National Allotments Week : Grow Your Own To Avoid Plastic Packaging!

National Allotments Week started in 2002 as a way of raising awareness of allotments and the role they play in helping people to live healthier lifestyles, grow their own food, develop friendships and bolster communities. We’ve recently been lucky enough to join a community group allotment and we’re loving it!

Our main motivation for joining was to get our hands on some fresh salad leaves without plastic packaging! We hadn’t had salad for ages because it always came wrapped in plastic so when a friend showed us her salad pickings and explained she was part of an allotment collective we wanted to sign up straight away! It also offered us the perfect opportunity to learn how to grow our own, which we have now started to do on a small scale in containers in our garden. There is nothing more satisfactory than eating fresh vegetables you have grown yourself and it has the added bonus of no plastic packaging!

For National Allotments Week we did a bit of searching (using ecosia of course- extra bonus of planting trees too!) to put together the below list of allotments available around Cornwall. We’ve also shared a few community projects based around community growing as well as gardening courses that can help you on your way to growing your own at home if you have your own garden.

Cornwall Allotments:

Cornwall Allotments, Redruth

Bude Allotment Association

Truro Allotments

St Ives Allotments

Falmouth Allotments

Falmouth, Penryn, Constantine and Mawnan Allotments

St Agnes, Month Hawke, Mithian Allotments

Penzance Allotments

Community Growing Spaces, Groups and Charities:

Incredible Edible Penryn

St Ives Community Orchard

Bosavern Community Farm

Helston Food Group

Newquay Community Orchard Sustainable Lives

Grow Your Own Workshops:

Padstow Kitchen Garden Course

Grow Your Own Veg Pot, Truro and Penwith College

The Real Food Garden Workshop, Bodmin

Online Guidance For Growing Your Own Veg:

How to design a potagar garden

Cornwall Wildlife Trust How to grow a vegetable garden

For more info on National Allotment Week

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We've turned 1! Thank you so much for your support!

We can’t quite believe it but Incredible Bulk turned 1 today! A year ago we set out to Sennen for our first market and eagerly awaited our first customers. What an incredible year its been, we have met some truly awesome people (that’s you guys by the way!), been invited into lovely communities around Cornwall and together we’ve avoided single-use plastic! None of this would have been possible without you guys making the effort and being open to changing your shopping habits and for that we are truly grateful. We’re looking forward to our second year, we hope you are too!

For a bit of fun we’ve had a look at what you’ve bought this past year to give you a run down of what plastic you have avoided.

An INCREDIBLE 23,944 pieces of single-use plastic avoided over the year!

This breaks down as avoiding 15,128 pieces of single-use plastic packaging through refill shopping:

13,081 pieces of single-use food packaging

1390 home cleaning plastic bottles

657 bathroom plastic bottles

On top of this you have also avoided 8816 single use plastic items:

A further 117 bottles of shampoo avoided through switching to shampoo bars

Another 293 bottles of body / hand wash avoided through switching to soap bars

4800 single-use plastic cotton buds avoided by switching to bamboo cotton buds!

268 plastic toothbrushes avoided by switching to wooden alternatives

146 plastic tubes of toothpaste avoided by switching to toothpaste tabs or the tooth soap

39 body sponges by switching to loofahs

12 plastic bottles of body moisturiser avoided by switching to solid moisturiser bars

31 plastic bottles of sunscreen avoided by switching to tins!

118 plastic tooth floss (which equals 3540 meters of floss) replaced with refillable plastic-free options

155 plastic or aerosol deodorants avoided due to switching to our plastic free natural version

At least 27 plastic razors by switching to a safety razor

At least 28 plastic packs of cotton wool pads replaced by reusable bamboo make up pads

At least 14 plastic packs of loo roll by switching to unwrapped loose loo roll

795 plastic kitchen sponges avoided by switching to our natural alternatives

At least 126 rolls of cling film by switching to wax food wraps (which is about 3780 meters of plastic film)

At least 51 plastic disposable coffee cups by switching to a reusable version (also meaning you’ve helped recycle 306 used disposable coffee cups!)

At least 31 plastic disposable cutlery sets by switching to a reusable version

At least 150 plastic disposable straws by switching to a reusable version

At least 23 plastic bottles of water avoided by investing in a reusable water bottle

At least 12 disposable lunch boxes avoided by investing in a reusable stainless steel lunch box

and 1580 single-use plastic sealed tea bags switched to our plastic free compostable tea bags!

Using some quick maths via the Everyday Plastic Report all of this equates to around 155kgs of plastic, about the same weight as an adult common seal and 5 pups! Or the equivalent of 4.5 peoples yearly plastic packaging waste.

We hope you find this encouraging, we can’t wait to see what you manage to avoid in our second year!

Everyday Plastic report

Seal Sanctuary facts

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Aug 2019 : Whats on Cornwall

The summer holidays are here! Here’s our pick of family friendly eco friendly events happening around Cornwall this August!

Beach Cleans and Litter Picks:

2/08 St Breward Messy Church Beach Clean

3/08 Hemmick Beach

5/08 Pendower Beach

5/08 Porthcurnick Beach

8/08 Fistral Beach

11/08 Portreath Beach

13/08 St Dennis Playing Fields

21/08 Treneere Estate

21/08 Marazion Beach

25/08 Mawgan Porth Beach

27/08 St Anns Chapel Park

Exhibitions, Workshops, Courses and Get Togethers:

24/07-3/09 Earth Story, Eden Project

Edens summer blockbuster exhibition takes you on a journey through Earth’s astonishing past, precarious present day – and a future that’s ours to make!

3/08 Beach Jewellery Workshop, Penzance

Bring your found ghostnet, beach plastic, driftwood and sea glass along to make cool, statement jewellery!

4/08 Plastic Free Perranporth Market

A perfect opportunity to shop local and plastic free!

09/08 Camera Obscura Workshop, Penryn

Using recycled / repurposed materials and a meniscus lens students will be guided through how to build a simple camera obscura.

10/08 Earth Pigment Painting, Penzance

Learn how to make paint by processing pure pigments using traditional paint making techniques, then use local pigments and soil gathered from the gardens to create your own painting.

11/08 Vitamin Sea Film by Cal Major, Porthtowan

Watch what is bound to be an awesome film about Cal Majors solo paddleboarding expedition with Q&A after!

13/08 Shell Seekers Painting Workshop, Falmouth

Bring your foraged shells and seaweed to use as inspiration to complete an A4 gouache painting with guidance from Lucy Innes Williams (see beautiful image below!)

14/08 Strandline Scavenge Arts and Crafts, Helford Passage

Hunt the strandline with Plastic Free Helford for interesting flotsam and turn it into monsters or other creatures.

15/08 Snorkel and Beach Clean, Porthgwarra

Beach clean followed by an underwater tour around Porthgwarra's coast, searching for some of our fantastic marine life!

22/08 Terrazzo recycled shell coaster workshop, Falmouth

Learn how to make your own coaster made from eco resin and recycled crushed shells!

24/08 Bodmin Swish

A perfect way to update the wardrobe without causing harm to the planet

30/08 Clean up SUP, Marazion

You'll be stand up paddleboarding, spotting numerous of our wonderful Cornish marine species and cleaning up our oceans - all at the same time!

31/08 Liskeard Eco Fashion Show

Go along and see what they guys at TeX have created!

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Recycling with Incredible Bulk

We have exciting news in that we are now offering recycling opportunities when you visit the van! We have invested in two Terracycle recycling boxes to offer you the opportunity to recycle the hard to recycle. We focused on two areas of longer-use single-use plastic packaging which we know are hard to give up and find alternatives for.

Stationery Recycling:

We use a fair bit of stationery in the van and know that these are common items to use and harder to find plastic free alternatives.

Please bring your small plastic or metal discarded office supplies: empty plastic or metal pens and pencils, pencil sharpeners, staplers, hole punchers, clips and clamps, disposable and reusable tape dispensers, plastic file dividers, plastic folders, file pockets, business cards holders, binders, glue sticks, rubber stamps, discarded backing from sticker and label sheets, correction fluid bottles and other correction supplies. Please do not bring e-waste, like electronic staplers and label making machines, colouring books or pressurised canisters.

What happens with this waste? Once our box is full we return to Terracycle who then mechanically and/or manually separate the waste into metals, fibres, and plastics. Metals are smelted so they may be recycled. The fibres (such as paper or wood based products) are recycled or composted. The plastics undergo extrusion and pelletisation to be moulded into new recycled plastic products.

Oral Care Recycling:

We know it can be tough to switch to natural, plastic free toothpaste options so wanted to offer recycling for those who have struggled to switch.

Please bring us any brand toothpaste tubes and caps, toothbrushes (including electric toothbrush heads), toothbrush and toothpaste tube outer packaging and floss containers.

