Lent Plastic Challenge 2020

26th February to 9th April

Are you trying to reduce your plastics as an individual and need some inspiration? 

Perhaps you have ‘nailed it’ and want to get your friends, family and teammates engaged without being ‘preachy’.

Or you just fancy doing more than giving up chocolate this Lent. 

So why not suggest you all do a team ‘Lent Plastic Challenge’: 40 days of reducing single-use plastics week by week. 

Sign up here to join the Facebook group or the email newsletter where you will get weekly tips and suggestions, or follow on Instagram.

Furthermore, if you would like to get to grips with the background to the problem with plastics and plastic recycling, we have teamed up with our sister consultancy, The Sustainable Sidekicks, to offer a free e-learning course.

The first 50 people who sign up will get access to an online course on Understanding Plastic and Plastic Recycling. Head to the sign-up page to find out more.

Overcoming our Brain: The Psychology behind a Lent Plastic Challenge

If you have ever started a diet, or told yourself you are never eating sugar or chocolate again, you will know how tough it can be and how all you think about is the forbidden items.

This can be the same, if you try to make changes to your lifestyle for the environment, like going vegan or plastic-free. In this blog, we will unpack the psychological factors at work and how undertaking a month challenge like Veganuary or the Lent Plastic Challenge can achieve long-term behaviour change. I will share from my own personal experience of hosting the Lent Plastic Challenge for 5 years, changing my lifestyle for the environment and from studying behaviour change.

Why giving something up is painful and daunting?

When we are told, or tell ourselves, that we can’t have something we experience ‘loss aversion’. And due to our human survival mechanisms, we are actually wired to experience loss twice as painfully as the joy of pleasure; so it actually hurts to give something up!

Also due to our survival instincts, we also struggle with long-term comprehension, but are more focused on the immediate future which is why, for so long, we have struggled to comprehend climate change as explained in the book ‘Don’t even think about it‘.

So how do we overcome this?

By doing a Lent challenge or a month-long challenge, we can tell our brain, it is not forever which is less daunting and painful. Rather than the loss, we can also focus on all the things we are going to bring into our lives and how we can replace the items we are giving up by finding recipes and solutions. And our brain will love this process because our brains enjoy solving problems, which is why crosswords and computer games are so popular.

The allure of convenience and plastic packaging

No, our brains are not wired to find satisfaction in unpackaging and throwing away plastic wrappers. However, our brain is constantly seeking out the easy option and the shortcut which is why convenience is king and plastic-packaged goods have become so indispensable.

Trying to overcome convenience can be challenging, but it is why when you seek out alternatives you need to find things that are quick and easy- which is all the recipes in the Lent Plastic Challenge are simple and straight forward (because I don’t have much time, and I actually switch off from a recipe with lots of ingredients).

How to change our plastic habits

Whilst we humans like to think we are rational beings making conscious choices, it turns out that most of the time we are going through life on autopilot because our brains like to automate as much as possible. This means that most of our day-to-day shopping behaviours and purchasing choices are because of habit or impulse, whereas shopping plastic-free requires more conscious thought and planning.

It is believed that we need at least 21 days to create or break a new habit, hence why month-long challenges work so well. To avoid overwhelm it is important not to take on too many new behaviours at once, which is why in the Lent Plastic Challenge we suggest doing a couple of items a week, rather than going all-out plastic-free at once, because this can be overwhelming and too much to remember for a life on autopilot.

The importance of public commitment

As humans, we are very social creatures and we care a lot about what other people think of us, so maintaining our public persona is important. This means if we make a public commitment, we are more likely to stick to it than if we just commit to ourselves.

So getting your friends, family and work colleagues involved in a challenge, or joining a public group and making a public pledge will increase your success rate. The Lent Plastic Challenge is set-up to support this, with a Facebook group, Instagram feed and a weekly email newsletter you can share with your work colleagues.

Joining the Lent Plastic Challenge

So if you are keen to change your plastic habits, then why not get involved in the Lent Plastic Challenge. There is a Facebook group, Instagram account and an email newsletter with weekly tips based on different themes.

This is of course completely free and furthermore this year, I am linking up my business consultancy, The Sustainable Sidekicks. The first 50 people to sign up will get free access to one of our workplace e-learning courses on Understanding Plastics and Plastic Recycling. To find out more head to the sign-up page for all the links.

Who is Livvy Drake, aka Green Livvy?

I am a sustainability and behaviour change consultant who works with events and businesses to reduce environmental impacts, offering consultancy and training and talks.

