After Hugh: Your #WarOnPlastic

Are you feeling outraged or depressed after watching #WarOnPlastic?  There are active steps you can take:


Catherine Ross from Sustainable St Albans is fired up – follow her tips to reduce the single use plastic in your life.


KITCHEN

* Open your fridge door and have a hard stare. What is unnecessary? Do you buy lots of small individually-wrapped things that you could swap for a larger one?

* Take your own string bags or small plastic bags to the supermarket to put loose fruit & veg in.

*if you drink dairy milk get it delivered in glass bottles see Find Me A Milkman  – ditch the plastic

Organic veg for sale at The Green Kitchen Vegan Cafe on Hatfield Road

* Take your own containers (plastic, glass, or bamboo) to the supermarket, and ask for cheese, fish and meat to be put in your containers.

* Or get your fresh produce from local suppliers who aim to reduce plastic like Box Local, Carpenter’s Nursery, Smallford Farm Shop and organic veg from The green kitchen Vegan cafe

* You can get all sorts of dried food and household products from The Refill Pantry off the London Road in central St Albans and Eat Wholefoods on Hatfield Rd (and regularly at the market). If you haven’t tried either yet, get over there, with your empty jars and cleaned out ice cream tubs in hand.

Get rid of the cling film – use bees wrap or vegan food wrap from The Refill Pantry or search online

BATHROOM

* The Refill Pantry, Eat Whole Foods, Lush St Albans, the Phase out Plastic stall in St Albans and online stores also sell deodorants, shampoo, soap etc plastic free.

* You can get toilet paper without plastic packaging from Who Gives A Crap – but it does have a long journey to get here…

* There is a wide choice of reusable period wear -period pants or reusable pads, e.g. from St Albans based award-winning business WUKA

LAUNDRY

* Make your clothes washing plastic-free with powder in a cardboard box (from your local supermarket or for example from Ecover UK) and refill your fabric conditioner at The Refill Pantry,  Eat Whole Foods or Ecover again.

OUT AND ABOUT

* You know this! Drink tap water not bottled. Carry your own water bottle and ask for refills. You can use the Refill app to see which businesses locally will let you fill up with tap water – Refill HQ , or just ask.

* Carry your own reusable coffee cup (don’t just buy it, actually carry it!) or sit down in a cafe and use crockery. (Sign up to Refill app on June 19th and get 5% off a Chilly water bottle)

* Make lunch at home and take it in a lunch box. You’ll save money, save plastic and probably eat better food.

* Did you know that Parker and Vine food and deli shop in Harpenden have made the brave decision to ban single use coffee cups – they even have a reusable bottle loan scheme for customers – but just take your own reusable cup!

BIGGER ACTIONS

We’re not going to shop ourselves out of the climate emergency, so far more important than any of the above, are the following three actions;

* Simply don’t buy stuff you don’t need.

* Write to/tell your councillor / MP that you care.  Ask them to act. For example, ask for more water fountains in St Albans (there are two new ones now, in town and Clarence Park). Ask exactly where your recycling goes. Ask your MP to support deposit return schemes and vote for legislation requiring the manufacturer to be responsible for their waste. Find your local councillor here

* Tell companies it’s NOT OK. If something arrives over-packaged, tweet about it. If you see something ludicrous at the supermarket, ask for the manager and let them know; especially if you see loose produce that costs more than the wrapped equivalent. If you go to a meeting with plastic-wrapped sandwiches, say you’d prefer something different next time. Generally, comment … do it nicely, but comment. Be a conscious consumer and use your voice.


See more ideas with Plastic Free St Albans here


  • Plastic pollution can now be found on every beach in the world, from busy tourist beaches to uninhabited, tropical islands nowhere is safe.
  • Scientists have recently discovered microplastics embedded deep in the Arctic ice.
  • In 1950, the world’s population of 2.5 billion produced 1.5 million tons of plastic; in 2016, a global population of more than 7 billion people produced over 320 million tons of plastic. This is set to double by 2034.
  • Every day approximately 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans.
  • There may now be around 5.25 trillion macro and microplastic pieces floating in the open ocean. Weighing up to 269,000 tonnes.
  • Plastics consistently make up 60 to 90% of all marine debris studied.
  • Approx 5,000 items of marine plastic pollution have been found per mile of beach in the UK.
  • Over 150 plastic bottles litter each mile of UK beaches.
  • Recent studies have revealed marine plastic pollution in 100% of marine turtles, 59% of whales, 36% of seals and 40% of seabird species examined.
  • 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million sea birds are killed by marine plastic pollution annually

Follow the Blue Dot trail

From May 11th ’til June 1st join in with Plastic Free St Albans Blue Dot Art Trail #SustFest19 event. Spot the dots and discover a variety of creative perspectives on the topic of single-use plastic through the lens of local artists.

