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

save water tips.jpg

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

global recycling day.jpg

Plastic Pollution and Rivers

Today is International Day of Action for Rivers, a day to celebrate our life-giving waters. Unfortunately, our freshwater ecosystems are going through tough times, Anne-Claire Loftus, WWF UK Freshwater adviser, tells us that “freshwater species populations declined by 81% from 1970 to 2012, an average loss much greater than that of species on land or in the oceans.” There are many threats impacting rivers and other freshwater habitats including loss of connectivity and flow reductions due to dams and other artificial barriers; over-abstraction of water for irrigation and other uses; excessive nutrient loading from agricultural and urban areas; siltation caused by land degradation and deforestation; and the impact of climate change. In recent years plastic pollution has also been counted as a possible threat and we thought it was the perfect time to find out how our rivers have been affected by plastic pollution.

1) Our rivers are key sources of marine plastic pollution

News and studies on plastic pollution has mainly focused on our oceans rather than rivers but it looks like this is beginning to change. We found numerous reports in the news with regards to how rivers are contributing to ocean plastic pollution and how they are key carriers of plastic waste from source to our oceans. Two studies, highlighted by Anne-Claire Loftus, estimated that between 1.15–2.41 and 0.21–4.38 million tonnes of plastic waste per year entered the oceans from land via river catchments. Highlighting that rivers are a key area of concern when it comes to plastic pollution. For this reason there are now more studies looking into plastic pollution in our rivers rather than the ocean.

2) Single use plastic have been found to be a core cause of river litter

Thames21 and MCS ran 20 river clean events at Thames tributaries and tidal Thames sites to collect data for their ‘source to sea’ study. Data collected revealed that more than 80% of litter in the Thames, and 78% on its tributaries, is made up of single-use items such as metal drink cans, food packaging and plastic drinks bottles. It also found that the concentration of litter items found per 100m rose as the Thames made its way towards the sea, due to the increased opportunity for humans to influence the ecosystem. The charities supported a move away from single-use saying that “more than 60% of litter would disappear from the Thames basin if we moved away from single-use items.”

A little closer to home we found an article on Cornwall Live written at the end of 2017 about plastic pollution collected from Truro River by Mary Jones who spends her free time kayaking along the river to complete litter picks. On one trip she collected 6 bin bags full of plastic litter, with the most common being food wrappers.

3) Micro-plastics have now been found in our freshwater systems

Micro-plastics in our rivers have more recently been in the news thanks to a new study by Dr Dunn who collected samples from 10 different river, lake and reservoir sites across the UK. He found micro-plastics at each of the 10 locations, ranging from 2-3 per litre to more than 1000 per litre in the worst affected area. On the results Dr Dunn has said “Micro-plastics are being found absolutely everywhere [but] we do not know the dangers they could be posing. It’s no use looking back in 20 years time and saying: ‘If only we’d realised just how bad it was.’ We need to be monitoring our waters now and we need to think, as a country and a world, how we can be reducing our reliance on plastic.”

Micro-plastics come from a variety of sources, as explained in an essay by Scott Lambert and Martin Wagner. They can come from the degradation of larger plastic debris items, such as litter and also agricultural equipment (eg plastic films used for crop production) but can also enter the environment as micro-plastics via wastewater treatment plants and the surrounding environment from a number of sources such as personal care products (microbeads), release of fibres from textiles during the washing of clothes, incidental release (e.g. tyre wear) and release from industrial products or processes. The essay outlines how studies on the potential harm of micro-plastics vary considerably but states that “although science is far from understanding the ecological implications of freshwater micro-plastics; technological innovation, societal action, and political interventions need to be taken to mitigate the plastics pollution, which will – in case of inaction – certainly increase over the years to come.”

What have we taken away from these articles? That although a lot is still unknown we feel strongly that plastic pollution has largely been caused by our disposable attitude towards plastic, a product that does not disappear, only breaks down and spreads further - now having reached not only the deepest depths of our remote oceans but also our remote fresh water channels. Removing plastic waste from seas and rivers will help alleviate environmental issues but to stop the problem we need to reduce our reliance on plastic, looking to avoid it where possible as consumers is a great way to start, something we can do immediately as well as ensuring any waste we do come across is disposed of responsibly so it does not impact our natural environment.