What happens to this waste? Once our box is full we will send off to Terracycle who then mechanically and hand separate the waste into fibres (like wood and coated paper), plastics and other materials. The resulting fibres will be hydropulped to separate out coatings (like wax and plastics). The separated fibre will then be recycled into new paper products, or composted if recycling is not possible. The resulting plastics will be recycled into plastic polymers. Flexible and rigid plastics undergo extrusion and pelletisation to be moulded into various recycled plastic products.

Best practices for recycling:

Please only bring items that are at the end of their useful life, look to get items fixed, upcycled or gifted to charity or sold if still in good working order. In order to recycle properly, please make sure all excess product has been removed from packaging (i.e. toothpaste from toothpaste tubes). Additionally, if you choose to rinse your product, please note that it must be completely dry prior to dropping off with us

Looking to find alternatives?

Check out our Minimal Waste Stationery Guide or Plastic Free Oral Care Guide

More info on Terracycle Zero Waste Boxes


Plastic Free Oral Care Guide

There are now quite a few different options to go plastic free when it comes to our oral care. We have easy swaps available in the van including wooden toothbrushes, two different toothpaste options and plastic-free floss.

For toothbrushes we have wooden adults size with soft, medium or firm bristles and a kids size with soft bristles. If you are looking for a natural, fluoride free toothpaste we have Georganics Toothsoap. This is a solid bar where you wet your toothbrush, rub the toothbrush on the bar and then brush as normal. After much trial and error and a dabble in making our own we have found this is our favourite natural toothpaste which best mimics traditional toothpaste which is how it came to be available in the van. For those looking for a fluoride option we stock Dent Tabs. These are solid toothpaste tablets where you crunch one tablet and then brush with a wet toothbrush, minty fresh like traditional toothpaste but less foamy! For floss we have refillable plastic-free floss in a glass jar that’s made of either ahimsa silk or corn starch, which you can then refill so no need to replace the glass jar!

We understand that people may require a bit of a wider range so please check out the below who offer some other good plastic-free alternatives for oral care:

Georganics Sonic Electric Toothbrush

Kids Orange Flavoured Toothpaste (coming to the van soon!)

Georganics Charcoal Whitening Toothpowder

Georganics Mouthwash Tablets

Acala Copper Tongue Scraper

Euthymol Toothpaste in metal tube

The Humble Co Bamboo Interdental Brush

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Minimal Waste Stationery Guide

As with all efforts to go plastic-free / zero waste our advice would be to follow the 5 Rs of Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot. This would mean first refusing any new single-use plastic stationary and looking for alternatives and looking to reduce the amount you use. Alternatives could be reusable / refillable options, items made from alternative natural materials or from recycled materials, as well as items that are themselves recyclable or indeed compostable. Or you could look to embrace technology and go totally digital and do away with pens and paper completely!

We’ve listed a few options below, if you know of any others that would be good to add to the guide please get in touch!

Vent For Change Recycled Note Pads and Pencils

Remarkable recycled pens and note pads

Caran d’Ache Recycled Aluminium Ballpoint Pen

Paperchase Sustainable Range

Treewise Pencils

Eco Eco Recycled Filing Stationery

The Green Office Recycled Ball Point Pens

The Green Office Reusable Cartridge Fountain Pens

The Green Office Reusable Ink Pot Fountain Pens

The Green Office Pencils With Eco Credentials

Make your own natural glue

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Plastic Free Tips from the plastic free champions!

As we travel around we are lucky enough to meet a lot of awesome people doing great work to avoid and reduce plastic use. For Plastic Free July we asked them all for their top tip in avoiding single-use plastic and reducing your waste. We love how there are common themes throughout, really highlighting some of the key issues. We hope it helps you think about some small changes you can start to make this July! Remember we can all make a difference, as highlighted by the excellent BBC show War On Plastic, one street reduced their single use plastic by 45%, if the whole of the UK did that it would be equal to 8.8 billion less single use items in homes, lets make this a big revolution!

Adele Morgan aka Minimal Impact Cornwall:

“When starting your plastic free journey, perform regular bin audits to see what you are throwing away on a regular basis. This will allow you to see what changes you need to make first. Don't beat yourself up along your low waste journey. It is impossible to be 100% waste free due to the linear economy we live in. We can only do the best we can and small changes over time will have a large positive impact :)”

Alison Ford aka Natures Anchor

“I find buying fruit and vegetables covered in plastic is absolutely ridiculous so I tend to source and support local farm shops and businesses/farms that deliver veg boxes, which means I also get to enjoy eating seasonal foods as much as possible. Supermarkets are getting there but not completely and the local fruit & veg shops seem to have disappeared so... choose the loose producers, or source ethical, independent shops who sell local veg! When shopping I also take my own bags and refuse plastic bags. Whatever you do, helps. You don’t need to be perfect, however if you’re willing to consistently try, you will be making a difference.”

Amy Laurence from Georganics

“Switch to a bamboo toothbrush! It's such a simple and affordable alternative to something we use everyday but so many people overlook. Bamboo toothbrushes can last up to 3 months, cost the same as a cup of coffee and can be composted or recycled after use. You can also send the head with the nylon bristles back to us via our Zero To Landfill Scheme.”

Jill Scott from A Short Walk / R Cup

Become plastic savvy. As circular designers we very much agree that the consumption of single use, disposable plastics is a ‘take, make, waste’ approach of our planets natural resources and this is a problem. But, plastic as a material isn’t all bad.  In fact, it is part of the solution. One of the main reasons we find ourselves in this waste and resource crisis is that we have forgotten that nothing is truly recycled until it is actually reused or repurposed into something new. We can all truly recycle by starting to seek out products that are made from waste materials. We have a little way to go before big industry catches up with this idea so whilst we wait for those big wheels to turn lets create a demand for products made from recycled materials and those that can easily and fully be recycled at the end of their lives. Creating demand for reinvented rubbish will unlock the value in otherwise worthless throw away materials which in turn stimulates economic investment in ‘waste’ by recycling facilities and manufacturing which will help to turn those big wheels even faster.”

Dave Muir, Sennen SAS Plastic Free Rep

“My tip is quite simple. Shop local and buy for only a few days at a time. That way we avoid waste and it’s a lot easier to buy unpackaged produce. Waste is what’s killing the planet. We are all responsible for this.”

Angie Gall from Gwenen Eco Wraps

“We obviously love a wax food wrap! Great for picnics in these summer months, use them for sandwiches, quiche, fruit, cakes.....they're so versatile you can even use them as a spoon if you forget one! An easy way to make your picnic beautiful and single use plastic free!”

Krista Taylor, creator Scence

“I don't know where to start there are so many great plastic swaps to mention but I will make the following suggestions! An easy plastic swap for the bathroom is switching to a hard shampoo bar, they’re good value and work well, I use Beauty Kubes dry cube shampoo. I also recommend WUKA pants for the girls to get away from sanitary products, check them out! And finally, although its not a plastic swap I would like to share this search engine app called Ecosia as they plant trees if you use them to search online. Very cool!”

Helen Round, Designer Helen Round Textiles

“I love our set of reusable bamboo makeup pads. They’re designed to fit neatly in the palm of your hand, they’re great for removing makeup and perfect for your daily cleansing routine. After use, just pop the pads in the washing machine at 30 degrees or launder by hand. Designed to be used again and again, they are an eco alternative to single use wipes and cotton pads which can be harmful to our environment. We also offer a reusable pure linen sandwich wrap with waterproof lining and linen bread bags to collect your favourite bread from the bakers!”

Geoff Arden, Founder Greencane Paper

“The great thing I like about the zero waste movement is that at its heart is the inspiration to question existing thinking. On packaging, zero waste is seriously asking why and how we use packaging. For me this questioning firmly puts the buying decision in the hands of the customer and forces retailers and manufacturers to often rethink their products. For too long these organisations have been in charge of our thinking ,in the toilet paper world I despair at the hypocritical thinking of having recycled toilet paper wrapped in plastic wrap, then sugar coated with a lots of green logos and writing. Zero waste is not only about how we act but of the greater issue of consumerism and our environment.”

Plastic Free Helston

“Plastic microfibers are tiny pieces of plastic which are shed by clothing made from man-made fibres such as polyester and nylon when they are washed. These fibres are so small they can filter through water treatment plants and go into our oceans where they are eaten by sea creatures and can even become part of our food chain. Plastic Free Helston’s top tips to reduce this problem are:
• Try to purchase clothing made from natural fibres such as wool, cotton, linen, cashmere or silk where possible.
• Consider whether your clothing really needs washing, whether it is actually dirty or whether you have just worn it once.
• When washing clothing made from man-made fibres try to wash it in a cool wash, reduce the spin speed of your washing machine and try to air dry your clothes rather than tumble dry. It is also possible to purchase an appropriate laundry bag to collect the microfibers.”

