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

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!


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.


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.

make your own advent calendar.png


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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!


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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Organic September

September is organic month with the Soil Association, the UK’s largest organic certification body. This Saturday is the day to get involved with independent shops across the country showcasing their organic ranges. We thought it was the perfect time to explain why we think organic is important and let you know our own policy on organic produce when it comes to our product selection.

Here are some snippets from the Soil Association website we wanted to share:

Many people don’t realise almost 300 pesticides can be routinely used in non-organic farming and these are often present in non-organic food despite washing and cooking. Organic farming standards, on the other hand, don't allow any synthetic pesticides and absolutely no herbicides such as Glyphosate.

Organic farmers are permitted to use just 20 pesticides, derived from natural ingredients including citronella and clove oil, but only under very restricted circumstances. Research suggests that if all UK farming was organic, pesticide use would drop by 98%! This means that organic farms are a haven for wildlife and these toxic pesticides can’t make their way into the food chain and into us.

Organic farming has huge environmental benefits as well and not only reduces pollution but helps combat climate change.  If all UK farmland was converted to organic farming, at least 3.2 million tonnes of carbon would be taken up by the soil each year - the equivalent of taking nearly 1 million cars off the road.

Over half of Britain’s wildlife species have declined since 1970, and more than one in ten are currently facing extinction. Intensive farming practices have been identified as the primary drivers of these declines. 75% of UK butterfly species have declined in the past decade and eight of our 25 bumblebee species are threatened, with two already extinct!

Ground breaking research published in the British Journal of Nutrition has found significant nutritional differences between organic and non-organic farming. In 2014, the team at Newcastle University found organic crops are up to 60% higher in a number of key antioxidants than conventionally-grown ones.

From these 5 statements its clear to see why organic farming is so important but unfortunately (and understandably) there is still a price to pay for organic. We’ve found that organic produce is often twice the cost of non-organic and whilst the benefits of organic farming are clear, not everyone can afford to pay for organic products at this point.

At Incredible Bulk we strive to select organic over non-organic when we feel the price is affordable – this is a key part of making Incredible Bulk accessible. Our main aim is to provide people with an easy and convenient way to move towards zero waste; offering a way to avoid single-use plastic packaging and avoid waste going to land fill. Being an affordable option is key for us and we don’t want to price anyone out of being able to shop package free.

Our current food selection is 20% organic and we will always look to increase this where we can. As the Soil Association points out ‘Switching to just one extra organic item really can help contribute to changing our food & farming systems for the better. Demand for more organic food means more organic farms. More organic farms mean fewer pesticides, more wildlife and more animals raised under the very highest standards.’ We’re moving in the right direction, adding 3 new organic items for September: Chick Peas, Cocoa Powder and Spaghetti.

For more information check out Soil Association. You can catch us this Saturday at Porthtowan Market. #chooseorganic

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Zero Waste Cornwall Guide

Today marks the end of Zero Waste Week and we thought it would be a great time to do a round up of all the great businesses and events in Cornwall that can help you continue your zero waste journey. We'll be keeping it updated and if you have any suggestions to add please get in touch so we can add it!

Bulk / Refill / Zero Waste Shops : take along your own containers and avoid single-use packaging

Archie Browns : Truro, Penzance (some refill options)

Be the Solution : St Day (home cleaning refills)

Gillian's Larder : Helston

Incredible Bulk : various locations

Mooon Milk Parlour : St Buryan (milk refills only)

Plastics Free : Online

ReFILL Shop : Bude

Replenish : Wadebridge

The Good Lyfe : Newquay

The Natural Store : Falmouth, Helston, St Austell (some refill options)

The Refill Store : Truro and Goonhavern

The Weigh Inn : Penzance

Trevisker Garden Centre : Padstow (Refill station for liquid fertiliser)

Un_Rap : Falmouth

Farmers Markets : Great to get select items without packaging as well as local produce that has done little travelling. Most stall holders will listen to your reduced packaging requests and help where they can - don't be shy to ask! You also may come across us - an added bonus!

