Tag Archives: Sustainability

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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…

Following on from my last post about Zero Waste, it would be fantastic if companies and supermarkets could consider having one of these where you can BYOR.

Soap Refill

These may not be available but there are companies offering to refill your bottles (SynTech Chemicals, Singapore) and cost of product is way cheaper than the supermarket. Alternatively refill or zero waste shops have popped up around the world offering basic refills.

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.

Conditioner

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….

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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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Sundown Marathon: On the Road to Zero Waste & 70th Marathon

Group Photo

Grateful for the adaptability of the Green Ambassadors who created a change in a mass event with respect to waste management at events. Awesome work! (youngest volunteer is 6 years old)

Charging Up Events to be Truly Clean & Green

After the Standard Charted Singapore Marathon 2017 (SCSM) awareness happened! Awareness that events can be responsible towards the waste generated in their events which can lead to cost savings.

After, small events of a couple of hundred, like the King of the Trails, went cup free; larger events like the Income Eco Run (about 5,000 runners) repurposed a lot of the waste generated and did a pretty good job of separating all the waste.

March 2018: The Public Hygiene Council reactivated the Green Ambassadors to get involved with the Sundown Marathon organisers, HiVelocity. Last year HiVelocity showed an eco-consciousness with plantable medals & tried to go cupless with their 5km event. This year, with less than 4 weeks to go, we would help HiVelocity & 25,000 runners onto Level 1 on their journey to designing a zero waste event. And HiVelocity would show they are an event company that would fearlessly go where other running events fear to tread.

Level 1: Understand the potential possibility that a large mass running event can be clean & can have a framework developed to become zero waste by simply adopting a circular economy vision.

A Circular Economy Vision

In simple terms a circular economy is ensuring waste from one company is a resource for another. By thinking in this manner, waste can be diverted from the landfill and events can define the type of waste they want to generate to ensure an onward purpose other than being dead waste (landfill waste).

In Singapore, general waste is burned and sent to a landfill island called Semakau which is rapidly filling up. Domestic recycling is low in Singapore due to much of the recycled waste being contaminated with food and hence good recyclables are sent to the incinerator and then to the landfill. In 2017, 7% of plastic generated in Singapore was recycled (source NEA)

For a list of what can be recycled in Singapore, see here: http://www.nea.gov.sg/docs/default-source/energy-waste/recycling/list-of-items-that-are-recyclable-and-not.xlsx

Sundown Marathon: How to Reduce Landfill Waste

Sundown will have an estimated 25,000 participants. This will generate enough waste to fill three to four x 40 cubic yard skips. A 40 cubic yard skip = 30.58m3 (Height = 2.6m; Length = 6.1m; Width = 2.4m)

Skip Size of rubbish

A 40 cubic yard skip, with a volunteer is standing next to one as she points at rubbish. In the background another 40 cubic yard skip can be seen beside the typical 240 litre bins

In Singapore, people will place their rubbish in a bin, regardless of the colour.

With Banana Marshals, Trash Directors & Trash Patrol green ambassador volunteers, the aim was to educate the public that the bin colour matters. Out on the run, we just wanted runners to simply bin their rubbish to keep the route clean and safe for all (including our animals). Photo journal dedicated to the Green Ambassadors.

The “Bin It Right” green ambassadors did an excellent job to keep much recyclables separated from food waste and to also remind participants to bin their trash and hence the event village was left amazingly with only some small pockets of litter. Here’s an estimate of what was salvaged at the event village.

Infographic

Note Banana Skins and Food waste are normally sent to the energy recovery incinerators

Of the estimated 900 kg clean recyclables:

  • 10,000 Plastic bottles went to City Development Limited and to Playeum for art and play
  • @25 large bags of cans were recycled (to be sold)

Spyder, the cleaning company, also set aside all the cardboard boxes for recycling. This meant that at least one 40 cubic yard skip of waste was repurposed.

Below is a representation of approximately 1/5 of the waste generated that was placed at the side of the full 40 cubic yard skip.

