#SaturdaySwitch – lists, and also some amazing bloggers

Aaaaaah. Stationary. Mmmmmmm. My heart rate increases a little bit when I go into a branch of Paperchase. My pupils dilate when I walk down the stationary aisle in Sainsbury’s. I want it ALL. All the notebooks, all the nice brightly-coloured rollerball pens. Want, want, want. All, all, all. Covet, covet, covet.

And I love lists. I love crossing jobs off to do lists. I love having an amazingly complete and perfect and colour-coded to do list of all the things I have to do, ever. I love categorising lists. I’ve also been known to have a list of all the lists (to be fair, I was turning my life upside down and moving to London with no job and nowhere to live, so I think you can forgive me a few lists in pink pen to give me an illusion of control).

But paper is of course made of trees. And trees are amazing and my instinctive feeling is that it’s pretty obviously better not to chop them down. There is of course a circular argument that many trees are grown specifically to make paper, so if there was less demand for paper then those trees would not exist, and their carbon absorption benefit would be lost. But equally, even sustainable growth of trees for paper-marking has an environmental impact. Of course paper can be recycled, and 70% less energy is required to recycle paper compared to making it from raw materials. But of course, as always, it’s complicated, and there is a footprint to the recycling process. So the first steps, again as always, are to reduce and reuse.

So I’m working on the Buy Nothing project this week (more on this soon – it’s going to save the world, I tell you). There’s a ton of stuff to do, and my co-creator has shared the Wunderlist app with me – so I’m giving up my personal paper-based to do list… Can I also give up my shopping list, weekly meal plan and other random ramblings that I keep in my nice green notepad? We shall see…

Meanwhile, the totally incredible Gemma Bray at The Organised Mum has just released an app of her awesome system of organising household jobs. So if you’re into this sort of thing – and following her plan has been a sanity saver for me – then do check it out. It will save you the need to write any housework lists, ever again.

And just because I love to plug other awesome bloggers who’ve had a really positive impact on my life, and because I have an enormous girl crush on her, I want to tell you that Jack Monroe has just released a new book of vegan recipes, for pre-order to arrive on Boxing Day. Perfect for the post Christmas health kick and/or Veganuary. We’ll chat about the concept of Veganish again some time…

Second-hand September – or buy nothing, ever again?

I posted about No Buy July a while ago. We made a pretty good stab at it, and I was intending to carry it into August. But it’s amazing how quickly old habits return. When we got back from camping, I was feeling a bit down to be honest – I had found the trip pretty hard going, then been really ill when we got home with a stomach bug, which I thought at one point might be Lyme disease from a tick bite (dramatic, moi?), so I’d trooped off to the local Emergency Department on the advice of 111 to wait four hours to be given antibiotics (there’s a whole other blog to be written about the world views of an ex-NHS manager on the state of the public sector today, butI’m not going to be writing it any time soon).

Within a couple of days of getting home, I’d bought chocolate, which is not allowed in our house except in dire emergencies, otherwise we binge eat. I also bought two new tops from Asda, which were super cheap – I have done no direct research on this, but I expect Asda are pretty low down the list when it comes to disastrous fast fashion. And I bought some reallllly lush pyjamas from Marks and Spencer. I LOVE nice pyjamas. So I succumbed to this learned habit that all us good capitalist citizens have been trained to obey – when you feel blue, buy something new. And/or eat some sugar.

There were big posters all over Marks and Spencer about sustainably sourced cotton, and their corporate website says that they have achieved their target of 100% sustainably sourced cotton in March 2019, and are aiming to increase the proportion of Fairtrade, organic and recycled sources to 25% by 2025. I haven’t read all the information about what this actually means, but it’s gone a little way towards assuaging my guilt, particularly given the enormous amount of baby clothes I’ve bought from M&S over the past two years.

Anyway, sustainable or not, my view is still that it’s better to buy as little new as possible. I’ve got over my antipathy to eBay and started buying and selling stuff on there – the root of the antipathy is basically that I thought it was a huge load of hassle to upload items for sale, and that to buy stuff you had to invest huge amounts of time in watching bids, but actually it can be done much more simply, and you can buy pretty much anything. I’ve bought an OS map, some leggings for me (which I thought might be a bit ick but were totally fine), and some clothes for the ever-growing small one, plus some books and an amazing Melissa and Doug latch board, which he loves.