I studied behaviour change at Bristol UWE, focusing on plastic bottle consumption. I have delivered a number of waste and plastics behaviour change initiatives and have used that experience to create an online course for businesses.

As Green Livvy, I share my knowledge on waste and plastics reduction with individuals and households online and through face-to-face talks.

Lent Plastic Challenge 2019

Lent Plastic Challenge 2019

If you want to cut down on your plastics but feel a bit overwhelmed and not sure where to start then the Lent Plastic Challenge is for you.

We host a group on Facebook, tips on Twitter and Instagram. Each week there is a different theme and items to focus on, so you can build up each week and get support and advise from the community.

From 6th March to 18th April have a go at reducing a few or as many single-use plastic items as you can.

Doing a 40-day challenge is less daunting than thinking it is forever.  Plus afterwards we hope you will have found some lifestyle changes that work for you and some fire in your belly to challenge the producers making all these materials that are difficult to recycle and are polluting our rivers and seas.

Get involved on:

What is the solution for ‘single-use’?

A symptom of our time-poor convenience-driven lifestyles is disposable packaging as we treat ourselves to pre-packed meals, Amazon deliveries and takeaways. So it is no co-incidence that when you look in the recycling bins on bin day they are overflowing and “single-use” was named the Collins word of 2018.

If like me, you have consciously tried reducing your packaging footprint, you soon realise that is necessary to go back to basics and find time. Time to go shopping in the greengrocers and the local zero-waste scoop shops. Time to prepare food from scratch, and time to cook. And if you want a fresh salad, you need time for gardening. Although, modern devices like blenders and slow cookers do provide some shortcuts.

The original marketing campaign for plastic, was emancipation for women from the kitchen sink, with the development of throwaway plates. And when you look at all the benefits of plastic, from microwavable meals, light-weight food protection and pre-portioned meal boxes it seems it has liberated everyone from the kitchen.

But surely if we can recycle then there is no problem? Well yes, if everything got turned back into more of the same then it wouldn’t be such a problem because there wouldn’t be a demand for more raw materials (think of all the trees being cut down for cardboard packaging) or materials being shipped around the world looking for a disposal route.

When we look at what recycling means, aluminium is infinitely recyclable with most cans containing 68% recycled content; although the strip mining of aluminium bauxite is highly destructive and polluting. Clear glass contains on average 30% recycled content whilst green contains 68%, whilst again the production is very energy intensive.

In contrast, plastic polymers have been deliberately made hard to recycle to prevent a secondary market. This means they are often ‘downcycled’ into other products like piping and furniture. PET and HDPE are the easiest plastics to recycle back into bottles and this practice is starting to increase with Fairy and Ecover producing 100% recycled bottles in 2018. But due to the cheap price of virgin plastics the demand hasn’t been present from producers for recycled content or for producers to take responsibility for the materials that they put on our shelves after use.

Producers aren’t responsible for their products end-of-life. Photo credit: Fotolia


This leaves councils and recyclers with materials that they need to find a home for, which is where the international commodity market comes into play and ‘recycling’ is sold around the world for ‘processing’. It can end up in countries that have significantly weaker environmental controls on burning and dumping waste. It is no coincidence, that the rivers that dump the most plastic pollution into the oceans are places like China where historically western countries sent their low-grade plastic recycling to. And since China banned plastic imports, UK recycling has been found dumped in illegal plants in Malaysia.

Finally; as our oceans are nearly at suffocation, legislation and initiatives are being put in place to reconsider the pitfalls of our single-use culture. The UK Government has 30% recycled content targets for packaging producers in its new Waste and Resources Strategy. And more excitingly, international schemes are being developed to make reuse more viable with delivery services like ‘Loop’ trialling reusable packaging with mainstream brands like Pantene and Hagan Daaz; and RePack, providing reusable bags for online retailers. There are also a number of reusable coffee cup and box schemes being trialled with multiple venues participating, on high streets around the world. These schemes are all part of the move to a more ‘circular economy’; meaning that materials stay in use for longer, either through reuse, repair or recycling.

The UK Governments ambitions for a Circular Economy for plastics


So could ‘reuse’, or ‘circular economy’ stem the tide of single-use? Could they even be the words of 2019? Through my own work with reuse schemes, the issues of time-poor lifestyles and convenience is a constant focal point for usurping single-use. It also remains to be seen how producers respond to changes in legislation and the requirements for responsible production and eco-design, without finding short-cuts. As well as if the UK Government will actually ban some ‘single-use’ items such as cutlery and straws or just consult on these issues.

