It has been lovely to have a whole 10 days off work over the Christmas break allowing time to recharge the batteries, reflect on 2018 and make plans for 2019. We spent Christmas in Cornwall walking, surfing, eating and drinking way too much and spending time with family. For New Years Eve this year, we are opting for a quiet night with a few drinks in town.
Looking back at 2018
2018 has been another super busy year. I am slowly learning that, that is the way I like it and that list of stuff that just never gets done because I don’t have time, probably just isn’t that important. I think I am perfecting the skill of juggling and prioritising the important stuff so who cares about the rest.
2018 was the year that I learned to surf and swapped foreign holidays for Cornwall, that I took the plunge and left a job that I loved to try something else with full time job, instead of waiting it out for the almost certain prospect of redundancy (so glad that I did!)
2018 was also very much about the environment for me. David Attenborough has helped to bring the issue of plastic pollution into the mainstream and at the beginning of 2018 with publicity around his Blue Planet 2 series I started to work towards becoming single use plastic free. I am not sure I realised how difficult it would be. Looking back over the year, I have made some really positive changes to our life (you can read my latest update here) but we still have a long way to go. Looking at the large amount of waste created over Christmas (albeit much less than previous years) has renewed my motivation to keep making small changes which all add up to a big difference. I will be sharing more of these soon.
No new clothes for a year
Another big environmental issue that has also been highlighted in 2018 was fast fashion with Stacey Dooley’s documentary Fashion’s Dirty Secrets presneting the issue in a fresh and compelling way. Whilst I have not bought fast fashion for many years now, in 2018 I took part in the ‘no new clothes for a year’ challenge to further reduce my consumption and help to show that it is possible to live quite happily without buying new clothes. In complete honesty, I didn’t quite manage the challenge this time. I did invest in a few new clothes by ethical and sustainable brands including shoes and fitness clothing that whilst not completely essential will be worn continually. Despite this I think the challenge has really helped me to carefully consider and reduce my consumption of clothes this year. For 2019, I have decided to keep a clothes log of any new clothes bought including the reasons and ethical credentials. I hope that this will help me to be more mindful of my purchases.
Plans for 2019
My big focuses for 2019 will be quality time with family and friends, living in the moment, improving my surfing, continuing to reduce the impact of my clothing on the environment and reduce our single use plastic consumption, whilst hopefully inspiring others to the same with this blog and social media.
Happy new year! What are your highlights of 2018 and plans for 2019?
This post is a collaboration with The Sports Edit.
The search for sustainable fitness clothing
I have been wanting to write a post about sustainable fitness clothing for quite a while! The truth is I have put it off because I have struggled to find any fitness clothes that really work for me and tick the ethical an sustainable boxes. Fitness and workouts are a really important part of my life. On an average week I do between 8 and 10 classes including a combination of Body combat, my favourite along with Grit, Body Pump and body balance. If I had time to do more I definitely would!
I spend a lot of time in fitness wear and I really need high peformance clothing that washes and dries quickly, is flattering, comfortable and easy to wear leaving me confident to get on with my routine. Typically lycra and polyester are perfect for fitness clothing but not so great for the environment.
An exciting collaboration
So I was really excited to be asked by The Sports Edit to collaborate with them to share my thoughts on some of the ethical and sustainable brands that they stock. Teeki is just what I have been looking for as it combines high performance and a flattering style with sustainability and ethics. Teeki yoga wear is handmade from recycled plastic bottles in the US. Whilst Teeki is described as a yoga brand, I am pretty sure that I won’t just be keeping this top and trousers just for yoga, I think they could work well for other classes too. I love that Teeki has helped to get me out of a style rut with my fitness clothing which has resulted in me wearing black all of the time. They have a fantastic selection of fun pattered leggings and shorts.
Plastic in the ocean
Plastic in the environment and the ocean is a big thing. Plasticoceans.org have some pretty shocking facts. Over 500 million plastic bottles are used every year. Many of which will end up in our oceans. But its not just bottles and plastic bags that are an issue, its clothing too. With fast disposable fashion made from synthetic materials such as polyester, there is a growing amount of clothing waste containing particles which can also be washed into waterways, rivers and eventually the sea. Sir David Attenborough told us during Blue Planet 2 that “we dump eight million tonnes of plastic into the sea every year”. It’s choking our seas, killing and harming marine life.