Oxfam are running a Second Hand September campaign, asking people to pledge to buy no new clothes in September and highlighting the environmental impact of fast fashion. 11 million items of clothing go to landfill every week, just in the UK. This terrifies me. I have a bunch of other interesting references and articles about fast fashion to share sometime when I’ve got the concentration span for a more analytical post, but for now, here’s some rambling reflections.

There must be enough clothes in the world for everyone, for a really long time. When you expand your brain and think about what would happen if we just stopped manufacturing clothes and bought or gifted second-hand only, it’s kind of mind-blowing. What would the economic impact be? What would happen to everyone whose jobs depend on making and selling new clothes? But what would happen within our communities if we shared, gifted, traded used clothing as a matter of course? What would happen if Saturday shopping centre trips to buy new clothes wasn’t a hobby anymore? What would people do instead? It’s mega.

Anyway, maybe take the Oxfam pledge for September and see how you feel. Maybe join the Extinction Rebellion fashion boycott. Check out eBay, Facebook marketplace and selling groups, car boot sales, or charity shops if you’re not dragging a toddler around with you. Weirdly, the small one likes markets and supermarkets but he HATES charity shops. I get three minutes browsing time, max.

I’m writing it here now to make it real – I’m not buying anything new for me or the small one, for the rest of the year. And I’m going to have a crack at second-hand Christmas too…

Meanwhile (and this is the reason for the posting hiatus, alongside a non-napping small person cutting some teeth), I’m working with a new local friend to launch a local Buy Nothing Project group. It’s ridiculously exciting but also a bit scary. More soon.

Belated #SaturdaySwitch and reflections on camping with a toddler

So we’ve been home for a few days now after our camping adventure at Rise Up Singing. I was expecting our first camp with a toddler to be hard work and I wasn’t wrong (sometimes it’s good to prepare for the worst, right?) Nappy changes in a tent with a wriggling, protesting, octopus-like toddler are a challenge and my post-pregnancy body definitely needs a better camping bed solution. It feels unfair to be more exhausted at the end of a “holiday” than at the start. Not to mention the fact that I managed approximately two thirds of one singing workshop, and a handful of fragmented conversations with friends. Some acceptance still needed as to how different this camp was, in comparison to all those years attending as a child-free person, learning five new songs a day and jamming with great singers until the small hours by the fire.

BUT the small one loved it – lots of free range rampaging, chucking 4987 stones into the stream and being allowed to eat Mini Cheddars and raisins for most meals (this is not a child who likes kale, yet). And we had some awesome walks in the woods, small one on the Daddy Donkey.

So anyway. Being in the amazingly beautiful Dartmoor countryside brings it all home in a really intense way (no camping puns here) what’s at stake, as we progress on our journey to protect Mother Earth from destruction. And I have to admit that amidst the mountain of washing, an intense post-camp stomach bug which at one point I thought might be Lyme disease from an infected tick bite (TBC by blood tests next week but I think unlikely as I’m now almost better), I almost felt like giving up.

It’s so hard. Aeroplanes fly over our house almost every minute in London and there’s next to nothing we can do about it. The supermarkets are full to the brim of plastic and it’s so much effort and expense to do plastic-free food shopping. The internet is still full of people arguing about how to save the world in the best way, while being quite rude to each other. We have a new PM and cabinet who don’t care about anything except hard Brexit. McDonalds paper straws aren’t recyclable. Or they are. Or it doesn’t matter. People leave litter in the park and put the wrong stuff in the plastic bag recycling at Sainsbury’s – which might not matter if it all ends up in an eastern European landfill or the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

But – this, guys. This.

https://www.pinns.co.uk/devon/hemburywoods.html

And this.

http://holidayindartmoor.co.uk/buckfast/hembury-woods-circular-walk-36110.html

(The rest of my photos were rubbish so these are stolen images of Hembury woods, but this is where we were, and it’s magnificent).

So onwards with the changes, onwards with the small steps – and gathering courage and strength for the big ones.