Camborne Produce Market : Every Friday 9 - 2

Constantine Market : Second Saturday of the month 9.30 - 12

Helston Farmers Market : First Saturday of the month 9.30 - 1

Lostwithiel Farmers Market : Fourth Saturday of the month 10 - 1

Newquay Farmers Market : Last Sunday of the month 10 - 3

Penzance Farmers Market : Every Friday 9 - 1

Perranporth Plastic Free Market : First Saturday of the month 1.30-4.30

Porthtowan Farmers Market : Third Saturday of the month 10 - 2

Sennen Market : Every Tuesday 9 - 12

St Buryan Farmers and Craft Market : Second and Fourth Saturdays 9.30 - 12.30 

St Erth Farmers Market : Every Saturday 10 - 12 

St Ives Farmers Market : Every Thursday 9.30 - 2

The Market Crantock : First Saturday of the month 9 - 3

Farm Shops and Veg BoxesGreat for fresh local and usually unwrapped fruit and veg, also be sure to keep an eye out while driving around as there are loads of great roadside stalls offering fresh produce not packaged

Baileys Country Store : Penryn (some refill options too)

Bosavern Community Farm : Penzance

Camel CSA : Wadebridge Community veg box

Cusgarne Farm Shop : Cusgarne, Truro

One Field Farm : Crantock

Penryn Produce : Veg and Zero Waste Box

The Veg Shop : St Agnes

Tre, Pol & Pen : Lezant (has good refill selection too)

Trevaskis Farm : Hayle

Out & AboutAwesome places we've come across that have a sustainable / zero waste vibe

Cotna : Retreat space that also puts on interesting diy workshops such as foraging and sourdough baking

The Eco Collective : An awesome selection of vegan friendly products, with pastys from The Cornish Vegan Pasty Company, yummy treats from Nature’s Treats, home cleaning refills from us and a great selection of local Cornish brands selling cards, ceramics, art, t-shirts and more!

Green HeART Cafe : A sweet little veggie cafe in Newquay that was also offering some home cleaning liquid refills

The Green Waste Company: Based in Hayle and Roche The Green Waste Company offer large scale recycling facilities as well as a service where you can pick up compost with your own trailer - no more bags of compost!

Morva Marazion : Cute gift shop that stocks wide selection of Cornish products with minimum plastic packaging

Mount Pleasant Eco Park : A beautiful green spot offering workshops and events, delish veggie food at their veggie cafe La Cantina, they also have volunteer fridays offering unique hands-on training in a variety of sustainable land-based skills

No 56 : Beautiful homewares store that stocks zero waste / sustainable products

Newquay Community Orchard : A beautiful spot, often has fresh produce for sale and they offer various sustainable workshops and events. You can also volunteer if you have green fingers!

Potager : Cafe and garden spot, also offering workshops and volunteering opportunities

Willow and Stone : A gorgeous homewares store in Falmouth offering lots of natural alternatives for household cleaning instruments!

Cornish Brandsa shout out to brands based in Cornwall that are working with a commitment to zero waste that can help you on your journey

A Short Walk : these guys don't believe in waste. They design, develop, produce and sell a wide range of products including the R Cup reusable coffee cup, bird feeders, house signs and flower pots made from recycled redundant materials

Beauty Kubes : Organic, plastic free shampoo cubes

Bodds : Ethical and sustainable swimwear made from Econyl®, recycled nylon

Cornish Skin Food : Rachel makes dreamy natural skin care products and from the start of this year moved away from plastic packaging to aluminium tubs and paper wrap

Fin Bar Plastic Free Soap : Plastic free soap and solid shampoo bars inspired by Finns desire to become a marine biologist.

Finisterre : a clothing brand all about sustainability, always looking to push the boundaries in the collections they create

Fishy Filaments : recycle fishing nets into engineering grade filament for 3D printing

Fourth Element : Technical suits and swimwear with a focus on doing everything they can to preserve oceans for the future

Frugi : On a mission to show the world that beautiful children’s clothing can be fun AND ethically sourced

Gwenen Eco Beeswax Wraps : Organic cotton beeswax wraps made in St Agnes, a great plastic free and reusable alternative to clingfilm

Innoscent Cleaning : Eco friendly cleaning service for your home or business in Cornwall using 100% natural, biodegradable and vegan products that are also available to buy

Natures Anchor : Handcrafted soaps and shampoo bars

Sapling & Bud : for all your succulent and plant needs - all come in recycled plant pots

Scence : Natural skin care made in Falmouth, all in compostable cardboard packaging

Smartie Lids On The Beach : Beautiful pieces of art made from plastic found on Cornish beaches.