As you will know if you regularly visit my blog, I am attempting to drastically reduce my use of single use plastics if not completely stop using them. It makes sense that if I really have to buy clothing that is made from synthetic fabrics, that I choose an option not made from virgin fabrics. This helps to find a use for old single use plastics such as plastic bottles helping to prevent it finding its way into landfil and oceans. Whilst I am well aware that buying nothing is usually the most ecofriendly choice, there are times when this isn’t always an option or at least would be very impractical.
Ethical Sports Shoes
Veja are most defintely one of my favourite brands of trainer. The styles are practical and comfortable but also super stylish. The two pairs that I already own are by far the most worn shoes in my wardrobe. I was excited to be able to try out this amazing gold pair which are not only great for the journey to and from yoga classes but also for a night (I really can’t do heels very often these days!). Veja are an environmentally responsible and transparent brand that use a variety of ecologically friendly materials in their trainers including wild fairtrade rubber from the Amazonian Rain Forest and organic cotton and leather tanned with non toxic methods. The great thing about getting your Veja trainers from The Sports Edit is that they are UK based you can avoid the hassle and difficult of international shipping that you would get with buying direct.
Reusable water bottles
A final but very important accessoryfor every single work out that I do is my reusable water bottle. I keep this in my kitbag permanently and refill as needed to avoid buying plastic bottles of water. Keeping hydrated is really important for workouts and I prefer to use a water bottle that is free of nasty plastic chemicals and keeps my water cool helping me to keep cool. S’Well are a great brand (also stocked at The Sports Edit). They are light weight and made of stainless steel, available in some very stylish designs and also BPA free. You can check out the full range here.
Reasons to train
Finally I just wanted share with you some of the reasons I love fitness and excercise classes so much.
Happiness – I can’t explain it but I always feel happy after a class
Energy – if I have to miss out on classes, I don’t feel as energised
Confidence – I feel much stronger and more confident when I have been training
Friends – I have made so many friends through my fitness classes
Losing weight or becoming thinner has never been one of my exercise goals. I definitely take part for enjoyment and don’t see it as a chore in anyway.
I would definitely recommend giving them a go! Do you do any fitness classes? Have you ever considered planet friendly fitness wear instead of the obvious big name fitness brands? I ‘d love to know your thoughts!
Workwear outfit Dress – Oxfam Online
Boots – Toms
Bag – What Daisy did (upcycled leather)
This year as in previous years I ignored Black Friday in favour of Green Friday which is basically no different to any other Friday.
I have started to think about Christmas shopping but I already know what I want to get so have no interest in tempting myself to buy any more with discounts.
I am trying to scale back Christmas this year buying a lot less. With the presents that I do buy, I am trying to buy ethical, sustainable, minimal packaging and from local small businesses. I want Christmas to be about the experiences more than the presents so I am hoping we can have lots of fun times with family and friends instead of accumalating more stuff that we don’t really need. That said, I couldn’t not buy a little something for my family.
Here are some of the places that I have shopped online for Christmas presents.
Seasalt Cornwall – some lovely accessories including scarves and socks
Rapanui – organic cotton t shirts and hoodies as well as lots of other surf inspired clothing
Ethical Superstore – a fantastic range of home wear, clothing, accessories, food, you name it!
Luva Huva – beautiful lingerie and night wear
Etsy – so many beautifully handmade items!
I am also venturing out to the Christmas market in Bath in the hope of finding some nice handmade and unique gifts and locally made foods if I can cope with the hoards of people. I will let you know how I get on!
The picture above is my work outfit on Friday. I used to think dressing ethically and sustainably for work was difficult but I have now completely changed my mind. Oxfam online shop is my first port of call for amazing shift dresses. Which means I have been able to top up my work dresses even though I am on the non new clothes for a year challenge.
Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? where will you be shopping?