While away I did chemical deodorant detox (thanks, hippy friends, for tolerating this) and I’ve started using the new plastic-free natural one this week (as per The Great Deodorant Experiment). I’ve also ditched shower gel, shampoo and conditioner in favour of this conditioning shampoo soap bar which can be used on hair and body. And, sort of without thinking about it I’ve ditched face wash for this really gorgeous tea tree and peppermint face soap. My skin is feeling great, I don’t think I smell too awful and my hair is… taking some getting used to… but I’m persevering. Everything from The Good Soap Company came packaged in paper and card too, absolutely no plastic, and very good service. Highly recommended.

This really useful article suggests how to go about making the switch to a shampoo bar if you’re considering it. My hair is still feeling a bit waxy so I’m researching other methods e.g. lathering the soap first rather than applying the bar straight to your hair, doing extra rinses etc. I will keep you posted. I think a plastic-free bathroom is likely to be achieved sooner in our house than a plastic-free kitchen.

So. August continues and I have a bunch of cat sitting jobs coming up (yes, I am a multi-talented beast indeed), plus you’re all on holiday anyway, so blog posts may be less frequent for a few weeks. I’ve got some ideas for a bit of a relaunch in September, so I will be nagging for likes and shares and all that stuff. Back soon. Ish.

Recycling 101, lesson 2 – when you wish upon a bin

I talked in my previous recycling 101 post about wish cycling. I didn’t know this had a proper name, but I was aware of quite a few people I know doing this – putting things into the recycling bin which they think might be recyclable, and hoping for the best. Or even putting things in that they know aren’t accepted, but that they think should be, as a means of pressuring their local councils to expand their collection to recycle more types of waste.

This is actually a really bad practice, which creates more waste – it can lead to whole batches of recycling being contaminated and therefore ending up in landfill, or even worse, damaging equipment in sorting centres, leading to shut downs. All of this makes the waste management process less efficient and more expensive, which could lead councils to invest less in the process overall. So don’t do it, kids.

There’s also some more interesting stuff here about the global impact of wish-cycling – we know that China were importing two thirds of the world’s plastic waste in 2016, but since then have stopped buying waste from abroad, partly due to the amount of contamination.

So now it seems we are stuck with our own waste (although I don’t fully believe we can be sure that everything is staying in the UK for processing…), you would think it would be easy to find out what can go into which bin, yes? It’s in the interests of local authorities to make it clear, so that their own processes aren’t hampered.

Well. Recycling systems across the UK are hugely variable, as the Government doesn’t mandate exactly how its targets should be met, so it’s up to local authorities to implement schemes which suit their local area. The Greenwich Council information is reasonably good, but doesn’t answer a few questions. It talks about “mixed dry recycling”, asks residents to wash out food waste containers, but isn’t clear about whether recylables should be completely dry (they definitely should). It also doesn’t specify exactly what types of plastics it accepts, e.g. black plastic, tetrapacks etc.

So to avoid wish cycling, I think that you have to be quite determined. “Check locally” often just means checking the local council website, but sometimes you have to work quite a bit harder e.g. emailing or tweeting with a specific question. The RecycleNow recycling locator is helpful for confirming what’s accepted kerbside in some areas, and finding out what to do with other things which may need to be taken to a local recycling centre.

There are lots of useful recycling labels used on packaging to help people – lists here and here – but this labelling isn’t mandatory and is missing from a lot of packaging. Industry leaders have recently called on MPs to bring in laws to make recycling labels simpler for the public to understand, which in turn would improve the efficiency of the recycling process.

I had a look for any petitions about this specific issue – there are about a gazillion on different plastics and recycling issues. This one is suggesting mandatory labelling of types of plastics used to aid recycling, which would make sense if councils were clearer on what they accept by plastic type, rather than product type.

So maybe I should start a petition on this? Or is it pointless to have another one in the hundreds already circulating? I’m still pretty convinced that our recycling infrastructure is dysfucntional and I’m not sure how to influence it. And I doubt this will be high on the agenda of our new Prime Minister… *sigh*.

Perhaps I will write to my local MP about it. We’re practically penpals now after #smokegate.