The Cornish Artisan : delicious, ethical and sustainably sourced herbal teas

Tinkebu : Sustainable handcrafted wooden toys

Wasted Apple : Cider made from apples that would have gone to waste

West Country Tea Co : plastic free teas, blended in Newquay

Wild Tribe Heroes : Series of children’s books on the ocean plastics problem

Zed Clay : 100% natural sun protection designed and handmade in Cornwall by Kato Harrison

Cornwall Specific Online Guidance : Great for both insight and sharing zero waste ideas. 

Cornish Plastic Pollution Coalition : Facebook group to help groups and individuals in Cornwall work together to find targeted local solutions to the marine litter issue

FXU Zero Waste Society : A group of students from Falmouth and Exeter Universities looking to raise awareness on ways to live a low impact life

Journey to Zero Waste. Plastic Free Cornwall : Facebook group for those living in Cornwall looking to reduce their waste

Journey to Zero Waste Cornwall (UK) : Facebook group for all living in Cornwall interested in or working towards a more zero waste lifestyle

Minimal Impact Kernow : A blog by Adele Morgan who lives a zero waste lifestyle in Cornwall

ReFILL Cornwall : download the app to find water refill stations near you

Campaigns and Groups : taking zero waste out of the home and onto the streets / beaches, a great way to get involved and learn more

#2minutebeachclean : Community of beach lovers rolling up their sleeves to help rid the world’s beaches of marine litter and plastic pollution, two minutes at a time

Beach Guardian : A Community Interest Company organising beach cleans and information events

Bude Cleaner Seas Project : Bude Cleaner Seas Project is working together with the local community to give Bude the cleanest water quality and the cleanest beaches in Cornwall

Clean Cornwall : Helping to make a cleaner Cornwall

Clean Ocean Sailing : Raising awareness about ocean plastics

Fathoms Free : A volunteer group of marine conservationists running diving and beach clean events

Final Straw Cornwall : A campaign to rid Cornwall of single use plastic straws and raise awareness of the damage single use plastics are causing to our environment

Surfers Against Sewage : An environmental charity based in St Agnes protecting our oceans, find your local beach clean events and plastic free guardians for ways to get involved

Odyssey Innovation : Collecting ocean plastic to recycle into kayaks

Packshare : App to help you upcycle your packaging to people who need it

Repair Cafe : take along items you need fixing, one in Falmouth and Liskeard

Upcycle Kernow : Based in Portreath, offering creative upcycling workshops and events

We hope these help you on your zero waste journey so we can keep Cornwall beautiful and waste free- let us know how you get on! 


Zero Waste and Plastic Free: Behind the scenes at Incredible Bulk

Its great to be helping people avoid waste when they shop with us, but the responsibility doesn’t end there – we also have a responsibility with the waste that we create. We manage to reduce waste by buying our stock in large bulk quantities but there is still an amount of waste that we end up with.

Our stock comes to us in a variety of forms, luckily mainly in large paper-based sacks or boxes that can be easily reused, composted or recycled but some products do still come in plastic. We look to avoid these where possible and we know all our suppliers are also working hard to reduce the amount of plastic packaging they use. To ensure this plastic waste doesn’t end up in landfill we have a few different processes in place.

For our household cleaning products that come in large plastic containers we return these to the supplier who then recycles them. (We have tried working with local businesses to try and upcycle/reuse them but unfortunately the cleaning methods have not worked sufficiently to date).

For any plastic bags we are left with we work with a company called Terracycle. Terracycle is an innovative recycling company set up by Tom Szaky (if you haven’t read his book Revolution in a Bottle go grab a copy!) and they have developed zero waste solutions for difficult to recycle waste streams. We use their plastic zero waste box for all our plastic packaging, which is then sorted and melted down into small pellets which is then re-purposed into affordable, innovative products instead of being sent to landfill.

