Monday, 8 January 2018

Stormy waters and tips on reducing single use plastic


 Storm Eleanor passed overhead overnight last week and high winds and rain seemed to stay with us most of last week.



After repeated washing of our white dog, as the fields got muddier and muddier we searched out for drier places to take our walks, even in the countryside the river was running fast.




 However, it was a delight to spot the first flowers in bloom.


When the sun eventually returned we headed to Sidmouth for a change of scene, the colour of the waves turned pink with the red Devon soil that had washed into the sea.



With a cold North wind blowing yesterday, we soon warmed up on our beach walk by picking up plastic, for once we remembered to take a rubbish bag with us, sadly it didn't take long to fill it.



As we walked back along the track an elderly couple drove by and rolled down the window to thank us, which was unexpected, but nice and made our efforts even more worthwhile.

Learningfundamentals.com.au/

I found this mind map on pinterest which originates from Learning Fundamentals it really encapsulates in such an easy way what I am trying to achieve by reducing the plastic in our life. When we went into the supermarket the other day and tried to find items without plastic the shopping isles just seemed to be awash with a sea of plastic (sorry can't get away from the sea terminology but it is quite apt on this occasion!)  The statement in the top corner of the mind map - Once you start you see plastic everywhere is just so true!

I have been delighted to see so many of you are also looking at this issue too. It is really important to just take small steps and achieve something, rather than feel it is completely overwhelming. Saying no to disposable coffee cups and plastic bottles are good places to start!

We are currently focusing on reducing the single use products and are experimenting with alternatives it would be interesting to hear if you have any tips or have tried something different too. Below are some of my solutions with plastic bottles :-

PLASTIC BOTTLES
OPTION 1
OPTION 2
Milk
Get doorstep delivery

Ginger Beer
Buy in glass bottle
Make at home
Squash
Buy in glass bottle
Make at home
Hand Gel
Use bar of soap

Shower Gel
Use bar of soap
Take empties to be refilled
Shampoo
Use shampoo bar

Conditioner
Use conditioner bar

Deodorant
Deodorant bar
Homemade
Washing up liquid

Take empties to be refilled
Toilet Cleaner

Take empties to be refilled
Floor cleaner

Take empties to be refilled
Washing Powder
Switch to powder
Take empties to be refilled


We stopped having our milk delivered when the local milkman started using plastic bottles. When we discovered last year that the milkman in Bridport uses glass bottles we immediately arranged a delivery, and it has significantly cut the number of plastic bottles that go out for recycling. Did you see last week that China has recently changed its rules on importing waste for recycling and there will be a significant amount of recycled plastic that will be now piling up, so that is another reason to reduce our consumption - see BBC News.



I had lots of plastic free Christmas presents including soap, a deodorant bar and mesh bags from Earthwise that can be used in place of plastic bags. I was pleasantly surprised how happy local shops and local supermarkets have been for me to use them for loose fruit,vegetables and nuts.



They can easily be made - there are sewing instructions on my Plastic free pinterest board. Some plastic free alternatives can cost more money so it is good to save pennies where you can! There are many homemade recipes for cleaning materials in one of my favourite blogs Down to Earth.

I hope you have managed to get to the end of the post- apologies for the length of it.! Thank you very much for all the comments on my last post it was good to know that so many of you enjoy my sea views.

Wishing you a good week, until next time.
Sarah x

My husband has just read this post and isn't impressed with the idea of home made ginger beer especially as he is the only one that drinks it, I will let you know what he thinks of it!

33 comments:

  1. Good for you, for taking your time to collect the plastic on the beach. This is something I will certainly try and do next time I go for a visit. Also thank you for the interesting read about plastic. It’s certainly got me thinking xx

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  2. Great post Sarah. Good to hear that you can still get milk in glass bottles. Not so here sadly. I’m persevering with fruit and vegetables plastic free. My local farm shop lets me bring them loose to the till which is good. I have a long way to go, but as you say every little helps. B x

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    1. Our old milk producer replaced his machinery and it wasn't cost effective to keep glass. Every action helps and will add up over year and lifetime. Our patents would have used wicker baskets ! Sarah x

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  3. Good for you! Are you aware of the whole 2 minute beach clean initiative? I'd love to join in with that but I live so far from any beaches! I do pick up bits of rubbish around here though when I can, especially plastic. I always buy my fruit and veg loose and just put it all (carefully) in one non-plastic bag at the checkout. Sometimes the cashiers want to give me a plastic bag for it, or do a little eye roll when they have to put through a pile of tomatoes or whatever, but I don't care!