SomeTrash

Picture shows about a fifth of the rubbish generated by the event

Was the Marathon Route Clean?

Both Sundown and the Green Ambassadors did a little pre-campaigning to encourage runners to put their waste in the bin. See previous post.

YoRunnersWe also had Bin It Runners on the route and Bin It Fans (volunteers) to remind runners as they entered the Pens to bin their litter during their run.

Marathon #70 Tyre Run Report

4 days leading up to the event, I’d been coughing and phlegm was in the lungs. Everyone was warning me of the dangers of running with a chest infection. Exertion would have to be easy and thankfully Adrian (event organiser) let me start at the back of the 1/2 marathoners. This meant a one hour head start in front of the full marathoners, giving me 9 hours to complete the 42 km. Being a lady pulling a tyre, runners would hopefully also notice the “Bin It During Run” sign. I finished in 7 hrs 58 minutes at an easy pace. (Last long run was the 135 miler in January)

If a lady can drag a tyre, what is the effort to put your trash in the bin?

Overall, except for the mid-way hydration point, the course was kept relatively clear of cups, gels and bananas with litter at the side of the course after the hydration points from possibly 1,000 tossers amongst the 10,000 runners. At the half way hydration point, I had taken a banana and found a lack of bins after the hydration point. Sooo I held a banana skin + tyre + sign + my own bottle until I could put it in a bin which was about 1 km away.

Hydration Point - CUps

The last 3 hydration points (30.9km, 32.6km and 38.5km) were pretty similar – most cups in the bin and virtually no cups strewn across the path nor tossed to the side upstream. Could it have been the cleaners or more responsible runners?

 

There were definitely more people making an effort to put their litter in the bin. Certainly all the 5-8 hour runners that I saw, were putting their trash in the bin. Was it my sign? I theorised any litter tossed on the floor could only be from the 3-5 hour runners who felt their PB was more important than the environment.

In the East Coast Park, a squirrel has been observed eating a gel packet and in Machritchie Park a monkey was seen chewing on a plastic confectionery wrapper with perhaps chocolate melted inside.

Litter Kills

It is important to note that the gel packets are hard for the cleaners to see and pick up especially when they are in the grass or, worst, in the drains.

The Green Ambassadors at the end of the Singapore Marathon 2017 picked up 3.5kg of runners’ litter along a 5km stretch of the route after the professional cleaners had cleaned the route. The litter consisted mostly of gel packets and was in the grass or drains up to 2 m either side of the running path.

The event village was relatively clean. Single use containers and cups were left on the tables near the food stalls and some bottles and cans were left at the baggage locations. The biggest shock and disappointment was the volunteers’ ladies toilet….

Ladies Trash

There were plenty of bins outside the toilets. Pure laziness! (Photo by Lisa Jones)

A Champion Arises

It is always a dream to have someone take over what you are doing. Li Seng will continue the work of the Green Ambassadors under the social enterprise Green Nudge, to nudge events towards zero waste and we will be giving him as much support as possible.

Li Seng

Go Green Nudge – Make It Happen

 

Thank you to:

  • WasteMaster for their generous support throughout the event
  • Syntech Chemicals for their BYOB gift vouchers
  • Green Nudge for their support with high vis vests and tongs
  • HiVelocity for their enthusiastic support & creating the signs used around the event village
  • Public Hygiene Council for their support
  • Wanderlust for keeping the media focus on what we were trying to achieve
  • Spyder for their collaboration to help organise the waste
  • Special thanks to Chun Yeow and Li Seng for being my right and left hand collaborators & to MJ Mohammed for all the photo journalling the event.

Logo - WasteMaster   Logo - SynTech

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Sundown Marathon – The Green Ambassadors Are Back!

