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!

Ingredients:

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

Method:

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!

salt

thermometer

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

Overall time around 3.5hrs

Method:

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!

cornwall zero waste april.jpg

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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Global Recycling Day 2019

Today is Global Recycling Day. As explained by Ranjit S. Baxi, President at the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR), “It is a day to showcase that whoever and wherever we live on this great planet, whether we are the humblest individual or the greatest leader, the responsible use of the materials around us, the better understanding of how they are used and dispatched, and the championing of recycled goods from the plastics in our home to the metals in our buildings, is a collective, and global, concern…By naming recycled materials as “resource” we are giving them their proper title; recyclables are as important, if not more, than all the primary resources we have here on earth.”

BIR highlights how we can’t continue to keep using up the six main natural resources of the earth (air, water, oil, natural gas, coal and minerals). In the past these resources have been thought to be limitless but we of course now know that these precious resources are finite. In 2017 we used a year’s worth of the earth’s natural resources in just seven months. We have been carelessly using up the earths precious natural resources and pouring tons of waste back into our natural environment. Humans have consumed more resources in the last 50 years than in all previous history and every year we dump a massive 2.12 billion tons of waste. To picture this, if all this waste was put into dumper trucks they would go around the world 24 times.

Recycling offers us a seventh resource, one that can potentially be indefinite. Not only does recycling offer us a chance to preserve and save precious resources it also has additional benefits such as saving CO2 emissions and offering employment and adding to the global economy. Recycling rates are now much better than they were, in the UK the rate of recycling has skyrocketed from just 11.2 percent in 2000/2001, to 43.2 percent in 2017/18, however the UK has a target of 50% by 2020, so there is still a way to go. As well as doing our recycling we also need to be making sure we are supporting the circular economy recycling promotes by purchasing products that are made from recycled materials. Industry is still using a lot of virgin resources, one example is that 91% of the plastic created is virgin and not recycled. This of course is not something we can ultimately control, it’s the large companies that produce these products but we can look at our consumer choices and ask ourselves some important questions to inform our waste and purchasing habits, as set out by the BIR:

1) Do I dispose of everything I have used (from plastic bottles to refrigerators to cars) properly, so it can be recycled?

2) Do I know my municipality’s policies on recycling and do I follow them?

3) Do I know what happens to my recyclables once they are taken away by my local municipality?

4) Do I, my family and my friends, mend, repair and reuse in order to sustain the usefulness of the items around us for as long as possible?

5) Am I committed to producing as little waste as I can?

6) Do I know how, and do the brands that I buy make it easy for me, to make the right ‘recycling friendly’ purchasing decisions?

7) Am I sufficiently aware of my government’s recycling legislation, or should I be demanding more?

By asking ourselves these questions we become responsible consumers and we start to put the planet first instead of ourselves, which is ultimately putting ourselves first because we won’t be able to survive without the earths precious resources. We depend on a functioning ecosystem to provide us with oxygen to breathe, water to hydrate, food to sustain us and using up these resources is destroying our ecosystem.

Find out more about Cornwall’s recycling here

Find out more about Cornwall’s recycling centres here

Find out more about Cornwall’s repair cafes here and here

Find out more about the UK recycling and waste legislation here

Information from the Global Recycling Day Manifesto found here

UK recycling stats found here

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DIY : Fruit Squash

We get through quite a bit of citrus fruit and are always looking for fun zero-waste tips for left overs, so we were excited to try this recipe we found on Farmdrop. Our method ended up varying slightly to theirs and having only done it once so far our only advice would be to go with what you think looks best!

What you’ll need:

left over citrus peels - start saving all your citrus peels in the fridge, you can either look to do all the same or a mix as we did, all depending on what type of squash you are hoping to end up with! We saved up until we had a decent bowl full (weighed around 700g and produced approx 250ml squash).

caster sugar

Method:

Weigh citrus peels in bowl, the farmdrop recipe then recommends adding an equal measure of caster sugar but we ended up only putting in about half of the amount as it looked like too much - we used enough to make sure all peel was well covered - it does look like a lot of sugar! Mix together thoroughly and then leave on the side covered with kitchen towel. Again this is where our experience varied from farmdrops who advise leaving for a few hours/overnight, ours was left for a good couple of days before the sugar had properly broken down and all the juices had come out of the peels - we would stir every so often and just left it until it looked like squash! Once we were happy we simply strained the squash from the peels and put into an upcycled glass jar and kept it in the fridge, ours has lasted a few weeks with no problems.

A great little extra product to get out of those left over peels and no more plastic bottles for squash!

We then rinsed off the sugar from the peels and left to dry out in front of the fire, once dried we then use as little extra firelighters - they really help out in the wood burner!

zero waste squash.jpg

DIY : Sourdough Bread

Did you know that the 24th Feb marked the start of Real Bread Week? A celebration of fresh, additive free, baked bread. Nothing beats a freshly made loaf and having gotten out of the habit of making our own (we’ve been pretty spoiled by all the fabulous local bread-makers we meet at the markets!) we thought this was the perfect time to start baking again.

