Tag Archives: Environment


#75: Nice – Cannes Marathon Part 1: Stirring the Pot

If someone said to you: “Come to my country <<where you cannot speak the language)>> because you <<who is an unknown person>> can inspire the nation to be more environmentally conscious” – would you go?

I met Jean Jacques (JJ), a charismatic French adventurer, at Rovaniemi 150 in 2017. He was intrigued about Lumi, my lovely 15kg ice tyre that would was part of my gear…

JJ’s great adventure for 2019 is to drive in a Tuk-Tuk from France to Japan
To follow his great escapade see here

After the event, we kept in touch and he suggested that I should be part of the Nice Marathon as they would welcome someone encouraging more ecological actions in events. As “je parle Français tres mal” and had no confidence that my presence could create change, I made an excuse for 2017.

In May 2018, JJ encouraged me again to come over as he believed I could inspire the people and raise general awareness about waste and disposable plastic. To ensure I did not make another excuse, JJ provided the contact details of the Nice-Cannes marathon organisation’s President. I checked the organisations eco-regulations and knew they could improve http://www.marathon06.com/2018/AN/infospratiques/ecomarathon.htm

Hence I wrote to the organisation and presented two agendas:

  1. To pull a tyre and start early
  2. To help reduce waste at the event with a potential for the event to go cupless & single-use plastic free in the future

The Nice-Cannes Marathon organisers responded that I participate and observe how the event was run. Then as part of a 2-3 year plan to go cupless…..


Yes – it would be awesome for a mass event over 10,000 participants to go cupless and single-use plastic free. Of course I had to go! ….And to ensure participants supported the cause I had to be part of the expo, even if it meant learning to parlez Francais by watching YouTube videos 3 days before leaving for Nice, France. Love a challenge 😉

Before arriving to Nice articles announced my imminent arrival:
10 Oct: https://www.nicematin.com/insolite/elle-va-courir-le-marathon-des-alpes-maritimes-en-tractant-un-pneu-de-10-kg-267963

29 Oct: https://france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr/provence-alpes-cote-d-azur/decouvrez-cette-coureuse-du-marathon-alpes-maritimes-qui-fera-course-tractant-pneu-10-kg-1559926.html

30 Oct: https://moveitmoveit.konbini.com/news/decouvrez-rima-chang-la-marathonienne-qui-trainait-un-pneu

Thank you to the Race to The Kings organisers for providing me free use of the photograph that has been used within the articles.

Wednesday: Arrived in Nice.

JJ had organised an interview with a journalist and had painted a tyre with a glossy white. However, materials were still required for the expo such as a spare tyre for participants to try out at the expo.

Finding A tyre

Finding Gage Pneu – the Pledge tyre

Thursday 1 Nov 2018: Preparation Day

  • Design Tee-ra Wates – the Nice Marathon racing tyre
    – she wanted to represent the fish in the ocean with plastic fish spiraling above
  • Design signs for the expo – JJ is way more professional and routed out a sign + created up some frames to place the signs on.

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Friday 2nd Nov 2018: Expo Day

Picked up my bib number + a back pack within a plastic bag within another plastic bag that contained samples and vouchers. Lots of exhibitors giving away “stuff”. I looked away.

The marathon organisation had provided a Sustainability Statement board to be signed. Despite Thursday being an expo day, no one had signed the board. It was time we got to work and parlez Frenchiese.

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My Frenchchessi: Excuseze-moi. Ecritez-vous le nom pour l’ecological reasons. Par que je n’aime pas plastique unique et je vois marathoniers bring their own bottle to all events + put all their waste in the bin…La Signe si vous plait. The eco-wall after a couple of hours!

With backup from the team: JJ and Uncle were speaking to everyone about reducing waste and Bring Your Own Reusable bottle / cup / hydration pack and to put their rubbish in the bin.

I could wander off and see if anyone wanted to play with Gage Pneu.

Je tire un pneu dans la marathon en Dimanche. Voulez-vous tire moi pneu?

This got me lots of strange looks. JJ again supported my bad French and explained.

Talking Tyres

The tyre represents the burden of our waste to us. Would any of you like to see how that burden is to us if we continue with our “convenience” life style?

And many said they knew me as they had read about me! Many pulled the tyre to see what it would be like to pull a tyre…

In the programme on page 19: http://www.marathon06.com/2018/dl/MAM2018-programme.pdf

Friday evening, we were exhausted but happy the eco-board was now full.

Saturday 3rd Nov 2018: Expo + Press Conference

More of the same stuff – getting passer-bys to pull Gage Pneu and encouraging everyone that went by to sign the board that they do want to see change in events.


Finding space for folk to sign towards their environmental responsibility to the environment

15:30 – Another interview for a production company. I could no not speak French and found nor could I speak English!

16:30 – Press conference

Press Conference

And finally to present Gage Pneu to Pascal the president of the organisation.


Sunday is “run day”, time to head home into the mountains to sleep.

Going Home

Good Night

By the end of 2 full exhausting days, we had found many people who supported being greener, and for the organisation to take much bolder actions to reduce waste especially in the realm of disposable plastic.

