After the wonderful feedback and engagement we have had in previous years we will be facilitating another Lent Plastic Challenge from Wednesday 1st March to Sunday 15th April.
The challenge is a positive one, choose one or two items to find alternatives to each week. And you are not alone. There is a supportive Facebook community and each week we provide a tip sheet with inspiration, discounts and offers. You can also follow on Twitter and Instagram too. Use the #lentplasticchallenge and #plasticchallenge.
In the last few weeks there have been some exciting developments with the UN launching their plastics campaign and countries pledging to tackle their impacts, so what a great time to really create a public shift in the perception of plastics.
It’s that time again, Summer festivals and holidays and as we get ready for Glastonbury and a summer of excursions we thought we would share some of our tips which reduce the packaging waste as well as lightening your heavy load ( more room for fancydress).
Take a large empty water canister, camel packs and smaller metal bottles to fill up from taps- this is much lighter and more environmentally friendly than la pack of 2 litre plastic bottles of water.
Decant spirits into metal re-usable bottles rather than plastic bottles.
Take re-usable cups for beer and coffee- take these to vendors for drinks.
Reboot provide a handy carry strap for cans and bottles made from recycled wellie boots.
Fruit tea bags, lemons or cucumber steeped in cold water for 2-3 hours make a refreshing drink rather than cartoons of juice that are heavy to carry.
Take protein powder and a shake cup rather than cartoons or bottles of protein drinks,these weigh loads less.
Pack food-stuffs in re-usable cloth bags or reusable metal containers (like tiffin boxes) . Avoid bringing plastic carrier bags on site, these blow around in the breeze and can end up in the countryside and the waterways.
Energy food and instant snacks are important. Could you make your own energy balls or snacks to bring along? Here are some quick and easy recipes ideas.
Chocolate from Green & Blacks, Lindt, Divine and Lidl all come in paper and foil.
Buy loose fresh fruit and vegetables rather than bagged items. Fresh produce does not fair well sweating in a plastic bag inside a tent.
Mooncups and other menstrual cups are great for periods as you don’t have to carry lots of pads and tampons with you and they only need changing every 8-12 hours.
Divide up your waste as you would at home separating recycling, compost and landfill.
Always put items in the correct bin- did you know that a whole consignment of recycled items can be chucked in landfill if they are deemed contaminated with food waste or mixed with the wrong items?
Refuse straws from bars (maybe bring your own metal straw).
Rather than getting a new single-use plastic glass, reuse the one you have as much as possible.
If you have a re-usable plastic pint glass, take this to the bar.
Avoid dropping plastic cups on the floor, once broken they are difficult to pick up and could endanger the innocent animals who live on the land.
Take your tent, chairs, fancy dress and wellies home with you. Contrary to rumours, they don’t go to refugee camps. Instead they are an ecological disaster, and cost the festival thousands to remove. This means a festival ticket will increase in future years, as costs for landfill rise.
During the Lent Plastic Challenge, there were items that were really hard to source from local shops and online eco stores, particularly make-up and toothpaste.
So we really were made up to discover the independent producers making small batches of products, with natural ingredients on Etsy.
Hello Twink Beauty‘s original, vintage style “cake mascara” which comes pressed in a rectangular metal tin.
Just add a drop of water and rub the applicator in it. You need to apply a couple of coats but it is amazingly waterproof (tested at a wedding where there were lots of tears), whilst coming off really easily at the end of the day. Of course the applicator is still plastic but this can at least be reused. The mascara is available in a great range of colours including black.
Even natural toothpastes come in those non-recyclable tubes. So, we have got quite into making our own toothpaste with coconut oil and baking soda But we are aware that for some people this could be a step too far. Hoorah for Georganics who are making organic toothpaste in London and selling in glass jars. The benefit of the glass tub is that you just dip the toothbrush in which uses much less than squeezing out of a tube that is not even recyclable.
Georganics list all of their organic ingredients and their origin- and unlike mainstream toothpaste these are actually pronounceable!
Animal & Vegan Friendly
The fact that these products are made with simple ingredients also means these products are vegan-friendly, as they are not tested on animals.
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During the Lent Plastic Challenge, we got asked some great questions by followers, which we posed to Melinda Watson, of RAW foundation who fervently believes in realising another world without toxic plastics.
Follow the blog as we disclose her answers, which will provide you with inspiration to make educated decisions about the materials you use and take action in your local town (we are now involved in a local project in Bristol with Melinda).
“How can we reduce using plastics- at source? “
Melinda: Yes at source! And what is the source? Our capitalist economies and throwaway cultures, in which products and objects are constantly modified, made to break (planned obsolescence) and where cost and convenience is of primary concern.