We absolutely love sourdough with its unique taste and ancient history. Instead of being made with cultured yeast, sourdough bread is made by the fermentation of dough using naturally occurring lactobacilli and yeast. Because flour naturally contains a variety of yeasts and bacterial spores, when added with water, the naturally occurring enzyme amylase breaks down the starch into the sugars, glucose and maltose, which sourdough's natural yeast can metabolise. With sufficient time, temperature, and refreshments with new or fresh dough, the mixture develops a stable culture, known as a starter. Luckily one of our lovely customers gave us a sourdough starter, but you can see how to make your own starter here. Due to its fermentation time sourdough is thought to contain less gluten than regularly baked bread and can be an option for those that are gluten intolerant. It also has a much longer shelf life as well, not that it ever lasts long in our house!

We have trialled a mixture of different methods to bake our sourdough and have had success with the below.

You will need:

1 sourdough starter

strong white bread flour

warm water

salt

Method:

A few days before you want to bake your loaf you need to start feeding your starter to make sure its nice and lively. Most people recommend using equal measures of water and flour to the measurement of your starter (e.g 100g starter needs 100g flour and 100g/ml water). After feeding leave starter for 12hrs in a warm place. Keep it covered but not airtight as it needs to breathe. After 12hrs the starter would have risen and start to bubble, a sign of a good starter is no liquid on top and lots of bubbles.

Now your starter is ready to go. For one loaf take 285g of starter (make sure you have some starter left over to make another batch), 425g bread flour and 9 g salt. Mix together in a bowl and then mix with enough water to make a sticky dough, slowly add the water to ensure right mix. Use your hand or a scraper to mix the dough. For 10 mins you’ll need to knead your dough, using your palm and the full force of your body to thoroughly work the dough. Now leave the dough in a bowl, cover with beeswax wrap and leave in a warm place for its first rise, usually for around 4-6 hrs.

Next, re-knead the dough to remove air and then you’ll need to shape so the dough feels firm and soft, we’ve found using an envelope technique best to create a seem and shape (see minute 5 on this video). Place a tea towel in a bowl, cover with flour and then place dough inside bowl so seam is facing up. Wrap towel over top and cover with beeswax wrap and leave for its 2nd rise - depending on your timings either leave at room temperature for around 6 hrs or leave in fridge for around 12hrs.

Your dough is now ready to bake. Set oven to 230 degrees centigrade and place dough onto pizza baking tray, seam side down. You’ll need to score the top of the dough to allow air to escape during baking (see minute 7 of video) Before placing into the oven make sure you either spray water inside or put a tray of ice cubes/water in the oven below where you’ll be putting the baking tray, this ensures a nice crispy crust that is a signature of sourdough. Bake for around 30 mins. You’ll know when its done as it’ll be golden and will sound hollow when you tap the bottom.

You should then have a beautifully baked sourdough loaf, no additives, no plastic packaging!

For more information on Real Bread Week and more baking recipes click here

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Mindful Beach Cleaning

Having recently listened to an interesting discussion about concern over the new wave of beach cleaning and the potential negative effects on the environment by potentially harming the many small ecosystems of the beach we headed over to Jane Darkes website to see if we could learn more.

As plastic has been a part of the natural environment now for over 50 years it has become a part of the ecosystem, creatures build their life around it, for better or worse. And while there is no doubt that removing plastic from the natural environment is beneficial we have to be respectful of nature and the ecosystems that are around it and remove waste in a way that is least disturbing.

The strandline is where everything collects on a beach. It’s the line left by the last tide and it moves up and down the beach as the tides change each day. Its here that you’ll find a mixture of debris washed up by the waves, the strandline looks different on different surfaces and what you find is determined by the landmass where you live and the currents of the sea. Everything that gets washed up on the beach has been through an incredible journey.

While on the beach it is crucial to remember that they are not only there for our enjoyment they are of course also a home to a huge number of creatures and we need to be respectful of that.

The Wildlife Trust tells us to take care not to disturb wildlife and habitats when visiting the coastline, especially during the breeding seasons for animals like birds and seals. During the summer, many waders and seabirds nest on sand and shingle beaches, and seal pups are born during late autumn and winter. Disturbance at this time can lead to young being injured or abandoned. Beaches and strandlines need sensitive management to ensure that the fragile vegetation is not destroyed, or prevented from developing, and that breeding birds are not disturbed by people and dogs. Cleaning is an important part of this, but mechanised beach-cleaning should be avoided as it removes the top layer of sand and the strandline, while compressing the beach, badly damaging important invertebrate populations.