Monika and Steve aka Clean Ocean Sailing

“On our Isles of Scilly clean up expedition back in February, we encouraged our volunteer sailors to not use any single use plastic especially water bottles. Instead, we all used refillable bottles which hugely reduced the plastic waste we produced as a group. During our expedition we found over 3000 plastic bottles that had come from all over the world. This plastic waste had caused huge environmental damage, as well as polluting paradise for wildlife, which is why its our top plastic free swap.”

 Lizzi Larbalestier, Plastic Free Perranporth

“Make your own plastic free deodorant; you’’ll need:

1 tbsp Beeswax, 2 tbsp coconut oil, 2 tbsp shea butter, 2 tbsp baking soda, 2 tbsp arrowroot, 25 drops essential oil of choice.

Once you have everything together, melt oils and beeswax, take off heat and add powders. Allow to cool for 15mins, add essential oils then pour into jar and allow to cool for at least 2 hrs before using. So easy!”

Kirsty Edwards, Plastic Free Falmouth

“My plastic free tips with kids: always carry a spare refillable water bottle and a tupperware for snacks. Use a soap net bag to stop bars of soap slipping out of little hands. Bake with the kids to make snack foods to avoid plastic wrapped. Get them involved with refilling by getting them to decorate jars to take to be refilled, we also think these make great gifts for people with kids drawing on the labels! Another fun thing to do with the kids is to go to Un_Rap and make your own plastic free peanut butter!”

Emma Whistance aka The Cornish Artisan

“My top tip would be to shop local with small independent businesses, farmers, growers, and artisan makers to support our local economy, reduce the carbon footprint and the use of unnecessary plastic. Be mindful of your consumption- only buy and consume what you need. This way of living can bring us back to a far slower and more enjoyable way of living where we can truly appreciate the journey of the item we have purchased whether that is a food/drink/household/clothing. whatever the item we can value and appreciate the work and energy to produce the item of purchase and the people involved in this process from start to finish which I believe creates more connection and community in this way of life.”

Mags & Jo aka Bee Bumps Surf Wax

“Our top tip is to buy fewer items and try to borrow or share more with friends!”

Rachel Yates, Plastic Free Penzance

“Our plastic free tip would be to shop local so you can support your local high street and reduce plastic at the same time! Supermarkets are a hive of throwaway plastic - so avoid them and support local shops and businesses instead. They are far more likely to use less plastic packaging or to be working towards reducing it. Fill your reuseable bag with unwrapped fruit and veg at the local grocers, buy goods in paper from the local bakery and many local butchers will pop meat in a tub brought from home rather than plastic bags. Head to Refill stores for dried goods like flour, pasta, rice, dried fruit, nuts, sugar etc and look for refill cleaning products and bathroom essentials in local health stores and locally owned shops. It’s great to support our communities as well as reduce impact on the environment.”

Aileen Wauer, DENTTABS

“One of the biggest culprits in producing garbage is our consumption. We like a lot and therefore buy a lot. To avoid pointless garbage, we recommend that you shop more wisely. Make a list before shopping and think about where to buy something. Ask yourself if you really need this or that, or if it’s just the pretty packaging convincing you to buy. Above all else, plastic can be avoided by just buying what we really need and avoiding unnecessary things. Many believe that sustainable shopping is particularly expensive, but when buying consciously, we find we buy much less and so overall you can save a lot of money in the end. You buy what you need, throw away less and not only save money, but also waste. In general it is also wise to inform yourself a bit more about ingredients and what goes into making that product. If you know what you are buying, what the product contains and which impact it actually has to you and your body, you will automatically reduce plastic by refraining from chemical additives.”

Tania Clark, Plastic Free Mawgan Porth

“It’s very easy to get overwhelmed with replacing single use plastic, or even just single use items. My top tip is to do it gradually. Reusable items tend to be more expensive than single use items but that’s because they’ve been designed and manufactured with the intention to last more than just once. The initial outlay definitely outweighs the cost of buying and buying again several times but be kind to your pocket and choose to replace something each month or every other month. Also, factor in research and don’t buy on impulse. Products can be marketed in such a way that they become the latest fad rather than being good for the planet.”

The Beach Clean Project

“We all highly recommend using GuppyFriend bags or similar to stop microplastics from some types of clothing ending up in waterways. It’s a problem that people always overlook but a really easy step to take!”

Fiona, Plastic Free St Agnes

“We highly recommend bicarbonate of soda as a fabulous cleaning product. Two teaspoons in your toilet, sink or shower tray will make them sparkly clean with no damage to the environment or marine wildlife. Refill with your own jar and avoid any plastic packaging too, its a win all round!”

Plastic Free Newquay

“There are so many great plastic free tips its tough to choose one! Our first one would be to carry a reusable bottle so you don’t have to buy drinks in plastic bottles. Our second would be to stop using wipes of any kind! Buy a cloth that you can wash and reuse instead. And our third would be to shop local greengrocers and refill stores as they have less packaging and you can put your produce in your own containers, by shopping local you also reduce carbon footprint so its a double win!”

Emily aka Beach Guardian

“My favourite tip is about the plastic bag recycling point at most larger supermarkets. This massively increases the amount of recycling the everyday person can do.”

For more ideas or inspiration check out Plastic Free July

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Jul 2019 : Whats on Cornwall

A highlight of plastic free evens going on around Cornwall for Plastic Free July!

Beach Cleans and Litter Picks:

1/07 Pendower Beach

5/07 Praa Sands

6/07 Hemmick Beach

12/07 Carharrack

14/07 Penryn

14/07 Glendurgan

Exhibitions, Workshops, Courses and Get Togethers:

1/07 Plastic Patrol / We Sup Falmouth Paddleboarding Clean up

How cool does this sound? A day of paddleboarding the Falmouth coast for free while picking up coastal marine waste, what a great start to Plastic Free July!

1/07 Grow Truro

Learning to grow your own is a great way to avoid plastic packaging

6/07 Intuitive Foraging and Medicine Making, Penzance

Making the most of natures bounty and avoiding plastic packaging at the same time!

7/07 Perranporth Plastic Free Market

Come along to Cornwalls only plastic free market!

9/07 Wool Talk: Sustainability with Finisterre, Porthtowan

Learn about sustainable fashion practices and be inspired to move away from fast fashion!

10/07 Truro Green Festival and Produce Market

A celebration of all things green in Truro - wildlife, green transport, green spaces, waste reduction, up-cycling, health and well-being.

12/07 Aluminium Jewellery Workshop, St Ives

Create your own jewellery from upcycled aluminium!

16/07 Hand Made Paper Making, St Ives

Learn to make your own paper from recycled materials, great for plastic free gifts and cards!

21/07 Comprehensive Foraging Course, Crantock

Theres no single-use plastic in nature!

24/07 Plastic Ocean Film Night, Penlee Park Open Air Theatre

A chance to watch 3 short films documenting the issue of ocean plastic

28/07 Aligning to your human purpose in turbulent times, The Living Well Centre, Sancreed

Suffering with eco anxiety? Overwhelmed by the issues? This day of connecting with others may help.

28/07 Herbs for pollinators and health, Camborne

Fresh herbs are terrible for plastic packaging, learn how to grow your own!

29/07 Beach clean and art session, St Ives

See what has been left behind in the turning tide and create masterpieces to take home!

31/07 Fantastic Plastic Fusion, St Ives

Learn how to recycle old plastic carrier bags into a strong, waterproof material. You can then turn your finished material into a small bag, phone, pencil/ glasses case, bunting or colourful wall hangings!

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National Refill Day

Today, 19th June, marks National Refill Day, a day set up by City To Sea, encouraging us all to switch from single-use plastic bottled water and instead invest in a reusable water bottle and refill. There has been some interesting stats thrown out by the BBCs documentary War On Plastic, where Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall also launched his #refillontheroad campaign to encourage petrol stations to install refill points across the UK.

Disappointingly, despite our increased awareness of the damage being caused by plastic pollution bottled water sales saw an increase of 7% last year with the industry currently worth 2.4 billion pounds in the UK alone. In the UK we buy more than 35 million bottles a day with 16 million of those being discarded every single day, not recycled but instead sent to landfill, incineration or littered.

During the first episode of War On Plastic scientific data revealed that there is no evidence that bottled water is any better for you than the clean tap water freely available, with tests showing similar and in some cases better mineral levels (such as Calcium and Magnesium) in tap water. ReFill reports that 30% of us are drinking bottled water at home, where we have access to safe and just as good water from our taps. Tap water also fairs better with regards to contamination to microplastics with reports showing 93% of bottled water tested showed contamination compared to 72% of tap water in Europe.

