I will admit it and raise my hand; I am nowhere near perfect in my use of one use items. So you can rest assured that the aim of this blog series isn’t to guilt trip anyone, myself included, about choices we make. I wanted a place I could record my journey of my #plasticfreejuly and provide potentially useful information in the process
Over the next few weeks I want to take a closer look at the way my family use and perceive items and to change single use for reusable where appropriate. The main aim, for me, is to use the month of July as an introspective challenge and I thought it’d be good to share my thoughts and findings with whoever would like to read it.
This one is quite a long read with lots of pictures and external links; so get comfy with a drink and lets get going.
“How can I look my grandchildren in the eye and say I knew but I did nothing”David Attenborough
I have been concerned for quite some time with regards to what kind of world we are going to leave the future generations. These concerns have only grown since becoming a mother in 2017. I want my son, and in fact all children in the future, to breathe clean air, to swim in clean oceans and to have a sense of respect and guardianship for their environment. It’s our responsibility to demonstrate and teach more sustainable models of living for the future generations to emulate and build upon. They need to see their parents, teachers, friends and siblings stepping up and making positive changes. We have to be the change because no one else is going to be.
Contents: Quick links
This is going to be a long read, so if you don’t want to read all the way through (understandable) then use the links below to jump to a relevant section:
- June Beachwatch Beach Clean
- Wednesday – Zero / Low Waste Shopping Finds
- Thursday: DIYing Liquid Soaps
- Thoughts from Week 1
- Looking Forward: Week 2
June Beachwatch Beach Clean
June ended for me with a beach clean set up by members of Suffolk County Council’s Vegan Network . It was part of the Beach cleaning and litter survey set up by the Marine Conservation Society and was supported by Sea Shepherd UK and their Marine Debris campaign.
The beach clean took place in 2 locations across Suffolk; Orwell Country Park and Southwold beach. The local news article is here. I was in the Southwold group and have just finished totalling up the results of our group’s surveys: Excel Doc – Beach Clean 2019 .
A total of 40kg of waste was intercepted by our 2 teams and was prevented from entering the ocean. Sadly, that’s the same amount of plastic found in a dead whale that washed up recently in the Philippines.
Participating in this beach clean really highlighted the issue of waste in our environment. I had picked it up with my own hands and seen it with my own eyes; there was no more ignoring it.
Wednesday Zero / Low Waste Shopping Finds
I took Wednesday off to spend with one of my really close friends Sadie.
We were sitting eating breakfast at Isaacs on the Waterfront, and a group of school children passed us, reusable bottles in hand. Most of the group had refillable bottles, with only a few having single use bottles. This filled me with a small spark of hope.
We had a rough plan to buy a few things we needed and mooch around some shops. Surprisingly I started to find zero/ low waste items in the shops we visited, so I did what I do best and started to catalogue it all:
Rockafella Industries – Eagle Street, Ipswich
There was so much cool stuff in this shop, literally like walking into my mind. It had a selection of clothes, accessories and home wares. The most impressive bits were the peg bags, overnight bags and small storage baskets made from recycled rice bags. The colourful pom poms made from recycled plastic bags were pretty awesome too.
Miss Quirky Kicks – Eagle Street, Ipswich
There were lots of patches, crystals, essential oils and tonnes of other stuff here. £3 for a bunch of pencils like this is good, I think.
We have to be the change because no one else is going to be.
Various locations, Ipswich
- Pic 1: Travel bamboo coffee cup – Cats Protection
- Pic 2: Selection of zero waste items – Zest / St Elizabeth hospice
- Bamboo toothbrushes, nail varnish remover pads, reusable cleaning pads, vegan wax food wraps, soaps with no plastic wrap and paper cotton buds.
- Pic 3: Bamboo washable kitchen towels – Wilko
- Pic 4: Botanical mouthwash – £7 for mouthwash! in a glass bottle though… – TKMaxx
- Pic 5: Handsoap Ingredients: Mixed locations
- Refillable soap dispenser – TK Maxx
- Castille soap – The Health Store
- Tea Tree Oil and Almond Oil – Savers
- Pic 6 – Pic of all items – Mixed locations
- Bicarbonate of soda, almond oil & teatree oil – Savers
- Castille soap – The health Store
- Bamboo toothbrushes and some degradable bin bags – The Fairtrade Shop
Thursday: DIYing Liquid Soaps
This is something that has annoyed me for a good few years now. Buying hand soap knowing that we will have to chuck the packaging away afterwards. Unfortunately bar soap is out of the question for us as Mr Gruff doesn’t like the idea of germs from sharing a bar of soap, and I can see where he is coming from with this. Also I think Little One will destroy it given half a chance.
I’ve wanted to make liquid hand soap for a while but I’ve lacked confidence and thought something would go wrong. But I researched, found a good recipe and I tried it. That’s right; Wednesday I sourced the ingredients from town and Thursday evening, after work, I decided to make a few things.
I’ll save the recipes and links until next week because this post is already reaching an epic length. I’ll just tease you with a few pictures instead:
These products have been brilliant to use but I’ll write about them in Week 2, after we’ve used them for a good few days.
Thoughts from Week 1
- We have been thinking more about what we are buying. If I need something then I have tried to source it with the least packaging I can.
- I’ve been asking myself “Is there a way we can reuse the packaging?”
- Shopping– We’ve taken less trips to the supermarket this week and have tried to use up everything we can before going shopping again. As a result we have:
- purchased less plastic packaged food than a usual week
- been more frugal with our meals
- been more mindful of our portions and ingredients used
- created less emissions (less travelling to shops)
- Reuse what you have – You don’t have to buy new items or a new container to store your snacks in; why not use the small jam jar that was just finished.
- A lot more walking to find products – I walked a lot round town to get the products that I needed. I did about 10K steps over the time I was in town and was walking around for about 3-4 hours. This was exhausting, time consuming but also really fun. Mainly I was walking about trying to find Castile soap and eventually found some after visiting the 4th shop for it.
- More time & energy used – I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that searching for products and ingredients required more time and energy than usual. I’m hoping this will change as I get used to where I can buy items.
- Savings – Because I bought items locally I saved on delivery costs, emissions and I had the items immediately.
- Greenwashing – I saw a lot of high costs applied to simple items that had with the word ‘eco’ or similar terms on. For instance a bamboo reusable coffee cup was £2.99 in one shop and £8.99 in another.
Looking Forward: Week 2
Along with what I get up to and any issues we face, in week 2 I’ll be taking a look and discussing the following:
- Reusable bathroom items: safety razors and cotton shower scrunchies
- Making your own hand soap
- Our Plastic feedback
Have you got any goals or things that you’d like to look in to over the next few weeks
? Leave me a comment and let me know.