Background

Once upon a time there was a lady who in 2006 campaigned in Singapore for more responsibility towards waste generation. Some stuff was done: the formal introduction of recycling for each household in 2008……and not much more. So she decided to take matters into her own hand starting with the Singapore Marathon in 2017 and found a bunch of people who wanted the same thing.

https://tyrelady.wordpress.com/2017/12/05/a-glowing-feeling-of-change/

We Are Back

Through contact with the Public Hygiene Council, we are now collaborating with the Sundown Marathon four weeks before the event to do much more. The totally supportive organisers have been raising awareness a couple of weeks before the event:

SignUp

With a week to go, we went out to engage participants to agree to Bin It

Photo credits to MJ Photography

With one day to go, the Green Ambassadors are getting geared up to get out there to see if we can create a clean safe run with 25,000 participants being educated to look at the bin colour to understand what can be binned. #NoMoreRunningTossers #BinItRight #SafeRunsForAll

BinIt

Change is happening for safer, more sustainable runs that is part of the circular economy. So what the initiatives we’ve got going will ensure

  • 5000 of the 30000 Plastic bottles + bottle caps to repurposed by Playeum
  • Cans, rest of plastic bottles, cardboard boxes, paper cups to be sold by cleaning company for recycling
  • Wooden pallets will be picked up by another company who will reuse them
  • About 1.2 tonnes of Banana skins to community gardens for composting
  • Cooked food waste for bio-digesting
  • And hopefully a cleaner safer run for all without having to run through other runners’ trash and potentially slipping on cups/bottles as well as having gel wrappers stuck to the bottom of your shoe.

By using nudges to:

  • Remind runners to Bin it
  • Fun questions to encourage the participants to use their recycleables to vote
  • Volunteer runners with signage amongst the pack to remind runners to Bin It
  • Volunteer trash directors to direct participants to put their trash into the right bin

It’s gonna be a fun packed night at the Sundown Marathon.

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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

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#67 Richmond Park Marathon: A Lady’s Campaign + Psychical vs Physical

WebPhotoStartShot

Event Type: A trail marathon that does loops in and around the perimeter of Richmond Park. Expect to cross roads that enter/exit the park.
Start Time: 9:30am
Weather: @ 25 degs C by mid-day
During: 3 checkpoints in total stocked with fruit, jelly babies + water to refill
At the End: Medal + t-shirt + water + food to eat
Website: http://www.1m2go.co.uk/

Have completed this event 5 times, feels like catching up with old friends from the RDs to the volunteers to the runners who I regularly meet on this run and others. Missed the gorilla lead cyclist this year!

With the Manchester bombing last week, I thought about skipping this post. However why should we let some a***holes try to replace peace, joy and love in our lives with emptiness, despair, terror and hate? Those who wholly blame one religion should remember one bad apple don’t spoil the whole bunch. Extremists and hypocrites exist in all religions, in all walks of life.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96HqPpjI3UY

Additionally with the rapid changes in technology, we have to be more discerning and teach our children to be more vigilant and discerning. I pray those affected by terrorists and s*** happening in their lives will be able to focus on peace to find joy and love once again.

And so La Blog Post: Preamble Event Thoughts

RPMShowMeYourBottleWith the French elections over, a sigh of relief came out of Europe and focused moved back to the hum drum of the UK elections to be held on the 8th June 2017. As it is the season for campaigns, I launched my own Show Me Your Bottle campaign for “Grow Your Own” seeds.

Not sure how successful it really was, but I have had a number of runners at my local Parkrun showing me their bottle.

Note to self: Hand out seeds at my local Parkrun to reward all those with a bottle.

For this event, tried to encourage runners to BYOB and write to London Marathon to ditch the single use plastic bottles. In 2017, 900,000 bottles for runners and volunteers were made available (Source: The Mirror); In 2016, VLM organisers had stated 40,000 bottles were recycled (Source: ITV news).

Am happy to report there were a good number of runners with their own bottles, with some slowing down to have a chat and ate the seeds I handed to them! Hope others were able to pick up packets of seeds from the second and third checkpoints.

Hello Sisters

Moving on to other normalaities…..and maybe I’ll embarrass my sisters out there!