Thanks to the great ReFill campaign by City To Sea topping up on water while out and about has never been easier with their app showing registered refill points across the UK, with there currently being over 20,000 refill stations with over 100,000 people using the app. ReFill estimates that if 1 in 10 Brits refilled just once a week 340 million water bottles would be saved from use in a year.

Use this National Refill Day to break free from bottled water. Invest in a reusable water bottle, there are a range available in the shops, from entry price point basic bottles to more advanced insulated bottles that help keep cool water cold and even bottles with filters if you prefer a filtered water taste. If you’re a sparkling water fan take a look at soda streams so you can create and bottle your own fizzy water at home. And if you’re already a converted refiller maybe use the day to campaign for more refill points, helping Hughs campaign to get petrol stations involved too or encourage friends and family to do the same!

More info on ReFill and App

More info on City To Sea

To find BBCs War On Plastic

For more info on microplastics in water

Use ECOSIA to search for water bottles and plant trees at the same time! Or come to the van, we have insulated 500ml bottles from Qwetch

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The people looking for a solution to plastic pollution

Over the past two weeks Kathi Heusel and Bart Delember, creators of the first global online summit A Solution to Plastic Pollution, have released a series of interviews with people from all over the globe concerned with plastic pollution and what they are doing about it. We’ve put together a little summary of our key takeaways from the interviews which have been very inspiring, from seeing 9 year old Ryan Hickman set up his own recycling company to hearing all about ‘Action Nan’ Pat Smith and her campaigns against plastic waste. Be sure to check out the links throughout, there are some super informative and inspiring Ted Talks!

Dianna Cohen, CEO and Co-founder of Plastic Pollution Coalition, a Californian based non-profit organisation which is active worldwide. Since its beginnings in 2009 PPC has been on a mission to stop plastic pollution and raise awareness of its toxic impact. They have 800 organisations and businesses signed up from all around the world creating a global movement towards reducing plastic pollution. Dianna believes we need a massive systems shift and that we are passing the tipping point where companies are now realising that if they want to be leaders they have to change their ways and attitudes towards plastics. She wants businesses to make major system changes, see extended plastic producer responsibility and emphases the need to create circular models, where we mimic nature in not creating waste.

Dianna points out that we are finding plastic everywhere, it is a total disaster and we’ve caused an amazing amount of damage in 50 years. She highlights the Ellen McCarthur Foundation study that found with the current rate of plastic production and projected growth, by weight we will have more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050. She also highlights the recent issue of recycling rates and how it has been projected that the already low recycling rate of 9% for all plastic in the USA will drop to 2.6% with China no longer taking recycling from the states.

Dianna herself also creates visual art with plastic. She has always enjoyed making things and sees art as a form of communication and believes that communication is important in creating awareness of the plastics issue. She started working with plastics in the early 90s, learning a lot about the material through working with it. Seeing how her art aged she also became aware of how it broke down and the issue of micro-plastics. She remembers the shift to plastics in the 70s and 80s with marketing being around saving natural resources. As an active diver and surfer she saw first hand the effects of plastic in remote and marine protected areas. She points out that plastic knows no boundaries and this is an urgent global crisis we are faced with. She encourages people to take a few steps towards reducing their single-use plastic use.

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Taylor Leigh Cannizzaro, Chief Alliance Officer at Plastic Bank, an economic development firm on a mission to stop ocean plastic and reduce poverty. Set up in 2013 looking to tackle the issue of how we disregard the value of plastic and waste. They operate in areas of extreme poverty, understanding that relieving poverty is a key part of the solution to plastic pollution. They create a waste management system where local people can earn a living by collecting plastic waste. Plastic Bank then process the plastic in location and sell on to various companies looking to invest in recycled plastic. They believe there is no need to produce new plastic, with 8.3 trillion kilos of plastic on Earth, they believe we need to do something with this and as founder David Katz says ‘ turn off the tap’. They believe the key to solving plastic pollution is to create a working infrastructure for collection of plastic waste, invest in circular systems and ideally look for in country bottle to bottle solutions, creating a never ending loop.


Melati Wijsen, inspirational 12 year who set up Bye Bye Plastic Bags in 2013 together with her sister and school friends to campaign for the ban of plastic bags in Bali. Describing herself as a 'change maker’ Malati had seen first hand the negative impacts of plastic and having learnt that 40 other countries had already banned plastic bags set off on a mission to do the same in Bali. She talks about the importance of team and working together. Through Bye Bye Plastic Bags she brought people together and collaborated with businesses and government to achieve the ban in 2018. She emphasised how every single choice and decision creates an impact and that in tackling a problem you need to inform yourself, do research and ask questions. Bye Bye Plastic Bags has spread to 29 countries, with Malati positive about the future of plastic pollution believing we live in a time of possibility, where we get to decide but we need to act now.

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Susan Kim-Chomicka is co-founder and CEO of Handerek Technologies, who turn plastic waste into fuel. They focus on waste that can’t be mechanically recycled and chemically recycle it instead. In a process that uses no water, creates no emissions and uses little outside energy they produce 1 litre of fuel for every kilogram of waste recycled. They believe they are creating a commercial, self-sustaining solution, where waste is processed and used in location, and are hoping to create an industrial scale solution to really make a difference. Susan explains how they know they are still producing a petrochemical product but the carbon footprint of this fuel is considerably less than virgin extraction. Through their chemical recycling they are creating better energy than seen via incineration where the energy conversion is low.

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Natalie Fee, founder of ReFill and City to Sea, became concerned about plastic pollution after watching Chris Jordans film Albatross. She believes we have power as citizens and consumers to act on plastic pollution.

The ReFill campaign began in 2015 when Natalie learnt that in the UK alone 16 million bottles are discarded a day, that’s 16 million not recycled but instead sent to landfill, incineration or littered. In 2016 an app was developed and there are now over 16000 refill stations with 100,000 people having downloaded the app.

Through City to Sea Natalie has launched a number of campaigns tackling plastic pollution. There has been ‘Switch the Stick’ petitioning to stop plastic cotton buds, ‘Bog Standard’ promoting positive toilet behaviour to stop ‘unflushables’ going down the loo and ‘Plastic-free Periods’ highlighting plastic in menstrual products.

Natalie believes we need a break-free from plastic movement, refusing and reusing, switching from a disposable to a reusable society. She has seen how actions do make a difference and how all small steps add up. We need to challenge industry to change their investment in plastic and we can use our power as a citizen and consumer to do this.

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Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff began her blog Mommy Greenest in 2008. She uses her blog as a way to share information. She advises to try to stop using so much plastic, investigate waste management systems, look to stay informed of new legislations and to let your local mp/councillor know what you support to get wider government action.

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Jo Ruxton created A Plastic Ocean to talk about the issue of plastic pollution in our oceans. As a lover of the ocean, a diver and having been involved in ocean documentaries such as Blue Planet she had seen a lot of changes in our oceans and felt that the original Blue Planet series didn’t show the true picture of what was going on. Together with the film she also set up charity Plastic Oceans who produce evidence based, scientific reports to educate on the plastics issue.

She believes the biggest solution is understanding and behaviour change. Moving away from our wasteful habits and getting rid of disposable single-use items. She advises looking at our own plastic footprint and asking if you really need it, start with changes that you can make and go from there. If we each make changes, tell 3 people, share the knowledge so it spreads, we are all responsible.

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Captain Charles Moore of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation grew up around the ocean and has seen the effect of plastic on our oceans since its widespread use in the 50s. In 1997 in his self-built research vessel he discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by accident. Having previously been monitoring coastal pollution he was amazed that the issue was so far away from human population and through research made the connection with currents and the movement of ocean pollution. His research in 1999 found that there was 6 times more plastic than plankton in the ocean. He believes science is the key in sharing the message and for it to be taken seriously.

Having not seen positive change in 20 years he explains how we live in a system that cannot take us where we need to go but explains how history shows us systems do change. He thinks the solution is inside each of us, that we need to raise consciousness and awareness. Having found plastic all around us he advises that the real solution is reduction, less is more and that we need to figure out how to survive with less stuff and come together as a community and share.

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Maren Hoval went to volunteer with Maldivian project Marine Savers which plants corals and rescues Sea Turtles. She explained how turtles show the health of the oceans and how during her time at Marine Savers each turtle rescued had plastic in its digestive system. All 7 species of sea turtles are facing extinction with plastic pollution effecting the turtles in numerous ways, she encouraged everyone to collect rubbish they come across to prevent it from entering the ocean.