Shirt – Patagonia Hat – Ricefield Collective Vest top – Fairtrade cotton (M&S) Jeans – Oxfam Shoes – Po-zu (Star Wars™ collection)
I am just back from a lovely week in Cornwall surfing, walking, spending time with the people that matter most to me and eating and drinking a bit too much. This outfit is super comfy and warm, which just what I needed for the cold but sunny days. The shirt by Patagonia is quite a few years old and I believe was an item that I picked out to review back in 2012 (wow does time fly by!). Patagonia is a brand that I love for being poles apart from so many of the fast fashion brands. Why? because instead of encouraging their customers to buy more clothes, they encourage them to buy less and make them last. Patagonia’s mission: Build the best product, do no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. You can read more about it here. With their practical focus on an outdoor lifestyle, Patagonia clothes are definitely about buying less and living more, something I am trying really hard to stick to.
Taking part in the no new clothes for a year challenge has been a great way to appreciate the many clothes that I have already got in my wardrobe. Recent news stories have highlighted some major environmental issues of which fast fashion is a contributor. It is a big problem! British shoppers are buying twice as many clothes as they did ten years ago. Not only is the fashion industry a major source of greenhouse gases that are contributing to climate change, landfill sites are filled with unwanted clothes and synthetic fibres from our clothing is washing into the oceans. Buying clothes that are only worn once or twice or even worse never at all seems like craziness especially when these clothes are made from synthetic fibres that will not biodegrade.
But it is so easy to get persuaded that you really need to buy something. In fact, I will have to admit, I haven’t managed to completely stick to the no new clothes challenge this year. I have bought a few new items over the summer. Proof of just how difficult it can be to change old habits. I will be ensuring that these clothes get plenty of wear and I have now renewed my focus again on buying less and living more with a big benefit that I spending less on clothes means I have more money to spend on enjoying myself.
Have the recent news stories about climate change and ocean plastics changed the way you shop?
I can’t believe I have only just tried surfing for this first time in April this year. I have always loved water sports including sailing and diving and body boarding but have never tried surfing until then. I am now completely hooked. Not sure I can really explain it but it is completely addictive. I feel so alive when I am surfing and all my worries wash away.
So as I now spend so much of my time at Fistral beach in Cornwall, I thought it was about time I posted about some eco-friendly surf brands. It kind of makes sense that surfers should do their bit for the environment (as should everyone else!). Spending so much time out doors makes you feel more connected and appreciative of the environment and being in the sea regularly, makes you really concerned about water quality. So eco friendly surf brands really make sense but actually it can some times be difficult to find just what you want.
When I am surfing in the UK I obviously need a wetsuit but also swimwear and shorts for the beach in the summer months and warm comfy clothes to wear apres surf in the colder weather.
So here are some of my favourite eco-friendly surf brands…
I love the philosophy of Patagonia which is to create the best products that cause no uneccesary harm and help to solve the enviromental crisis. Their products are all about performance and are made to last. They actively encourage customers to repair and repurpose clothing once it becomes damaged or unused with their ‘worn wear’ initiative, a very different approach to most clothing companies! In fact Patagonia’s Worn Wear tour recently visited Newquay with the offer of fixing and repairing wetsuits no matter what brand they are. For wetsuits the Patagonia Yulex™ full suits are made from a renewable plant based material. They light and stretchy, neoprene free and Fair Trade Certified™. Just check out the video above for more information. They also sell a massive range of other outdoor clothing.
Finisterre is another outdoor brand with sustainability at its heart. It’s ECONYL® swimwear is helping to tackle plastic pollution byplastic pollution in our oceans by taking nylon waste, from carpet offcuts to discarded fishing nets, and turning it into something new and useful. Based in Cornwall, Finisterre and set up specifically for surfers, Finisterre are ideally placed to understand the performance requirements of their customers. Again their philosphy is about creating sustainable high performance products that last. They have an inhouse repair service to maximise the life of their clothes.
I discovered Atlantic Surf Company, a Devon based eco friendly surf brand on Instagram. The brand was started by surfers as an alternative to the mass produced surf clothing that is seen everywhere. Their clothing is screen pulled by hand, using ethically traded clothing and eco-friendly ink, with 20% of their profits going to The Wave Project, a fantastic charity that I regularly see in action on my visits to Newquay.
