but I will go there because they are making a better effort at being environmentally aware.

I enjoy your coffee, especially when I get a well trained staff member but I don't want a plastic lid and I don't get an option unless I shout.

How would you feel to see the Brand floating amongst the litter in the sea?
Is that the legacy you wish to leave?

I hope you consider my opinion and make some changes.
Small changes can make a difference."

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Day 12: Plastic Bag Bag

Morning All!

Thought I'd share with you, on this gloriously rainy Summers day, my reuse of plastic bag project.
I am making a plastic bag bag.

We've all got them....the never ending bag of bags where we don't throw away but store plastic bags that we end up with in the hope to reuse.

I now carry around a reusable cloth carrier, 3 actually. I kind of over-did it, but always feel smug when I whip them out at the counter.
"No plastic bag thank you I have my own *swish*"

Anyhoo, I have this stock of plastic bags and decided to combine my special powers and crochet the bags together.
"What?!" I hear you say "But How?!"

Firstly, I have to cut the bags into strips. I usually lose the handles cause they are incredibly tough to crochet. Perhaps I will think of a further use for them (any ideas?)
Next I roll the strips into coloured balls and store them in an old washing tablet container. 
That way I can pick colours I want to use as I go along.

Then I crochet. 
I have to say, it is very tough to crochet, kinda gives you hand cramp, though if I actually cut the strips a bit thinner this would not be an issue. 
I am aiming to make a large off the shoulder bag that will gain "ooo"'s and "ahh"'s and I will be able to spread the "Boo to Plastic" word.

Be encouraged world, what can you re-use your plastic for?

Days 8, 9,10 and 11 YIKES!

Yes I got a bit disallusioned.
There isn't an easy way to give up plastic, it is a long road and a persistent one.
I think the reason so much plastic is used is because it creates convenience, so to find and be pro-active with substitutes is hard work and pretty much the whole world of shopping is pushing against you doing that.
Plastic is oil, oil is money.


But I have had some smashing conversations with some smashing friends and been inspired by a wonderful website to keep going.

I love this Ladies Blog, such a source of inspiration!
I really recommend having a look for ideas :)

I did a bit of plastic fixing to RESTORE
I fixed it with a pin.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Day 7 Week 1 Complete.

One whole week of plastic awareness.
I gotta say I am quite plastic overwhelmed and have aplastic headache.

Plastic clothes, plastic shoes, plastic covered food, plastic bags, plastic doors, plastic computers, phones, buildings, appliances, toiletries, radios, drinks, beds, cars...

Anyhoo you get my point.

So today I read about a great idea called Plastic Free Tuesdays
A great way for us nubes to cut down on plastic on a regular basis.
The idea is to try and be plastic free for at least one day a week.
No buying plastic and no binning plastic.

I think after this month I will continue with Plastic Free Tuesdays to keep the momentum going.
Perhaps do a weekly diary then.

There's some great ideas here:
The Rogue Ginger
I particularly like the idea of making your own grocery bags to replace those plastic ones you get to put all your fruit/veg in for weighing.
I wonder what is the best fabric to use...muslin? cotton?

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Refuse.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Day 6: A Plastic Seventies Bathroom in turquoise.....yep we've all been there.

Well it's everyone's favourite time of the the month, yes that time of the month, and guess what involves a lot of plastic. *facepalm*
Just when you think your getting the hang of no plastic, BAM, suddenly you got a new thing to think about. 

So I headed over to Whole Foods as planned and got some some cotton based sanitary towels and tampons to trial. I have tried a moon cup before but it didn't agree with me, though don't let that stop you (ladies obvs) as they are incredibly eco friendly.

I have to say with Whole Foods, I was majorly disappointed with how much of their products are CASED in plastic, soo much. And their fruit seemed to be mainly from other countries, Braeburn apples from South Africa so no, but the oranges were from Spain which was a bit nearer so I went for them, they were freaking delicious.
Yes Whole Foods was a bit of an expensive disappointment but not totally.