Me, Livvy Drake in preparation for my talk- it’s going to be interactive! Photo credit: Cya Design

If you want to find out more about these issues: where are recycling really goes, what the circular economy alternatives are and how you can reduce packaging from your own business or lifestyle then join me for the Tipping Point: where does our waste go? On 21st March, at the White Rabbit in Clifton, Bristol.

The Tipping Point: Where does our waste go?



Do you ever wonder?

Why is recycling and particularly plastic recycling so complicated?  Is waste to energy a better solution to landfill? Why aren’t producers responsible for the packaging that ends up in our bin? What is the Government doing about it?

Well ‘The Tipping Point: Where does our waste go?‘  will answer all these questions and more. This will be a chance to:

  • Get an understanding on what recycling really means for many products and materials.
  • Understand about the plants and countries where our waste gets processed and how this affects their end of life.
  • Plus all the developments and positive changes that are afoot to readdress the materials ending up on our shelves in the first instance.
This talk is perfect for those who have committed to reducing plastics, are confused by recycling or want to make informed decisions for their business and product packaging.
The speaker, Livvy Drake has worked across the waste landscape, from managing waste systems at festivals to delivering food and plastic waste reduction campaigns.
Venue: The White Rabbit, CliftonDoors: 7pm / Talk starts: 7.30pm.

Tickets: £12 but if you use this code you can get £5 into your Funzing account to use against the ticket.


Lent Plastic Challenge 2017


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.


In other news, Cocoa Cola have also said they are now, after years of lobbying against, behind a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles  in Scotland. And A Plastic Planet are lobbying supermarkets for a plastic aisle.

Be part of the solution NOT the pollution

By joining the free Lent Plastic Challenge you can share your tips and inspire your friends and family too.

You can find out some of the reasons that plastic are bad for our health and the planet’s here.

Healthy City Week Bristol Plans

Healthy City Week is an inspirational week of activities and events that join the dots between sustainability , health and wellbeing. There is literally something for everyone from babies to elders, workers to walkers, from Avonmouth to Southmead and everywhere in between.  And as I have been involved with the project, and the generous contributors I have a very full itinerary of events I will be attending, so please do join me at one of the below or check out the full timetable here


Saturday 15th

Healthy, Active and Green Living Day 10-5pm Free,  drop in

To open Healthy City Week, we invite you to a community day of activities, talks, workshops and delicious food in the heart of Barton Hill at Wellspring Healthy Living Centre and Barton Hill Settlement. The afternoon will culminate in a debate on current health and sustainability issues for local communities. Jointly organised by Bristol Green Capital Partnership CIC, Bristol Community Health CIC and Wellspring Healthy Living Centre.

Sunday 16th

Mainly this is going to be about activism fuelled with a little raw food!

A Basic Guide to Eating Raw Food with Shane Jordan
11.30am–12.30pm Windmill Hill City Farm Free, book online

A workshop on creating delicious nutritious meals from edible raw fruit and vegetables. “The cost of cooking accounts for about 4% of the average gas and electricity bill” says uSwitch. Raw food meals helps save money and allows more freedom by preparing food manually.

Alternative Visions with Community Harts
1–2pm Hamilton House Free, book online

Community Harts has been running a competition, ‘What’s Your Alternative Vision for Heathrow?’ for sustainable ideas for the community of Heathrow, alternatives to the proposed £17 billion runway. We will explain the positive outcomes through community creativity.

Tackling Big Tobacco in My Town (Bristol!)
2–3pm | Hamilton House. Free, reserve a place by e-mailing organiser or book online

The talk will highlight 4 decades of witty, high-profile, anti-tobacco direct action – sabotaging Big Tobacco’s PR, localising tobacco’s toll, using Valentine’s Day and Halloween and picketing shareholder meetings. Are there lessons for other health campaigns? Email Cecilia.Farren@tobaccoaction.org.

Protestival presents Barriers to Utopia
3–5pm | Hamilton House. Free, book on Facebook or drop-in

This workshop aims to empower local communities and provide insights into community organizing and social change. Healthy City Week encompasses issues of social justice and climate change, as well as the health of the city’s inhabitants, so we will be talking about different issues that present themselves as barriers to a utopian society as well as exploring our ideas of what a healthy city actually is and how
to improve city life.

Monday 17th

Bards of Avalon Therapeutic Sound Bath for relaxation 6–7pm at Amarelle Showroom Free, book online.

