Tag Archives: Plastic

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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

Biros

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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Eg6GMvQMYM

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CHALLENGE WITHIN THE CHALLENGE

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

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What About Trash?: Part 1: The Broken System

Out of the 3 Rs, which one should take priority? Is there a preference to this? Does it matter?

3Rs

Images from doing a web search

Recently I spoke at the British Embassy (government agency), Syntech Chemicals (private company), Ngee Ann Polytechnic (higher education establishment) & St Joseph International (13 year olds) on changing their organisation. I asked them the same question and got different responses which is perfectly fine as there is confusion on the web and images we see.

It is interesting to hear from people at the many marathons I’ve spoken at that they practice the 3Rs because they recycle. When I tell them that process is broken, many do not believe this (or perhaps do not want to hear this).  Obviously Recycle is like being able to feel “guilt-free” for generating trash and throwing it away.  Reduce and Reuse is more effort.

Here’s a teaching aid I found whilst conducting my web search. What is odd is where Recycle is placed and how it is treated in the text. Can you see what I see?

Teacher 3Rs

The Broken System

Plastic is the baddie but is the issue single use plastic or is it just our poor handling of trash that is the issue?

In 2017, National Geographic reported that 91% of the world’s plastic has not been recycled. Here is an extraction about plastic from that article:

Of the 8.3 billion metric tons that has been produced, 6.3 billion metric tons has become plastic waste. Of that, only nine percent has been recycled. The vast majority—79 percent—is accumulating in landfills or sloughing off in the natural environment as litter. Meaning: at some point, much of it ends up in the oceans, the final sink.

You just have to look at the Municipal Solid Waste stats around the world to know it is pretty clear that Nat Geo’s headlines “A Whopping 91% of Plastic Isn’t Recycled” is real.  No society recycles plastic well. Around the world plastic recycling averages to pretty low in comparison to glass, paper and cans. Plastic recycling in Europe @30%, USA & Asia @8%, and even then Europe, USA, Australia, New Zealand and some Asian countries send a size-able chunk of their “recyclables” to mainly 5 developing nations to process. In 2015, these same countries were reported to being the top 5 nations to dump plastic into the ocean: China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

Ref: 2015 EcoWatch and recently 2018 Forbes

Worldwide has been made aware of the plastic issue and at the end of 2017, a UN agreement was signed by nearly 200 nations to reduce the amount of plastic that enters the ocean (currently standing at an estimated 8 million tonnes)

Recycling and passing the buck onto other countries certainly is not going to reduce plastic entering the ocean and is probably why bioplastics is set to become popular in our need to have convenience.

Have a look at the “recyclables” over a month and identify which one is the most common between plastic, glass, cans and paper/cardboard.

So are you still sticking with the R(s) you chose?

Next post: Changing Behaviour

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Tring Returns From Retirement

TrangTring

Dec 2008: Trang (back) & Tring (front)

November 2008, Tring was found wandering a Singaporean rain forests. She was dirty, frightened and lost.

We cleaned her up and tried to get her to participate with Trang in the Singapore Marathon in 2008. After being in the jungle, Tring found the crowds of people overwhelming. Her reluctance to move after 6 miles, meant we had to take her off the reigns and continue on with Trang. We completed the event whilst Tring was looked after by a friend. Tring’s confidence was really low, so we found a role for her as trainer and coach to other runners. She loved it.

Tring Marathon Dec 2010

Tring in her former glory days

We slowly introduced her to larger groups of people and in December 2010, she completed her first marathon – the Singapore Marathon. We also gave her a bunch of animals to look after during the event in case her people phobia returned. Tring was hooked.

OldTring

She went on to complete the Singapore Marathon in 2012, three Parkruns, Twilight Ultra (50K) – 2015 & the Green Ultra (50K) – 2016.  With the distance she had put in, her pretty treads were looking worn on one side, and holes developed catching on roots and stones on trail paths. It was time to retire her.

Many tyres like her have gone onto successful careers upon retirement (…as garden ornaments or pledge tyres), but Tring was not ready to go. She requested a new lease of life as a a “Tyre Lady” tyre.

Tring’s Transformation

We have rebuilt her! Her transformation from land lover to sea lover is now complete. So here is the lovely Tring and the art work she displays is:

“Plastic fish feeding on polystyrene”

Tring is requesting that all people of the world help stem the flow of plastic in our waters and ocean which is affect our aquatic life, plus our fundamentals – food, water and air supplies.

It requires a little effort by refusing disposable/single use plastic & using a BYOR (Bring Your Own Reusable) approach. That is bring your own reusable cup, plate, cutlery, bag, etc to anywhere that provides plastic. It’s part of stuff in my handbag 😀

Please commit to this action because #PlasticSoup #PlasticOceans can be healed. Boyan Slat is helping one part of the solution with an ocean clean up:

We are another part of the solution.

Below are images from the web on plastic pollution that we can all play a part in stopping and preventing in the future.

FRomWeb.JPG