Rapanui clothing is certified organic and produced using a factory powered by renewable energy in the Isle of Wight. Founded by free diving enthusiasts, the brand has environmental protection very close to its heart and has collaborated with the Marine Conservation Society to help raise funds and awareness. Whilst they aren’t necessarily a ‘surf brand’ Rapanui clothing is well suited for anything outdoors and their tee shirts slogans are all about saving the oceans. I love their surf towels which make for easy and warm changing on the beach.
Swami’s is a brand new discovery for me. A brand that celebrates a lifestyle lived in nature. They strive for sustainability in their products in many different ways from organic cotton to reclaimed materials, vegetable tanning and water based inks. All of which are clearly explained on their website. Their collection features sarongs, bikinis, board shorts, tee shirts and lovely beach blankets, made in the Cotwolds. They are also leading the way in green surf boards with their use of Biofoam, which is as lightweight and as strong as any foam blank on the market. Production results in 36% less global warming emissions compared to standard polyurethane boards. When coupled with a bio-resin and hemp cloth this makes for the greenest of surfboards.
Hangzen is described as swimwear designed for active and eco minded water women. Designed by Emily a surfer and surf instructor from South Devon, the swimwear is created to solve 2 issues that really resonate with me: beautiful swimwear that empowers girls by being comfortable to wear and staying on in the waves and ocean plastic pollution. The ‘surf proof’ collection is made from a sustainable techno-fabric made using a nylon yarn that has been upcycled from ocean plastics such as fishing nets and other post consumer waste plastics. The website shows drawings rather than photos of the bikinis but you can find photos on the Facebook and Instagram pages.
Riz board shorts make amazing board shorts for men from plastic bottles which have been converted into 100% recycled and recyclable fabric. They encourage customers to return old unwanted shorts to be repaired, recycled or rehomed with a 25% for new shorts. They also support the work of the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) by partnering with them at beach clean events and directly donate £1 from every pair of our shorts sold to help fund their important ongoing efforts to protect our marine environment. The prints are amazing, just a shame they don’t do a women’s version!
Of course a post about surfing and sustainability wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the charity Surfers Against Sewage. Originally set up to help tackle sewage pollution which was a big problem for surfers, the charity is now also turning its efforts to plastic pollution which is one of the greatest issues facing the marine environment. It uses campaigning, education and beach cleans to make a difference to the coastlines of the UK and beyond. Their online shop features some great eco friendly tshirts and hoodies to help promote their cause as well as eco living items such as bamboo tooth brushes and refillable water bottles to help reduce plastic use.
So that’s it for now. I hope to share more eco-friendly surf brands with you as I discover them and if you know of any, please do share in the comments. Finally I just wanted to share a few photos of my happy place by the sea!
Clean up coffee is a campaign for recyclable coffee cups.
To celebrate the campaign and help spread the word Percol have sent me some lovely coffee related gifts which could well help me in reducing my waste.
By far my favourite out of the package was the protein iced coffee which was perfect for getting me through a 3 hour fitness session on a Sunday morning, I was genuinly surprised by how good it tasted. I would usually steer well clear of individually portioned drinks where possible because of the packaging and waste.I was pleased to learn that this packaging is fully recyclable as paper and 30% more ecofriendly to produce than aluminium cans so great for an occasional pick me up when you are on the go. It would be great if this packaging caught on for other drinks as it is also a better alternative to plastic bottles. The coffee is also organic and Fairtrade.
I virtually never buy coffee in disposable cups and for work, car and gym I always make use of a reusable coffee cup so the plastic reusable cup was definitely useful. In my quest to reduce my plastic use, gaining new plastic items does seem a little oxymoronic but on the other hand when you look at the alternative (lots of disposable coffee cup waste) it is defintiely a better option.
Coffee capsules or pods have always really bothered me. They seem to create such a lot of plastic waste for just a single cup of coffee. These plant based coffee pods offer a great alternative but as I don’t have a coffee machine, I wasn’t able to try them out.
Whilst Percol haven’t quite found the perfect zero impact packaging for their products, they are definitely taking steps in the right direction and giving consumers more options when it comes to low waste/ recyclable packaging. Their coffee is Fairtrade and they support a number of initiatives including Fairtrade Foundation, the Rainforest Alliance and the Soil Association. They are also part of Next Generation Coffee project, which helps the new generation of farmers see a positive future in coffee growing, by providing education about climate change, and offering training in growing techniques and sustainability.