These two are our more difficult to re-purpose or recycle items of waste we have come across to date, being a new business we may come across others in the future but we will keep you updated on these as and when they arise – we are looking to keep a waste jar for anything we don’t have a solution for and keep it in the jar until we do. Currently the only item going to landfill is any plastic tape used on boxes sent to us as we have yet to find a solution to this, other than to keep emailing our suppliers who use it and asking them to switch to paper gum tape!

Any questions on our zero waste methods please do get in touch. 

To read more about Terracycle Zero Waste Boxes


Zero Waste Week: What is zero waste and what does it mean to us at Incredible Bulk?

Today marks the start of Zero Waste Week set up by Rachelle Strauss in 2008. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the environmental impact of waste and looks to empower people to reduce their own waste. We thought it was a good opportunity to take a step back and look at our own zero waste journey and what it means to us as a business.

Zero waste has become a hot topic over the last decade and since that impactful final episode of Blue Planet 2 earlier this year, reducing waste (particularly plastic) has been on everyone’s mind. Our zero waste journey started 5 years ago while travelling. In a small café in Luang Prabang we were lucky enough to come across a viewing of Colin Beavan’s No Impact Man, originally released in 2009, based on his book released in the same year. The documentary followed Colin on his year long experiment with his family in New York to have zero impact on the environment. The documentary was honest and real, not polished or heavily edited and Colin’s passion and determination was an inspiration. We had both started to see the impact of plastic waste first hand, particularly when we were travelling to remote, seemingly ‘unspoilt’ islands in Indonesia. The combination of this experience and seeing this movie made the issue of waste and our impact on the planet real and tangible for us.

For Colin, the idea of zero waste for his experiment was ‘to go as far as possible and try to maintain as close to no net environmental impact.’ ‘Zero carbon - yes- but also zero waste in the ground, zero pollution in the air, zero resources sucked from the earth, zero toxins in the water…no environmental impact.’

He asked some difficult questions of the choices we all make that were hard to ignore:

‘How truly necessary are many of the conveniences we take for granted but that, in their manufacture and use, hurt our habitat? How much of our consumption of the planet's resources actually makes us happier and how much just keeps us chained up as wage slaves?’

And by analysing his waste, uncovered the issue of single-use packaging, which made us look at our own waste and packaging:

‘It was not trash per se that got me. It was the throwing away of things used for less than five minutes without so much as a thought before reaching for the exact same product to use for another five minutes before throwing that away, too.’

Following the documentary, we went on to read the book and from there more research followed. We came across Lauren Singer, found on Instagram as her famous handle Trash is for Tossers. Having a visual guide through Instagram was great and acted as an awesome reminder whenever scrolling through! Lauren defines zero waste as ‘No sending anything to landfill, no throwing anything in a trash can, nothing.’ Lauren also came to zero-waste living by becoming conscious of waste, seeing a fellow Environmental Studies classmate come to lunch with disposable water bottle, takeout containers and single-use bag, unintentionally harming the planet they were there to study and protect.

A further resource and inspiration came through Lauren as she sites Bea Johnson as an inspiration and resource on her own zero-waste journey and we’re sure if you’re interested in zero waste you would’ve heard of Bea and her famous 5 Rs: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot; that helped her and her family reduce their waste year on year. In her first blog post on the 24th Dec 2009 she writes  ‘I am inspired to share my experience and open ground for discussion, after all we all play a part on this (endangered) earth. I have put my family on a waste diet for the past 12 months, analyzing whatever comes in contact with the bottom of our one home trash can and slowly trying to get it as close to zero waste as possible. In this past year, I have learned to shop, refuse (what is given to me), reduce, reuse, and recycle as little possible (for only such a small percentage of our trash is actually recycled).’

So it was these 3 that became our founding mentors of what it means to be zero waste and how we came to implement changes in our personal lives, starting where they all started – becoming aware of our waste and looking for ways to reduce it.