Our environmental disaster where we have over 1 million animals dying mostly in the sea and some on land means this invisible oil spill (ocean plastic) needs to stop. We must switch off the disposable / single-use plastic tap at the source! At the same time, we need to look beyond an alternative convenience and grow up to take responsibility for our actions. Paper is not a substitute for plastic. Paper is from trees which are the lungs of our world! #BYOB #BYOR

As an adaptable society we can do this.

Thank you to Uncle, JJ, the marathon organisers for promoting the cause and everyone who signed supporting the cause.

We have one life to make it right! And everyone who signed the eco-board agreed that runners can and should bring their own reusable bottle / cup / water bladder to all run events with many pledging they will do so next time. #BYOR

Bon Courage Marathon Organisers! Bon Courage Marathoniens!


Pourquoi devriez-vous refuser immédiatement d’utiliser le plastique jetable / à usage unique?

Nous savons très bien pourquoi il est important pour la santé de notre planète, des animaux et des générations futures, d’éliminer le plastique jetable à usage unique de nos vies.

Le plastique est un matériau extrêmement poluant et durable. En faire un usage unique est un gaspillage et nous devons en garantir la gestion. C’est à chacun d’entre nous de veiller à jouer notre rôle pour mettre fin à l’empoisonnement de notre monde.

1. On ne peut pas garantir que votre plastique «recyclé» est réellement géré de manière responsable
Autrefois, la plupart des pays (y compris les pays développés) déversaient leurs déchets dans l’océan. Tout comme les Victoriens utilisaient la Tamise comme dépotoir. Re: https://www.choleraandthethames.co.uk/cholera-in-london/the-great-stink/

Aucun de nous ne peut garantir que les «matières recyclables» que nous mettons dans les bacs de recyclage seront gérées de manière responsable, même si vous pensez que l’emballage est «recyclable».
Les États-Unis, le Royaume-Uni, l’Australasie, l’Europe, Singapour et le Japon exportent tous du «plastique recyclé» vers des pays comme la Chine, le Vietnam, la Malaisie, l’Indonésie et la Thaïlande. Lorsque la Chine a cessé d’importer cette année, les pays développés ont envoyé des quantités encore plus importantes aux pays asiatiques qui accepteraient cette ressource potentielle. Ces lieux sont également connus pour déverser leurs déchets dans l’océan / la décharge et avoir des problèmes de gestion des déchets.

EU Trash

EU Trash
Source: https://www.politico.eu/article/europe-recycling-china-trash-ban-forces-europe-to-confront-its-waste-problem/




De plus, nos déchets électroniques contiennent des métaux lourds toxiques pour tous les êtres vivants.

Autrefois, le nord de l’Italie envoyait ses «matières recyclables» en Calabre pour y être traitées. Malheureusement, les entreprises chargées du traitement des déchets déversent illégalement les déchets directement dans la mer Méditerranée ou les brûlent ouvertement.


Source: https://uk.reuters.com/article/environment-italy-waste-dc/naples-waste-linked-to-death-and-disease-idUKL1681676520080117

2014 – L’Italie se voit imposer une amende par l’UE pour ne pas avoir géré les déchets. Ref: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-italy-environment/eu-court-fines-italy-record-40-million-euros- pour-illégal-gaspillage-idUSKCN0JG1AJ20141202

2. Le plastique photo-dégradant produit des gaz à effet de serre
En plus des matières recyclables expédiées dans le monde entier, le plastique photo-dégradant (dans les décharges et dans l’océan) émet du méthane et de l’éthylène, deux puissants gaz à effet de serre. Le méthane et l’éthylène sont également émis par les plastiques jetables à usage unique!

3. environ 1 million d’animaux meurent chaque année de la consommation de plastique
En 2015, un article du Guardian a souligné que 90% des oiseaux avaient du plastique dans les intestins:

Au fil des années, nous avons beaucoup entendu parler des poissons et mammifères marins ingérant du plastique. Le plastique est de « la malbouffe » sans apport nutritionnel.


Et même les animaux terrestres mangent du plastique. Cerfs, vaches, chèvres…

Lorsque les coureurs ou cyclistes utilisent des chemins et des routes sur lesquels se trouvent des animaux, ils laissent quand même leurs déchets et emballages plastiques sur le sol.

Richmond Park
Source: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/08/10/richmond-park-deer-at-risk-of-dying-from-energy-gel-packs-discard/

4. Il n’est pas étonnant que l’on retrouve du « microplastique » dans notre intestin
On sait depuis longtemps, et cela a été confirmé.
Si les baleines et les dauphins ont été découverts avec du plastique, c’est que nous empoisonnons lentement nos propres sociétés avec des perturbateurs hormonaux et des éléments toxiques.

5. Le recyclage du plastique est une progression linéaire vers la création de micro-plastiques comme le nylon, le polyester, etc., qui finissent également dans les déchets.

Nous créons donc deux problèmes: le plastique et le microplastique qui finira à la décharge s’il y est jeté.