Buglife writes that many invertebrate species may be threatened by public pressure causing erosion and disturbance of their habitat. We should also remember that tidal litter such as seaweed and driftwood found on the strandline provides essential shelter for many invertebrates and should not be cleared away as is often the case with beach tidying schemes. The removal of driftwood for beach barbecues or decorative purposes is highly damaging. The large, nationally scarce Beach comber beetle (Nebria complanata) requires fairly large items of flotsam such as driftwood under which to shelter and find the sandhoppers on which it feeds. The French zipper spider (Drassyllus lutetianus) also lives among wet tidal debris. 

Having increased our knowledge a little on the fragile ecosystems and creatures of the beach we will now be taking a more mindful approach to beach cleaning, ensuring to minimise disturbance to the natural environment as we go on the hunt for plastic.

If you want to learn more about the creatures of the strandline, dunes and beaches check out the links below where the info for this blog was found.

Information from Jane Darke, Wildlife Trust Beaches, Wildlife Trust Coastal and Buglife

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Mar 2019 : Whats on Cornwall

It looks like spring has sprung, time to get out and enjoy this beautiful county we are lucky to live in and help save the environment a little at the same time too! Here’s a little round up of fun activities happening around Cornwall in March that caught our eye.

Beach Cleans and Litter Picks:

2/3/19 Hemmick beach

2/3/19 St Dominic Big Spring Clean

2/3/19 Tresmeer Litter Pick n Tea

3/3/19 Glendurgan Garden

3/3/19 Porthleven Town Clean

4/3/19 Pendower Beach

4/3/19 Porthcurnick Beach

8/3/19 Chapel Porth Beach

9/3/19 Polzeath Mega Beach

9/3/19 St Agnes

14/3/19 St Neot W.I Litter Pick

15/3/19 Boslowick Spring Clean

16/3/19 Swanpool Spring Clean

16/3/19 Falmouth Spring Clean

21/3/19 Bodmin Tidy Up

22/3/19 Sandymouth

23/3/19 Perranporth Suez Beach Clean

23/3/19 Bude Brag Keep Britain Tidy

23/3/19 Whipsiderry Newquay Beach Clean

24/3/19 Trefusis Beach

28/3/19 Porthpean HSBC Beach Clean

Exhibitions, Workshops, Courses and Get Togethers:

2/3/19 Falmouth Vintage Kilo Sale

5/3/19 Waste Not Clothes Swap

Because an estimated 235 million items of clothing were sent to UK landfill in 2017

7/3/19 Sustainable Undies Upcycle Kernow

Learn how to make your own knickers!

9/3/19 Mass Unwrap Penzance

9/3/19 Mass Unwrap Falmouth

Take a stand against all the plastic packaging found in supermarkets!

9/3/19 Stargazing with Kernow Astronomers National Trust Trerice

Because there’s nothing better than staring up at the stars!

11/3/19 Wild Cornwall Film & QA Poly Falmouth

There are still tickets left to see this beautiful film about Cornwall’s diverse wildlife

13/3/19 Learn to crochet Emilys Truro

Make your own reusable bag out of recycled yarn

16/3/19 Upcycle Bottle Lamp Making The Craft Collective Shop

Upcycle your favourite bottle into a lamp

17/3/19 Herbal Foraging and Smudge Making Wildshop

Get out in nature and discover wild herbs available in Cornwall

18/3/19 Seal Secrets The Admiral Benbow

Did you know that grey seals are one of the world's rarest seal species?

21/3/19 - 1/4/19 Silt and Soil Fish Factory

Take a look at artworks that explore the human connection with land and sea

21/3/19 Marine Recorders Evening The Rockpool

Learn all about Cornwall’s marine wildlife

23/3/19 Live, Loud & Local Greenpeace Gig The Saracens Plate

A great line up supporting an awesome charity

24/3/19 Sprint for Seals 3k fun run

A bit of fun exercise to raise money to help rescue and rehabilitate seal pups from around the coastline

30/3/19 Illustrated History of Recycling in Lostwithiel The Church Rooms

Learn all about recycling over the past 30 years in Lostwithiel

Looking ahead:

6/4/19 - 14/4/19 SAS Big Spring Clean

Keep an eye out for beach cleans happening near you, or get involved and arrange your own!

14/4/19 First There Is A Mountain

Join artist Katie Paterson on Porthcressa Beach and build a range of sand pail mountains

15/4/19 Foraging Day Course 7th Rise

Because who doesn’t like a good forage?! No plastic packaging there!

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Monday Motivation : You make the difference!

January marked the 6 month anniversary of Incredible Bulk. We are so honoured to have customers that are interested in making a difference; living and acting in a way that will help protect our home. You are the ones that have taken a stand and refused to conform to the norms of our society that we now know are polluting the Earth at a staggering rate. Without you guys we wouldn’t be making a difference and for that we are truly grateful.

