PLASTIC FREE FRIDAY NO.19
This week’s Plastic Free Friday had me feeling a little sad. I came across the story of the Great Pacific Garbage patch, discovered by captain Charles Moore, and was even more devastated by the state of our oceans.
In an area twice the size of Texas, Moore and his crew found what can only be described as plastic soup. These patches are almost entirely made up of tiny bits of plastic, called micro-plastics. Since his discovery, Moore and his team have been doing research on marine life and found that a majority of sea life, has plastic debris in their intestines. In another study, Professor Sherri Mason, who also studies aquatic pollution, was alarmed to find synthetic fibres in the fish she had been researching.
These fibres are from synthetic fabrics like Fleece, Nylon and Polyester. A single synthetic garment can shed thousands of synthetic microfibres in a single wash. Patagonia recently commissioned a research project to investigate microfiber pollution in the apparel industry, and found that even though wastewater treatment plants filter 65 to 92 percent of microfibers entering their system, they still release a significant volume of waste into the environment. The extend of the effect this pollution is yet unknown.
PLASTIC FREE FRIDAY NO.18
This weeks Plastic Free Friday tip goes a little further than simply cutting down on plastic. In addition to doing the planet a favour you’ll also possibly be benefiting your health.
Many sources claim that fabric softeners contain chemicals that are not just bad for the environment, they could potentially be hazardous to your health. The so called “quaternary ammonium compounds” found in these products have been linked to respiratory and other health problems while the fragrances are known to cause skin irritations and allergic reactions.
Some call these notions a myth, but if you think about it; it really doesn’t make sense to expose your biggest organ to any chemicals, let alone potentially harmful ones. There are plenty of articles out there outlining just why fabric softeners should not make it into your shopping cart, so you can decide for yourself.
I stopped using fabric softeners more than a year ago. And truthfully, I do not miss it. Now and again I use some white vinegar in my rinse cycle. Sure it doesn’t smell like a rosebush, but it doesn’t smell like vinegar either. It’s actually a disinfectant and kills bacteria that causes bad odours, so you’re clothes do end up smelling better. Apart from being incredibly cheap, my favourite part of using vinegar is that I can buy it in a glass bottle. Bonus points for living plastic free!
PLASTIC FREE FRIDAY NO.17
Just skip the plastic bags
PLASTIC FREE FRIDAY NO.16
Buy in bulk
PLASTIC FREE FRIDAY NO.15
I got this idea after seeing a post by thezerowastegirl on instagram. I’ve been using (and dreading) an epilator for the last three years, and it’s been pretty tough. So I’m quite keen to try out a safety razor. According to goingzerowaste the blades are recyclable, lasts longer and are much cheaper then conventional blades. There you have three more reason to ditch the plastic blades for old school ones.
PLASTIC FREE FRIDAY NO.14
Soap for your dishwasher is most probably not the most environmentally friendly product you’ll drop into your trolly. But it can be plastic free. Many manufacturers sell dishwasher soap as granules or in powder form. This may not be the most convenient option, but it can be more economical – you can decide how much or how little to use. I couldn’t find any “boxed” powders at my drogerie (they were all just in plastic) but I did find these “umweltfreundliche” tabs – they are free of phosphates and covered in a water soluble packaging, so no more tiny bags of useless plastic. Yay!
Plastic free Friday NO.13
All that glitter’s not gold.
On my home-made-christmas post last year I mentioned that more than half of the christmas decorations produced are made in China. Hard to believe since China does not even celebrate christmas. When I was little the best part of decorating our christmas tree was making the decorations. We used to draw pictures that we coloured in and cut out. My mom would then put a string on it and hang it in the tree. When I think about it, it probably didn’t look great. But it was super special. And that is what xmas should be all about – not shiny plastic crap that break and fill up our landfills, but lovingly made treasures that we can keep forever and when it does break, simply decomposes.
Plastic free Friday NO.12
Earbuds… Not even meant for ears at all.
Plastic free Friday NO.11
Plastic free Friday NO.10
Plastic free Friday NO.9
Plastic free Friday NO.8
I love wrapping presents. Love it! I get all excited and always ask people if I can wrap their gifts for them. Christmas is my favourite time of the year, largely due to this. This was before I considered the environmental impact of gift wrap and plastic ribbons. Many wrapping papers are laminated plastic film, or dyed with synthetic inks, which makes them problematic to recycle. And the sticky tape that holds it together is often not recyclable at all. So next time I wrap a gift, I’m going to keep this in mind and use all the brown paper I collect from deliveries or maybe even make my own.