Le cycle de vie de la bouteille

Bottle Lifecycle

Que puis-je faire pour réduire la pénétration de plastique à usage unique / jetable dans le flux de déchets?
Chaque semaine, lancez-vous un défi en plastique tel que:

Fréquenter les magasins qui offrent des produits sans emballage plastique. Recherchez les magasins Zéro Déchet dans votre région. Ceux-ci nécessiteront que vous apportiez votre propre matériel réutilisable.
Soutenir les agriculteurs / marchés locaux qui offrent souvent des produits sans emballage.
En savoir plus sur les produits que vous achetez. Vous trouverez ci-dessous des conseils sur les solutions de rechange aux produits que vous pourriez acheter: https://tyrelady.wordpress.com/support-the-challenges/
Parfois, cela peut vous amener à découvrir de nouveaux produits exceptionnels lorsque vous décidez de ne plus soutenir les marques sous emballage plastique.
Tout comme vous utilisez un porte-monnaie pour mettre votre argent, utilisez votre propre contenant pendant votre marathon (bouteille, gobelet, poche à eau ré-utilisables).

Merci de votre geste qui garantira une meilleure vie sur notre planète.

NB: Les produits à usage unique / jetables constituent une exception dans le secteur médical, où la santé et l’hygiène sont importantes.


Why you should be refusing and avoiding Single-Use / Disposable Plastic Immediately

Finally all the evidence is in of why it is important for the health of our planet, animals and future generations to remove single-use disposable plastic from our lives.

Plastic is a fantastically versatile long lasting material. Making it single-use is a wasted resource and we cannot guarantee its management. It now becomes up to each of us to ensure we play our part to stop the poisoning of our world.

1. You Cannot Guarantee Your “Recycled” Plastic is actually being managed responsibly

Once upon a time, most countries (including the developed nations) used to dump their waste into the ocean. Just as the Victorians used to use the Thames River as a dumping ground. Re: https://www.choleraandthethames.co.uk/cholera-in-london/the-great-stink/

None of us can guarantee that the “recyclables” we put in the bin or recycle bins will be responsibly managed even if you believe the packaging is “recyclable”. News from the USA, UK, Australasia, Europe, Singapore, Japan have all been exporting “recycled plastic” to places like China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand. When China stopped importing earlier this year, the developed nations sent even larger quantities to the Asian countries that would accept this potential resource. These places are also known to dump waste into the ocean / landfill and have waste management issues.





Additionally our electronic waste contains heavy metals which is toxic to all animals including ourselves.

Once upon a time Northern Italy used to send their “recyclables” to Calabria to process on their behalf. Sadly the companies have been illegally dumping the waste which has been seen falling into the Mediterranean Sea or simply been openly burning the waste

2014 – Italy was fined by the EU for not managing the illegal waste Ref: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-italy-environment/eu-court-fines-italy-record-40-million-euros-for-illegal-waste-idUSKCN0JG1AJ20141202

2. Photo-degrading plastic produces greenhouse gases

In addition to our recyclables being shipped all around the world, photo-degrading plastic (in landfills and in the ocean) emit methane gas and ethlyene which are 2 powerful greenhouse gases. Seems much more is emitted from single-use disposable plastics!

3. Approx. 1 million animals die each year from plastic consumption

In 2015, a Guardian article highlighted that 90% of birds had plastic in their gut:

Throughout the years, we have been reading about marine life with plastic in their gut. Plastic is junk food offering zero nutrition.


And even land based animals are eating plastic. Deer, cows, goats….

When run / cycle events have used land that have animals on, the participants have still dropped plastic litter on the land in the form of gel packets



4. Unsurprisingly micro-plastic has now been discovered in our gut

It has been known for assumed for some time, and now has been confirmed. If the Whales and Dolphins are anything to go by that have been discovered with plastic, we are slowly poisoning our own societies with hormone disruptors and toxic elements.

5. Recycling plastic is a linear progression towards creating micro-plastic shedding materials like nylon, polyester, etc which also end up in the waste


So we have now created 2 issues: micro-plastic which we are consuming and it will shed in the landfill if it is dumped there.

Bottle Lifecycle

What Can I Do to Reduce Single-Use / Disposable Plastic Further Entering the Waste Stream?

Each week set yourself a plastic challenge such as the following:

  1. Find shops that offer plastic free shopping. Search for Zero Waste shops in your area. These will require you to Bring Your Own Reusable
  2. Support farmers / local markets that often offer produce without packaging
  3. Learn about the products you purchase. See here for some tips for alternatives to products you might purchase: https://tyrelady.wordpress.com/support-the-challenges/ Sometimes this might lead you to discovering new awesome products when you decide to no longer support brands that have single-use plastic packaging
  4. Request shops (like clothes) reuse their own plastic packaging
  5. Just like carrying your own wallet, make it a habit to Bring Your Own Reusable bottle, cup, bag, cutlery as a basic
Thank you if you do take action to help all living things on our one planet.
NB: Single-use / disposable is an exception in the Medical industry where health and hygiene is important.

Always Keep Fighting

There is a famous scene in The Matrix where Morpheus offers Neo the Red Pill of truth or the Blue Pill to stay in the fantasy land.