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Ben Lecomte learnt to swim in the Atlantic Ocean and had become aware of plastic pollution over the years, to raise awareness of the issue he plans to swim from Tokyo to San Francisco. Having already attempted this in 2018 the swim is offering so much more. During the trip Ben and his team observe plastic debris, trawl to collect micro plastics and record the data found. During his first attempt over their 6 month collection they collected an average of 2-3 pieces of micro-plastic every minuet, with the biggest collection being 600 pieces in 30 minuets. 80% of the plastic found was everyday plastic items such as food wrappers, cleaning product bottles etc. He believes we need to change our habits and move to a more natural way of living but we need a critical mass of change. He advises looking at what plastic you use and questioning if you need to use it and make a change if possible. Share the changes you have made so to educate and encourage others. The swim relaunches June 2019.

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At age 4 Ryan Hickman noticed ocean plastic, learnt about recycling and then decided he wanted to set up his own recycling company Ryans Recycling. Since its launch in 2012 he has recycled half a million cans and bottles, encouraging first friends and neighbours to save their recyclable waste so he could take to the recycling centre. Ryan also does beach cleans, finding 1-2 buckets of trash at a time with common items being cigarette butts, zip ties and bottle tops. He encourages everyone to recycle!

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Dr Federica Bertocchini is a molecular biologist at the Institute of Bio-medicine and Biotechnology at the University of Cantabria in Spain currently working on a study ‘Plasticentropy’. Over 7 years of research and observation of wax worms has found that they are biodegrading polyethylene, a type of plastic commonly used for single-use items such as plastic bags. Research has shown they are changing the chemical structure of the molecule but researchers still have to investigate what bi-product is created.

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Pat Smith, aka ‘Action Nan’ who founded Final Straw Cornwall was inspired and pulled into action after watching Jo Ruxtons A Plastic Ocean. Her mission is to make Cornwall Plastic Straw Free and in 18 months of the campaign 600 businesses in Cornwall signed up to stop using plastic straws. She advises us to look at nature and the beauty that surrounds us, learn about it, look after it and love it. A change in our behaviour is a start, raising awareness from the grassroots but she recognises that Government needs to act to make huge change. Pat herself is looking to embrace the old school habits of her childhood, driving less, shopping local, looking to refill where she can and always taking reusables out and about with her to avoid single-use plastic.

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Madison Stewart, known as ‘Shark Girl’ creates conservation films about sharks. As an ocean dwelling creature sharks have been impacted by plastic pollution via their habitat and food source. Madison encourages people to find out what they are good at and passionate about and use that to help, starting with local issues. She herself finds avoiding plastic hard as she travels a lot with her work and it can be all about convenience when you are on the road but says that people can start anywhere and have the mentality of trying rather than looking for perfection/success, not now, nor has it ever been impossible for one person to make a difference.

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Molly Steer started the #StrawNoMore movement in Australia after watching A Plastic Ocean. Completely shocked by the film she wanted to do something about plastic pollution and decided to start small and focus on straws. Since launching the campaign 900,000 people have taken the pledge to stop using plastic straws as well as 850 schools, 600 businesses and 6 local governments. As the campaign has grown Molly has widened the focus to include all single-use plastic items. She counts the success of the project down to talking and thinks conversation is key. She doesn’t think we need single-use plastic and alternatives are available as a solution.

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Dr Colin Janssen, Professor of Ecotoxicology at Ghent University in Belgium explains how plastic is the first time people have been visibly confronted with the pollution they are causing. He explains that plastic pollution has become an issue because we have produced it in enormous amounts, 345 million tonnes per year, which is huge, to visualise it Dr Janssen measured that if you filled trucks with plastic and put them around the equator the trucks would go around 6 times bumper to bumper. Of that 5 - 12 million tonnes ends up in the ocean. With plastic simply breaking up rather than breaking down we are continuously adding to the issue.

Plastic is now known to breakdown into micro particles not visible to the naked eye, entering our food chain, effecting organisms, with microplastics being found in every sea creature studied. He explains how there are even microplastics in the air, how we are probably breathing it and possibly eating it. Scientific studies have established that microplastics can transgress from gut to the underlying tissue but studies have yet to establish how much this will harm us.

He covered the banning of BPA in the 90s over leaching issues and studies revealing hormone disruption but he said based on the scientific research the amounts coming out where very low and based on his knowledge he didn’t think the ban was scientifically justified.

On plant based plastics he explained how they are still a polymer and not necessarily better for the environment. With the term biodegradable not having a legal value to it and most needing high temperatures to breakdown which requires a machine.

His advice would be to use less and that plastic should not be seen as something to waste.

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Hugo Tagholm, chief executive at Surfers Against Sewage has always had a love for nature. Through SAS Hugo is hoping to drive change forward, being an authentic voice for ocean conservation. Beach clean data is used to contribute to government legislation and hold companies and industries accountable to drive change. Through SAS campaigns people can be empowered, with individual voices coming together. Hugo believes we are in a plastics emergency, with plastic and climate having the same parents, the oil industry. He believes systemic change is needed and we need to find a way to live more sustainably with the planet. Radical action is needed, with Hugo citing bottled water sales rising by 7% last year despite increased awareness of plastic pollution and the need to reduce single-use plastic consumption. He advises that our individual choices and actions matter, we must live lighter on this planet and use every action we can to call for that change. Make sure your voice is part of the bigger conversations, call on governments and do what you can, every bit counts.

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Christian Weigand of Blue Awareness believes that emotions are needed to trigger action. For his master thesis he tested the assumption that increased awareness lead to increased sustainable actions and found that in fact we were going in the opposite direction. He found that everyone knew the issues, plastics, over-fishing, climate etc but that somehow we haven’t been acting as expected. He believes that due to being given scientific data and logical information of numbers, figures and facts we find it hard to relate to the issues and instead we need topics to touch our heart, to feel the emotions to prompt us into action. Through his work with Blue Awareness he collects stories to share to get people to connect to their emotions about the problem, getting people to become a part of the solution rather than being part of the problem. He advises doing what you can, when you can and to avoid an all or nothing attitude .

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Maria Westerbos is the founder and director of the Plastic Soup Foundation. Having become aware of the ocean plastic issue she has been focused on exposing the issue and looking at ways to stop it at source. During the interview she explained about microfibers caused by our clothing. With 65% of our clothing being made from synthetic, plastic based materials 35% of microplastics are from our clothing, exposed to the natural environment through our washing machines. With an expected growth from 2 billion washing machines worldwide to 5 billion in the next decade she believes we need to look at ways to stop these microplastics from entering our environment via filter systems. She wants to hold the fashion industry and washing machine companies accountable and believes they need to find a solution. During the interview she recommended Planet Care Filter which reduces 80% of shedding and offers a service where you return the fibres caught for recycling.

She is also concerned about the associated health impacts of plastics and together with a team of researchers produces scientific reports through the Plastic Health Coalition.

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Cassia Patel works for non-profit organisation Oceanic Global who have three main aims, the first being to organise grassroots action, bringing together individuals through beach cleans and film screenings to encourage responsible consumption of plastic and to raise awareness. The second is to target businesses and industry through The Oceanic Standard, working with companies to help them rethink and reduce their single-use plastic use, creating useful guides, such as this Greenwashing guide outlining the current different types of plastic. And the third is to offer creative communication to help encourage us all to be environmentalists. As an organisation they believe that our choices matter and we should all look to be a part of the solution and become conscious consumers.

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Aurora Robson is a multi media artist that founded Project Vortex, a platform for artists working with plastic debris. Aurora wanted to create a community for artists highlighting the issue of plastic pollution, she sees working with plastic waste as a great tool for education around the issue of plastic pollution. She advises budding artists to collect, sort, clean and organise their plastic waste, inviting them to slow down, notice and learn about plastic and plastic pollution.

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Angela Haseltine Pozzi is founder and Artistic Director of Washed Ashore, whose mission is to build and exhibit aesthetically powerful art that educates a global audience about plastic pollution in the ocean and waterways and to spark positive consumer action. They build large scale art sculptures depicting animals affected by plastic pollution, giving these animals a voice. Due to their size people can’t ignore them and are drawn to them. Made completely from plastic waste wired to large steel frames, from a distance they look beautiful however when you come close viewers are confronted with plastic pollution. To date they have used 22 tonnes of plastic waste in their artworks, waste found along the Oregon coast where they are based, a small dent in the huge quantities found in the ocean but Washed Ashore is concerned with not only re-purposing plastic waste but also raising awareness of the issue and proving that everything you do matters.