Information from WWF, Scott Lambert and Martin Wagner, The Guardian, The River Trust and Cornwall Live

For more on International Day of Action for Rivers

cornwall river plastic pollution.jpg

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

World Wildlife Day : Life Below Water

Today marks World Wildlife Day, a day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants. This years focus is on life below water, where there are nearly 200,000 identified species living in our oceans.

Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods. Marine wildlife has sustained human civilisation and development for millennia, from providing food and nourishment, to material for handicraft and construction. It has also enriched our lives culturally, spiritually, and recreationally in different ways. However, the capacity of life below water to provide these services has been severely impacted, as our planet’s oceans and the species that live within it are under assault from an onslaught of threats. As much as 40% of the ocean is now heavily affected by the most significant and direct threat of over exploitation of marine species as well as other threats such as pollution, loss of coastal habitats and climate change.

Despite this day being about a celebration of the ocean we also need to be aware of these many threats, of which plastic is a major one, here are some scary plastic facts involving the ocean from The Marine Conservation Society:

  • It’s estimated that one rubbish truck load of plastic litter enters the ocean every minute

  • Globally, plastic litter has reached every part of the world’s oceans

  • Plastic has been found in the stomachs of almost all marine species, including fish, birds, whales, dolphins, seals and turtles

  • The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is thought to be 6 times the size of the UK

  • Litter has increased by 135% since 1994, with plastics increasing by a staggering 180%

  • Around 30% of UK beach litter can be directly sourced to the public

On World Wildlife Day we’re asked to do one thing to help reduce the threat to marine species and we think avoiding plastic is a huge step in the right direction. By shopping at refill / zero waste shops you get to avoid a huge amount of unnecessary plastic packaging that may end up in the natural environment causing an ongoing threat to our beautiful oceans.

As well as avoiding plastic you can join the new #generationsea campaign by Surfers Against Sewage. For 2019 they are looking to build a new movement to save our oceans and beaches and want to push for a bold new Environment Bill that will protect our seas. They currently have 3790 signatures and are looking to get to 5000, to sign up click here.

Everyday wildlife protection doesn’t have to be hard. Wildlife conservation is an issue that needs attention every day and although the challenges that our natural environment is facing are complex and can seem huge, every persons small actions add up to a much larger solution.

Info from Wildlife Day, MCS and SAS

Images below from Francesca Williams and SAS

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

plastic free bread.jpg

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

beach clean.jpg

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!

cornwall zero waste events march.jpg

Plastics and Climate Change

Plastics have an interesting and complex relationship with climate change and rising greenhouse gases.

99% of plastics come from fossil fuels and throughout its life cycle it makes a significant contribution to rising greenhouse gases and climate change. Plastic pollutes at every stage; from materials extraction, product production and transportation to disposal.

Plastics currently account for around 6% of global oil demand and are responsible for rising methane emissions from associated gas extraction. Once the materials have been extracted there are then the carbon emissions from production and transportation of plastic. Its been estimated that one 500ml plastic water bottle (about 10 grams) has an average total CO2 footprint of 82.8 grams. For context, the production of four plastic bottles produces approximately the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as travelling one mile in a medium-sized petrol car.

But the story doesn’t end there, a study by the University of Hawaii has demonstrated that many plastics also give off powerful greenhouse gases as they breakdown, which is also contributing to climate change. Of particular concern is LDPE which releases gases at the highest rate and is also the most prevalent discarded plastic in oceans. Its been discovered that the more surface area a piece of plastic has the more gas is given off. So for example a plastic bottle, after years of photodegradation in the ocean will have a surface area thousands of times greater than its original surface area, leading to a greater emission of methane. This means that over time plastics give off more and more harmful gas and are further adding to climate change.

With around half of all plastic production being destined for a single-use item this seems like a terrible use of a limited natural resource and an extremely wasteful addition to greenhouse gases. With around 8 million tonnes of plastic ending up in the oceans each year this massively adds to the greenhouse gas problem as it slowly breaks down in the environment and starts to release harmful greenhouse gases.

Moving away from single-use plastic will help tackle carbon emissions from both ends. Scarily plastic production is currently expected to triple by 2050 and its predicted that the plastic industry will be accounting for 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions. This is something we can reduce and do something about. By reusing what we’ve already got and moving away from single-use, we’ll move to a more circular economy that will help reduce carbon emissions.

