Tuesday, 28 October 2008


There are a lot of missing posts on this blog - for example, I found plastic-free (fake) marmite in cambridge - but the three months are over! (Sunday, at noon)

Since then I have bought
frozen peas
a huge jar of real marmite
a jacket potato in polystyrene from spar**
soy sauce***
toilet paper

So, what next? I shall most definitely continue having milk delivered, buying vegetables loose. It is at times rather fun refusing plastic, so I imagine I shall continue with this. There are a few things I intend to buy though, including some extremely warm, waterproof gloves, either a tumble dryer or a dehumidifier and two (work, home) proper water bottles (we never found ones without plastic lids).

I imagine I'll fill in some of the gaps in this blog over the next few months. And an advanced warning that this is NOT THE END. There are some plans (in Ele's head) about lent and a plastic fast, with many people. You are invited to join in!

*the women on the cheese counter didn't seem to understand my requests and I didn't feel like fighting
**a previous favourite when working late however, it was horrible, both the potato and the plastic and I don't think I shall do this again.
***I looked all over the country for a plastic-free version with no luck at all

Friday, 24 October 2008

Quantum Hyperion

It has been commented on that there is NOT MUCH PHYSICS in this blog. Nor currently not much at all. So instead, see here for an interesting post by some other physicists.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008


I took a trip to Preston with some friends on Saturday. It had been my intention to cycle, but rain and a late night hampered that. However, we did find what we were looking for: the Food Weighhouse (in the Guildhall for anyone interested).

We found, unpackaged
  • pasta (including wholemeal)
  • hot chocolate powder
  • sweets
  • coffee and tea bags
  • rice, couscous
  • various dried fruits + nuts
  • various powders (cake, gravy, custard and suchlike)
  • chocolate chips
  • dried banana and onion (separately
  • and more stuff - some which Single Step doesn't stock
And a very friendly shop assistant who said "This is the ultimate in recycling!" when she saw all the paper bags we'd taken.

A note of caution: you do need to take your own paper bags (if you're trying to avoid plastic) as they only provide plastic ones. Otherwise it could be a rather wasted journey!

Monday, 6 October 2008

Toilet paper

Thought this could be an impossibility, but it turned out that a 2-pack of Andrex comes wrapped in paper. And they sell this in Somerfield in Lancaster (by the bus station). Sainsburys do a tiny box (travel size?) in cardboard, but it is not really practical (and very expensive).

However, I would never usually buy Andrex, preferring brands that have other ethical plus points - i.e. using recycled paper (and I guess they are cheaper too). So I am undecided about what will happen after the 26th October (which I think is our final day).

Ideally there would be a cash and carry type place where they sold it un-packaged.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

In defence of plastic

I don't seriously believe that all plastic is bad, just that our reliance on it and readiness to use once and throw away is not a good thing.

So I post a link to an article on the BBC website about the good side of plastic. You can view it here.

Saturday, 4 October 2008


I forgot to mention, ages ago, the BBC journalist who gave up plastic for August (only one month I hear you say...). And to thank the many many people who emailed me to tell me! I include a link to her blog: 'Not my bag' because it is quite interesting. She began from a completely plastic-filled life (whereas I'd already eliminated a fair bit of plastic before starting).

On a separate note, I think we have a problem with yoghurt. Unless, Ele you have a rather good starter culture and JUST DON'T WISH TO SHARE IT. So, if anyone in Lancaster has some good quality, live natural yoghurt, that was not bought specially for the occasion, could I have a desert spoon full?

Friday, 3 October 2008

For non-squemish women and modern men

You have been warned!

This is a post about periods and avoiding disposable tampons and sanitary towels. Read on if you're interested.

The first thing to point out is that the alternatives have many benefits beside being fairly essential for those who are giving up plastic. Cheaper, greener, chemical-free, better for you etc.

First, as an alternative to tampons there are internally worn things which fall into two categories.

1) washable, reusable cups like the mooncup or the keeper.

2) washable natural sponges (which I know nothing about)

And as an alternative to sanitary towels, you can buy or make your own. This isn't as gross as it sounds (I was doing this well before giving up plastic). I liked lunapads - but there are many brands available. You have a base pad and then add liners according to need. Soak in water and wash in your normal load.

I also had a go at sewing my own, with moderate success. I used part of a broken umbrella for a waterproof layer, though that was mostly for amusement value. There are lots of patterns online, or you can try and copy something freehand... (this method not so recommended...).

I ought to point out that most of these contain nylon as a waterproof layer. So not strictly plastic free, though I don't think that is a concern of the majority of people.

So for a while, I though lunapads were great. Particularly the amazing variety of patterns and colours that they come in. Then I went away with only a mooncup and having no other option forced me to use it (I didn't like it much before). And now I think it is absolutely great!

It takes a little(!) getting used to - but worth persevering. It is comfortable (once you've cut enough of the stem off), cheap (£19 online, but cheaper at single step (£13?) as they sell at cost price), good for the environment - you're throwing nothing away. You don't have to remember to buy or carry tampons and it doesn't absorb like a tampon (which is not good for you).

There is lots of information on the website and I highly recommend you go and have a look!

There might be an information evening in Lancaster sometime soon. If you already have a mooncup and want to help out, let me know.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Feeding the 5000 with no plastic

Well, perhaps 20 people (and some are half size). But for a whole weekend. I've written a (brilliant) menu plan. Things I can't see a plastic-free solution to (yet) are in red. Leave comments if you have ideas!

Adults: Tea, coffee [milk from milkman in glass bottles]
Kids: water, squash, hot chocolate

Apples and raisins [how healthy! and raisins come loose at Single Step]
Flapjacks [homemade, but there may be some vegans so we'll need soya spread or something]
Sweets [for a game, from a traditional sweet shop with glass jars...]

Friday night
Vegetarian chilli with rice and cheese. [rice, soya 'stuff', kidney beans we can buy loose, fresh tomatoes from the market, but what about oil for cooking?] Then apple sponge or something.

Saturday Breakfast
Cereal [I might find this in Preson on Saturday], toast, jam, baked beans, orange juice [milkman], soya milk

Saturday Lunch
Pizza with salad [made by the kids, hopefully! Yeast, from Single Step. Jars of sauce would save work, but is there plastic in the lid?]

Saturday Dinner
Vegetarian BBQ with jacket potatoes and salad [but perhaps not lettuce?]
Veggi sausages / burgers often come without plastic, but which brands?
Desert - fruit dipped in / BBQ’d with chocolate + marshmallows for BBQ

Sunday breakfast
Cereal, toast, eggy bread, orange juice

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

I want...

an unlimited supply of marmite

soy sauce

frozen peas

some very expensive wind and waterproof cycling gloves

some silicone to seal my windows

some compost to plant bulbs

and for my laptop to become fixed.

Some people have been asking what happens after the three months. I think the first day, I go and buy all these things. Perhaps also some cycling trousers and a CD.

THEN perhaps I shan't want plastic again.

AFTERTHOUGHT: Not a CD, a condensing tumble dryer.