When you begin to notice the “out of place” things that are wrong, you can never turn back. Litter is a great example. So many people ignore the rubbish dropped on the ground: notice the litter along your streets, in your towns, along the river banks or in the river, along the beach or in the sea. When you begin to notice, you will always notice it. You can choose to ignore it or you can pick it up and dispose of it as best as possible so it does not become a threat to our natural planet.

In 1997, Captain Charles Moore discovered a very large plastic island in the Pacific Ocean and warned societies about it. We ignored it, hoping the problem would disappear. It didn’t! It just grew into an in your face environmental disaster that still we are slow to respond.

  1. In 2008, I attended a green London and found out over 50% of London’s “recyclables” by boroughs were being shipped out to China to process. I didn’t re
  2. After the China ban in Jan 2018, the UK, USA, EU along with many other rich developed nations continued to export “recyclable” plastic & e-waste to other Asian nations like Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, etc to process. Many in the rich countries continue to be fooled that their waste management system is superior in processing their “recyclables”. The China ban and now more recently the Malaysian ban has exposed the flaw of relying solely on “recycling” as the solution to managing our waste from convenient disposables.

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    You can read this article here: https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/malaysia-bans-waste-imports-as-australia-battles-recycling-crisis-20181019-p50atm.html?fbclid=IwAR04IgY45wIHe9RxmN23Y2TtNXzAtdmjCDVfL0GnapGb8s6wy7KrUH2Ddik

  3. The truth about recycling plastic is, it is a linear progression towards the development of micro-plastic shedding materials such as nylon, polyester, and the other synthetic fabric.
  4. From the invisible oil spill (plastic ocean), millions of animals (mainly marine life and birds) a year are dying from plastic ingestion.

And as we continue to ignore the environmental disaster, unsurprisingly we at the top of the food chain have micro-plastic in us.


To read more about this see here: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2018/10/news-plastics-microplastics-human-feces/?user.testname=none&fbclid=IwAR2qbYTOGFLhPjg9nZfuDv_QeqF6DT3FcxgIWcsAhX4h8mt2bbRHltuQrIQ

The experts claim that this will affect our autoimmune systems and aid the transmission of toxins and harmful bugs or viruses. Whales and dolphins have been dying from plastic ingestion.

Whale Plastic Bag

Finally advocates (presumably plastic manufacturers) have been saying this is a distraction from climate change. It should be noted that photo-degradation of plastic, particularly single-use plastic is contributing to the global warming / climate change

Source: https://www.hawaii.edu/news/2018/08/01/greenhouse-gases-linked-to-degrading-plastic/

BBC Article: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-45043989?SThisFB

It is interesting that we can immediately respond to the “Y2K” potential disaster or a visible oil spill. But the plastic environmental disaster???

So which pill will you continue to take? The red pill or the blue pill. We are all stewards for this world.

Genesis 1:26 “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”


Numbers 35:33 “You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it.”

The corporates and governments do need to take action, but we can also take action and be part of the solution. Refuse disposable / single use plastic and take on the plastic / zero waste challenge to reduce the disposable waste you produce. Here are some tips to what you can do: https://tyrelady.wordpress.com/support-the-challenges/

If you want to share what you have done to reduce your disposable plastic waste then leave a message for me on Twitter: @TyreLady or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TyreLady


Plastic Free July: Day 30 – Laundry

The other day I helped someone put out their laundry, was over powered by the heavy fragrance, and broke out in rashes during the handling of their phthalate / plasticiser infested clothing….(yeah I am sensitive).

Further notes: Phthalate exposure has been linked to an increased occurrence of atopic diseases including allergic rhinitis, wheezing, and eczema

FYI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4626318/

Day 30: Laundry

Music for your laundry…

So alternatives to liquid detergents that come in plastic bottles are normal soap bars or laundry soap bars for hand washing and powder in a box for washing machines.

Do your clothes really need to be washed?

Am the lady that drag tyres and also am the lady that washes her clothes only when they fail the sniff test. Many will have seen this dress whilst out speaking / campaigning and it has not been washed for a good while. No one complained & the smell check with everyone seemed to pass! (or Ngee Anne and the British Embassy were just being too polite)

At some point my clothes will be washed in a non-biological powder that comes in a cardboard box (there are a number of brands available). Am currently trying to create my own eco-enzyme solution to clean my clothes & to make it easier for others in my household to do the dishes. (Sometimes folk just want to be normal!!!).