We created Incredible Bulk to give people an easier option to reduce the amount of waste they create – that’s the front end of the business.  Equally the back end of the business also needs to be in line with these values. We are very aware of how we manage the waste that the business creates (when we buy our products from our suppliers for example) and make sure that where possible nothing gets discarded or goes to landfill.  It often takes more time, more money and is definitely not as easy or convenient – many people on a zero waste journey will be able to relate to this, but as Colin says in No Impact Man - ‘whether it’s human nature or industrial systems that need to change, when it comes to saving the world, the real question is not whether I can make a difference. The real question is whether I am willing to try.’

To take part in zero waste week and for more info head to the website www.zerowasteweek.co.uk where you can pledge your one step towards reducing landfill waste.


Recipe: Jamie Oliver Asparagus, Mint and Lemon Risotto

Gemma's mum cooked this for us just before we moved to Cornwall, it was delicious, thanks Jamie and Sally!  


For Risotto Base:

1 ltr Vegetable or Chicken Stock

2 tbsp Olive Oil

1 Onion, peeled and finely chopped

4-5 Celery Sticks, trimmed and chopped

600g Arborio Rice

250ml Vermouth or Dry White Wine

For the Risotto:

2 Bunches Asparagus, finely chopped with woody ends removed  

700ml Vegetable or Chicken Stock

50g Butter

1 sml handful Parmesan Cheese, finely grated

1 bunch Fresh Mint

Zest and Juice of 1 Lemons

Sea Salt and Pepper

Olive Oil


This recipe is to serve 8, reduce as need.

First make the risotto base, bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan. Put the olive oil in a separate large pan, add the onion and celery and cook very gently for about 15 minutes, without colouring, until soft. Add the rice (it will sizzle) and turn up the heat. Keep stirring to stop rice or veg catching bottom of pan. Quickly pour in the vermouth or wine, keep stirring all the time until it has evaporated, leaving the rice with a lovely perfume. Add the heated stock to the rice a ladle at a time, stirring and waiting until it has been fully absorbed before adding the next. Turn the heat down to low, continue to add ladlefuls of stock until it has all been absorbed. This should take about 14 to 15 minutes and give you rice that is beginning to soften but is still a little al dente. Put to one side.

Now put a large saucepan on a medium to high heat and pour in half the risotto stock, followed by all your risotto base and the finely sliced asparagus stalks and the tips. Stirring all the time, gently bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer until almost all the stock has been absorbed. Add the rest of the stock a ladleful at a time until the rice and asparagus are cooked. You might not need all your stock. Be careful not to overcook the rice - check it throughout cooking, it should hold its shape but be soft and creamy.

Turn off the heat, beat in your butter and Parmesan, mint, almost all the lemon zest and all the juice. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. Put a lid on the pan and leave the risotto to rest for a minute. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, a scattering of lemon zest and a block of Parmesan on the table - enjoy! 



Recipe: Deliciously Ella Spicy Lentil and Aubergine Pasta

You can't go wrong with a bowl of pasta and this recipe from Deliciously Ella is a go to of ours, great to cook in a big batch and have for lunch the next day too! 


2 Aubergines

1 Red Pepper

2 x 400g Tins of Chopped Tomatoes

1 tbsp Tomato Puree

1 tsp Chilli

2 tsp Paprika

3 tsp Cumin Seeds

3 tsp Tamari / Soy Sauce

2 Garlic Cloves

100g Green Speckled Lentils

2 tsp Tahini

500g Pasta (we quite often like a mix of different pastas) 


This recipe is to serve 6, reduce as need. Slice aubergine and red pepper into bite-size chunks and place in large saucepan with all other ingredients, except the tahini and pasta. Pour in 350ml of boiling water. Place on a medium heat, return to boil and then reduce heat to simmer, put lid on and allow to cook for 20-30 mins. 10 mins before end cook the pasta and then stir into aubergine sauce together with tahini  - enjoy! 


zero waste lentil pasta.jpg

Recipe: American Pancakes with Chia Seeds and Teff

We love pancakes here at the Incredible Bulk and love experimenting with a basic American Pancake recipe by adding different ingredients to bulk them up - here we've added chia seeds and teff for some added nutrition! 