Center Parcs – #MyPlasticFeedback response

You might have read my previous post about our trip to Center Parcs and the concerns I raised to them afterwards about the single use plastic mountain they’re creating with disposable washing up sponges and dish cloths.

I have had a response this week from them on the feedback I sent. They say that “the Center Parcs experience is built around enabling our guests to enjoy the natural environment and, therefore, we appreciate it is vital that we play our part in protecting it.” They are “in the process of phasing out” plastic straws in their Center Parcs owned outlets, which is better than nothing of course – however, there are a load of chain restaurants within the complexes which presumably are not included in this, who may well be doing their own thing (Starbucks, Cafe Rouge, Las Iguanas etc.), but may not. Are Center Parcs putting pressure on their partners too?

A trial is apparently underway at the Elveden village (nothing on the village news page about this though…) to reduce single use toiletry items – so awful I couldn’t even go there in my feedback really, as I couldn’t think of an alternative option if this provision is something that guests really want. It would be interesting to see what other hotels and holiday parks are doing on this – do we really need tiny bottles of rubbish shampoo everywhere we go?  

Onto the dish washing (my obsession, it seems). They do reuse the tea towels – praise the Lord! But the dishcloths are binned as “they haven’t found a dishcloth that can be cleaned adequately to the standards required”. Nothing said at all about the washing up sponges.

So anyway, I’ve replied, encouraging them to keep looking for reusable options, and invited the Sustainability Manager to get in touch with me for a further chat and to feature in the blog… This is of course a massive long shot, but who knows what could happen, this could in fact be my big break! One day I will wake up to 5000 followers and an advertising request from Ecover, I know it.

Meanwhile, I suggest we all nag the tourist venues we visit to try harder on this stuff. The more I think about it all, the more I’m sure it needs organisations to take the lead to make the big changes that are needed. So pester away, people, and let me know how you get on.

Recycling 101, lesson 1 – in which we discover that everything we thought was true, is in fact a lie…..

I thought I would do a little series on my recycling research. I know the jury is well and truly out now on whether recycling is in fact a massive waste of time, but I think people are unlikely to stop at least attempting to recycle some of their waste. Recycling is obviously the best solution if reuse and refusal are not feasible, so we might as well educate ourselves to make sure we’re doing it right.

This is “the green dot”. Did you think it meant that the packaging was recyclable? So did I, until pretty recently when I saw Sisters Against Plastic‘s post about it on Facebook. What it actually means is that the manufacturer makes a financial contribution towards the cost of recovery and recycling of waste. It seems to be misleading, not only because of how similar it looks to other recycling symbols, but also because the fee is waived for companies registered with packaging compliance schemes. The fee for small businesses is currently £295 +VAT per annum for small businesses, with approx 200 of these registered. So that’s £59,000 per year income for Valpak, the UK administrator of the Green Dot scheme on behalf of PRO Europe, who manage the Green Dot trademark worldwide. I’m probably missing the point here as it’s a hugely complex industry, but this doesn’t seem like a particularly significant sum of money and I would hazard a guess that it’s mainly used to administrate the scheme. Either way, I think it’s reasonable to surmise that it’s a fairly meaningless symbol when trying to work out what’s recyclable.

I believed that my shampoo and conditioner bottles were recyclable because this symbol is on them. But are they? They also have these symbols on them (does anyone know how to insert two images next to each other in WordPress? It’s driving me nuts…)

The HDPE one means it’s made of high-density polythylene, which apparently is the Meryl Streep of plastics, versatile and popular. Good because it is lightweight and strong, therefore has replaced heavier packaging options and is in theory better for the environment in some ways, as reduces the amount of packaging waste overall and is more energy-efficient to transport. It can be recycled, into for example storage containers, outdoor furniture and playground equipment, car parts and bins. This is an interesting and not too sciency article about HDPE and how it’s recycled.

The 12 M symbol has nothing to do with plastic type or recycling, and is actually a “period-after-opening” symbol – which is “an indication of the period of time after opening for which the product can be used without any harm to the consumer”. So I can safely use my shampoo for 12 months before it explodes, which is good to know. It seems not all cosmetics packaging is required to carry this labelling, because the product will not deteriorate in normal use – e.g. aerosols and perfume. More info here about cosmetics packaging – you absolutely do learn something new every day!