Women are super strong just before their menstruation/period/girly thing. Our energy is amazing, and we have a heightened awareness of stuff going on around us at all times, meaning our octopus like ability enables us to seemingly handle all things at the same time.

Then a day or two before it happens, we can transform into evil malicious beings. I’ve certainly ripped off my partner’s head, chewed him up, and spat him out for doing something trivial.  Have had to do so many apologies!

And those days before and during ovulation, I, like many of my sisters out there, have those sleepless nights.  I have tried bedtime yoga & meditation to allow the universe to let me sleep with a little success. My best medication is sunshine, large doses of those glorious rays let me sleep far better & keep me happy.

For women who would like to be more eco-conscious in their choice of sanitary products and be more comfortable think about reusable pads if you use sanitary pads, or menstrual cups instead of tampons. Here is a nice article about it: https://www.hongkongfp.com/2017/05/28/flowing-pride-two-women-fighting-menstrual-taboo-hong-kong/

Sleep Deprivation

Dolly and BonnieAs you might have guessed, I was in “period mode” when the Richmond Park Marathon came along. As the heavens blessed the UK soil in the days leading up to the marathon, sleep was a struggle with an inability to stop thinking at night…..it just happens.

Pre-race night: struggling to sleep for the second night, I was counting from 20 to zero. On the third replication of 20 to zero, I thought counting sheep might help.

I wondered if there was such thing as a Welsh “baa”? Would Aussie sheep say “G’day Dolly” to their English cousins?……drifted off to sleep as dawn broke & then the alarm’s lullaby tunes pulled me back into consciousness. Oh baa! I awoke with my brain hanging outside its head.

Does Eating Breakfast Really Give Us Energy For A Marathon?

Currently am trying to holistically sort out an auto-immune disorder with an intermittent fasting period of around 14 – 16 hours. Thus have got into the habit of skipping breakfast and eating any time after 12pm. So I forgot to eat breakfast prior to the marathon, only remembering I should have done so once I had started. Should it really matter? Especially if we have eaten well in the days leading up to a marathon. Is it really a psychological booster.

As it was only a marathon distance, I thought I’d see if it really was a psychological booster. With being fed vitamin D by the sunshine, the hot day took the hunger away. I forced myself to eat part of a flapjack at 11:00am. By 12pm, I began to slow down, hot & tired and forced the rest of the flapjack down. Between 12pm and 3pm, I consumed an additional carob bar, banana and two Quorn cocktail sausages. Other folk along the route had also slowed due to the heat. Observing my own body functions, everything pointed to heat + lack of sleep, envying the many others enjoying the sunshine on their backs.

In conclusion, with me being the test subject, the important days of marathon nutrition happens days before the marathon and not the day before or even at breakfast. I’ll try the no breakfast test again in the ultra next month and observe how that affects performance.

With regards, to sleep deprivation and my performance, one night of no sleep has a minor effect, two days of no sleep has some effect, three days of no sleep and the mind has to work really hard to banish the tired head. Four-five days of no sleep, means just enjoy the day and get off the course (DNF).

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Happy running.

Thank you to the organisation for introducing biodegradeable compostable cups, volunteers, runners and those who donated to EarthWatch. £21 was raised on the day.

Completed this event in 7:05 (@ 20 minutes off the last year’s time)

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SHOW ME YOUR BOTTLE

For all those with a UK address, show me your personal bottle in a marathon or 1/2 marathon running event in April and May!

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#ShowMeYourBottle

The flowers are blooming and the veggies are growing (that is if you have planted your seeds). Sutton Seeds have given me a whole load of courgette and sunflower seeds to give away to runners who use their own “forever” reusable, refillable water bottle in a 1/2 or marathon event.

So send me a picture of you running with your own forever reusable, refillable water bottle in a marathon and I will send you at least a dozen seeds to plant now and to enjoy in the summer/autumn months.