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    1. Yes I have been a fan of Martin Sorry since he produced his first book. His 2 minute beach clean is a great idea and it is wonderful it has spread around the world. We have a 2 minute beach clean sponsored board here which is put out during the summer to encourage and remind everyone to join in. Sarah x

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  4. Going from recycling to no plastic is a huge challenge. I will begin to reduce, Sarah.

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  5. Happy New Year Sarah to you and your family. Sounds like we both have had storms. We had a bad storm here and our power went off for 13 hours and lots of branches of trees came down and the waves at the sea were huge.
    Our supermarket on the island has banned plastic shopping bags and we all use cloth bags. So agree with you that we need to stop using plastic which are so bad.
    Hugs
    Carolyn

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  6. Wow! The first picture!! Interesting about all the plastic too, a great post.
    Have a lovely week.
    Warm hug from a rainy Sweden and Titti

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  7. The mesh bags are a great idea Sarah - I can recall when sugar was weighed out in dark blue paperbags, groceries were put in brown paper bags, bacon was sliced, cheese was cut in wedges and both wrapped up in greaseproof paper - come back the good old days.
    Lovely image of the sea turned 'pink'.

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  8. Sort that husband out, homemade will be far nicer! I love the idea of taking your own bags for fruit and veg, excellent. There's a place in north Wales I love, I may have told you before, I always thought if I lived there I'd pick up plastic while I walked on the beach. There would be no shortage at all sadly. Well done you for picking up. Every little helps. I shall investigate the little bags you mention. CJ xx

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  9. Good morning dearest Sarah! You are already spotting blooms in the garden? That is TOO strange! At least from my point of view, where any sign of spring comes in May!

    Oh you are speaking of something very important and recently, more evident to me. When I take out our recycling waste to the bin, I see what we consume. We consume way too many products that are envelopped in plastic. I want to get away from this. It's tough because many of the products we love are either in plastic or aluminum, but I guess as we continue to recycle, we are contributing to the proper placement of these things. I do wish however, that as a world, we could simply go back to less waste.

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  10. So good of you Sarah. Many people throw out the trash out of their car windows. I do wish they would start giving tickets to those people.

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  11. The mesh bags for produce are wonderful. I have been using them for two years. We also use mason jars for everything...food storage and drinking and flowers. They come in so many sizes. I have four children and used cloth diapers. I did not use a diaper service either. I washed them myself. It was a lot of wirk but so much better for the earth and my babies. I know there is SO much more that I can do but like you said every little step matters. Thank you for encouraging us to care more.

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    1. Your comments brought back some memories! We used BioBottoms cloth nappies when our children were babies in the 90's. Our son even modeled them in the local paper on an article about them, I'll have to find the photo! Just found out they are now sold under Bambino Mio and look so much more colourful and modern! Sarah x

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  12. I am a Martin Dorey fan too and have been picking up the plastics since seeing him on Springwatch a couple of years ago. Your lists are great. Just a thought about Conditioner - do you really need it? I wondered the same, stopped using it and have not noticed a difference.
    Great photos of winter seas!

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    1. Thanks for the thought about the conditioner. I have only recently gone grey and I did need a conditioner when my hair was being dyed. It is in such better condition now and I have kept up old habits! That should save me several bottles a year! Sarah x

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  13. Good for you cleaning up the plastic on beaches, always so sad to see how much there is around. I liked all your tips and although we try hard to cut down on plastics, it is always good to read more. In Canberra you have to take your own bags (not plastic) to the supermarkets ...if you forget you can buy a cloth one for $3.00. each. It is amazing how quickly people learn to bring their own and recycle when money is involved! Loved your photos of the beach (on clear days!) and lovely to see the snowdrops coming out.