1 Egg

1 cup Milk (or Nut Milk) 

1 cup Flour (we like to use Buckwheat Flour)

3 tbsp Chia Seeds

2 tbsp Teff

1 tbsp Coconut Oil

1 tsp Baking Powder


Sieve flour into mixing bowl and add chia, teff and baking powder and mix together. Heat coconut oil in pan, take off heat, add your milk and whisk in egg. Add liquid mix to flour mix and whisk together, if it looks like it needs more liquid either add extra milk or water. Take ladle-full of mix and drop into hot frying pan with coconut oil, leave until edges start to cook then flip to cook top side, you should see the baking powder in action here. Above mix makes around 6 small American Pancakes, add toppings of your choice (some of our favourites are streaky bacon with grated apple, berries and banana with yogurt, nut butter and jam)  - enjoy! 


zero waste chia pancakes.jpg

Recipe: Warm Water with Lemon and Apple Cider Vinegar

This is a long term favourite of Gemma's for both morning and after a meal. Apple Cider Vinegar has a long list of health benefits associated with it, as does lemon water and if nothing else this combination tastes refreshing. 


Cooled Boiled Water

 1/2 - 1 Lemon

1-2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar 


Boil water and either let cool or add a dash of cold water. Cut lemon into chunks or slices, squeeze into water and option to drop lemon pieces into mug (unwaxed lemon is best of you do this), add apple cider vinegar - enjoy! 


zero waste apple cider Vinegar water.jpg

Recipe: Greek Salad

Inspired by a recent trip to the gorgeous island of Samothraki you can't beat a simple Greek Salad in the summer. 




Onions (optional - left out here!)

Feta (or vegan substitute)

Olives (optional - left out here)

Olive Oil



Chop cucumber, tomatoes, onion and feta into bite size chunks, add olives, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with oregano - enjoy! 


zero waste greek salad.jpg

Kitting out the Bulkmobile

Once we had brought the Bulkmobile home it was time to turn her into our zero waste shop. We wanted to kit out the van in the most responsible way, taking environmental and business concerns into consideration.

We started by looking into shelving and opted for a custom made shelving system in hardwood plywood. Although a new resource that requires industrial processing, plywood is considered a greener, sustainable hardwood option. Making plywood means being able to utilise more from felled logs as it's mostly made with thin sheets of wood sliced from logs that wouldn’t make very good solid lumber, therefore utilising something that may otherwise be wasted. The shelves were CNC machined and designed in a way to limit waste from a single plywood sheet. Additional shelves needed were made by us (Gemma's dad to be more accurate!) from available off-cuts. 

Earthborn paint was our paint of choice for our shelving as they offer a range of environmentally friendly paint; free from acrylics, oils and vinyl. We went for a grey called Kissing Gate in their Eggshell that's washable (good for food hygiene), virtually VOC free and carries the EU Ecolabel. 

Choosing secondhand where available we found shop baskets to use to display our lifestyle products and our weighing station at the back of the van is made from an Ikea shelf bought from a friend of Gemma's who relocated abroad. We then topped it with a worktop made from recycled yogurt pots, this came with an added bonus of also being a leftover off-cut! We also used this to create our serving shelf. 

We needed to have a sink on-board for hygiene and went for one made from plastic, we chose this over a stainless steel option due to its space-saving design and we are happy that we can utilise a used plastic bottle to hold the waste drainage.

For the containers holding our products we had to opt for plastic. Glass was just too heavy and also a health and safety risk due to potential breakages while driving along. We decided to partner with Addis as their container range is made from food-safe, BPA free, polypropylene which is easy to recycle come the end of the products life-cycle. They are a reputable UK based company, with sound Environmental and Packaging Policies in place. Their products are designed and manufactured to last, with a 10 year guarantee so we hope we'll be using them for many years.   

Outside branding was our final decision for the van. We researched to find the greenest vinyl available and came across 3M Envision wrap. This vinyl film is non-PVC being made from a bio-based material. Its phthalate-free, contains no added chlorine or halogens and uses 58% less solvents than conventional films, eliminating potential hazards to the environment at the end of use. 