Let stresses melt away and experience deep relaxation with a therapeutic sound bath. Join Bea Martin and David Johnson, community soundworkers, as they combine their voices with the sounds of Himalayan Bowls, Gongs to create an uplifting soundscape to enhance your wellbeing. Contact 07504 301117 top ask any questions.

Tuesday 18th

Protecting the health of our water & environment: Lunchtime talk from Patric Bulmer, Bristol Water
12.30–1.30pm in the Healthy City Week Hub at Triodos Bank. Free, drop-in & bring your own lunch – Pukka teas provided

The Biodiversity Index is Bristol Water’s pioneering new approach to protecting the health of the environment, by measuring performance in terms of habitat protection and enhancement. This talk focuses on the Southern Resilience Scheme – a 30km water main through Somerset – and how we will work with partners like Natural England, schools and land owners to improve biodiversity.

Panel Discussion with Bristol Energy Network: Health Inequalities and Climate Change
6–9pm Food provided 6–6.30pm. Free, book online

People on low incomes often use the least energy and are therefore the least responsible for climate change. However, they often pay more for their energy than others and may need to use more energy to heat their homes sufficiently to prevent poor health. How can we tackle climate change whilst also taking into account health inequalities and people’s different needs?

Wednesday 19th

Laughter Wellness with Joe Hoare
1–1.30pm & 1.30–2pm at The New Room, Broadmead. Free, book online or drop-in for either session:

How simple basic laughter wellness practices promote engagement, connection, mindfulness and general wellbeing. Personal wellbeing is the cornerstone for professional wellbeing and peak organisational effectiveness. Contact Joe with any questions on 07812 159943.

Sustrans hosts a panel debate to explore: Should our transport system be considered a public health issue?
2.30–5pm. Free, book online

Sustrans host a panel debate looking at the impact our transport system has on the health of the city. The panel will present on their specialist topics and includes Dr Adrian Davis, Cllr Mark Bradshaw, Mike Harris, James Durie and Zoe Banks-Gross. Questions from the
audience will be chaired by Martin Booth, Editor of Bristol 24/7.

Turmeric – More Than Just Curcumin 5.30-6.45pm St. Werburghs Better Food store Free, Book online

Join Katie Pande, Senior Herbal Advisor at Pukka Herbs for this informative talk about the superfood turmeric.

Curcumin is undoubtedly a key active medicinal constituent found in turmeric; but there is so much more to this vibrant root. In this talk, Katie will be talking about some of the other amazing and powerful constituents present in this plant’s essential oils and their benefits for healthy and wellbeing.

Thursday 20th

Restorative Yoga & Yoga Nidra with Mel Skinner
9.30–10.30am in the Healthy City Week Hub at Triodos Bank. Free, drop-in

Many of us suffer from physical or emotional tension. Restorative yoga helps to remove some of the physical tension in the body and yoga nidra helps us connect to our deeper self, where great peace can be found.

Jenny Gibbs, Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – Lunchtime talk on Medicines Waste
12.30–13.30pm in the Healthy City Week Hub. Free, drop-in and bring your own lunch – Pukka teas provided

Research has identified that medicines waste is a big problem in Bristol, costing the NHS an estimated £5.7 million a year. Wasted medicines cannot treat anyone and poor patient compliance with prescribed medication affects health and quality of life. If not disposed of correctly, wasted medicines cause harm to the environment. Learn more about this recent CCG study.

West of England Nature Partnership presents A Natural Health Service: Developing partnerships
6–8.30pm in the Healthy City Week Hub at Triodos Bank. Free, book online

The West of England Nature Partnership invites you to an evening event to explore how nature and health partners are working together to deliver integrated and improved health outcomes. From green prescriptions to woodland wellbeing, inspiring young people and empowering elders, discover how nature can help shift the focus from illness to lifelong wellness… naturally!

Friday 21st

A Letter to Your Pain & Duet for One: Elspeth Penny & Raquel Meseguer
5–7pm HOURS Space, 10 Colston Yard. Book online or just turn up (suggested contribution £3)

A space dedicated to those with an invisible disability or long-term pain condition: this is your space, and invites your plus ones to experience a two-part workshop tailored to you. Elspeth will guide you to write, create or draw a letter to your body or pain. Raquel will then invite you and your plus ones to find a truly comfortable groove. An inclusive dance, we will end by following the bravest small dance in the room, and finally find stillness together.