If you would like to sign the Clean up Coffee petition you can do so here. The petition asks for big brands like Starbucks, Costa and Nero to be forced to clean up their act with legislative change to enforce the use of eco alternatives by 2020 and introduce recyclable alternatives, as sustainable solutions already exist!
What do you think? why shouldn’t coffee cups be reusable or recyclable?
At the begining of the year I pledged to try and stop using single use plastics! Now 7 months into 2018, I thought it was time for a little update.
I knew when I pledged to give up single use plastics, I was possibly setting myself up to fail but I had completely underestimated how difficult it would be. Everything is wrapped in plastic from fruit and veg to meat, shampoo, toiletries and pretty much just about everything that you could possibly buy. Moving away buying items wrapped in plastics has required a monumental change in the way that I shop.
Previously, all of my food for the week was bought online at a well known supermarket and delivered. Visiting a supermarket to shop each week is one of those activities that I consider life too short to waste doing. However the well known supermarket make it near on impossible to reduce plastic use. Even if I try and by individual pieces of fruit, guess what they put it in a plastic bag. If I buy meat already packaged in plastic, guess what they insist in packing it in another plastic bag. Disgusting!
I spent quite a bit of time at the beginning of the year looking for alternatives to my weekly supermarket delivery. The first and most successful has been the local market on a saturday which I have carried on with. I actually really enjoy going down there and feel pretty pleased with myself for the ridiculous amount of lovely fresh fruit and veg that I buy for £12-£15. The meat has been a bit more tricky. I have heard that Morrisons will put items from the meat counter into reusable boxes but truthfully, I just don’t have time to go right across town to buy meat on a weekend. I do sometimes manage to get boxes refilled from a meat van at the local market but the choice of unwrapped meat is often pretty limited. I have also tried to cut back a little on the meat we eat which helps a bit.
About a month ago I moved to a new job and started working full time which means that I have less time and do sometimes find myself falling into the convenience trap, just because I don’t have time for anything else. Once I am back from summer holidays and we start to get back into routine again, I plan to start a renewed effort to reduce plastic use with homemade snacks rather than shop bought and cooking as much as possible from scratch again.
I have however continued with making lunch in reusable containers and a reusable water bottle for work and the gym (as I always have). I find the reusable plastic bottles don’t last that well and often start leaking so decided to invest in a Chilly bottle with the added benefit of keeping my water ice cold which has definitely been a benefit over the summer months. Although fairly pricey, I would definitely recommend.
I am afraid to see after a few months of using solid shampoos and conditioners, I have reverted back to my old shampoo and coonditioner in a bottle. Whilst the solid ones seemed ok to start with, I think they did possibly affect the condition of my hair after using them for a while. If you have found any good options for plastic free hair care, please do share.
Despite some of the set backs, I am continuing to persevere. I have also taken part in some beach cleans in Newquay with my daughter. This is a great way to get involved and encourage a responsible attitude to rubbish!
I am going to continue to research and work towards single use plastic alternatives and hope publish a full list/guide to reducing plastic here before the end of the year. I also think that encouraging brands to take a more sustainable approach to packaging via social media particularly Twitter. There are also a few organisations which are great for info on going plastic free:
I got this pair of black jeans by Weekday for my birthday a while back. Weekday is a fresh modern brand with some eyecatching but wearable pieces combined with some great basics including jeans in a range of colours fits and styles. I have never owned a pair of high waisted jeans before but was pleasantly surprised by how comfortable and flattering they are. The prices are also surprisingly affordable and their ethics seem to be pretty good.
Weekday have a comprehensive sustainable commitment which goes beyond compliance with human rights and sets out aspirations in terms of working conditions, working enviroments and sustainability. They place an emphasis on partnering with suppliers on a journey of continous improvement towards fair and sustainable production. My jeans are made from organic cotton. Weekday are constantly looking for sustainable materials to use in their clothing and are aiming for all cotton in their range to come from recycled or sustainable sources by 2020.