• Over 30 incredible pieces of art created by local artists
• Covering a multitude of media from oil painting, photography to mixed media
• Being exhibited in many venues in and around St Albans incl Courtyard Cafe, Inn On the Park, St Albans Museum, Raft, The Refill Pantry, Headcase barbers, Fade to Black and many more…
• Can be experienced as a full trail or in separate visits, let’s see how many dots you can spot to protect our precious planet, the earth, our blue dot.
• Find the digital map @ https://plasticfreestalbans.org.uk/sustfest19-art-trail/

Don’t forget to share your thoughts and ideas about the trail and what we can do to reduce single-use plastic on our plastic free St Albans FB page, Instagram or twitter! Include #bluedotarttrail

ECOED Challenge and Green Living

We are ECOED LIFE and our mission is to make sustainable living accessible. We believe that no matter how small your actions may seem, they and you are making a big difference.


This week’s blog is from the ECOED LIFE team – why not join in the ECOED challenge for #SustFest19 – download the app before Thursday 9th May


Join the ECOED Challenge during SustFest in StAlbans!

ecoednewgame  With our quiz game app ECOED (that works on most mobile phones and tablets that have iOS or android), you can challenge your family and friends to find out who knows the most about sustainable living.

The game app also gives you tips on actions that you can take at home or in your workplace or school to make a positive difference; like how to create a rain garden, how to reduce food waste or reducing your use of single-use plastics.


Imagine that you decide to cycle to work rather than taking the car. That means one less car on the roads, reducing air pollution and emission of greenhouse gases. Now imagine that not just you decide to leave the car at home, but also your neighbour, your best friend and the new guy who just moved in at the end of the road – that is four cars off the road resulting in even better air quality and less emissions (which are a cause for bigger impact on us and our planet through climate change) – and less congestion. Extend that to their best friends, cousins, aunts…. and so on – you get the picture!


Step-by-step through small changes in your daily habits you can make a difference towards a healthier lifestyle, reduce your environmental footprint and be kinder to our planet and everyone upon it.

So – join the ECOED Challenge which takes place between 11 – 18 May. All you have to do ecoedfamilyis download the free ECOED game app (available on Google Play or App Store) AND start playing – by registering on this link: http://eepurl.com/gpTZ9z

Getting a question right or completing an action will give you points and coins – and three winners will be receiving eco-prizes.

Learn more about Green Living

The winners of the ECOED gaming challenge will be presented with their prizes at the Green Living with ECOED event on 1 June.

At this event we will also have short talks about what it means to live a more sustainable lifestyle, discussions, tips and ideas on actions you can take to make a difference and activities suitable for the whole family.ecoedsmall

You can book the Green Living event on our Facebook page – it is FREE, so bring your family and friends!

Book here: https://www.facebook.com/events/607223626370890/

Looking forward to seeing you on 1 June!

Reci, Turby, Wavi, Halt and the ECOED LIFE Team

ecoedricci

Don’t Let Go!

Plastic Free St Albans‘ new Don’t Let Go! campaign and petition is inspired by the Marine Conservation Society, and seeks to prevent local balloon releases, and to discourage the use of balloons by businesses as promotional materials.

rubber jellyfishpicUpdate! Film screening of Rubber Jellyfish Thurs 28th March at The Inn on the Park, St Albans. Brand new Australian documentary about the environmental damage caused by balloons. Tickets £6/2 conc are limited. You have the option to dine as well.. Book early see more information and booking here.


Thanks to Emma Tyers from Plastic Free St Albans for our guest blog this week – all about balloons…


Why do we want to stop this?

When you let a balloon go, you’re littering upwards. Why is this acceptable, when most of us wouldn’t dream of dropping litter on the ground?

Latex balloons are often marketed as biodegradable, but in practice take many years to break down. They also often have plastic ribbons attached to them, which do not biodegrade.

balloongoldvervalley

Thanks to Ver Valley Society for photograph.