Saturday 22nd

Flexitarian Restaurant Award Food Trail
12noon Group discount tour. Book online & check website for departure point, times & maps

Join us for a food trail to celebrate the launch of the Flexitarian Restaurant Award, featuring restaurants and cafés leading the way in making eating out better for the health of people and planet! Choose a pre-paid discount group tour to visit a selection of local eateries and try tasters of exciting plant-based dishes, or print out one of our free maps and pay-as-you-go.

No More Taboo: Breaking down taboos-by laughing!
Doors 7.30pm, Start 7.45pm Roll for the Soul £6/£5 concession, book online

Laughing is proven to improve your health. So come join us for a comedy gala, poking fun at the taboos that still exist in our city. Periods, women’s empowerment and sustainability will be the common themes for the evening. From improv to stand-up, performers will amuse
and bemuse attendees helping break down taboos. All proceeds go to No More Taboo’s work with homeless women in Bristol helping them to have a happier, healthier period.

The Art of Protest



As an environmentally conscious individual, it often doesn’t feel enough just to try and live a low carbon lifestyle when you hear about all the atrocities of large corporations and the complicity of Governments. The question I often have, and many of my friends is “cliktavism, marches ; protests -what can we do to make the biggest impact?”

But do politicians really listen to the angry protesters voices, and can they publicly be seen to react? After listening to books like Bill McKiben’s ‘Oil and Honey’, I was reminded that often political leaders can’t be seen to give in to the voice of protesters as they would be perceived as weak by their political counterparts.

So what to do? McKiben talks about positive, peaceful protests, reinforcing Obama’s pre- lection rhetoric rather than negatively criticising him as the stance they adopted when tackling the Keystone XL pipeline in 2011. And as someone who believes that negativity breeds negativity it makes sense to approach environmental campaigns in another way. Although,  I certainly have enjoyed attending marches against austerity and fracking.; the aspects I enjoy the most are the song singing and the sense of community and solidarity I come back with.

Throughout 2016, I have been following  the BP or not BP campaign with admiration, as a great way to highlight and engage people in the issues of climate change using creative direct action. So I was really pleased that finally  I had a  free weekend to atte20160925_140001nd the Splash Mob that was due to take over the British Museum on September 29th.

The instructional email I received, which was littered with hilarious fish and sea alliteration, set the tone for a fun, positive and respectful afternoon of theatrical activism.

On Sunday 25th,  the fun began as my friend and I worked out how we could cycle and then get  our mermaid costumes in the museum without them being confiscated by security.  Safely in,  the sense of unity and excitement began to bubble as we bumped into friends and strangers who were unveiling their glittering attire and putting on their fishy facepaint and makeup.


The performance began to the summoning of a conch sound and merfolk and fishes congregated from each corner of the museum, and museum goers looked on in bemusement( the amp had been confiscated so some of the performances prose got lost in the echoey chamber of the great court. However every time a song broke out (that we joined in with), the audience swelled like the tide with intrigue. The performance took a stomping, singing procession around the museum until we came face-to face with 20160925_145920the Cracken, a 10 metre black sea monster puppet who consumed a fictional museum manager (we weren’t sure if he was real initially). We also wondered how this got in past security!

The real museum staff and security were patient and accommodating allowing the piece to take place with photographers recording the whole affair. Obviously that is what we should expect, and with organisers making it clear that their was to be no damage or disrespect paid to staff, and the atmosphere was positive, with the activists brushing up the paper oil rain that was on the floor.

With the British Museum already signing a another 5 year contract with BP, one could feel like the action was futile. As we sat on the step recollecting on the experience, we wondered about the museum visitors. – will they think twice about filling their cars up with fuel from BP or will they read into the issues of BP’s deep drilling plans or the issues of climate change???? Perhaps that is something that can’t be quantified by today. What I can be sure of is that it was an injection of campaigning ‘fuel’ for myself and my friend who is prohibited from protesting by his work contract. We felt reignited on ways to get involved and to approach environmental campaigning- song, theatrically, good nature and positivism.

So in the spirit of the Splash Mob all that is left to say, or sing (to the tune of  the Drunken sailor song) “What should we do with the corporate sponsor, what should we do with the corporate sponsor, what should we do with the corporate sponsor, kick them out of culture”!

Climate Change Requires System Change NOT Hereos


In the midst of the COP 21 talks in Paris, I walked through Swindon station on a Sunday evening, and was stopped in my tracks by the above banner. Many thoughts ran through my head as I tried to fathom the objective of Birmingham University, in advocating their professors as heroes saving the UK from an energy crisis, so we can all carry on with ‘business as usual’.

