Project Green Challenge 2016: Aiming For Zero Waste

As part of Project Green Challenge by Turning Green, I have been collecting all the waste I have produced for the last 24 hours.

Zero waste, trash, rubbish, landfill, recycling
Waste produced in 24 hours

I do aim to refuse, reduce and reuse; and feel I have done quite well with this! BUT there is plenty more to be done and there are a few things this challenge has taught me…

I never thought about the cat food! I didn’t even check to see if the fish is from a sustainable source let alone consider the packaging it comes in. This is now a top priority on my to do list.

Obviously some things took more than 24 hours to become empty and therefore become waste (ie plastic film toilet paper packaging and handwash bottle), so it just so happened they fell into my waste pile during the challenge. But this led me to think what would have mounted up if the challenge had been over a week, or a month? 

Aside from the plastic film packaging around the toilet paper (I wonder if there are paper alternatives to this?) the main culprits would be household items (handwash, shampoo/ conditioner, deoderant and washing liquid containers) and plastic fruit containers, so I need to take a closer look at potential alternatives to these. With the exception of the plastic film wrap, the other plastics do all get recycled locally, but this is not ideal and is a last resort. Refusing, reducing and reusing is better if possible. 

Last but not least- crisp packet and coke cans- I really should cut out the junk food and drink! The packets end up as landfill. The coke cans are recycled and are arguably much better than getting a plastic bottle version, especially if the cans are packaged in cardboard, but cutting them out completely would be better for a multitude of reasons of course!

So, you’ve opted for reusable carrier bags, you say no to straws, you have a reusable water bottle and coffee cup, you take food in reusable containers and you refuse plastic cutlery, taking your own reusable version instead (or just do without!) You have come along way in reducing your waste, which is great! But what are the next steps in aiming for a zero waste lifestyle? Here are some more things to think about…

Look at your household items. Handwash, washing liquid, cleaning products etc… Can you find alternatives that have less packaging, or is more easily recyclable materials at least? Or buy in bulk- bigger versions mean waste less often at least! 

Check your beauty and hygiene products. Shampoo and conditioner, soap, deoderant, wipes, scrubs etc… Can you find a reusable substitute for some items, such as wipes? Are there alternatives that come with packaging, such as shampoo bars? Or could you even try making your deoderant or face scrub? I had a go at making my own coffee face scrub as part of 5gyres #beadfree campaign about banning microbeads (tiny toxic plastic beads). It worked really well! Oh and don’t forget to look out for those pesky microbeads too! 

Choose food products with less packaging. Buy fruit and vegetables loose if possible. Look out for paper or cardboard alternatives to plastic. If unavoidable, choose bigger packets so less waste overall. And remember to take reusable packaging, containers and bags with you to use whenever you can! If you have pets, remember to consider the items you buy for them too. 

No doubt there are lots of other ways to help achieve zero waste, I would love to hear your tips too!

For more information watch this video: storyofstuff.org

Also see these websites for more information:

 www.5gyres.org

 www.trashisfortossers.com

For reusable products (US) check out: www.ukonserve.com

30 Days Wild – Day 24: Microbeads 

What are microbeads?

• Microbeads are tiny bits of plastic found in some personal and beauty care products, such as toothpaste, scrubs, sunscreens and make-up.

• The microbeads used are mainly made of polyethylene (PE), but can be also be made of polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) and nylon. If any of these are listed under ingredients then the product contains microbeads.

• Microbeads wash off your body and down the drain, then end up in oceans.

• Microbeads, and other microplastics absorb harmful chemicals like a sponge. They become over a million times more toxic than the water around them.

• Fish and other marine life mistake them for food and eat them.

You can pledge to go #beadfree by only choosing products that are free from microbeads.

For more information about microbeads and plastic pollution, check out the following websites:

www.5gyres.org

www.beatthemicrobead.org

30 Days Wild – Day 16: DIY Coffee Scrub

As previously mentioned, I have pledged not to use products containing microbeads. There has been recent good news about this subject; the UK government says a ban is the best approach and that they will lobby for a European-wide ban. There are no details yet on what this will cover or when it will be implemented but it is still an exciting, positive step forward for ocean health and tackling plastic pollution.

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However, trillions of microbeads will still end up in our oceans before any new legislation comes into force. In order to raise awareness of this, and as part of 5Gyres campaign, I am arranging local drop-off points for opened products containing microbeads.

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With this in mind, today I decided to try my hand at making my own natural face and body scrub using coffee, coconut sugar, coconut oil and vanilla extract.

DIY Coffee Scrub Recipe:

1/2 cup of ground coffee
1/3 cup of coconut oil
1/4 cup of sugar
1 tsp vanilla

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30 Days Wild- Day 8: World Oceans Day

As it is World Oceans Day, Squiggle’s challenge for today was to write down her 4 favourite things about the ocean. This is her message…

my four favourite fings arr boats seals paddling/ dippin my towws wayales (whales)

My challenge for today is to take action to protect the ocean, by sharing information with my online community about microbeads.

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Today, Greenpeace took a petition signed by 312,239 people to No10 asking our government to ban microbeads here in the UK. To date, US is the only country to have banned microbeads, and that doesn’t come into full effect until July 2018.

However, we have also taken our own action by pledging to be #beadfree to help protect oceans from plastic pollution. Go to www.5gyres.org to add your name to the pledge too!

Check out www.beatthemicrobead.org for more information on microbeads, and other microplastics.

30 Days Wild- Day 5: Rabbits and Research

Today we went to Willows Farm to check out the new Peter Rabbit adventure playground. Squiggle had a ‘wild’ time exploring the playground and meeting Peter Rabbit himself!

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It’s World Environment Day and Wildlife Trusts asked the question on Twitter ‘why does our environment matter to you?’ For me, it’s because the health and well-being of all living things, including our own, depends on it- so how could it not matter?! And there is so much beauty in this world, I want to preserve that for our future generations. Our environment matters- it’s that simple!

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Aside from reflecting on this, I have spent this evening watching an inspirational interview with a brilliant conservation advocate. I also saw how Ocean Conservancy search for and protect sea turtle nests (via their snapchat story), which was interesting. Last but not least, I have been doing yet more research on plastic pollution and action planning- but more to come on that soon!