Thursday, 26 February 2009

The plastic-free challenge continues!

A whole group of us are trying to live without plastic (or reduce) for Lent.

Check out to find out more.

Anyone who wants to can sign up to receive daily tips throughout Lent about reducing plastic consumption.

Or there's a facebook group (No to plastic?!).

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

A plastic orgy?

As of Sunday, the three months is up! I'd been wondering how to celebrate - perhaps by buying as much plastic as humanly possible and wrapping myself up in it - but in fact, I've yet to get ANY new plastic. I feel I MAY NEVER GO BACK.

I shall certainly buy:
bike lights
a new library card & driving license
Gran Marnier

and probably some other bits and bobs. But I can't imagine new plastic bags or packaged sandwiches or salads... and I REALLY want a cucumber, but it just seems ridiculous that they're all individually wrapped.

I'll soon post some FAQs relating to giving up plastic, so if you've any suggestions, let me know!

Wednesday, 15 October 2008


None of this plastic-free party preparation outlined below is anywhere NEAR as hardcore as Rose's wonderful success in providing plastic-free catering for the weekend away on which we took the Lancaster Woodcraft Folk. I couldn't really be bothered doing it for groups due to the apparent cost and effort. BUT getting fruit and veg from the greengrocers is probably cheaper than getting it from a supermarket anyway. And the cooking ought to have been fairly cheap as it didn't involve meat. And it always takes a few hours to do group shopping anyway. Before, I'd been going to Aldi, Asda, Lidl, etc., in Morecambe, which takes quite a while because of traffic. This time we did most of the shopping between 4pm and 6.30pm in Lancaster. Plus Rose did a trip to Preston to get things like loose pasta... So yes, it took a bit longer, but it was definitely less hassle than I'd have thought and I intend to always try to make the most ethical choices possible when shopping for big groups in the future!

Two things we couldn't get around were soya milk (veganism seems to have many other ethical benefits, though) and marshmallows (even the veggies might have mutinied if we didn't have these, though I'm sure you can get vegetarian ones somewhere). Any suggestions?


We're hosting on Saturday. Being in an authoritarian mood I informed my housemate I couldn't countenance plastic in the shopping. I have therefore volunteered to make pizzas, dips, cakes and sweets myself rather than buying them. This is pleasing to me as I violently dislike those horrible plasticky sets of four dips people buy. EVERY ONE of those dips tastes like a different variation of rubber. I will also get lots of orange juice from the milkman and try to make some non-alcoholic and alcoholic punches.

They are providing paper plates and cups. I dislike the waste of using these ever so we're just using up the ones they already have and after that I've promised to do all the washing up of the crockery (However I have a sneaking suspicion my housemate will buy more paper cups, take off the plastic, and claim they were just lying around the house somewhere).

We will buy beer in bottles or cans in cardboard boxes (I'm being lenient about the cans, as cans almost certainly have plastic in them), and wine with proper corks and foil on them (difficult to work this out before opening).

I will try to make breadsticks. This seems a bit tedious but they're a dreadful waste of money and packaging and my housemate seems to want them.

BUT what about mixers? Coke, lemonade, tonic water. It seems quite rude not to provide anything to mix your drinks with. Is there a way of making water carbonated without a soda streamer? I could certainly do with a G&T...

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Letters, bills, junk, birthday cards

For plastic windows in envelopes, and magazines in plastic:

I've finally given in and signed up for paper-free billing on telephone, gas, electricity and internet. I don't really like doing this as I think I'll forget to check them but I'm paying them all by direct debit so I suppose it doesn't matter too much.

In the process of switching to internet banking and online billing - coping with some paranoia about fraud, which is terribly backward of me.

I also took the advice posted in Andrew's earlier comment on this blog: returning incorrectly addressed mail to the sender, opting out of unaddressed mail with Royal Mail, and signing up to the Mail Preference Service to stop getting unsolicited (junk) mail. This doesn't stop you getting things like your local papers or election information from the council or political parties, etc, so we will still probably receive some plastic in the post, but some is better than lots!

On a related note, I've started making cards for birthdays and other occasions a lot more than I was. You can still get postcards and some cards that don't come in plastic, but a home made card's much better! The card industry is SUCH a rip-off!

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Plastic-free cosmetics

Note the heavy dependence on Lush...

Face wash: I'm using a great moisturising, exfoliating soap bar from Lush. It's really very good, and I have tried the whole gamut of skin care products.

Shampoo: Currently trying Lush's shampoo bar 'Squeaky Green'. It does the job - I'm not sure it's any better or worse than normal shampoo, really - but apparently you can get 100 washes out of them.

Conditioner: I've got a solid conditioner bar from Lush lined up, but haven't finished up my old stuff yet... watch this space

Anti-frizz hair stuff: Lush had a tiny metal pot of 'King of the Mods' hair gel but the larger version was in plastic. It is ok.

A friend very kindly gave me an aloe vera plant and I've been trying this as hair frizz stuff. I can't really decide what it DOES. I've tried it in dry hair and it's rather sticky and unpleasant on your hands, but not bad in your hair, but doesn't get rid of all frizz. Perhaps it's better as a holding gel on wet hair?

There's also this hair pomade: which looks good, but appears to be insanely expensive.

Concealer: no joy yet, but I haven't really been looking that hard. Not filling in my eye bags has led to several comments like, 'Have you just got out of bed?' but for some reason it's not bruising my vanity as much as I'd feared. In fact never wearing any makeup at all is extremely satisfying.

Foundation: the Clinique one that I used to be bothered to apply when I cared was in a glass bottle with a metal lid, though probably had a small plastic disk inside the lid.

Eyeliner: possibly the lack of this is also part of the 'just got out of bed' look. There must be eyeliner pencils with metal lids and no plastic on them. I think all liquid eyeliners will have a plastic bit inside. I'll look into this in case someone's interested.

Deodorant: Lush, again- it's called T'eo. I think it's brilliant (smells nice, works), but other past users I've been chatting to were distinctly underwhelmed. Perhaps they weren't putting on enough? The nice thing about this is it also doesn't contain aluminium, which has a *possible* link to cancer.

Finally: You can, of course, make your own soap, shampoo, conditioner, etc, from natural products, and I WILL post about this when I get round to it!

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Lightbulbs, cleaning products, wonderful housemates

I've just moved into a new house which is GREAT. My new housemates have been surprisingly sympathetic on hearing about the plastic (perhaps they're just afraid...), although one of them gave me a plastic-wrapped gift today. Anyway, we've agreed that we'll refill all the cleaning products, but that if they want to get something that cleans more vigorously than Ecover stuff (I don't think you need such things, but each to their own), they'll buy/use it without involving me. Also one of them undertook to cook a delicious meal for seven people without using any plastic (making tomato and bechemal sauce from real tomatoes rather than tins and from milk in a bottle rather than a carton) which I find incredibly kind.

However, there are the usual issues that arise from moving into a new house. I needed an extension cable in order to plug in my computer, stereo and lamp. My office mate wanted to get rid of hers so gave it to me, but doesn't this still count as new plastic? Also, we wanted to replace all the lightbulbs with energy-saving ones. This change was definitely better for the environment but meant obtaining new plastic, although they were being given away for free...

Obviously I knew already that sometimes plastic is better/more environmental, but it's slightly annoying that it had to happen in the middle of the 3 months for which I'm giving it up.