We know that refusing plastic takes a huge change in habits. We offer an alternative shopping experience both in terms of buying with your own reusable packaging that takes a degree of organisation and commitment and also that you have to embrace the elements when shopping with us - for all of you that have shopped with us on a mizzley day, a stormy day and even a snowy day - your commitment to making a difference blows our minds and is a huge source of motivation to keep going, improve what we offer and continue on the zero waste path.

This is a run down of what plastic you have avoided in the last 6 months, well done and thank you!

4959 single-use plastic food packaging (this is roughly 30kgs, enough to fill about 5 wheelie bins, its also the same amount of plastic waste that was found in a dead sperm whale in Australia)

1300 single-use plastic cotton buds

470 single-use plastic household cleaning bottles

397 single-use plastic shampoo, conditioner, body wash and hand wash bottles

368 plastic kitchen sponges

139 plastic toothbrushes

71 plastic or aerosol deodorants

53 single use oil and vinegar bottles

At least 3200 meters of plastic cling film

1500 meters of plastic dental floss

At least 64 single-use plastic straws, 30 disposable coffee cups, 19 disposable cutlery sets and 18 plastic water bottles

27 plastic tubes of toothpaste

At least 35 disposable plastic razors

17 plastic body sponges

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26 Ways to Reduce Your Plastic

Who’s looking to reduce their plastic use this year?! Here at Incredible Bulk we’re all about offering you easy swaps to avoid those dastardly single use items and plastic that are causing so much harm to the planet. See below for our 26 easy swaps available in the van that can help you move towards being zero waste. Click on the item to find out more about the environmental harm caused by their plastic equivalents and why we think these eco friendly alternatives are so great!

Feb 2019 : Whats on Cornwall

Because knowledge is power and communities coming together makes everything better, here’s a little round up of fun activities happening around Cornwall in February that caught our eye.

Beach Cleans and Litter Picks:

2/2/19 Polurrian Beach 10.30 - 12pm

2/2/19 Hemmick Beach 10-11am

3/2/19 Porthleven Streets 10-12pm

4/2/19 Pendower Beach 2-4pm

6/2/19 Bodmin 10.30-12pm

8/2/19 Chapel Porth Beach 1-2pm

9/2/19 Falmouth Harbour 10-12.30pm

12/2/19 Portreath 10-2pm

14/2/19 Maenporth Beach 3.30-5pm

14/2/18 Harlyn Bay Beach 5pm

14/2/19 Millendreath Beach 2.15-4.15pm

16/2/19 St. Mellion 10-12pm

16/2/19 Bodmin 11-12pm

20/2/19 Pentire Head 10-3pm

27/2/19 Fistral Beach 10.15-5pm

Exhibitions, Workshops, Courses and Get Togethers:

26/1/19-17/3/19 Plan Bee Art Exhibition Eden Project

Because bees are life and we should look to understand and protect them.

2/2/19 – 3/2/19 Launch Weekend for Invisible Worlds Exhibit Eden Project

Because the ocean is cool and pretty essential for our future!

6/2/19 7-10pm Talk about Cornwall’s fishing industry

Because its good to know about our local industries and see how they’re being responsible towards the planet. Fishing is a hot topic in ocean plastic waste being responsible for around 70% of it - whats Cornwall doing about it?

12/2/19 Pallet Rebuilding Workshop Upcycle Kernow

Because upcycling is awesome and helps prevent waste ending up in landfill.

16/2/19 or 22/2/19 Sourdough Baking Workshop Cotna Eco Retreat

Because its fun to make your own and it also avoids a lot of packaging waste!

20/2/10 10-1 Rockpool Ramble and Shore Search St Ives

Because being by the sea is good for the soul and you’ll get to learn about incredible marine life!

20/2/19 11-3 Rag Rug Workshop Tintagel

Because you’ll learn how to upcycle odd bits of fabric into cool rugs!

26/2/19 Building A Community Festival Get Together Mount Pleasant Eco Park

Because you’ll get to be involved with an awesome community project.

Looking ahead:

16/3/19 Foraging Walk and Feast Cotna Eco Retreat

Because walking in nature is good for you and not all food has to come in plastic packaging from the supermarket.

16/3/19 Wild Cooking With Only Boiled Water and a Mug Wadebridge

Because that’s a handy life skill to have!

19/3/19 Natural Ink Making Potager Garden

Because you’ll be out in nature and learn something new!

24/3/19 Beer Brewing Mount Pleasant Eco Park

Because who doesn’t want to brew their own beer? You’ll also learn how to make a fiery alcoholic ginger beer!

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Tackling single-use plastic : 6605 pieces avoided in 2018

In our 4 months of being Incredible Bulk in 2018 we are excited to say that our customers have avoided a grand total of 6605 pieces of single-use plastic. We’re thrilled with this number and excited to see what 2019 will bring.