You can tweet me @tyrelady and add the hash tag #ShowMeYourbottle or you can email “the girl” EmailAddresswith a picture and identify the marathon or 1/2 marathon you were in.

Running events are growing, offering supplies to keep you moving and with that the amount of single use plastic cups and bottles have become a growing heap upon the landfills or exported to be burned or landfilled in places like China or Indonesia. Most boroughs in the UK do not recycle plastic cups.

 

Only 30% of plastic trash is actually recycled in the UK. Trail events that provide plastic cups find there are unaware participants who will toss their cups into the bush. These cups become brittle with the sun and at times find a route into our waterways.

By refusing a plastic cup at a marathon event you will reduce the plastic cup count by approximately 20 cups. At a medium sized event, that would be approximately 12,000 participants x 20 cups.

The London Marathon will have available 750,000 bottles of water + 149,100 bottles of Lucozade. This number of bottles is to provision for about 50,000 runners.

In 2014 the Westminster Council reported they recycled about 50,000 bottles. In 2016 ITV reported 40,000 bottles were recycled.

What happened to the rest of the bottles?

In the past London boroughs sent surplus potentially recyclable trash to places like China or Indonesia who have pretty poor records with regards to landfilling trash.  Recently councils in the North of UK have been sending their “surplus” to Sweden who burn the trash for energy. So the clue in the website text suggests that over 800,000 bottles are burned if all the bottles remain in the capital for collection.

So be a hero and BYOB at your next marathon event, and you will be rewarded with a sustainable gift 🙂

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Improve your sustainability

….a bunch of courgette and sunflower seeds to give away to the first 100 people who can send me a picture of you with your personal running bottle in a 1/2 marathon or marathon event.

Show me your bottle in the month of April & May & become a more eco-conscious runner.  Of course the advantage of your own bottle means you can drink when ever you want to rather than at specific check points with the possibility of a check point running dry as at Brighton Marathon!

Need a running bottle?

If you want me to send you a hand-painted running bottle, donate 25GBP here www.justgiving.com/tyregirl and tag it with #GiveMeABottle. I will get in touch with the first 10 folk who do so. (Funds go to EarthWatch)

Pisa Is Calling

Sometime end of Novemeber, someone from a running site (FetchEveryone) asks me if I am doing the Pisa Marathon.

I respond No.

She tells me I have been featured on their website. I had a look and sure enough there I was:
http://www.maratonadipisa.com/545/?lang=en

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Of course it would be rude not to go. I looked at the most recent stats I could find, and it painted a bleak picture of recycling of plastics in Italy. At best it reached 4% in 2012.

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Ok this is 2016, so there have been improvements. I know in Rome, shops have been charging for plastic bags and some have provided a small discount on your shopping. The Rome marathon gave away a good back pack and cloth bags as part of the “give away” to runners.

Last stat I’ve just seen shows about 35% of plastic is recycled in Italy overall and this is a pretty typical figure throughout the world. Here is a document about Plastic Recycling in Europe.

My Northern Italian friends have told me that the North is very good at recycling.

But the school children from a school I visited in Rome told me a bleak picture of toxic waste going to the South and of Northern waste being handled by Southern companies.

Medi was thrown down from the heavens to remind Italy about this toxic waste.

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https://tyrelady.wordpress.com/2016/04/09/the-birth-of-medi/

There have been newspaper articles about this, however thought you might like to read this directly from someone who lives in an affected area in the South.

http://www.robertosaviano.com/en/how-the-mob-turned-southern-italy-into-a-toxic-wasteland-2/

….and sadly it appears this is still happening today.

http://phys.org/news/2016-01-italy-higher-cancer-death-mob.html

I will not let the children down, and hope I can continue to highlight this back to the North of Italy via the Pisa Marathon so that they can hopefully review their own processes for waste disposal (including household waste) and not simply turn their back because they “paid” someone else to dispose of it for them. Because the Northern waste is ending up in illegal landfills, rivers and the Mediterranean ocean.