So putting my shampoo bottles in the blue bin hasn’t in fact been wish cycling – a common phenomenon where we put things into the recycling that we’re not sure about, and hope for the best. When they run out though, I will be looking into plastic-free shampoo and conditioner bars, so will be looking for recommendations on brands which will not make me look like Worzel Gummidge.

More on wish-cycling and plastic labelling in lesson 2.

Some thoughts about China – part 1

I love Chinese food. So much. When I was growing up, from the age of about 8, going to our local Chinese for the Chef’s Special meal was my birthday treat every year. My Grandma usually used to come with us, and I think she never really could believe, as someone who lived through rationing, quite how much food there was. Crispy duck is my absolute favourite.

But it’s pretty hard to tell whether any of the meat at one’s local Chinese is remotely ethical – I’m pretty sure it’s not – and I can’t even bear to do any research on duck farming, as I know the findings will be grim. So as part of our attempts to eat less meat in general, and more ethically sourced when we do, we decided on Friday night to give vegetarian Chinese takeaway a go.

We had vegetable spring rolls, mushroom rice and vegetable chow mein – all good. And tofu satay – oh dear. Spoungy, soggy tofu, sauce a bit too spicy for me, sad and slightly slimy vegetables. Also we had prawn crackers – I thought they were vegetarian, like prawn cocktail crisps, but a bit of retrospective research showed me that they do in fact contain prawns. So that was a bit of a vegetarian fail.

Overall, it felt like a worthwhile experiment, and there are plenty of other veggie options on the menu to try next time, but I wouldn’t be repeating the tofu experience.

I also encouraged (forced, actually) my long-suffering husband to take some tubs with us that we’ve saved from previous takeaways. I’ve seen people posting on plastic-free groups about taking their own tubs to takeaways and it seems like a great idea – except that I’m too socially awkward to have this conversation myself, so I delegated it to my heroic husband.

The man at the takeaway was initially reluctant to use our own tubs, until he realised they’d originally come from his shop, even though one had “Mum’s mince” written on it in faded Sharpie. Obviously they use the specific sizing of the small and large tubs to measure portion sizes, so he didn’t want to fill up a random Tupperware with chow mein, which is completely fair enough. Once that was cleared up, he was happy with it. But then gave us the spring rolls in a polystyrene carton and the whole lot in a plastic bag. Next time we will take a tub for the rolls and our own bag, but it’s baby steps…

I would have found the whole interaction totally excruciating (although I can probably manage it next time now that the precedent has been set), but my husband chirpily made a little joke to another lady waiting for her food, that he was “saving the world, one takeaway tub at a time”.

And here’s the brilliant bit – she replied (direct quote, credit to random lady on Shooters Hill Road):

“I salute you, really I do. It’s people like you who are going to save the world for my grandchildren”.

So lovely and such a deserved reward for braving the awkward conversation. It gave me some food for thought (see what I did there?) – maybe next time she will bring her own tubs, tell her family about the funny man in the takeaway and give other people the same idea. And maybe the takeaway owner might start to offer a discount if you bring your own tubs back (saves him buying new ones?), or he might think more about packaging and start using compostable or cardboard cartons instead? And the virtuous cycle continues.

But then I saw something else which made me feel a bit deflated:

“Of course I’d like to save the planet from global warming/pollution etc etc & admire extinction rebellion & those protesting, and everyday people who live their lives fully sustainable & carbon neutral etc etc – but even if the whole UK, or even Europe – became BETTER than carbon neutral, vegan & fully sustainable isn’t that a drop in the ocean when you factor in the carbon output & pollution from huge countries like China/Russia/USA/India etc? Of course we individually should do what’s right regardless – I’ve got no problem with that – but isn’t it a bit of a waste of time when there’s some huge bohemoths pumping out gazillions of shiz into the atmosphere elsewhere?”

Anon Facebook post

This post was followed by some really good discussion, including the impact of the military, the impact of “our” (“developed countries” demand on these countries’ goods, the move towards renewable energy in some countries vs. the return towards greater dependency on fossil fuel in others, and the interesting differences when you compare a country’s total emissions and the emissions per capita for its residents.