Plastic free Friday NO.7
What happens when it goes down the drain…
I’m not much of a skin-care-product enthusiast. My skin is happiest when I just rinse it with water. But every now and then, a good old scrub is nice. As it turns out though, some companies put crazy ingredients like plastic in their facial scrubs. They’re commonly know as microbeads but you may have seen them under more dubious names like polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate, polymethyl methacrylate, polylactic acid etc. These are so bad for the environment that many governments have already banned their use. But sadly, dodgy ingredients still make it into our products. Maybe it’s time to be a bit more sceptical of what we put on our skin; time to ask questions like, where do the ingredients come from, and where do they end up? Cause if they’re putting plastic in face wash, what else is okay to put in there? I think the next time I feel like exfoliating, I’ll just make my own scrub. That way I’ll also skip the plastic container it comes in. Double win for the planet.
Plastic free Friday NO.6
Balloons are just bad.
I read the other day that the amount of balloons and balloon pieces found on the beach, have tripled in the past 10 years! Filled with helium, these colourful chocking-hazards fly far out of sight, often settling in remote places, where they’re consumed by animals, only to wreck havoc on their digestive tracks. Balloons kill wildlife. If you don’t believe me, here is some very grim evidence. Next time you have a party, make some fabric bunting or paper lanterns like these ones. I am never, ever buying balloons again. I don’t think you should either.
Plastic free Friday NO.5
It’s been a while.
With all the excitement of summer I’ve been pretty bad at keeping my promise to post plastic-free tips. I’m sorry people. Admittedly, my wheels came off a little and I have strayed from the path of plastic free shopping. But with the spring starting in the south, now is perhaps the best time to get started again. So in the spirit of new beginnings I’ve decided to change the theme ever so slightly. Hope you like it!
Plastic free Friday NO.4
The best thing since sliced bread is freshly baked bread!
I’ve eaten many many marmite sandwiches in my live. Sometimes some with fish paste too. Sliced bread is great. But freshly baked bread is better, especially if you can get it from your local bakery instead of the supermarket. It’s even better if you bake it yourself. But feeding a starter isn’t everybody’s thing. It’s definitely not mine. So the next time I’m buying bread, I’m getting one without the plastic.
Plastic free Friday NO.3
This one’s for the meat lovers out there. It’s virtually impossible to buy meat without some type of packaging, so the idea here is to at least buy the option with the least amount of waste.
For instance, instead of buying four individually packaged packs of mince, rather go to the butchery section of the store and get 1kg of mince in one go. This way you end up with one set of packaging versus 4, and you can separate the meat into smaller amounts at home before you freeze it. It also works out much cheaper, so it’s a win for your pocket and the environment.
Plastic free Friday NO.2
There’s something about grabbing a “to-go” coffee on my way to work that just makes me feel cool. But actually it’s not cool. Because the coffee lasts for maybe 2mins and then it’s into the bin with the cup and lid.
So from now on, I will either stop, and have my coffee “to-stay”, or I’ll take one of those nifty cups with the silicone lids (those ones from Mr Price) along with me to work. This zero-waste CEO I read about uses a mason jar, which I guess could also work. But maybe you really don’t have time to sit down and maybe you really just need the coffee. Perhaps then, you just take the cup, leave the lid and don’t stir with that silly plastic stick.
Plastic free Friday NO.1
Between two evils, choose the one that leaves no trace
I first posted “my plastic free life” suggestion on Facebook and people seemed really inspired by it. So I thought I’d create a page for it on my blog, so people can go back to it and pass it along. So if you haven’t seen the Facebook post, here is suggestion NO.1. Now you have an excuse to choose the cone!
Paper cups are often laminated with plastic in order to make it watertight and are therefore not valued as pure paper, making it tough to recycle. And that pretty pink spoon is exactly the stuff you see sticking out in beach sand. Rather choose the cone, you don’t have to eat it (it’s biodegradable).
Plastic free Fridays
There’s this video going around on Facebook with Jeff Bridges and the dire plight of our world filled with plastic. It is really sad. We use 17 million barrels of oil to produce plastic water bottles every year–this is something like 2703 000 000 litres, enough to fuel 1million cars!!! But the thing that really got to me in the video was the fact that plastic pieces on the oceans surface now outnumber sea life 6 to 1!
Since recycling is not a real solution because plastic never goes away, I’ve embarked on a mission to simply stop buying plastic things. And it’s actually really hard. There are so many little things we chuck away without even realising it; just the type of things they find in animal bellies. But I’m going to give it my best shot, and every time I manage to make a plastic free purchase, I will share it with you. Perhaps it will inspire you to do the same.