Eco-Enzyme: Am making mine from oranges, lemons and some apple that were nearly dehydrated in the fruit basket (1 part brown sugar; 3 parts fruit peels; 9 parts water). Needs a plastic bottle (secured one dumped in a bin) as the bottle needs to expand with the fermentation process and it takes 3 months to complete – that’s what the web searches say Ref: Instructable Guide to Using Eco-Enzyme (across the pond they call it “Garbage Enzyme”)

So yah for the reduction in chemicals, reusing dead fruit and the delay in sending a plastic bottle to a landfill somewhere….here is my eco-enyzme…


Nearly 2 months….one more month to go and yeast has formed! The smaller bottle is my experiment with a one way valve that will automatically release the gas. The larger bottle keep lid on loosely. Needs to be kept in a darkened environment

Will let you know how this is in a month’s time. If you are concerned about pouring this down the toilet as a sanitiser or using it in the washing machine, here’s an academic study on eco-enzyme in waste water treatment and appears positive depending on the dilution: https://waset.org/publications/6989/a-study-of-the-garbage-enzyme-s-effects-in-domestic-wastewater

At this point, some of you are thinking this is too much faff. Here are some alternatives. I’ve not yet tried any of these.

Stain Remover

Have rubbed stains down with a normal soap bar and left overnight before putting in the laundry, as well as my favourite baking soda + vinegar. This has removed blood, tumeric stains and others.

Fabric Softener

A cap full of White Vinegar in my wash. Have found this pretty good and my clothes have not smelt of vinegar at the end of a wash cycle…… well so far no one has complained I smell like vinegar except after a sweaty run!

One more day to complete for 31 days of tips for reducing disposable / single-use plastic in Plastic Free July…..then back to tyre dragging marathons….


Plastic Free July: Days 28 to 29 – Clean Up

Yes thought about the Barney Clean Up song but it annoys me….

…at this point want to thank all the Fetchies for their suggestions on how to go plastic free and hopefully have now compiled all tips during this Plastic Free July series.

Fetcheveryone is an excellent site that can be used to find swimming, cycling and running events + log events you’ve completed + log training + a whole lot more to do with activities. Its a great site to learn about many things from improving your swimming/running/cycling technique to growing sunflowers to solving Excel problems and more….and forumers are friendly 😀

Day 28: Cleaning Detergents

To find a cleaning product in anything but plastic is hard as plastic is such a good container for containing the harsh chemicals which can be highly toxic in the air, water and to us, so much so that Breast Cancer UK recommends using more natural methods (ref end of this post).

When I was a kid, we used VIM to scrub everything (chemical powder in a cardboard/metal packaging). One of my other chores was cleaning the metal ornaments with Brasso (which still comes in a tin). Now a days you’d be hard pressed to find any household cleaning detergent in a non-plastic container.

Being an eczema sufferer am sensitive to fumes and fake smells, so here are my “woman’s weekly” natural cleaning tips…

  • Wipe down stove immediately after use with a damp cloth – so food doesn’t become baked onto surfaces (I even wipe down my tyre after use)
  • To scrub a surface like glass doors or my metal sink from food splatters or hard water – use a metal scrubber with water. If it is baked on then see next bullet.
    stainless steel scrubber
  • My favourite is baking soda (in a box) + vinegar (in a glass bottle) – which have used to degrease stuff (like to see the fizz), remove mould, clean burned pans; remove stains (has done a great job of removing tumeric stains) and use in a solution to clean my floors. For tea stains, add salt to the mixture and leave.
  • White vinegar (as its an acid) is great for degreasing glass, dishes and cleaning out the limescale from kettles (limescale is an issue in hard water areas).My mother recommends diluting washing up liquid with white vinegar.

What About the Bath Tub? Scrubber

Am using an old green scrubber that have had for over 10 years!!! Well its plastic so really has not degraded at all. It removes the suds + hard water marks with a bit of water. If you do this after every bath, it is fast to clean. Same with the shower.
green scrubber

Tip: To keep mould at bay in your bathroom if air circulation is poor, use a squeegee to remove excess water off the walls and push the tray / bath water down the plug hole.

As this is a plastic free series  – plastic free alternatives:

  • Natural Coconut Coir (credit to Carpathius)
  • Or crochet your own with any natural fabric you want (Fetchies do)

Have found making cleaning as part of completing cooking, bathing, etc, means the habit has formed and not a lot of deep cleaning has to be undertaken.

Day 29: Cleaning Dishes

Found this crazy song about washing dishes. Strange thoughts in the 50s.

When we go camping we use nothing but sand and the river water to clean our cooking and eating stuff. Still alive and the groups that have come out with me have all been healthy and well 😀

If you have a dishwasher, there are a number of eco-friendly tablets that come in a cardboard box. As I don’t have a dishwasher, I use vinegar + some other natural alternatives:

  • Tea seed powder is a great natural option and can be used to create a detergent but can’t find a plastic free packaging option as there are no zero waste shops where I live https://monoandco.com/tag/tea-seed-powder-usage/
  • Make an eco-enzyme (see next post)
  • If you are an egg eater – consider using egg shells (See below) to clean cast iron.
Egg Shell hack

Source: Robin is a zero waster & has various hacks for completing tasks https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155375044860752&set=gm.403318123389171&type=3&theater&ifg=1

Info About Breast Cancer and Cleaning Products

This is not meant as scare-mongering and all this information is freely available on the web. After all our bodies are different and genetics can play a role in substances that can affect disorders.

AS well as Phthalates and Parabens, there have been concerns raised about a possible link between Breast Cancer and man-made Cleaning Products from a single study.