Anyway, it got me thinking a lot more – which is why this is Part 1 of the post and I will write more about this in a couple of days once I’ve done some more reading on the issues raised. For sure, we’re not going to actually save the world one takeaway tub at a time, so maybe we should just relax and enjoy it, stop worrying, eat the cheese and the unethically-reared meat and chuck the packet in the river? Of course we’re not going to do that – I do believe that every little helps, or at least stops it getting worse. But is there any way we can influence government policies, especially in other countries? Is it too late? It’s complicated, for sure.

What do you think?

More soon.

#SaturdaySwitch part 4 – No Buy July

I read about the concept of “No buy July” on one of the zero waste groups I’ve joined on Facebook. The full concept as discussed in the group seemed quite extreme to me – not buying anything at all, including food, and just using up whatever you have in the freezer and cupboards. I knew we couldn’t manage this, as fresh fruit and vegetables is important to us as well as a fair bit of dairy. But I decided to have a crack at it – buy no stuff, with the exclusion of food and fuel. (To be fair, there are plenty of months where we don’t buy diesel for the car, as we hardly every use it, but we needed some for the Center Parcs trip and next week’s camping extravaganza).

So why stop buying stuff? Let’s start with clothes.

It’s widely held that the fashion industry is the second most polluting global industry after oil. This might not actually be true, but it’s clear there’s still a major impact.

Extinction Rebellion are calling on us all to pledge to buy no new clothing for a year, from April 2019-April 2020, in a bid to disrupt the fashion industry and reduce the ecological impact of clothing manufacture. Key wording from the pledge:

“We can no longer afford to use land to grow crops for producing clothes and extract oil to produce synthetic fibres. Enough is enough. Business as usual is leading us towards extinction.  

For the next year, we will engage in a boycott of the fashion industry and its ecocidal, unethical system of pointless production. We will take joy in making do with what we, collectively, already have, and learn to share, repair, rewear and relove. We challenge ourselves to radically change our relationships with clothes.”

Buying no new clothes for myself is not a huge challenge really – I’m not much of a fashionista, and we haven’t got a ton of spare cash for these things. I have bought some leggings on eBay this month though, including some Boden ones, so I’m officially a yummy mummy now. I was initially a bit squeamish about second hand leggings, but they’re actually fine. I will do another post in due course about our adventures with eBay and why patience is a virtue!

Removing temptation is a good move – I rarely go High Street shopping, because it’s not very fun with a toddler. There are some good tips here about deleting marketing emails before read them – they’re designed to tempt you to buy stuff which you probably don’t need, and it’s so easy to buy online for that quick one-click endorphin hit. I’ve gone a step further and unsubscribed from a load of mailing lists. I know where the Mothercare website is if I ever need it, but I don’t need to see the cute new Mylene Klass range of kids clothes that my son DOES NOT NEED (sigh). Baby clothes (toddler clothes? boy’s clothes? He’s not really a baby any more… *sobs*) are my weakness though and I’m promising to make a concerted effort to get the majority of his next batch second hand.

Other stuff – well, it’s just more stuff, isn’t it, really? The manufacture and distribution of everything has a carbon footprint, and it all will have to be disposed of eventually. There’s probably enough stuff already in existence to go round for the whole planet for a good few centuries. There’s not much that can’t be borrowed or obtained second hand.

So far so good, until the camping trip planning began in earnest…

The sum total of new things we have bought in July are as follows, all directly related to our upcoming holiday:

  • A roof box for the car – we did try and find one on eBay but it’s super complicated getting one with the right roof bars for your car. I feel like this is a pretty major long-term investment though, and does not count as a disposable, frivolous purchase.
  • A feed bucket – sounds mad, but I think it will work as a good travel bath tub for the small person, I know he can’t go 10 days without a few scrubs. Plus it’s squashable so will fit more easily in the car than a normal bucket. Again, I think this will get a lot of use over the years on camping trips, for fetching water, washing up etc., and can be used as a storage receptacle too.
  • An LED camping light – tried to borrow one from various friends and family without success. Again, will have a long life with us over the years/decades and will be looked after (and NOT trashed by a small person obsessed with switching lights on and off, definitely not).