Having fully read Weekday’s environmental and sustainable policies, I think they are generally a great brand to invest in for the ocassional piece of clothing when second hand is not available. However, I think it is worth mentioning that they are owned by H&M. I am not sure if this is a pro or a con. On the one hand, the fast fashion model of business operated by H&M goes against all of my values. But…their investment in trying to create large scale sustainable choices for the consumer can’t be an altogether bad thing? While second hand is always the best option, it would be unrealistic to think that we can change the buying habits of the masses completely at this time, so any thing that makes a difference goes someway to helping towards the massive issue of unethically manufactured and unsustainable fashion.
I would be really interested to hear your thoughts in the comments below?
In my quest to reduce my usage (and ultimately eliminate) single use packages, I have discovered a way to cut out the plastic bottles that are filled with shampoo, conditoner and shower gel by using solid soap, conditioner and shampoo bars. Lush was the most obvious place to try out first as I am a big fan of their products already, been unable to resist the fragrant smell and enthusiatic staff every time and wander into a shop.
After perusing the Lush website for a bit and reading the reviews for a variety of different solid bar products, I decided to buy the following 3 products as a trial to see if I could be persuaded to make the switch away from single use plastic bottles.
I also decided to try out this Sea Spray Hair Mist It is not exactly plastic free but the bottle is made using plastic with their closed loop scheme. This means that the bottle can be refilled and reused and then returned to Lush to be recycled into a new container.
So what did I think of the Lush products?
I was a little worried a about the impact of solid shampoo and conditioner on my hair as it can get pretty dry. I also only brush my hair through when I wash it and have put in conditioner as it gets quite tangly. I was definitely pleasantly surprised with both the shampoo and conditioner bars. Generally my hair seems to feel a lot more managable and sets into more defined curls after using them although this could also be due to the sea spray mist that I have also started using. I am also convinced that the hair colour I use seems to last longer and looks more vibrant since I have started using these products. The soap feels slightly drying in my skin but not enough to bother me. All of the products smelt amazing and left a lasting fragrance in my hair and bathroom.
Number of washes V cost
I found that one of the big advantages of using these products was the amount of time that they lasted. Although quite expensive to buy in the first place, I think the number of washes from them made them comparable with if not cheaper than buying bottled products. I think the shampoo has lasted at lleast 3 months and I wash my hair 2 or 3 times a week. The soap has lasted much much longer than that. There is also a lots less waste as I use a fraction of the amount that I would use with product from a bottle.
Applying the solid shampoo and conditioner is very different to using liquid varieties. It has to be first rubbed through the hands in water. I found the shampoo bar was pretty easily disolved in water allowing the lather to be applied to my hair. The conditioner was a little more time consuming and I had ti be careful not to drag over my hair as I didn’t want to pull out to much. It did take a bit longer to apply the conditioner and I had to be more carefull about brushing through as it was quite as easy as when I usually use conditoner but I think I can live with this. I have been doing a deep conditioning treatment once a month to ensure that my hair stays in really good conditon as I have had put my hair through quite an ordeal lately with the salt water and wind when surfing, diving and walking in Cornwall.
The storage of the bars was a little more tricky. I my bath room at home, I just keep them in a soap dish but if travelling I have stuck with using traditional bottled products so far. I think that you can buy tins from Lush to keep them in so may give this a go in the future.
Unfortunatley due to lack of time, I didn’t have the opportunity to visit a Lush store and instead had to order through the website. I was pretty shocked to recieve the parcel filled with lots of packaging.
I asked about the packaging on the website chat and promptly got the following answer…
The boxes are filled with packing peanuts that are made from potato starch that are 100% compost-able. 🙂
Which is great news! I still think it would be best to pick up my Lush products when able to visit a store as everything has some environmental impact even if it is biodegradable. That said making a special visit to Bath just to buy Lush products would also have its own footprint caused by the travel.
Overall I would defintiely continue to use these products and I am also planning on trying some more styling products to replace a plastic bottled product that I currently use. It could be quite tricky to find a replacement as I have been looking for the perfect styling product for my hair for years and my current option is the best that I can find to keep it under control without looking greasy. I will keep you posted on how I get on!
What are your favourite Lush products? Do you have any other recommendations for a plastic free bathroom?