This number is made up of a great mix of items, the easiest to avoid when shopping with us is single-use food packaging, totalling 4452 pieces, including 377 cereal packets, 261 packets of rice and 106 packets of pasta. Next up is bathroom plastic totalling 1225 - this number does include 700 cotton buds! But also 344 shampoo / conditioner / body wash bottles, 135 toothbrushes and 46 floss containers which would’ve been 1380 meters of plastic floss that would’ve ended up in the bin, or worse down the loo. There is now 336 less kitchen sponges now out there with our customers making the switch to natural alternatives and at least 3120 meters of plastic cling film has been avoided with our customers buying beeswax wraps. At least 64 single-use plastic straws have been avoided and 18 water/drinks bottles. Our customers have also helped recycle 174 used coffee cups by buying the R Cup reusable coffee cup where each one is made from 6 used cups, and as R Cup says nothing is fully recycled until it is reused so its great to see those coffee cups finally being put to good use!

We want to say a huge thank you to all of our customers who have supported us this year and have made this possible and for those of you yet to come to the van we hope this inspires you and lets you know how we can all make a difference.

Image taken from the lovely Christmas card we received from the awesome Surfers Against Sewage

Image taken from the lovely Christmas card we received from the awesome Surfers Against Sewage

Recycling Facilities in Cornwall

A few weeks ago, we were lucky enough to go on a trip to see the Suez Materials Recycling Facility in Bodmin to see exactly what happens to our recycling in Cornwall. Here are our main takeaways from the day:

Cornwall’s recycling network consists of kerbside collection as well as 13 Household Recycling Centres, 5 Transfer Stations, 2 Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) and 1 incinerator (The Cornwall Energy Recovery Centre).

The 2 MRF sites sort all of Cornwall’s recycling materials, receiving up to 53 trucks a day.

At the MRF sites the different materials are separated (by hand), made into bails and then shipped to various private contractors for recycling located both in the UK and overseas, mainly in Europe.

Waste that can’t be recycled is sent to St Dennis where it is burnt in a special facility at the Cornwall Energy Recovery Centre. The heat that is produced is turned into energy and sold to the Cornish national grid. Having this facility means a lot of Cornwalls waste avoids landfill.

However, we need to recycle more, currently over ¾ of the rubbish produced in Cornwall does not make it to the recycling process. A report published by Cornwall Council a month ago highlighted Cornwall’s best and worst areas for recycling with the overall statistics showing that at best 41% of waste was being recycled and at worst just 14%, with there being potential for Cornish households to recycle around 60% of their waste - showing there is still some way to go.

Materials that can be recycled:

Plastic: We produce and use 20 times more plastic today than we did 50 years ago, with Cornwall currently throwing away 117 million plastic bottles every year. All types of plastic bottles are collected within kerbside recycling. Labels on plastic bottles do not need to be removed by the public as they come off in the washing process. The only plastic that can’t currently be recycled is black plastic due to it not being suitable for the current optical recycling process.

Paper & Cardboard: It takes approximately 17 trees to make one tonne of paper. Diverting paper and card from landfill reduces energy use and CO2. All clean, unsoiled paper & card can be recycled.

Glass: Every year Cornish households use 71 million glass jars and bottles. Recycling just one bottles saves enough energy to power a television set for up to an hour and a half.

Cans & Metals: If all the aluminium cans in the UK were recycled, there would be 12 million fewer dustbins every year. Don’t forget you can include metal bottle tops in your metal recycling.

Textiles: The amount of textiles thrown away each month weighs the same as 40,000 cars.

Tetrapak: Recycling of Tetrapak cartons is now available at 7 of the 13 household centres in Cornwall.

Garden waste: All garden waste received is turned into compost.

Top Tip when recycling: Its nice too wash your empty containers, the materials are sorted by hand in the MRF centres and they can smell quite a bit if not washed!

OUR VERDICT

The recycling centre runs a fantastic, large scale operation that is very efficient in distributing recyclable materials. Recycling is super important for reducing our use of precious resources and for ensuring waste doesn’t end up in landfill sites where it will contribute to global warming. However, we still believe that avoiding waste (even recyclable waste) should be a number one priority. Recycling still comes with a carbon footprint and energy use and not all materials can be recycled indefinitely (various sources suggest plastics can be recycled anywhere from one to five times before it needs to be discarded). When tackling your own waste think of the 5 Rs - Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot. Get organised with your recycling bags which should make it easier to get the right items recycled. Keep an eye on your recycling and rubbish bin - is there anything going in there that you can avoid?

The trip to the Suez Materials Recycling Facility was organised by the Cornish Plastic Pollution Coalition, join their Facebook group to hear about upcoming trips.

To find out about the recycling facilities in your area check out this link here

Important Christmas collections here

Cornwall recycling league table here

Incredible Bulk Christmas Gift Guide

We obviously didn’t want to go crazy on the Christmas gifts but we’ve put together a few items from the van that either promote living a life with less waste or look to build a connection with the Earth we are looking to protect. Click on the image for more details.