Information from 5gyres, brightblue and Parley

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Recipe: Quick Naan Without Yeast

Naan bread without the plastic packaging and you should be able to find all the ingredients plastic free too! This recipe is super quick and easy and a great addition to home cooked currys!

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

3/4 tsp baking powder

2 tsp oil

1/2 cup milk

Directions:

This recipe is to serve 4, 8-10 naan breads.

Combine all dry ingredients and whisk together.

Create well in the middle of dry ingredients and add the oil and milk. Mix together until it forms a ball in the bowl. Turn out on counter and knead until smooth and elastic (around 5 mins) adding more flour as needed, you want the dough to be moist but not loose.

Let the dough rest for 10 mins.

Divide dough into 8-10 small balls.

Heat skillet / frying pan over medium - high heat. Roll out one ball of dough until very thin - use roller. Melt some butter in pan and one at a time place rolled dough into pan. Cook for about 90 seconds, or until parts are blackening, on each side.

When done you can brush with butter or oil and top with seasoning if you wish.

 Recipe from The Kitchen Paper

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DIY : Febreze

Want fresh smelling clothes and home without the plastic? We make up our own version of Febreze to get rid of unwanted odours without the plastic waste, and its super easy. We find it handy to have around the house- means less washing!

Ingredients:

235 ml water

37 g bi carbonate of soda

118 ml fabric softener

Directions:

Using the volumes above will half fill a Febreze bottle, we find its best to make in small batches.

Boil water in saucepan, once the water is boiling remove pan from heat. Add bi carb and fabric softener if using and stir to combine. Leave to cool. Transfer mixture to bottle. We found that sometimes not all the fabric softener combines so we run the mixture through a sieve to remove any lumpy bits left and then just pop these into the washing machine to be used in the next load!

Shake bottle before each use as ingredients may separate. Use as needed. We found that this mixture is a little ‘wetter’ than traditional Febreze but does work to remove odours and freshen fabrics.

The bi carbonate of soda helps absorb odours while the fabric softener adds fresh smell.

Instructions based on:

Wikihow

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Monday Motivation : Protecting the natural world

A huge source of motivation for us is to protect our natural environment. In recent consumer Western society we have become removed from the natural cycles of life and have lost respect for the Earth and its life giving resources.

Over the course of last year there were a number of studies and articles all highlighting the scary spread and impact of plastics on our natural environment which we hope is slowly rebuilding our connection and respect for the planet and a wish to live in a way that will reduce and correct the harm we have been causing.

We are saddened but not surprised by the results of a recent study of 50 animals from 10 different species that had died from a variety of causes found washed up on the coastlines of the UK. The study of the animals, that included dolphins, porpoises, seals and whales revealed that each one had ‘microplastic’ particles in their stomachs and intestines. The vast majority of particles found were synthetic fibres that may have been shed by clothes or fishing nets. Others were fragments of originally larger pieces that could have come from plastic food packaging and bottles.

Lead researcher Sarah Nelms, from the University of Exeter, said: “It’s shocking - but not surprising - that every animal had ingested microplastics.” She expressed concern that long-term exposure to plastic pollution could damage the health of Britain’s marine mammals: “They eat all sorts but it will reach a tipping point and really affect their health. It’s important to have this baseline study so we can monitor how they adapt – or don’t adapt – to the changes that are coming.”

Globally one garbage truck of plastic is dumped into the Ocean every minute and at current rates it will be 2 trucks per minute by 2030 - we have to radically change our habits to stop this from happening. The more people who make the change to package-free / zero-waste shopping the less plastic waste there is and that keeps us going and motivates us to make sure package free shopping is accessible for people to make the switch. Hopefully the reduced demand for packaged goods will also lead to bigger industry change.

Info and image from MCS UK article here , Guardian article here and World Economic Forum here . Full study report here

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DIY : Yogurt

For fans of yogurt it can be hard to avoid plastic with not many glass-jarred versions out there. But help is at hand because its surprisingly easy to make your own. You can decide how much time and effort you put in, some recipes call for constant attention but we’ve had success with an easy slow-cooker almost leave it to it recipe. You’ll need either a slow cooker or you can do with a saucepan and a thermometer to measure milk temperature. The total time making the yogurt mixture is around 3-4 hours and then resting tie of 10/12 hrs or over night - so plan accordingly!