Here's my haul, I picked up some degradable bin liners too and a razor with changeable heads made out of recycled yoghurt pots, who knew, right?!
I found floss which is cotton but only 20 strips for £3.99 super expensive.
The toothbrush has 2 changeable heads, so slightly less plastic used than a normal toothbrush though the handle is made with recycled natural fibres, super cool.
They didn't have any of the bamboo toothbrushes in stock.

But I have got my bathroom bits and shall look for cheaper alternatives when I find something I like.

I also got my shampoo bars from Lush and a bar of deodorant and some powdered toothpaste and toothy tabs ( I spent a small fortune or rather a fortune on small things)

I didn't know how the toothy tabs worked.
It said 'nibble one between meals' so I chucked one in my gob after lunch, yeah...don't do that......
the whole thing frothed up filling my mouth, tasting like a fragrant minty foam of bicarbonate.
It'll be great for brushing my teeth with, but it's not a mint sweetie, that was a shocker.

I also tried the rather scrathchy dry deodarant bar. I now have itchy under-arms (...tmi?)
Anyhoo, I know they have a creamier version so I'll try that one. I have just such sensitive pits.

Stay Clean, Fellow Battle Warriors of the Plastic Scourage!

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Day 5: Plastic Mornings

As I brushed my teeth in the shower I looked at all the things I use in my morning routine...sigh...yep you guessed...all plastic...

So I been seeing tips and ideas for alternatives.

I'm going to pop to Lush tomorrow and try out these Toothy Tabs and grab some bars of shampoo.
Then I'm gonna head over to Whole Foods and see what tooth brushes they have.
Not sure what alternatives to floss there are.

Planning ahead is the only way forward.

I was discussing with a pal the challenge and came up with the analogy of the different belts in martial arts.
White Belt, Yellow Belt, Orange Belt, Green Belt, Blue Belt, Purple Belt, Red Belt, Brown Belt then finally Black Belt.
I see eco living has these different stages.
Some people have been practising years and are right up there with the red, black, brown belts.
Some people are completely new to it and are just white and yellow.
But all belts represent people trying to learn a new skill and should be encouraged by all levels.
Those at the top should be supporting and encouraging those starting out, not criticising them or putting them down for not being as advanced.
Becoming eco especially if it's new to you is a big learning curve and needs support, cheers and fan waving.
Ideally we want everyone to be eco aware and living an eco lifestyle.

So as a yellow belt whose trying to get my orange belt, I say join me and start the journey.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Day 4- Whoops I did it again...

On this super hot sweltering day, most of which I spent laying on the floor refusing to move.

I knew I had things to do that I could avoid, but one major thing I had to get my butt in gear to achieve was buying glue and brushes for my craft group with the elders at my local dementia centre.

So I dragged myself to the shop bought my equipment, got back in, drenched in sweat, then realised, doh another plastic fail...
I had bought a bottle of PVA glue and plastic bulky brushes.

Many people I have discussed my plastic free July challenge with have doubted it's achievability "but how?! It's everywhere!" and they are right, it's bloomin hard!

Many feel the task is so large that there's no point trying and what I say to them is, Have a Go, Fail then Keep Going because the little you do achieve will have a big impact and will lead to further changes in your life.

Since last years Plastic Free July (which I failed miserably at) I now:

  • carry a metal bottle for water that I always carry and top up; 
  • a foldable shopping bag always in my bag; 
  • bars of soap instead of soap liquid; 
  • occasionally I use shampoo bars and occasionally I use wooden tooth brushes; 
  • I mainly buy loose fruit not packaged; 
  • and I'm in the long process of converting my old plastic bags into plastic yarn to making a things with.

So you see that's a pretty good start.
So this year I am re awakening to the plastic problem and re booting my goals and awareness.

I've realised to make this work I need to plan ahead.
Like with my craft day I need to source wooden brushes and made flour and water paste.

Try again, Fail again, Fail better!

Good Luck Fellow Plascateers!

Friday, 3 July 2015

Day 3- A Plastic Habit

So Day 3 and it's hard.

I had a bad plastic day.

Much like any other addiction it's hard to break bad habits and that's why I'm gonna be honest and confess.
I lapsed into plastic today.

There are rituals and routines that we develop that help us get through tough days.