“So as a consumer how could I address this?”
Get informed and stay informed about the serious issues to do with plastics.
Be the change on a personal level e.g. refuse single-use plastic bottled water and plastic bags and opt for toxic-free, long lasting sustainable alternatives.
Buy local, unpackaged goods or plastic-free products and support plastic-free stores.
Spread the word – talk about what you are doing and why!
Lobby local, national and international stores or companies to adopt principles such as ‘recyclability by design, cradle to cradle. Surfers Against Sewage have a great ‘Return to Offender‘ campaign for marine litter.
Before you chuck something away, see if it can be fixed. Look out for your own local repair cafe.
Instead of buying new items – look at second-hand, borrowing or sharing items.
Start your own plastic-free campaign in your school, college, university or office- ban plastic water bottles, takeaway boxes and coffee cups.
A couple of years I discovered wild garlic pesto and I am hooked! As soon as I see the shoots coming up in late March, I make a weekly batch exploring different combinations of nuts and seeds to compliment the fresh, pungent flavour.
Where I currently live, we have it in the garden so it is easy to collect a bunch, but that kind of does take part of the fun of preparing this dish. One of the added pleasures of making wild garlic pesto is escaping to a wood for a walk, or finding it on a river bank and picking it in it’s natural habitat. Perhaps it is linked to our natural hunter gatherer spirit!
If you have not discovered wild garlic or made the pesto yet then this post is for you. This recipe makes a delicious pesto, that is dairy free, cost-effective and full of health and well-being properties… read on to find out more:
The Recipe for the most Nurturing Wild Garlic Pesto of all
Find a friend, partner or family member to join you for an hour or so
Get on some wellies, walking boots and pack a reusable tote bag in your pocket
Head to a woodland, river or a hedgerow
Sniff the air for a light garlic smell and look out for the green leaves and later in the season white flowers
Pick a bag full of leaves- make sure you leave some for other people and the plant to recover
Enjoy your walk
On your way home grab some optional extras: If you are dairy free include capers, and maybe lemon
When you return home, give the leaves a good wash
Pull out the food processor or blender
Find some nuts or seeds- we recommend, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts or cashews. Why not trial some different batches with each- the fun is in putting your own spin on it.
Make sure you have a good quality light oil – rapeseed is my current favourite as olive oil can often be bitter and overpowering
If you are using a blender chop the leaves in advance
Put in the nuts to blitz up then add in the leaves gradually and drizzle in the oil as it is spinning to mix to a smooth paste. Also add in the extras- I just include capers and occasionally lemon, other people put in Parmesan
Turn blender up high to get everything into a smooth paste
Put into a reused jam jar and store for up to a week
Prepare a fresh salad, with fresh bread or raw vegetable pasta and serve. It works well as a replacement to basil pesto with pasta etc
Sit down and enjoy the fruits of your hunting and gathering!
1 large bunch of wild garlic, washed
1/2 cup of seeds or nuts
2 tbsp of capers and a drop of brine
150mls light oil (rapeseed is good)
Squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
Salt and pepper (optional)
Interested in more inspiration like this?
Is this the kind of thing you want to do more and make more of? Then join the Less Waste More Living Facebook Community
Every time I undertake the Lent Plastic Challenge, I find that the new recipes and products I discover, far outweigh the the things I go without. Often being ‘busy’ (our favourite word in this modern world), means I forget about the joy found being creativity in the kitchen. But, as the ‘busy’ doesn’t show signs of abating the creativity needs to be quick, easy and …. low packaging. So here are just some of the alternatives I have discovered over the last few weeks:
Home-made flatbread pizza – choosing a yeast- free dough took minutes to make and I froze half the dough for mid-week meals.
Roasted carrot curry sauce- A great friend gave me this recipe. Simply roast carrots with spices and blend to a puree
Sweet potato or aubergine chips – Hemp flour, ground almonds, or leftover breadcrumbs are great for a crispy coating
Mint avocado ice-cream – a creamy dream
Coffee grind exfoliating scrub – mixing ‘used’ coffee grinds with coconut oil is a great wake-up experience.
These are just some of the recipes we have been sharing with those who joined the Lent Plastic Challenge, and due to their popularity we are bringing it all together in one place a ‘Low Waste More Living‘cook book.
The book will include:
How to shop to avoid & minimise packaging
How to transform fruit & veg (they easiest non-packaged items) into delicious naughty treats.
How to prepare fresh food quickly & easily so you can enjoy healthy, convenient food and have time to enjoy living!