Here’s the NHS view on that study. It notes that the study does highlight there could have been a bias that may have skewed the results: https://www.nhs.uk/news/cancer/household-cleaners-and-cancer-risk/

Follow up studies do need to be made and maybe one day one of the Cancer Charities might divert some funds to do so. In the meantime, the Breast Cancer organisation have suggested to play safe:

Two more days to go and writing my next post on laundry…..


Plastic Free July: Days 26 to 27 – Getting Soapy

Dunno about you all but my butt hurts and my eyes are blurring from writing all these posts…..so let’s get into the shops for some madness…

As one who aspires to be a zero waster, it would be fantastic if every supermarket would consider having one of these where you can BYOR.

Refill station

There are zero waste shops around the world that are popping up offering this service such as UnPackt, Singapore or direct from the manufacturer such as SynTech Chemicals, Singapore. And when you BYOR, the cost of product is way cheaper than the supermarket.

None of these are convenient for me so let’s tackle soap & cleaning products.

As we discussed in a previous post, cosmetics (like toothpaste) have man-made chemicals that have an insidious side to them:

Ref: US National Library of Medicine
The FDA’s think it’s safe https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/productsingredients/potentialcontaminants/ucm128250.htm

However the EU thinks differently on this and will be restricting the use of 4 types of phthalates: https://www.env-health.org/resources/press-releases/article/europe-finally-recognises-four

Day 26: Shampoo & Conditioner

Just hope she’s was using a natural soap ‘cos that fresh water she is enjoying will be going straight back into our water…

Once upon a time I used to spend soooo much time in the bathroom shampooing and conditioning my long hair. October 2014, on my 3rd attempt after many years, managed to successfully stop using either and now only wash with water. My showers are so fast which gives me more time to write long blog posts!

If you want to try going “poo” free I found going cold turkey the worst experience. My hair was greasy and terribly itchy for weeks. Found it easier to slowly come off the shampoo addiction by every 3-4 weeks lengthening the number of days I shampoo-ed my hair. So week 1 would be every other day; 3 weeks later spaced out to every 3rd day etc.

Since I stopped using both shampoo and conditioner, the dandruff / eczema in my scalp has disappeared. Also found my hair is falling out less. Have recommended this to two guys whose hair was falling out and they have had a similar result. More people need to test this method to see if it is true.

Not ready to go poo-less, here are some alternatives to plastic bottled shampoos:

  • Shampoo bars – a number of brands are available wrapped in a cardboard label.
  • Shampoo powder in a tin
  • Shampoo liquid in glass bottles!

Simply do a search on “Shampoo – no plastic” and remember to check the ingredients (see above). Seems more products are going plastic free every time I do a search.


I rub olive oil on my hair as it is easy for me to purchase a bottle of Olive Oil in a tin or glass bottle. I hear apple cider vinegar is great to make it shine though yet to try it.

If you want to purchase something, like shampoos these come in:

  • Glass bottles – liquid
  • Tins – powder
  • Conditioner bars (like shampoo bars).Will leave you to do a web search to locate something in your respective countries.

Alternative here’s a lass who can provide better brand recommendations on shampoos and conditioners than myself: https://treadingmyownpath.com/2017/07/27/plastic-free-shampoo-conditioner/

Day 27: Hand / Body Soap

So what kind of soap are you washing the kids with? Do check what chemicals those kids are having fun with.

Triclosan is used in many anti-bacterial liquid hand soaps (see previous posts for concerns about Triclosan creating antibiotic resistant bacteria)

Here is an interesting video on the evolution of bacteria becoming antibiotic resistant.

It would seem ordinary soap is just as good as anti-bacterial soap for our domestic users. How Stuff Works can tell you about this: https://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/cleansing/myths/question692.htm

Alternatives to liquid soap:

  • I grew up with a soap bar wrapped in paper. Have noticed the soap bar appears to last longer than the liquid soap. A web search will show you plenty of soap bars. Are there kids safe soap bars? I can only tell ya I found loads doing a web search.My soap bar lasts me for ages (been 6 months & still got a good bar)…my mother would have told me if I smelt rank!
  • Make your own liquid soap and there are YouTube videos to show you how. If I deep dried my food and had residual oil, I would probably try to turn this into soap.

Have fun washing. Next post will be on Cleaning Detergents….


Plastic Free July: Day 25 – Packaging

News 1: Recently a enterprise launched a Plastic Free label to help shoppers discern products that have plastic packaging. Iceland in the UK has taken this on, who are also working towards being the first major supermarket to have zero plastic packaging usage for their own brand by 2022.

News 2: Raglan, New Zealand is already on their journey to creating a landfill free town: http://greenribbonawards.org.nz/?q=raglan-zero-waste (Helegant – what if your council could do the same to reduce the waste and thus reduce the need for an incinerator to burn landfill waste?)

Waiuku, New Zealand is following behind and is in the early stages of idea generation to normalise people defining the rubbish they generate with the key emphasis on the words REDUCE & REUSE and any rubbish generated to be recycled within the country. Most likely there will still be some landfill items.