Let’s hope North Industries can take stock, review and change to improve practices. After all the lives that are suffering are people, animals and plants. Yes it costs to be sustainable but how about making this month onwards all about caring 🙂

I will continue to drag this waste issue out all the way to the Pisa Marathon because it is all about effort. And if people want to feel effort, try dragging an 8kg tyre non-stop through 26.2 miles.

Some great news, Pisa Marathon have just recently responded to my BYOB requests to runners. They will be using glasses instead of plastic cups……

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Perhaps it is toughened glass! Anyway it’s a start and Italy appears to do a great job on recycling glass (@ 70%)- so bring it on.

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All I Want For Christmas…

….is peace and goodwill for the planet.  I mean when we sing “Joy to the World” are we only just meaning joy to humans and screw the rest? So when Christmas comes along, I find myself in turmoil as I watch the endless mountains of trash generated being thrown out by each household without a second thought of the death it brings to other beings that share our planet.  (At the bottom of this post I have shared some thoughts about using our presence to bring christmas cheer)

The children go in a mad frenzy to unwrap stuff. The only fun part is unwrapping the stuff. For the very young, the best part of the present is the packaging, but they are led away from playing with the boxing and taught that the “stuff” inside is supposed to magically keep them occupied.

And then the packaging, mainly plastic and paper is tossed out. Every society is so poor at recycling plastic. Many of our “developed” countries either give it to another country to sort out for them or burn it.

And some of those countries that the developed nations have sent their trash to, simply dump that trash in some illegal landfill that falls into the ocean.  Our marine life is being harmed and indirectly we harm ourselves:

…yet despite knowing these facts, we can still simply pretend it does not exist and feel it is our right to screw the planet. Unfortunately I can no longer celebrate Christmas the way “everyone” likes to because it is a way of life I have now left. We are surrounded by things. We surround our children with useless things that they play with for awhile, only to throw out a year later.

And as Christmas ends and the New Year comes, we finally dump the Christmas Tree. This was once a life, cut down to be an ornament in someone’s house and then tossed out when Christmas ended.

I have lost the understanding of why we “have” to do something because that is tradition. In this case Christmas seems to be absorbed into another commercial venture of being able to sell stuff to people and us playing the “let’s consume for the sake of it”.

Perhaps I am a kill joy or perhaps we should evaluate our impact more closely. So if you want to give presents this Christmas, please think about the trash that you generate.

Tips to reduce Christmas trash:
– For wrapping paper – reuse magazines, newspapers, old clothes.
– If you really want to “give the children something”, give them time by making things with them and learn with the children to make something – it really is so much more fun and so much more creative.
– Perhaps you can make a Christmas Tree out of something.

Love this site http://www.instructables.com/ + lots more on YouTube.

And if you do have Christmas Trash, there are lots of craft ideas. Here is a starter site for you: http://karacarrero.com/how-to-recycle-christmas-trash-decor/

#63 Chanthaburi Scenic Marathon: Run For the King

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Finisher’s Medal

Event Type: Mainly a road marathon
Route: Starts at 4am, so carrying a light is useful in the dark areas. Goes through Laem Sadet. Flat and rolling hills, partly by the sea. Roads are not closed but there are road controls and the second half of the marathon is on the cycle route.
Weather: Starts at 25 degs C at 4am and then goes up to 36 degs C by about 9am
During: Water + energy drink every 2km; bananas + watermelon after 10km; water sprays after 20km.
At the End: Lots of local street food + finishers t-shirt with yout name (you are expected to complete). Lovely medal with a wee embedded diamond. Chanthaburi is known for its jewels!
Website: http://www.scenicmarathon.com/?lang=en

The King of Thailand

My alter ego had to work in Bangkok, so decided to tag along and find a marathon. Chanthaburi Scenic Marathon kindly welcomed the Tyre Lady to their event which was to be held on the 30th October. Unfortunately on the 13th October 2016, the King passed away and the country went into immediate mourning for a month, curtailing all entertainment. The event was postponed to 20th November, a tenuous date for my alter ego as she likes to work. But at the end of the day, the King’s cause won.

