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.

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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!

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!

plastic free easter.jpg

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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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!

cornwall zero waste events