So we haven’t quite pulled off No Buy July, but I’m interested in a longer-term lifestyle change. As a friend of mine put it recently when she signed the fashion pledge:

BUY NOTHING NEW. 

I reckon unless you’re gifted something, or its absolutely essential, it’s hard to justify having new stuff these days. I think a challenge such as that suggested by Extinction Rebellion, gets you to really think every time you make a purchase. “Do I really need this? Can I find it second hand anywhere else? If I have to buy it can I make sure it doesn’t end up in land fill when I’m done?” 

I’m certainly not going to get all militant about it. But I’ve most definitely reached a turning point where buying new really jars with me.

Less stuff. Reduce, reuse. Rebel against the consumer machine. That feels more radical than buying leggings on eBay, but that’s what it is, and I think that’s what we have to do to save the world. Super rad.

Sustainability and Environmental Documentaries – reblogged from Rasberry Thriller

Sustainability and Environmental Documentaries

https://raspberrythriller.wordpress.com/2019/07/19/sustainability-and-environmental-documentaries/
— Read on raspberrythriller.wordpress.com/2019/07/19/sustainability-and-environmental-documentaries/

Clingfilm Klingons

I hate clingfilm, with a passion. It sticks to itself and never obeys me in where I want it to go, and it’s all wrinkly like this Klingon’s head. I gave it up quite a while ago, because it’s so annoying, and so difficult to clean for the Ecobrick (although I have got some left in the kitchen drawer – wonder what I should do with it?)

But I’m even more annoyed by the gazillions of pop-up ads I’m seeing on Facebook (thanks, algorithms) for these stretchy lid things. I know I ranted about them a bit in my Tupperware post, but honestly I hate the concept so much I need to have another rant. I didn’t ever want to be dogmatic in my opinions here, as I know that different things work for different people, but please don’t buy them! Not only do the reviews almost all say that they’re not actually very effective, but they’re also not biodegradable, super hard to recycle (that old chestnut, “where facilities exist”), and their manufacture must have a considerable carbon footprint. Here are some other alternatives to clingfilm:

  • Tupperware – it’s great, and there really is no evidence that it gives you cancer. Really.
  • Old takeaway boxes are brilliant. I have 483 in the cupboard, at least.
  • One of these for the microwave – yes it’s plastic but I’ve had mine since I was 18 (a LONG time ago) and it’s saved a lot of clingfilm so personally I think it’s fine. I will bequeath it to my son when I’m dead in remembrance of all the microwaved peas he eats.
  • You could just stick a place on top of a bowl, either in the microwave or for storage. We all have plates and bowls.
  • You can also use kitchen roll in the microwave to catch splashes. Then use it to wipe something up afterwards, then put it in the compost. (Didn’t know you could compost kitchen roll? Nor did I until recently. Thanks Google – 10 things I’ve googled about waste and recycling coming up soon)
  • Some people have a stash of pyrex dishes with lids that can be used in the microwave.
  • For open packets in the fridge that need to be covered to stay fresh, I’ve started using old bread bags with the tie. These also work for covering things to go in the freezer.
  • Similarly, my stash of old freezer bags which I wash and reuse serve a similar purpose.
  • For storing leftovers in the fridge, you could use old yoghurt pots, margarine or butter tubs, jam jars etc.

Basically, much as I hate clingfilm, it really worries me that there’s this bandwagon of advertising to persuade you to buy more stuff to replace it, when actually there are loads of other options based on using what you already have, or reusing other packaging before recycling it when it starts to fall to bits.

The marketing machine behind “going zero waste” concerns me. Reducing waste and reducing plastic doesn’t have to mean spending more money and generating demand for yet more stuff, complete with the carbon footprint of its manufacture and distribution. Yes it looks nice and trendy on Pinterest and Instagram, but it’s pointless consumption, and more waste in the end. And it makes me cross.

So please, for your #SaturdaySwitch tomorrow, stop buying clingfilm but don’t be a faux-clingfilm Klingon. I will try really hard to be less ranty in my next post.

Peace and love xx