In 2015, Thailand produced 26.85 million tonnes of waste, of which 19% was recycled properly and 31% properly disposed of, according to Thailand Environment Institute. 50% was dumped in open landfills and caused pollution. Thailand is listed as one of the main polluters of the world’s ocean. ref: http://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/1128785/even-garbage-didnt-escape-the-kings-eye

Trash is a problem! http://www.firstpost.com/world/thailand-hurtling-towards-massive-waste-disposal-crisis-1690599.html

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Khun Krabaen Mangrove Swamp: It’s restoration was initiated by the late King

And yet this is a country that has bountiful resources, beautiful beaches, amazing rain forests ….(along with the great food and welcoming people).

The King realised the current economic model of consumerism is highly unsustainable and thus developed the Sufficiency Economy Model: it’s purpose to idealize a way of life in order to help the people reduce the pressures of “wants” versus needs versus conservation.

“Buddhist ethical and moral principles are governed by examing whether a certain action, whether connected to body or speech is likely to be harmful to one’s self or to others, thereby avoiding any actions which are likely to be harmful.”

Basically polluting/harming your environment will harm you and others: the air you breathe, the food you eat, the stress you feel and the health you cherish.

The King walked his talk, being an advocate for environmental and sustainable causes, blending into a permacultural way of living to lead towards the well being and happiness for his people. Thus the King initiated thousands of environmental / sustainable projects to lead the country into sustainable economic practices. All of these can be found at Thailand’s Sustainable Development Foundation.

Love this talk by ted talk by Jon Jandai about living a sustainable life that led to him finding a happier life.

Being Led In and Looked After

As I read more about the King, I had to be in Thailand to remind the people that though the King is gone, the greatest respect and send off the people could give him would be to walk the King’s talk. The first step that every person can take is to reduce the amount of harmful trash such as refuse plastic bags that are given away. Have set some challenges here: Reduce disposible plastic usage.

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Animals affected just by plastic bags. 25% of the fish contain plastic in their stomachs.

My potential obstacle was my passport was due to expire in 4 months.

With a week to go before the marathon was due to be held on the new revised date, I told the organisers I would be there but would need help with transport, accommodation and a Thai tyre. They responded all can be done if you can make it over.

As I faced the custom’s officer with my return ticket and passport, that is potentially useless to travel with, I prayed he would let me in.  Am sure the King must have whispered in his ear, because after a short pause, he stamped my passport and I was in!

19th November: Registration Day

1Coaches.JPGThe Sky Trains are clean and easy to use, though are crowded at peak times (just like every other city). At 7:30am, I had a wonderfully easy ride to Ekkamai Bus Station. Following instructions, I waited at platform 17 and did not see any other person looking like a runner until…. a runner type person came along looking equally confused. Of course I approached him (women always ask when they are uncertain) and he found out that the coaches were waiting at the front of the station.

19th November Meals: My breakfast was 2 small croissants; Lunch was a cornetto ice cream; Dinner was fried rice and another ice cream. My previous days meals had been pretty good, so going light for one day shouldn’t make a difference!

About 3 hours later, hey presto and we arrived in Laem Sadet, Chanthaburi registration.2registration3

Anucha, one of the organisers welcomed me and immediately showed me my accommodation at the Jungle Bay Resort. Huts mingled in with the native trees, the forests animals can come and go. Some of the permanent residents are a blind monkey, a baby monkey that was abandoned by his mother and there is an albino python that loves a good swim in the fish pond! Though mosquitos are plentiful, I loved the place for its raw and rugged feeling and yet the huts had good beds, air con and their own bathroom.

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There was an option of staying in tents that is seconds from the start/finish line (in the distance in the following photo).

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Tents set up close to the start line – has mat, pillows and light blanket

Now the only thing missing was my Thai tyre. Anucha promised me it was coming and it would be outside my room. At 2pm, I wandered aimlessly around the registration area and then at the tents.

