Plastic Free July 2018 – the results!

As you’ll see from the pictures below, my July this year was not plastic free. Nowhere near. It wasn’t even as plastic-reduced as almost any other month of the year you’d care to mention.

So what happened? I caught some kind of disgusting sickness from an open water swimming event down the Cam River, in Cambridge. Several other people who attended the event came down with similar illnesses. It was a bit of a shame because the swim was very pretty, but it’s made me somewhat more cautious about sticking my face in any ol’ body of water. It’s also helped me appreciate our local clean stretch of the River Great Ouse, which has not sickened me yet!

But all of this meant that just a few days into July, I found myself with joint pains, fever, sickness, the lot. At the same time, my partner got called away for work. So I found myself at home, alone, with no food, and in no fit to state to leave the house. Continue reading “Plastic Free July 2018 – the results!”

Plastic Free July 2018: 31 ways to reduce your plastic footprint

Welcome to Plastic Free July! Originally a small initiative starting in Australia, Plastic Free July is now a global event, with over two million people from 159 countries signing up to take part in the challenge to live without single-use plastic for a whole month.

Although in its eighth year, 2018 feels like the first year that Plastic Free July is representing a truly mainstream movement. From the European Union looking to get approval by May 2019 to ban ten of the most common single-use plastic items, to India’s huge announcement that they are seeking to eliminate all single-use plastics by 2022, plastic pollution is firmly on the global political agenda.

After years of campaigning by charities, NGOs and the public, it’s amazing to see governments and global organisations taking real action. But you only need to look around you in every shop, street and home to see that single-use plastic is still very much embedded in our day-to-day lives, which is why challenges like Plastic Free July are so important. Continue reading “Plastic Free July 2018: 31 ways to reduce your plastic footprint”

Green Gadgets: Making more eco-friendly tech choices

Quick disclaimer: This post was inspired via a chat on Twitter with the team at Compare and Recycle, who made the excellent infographic in this post. However, I have no affiliation with them, or any other company mentioned here, and make no financial gains from anything linked in this article.

There’s a pretty significant chance that you’re reading this post on a smartphone or tablet. These devices have become firmly embedded in our lives, with over five billion people expected to own a mobile phone by 2019.

Phones and tablets have arguably saved the production of a lot of other materials in what they’ve been able to replace. My phone really isn’t just a phone – it’s my calculator, diary, pedometer, food planner, personal trainer, virtual yoga instructor, note-taker, camera, video, music collection and it provides storage for countless magazines, newspapers and books.

tech

Continue reading “Green Gadgets: Making more eco-friendly tech choices”

Virtual Water: An introduction to saving the water you can’t see

I think it’s safe to say that pretty much everyone knows by now that wasting water is a bad thing. In general, we know we should turn off the tap whilst brushing our teeth, only boil as much water as we need for a cup of tea, and take shorter showers in place of deep baths.

And whilst all of these things are important, they really are (steady yourselves for the upcoming predictable pun) just a drop in the ocean. Evidence suggests that we are approaching a global water crisis:

  • Only 3% of the world’s water is fresh water, and two thirds of that is locked away in glaciers and other inaccessible places.
  • At the current rate of consumption, two thirds of the world’s population may face water shortages by 2025.

Source: WWF: Water Scarcity

A global perspective

Continue reading “Virtual Water: An introduction to saving the water you can’t see”

April Round Up

April has been a month of celebrations – big ones, like birthdays and a wedding, and small ones, like the first warm, sunny day and tiny new shoots from planted seeds.

Both my partner and I had our birthdays in April. But we face the same problem – what to buy people who don’t want more ‘stuff’? No plastic tat, no joke presents, nothing just for the sake of it? Continue reading “April Round Up”

Y.O.U. have great underwear!

I think it’s very important that you know that Y.O.U. have the best pants ever.

I’m using the word ‘pants’ in the British sense of the words – underwear, knickers, smalls, undergarments, however you want to call them.

I finished a ‘no new clothes for a year‘ experiment recently. Having not bought any pants in the run-up to the challenge, by the time I finished, my current underwear was looking and feeling a little on the sad side. But after rejecting fast fashion and clothes made in sweatshop conditions for a year, I didn’t want to just head to the high street and undo all that good work. Continue reading “Y.O.U. have great underwear!”

March Round Up

I need to start this month’s round up with an apology for what was essentially a Big Fat Lie. In February’s round-up, I said that spring was coming! In fact, it turned out to be the week before temperatures of -5C (23F), inches of snow, and biting winds even in our usually mild part of the UK, nicknamed by the press as ‘The Beast from the East‘. People were trapped in their cars for hours on end as roads closed, schools shut down and general chaos ensued. That is clearly not spring, is it?

So what better way to celebrate the coldest winter in the UK in 30 years than by going on holiday to even-colder Norway? No better way, as that’s where we went! Two days in beautiful Bergen, followed by four nights in a tiny log cabin on the island of Askøy overlooking a fjord in the North Sea (perfectly located for a cheeky but chilly dip), finished off with a visit to Norway’s first zero waste shop. Continue reading “March Round Up”

February Round Up

I’m often coming across news items, recipes, environmental stories and things that give me pause for thought, but aren’t enough for a whole blog post on their own. So I thought it would be nice to collect them together and share them with you each month. It would been more satisfyingly ‘neat’ to have started this in January, but never mind!

February has been an exciting month because SPRING IS COMING! Just when I was starting to think that it really was going to be muddy, cold and miserable forever, the first flowers are finally peeking their heads up. Here are the celandine and snowdrops on my way to work:

The river where we go swimming is still a chilly three to four degrees Celsius (around 38 Fahrenheit) so I know ‘proper’ spring is still a way off, but it turns out it isn’t going to be winter forever. Continue reading “February Round Up”

The ‘no new clothes for a year’ challenge

In December 2016, I watched a film called The True Cost. It’s about fast fashion, and showed the awful working conditions endured and the environmental devastation caused by our throwaway attitude to clothes.

In particular, the film looks at the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh in 2013. If you haven’t heard of Rana Plaza, you will almost certainly own items bought from a brand who had some of their clothes made there – J.C. Penney, Matalan, Benetton, Primark, Zara – to name a few.

In total, 1,134 people died and 2500 were injured when the factory collapsed on 24th April 2013. The incident shone a light into the dreadful conditions that people working in the garment industry were subject to, and the huge cost they paid with their lives so that those of us in richer countries can buy clothes at such a cheap price. Continue reading “The ‘no new clothes for a year’ challenge”

A beginner’s guide to (mostly) living without single-use plastic

I was recently invited to talk to a lovely bunch of people about single-use plastics in January this year. It’s a hot topic in the UK at the moment, following the success of the wonderful Blue Planet II TV series aired on the BBC. Even the Government are getting involved, with their 25 Year Environment Plan pledging to tackle the growing problem of plastic waste.

Whilst we still have a huge mountain of waste to climb (both literally and figuratively), there has undeniably been big spike in awareness of plastic pollution growing across the UK, with bars swapping to paper straws, and supermarkets pledging to reduce or even swap out their plastic packaging. It really feels as though the tide is starting to turn.

So it seemed a better time than ever to talk to a room of people about the wonderful world of living without single-use plastic, through rubbish stats – that’s stats about rubbish, not poor quality data – and why recycling isn’t actually a good thing, just a less-bad thing.  Although my talk was aimed at a UK audience, I think it contains some ideas that would work in all sorts of places! And so I thought I would share it with you lovely people too, because I really do just love talking rubbish 🙂

SUP title

Continue reading “A beginner’s guide to (mostly) living without single-use plastic”