I was given the opportunity to provide some feedback in Waiuku’s initial idea generation. Want to share one of the solutions provided as shops need to ensure their fragile goods are protected without having to use expanded polystyrene or bubble wrap. So here is…..

Day 25: Packaging for Goods and Food

Fragile goods & electronic goods are packaged in polystyrene or bubble wrap as both are light weight and can absorb an amount of energy that comes from rough handling to circumvent damages. Food packaging comes in copious amounts of plastic packaging because apparently this gives the consumers a sense of safety and hygiene and keeps soft items intact.

So what can be used instead?

For an alternative to loose polystyrene peanuts / beads:

For an alternative to expanded polystyrene:

  • Seaweed Packaging has recently been announced and like mushrooms also has a lot of versatility and reduced carbon emissions in production.

Seaweed packaging 2

See Evoware

  • Hey – what about Pressed Hay?

Reusable Packaging

You might consider a special elasticated silicon to wrap your fragile items that can be returned to the vendor via the courier. Look up reusable options via the web.

What About The Tape?

Tape is typically made from polyurethane, acrylic or acetate. So what are the alternatives:


Packaging? What We Need is a Replicator

Out of all the packaging materials, think we all agree that plastic has the worst environmental impact due to the poor management of this material worldwide. However shifting from disposing of one material to another material is denying that we have a waste generation issue that is on a growing scale. The better solution would be to go Zero Waste and redefine our economies to support a circular economy which would reduce carbon emissions. Wonder what the energy requirements for the Replicator would be? (come on Manchester University – the world is waiting)…..No more packaging would be required!




Plastic Free July: Days 19 to 24

On 28 May 2018, the EU announced there will be a ban on certain single-use plastic items where there are alternative packaging. Below is a screenshot of their page. Full report here: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-3927_en.htm

Eu plastic ban

I do hope in a future legislation they will include polystyrene (here’s what my brother found on a beach in Phuket, Thailand: https://www.instagram.com/p/BlTdUhOFT3D/ and biros / disposable pens.

Day 19: Writing Tools


Common rubbish that you find on a beach are plastic cups, plastic bottles, plastic lids, plastic packaging, polystyrene and disposable plastic biros. Every conference, class that I’ve been to seems to give these things out as standard.

Ink pen.JPG

A reusable fountain ink pen can be used but the downside is:

  • You have to allow the ink to dry
  • The ink can smudge if you accidentally rub on it before it has dried
  • Some fountain pens can require plastic ink cartridges

Personally the pencil is my mighty sword! It is so versatile -writes on most surfaces and upside down. Most builders use it to mark their materials for stuff like cutting. If I want a bit of colour….then I get to play with colouring pencils 🙂

Note in the UK and US, Terracycle will recycle your disposble pens, Singapore has a social enterprise called SaveThatPen:




If you’ve been following this post and you are already doing all parts so far here are two different challenges:

Day 20: Plastic-Free Packaged Snacks

Challenge 1: See if you can purchase different plastic wrapped free snacks a day for the next 7 days from a regular shop / supermarket. Here’s what I bought.

  • Fruit bought loose
  • Chickpeas that came in a can (nice with pepper)
  • Olives in a glass bottle. There was a plastic label
  • Chocolate bar wrapped in paper and silver foil
  • Cake from the bakery
  • Quiche in a plain cardboard box – there was no plastic window and was in the “Basics” range – so was also the cheapest. Tasted fine.
  • Ice Cream bars – these came wrapped in waxed paper in a cardboard box. Had to purchase a set of 8 (oh well) and shared with the office. This was also the cheapest product in the ice cream range (bonus) and tastes just as good as any other have eaten.

Add a comment and let me know what other food stuff you found that could be a snack.

Day 21: Find Shops that are supporting Plastic Free July

Having stocked up on plastic free items, then onwards to….

Challenge 2: Find and photograph at least three shops that are participating in Plastic Free July and tag with #PlasticFreeJuly #ReducePlasticUsage here are mine:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BlLFC8OFut9/?taken-by=tyrelady2016 and https://www.instagram.com/p/BlCVUAxFNvH/?taken-by=tyrelady2016

And if you can’t find any ask shops if they would give up a disposable plastic item and give them an alternative. Please do put them in the comments below. Here’s mine so far:

  • Got 2 take away shops in my local neighbourhood (ILoveSalads and Cups) to accept a customers’ container and to provide a small discount for the cost of the packaging.
  • Butcher’s to accept a container from customers for Plastic Free July

Level 3: Make Your Own

Sometimes it is difficult to purchase items that are plastic free. Have you thought about making your own?

Day 22: Life without Balloons

BalloonsThe frivolous fun of a balloon and watching it float in the sky, dropping into a lake, river or sea. The plastic attachment to balloons will be banned in the EU as this has caused problems. Balloons can be made from rubber, latex, polychloroprene, or a nylon fabric.