Dress – SkunkFunk
Jacket – Rokit Vintage
Leggings – Thought Clothing
Necklace – People Tree
Trainers – Veja
There has been lots in the news recently about the environmental damage caused by single use plastics especially pollution of the oceans. The final episode of David Attenborough’s Blue Planet 2 showed shocking scenes of the havoc wreaked to sealife and he has since stressed the threat to our oceans from plastics, explaining that it is putting the whole of himanity at risk.
I don’t usually bother with new year resolutions much but this year I was determined to do something to help reduce the amount of plastics that we throw away each week. I was further encouraged with this mission after seeing the pile of rubbish that we created over the Christmas break, much of it being from food.
So on January 1st, I started the new year with a plan in addition to the No New Clothes for a Year challenge again to stop using and throwing away single use plastics. I had no idea how I was going to do this but in the same way that changing to only wearing ethical and sustainable clothing, I knew it was going to take a bit of thought, online research and trial and error.
So nearly 2 weeks in and I have spent quite a bit of time thinking, researching and trialling different options.I havemainly concentrated on food to start with as I thought that this is the area where I could make the most difference.
The bad news: I don’t think it is possible for us to go completely single use plastic free. Not without being almost self sufficient. The busy lifestyle that we lead would make this very difficult.
The good news: We have already made some massive reductions in the amount of non recyclable plastic waste that we are creating.
There are some really positive changes that we have made:
Swapping shop bought sweet treats, biscuits and cakes for homemade options The main ingredients for these are available in paper or cardboard packaging (flour, sugar, butter eggs). It does take a bit more time but the children enjoy making them, they are much tastier than shop bought and possibly even a bit healthier.
Swapping ready made soup for homemade soup. In colder weather I eat soup most days for lunch and often for dinner. I tended to buy the plastic containers or cartons of readymade soup. This year I have got back to making my own soups which are also really healthy. My favourites: Leek and potatoe and Celariac and apple.
Buying in bulk. It’s pretty obvious really but if you buy food (or anything in bigger packs) there is less packaging. In particular, I have started buying big paper sacks of potatoes from the local farm shop rather than small plastic bags from the local super market. It also works out cheaper this way.
Opting for card/paper over plastic – for some products, it is possible to buy options packaged in paper and card rather than plastic for example eggs, pasta, rice, mushrooms, puy lentils, icecream and fresh bread (instead of sliced)
Buying fruit and vegetables separately without plastic bags. The local farm shop and Morrisons have both proved good places to buy some fruit and veg not in plastic packaging including apples, carrots, bananas, kiwi, brocolli, peppers and tomatoes etc without plastic. I have also have also trialled an organic veg scheme with mixed sucess as some items were still in plastic bags.
Frozen items There are quite a few frozen items available in cardboard boxes rather than plastic. Particulary vegetarian and fish which I eat quite a lot of.
Reusable shopping bags I have been using my bag for life for some time but I am now being extra carefully to make sure that I always have it with me when shopping.
Packed lunches – not really any change here but I have always recycled plastic containers for pack lunches and filled reusable bottles with water to avoid buying packaged sandwiches and drinks. With the obvious benefits of saving money and being more healthy too.
The more tricky bits
Certain veg can be difficult buy plastic free. In particular cucumber, spinach, kale and lettuce. I have not completely gievn up on the idea of organic veg boxes and may try again to see if I can get a more plastic free option.
Meat– I have actually found it impossible to buy fresh meat plastic free. I have tried supermarkets, organic deliveries and the farm shop. All are wrapped in plastic. The local farm shop did however say that it should be ok to bring my own reusable plastic containers for them to put meat from the counter into. I hope to be able to try this out soon. In the mean time, I am buying meat in bulk to minimise packaging e.g. if I roast a whole chicken and slice for children’s sandwiches, there is much less packaging than individual packs of sliced meat.
Petrol- previously I have ordered all of my food in one supermarket delivery from one place. Trying to go plastic free has meant a lot more mixing and matching which ultimately means more driving around and more petrol and time.I hope to try and minimise this when possible by careful planning, bulk buying and popping into relevant shops when I am nearby.
I will update again soon with my progress on reducing single use plastics also on my no new clothes challenge in 2018.
Do you have any new years resolutions for 2018? If you are trying to reduce or cut out plastic, I would love to know how you are getting on and any tips or ideas!