So there you have it, a little tour inside our van, if you haven't seen it for yourself yet check out our locations and come and see our little mobile zero waste shop! 

environmentally friendly van.png

Plastic Free July

Its July and that means only one thing- the Plastic Free July Challenge - inspiring people all over the world to #ChooseToRefuse. With 31 days in July we've set out 31 ways to reduce the plastic in your life; whether you choose to target takeaway plastic options, single use plastic or to completely avoid plastics altogether these should help you on your way. 

1) If you like to stay hydrated during the day get yourself a reusable water bottle

2) Like a takeaway drink? Think about a reusable cup that you can take with you

3) Know that you're gonna get lunch out? Pack some cutlery, wrap in a muslin cloth for napkin and some containers / paper to wrap items in. Or look to eat in! 

4) Keep a reusable straw handy or remember to say no straw when ordering drinks

5) Get yourself a reusable bag

6) Look around for shops that offer items bulk / loose / unpackaged - farmers markets, greengrocers, butchers, bulk shops to name a few

7) Keep hold of any plastic / glass jars, containers, bottles and reuse when you go on your bulk / loose / unpackaged shopping adventure

8) Invest in or make beeswax / soy fabric wraps to use instead of clingfilm; tin foil and baking paper are other alternatives for storing food

 9) Milk - look into local glass bottle options, or try switching to nut milk and make your own

10) Butter - switch from plastic contained to wax paper wrapped butter and store in butter dish

11) Yogurt - buy options available in glass jars or look to make your own

12) Check your teabags - scarily some brands contain plastic, check packaging or buy loose leaf

13) Ditch the chewing gum - most brands are made with a synthetic rubber made from plastic

14)  Lover of cold, filtered water and normally buy bottled? Get prepared, buy a couple of glass bottles and invest in filter option of your choice (we love a charcoal stick!) and store in fridge - keep a couple bottles on rotation so you always have fresh, filtered water available

15) Give soap nuts a try - a natural biodegradable alternative to laundry liquid, or look for glass / cardboard packaged brands or refillable options

16) Utilise old fabric scraps for house cleaning rags so you don't have to buy new packaged options, or look for unpackaged options available

17) Utilise old cleaning product bottles and try making your own

18) Swap your synthetic kitchen sponge for a natural alternative

19) Avoid bin bags; check to see if you need to use if your bin gets tipped straight into a lorry, you can always line with paper to keep clean

20) Make a switch to hard soap and shampoo to avoid all those bottles in the bathroom

21) Make a switch to hard deodorant or powdered options in non-plastic containers

22) Lookout for toilet roll not sold in plastic wrap

23) Switch synthetic sponges for natural sponges, loofahs, muslin cloths etc for washing

24) Try a bamboo toothbrush (watch out for the bristles though which will still be plastic, ensure you remove before looking to compost)

25) Look into alternative tooth care; toothpaste that's in aluminium tubes or solid options, mouthwash in glass, natural floss

26) Use 100% cotton buds

27) Switch to a metal razor

28) Look into alternative sanitary products; avoid tampons with plastic applicators, find natural organic cotton brands, try a mooncup or reusable pads, there's even pants available now with a built in pad! 

29) Look into alternative body care brands that use non-plastic containers or offer refill / send back packaging, or try making your own

30) Shop local and avoid delivery which normally means excess packaging (although some brands are getting pretty good at offering non-plastic delivery options)

31) Check the clothing that you're buying, perhaps try natural alternatives vs plastic based fabrics 

Good luck with the challenge, remember any bit of plastic you manage to avoid is a step in the right direction so don't overwhelm yourself by taking on too many changes. We've integrated different methods over many years to make sure the changes we make are sustainable and workable for us. 

*You can find out more about Plastic Free July at http://www.plasticfreejuly.org/ 

plastic free july.jpg

Why package free?

As you may have seen in the news, TV and social media, levels of plastic waste polluting both land and sea has now become a critical environmental issue. The National Geographic has recently published its June 2018 Plastics issue with some startling facts and figures on plastics which highlight exactly why we want to start offering everyday products package free to the people of Cornwall.