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Katt Andryskova started her blog and website My Vegan Experiment to log her journey of making the most environmentally friendly choices. Her journey began 3 years ago after watching Cowspiracy which inspired her to start testing and researching veganism. Her inspiration for going plastic-free was Lauren Singer of Trash is for Tossers. She was horrified by her own waste and has since looked to reduce, reuse, repair and borrow, buy secondhand and overall reduce her consumption. She believes convenience is the biggest challenge and the enemy of sustainability. She also produces a podcast called The Ocean Pancake Podcast

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Tracey Read sailed across the Pacific Ocean with Captain Charles Moore in 2012 and was horrified by what she discovered. On returning to Hong Kong she set up charity Plastic Free Seas with the aim to get people talking and to educate. As a twist of fate at the same time there was a huge nurdle spill in Hong Kong where a container ship lost 6 containers full of the virgin plastic pellets used in the manufacture of plastic goods, known as nurdles. Springing into action through the charity she mobilised 8000 people and helped clear 108 tonnes from Hong Kong shores. Her focus for the charity is to think global but to act local. The plastic crisis can be overwhelming but by acting local you can focus on different localised problems and find solutions. She advises running with you own passion, doing your own plastic footprint investigation so you can see how much you accumulate and see what changes you need to make to reduce it, look to get in touch with brands about their packaging and push for change and to research recycling systems in your area, asking questions such as where does it go and what happens to it.

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Well done for making it to the end of this mega blog! We found it very inspirational and motivating hearing about all the different stories and actions these individuals are taking towards finding a solution to plastic pollution. A common theme throughout is the belief that we can all do something and that all our actions count. Plastic pollution is a huge global crisis but due to it being everywhere we can all do something about it in our own locality, using our own skills and passion to drive us to make changes that together will add up and hopefully provide a solution.

Find out more about A Solution To Plastic Pollution

#ChooseToRefuse Plastic Free July

Who was shocked by the first part of the BBC documentary War On Plastic? We were, 19,500,000,000 pieces of single-use plastic calculated to be in UK homes?! a number so huge its hard to imagine! No wonder we don’t have the appropriate waste management system in place, resulting in a truck load of plastic waste making its way to the ocean every minute of every day.

The show highlighted how ubiquitous plastic is and also how its hard to avoid, something we were aware of having been on our own plastic-free journey for the past 6 years. Our own journey led us to launching Incredible Bulk so we could help more people go plastic-free like we had managed to. Having available, easy options for alternatives makes it so much easier. Its all about the small steps and changes. The best place to start was highlighted in the documentary and that’s to do your own plastic audit.

And now is the perfect time, July marks the start of Plastic Free July, a yearly month long challenge to avoid single-use plastic. There’s always more you can do and having a little challenge to motivate you always helps, we’re already having a think about what our next personal plastic-free challenge will be!

If you want to get involved take the next couple of weeks to have a look at your waste and start thinking about what plastic you want to avoid. Remember, not all plastic is bad, we do believe that plastic was invented with good intentions, such as saving natural resources but unfortunately it has now been turned into a cheap commodity that is used for too many disposable items. A big part of the solution is not only about plastic-free swaps but also about curbing our over-consumption, another fact highlighted by the sheer volume of items found in UK homes. Use the audit to become aware of how much you are buying and check in to see if it is all necessary. A big part of our journey has been learning and accepting to live with less and moving away from disposable culture to a more sustainable one. Trust us its a very rewarding journey!

For ideas on plastic free swaps check out our 30 options in the van

To read more about Plastic Free July and sign up for the challenge

BBC article War On Plastic Litter vs War On Plastic

To find BBCs War On Plastic

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Jun 2019 : Whats on Cornwall

8th June is World Oceans Day, you can get involved with a beach clean, plenty below and also some ocean events going on throughout the month, alongside some more land based activities!

Beach Cleans and Litter Picks:

1/06 Hemmick Beach

1/06 Budock Parish

2/06 Fal River Creek Clean

3/06 Pendower Beach

3/06 Porthcurnick Beach

4/06 Fistral Beach

5/06 Perranporth Beach

7/06 Poldhu Beach

8/06 Swanpool Beach

8/06 Porthtowan Beach

8/06 Towan Beach

8/06 Constantine Bay

9/06 Mounts Bay Caravan Park

10/06 Goss Moor

17/06 Falmouth Town Centre

22/06 Porth Beach

23/06 Pendennis Castle

26/06 Bodmin Town

Exhibitions, Workshops, Courses and Get Togethers:

1/06 Eco Surf Wax Workshop, Penzance

Learn how to make your own eco friendly, cold water surf wax, made from cornish bees' wax, tree resin and coconut oil.

1/06-2/06 Representing Nature: A weekend of walks, talks and workshops, Helston

Explore how nature is understood and represented in our contemporary times through a variety of perspectives

2/06 Herbal Workshop, Gwithian

Create your very own Spring Skin Scrub by utilising foraged herbs, mixing plant-based oils and merging natural ingredients from the earth with a side of alchemy and some added intentions

7/06 #ExeterMarine World Ocean Day Celebrations: An afternoon of talks, Penryn Campus

An afternoon of talks exploring the depths of marine system change, the problem with plastics and future technologies

7/06 Mine wastes in a circular economy, National Maritime Museum

This workshop focuses on the role of mining in the circular economy, showcasing opportunities for innovation and novel business ideas based on waste and by-products from the extractive industry

9/06 Big Lunch on the Lawn, Bodmin

Join Cultivate Cornwall for a community lunch with one rule, no money to change hands -everything there that day will be free. Free lunch, tea, coffee and entertainment.

12/06 Snorkel Safari, Carbis Bay

You'll go on an underwater guided tour around Carbis Bay, discovering our awesome Cornish marine life along the way.

16/06 Repair Cafe, Upcycle Kernow, Portreath

Take along broken bits and bobs to get fixed instead of throwing them away!

16/06 Conservation Cruise, Helford Passage

Join Helford Marine Conservation Group on their annual cruise down the river, in and out of every creek to take in the wildlife, geography, geology and history of the estuary

17/06 Sewing Workhop, Polperro

Learn how to make a dungaree dress!

20/06 Cafe Disruptif, Cornwall College

Opportunity to discuss the climate emergency with Dr Rupert Read

21/06 Marine Art Exhibition, West Looe

Take a look at art created by local children and artists incorporating materials found on beaches in the local area looking to answer the question ‘what does the ocean mean to you?’

22/06 Truro Repair Cafe

Take along any broken items from home that you want to get fixed rather than throw away!

25/06 Foraging Walk and Feast, Potager

Join Emma Gunn and Potager chef Daisy Hillier for a foraging walk and three course foraged feast

26/06 Cornwall Beaver Project Walk, Ladock

Having recently had the pleasure of seeing these newly introduced beavers and learning all about the benefits their unique dam building creates we can thoroughly recommend this!

27/06 Herbaceous Border Workshop, Lanhydrock

Learn all about planting and maintaining herbs from the team at Lanhydrock

29/06 Redruth Reloved Market

Find us and a great selection of local artists who are recycling, reducing and reusing everyday items. Raising money for Clic Sargent charity which fights tirelessly to stop cancer destroying young lives.

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May 2019 : Whats on Cornwall

We’re looking forward to May and these great events happening around the county!

Beach Cleans and Litter Picks:

3/05 Poldhu Beach

4/05 Hemmick Beach

4/05 Hannafore Beach

6/05 Pendower Beach

11/5 Parish of St Martin

19/05 Glendurgan

21/05 Coverack Beach

23/5 Perranporth Beach

26/5 Perranporth Beach

29/05 Holywell Beach

Exhibitions, Workshops, Courses and Get Togethers:

1/05 Fundraising for communities

Do you have a conservation group but not sure how to raise money? Cornwall Wildlife Trust's Fundraising team will help you to find ways to make your conservation group financially sustainable.

2/05 Plastic Free Penzance Summer Season Business Clinic

A great way to find out how as a business you can avoid single-use plastic and waste in the busy summer season!

3/05 Plastic Free Falmouth Bag Making

Get together with like minded friends and spend a morning making reusable shopping bags!

4/05 The Great Pot Amnesty at Trevisker Garden Centre

A chance to spring-clean the garden shed and make sure those unwanted pots etc get a new life!

5/05 Perranporth Plastic-Free Market and mini beach clean

Loads of plastic-free goodies to check out and a beach clean too!

5/05 St Michael’s Mount Forage and Picnic

Learn foraging techniques and tips on a guided walk and talk tour with Emma Gunn finishing with a foraged picnic.

8/05 Plastic Free Day

Beach Guardian, Final Straw Cornwall, The Final Straw Solent and Wild Tribe Heroes are collaborating to gather as many schools as possible to celebrate David Attenborough’s 93rd birthday by taking part in the ‘8th May Plastic-Free Day’

14/08 Reclaimed Timber Workshop

Head to Upcycle Kernow to learn how to effectively reclaim pallets and other types of timber to turn them into something useful.

16/05 SAS Fundraising dinner at St Michaels Mount

A unique evening on St Michael’s Mount raising funds for Surfers Against Sewage.

18/05 Newquay Orchard Spring Fayre

A lovely plastic-free event with loads going on!