I am still unclear if they are aimed at encouraging people to join their courses, or they are being sponsored by an energy company to encourage people to keep their heating turned up whilst the three ‘middle-class scientists’ save the day. Either way, following the catastrophic floods in the UK, we just don’t have time to wait for them to create new technologies  in order to avoid another 1-3 degree rise in global warming, or as per the message, run out of energy.

Technology is not the only answer

I am not suggesting they are not part of the solutions that need to be taken to address the impacts modern living is having on the climate. On inspection of their website, it appears that they have been funded and are working on technology to address:

  • Energy-efficient cooling systems due to the levels of energy required by refrigeration, air conditioners and data storage
  • Thermal storage systems for excess energy that is created

But as stated by Alice Bows Larkin, the Professor of Climate Science & Energy Policy we need to focus on serious energy efficiency and climate conservation first and foremost while these technologies are being developed. Particularly as the rest of the world starts to catch up with similar levels of energy consumption and fossil fuel burning.

Energy efficiency and energy conservation required by all

There have been many schemes to encourage people to insulate their lofts and undertake cavity insulation but these need to go much further according to Alice Bows Larkin. She is suggesting a programme of  government-led ‘energy austerity’ by developed countries, because if we don’t we can expect a 4 degree temperature increase. The current government are keen on financial austerity, so why not facilitate one that would actually be beneficial to the environment and provide long-term energy savings for communities. Although, based on the marches and campaigning that I have attended, I think that the term austerity would not necessarily be the best phrase to get buy-in from other social campaign organisations.

In fact, the University of Birmingham missed an opportunity to invite the Swindon passers by the chance to ask them to join in, and join the system change that could limit an energy crisis.

Listen to Alice Bows Larkin Ted Talk 

Climate Vs Capitalism

In her book and film ‘ This Changes Everything’,  Naomi Klein, argues that unlike the 1970’s, environmental challenges like climate change  are not being treated like bank bail outs  “as crises” due to the rise and power of the free-market state. In it’s drive for growth there is a constant demand for raw finite resources, which is ideologically opposed to the principles of resource conservation required for planet and species protection. This means despite claims that the free-market will solve the problems of our time, we cannot leave our energy crisis and global warming problems in the hands of a financial instrument that is committed to profit.

Global warming heading to unchartered territories

As stated in the Guardian (Wed 20th Damien Carrington)  global warming is driving the world’s climate into “uncharted territory”, which requires the urgent implementation of the carbon-cutting pledges made by the world’s governments in Paris in December.

But as demonstrated by the Birmingham Heroes advert there are some fundamental challenges in our human psyche and society that leads to a lack of mass-action to address climate change at a personal level:

  • It is not an immediate threat for us to deal with
  • It feels like it is too big and something we can’t address on our own- our actions won’t make a difference
  • Technology will save us
  • We suffer from loss aversion, and fear the changes in our own lives from making ‘sacrifices’

These reasons are explained in George Marshall’s book:

Don’t Even Think About It argues that the answers to these questions do not lie in the things that make us different and drive us apart, but rather in what we all share: how our human brains are wired, our evolutionary origins, our perceptions of threats, our cognitive blindspots, our love of storytelling, our fear of death, and our deepest instincts to defend our family and tribe.

Personal Choices

On a personal note,  I felt the same way until a couple of years ago. Whilst I was comfortable considering actions that could be taken to address waste, I thought that climate change was too big and far away for me. I also struggled to fathom how, if I didn’t get on an Easy Jet flight, what difference it would make.

But the reality is that if we carry on in this same guise, and the rest of the world joins us in similar levels of energy consumption; we will suddenly have to make drastic changes as life on planet earth will become immeasurably difficult.

Get the Facts

I have gained my understanding from listening to audio books, attending talks and workshops at festivals and hosted by environmental organisations. These videos and books explain the issues far more eloquently than I can:

Listen to Alice Bows Larkin Ted Talk 

Naomi Klein This Changes Everything 

George Marshall Don’t Even Think About It

Plastic Free Camper

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.
  • Bring re-usable cutlery.


  • Avoid travel miniatures, instead decant your own bigger bottles.
  • Stock up on shower and shampoo bars which come with a handy metal box rather than travel miniatures bottles. Lush do a brilliant range.
  • Be careful when choosing baby wipes, most aren’t flushable and not biodegradable (even if they say so) so make sure you dispose of them properly if you have to use them at all.
  • Bring re-usable razors rather than disposable.
  • Lush now have a sunscreen block and a powder in a recycled bottle
  • 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.

Festival Etiquette9448919

  • 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.