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Plastic Free July: Days 9 to 18

Hope you all have been successful in your first 8 days. Following on from the previous blog and tips pointed out to me:

  • Glitter: This is made out of plastic! There are biodegradable compostable versions. Just look up eco or bio glitter (thanks Silver Shadow)
  • Zero Waste Shop: These have popped up around Europe, Singapore, USA and probably other countries and require you to BYOR

Day 9: Milk

Milk tends to either come in a plastic bottle or in a cardboard carton that has a plastic liner.

Personally I don’t drink or eat diary but find I have to purchase the stuff for my visitors. In the UK, the milk man is making a come back as more people want milk in a glass bottle.

For those without milk in a glass bottle or need it infrequently, consider:

  • Making milk from powdered milk that comes in a tin or cardboard.
  • Making milk from evaporated milk (this is unsweetened compared to condensed milk)

Day 10: Cling Film / Saran Wrap / Plastic Wrap / Food Wrap

This is the stuff that you liberally throw over your left overs, or wrap a sandwich in…. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plastic_wrap

Am uncertain why we need this except to generate more plastic waste.

Plate On top of bowl

A plate on top of a bowl is easy to stack

For left over food

  • Put a plate over a bowl. It makes it easy to stack
  • Use a glass or metal or plastic reusable container with a lid
  • A glass bottle works well. Have a collection from jams and sauces.

The NZ Ecochick has a great write up about plastic free food storage: http://www.nzecochick.com/plastic-free-food-storage/

Level 2 Challenge: BYOR (Bring Your Own Reusable)

My bag is loaded with stuff for my day. So here are the contents:

Day 11: BYO Bag for Shopping.

My reusable bag is my backpack. For a small shop – a medium sized back pack. For a big shop (if doing a dinner party) it is my large trekking back pack

Going Shopping

Just going shopping

Tip: Additionally keep a handy spare foldable cloth bag in your bag in case you need to purchase more items. Have also put foldable bags in the car + a freezer bag.

Day 12: BYO Bag for fruits and veg + Refuse to purchase bagged items

If you’re like me – I normally throw mine loose into the basket, weigh it at the counter and then put them straight into my bag. Have also been known to bring packaging (from the cereal box, rice, pasta) to help me carry the fruit or plastic items.

However if you want to be more organised, you can purchase reusable netting bags or make your own (some of the Fetchies from a brilliant online running community have been making their own).  I remember seeing produce bags being sold in the US – San Francisco and Hudson, Wisconsin – in organic / health food type shops.

Produce Bags

Alternatively

  • Reuse the netting bags that items like oranges and brussels sprouts are often packaged.
  • Use a laundry netting bag that is typically used for smalls for your produce bag
  • See if you have any local produce markets in your area as they often sell produce loose.
  • Some companies in the UK deliver fruit and veg boxes. That is they deliver fruit and veg in cardboard or wooden boxes.
  • Grow your own. The fruit and veg tastes so much better and probably have more nutritional value than the mass produced supermarket produce.

Did you know a plastic bag in the water looks like a jellyfish to marine life. Plastic is being consumed by our marine life = junk food = zero nutritional value

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Day 13: BYO Containers for meat / fish / deli produce

You can avoid unnecessary packaging by using the meat/fish/deli counters. (Check with your local butchers or supermarket that they will accept your container).

Tescos in the UK has accepted my containers when purchasing food items from their deli counter. Recently Morrisons said they will be doing the same. Assume others will be following shortly.

NB: Tesco does not allow you to use your own containers at their salad bar.

Alternatively find a butcher, and / or fish monger or wet market (common in Asia)

Day 14: BYO Cup

I bring a metal thermal cup around with me everywhere. Every time anyone offers me a drink I hand them my cup. It has a nice lid so spills are minimised and keeps my drink hot when hot, cold when cold.

Many flight attendants accept them in Europe and Asia. The US flight attendants can be weird about the cross contamination even though you are happy to hold the cup whilst they pour the beverage in. They will provide a plastic cup of the beverage you want to pour into your cup!

I also bring my thermal cup to restaurants. Gordan Ramsey’s London restaurant did accept it when I requested hot water in my own cup 😉

Noted that the large chains, like Starbucks and Costa, offer some money back for bringing your own cup to be filled with coffee.

Day 15: BYO Take Away containers

Polystyrene is all over our beaches and along with the plastic packaging, become junk food for our marine life.

I do carry a reusable plastic container as a take away container. Alternatively if am going to order take away in a restaurant, have a 3 tier Tingkat.

Tingkat

Recently I went requested from my local restaurants if they would accept my containers and if they would provide a discount if folk brought their own containers. 2 out of 7 said they would discount the meal.

In Singapore, some stall holders in the hawker centres charge if they have to provide a container for you to take away.

A study in Winchester University found that charging for something was a better incentive for customers to BYOR rather than providing a discount!

Day 16: BYO Cutlery & Plate

I bring my own metal cutlery / chopsticks + reusable tin plate every where. In the past at the pre-pasta events, the volunteers have been a little bewildered about me handing them a plate to fill up with pasta.

Have to tell them am on a plastic free diet.

Day 17: BYO Hydration Device

BYOB

Metal Bottles

My metal bottles

On ultras I have:

  • A water bladder in a back pack
  • A bottle for energy drinks
  • A cup for a hot drink or soup that might be offered. If you’re worried about weight there are collapsible racing cups as well as titanium cups.

On road trips I do have a lovely metal bottle that was a gift as well as one I had bought for about 3GBP

I use my lighter water bottle for general use when am out and about.