18/05 Bee Friendly

Join Bee Guardian on a beach clean and then pot up some seedlings and plant sunflower seeds in recycled beach plastic bottles!

19/05 Upcycle Kernow Repair Cafe

Take along your broken household items and see if you can repair rather than throw out.

20/05 DIY Bathroom Essentials Workshop

We all know that making your own is a great way to avoid plastic packaging, learn how to make bathroom essentials such as toothpaste, scrubs and dry shampoo in this workshop.

25/05 Swish Bodmin

Freshen up your wardrobe and tackle textile waste.

25/05 Wildlife Gardening Club

Join Wildlife Watch volunteers and Perennial-Harvest for a gardening session sewing salad leaves.

26/05 Wilder Festival 2019

Learn all about Cornwalls wildlife and wild spaces

28/05 Seashore Forage and Feast

What better way to get package free food!

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Earth Day 2019 : Protect Our Species, how you can help

It is estimated that humans have impacted 83% of Earth’s land surface, which has affected many ecosystems as well as the range in which specific species of wildlife used to exist. Species are being threatened at a rate never seen before due to over exploitation, habitat loss, climate change, global homogenisation of flora and fauna and pesticide use. Earth Day is all about action, but action shouldn’t be just for one day, we take action in each of the decisions we make and each of those decisions impacts our natural world; as Jane Goodall says “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

We’ve listed out a few suggestions from Earth Day Network and how shopping at the van can help you achieve these:

Reduce our overall consumption: at the van you can buy just what you need, no dictated measurements, reducing food waste.

Choose products that are environmentally sustainable: all lifestyle products in the van are produced by brands that use sustainable methods with protecting the environment a key part of their DNA.

Demand food providers purchase environmentally certified products: All food in the van is bought via cooperatives who ensure food is ethically sourced, fairly traded and non-GM.

We can buy food from local farmers who have sustainable practices towards wildlife: You can often find us at farmers markets, don’t just shop with us, grab your local veg etc too!

We can buy organic and natural products when possible: we offer a mix of organic and non-organic, we will always opt for organic where we feel the price is reasonable for our customers.

Reduce your use of energy and contributions to climate change: don’t make a special trip to the shop, wait for us to come to you! Also know that you are supporting a company that looks to offset its driving carbon emissions by planting local trees in Cornwall.

Reduce your meat consumption to curb carbon emissions from the livestock industry: we stock a few good sources of protein to swap instead of meat, check out our lentils, chickpeas, spelt pasta, quinoa, oats, nuts and seeds.

Consume less plastic products: shop with us and avoid unnecessary single-use plastic as well as finding natural alternatives to common household plastic products.

Reduce your water consumption: remember we stock a few solid beauty options that avoid water as an ingredient- solid shampoo, soap bars, dent toothpaste tabs, sunscreen and moisturisers. It may only be small but every change helps!

Use environmentally friendly, non-toxic cleaning products: we stock Bio D, an ethical, natural cleaning brand as well as having bi-carbonate of soda and white vinegar if you like to make your own!

Do not use sunscreen lotions that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate, chemicals believed to harm marine life: did you know we now stock Shade, a natural sunscreen?

Reduce your consumption of single-use plastics, or eliminate them entirely: easy when you shop at the van! Bring your own reusable containers and completely avoid single-use plastic packaging.

Participate in beach cleans: did you know you can find us on the last Sunday of the month at Mawgan Porth for their monthly beach clean? Beach clean first and also have the opportunity to shop plastic-free! Also keep an eye out for our monthly round up of events happening in Cornwall.

Support or volunteer with organisations that execute conservation projects on the ground: did you know you can find us at Mount Pleasant Eco Park and Newquay Community Orchard who are both great conservation projects in Cornwall and have plenty of opportunities to volunteer. We’re also at Gweek Boatyard close to Clean Ocean Sailing who actively remove plastic waste from our oceans and are always looking for people to help out and the Seal Sanctuary who have volunteer opportunities. You can also find us at the monthly Plastic Free Market at Perranporth that supports 2 local charities and we also have a Surfers Against Sewage charity box for any loose change you want to donate.

We hope this may have given you a few new ideas of how you can further help the planet when shopping with us, you can find the full list of tips from Earth Day Network if you want to do more!

DIY : sourdough hot no cross buns - plastic free!

Who doesn’t love a hot cross bun?! Well actually Jack isn’t the biggest fan but Gemma loves them so set out on a mission to make some zero waste, avoiding the annoying single-use packaging they often come in. We are a little lazy when it comes to baking so left out the crosses as didn’t have a piping bag and didn’t want to buy for just one recipe, hence the no cross!


For Buns:

500g strong bread flour (we used a mix of spelt and strong)

2-3 tsp mixed spice (or we made up our own with nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and ground cloves)

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

60g demerara sugar

1 1/4 tsp salt

50g butter cut into cubes

125g raisins

50g mixed peel

1 egg lightly beaten

100 ml sourdough starter (if anyone wants a sourdough starter please email us!)

200 ml warm water

For the glaze

25g demerara sugar

50 ml water

1/2 tsp mixed spice (or own made as above)

Overall time around 24 hrs


Make sure you have recently fed your sourdough starter and its ready to use.

Make the dough by placing the flour and spices into large mixing bowl and stir in sugar and salt. Rub in butter with fingertips, then stir in raisins and mixed peel. Make a well in the centre.

Drop the egg into the well and add the sourdough starter. Add most of the water and mix to a soft, slightly sticky dough, adding the remaining water if needed.

Turn out the dough and kneed gently, until smooth and elastic and no longer sticky. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat the dough in oil. Cover and leave in a warm place to rise for about 12hrs.

Next, turn out and lightly knead the dough. Divide the dough into 12 and roll each into a ball. Place on a greased baking sheet. Cover loosely and leave in warmish place for 10-12 hrs / overnight until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius / 180 fan / gas mark 5

Bake for 20-25 mins until risen and golden.

While the buns are baking you can make the glaze, placing the sugar, water and spice in a pan and heat until sugar dissolves and water evaporated.

Once buns are cooked transfer to wire rack and brush tops with sugar glaze.

Enjoy! Can be frozen for up to 2 months.

Recipe followed found at Recipes Made Easy

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DIY : halloumi cheese - plastic free!

We love cheese but often struggle to find it without plastic packaging, especially halloumi so we thought we’d try making it ourselves. While our first attempts are not going to win any fancy food competitions it does taste like the real thing, so we’re super happy!

What you’ll need:

milk - we use just under 2 litres which produces around 6 slices of cheese

rennet - we bought veggie rennet, you can also try making your own from nettles but we didn’t have success with this!



muslin cloth, strainer/sieve, large pan, perforated spoon, large bowl

Overall time around 3.5hrs


Gradually heat milk in pan to 32-36 degrees Celsius, take off heat, add rennet (follow instructions on bottle for how much to add), stir gently and let it settle for 1 hr, in which time it should set like jelly.

Cut the jelly like substance (curds) into 1 inch cubes in the pan and let leave it to settle for another half hour.

Bring the mixture up to approx 38 degrees Celsius over a gentle heat, taking around half an hour.

Set up a sieve lined with muslin cloth over a bowl and use large perforated spoon to scoop the curds into the muslin lined sieve and leave for an hour to let the whey drain away from the curds.

Slice or shape the curds into oblong shapes.

Heat whey to 85 degrees Celsius, add 1 tablespoon of salt and once at temperature gently place the cheese curds into the hot whey to poach. The cheese will rise to the top when its ready, this can take up to half an hour.

When risen remove cheese and leave to drain and cool.

The cheese is now good to eat or you could store in brine. We’ve found that once stored in brine the halloumi becomes more like the regular squeaky halloumi found in stores!

To make brine add half litre of whey to half litre of boiling water with 100g of salt, allow mixture to cool and then pour cool brine over cheese in an airtight container.

Any left over whey can be used in vegetable stocks, used in cooking to replace water and can be substituted for skim milk in most baked good recipes that require milk so don’t throw it away!

Recipe followed found at Guardian

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Your refill and plastic-free shopping has avoided 4661 pieces of single-use plastic!

We’ve leapt forward into spring and made it through the first 3 months of the year. We wanted to let you know that you guys have avoided 4661 pieces of single-use plastic in that time!

This breaks down as avoiding 3038 pieces of single-use plastic packaging through refill shopping:

2629 pieces of single-use food packaging (including 100 packets of oats, 49 packets of brown rice, 45 packets of dates and 36 packets of granola!)

287 home cleaning plastic bottles (including 65 bottles of laundry and 22 spray bottles of multi surface cleaner!)

122 bathroom plastic bottles (including 50 bottles of shampoo/body wash and 40 bottles of hand wash!)