You could light a candle for a paper sky lantern, but have heard of it causing fires…..certainly wouldn’t light one in California and again these can cause a litter.

paper lantern

So how about using eco-friendly bunting for those big events? Here is a blog site that shows you how to create bunting from by reusing something you’re going to throw away:

Whilst we’re in decoration mode, most Christmas decorations (thought I’d get in there before anyone else) are plastic based. So if you’re still to get some, look up craft sites on the web to make your own decorations using paper and/or plants and remember you can use compostable glitter.

Day 23: Toothpaste

Toothpaste comes in a plastic tube that cannot be recycled. Once upon a time you could swallow toothpaste, and then suddenly it became bad to do so. Toothpaste contains some surprisingly potential irritants and carcinogens

Dangers of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. … According to the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database, SLS is a “moderate hazard” that has been linked to cancer, neurotoxicity, organ toxicity, skin irritation and endocrine disruption.3 Oct 2017

Ref: https://www.livestrong.com/article/174367-dangers-of-sodium-lauryl-sulfate/

Most toothpastes contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate which is a chemical used intoothpaste to create the foaming action. SLS can cause or irritate existing allergies, canker sores and bad breath, which is why an SLS Free alternative is worth considering.

  • Diethanolamine (DEA): Potential carcinogen in humans: https://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/search/a?dbs+hsdb:@term+@DOCNO+924
  • Microbeads: Well some countries have already banned the use of this, but not all countries are the same. In toothpaste the microbeads are plastic beads to help remove plaque apparently. They are also polluting the ocean and is another reason why you should not swallow your toothpaste.

Anyhoo not meaning to do any scare mongering…..corporates are just trying to help you!!! Now I could give you an alternative to purchasing another type of toothpaste that doesn’t contain any of that potentially evil stuff and comes in a tin, but it is soooo easy to make your own toothpaste.  Some people use activated charcoal to brush with (it’s what you have in a water filter).

I made my own toothpaste, used it for 3 months before checking in with the dentist. Now my dentist normally tells me about gum disease on part of mouth, so I half expected him to tell me about how bad my entire gums were or that I had some holes that needed filling. Nada! To my delightful surprise, he praised my mouth hygiene!! So that’s sealed it for me.

Basic ingredients

Spoonful of sodium bicarbonate + 1/2 teaspoon of table salt + 1/2 a spoon of coconut oil. Mix together and that is it. Some folk want a sweet taste (as toothpastes contain sweetners), so could add stevia.

Note: Table salt was in a cardboard box and again just so happened to be the cheapest! Tried sea salt but it was too big and to dissolve it into a solution was too much work.

  • Sodium Bicarbonate: is good for cleaning (see day 6 of previous post)
  • Salt: anti-bacterial properties. I used salt water to wash my frostbitten finger to help avoid infection. Worked a treat. My mother also gargles with salt when she has a sore throat. She swears by it.
  • Coconut oil: This is optional. I used it to make my mix but you could equally have used a bit of water. I put it in to use as my mouthwash see Day 24.

Additionally I add a teaspoon of tumeric and a teaspoon of cinnamon for more anti-properties to fight what ever needs fighting in my mouth.

Those who want a “sweetened” version (as toothpaste contains sweetners), add stevia. For those who want a minty flavour, add a couple of drops of peppermint essential oil which can be found online or in small bottles at the health food shop (last time I looked in the US and UK).

Here’s a dentist who makes his own toothpaste and will tell you more about further disruptive ingredients in toothpaste: https://askthedentist.com/homemade-toothpaste/

Day 24: Mouthwash

Well yes it comes in a plastic bottle and anti-plaque versions contain Triclosan

It inhibits plaque accumulation, thus reducing the chance of getting gingivitis (inflammation of the gums). The active ingredients include Chlorhexidine Gluconate,Triclosan, Thymol, Cetylpyridinium Chloride (CPC), etc. However, long term use of mouthwash may stain the teeth and alter taste sensation.

Ref from Hong Kong government site: http://www.toothclub.gov.hk/en/en_adu_01_03_04.html

Try oil pulling. I put a teaspoon of virgin coconut oil that is sold in a glass bottle in my mouth and “pull” it through my teeth for about 15 minutes. Or otherwise I just add to my toothpaste (see Day 23). Note you can do oil pulling with other types of virgin oils. I prefer the taste of coconut oil to say Virgin Olive Oil.

The oral health practices of Ayurveda include crewing on sticks and eating herbs, as well as oil pulling. Original practitioners of oil pullingused sunflower and sesame oils as a way to prevent bleeding gums, decay, dryness of throat, oral malodor, cracked lips and for strengthening teeth, gums and the jaw.

Ref: https://www.livescience.com/50896-oil-pulling-facts.html

Note from my dentist for mouth hygiene: It is still important to floss / use toothpicks and scrap your tongue

FYI for more differences between European products and US products see below for the list banned of chemicals banned in the US and Europe.

Starting with the FDA, USA as it is a short read with 11 banned chemicals: https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/guidanceregulation/lawsregulations/ucm127406.htm

In Europe there are over 1300 prohibited chemicals + several more restrictions on other chemicals (151 page document): https://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2009:342:0059:0209:EN:PDF

Next post to look at more common products we purchase in plastic that we can make


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


  • 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.


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


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.