Balloons and their ribbons are very frequently found as river and beach litter, where they kill wildlife. Sea creatures and birds mistake them for jellyfish, blocking their intestines, and animals get entangled in the ribbons.

It’s also a waste of helium, a finite resource needed for medical purposes.


Are we just out to spoil your fun?

No! By all means use balloons for parties, but please make sure you hold onto them, and dispose of them correctly. This campaign is focussed on preventing mass littering events, not spoiling 6 year olds’ birthdays.

If you do however want to stop using balloons completely, there are lots of lovely, creative alternatives available. Check out the Balloons Blow website for ideas.

We need your help!

Sign the petition here to Herts County Council, to ban balloon releases on their land.

In line with the MCS Don’t Let Go! campaign, we have included sky lanterns too, because they also pose a threat to animals through ingestion and entanglement, and the additional hazard of fire.

Businesses, Schools, organisations: Sign up to the Don’t Let Go Campaign

  • If you run a local business, school or other organisation, please email Plastic Free St Albans to sign up to the Don’t Let Go campaign, and include the following in the Comment field (amend as appropriate):

“We pledge to permanently stop balloon and sky lantern releases at events under our control, and to not use balloons as promotional materials for our business”

balloonprincess ver valley

Photo taken by Ver Valley Society while clearing the River Ver.

 

Going Plastic Free

There’s more to going plastic free than refusing straws in cocktails – and taking a look at your use of single use plastic can get to the heart of where things in your life are coming from and what you are consuming.


In January, groups can register their events for St Albans Sustainability Festival…so we thought we would help you get in the mood with this fabulous guest blog on Going Plastic Free – from Amanda Yorwerth, presenter of Radio Verulam’s Environment Matters, and campaigner at St Albans Friends of the Earth and Plastic Free St Albans….


 

stringbagBe prepared

Plastic lined coffee cups, plastic carrier bags and water bottles have been the items that have hit the headlines, and the key to avoiding disposable plastic items outside the house is going like a scout and being prepared.

We’ve all got plenty of cotton carrier bags sitting at home – it’s remembering to take them to the shops that’s the tricky bit. Perhaps a Post It on the front door or always having a bag tightly folded in your handbag might help.

RefillA Spork tucked into your handbag, or even jacket pocket, will take the place of any plastic cutlery or drinks stirrer and a Stojo collapsible coffee cup will be there whenever you fancy a cuppa on the go. Now that so many local companies are signed up to Refill https://refill.org.uk/  the scheme that allows you to fill up your own water bottle when you’re out, there’s no reason to buy plastic bottles of water. Oh, and in case you were thinking that bottled water is better for you, take a look at this https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-11193/7-reasons-to-never-drink-bottled-water-again.html

Free your vegetables

vegSo often, our fruit and veg arrives encased in plastic. But increasingly you can choose loose veg and take your own bag. Even market traders are increasingly happy to use your proffered cotton bag. Better still, grow your veg and make sure all that fruit on your trees finds a home. But do remember also that food waste is an even bigger problem than plastic pollution and that plastic packaging can help reduce food waste.

 

Clean up the bathroom

Wipes for your face, your bum or indeed anything else, are plastic based and cause havoc in the aquatic habitat, so stick to tissue paper or use one of the many reuseable bamboo wipes now available. Plastic free cotton buds are widely available and The Refill Pantry https://www.therefillpantry.co.uk/ or Eat Wholefoods https://www.eatwholefoods.co.uk/ will refill your shampoo, conditioner and moisturiser bottles. Girls, every month those disposable sanitary items are causing plastic pollution (yes – they are made of plastic – take a look) so try enduring products like period pants from local company WUKA https://wuka.co.uk/ or a Moon Cup https://www.mooncup.co.uk – widely available.

Plastic free store cupboard

refill shop.pngWith a wide range of pasta, rice, nuts, seeds, dried fruit and snacks, The Refill Pantry allows you to fill up your own containers and Patrick from Eat Wholefoods will do the same if you visit their warehouse on Hatfield Road.

Don’t forget the laundry

Woefully, many of our favourite items of clothing contain plastic fibres that escape into the environment when they are washed. Obviously selecting natural fibres when we buy clothes will help, but in the meantime wash synthetic items only when they really need it, wash on a shorter, cooler wash and catch escaping fibres in a Guppy Bag http://guppyfriend.com/en/

Editor note: see more about microbeads at  #Whatsinmywash campaign

whatsinmywash

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