A Minimal Waste Christmas Guide

Christmas, a time of giving and receiving, joy and thankfulness but it has also become a time of waste and excess. Recent statistics on UK waste tell us that over the festive season the UK creates 30% more waste than usual. 1 billion Christmas cards end up in the bin, 6 million Christmas trees are discarded, 40 million rolls of sticky tape used, 277,000 miles of wrapping paper thrown away and almost 100 million bin bags full of packaging.

With these statistics in mind we’ve put together a simple guide to help reduce waste this Christmas.

Decorations

When it comes to choosing your tree there are several different options available. The least wasteful options are a living natural tree in a pot that you can keep for years; a rented natural potted tree (we couldn’t find an option in Cornwall but came across a couple elsewhere in the country - see this cute video here) or for the more experimental out there you could try alternatives such as up-cycling a discarded branch, wooden boxes, ladders and such to make your own alternative up-cycled Christmas tree, or you could look to buy one, we’ve seen a few options popping up at farmers markets and craft fairs (see search here for ideas or image below). If you wanted a more conventional reusable tree you could look to go artificial but keep in mind that due to the resources used to create that tree you would need to reuse it for at least 12 years (see article here). If you opt for a traditional cut Christmas tree ensure it gets shredded and composted, Cornwall Council should offer this service in the new year.

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For decorating your tree and home try to stick to the normal zero waste guidelines- if buying look for second hand first, if not available when buying new see if you can find items made from up-cycled materials or buy high quality items that will last you for many Christmases to come. And remember to shop local - we’re spoilt in Cornwall with a number of lovely craft and farmers markets with talented people making gorgeous crafts. You can also look to make your own, there are loads of creative guides to help you (see image below for some inspiration). We have also discovered plenty of make your own wreath workshops in and around Cornwall, below are a few of our favourites. You can also look for natural options such as lemon and orange peel, cinnamon sticks and go foraging for holly and mistletoe.

Willow Wreath at Mount Pleasant Eco Park

Living Wreath at Potager

Foraged Wreath

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Food and Drink

For a minimal waste Christmas it’ll take a bit of planning with the food and drink. As with your normal zero waste food shop look to shop local - farmers markets, farm shops, greengrocers and butchers are great places to pick up unpackaged fruit and veg as well as local meat that you can arrange to pick up with no plastic packaging. Head to your local refill / zero waste store to pick up any grains, nuts, seeds and dried fruit for your recipes, all package-free.

Look to make as much as possible from scratch as this is a great way to avoid packaging - Christmas cake, mince pies, mulled wine, brandy butter etc (keep an eye out on the blog for recipes coming soon!)

When it comes to prep and storing food try to avoid unnecessary clingfilm; using tupperware, glass jars, plates and wax food wraps instead. (click here for great guide for storing food without plastic).

Food waste is huge at Christmas, try to avoid the urge to over buy, looking for quality over quantity.

No Christmas table would be set without crackers, this year why not look to make your own, avoiding useless plastic gifts, filling instead with meaningful little gifts or treats (check out this guide here).

Gifts, Cards and Wrapping

When buying gifts its so easy to get carried away and swept up in the joy of buying presents for others but come back to the general zero waste rules of only buying what is necessary and needed, looking to buy second-hand or if buying new look for high quality items that will last. Its also a great time to hand make meaningful gifts for others or look for experiences to gift rather than items. (For inspiration check out our gift guide here).

With wrapping try and avoid wrapping paper and instead look to up-cycle, perhaps using newspaper or look for recycled brown kraft paper that can then be easily composted. Fabric is also great to use, keep an eye out for secondhand scarves or up-cycle old clothes. Look to use fabric ribbon or string and use natural trims such as holly and cinnamon sticks. Avoid sellotape, if tape is needed look for paper kraft tape instead. Throughout the year we now stash any wrapping paper, ribbons, cards etc that can be reused.

If buying cards look for designs made on recycled card and with eco-friendly inks, or again look to make your own! You can also do ‘e-card’ versions, sending your Christmas wishes online.

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Advent Calendar

For the countdown to Christmas there are loads of awesome diy advent calendars, below are a few of our favourites.

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Post-Christmas

Try and prepare for the post-Christmas waste by having recycling and composting bags and boxes ready and organised, ensuring you still recycle what you can rather than sending it to landfill. Avoid throwing food waste away, instead see what you can re-use and make into new meals post Christmas.

We hope this has given you a few things to think about when planning your Christmas this year.

Wishing you a wonderful, mindful, waste-free Christmas!

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!”

― Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Zero Waste October

We came across a new zero waste campaign for October set up by Kathryn Kellogg, Anastasia Nicole and Rebecca Newburn of Going Zero Waste, a northern hemisphere response to Plastic-Free July.