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    1. It is the same here with plastic bags. When they were banned from the supermarkets and large businesses unless you pay for them, usage dropped by around 80%, that is why I find it so frustrating that other plastic items haven't been treated in a similar way. Sarah x

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  14. You have made me more aware. I already recycle and use cloth bags, but there is much more I could be doing!

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  15. This is a problem that desperately needs solving. To be successful companies and supermarkets have got to be persuaded to reduce their use. It is of course defended to reduce contamination of food. We are also fortunate to have a local dairy who deliver in milk bottles, for many consumers the extra costs of going green make it a difficult choice.

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    1. I entirely agree it does need to be stopped at the top. Once person changing their habits is like a drop in the ocean. If you do take your own steps it does feel that you are doing something. The tiny town of Modbury in Devon was the first in Europe to ban plastic bags and now the restriction of plastic bags seems to have reached so many other countries. Sarah x

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    2. Our research so far has shown that the cost of reducing our plastic is more, and as we are keen to do it, we are trying to find cheaper solutions such as make it yourself or finding other ways to reduce our spending. There should be a higher charge for the plastic as they are proposing on the coffee cups.

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  16. Brilliant post Sarah with some practical tips which will be very useful. I have reused shampoo and hand soap bottle dispensers for years. I buy large square ones and then refill the smaller bottles from those. I'm also wrapping presents in fabric with string instead of paper and cellotape and have swapped to glass bottles wherever I can. Can't stand plastic and how we've all got so used to it we take it for granted. It needs challenging and changing X

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    1. I remember you showing us pictures of your presents wrapped in fabric, that's a lovely idea. I think buying buying in larger quantities is a good idea and hopefully saves money too. Sarah x

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  17. Sarah - Something about stormy seas I find so beautiful. Those waves you called pink - amazing, I've never seen anything like that. I too join you on the battle against plastic. Oh and the ginger beer, I love it so, I'm curious to know the outcome. I posted the link on my blog that you asked about, not sure if your site will let me post a link, so I'm not going to try. xo kim

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  18. Hey Sarah,
    I think there will be a huge positive shift in the way we all view single use plastic this year. I'm going to buy some mesh bags for my weekly shop. |I always do a 2 minute beach clean when I'm out and about. I'm very aware that I could do more, and hope to make some deliberate changes in 2018. I was struck by the comment that one of the researchers said in the final programme of Blue Planet 2. All any of us can do is our bit. The tide is turning!
    Leanne xx

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  19. Those comments are worth remembering and acting upon. We certainly can't wait for 25 years for everything to change! Sarah x

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  20. There are so many ways we can help our planet. Steve and I try to do our part, but I know we could do so much more.

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  21. Oh mud, it’s the bane of my life at the moment. We live surrounded by farm fields so everywhere I walk the dogs is muddy, they run around and get filthy. I’m very concerned about the use of plastic especially as China is no longer accepting it. I don’t know why we can’t incinerate it. I buy loose fruit and veg and re-use my own plastic bags, or, if I buy from the market they go straight into a shopping bag. I think one of the biggest problems is certain members of society who just don’t care – as demonstrated by your litter collection. I can’t print what I would do with those people. The plastic issue is gaining momentum so I’m hoping that manufactures will soon find alternative packaging materials. Everything boils down to cost. Your photos are lovely, particularly the one of Sidmouth and the pink waves.

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    1. We do incinerate some plastic but because it is made from fossil fuels we are throwing away a good resource and contributing to global climate chnge.

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  22. That's absolutely true about seeing plastic everywhere, once you start looking. Well done for picking up a bagful.
    Where was that walk with the WW2 pillbox?

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  23. It's one of our favourite walks from the beach car park at Abbotsbury and walking along what used to be the coastal road from Abbotsbury to Burton Bradstock. It used to be the main route between these two settlements until they put up the sea defences in the Second World War! Sarah x

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