“You need to register with the organisers and then they will allocate you a tent” a voice called out.

Ming seeing a lost soul reached out. I thanked him, we got talking and he became my buddy for the day. He was doing his first marathon.

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Eating dinner looking out over the sea

6pm, I returned back to see Anucha to let him know I would need to go to bed and enquired about my tyre once more. It had arrived and it was lighter than my normal tyre. I would be glad about this later when I would have to fight the heat (about 5kg tyre).

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Chamey was over the moon to meet Khun Krabaen

The Tyre lady was now complete. Photographer Tom gave it a name “Khun Krabaen”

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And before the rains came, we got some signatures to start the ball rolling.

We collected pledges before, during and after the event. People pledged to reduce their disposible plastic. And hopefully this would also mean in this area the moo dud (dugong or sea cow) will also be saved.

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Khun Krabaen is at Jungle Bay Resort if anyone wants to sign & pledge to reduce disposible plastic

By 8pm, lights out for a 2:30am wake up. Jungle Bay Resort was about 600m from the start line. Breakfast was a chocolate cookie and another ice cream! (the room had a fridge/freezer)

The Honour of Completion

The event starts at 4am. The air although coolish, is still humid. I am one of the last to leave the start line to ensure I do not impede the runners.

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Out of Laem Sadet and to the 10km mark over the bridge

Thus I am amongst other slower moving participants. Once out of Laem Sadet, there is less lighting. Before @7.5km at the top of a hill, I watched a participant (we had been continually overtaking each other beforehand) stop, change his clothes and get on a motor bike. I would see this same participant when I was going up to 22km and he was heading back at 38km. It was sad to see someone cheat themselves.

He may have got a medal and a t-shirt, but he lost out on the opportunity to grow. Overcoming challenges makes us become more resilient, mentally stronger. By conquering his fear of failure and suffering, any future overwhelming situations are more easily fought and conquered.

The Fight

As the sun woke up, the sun would be shining down, revealing sea, mountain, farming and village views.

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This is a pleasant marathon to enjoy in the early morning.

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Participants @22km-24km and returning along same route

Marathon food was some jelly babies and 3 small chia seed snacks + bananas and melons at check points that had food. My main concern was handling the heat and keeping cool when the sun woke up at 6am. Thankfully the event had organised lots of spray/sponge points.

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As I continued after the first 22km, many people stopped me to take wefies. Total stoppage time would amount to about 20-30 minutes. I thought it would be okay as I had killed the first 22km….well I did have a lighter tyre than normal and Ming did say it would rain at 10am. Towards 30km, the staff from FaaSai Resort were out supporting and more Wefies were taken on the return journey back to the start.

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Though with stoppage time meant that I would be facing a hotter day. The dreaded heat was soon beating down but I would continue to fight. As the sun sapped me of energy reducing me to a march, I was thankful for the lighter tyre and I would remember everyone who called out to me to keep fighting, and I would tell everyone behind me to keep fighting as I looped back on myself back to the finish.

Because it is the fight that makes us grow. And if I can put in the effort to drag a tyre 42km, then I am sure we can put in a little mental effort to bring our own bags shopping, bring our own thermal cups for a hot drink (a large amount of plasticizers leaches into the drink from the plastic bag), and we can continue to put in effort to fight for the environment that gives us joy and life.

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To the lady who finished her first marathon and gave me a big hug even though I was wet and smelly – you rock! Thank you to the organisers for all your help, Jungle Bay Resort for hosting me, the volunteers for being out so early and everyone who encouraged me to continue. Thank you for letting me run for the King.

May the late King of Thailand’s thoughts on sustainability and environmental concerns continue to become part of Thailand’s fabric of living as a remembrance to him.

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The late King’s Sufficiency Economy Model can be read about here: http://www.ipsnews.net/2016/08/thailands-sufficiency-economy-philosophy-and-the-sustainable-development-goals/