As stated by the Zero Waste International Alliance and outlined on Going Zero Waste, Zero Waste is a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient and visionary, to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use. Zero Waste means designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them.  Implementing Zero Waste will eliminate all discharges to land, water or air that are a threat to planetary, human, animal or plant health.   

We set out to offer a daily tip and piece of advice for going zero waste throughout October, outlined below for you. We have divided them into categories based around Bea Johnsons 5 r’s which is a great outline for anyone looking to move towards being zero waste. They are RefuseReduceReuseRecycleRot. We’ve added an extra R, Resources to share some useful places to carry on learning about zero waste.

REFUSE

Do you really need it: Yep, step one, refuse - whatever you’re shopping for, stop and think, make sure its a considered purchase and only buy if you really need it. The stats on household waste are huge, with Recycle Now stating that UK households produce around 30m tonnes of waste a year - that’s equivalent to the weight of around 3.5m Double Decker buses, a queue of which would go round the world 2.5 times. The surest way to reduce your waste is to reduce the amount you buy. As consumers we can be activists - we can dictate what we want, if the endless consumption slows and reduces then careless production will have to as well.

Just Ask: Making the choice to reduce your waste is the easy part - sticking to it and making it happen is a lot harder simply due to the lack of options around. To increase your options chat to shop keepers and see if they would be happy for you to use your own containers - all they can say is no and at least you would’ve brought the issue to their attention and it may encourage them to change going forward. Challenge yourself to walk away from options that don’t fit in with your new zero waste challenge and research alternatives.

Cheap Products: If you have to buy new, look to invest in better quality items that should last longer and be easier to repair should anything go wrong. Increasing a products life cycle means less waste in the end.

Packaging: Refuse packaging and head to your nearest refill store. As a reaction to the current plastic crisis more and more zero waste shops are popping up. Be sure to check out your nearest store to go package free. It may mean having to do your weekly shop in more than one location but we’re sure you’ll enjoy reducing your plastic waste.

Pre-packaged fast food: It may be a tough one but avoiding convenient fast food will dramatically reduce your waste. Be prepared and make packed lunches/snacks to take out with you whenever possible.

Kitchen and Bathroom Plastic: Plastic has snuck into our kitchens and bathrooms, look to make a move to natural products to reduce your waste. A natural item can be composted and returned to the earth moving in a circular economy rather than a plastic item that ends in landfill. We love and stock Eco Coconut scourers and dish brushes, Loofco loofahs, Gwenen Eco wax food wraps, knitted cloths, Georganics toothcare, Scence deodorant, Naked Necessities razors, Suma soaps and Natures Anchor shampoo bars that can all help you on your zero waste way.

Plastic Tea Bags: Did you know a lot of tea bags use polypropylene as a sealant? Next time you’re buying your tea check out the brands credentials or make a switch to loose leaf. Brands that don’t use plastic: Pukka, Waitrose Duchy, Teapigs, Aldo Premium. Currently using plastic (some have been quoted as looking to change in 2018 but we couldn’t find updated information) Tetley, PG Tips, Twinnings, Clipper and Yorkshire Tea.

Cigarettes: not only bad for your body but also terrible for the environment. Most cigarette filters are made up of tiny pieces of plastic so one filter ends up being thousands of tiny fibres that can be released into the environment. Data from 2015 told us that approximately 4.5tn of the 6tn cigarettes consumed annually are littered across the globe. Vapes are not much better with plastic bottles used for the e-liquid. So if you are looking for extra motivation to quit think about the added benefits for the environment!

Waste in your local environment: No one likes seeing waste carelessly thrown in their environment, take action and get involved to reduce careless waste and its impacts on the environment. There are plenty of nationwide campaigns to get involved in with charities such as Surfers Against Sewage, Beach Guardian, and 2 Minute Beach Clean all hosting beach and city cleans. Remember that you don’t need to go to an organised event to make a difference, picking up litter as you go is just as helpful!

REDUCE

Your Waste: It can often be daunting starting on your zero waste journey but an easy place to start is to become aware of the waste created in your household. Take time to take a look at your rubbish and recycling and see if there are any common offenders and ask yourself if there’s something you can do without or alternatives available. Challenge yourself to pick an item and do the research. Don’t rush to change too much too soon, slow and steady is more manageable.

Energy Use: there is plenty you can do to reduce your energy use, from switching to a renewable / greener supplier to being mindful of the resources you use around the house. Some things you can try: making sure lights are switched off, heating only when necessary, timing showers, changing to more efficient bulbs, having a no electricity evening and indulging in a candlelit evening!

Share: Look to consume less and share where possible. In his book How the Rich are Destroying the Earth, Herve Kempf discusses the relationship between our socio-economic system and the current ecological crisis and offers the simple guidance of ‘consume less, share more’. While not always possible we think sharing is currently very undervalued in our society and we think its something we can all work on to do more.