Day 18: BYO Towel

Wet wipes are a mixture of fibres that includes plastic (polyester or polypropylene). So they are slow to break down and will obviously release micro-plastic into the environment. They have been in the news as part of the problem to creating fatbergs and thus blocking sewage pipes.

Images and article can be found from ABC news

This is a world issue, yet the governments continue to allow flushable wet wipes! If they can ban climbing frames and monkey bars due to health and safety, surely wet wipes should be banned as well! A fatberg stinks because it is rotting stuff that people have flushed down the toilet or down the kitchen sink! 😦

Wet wipes are also traditionally used to wipe your hands & face. I bring a small hand towel around where ever I go, that I can wet, as well as use to dry my hands after washing them in the sink! The zero waster in me prefers a reusable towel rather than a single-use disposable paper towel…….think they used to call this a handkerchief 😉

….and so there you have the contents of my bag.

For those who like wet wipes for children, make up, etc you might try Cheeky Wipes (credit to Wine Legs). The fabric is natural and is reusable.

Cheeky Wipes.JPG

The Next Post will include making your own to further avoid plastic packaging.

 

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Timeline So Far….

Am reflecting and reminding myself on what we really need to survive in this “living journey”. Am finding out that our reliance on conveniences means we begin to lose ways of doing things that once was done in generations nearly gone. And so am unlocking what we really need in my own convenient life and “trying something old”.

So what can I give up?

13 November 2017: Giving up the Fridge & Turning Down the Heat

Today I turned off my fridge for a 2 week trial period as I don’t eat diary and only eat meat when visiting my relatives. My fridge contains condiments and vegetables. Someone suggested I turn down the house heating, so it is now on 15 degrees. Yep – dressing warm.

Fridge1

Veggies and condiments are left. So time to turn off the fridge for a 2 week trial

Can’t believe we have 6 jars of mustard partly opened.

Aug 2017: Toothpaste Does It Really Help?

Made my own toothpaste

Toothpaste

Went to my dentist end of September. He told me I don’t have gum disease! Should be noted, every time I’d see him previously, he would warn me about some gum disease. Think it’s the tumeric in the mix which is supposed to be a natural antiseptic.

 October 2014: Shampoo – It’s Just Poo For Hair

Stopped using shampoo. In 2017, my scalp is in far better shape – no more dry itchy scalp. It should be noted, suddenly stopping usage made my scalp intolerably itchy and greasy.

Third attempt – decreased the frequency of shampooing my hair over 1.5 months. So instead of every day, every other day. Once the scalp seemed used to that, then every 2 days, etc.

Feb – May 2014: Surgery to Remove a Frostbitten Finger: No Way

Showed a hand surgeon at St. George’s Hospital, London, my grade 2-3 frostbitten finger. He’s eyes could not contain his excitement of wanting a black necrotic finger to add to his collection of pickled digits. It healed in 12 weeks by applying aloe vera and salt water. A one week course of anti-biotics was taken due to paranoia that the finger might have become infected but in fact was all good.

2012: Packaged Items: Tried Going Plastic Packaging Free

Kept the packaging from groceries such as the empty packaging for pasta. Found there was too much ^&*( plastic packaging. So tried to go plastic free for a couple of weeks. It is hard when everywhere sells everything in plastic…..unless I eat veggies…..hmmm

2011-2012: Surgery for Carpel Tunnel Syndrome? Saved going under the knife by a holistic masseur

Yes I was skeptical at first when a friend told me she was a “holistic masseur”.

At the end of 2010, I had a swollen hand that continued to tingle and feel numb for the whole year. The GP prescribed anti-inflammatories. They kind of worked, but not really. After a year and a 1/2, was sent to the neurologist who told me had to have an operation. This would happen in 3 months.

In that time, a friend intervened and conducted massage therapy. After one session, the swelling already began to subside. After one week, my hand was normal.

When I returned to the neurologist was told I no longer had carpel tunnel syndrome. My hand is still normal in 2017.

2010: Soap and Toiletries from Hotels: BYOR to hotels

I travel a lot in my job, and stay in hotels. The small bottles of stuff were cute but then realised a lot was chucked even if it was 1/2 empty. So now BYOR a bar of soap & my own toiletries.

2008-2010: Could Prescribed Medicines Be Making Eczema Worst?

Before going to the Arctic, I was suffering badly from head to toe eczema. In fact I’d been suffering for many years since a teenager. The doctor prescribed hydro cortisone & emollients. This used to relieve the itching and then it would come back more aggressive and spread until I was covered in dry scaly itchy skin.

April, 2008 I finally went on the war path with the dermatitis I’d been suffering from. By the end of 2008 gave up steroid creams. In 2009 gave up the doctor’s prescribed emollients. After using normal commercial creams, the itching was still there but less intense.

In 2010 my skin was “miraculously” clear. Finally I could enjoy feeling smooth patches on my body! Now in 2017, I suffer from small patches but no way as bad as when I was using the GPs prescribed steroid creams and emollients. Decided that the pharmaceuticals produce stuff that only temporarily relieves the itch and in fact exacerbates the condition. The temporary relief psychologically makes us think it is making us better. I wondered whether pharmaceuticals like this kind of condition as it is not life threatening and thus can make money on repeat prescriptions.

Note: Still occasionally take a 1/4 of an antihistamine at night to relieve any eczema itching that might flare up.

2007: Do We Really Need Disposable Plastic:  BYOR (Bring Your Own Reusable) to places

End of 2006, beginning of 2007, I discovered how bad our municipal waste treatment centres really were at recycling. Horrified at the less than 10% figures for plastic.

It is now habit to carry these items when I go out

  • Thermal cup
  • Melamine plate + cutlery to the workplace (the canteen used plastic everything)
  • Take away containers
  • Reusable bag