On top of this you have also avoided 1623 single use plastic items:

120 plastic kitchen sponges avoided by switching to our natural alternatives

A further 17 bottles of shampoo avoided through switching to shampoo bars

Another 57 bottles of body / hand wash avoided through switching to soap bars

1300 single-use plastic cotton buds avoided by switching to bamboo cotton buds

27 plastic toothbrushes avoided by switching to bamboo

31 plastic tubes of toothpaste avoided by switching to toothpaste tabs or the tooth soap

3 body sponges by switching to loofahs

20 plastic or aerosol deodorants avoided due to switching to our plastic free natural version

At least 6 plastic razors by switching to a safety razor

At least 13 rolls of cling film by switching to wax food wraps

At least 3 plastic disposable coffee cups by switching to a reusable version

At least 5 plastic disposable cutlery sets by switching to a reusable version

At least 21 plastic disposable straws by switching to a reusable version

A huge thank you from us for your support and organisation to switching to refill and plastic-free shopping, its when we do these numbers that we get super excited and motivated about what we do!

These numbers mean even more when you consider that since the beginning of the year there have been 2 known reports of dead whales washing up with substantial amounts of plastic in their stomachs and that a recent report done on British marine mammals found microplastics in each and every one. We desperately need to stop the plastic tide and the easiest way to do that is to avoid it!

Sperm Whale with 22 kgs in Sardinia

Curvier Beaked Whale with 40 kgs in Philippines

British Micro Plastic Study

Image from Stijn Dijkstra

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Apr 2019 : Whats on Cornwall

Here’s a little round up of fun activities happening around Cornwall in April that caught our eye. There’s loads of beach cleans thanks to the Big Spring Beach Clean hosted by Surfers Against Sewage!

Beach Cleans and Litter Picks:

5/04 Poldhu Beach

5/04 Carharrack Street Clean

6/04 Lanner Village

6/04 Hemmick Beach

6/04 Illogan Village

6/04 Gylly Beach

6/04 Portmellon Beach

6/04 Marazion Beach

6/04 Hayle Harbour

6/04 Perranporth Beach

7/04 Little Fistral Beach

7/04 Porthleven Village

7/04 River Loveny

8/04 Helston Tidy

8/04 Towan Beach

9/04 Mevagissey Harbour

11/04 The Gannel

12/04 Watergate Bay

13/04 Holywell Bay

14/04 Pentewan Sands

14/04 Seaton Beach

16/04 Truro City

17/04 Love Lane

18/04 Linear Park

25/04 Porth Beach

Exhibitions, Workshops, Courses and Get Togethers:

30/03-1/06 BioArt and Bacteria Art Exhibition

Because without bacteria we wouldn’t be here!

7/04 Perranporth Plastic Free Market

We think this is Cornwalls first official plastic free market - be sure to check it out!

9/04 Falmouth Marine Conservation Monthly Meeting

Learn all about what FMC does and how to get involved

10/04 Seaquest Southwest

Spend an afternoon looking out to sea spotting Cornwalls marine wildlife

12/04 Tree Identification Walk

Enjoy a walk in nature while learning at the same time!

14/04 A Sunday Flea Boot

Buying secondhand is a great way to use less natural resources

15/04 Foraging Day Course

A great way to get outdoors and learn a new skill

16/04 The Great Eggcase Hunt Talk

17/04 The Great Eggcase Hunt

Because not all Easter Egg Hunts have to be about chocolate!

21/04 Easter Sealabration

Learn all about marine life and how to get involved with marine conservation

21/04 Wild Gin Safari

Learn all about wild herbs and plants that are a perfect match for your G&T!

27/04 Bee Amazing Talk

Bee-cause we love Bees!

29/04 LifeTalks. A Dose of Nature

Learn all about the complex relationship between mental health and nature

30/04 Foraging Walk and Feast

A great way to get food unpackaged!

Looking ahead:

26/05 Wilder Festival 2019

Learn all about Cornwalls wildlife and wild spaces

28/05 Seashore Forage and Feast

What better way to get package free food!

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World Water Day : waste less tips

This week Sir James Bevan, chief executive of the Environment Agency has warned the UK that in 20-25 years England will not have enough water to meet demand and would reach the "jaws of death - the point at which, unless we take action to change things, we will not have enough water to supply our needs".

Pretty serious stuff that we need to listen to. Currently people in England use an average of 140 litres of water a day and Sir James is calling on people to cut their usage to 100 litres, a target set by Waterwise.

So what can you do? We’ve put together a list from various sources of things you can do around the home:

  • Turn the tap off when not needed e.g brushing teeth, shaving, washing up - a running tap wastes approximately 6 litres per minute

  • Only flush the toilet when necessary, we all know it - if its yellow let it mellow, if its brown flush it down - about 30% of total water used in the household is through toilet flushing, with each flush averagely using 9 litres of water!

  • Make sure you’ve got a water efficient toilet: dual flush systems help save 7 litres of water when compared to an old style flush system; get a Cistern Displacement Device to reduce the amount of water used by 1 litre per flush and up-to 5000 litres per year

  • Make sure you’ve got a water efficient shower head: both aerated and low flow will reduce the amount of water used. Be aware of power showers which can actually get through the same amount of water as a bath!

  • Start timing those showers, we’ve been told to keep them to 4 mins - pop an alarm clock or pick your favourite 4 minute song to listen to.

  • Like to run the shower before getting in? Catch the water in a bucket and use later around the house- use on plants, to flush the loo, clean the dishes etc Or give the wim hof cold shower method a go an jump straight in!

  • Avoid baths, they typically use around 80 litres, while a short shower can use as little as a third of that amount. If you’re desperate for one, run a shallower bath, just 1 inch can save on average 5 litres of water. Once finished don’t waste and drain the water - look to reuse around the house, e.g to water your houseplants or garden, flush the toilet

  • Buy solid versions of toiletries, water in toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and toothpaste typically makes up most of its content, by switching to solid versions you’re saving on water usage

  • Dishwashers can be a great water saver in the kitchen but make sure you’re running them on full loads, pick eco cycles and try to avoid pre-rinsing

  • If hand washing dishes, have dishes stacked and ready to go, don’t use running water, add a washing up bowl or plug the sink to catch excess water while washing

  • Clothes washing accounts for 15% of water we use in our homes, make sure you run a full load and use an eco cycle

  • If you like cool drinking water, putting a reusable bottle or jug of water in the fridge will ensure you can have chilled water all the time. Waiting for the tap to run cold can waste more than 10L of tap water a day

  • Ditch bottled water, a bottle that holds 1 litre has been found to require 5 litre of water in its manufacturing process

  • Try to fill the kettle with only what is needed, this will save water and energy

  • Steam your food instead of boiling, if boiling, use left over water for stock or let it cool and use to water plants

  • Eat more plant based meals, a vegetarian diet can shrink your food water footprint by 36%

  • Think before you allow any water to go down the drain - can you utilise it? Use it to water plants, flush the toilet, reuse it? e.g - reusing and reheating water in hot water bottles

  • Keep an eye out for any leaks and dripping taps around the home and look to get them fixed asap

  • Create a grey water recycling system where you can utilise water for various uses around the garden

  • Collect rainwater in a water butt for various uses around the house

  • Only buy what you really need and are going to use, 58 bathtubs of water are used per person, per day  to make the food we eat and the things we buy

Tips gathered from Waterwise, Friends of the Earth, Treehugger

This years theme for World Water Day is ‘leave no one behind’, with billions of people worldwide living without safe water – their households, schools, workplaces, farms and factories struggle to survive. Safe water is a basic human right, we’re are extremely privileged in the UK to have access to 140 litres of water a day, lets not waste it.

Sir James Bevan BBC article here

More about World Water Day here

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Spring has sprung! Easter on its way...but without all the waste

We’ve made it through the dark, seemingly endless nights, the mizzle, the storms and the snow to finally reach the special moment of the Spring equinox, where the scales are tipped and daylight hours get longer. A time to celebrate rebirth and renewal with spring festivals not far behind.

In the run up to Easter its estimated that 80 million Easter eggs are sold annually in the UK and with that comes the dreaded packaging! Easter egg makers have come a long way in the past few years, in 2012 a survey found that 62% of an Easter eggs weight was its packaging. Luckily things have switched and the most recent survey revealed that packaging makes up just over 25% - an improvement but still a fair amount of packaging for something that is going to be gobbled up over the Easter weekend!

We were super excited to find Montezumas Eco Egg, with streamlined packaging consisting of just two parts, foil wrapping and a sturdy biodegradable paper outer shell. No plastic window in sight and all fully recyclable! With the foil just bundle it up in a ball and pop into your metal recycling bag and with the card pop in your card recycling, or the wormery! We have the delicious organic dark chocolate and cocoa nibs version in the van, vegan friendly!

Easter without the plastic packaging, making us very happy bunnies!

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