Microplastics: The stats on micro plastics are very scary, made even more so by the fact that we can’t see them, despite them being everywhere. Environmental Science and Technology recently published information about a study that analysed 39 salt brands globally and revealed micro plastic contamination was widespread. The study suggests that assuming an intake of 10g of salt a day, the average adult could ingest approx 2000 micro plastics each year from salt alone. One source of micro plastics is from our washing machines which can cause tiny particles of our clothing to be washed down our drains and into the environment. Luckily there are now a couple of solutions with filters available that can be attached to your machine, or you could use a Guppy Bag or Coraball in your wash to collect. Its still not a perfect solution as the micro plastics collected will still end up in landfill due to no recycling options currently available but they should help reduce the amount in our water systems.

Food waste: Currently about a third of the worlds food is lost or thrown away each year, equating to 1.6b tonnes annually. The UN has set a target of halving food loss and waste by 2030 but if current trends continue it will rise to 2.1b tonnes annually. Look to reduce your home food wastage - check out Anne-Marie Bonneau of Zero Waste Chef for inspiration and tips, we also enjoyed this article with advice from Bianca Mularoni of Zero Waste Path.

Make Your Own: A great way to reduce waste is to make your own. Making your own means no packaging and making the quantity you need, it can also be pretty fun! Some of the easier make your own projects we’ve tried: nut milks, yoghurt, home cleaning products and beauty products.

Shop Local: checking out your local market and high street may offer you package free options or at least shop keepers open to have conversations around using less packaging. You may also find items that have travelled fewer miles and have less of a carbon footprint.

REUSE

Invest in reusable products: Our throwaway culture is to blame for a lot of the current global waste issue. If you find yourself using a single-use item a lot look to invest in a reusable option, such as bottles, cutlery, straws, coffee cups, napkins and handkerchiefs.

Buy Secondhand: Reusing something means less resources used and less going to landfill. When you next find yourself shopping ask yourself if you can find the item secondhand.

Mend: Instead of throwing away broken items look to give them a new lease of life by fixing them. For pottery we love Kintsugi Kits, an ancient Japanese art of beautifully mending breakages with gold tinted glue. There are also great Repair Cafes around where handy volunteers can help you mend your item. Some brands also offer free or affordable repair services - ask when buying to find out.

Containers: If you want to start avoiding single-use packaging having containers to hand is key. Keep an eye on all packaging you currently have and see if any can be reused. We love saving unusual bottles and jars, sacks and bags and having them to hand for future use. Preparation is key for avoiding waste, keeping containers handy will mean you are ready for any unpackaged shopping opportunities.

Water: This is a tip for those chilly winter months where a hot water bottle is essential (for us anyway!) Instead of tipping the cold water down the sink maybe either reheat it up to be used again or tip it out on houseplants. Being mindful of water waste is essential in our modern world where resources are only going to get more scarce. Always think before tipping it down the drain to see if you can use it around the house in anyway.

RECYCLE

Take the time to know your recycling options: Currently 60% of people recycle regularly but that means theres 40% of the population who don’t. Everyone in the UK should have access to a kerbside collection, get in touch with your local council if you have any queries regarding whats available to you. Get organised and start collecting. There are also numerous recycling banks in locations such as supermarkets and car parks that can increase your options of what can be recycled.

Terracycle: This company does amazing things with waste. They offer all sorts of innovative recycling opportunities with a range of free programs you can join to start collecting at home, work or school. They also have a zero waste box (we use this for Incredible Bulk) that can ensure any usually hard to recycle plastic packaging can be recycled instead of being incinerated or sent to landfill.

Upcycling: A great way to turn waste into something useful. You can either look to support local artists and creators who turn waste into pieces of beautiful art, such as Smartie Lids On The Beach, or look to get involved with craft / upcycling workshops, such as those run by Upcycle Kernow,

Products: When buying products look for items that have been made with recycled materials, buying a recycled item means less resources used and less in landfill.

ROT

Compost at home: According to Recycle Now, composting at home for just one year can save global warming gases equivalent to all the CO2 your kettle produces annually, or your washing machine produces in 3 months. When organic waste is sent to landfill air cannot get to it meaning that as it breaks down it creates methane, a harmful greenhouse gas. If composted oxygen helps the waste breakdown which means no methane. If you’re not ready to compost at home check out Sharewaste where you can search for someone who is willing to take your compostable waste!

RESOURCES

Podcasts: A great way to learn about zero waste and listen to personal journeys and advice. There’s Zero Waste Life Hacks Podcast, The Hippie Haven, Zero Waste Countdown, The Sustainable Minimalists amongst many others!

Books: Here are a few of our favourites; No More Plastic, Martin Dorey; Outsmart Waste and Revolution in a Bottle, Tom Szaky; No Impact Man, Colin Beavan and Payback, Margaret Atwood.

We hope these will help you on your zero waste journey!

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