Ingredients:

Milk - ideally un-homogenised and full fat

Yogurt cultures - from existing bio live yogurt pot, or you can use kefir cultures too

Directions:

We usually use around 2 litres of milk which makes 1 large jar of yogurt and around 100ml of yogurt cultures

Make sure your yogurt cultures are at room temperature - so take out of the fridge and place on worktop.

Place all milk in either slow cooker or saucepan if doing on hob. You want to get the milk temperature up to 85 degrees Celsius slowly, without burning the milk. You can do this on a high setting in the slow cooker or over a medium heat in a pan. This will take up to 2 hrs. You can decide how much attention you place on heating the milk. We’ve often just left the slow cooker to it and occasionally checked the temperature and given it a bit of a stir. If you are doing over a hob you will need to tend to it more ensuring you stir regularly to stop any scorching of the milk.

Once at the desired temperature (and make sure it does reach this temp, we’ve often found the yogurt doesn’t take if it hasn’t quite reached the top temp) depending on how much time you have you can either keep it at that temp for a little while, up to 20/30 mins or you can start to cool the milk - we’ve heard that the longer you heat the thicker the yogurt. So turn off the slow cooker or remove from heat on the hob. You want the milk to slowly cool to 43 degrees Celsius. Don’t try to quicken up the process, this’ll take between 1 -2 hours.

Once the milk has cooled, take your room temperature yogurt cultures and mix in a little of the warm milk, then gently but thoroughly stir the cultures into the milk - don’t use circular motions but use an up and down and side to side motion (we’re not sure why)?!

Then place a lid on the slow cooker / saucepan and wrap in a large towel to help retain heat and let it sit for 10-12 hours / overnight.

You should then have yogurt! If you desire thicker yogurt you can look to strain the mixture through a muslin cloth to separate the whey but we often don’t bother / need too.

Jar up your yogurt and place in the fridge - make sure you save some of your yogurt in a separate jar to have ready to make your next batch and you should never have to buy yogurt in a plastic tub again!

Occasionally you may end up with yogurt soup where the mixture hasn’t set - this has happened to us once so far, we’re not sure why, potentially the milk wasn’t hot enough, but whats left is still good enough to eat and use and will still have plenty of good bacteria!

Instructions and recipe based on:

Daring Gourmet

Chelsea Green

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Turning off the tap: a look at Antoine Repesse #365 Unpacked

When you use something on a daily basis its hard to imagine its impact over time, especially when it comes to waste as its often out of sight and therefore out of mind.

Back in 2011, photographer Antoine Repesse decided to tackle his waste head on and for four years stopped throwing away his recyclable rubbish. During this time he accumulated over 70 cubic meters of trash including 1600 milk bottles, 4800 loo rolls and 800kg of newspapers. His photography project that followed, #365, Unpacked, became ‘a questioning of a major society issue: the production of waste on a daily basis’, and made our daily waste visible for all to see.

This accumulation of waste seen in his images really does highlight our disconnect between our consumption patterns, our waste produced and the effect it has on the planet.

Luckily we’ve come a long way since Repesse’s project and unlike the subjects seen in his work we are no longer blind to the effects waste is having on our environment and our life source. Thanks to numerous projects since we are now all aware of the damage that has been caused. But there is still a lot to do.

A common argument or concern raised when looking at plastic waste is to blame the authorities for not having enough recycling options in place, but we think there is a bigger issue at play - our mass consumption and its link to our waste. We believe we have to start owning our own waste and look to turn off the tap rather than mop up the mess. Refusing to buy single-use products and buying only what you need are great steps forward in slowing down the amount of waste created and therefore harm to the environment. Turning off the plastic tap will mean there’s nothing to mop up.

You can see more images here

Information from article here

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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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31 Ways to Reduce Your Plastic

Who’s looking to reduce their plastic use this year?! Here at Incredible Bulk we’re all about offering you easy swaps to avoid those dastardly single use items and plastic that are causing so much harm to the planet.

Click here to see our gallery of 31 easy swaps available in the van that can help you move towards being zero waste.

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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

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