They are mostly there to just give us a touch of comfort.

One of my weaknesses is coffee shops.
I don't go for the coffee, ok sometimes I go for the coffee, but I go mainly to just get off the pavement out of the stream of people, put my feet up and observe the world whip by. It's a time out thing.
Often these coffee shops don't give you china but paper cups and plastic lids and a tiny plastic stopper (dumbest thing ever!) Today I succumbed...

So I have to stick to the ones that have ceramic options.

Continuing in my days rituals I bought food from the store I always buy food for the weekend.
I wanted bacon and bread and fish and I bought them in my exhausted overheated fuxx.
Epic plastic fail:

I need a new shopping plan.
There's nothing like a bit of failure to get you on the right path.
1. I need to find a bakers
2. I need to find a fishery monger thing
3. I need to go to the butchers.
Do these things still exist....

Dear reader be encouraged, it's not easy but it doesn't mean you should give up.
In the great words of the great Samuel Beckett just before he leaped
Try Again, Fail Again, Fail Better.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Day 2- Symbols of Plastic, Know Your Enemy!

Day Two of the Great Plastic Mission.

I woke up thinking about recycling plastic and what the heck the symbols mean on the back of plastic packages. 

I believe correct me if I'm wrong but it means you can recycle them! 
IF your council recycles plastic, which is another thing to discuss with your local government.

Burt Bees Hand Cream
This recycle symbol says 50% inside it, what does that mean??
Quick Google search...nope..shall look further 

Boots EXPERT dry skin cream:
This does not have a recycle symbol to tell as about itself :(
That symbol it has with the two arrows means the company who made it invest/support in recycling but does not mean this is recyclable.

Tissues from Boots:
So this wrapper is made from Low Density Polyethylene which is no. 4 on your chart 
and Yeay! It's commonly recycled!
But not in the UK..Booooo!

Here's a fun chart to learn more AND a wiki page just to spoil you, don't say I don't give you anything!

So I have learnt avoid plastic without a recycle symbol cause it probably means you can't recycle it. Also avoid plastics 6 and 7 as they are very hard to recycle.

This was my plastic purchase of the day.
A sandwich wrapper.
I went for the canned drink because I can recycle it in my building and it's not plastic!

Keep Up the Good Fight Plasticateers!

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Day 1

So I've bitten off a big ol'challenge for the month.

The fabulous and fantastic Plastic Free July.

Right here I'm gonna log the plastic that crosses my path.
Now I doubt it'll be all the plastic because the stuff is everywhere so my goal is to become aware and reduce and find out about the plastics that are reusable.
It's a journey, join me!

So I started the day with my kit. 
Top Left: water bottle (alternative to bottled water), 
Top Right: Cutlery kit (alt for plastic spoons and forks), 
Bottom Left: Foldable shopping bag (alt 4 carrier bags) 
Bottom Right: My sandwiches in a reused carrier bag (reuse win)

Then whilst waiting for a meeting I heroically refused a lid on my coffee. NO I said NO
Then someone (Manda!) pointed out the cup is plastic coated, doh! 
She also suggested bring my own re-usable cup. I should see if they'll take it.
And some coffee places give you a coffee in a mug, so I'll be looking for them this month.

Wanted a cold drink but all the cold juice was sold in plastic cups, so I got this (expensive!!) glass bottle and then recycled it.

I didn't buy this but found it uber plasticy. Printer toner packaging.
The good thing is the old cartridge goes back in the packaging and is sent off for  re use.

My brain wave this morning for the Craftivists out there, a couple of ideas:
1. Make, out of old plastic, badges that say- No Plastic Please (like the baby on board badges) so when you're shopping you can point at the badge.

2. Make animals out of the plastic and send it to the HQ of the chain you bought it at, asking them to consider cutting down on their plastic use. (for example a plastic wrapper could be made into a butterfly)

3. Make a plastic crane for this campaign

4. Crochet/Knit reusable bags or bowls out of old plastic carrier bags.

Happy Minimal Plastic Use & Plastic Awareness Month!!
M.P.U.P.A.M! (catchy, right!?)