Below are our highlights (or lowlights really) from the issue: 

Single-use, disposable packaging, accounted for over a third of the 448 million tons of plastic produced in 2015, making it the largest market for plastic production. 

Plastic packaging now accounts for nearly half of all plastic waste generated globally with most of it not getting recycled or incinerated. 

Scientists writing in Nature magazine back in 2013 declared that disposable plastic should be classified as a hazardous material.

The growth of plastic production has outgrown our current waste management abilities, which is why our environment is overflowing with plastic pollution.

Globally roughly 8.8 million tons of plastic waste ends up in our oceans annually.

Microplastics have been found everywhere in the ocean that people have looked, from sediments on the deepest seafloor to ice floating in the Arctic. With nearly 700 species, including endangered ones, affected by ocean plastics. 

We don't know how long it takes for plastics to biodegrade: estimates range from 450 years to never. 

There's no denying that these are some scary statistics and its hard to get your head around how we let it get this bad, but the good news is that this is something we can affect. As consumers we have great power; if we all spend wisely and think about what we are buying and avoid single-use plastic packaging where we can then we can make a difference to plastic waste. We don't think plastic is the enemy but our disposable attitude to it is not sustainable, which is why we are looking to offer an alternative way to shop, one that will help reduce the amount of disposable plastic packaging needed.

*Statistics and facts from National Geographic June 2018, Plastic by Laura Parker p40-69


Fuelling the Incredible Bulk

After deciding that we would be making our zero waste shop mobile, our discussions quickly turned to the topic of fuel. As an environmentally conscious business we knew that our fuel choice would be an important one and so we took the time to research all the options available.

Of course, our initial thoughts were of a zero-emission, electrically-powered van (that or a cool old-school Citroen!). However, the electric vans available at the time of our research either did not have the capacity to hold all of the bulk products we planned to provide, or were unavailable to us due to the costs involved (even when considering the Government grants). We also had concerns around the battery ranges when considering the distances that we would be travelling across Cornwall, the weight of product going into the van, and also available charging points. Bearing all this in mind it became apparent that a zero emissions van would sadly not be a viable option for us.

Our attention then moved to alternative fuels such as CNG (compressed natural gas) and hydrogen, both offering environmental benefits when compared to diesel. However, availability was proving to be an issue. We struggled to find a supply of bio-methane CNG or hydrogen available in Cornwall. We also considered LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) where availability was less of an issue but our research told us that while it offers a CO2 saving when compared to petrol, the CO2 per km emissions are similar to diesel.

These findings finally lead us to consider petrol vs diesel. In spite of the recent negative publicity around diesel, our research showed that whilst petrol vans have come along way, they are more suited to city-based businesses with lower mileage, with diesel vans being more fuel efficient than petrol when covering larger distances and with heavier loads.  We ruled out older, emission-heavy diesel vans (no cool old-school Citroen for us) and instead looked into newer vans that had the Euro 6 engine, with Euro 6 legislation helping to reduce harmful gases in the air and combat climate change.

Having considered all of the fuel options in detail whilst also factoring in the requirements to run a reliable mobile shop we finally decided on a Peugeot Boxer 2.0 BlueHDi. Peugeot's latest generation of fuel and environmentally efficient Diesel engines include a three stage cleansing process specifically targeting the pollutants of diesel combustion, removing hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide, reducing nitrogen oxides by up to 90% and eliminating 99.95% of particulates.  

Although a zero-emission vehicle proved not to be a viable option for our business, we believe our final choice continues to reflect our commitment to the environment. Our engine emits 163g CO2 per km driven currently but we are looking into a Bio-diesel that will help reduce this by 28% (tailpipe emissions are unaffected but as a renewable fuel made from used cooking oil the saving comes from looking at the fuel life cycle). At present there is not a supply in Cornwall but we are continuing to look into this and will keep you posted.

And finally...we are following up with local Cornwall initiatives to plant native trees to help off-set our CO2 output - lookout for updates and more information in future Incredible Blog posts!