For a long time when I first started Being PALL – Plastic A Lot Less – I felt like I was banging my head against a brick wall. I felt my efforts were futile. I mean, I´m just one person what difference do I make? Everywhere I looked we´re drowning in plastic.
Refusing plastics means you don´t have much to show for it.
Then, a few years ago in 2011 I was tallying it up in my head just how much I refused when I was out food shopping once. In just that one food shop. A lot, bags of it… To give you an idea, this is me in a before shot:
I´d been Being PALL 3 years at that point, imagine what I´d refused in all that time?
Obviously, I had too much time on my hands, so I sat down and did a tally. It was rough…
I’m the Devon end of Junk-Free January and I’m very fortunate to have a shop in my neighbourhood called Save a Packet. They’ve been very supportive of the project. Here are some of the things you can buy there. They’re very happy for you to take your own containers.
At Save a Packet, it’s possible to buy:
Rice – several varieties.
Lentils of various sorts.
Flour – including organic spelt flour and organic maize flour
Nuts and Seeds
And loads of other good stuff. There’s a more complete list here.
We’d be really interested to know if you have anything similar in your neighbourhood. If so, you’re welcome to leave a link and description in the comments section so we can support their good work. (of course you’re welcome to leave a comment if you don’t have one too 🙂 )
It’s difficult to find milk without packaging and although it’s possible to get nice organic milk by the glass at my local farm-shop, (so it’s possible to fill your own container there), I’ve decided to make my own almond milk because I’ve done it before with delicious results and I can get loose almonds at Save a Packet.
Soak your almonds in water for 24-48 hours
Drain and then blitz in a whizzer with a bit of water.
You’ll get something looking a bit like this:
Put a colander or sieve in a bowl or pan, and line it with muslin, cheese cloth, or a thin tea towel, and squeeze out the milk like this:
You’ll end up with some dried bits of nut in your cloth, and lovely almond milk in your dish.
Then you can bottle it and put it in your fridge. You could add a bit of agave syrup, or something similar if you wanted to sweeten it up.
And then make some nice coffee
With the dried bits, you can either find a yummy culinary use for them (it tastes good in flapjacks) or you can find some lovely ladies who might appreciate it.
I couldn’t find a toothbrush which didn’t come in packaging, but a much more environmentally friendly option, and mostly plastic-free, is the “environmental toothbrush”
I had been getting myself used to the taste of bicarb before the challenge by using the Kingfisher Bicarbonate of Soda toothpaste, so it didn’t come as too much of a shock to me.
I managed to get hold of loose bicarbonate of soda from my local loose foods shop, Save a Packet. All I do is wet my toothbrush and dip it in the powder, or sometimes I’ll wet my finger and distribute some evenly around all the teeth, and then bush as usual.
I’ve found that it leaves my teeth and mouth feeling really clean and my teeth are looking whiter already.
There is a lot of mis-information out there saying that bicarb is too abrasive, when it’s actually a less abrasive than store-bought toothpaste. If you’re interested in the figures, the Relative Dentin Abrasivity RDA values (how abrasive they are: a lower value = less abrasive) of all the main toothpastes, and bicarb, are listed here http://www.levysmiles.com/faq/best-toothpaste Baking soda has an RDA of 7. The toothpastes range from 35-200.
Here is some information from the “Arm and Hammer” website about brushing with baking soda.
It is clinically recognised as an incredibly powerful cleaning agent by dissolving deep into tooth surface crevices.
Despite its highly effective cleaning powers, it remains significantly non-abrasive and incredibly gentle, making it ideal for dental use.
Baking soda maintains a good pH balance inside your mouth by neutralising any acids. This keeps your breath fresh for hours.
Baking soda has the power to whiten teeth. It is so efficient at removing deep engrained stains that subsequently your teeth get whiter.
I don’t know enough about the long-term usage of baking soda, but I know a lot of people have been successfully using it without problems, and it seems good to me so far.
I had a quick shop in “Nicholsons” one of our two healthfood shops in Kingsbridge today and I investigated all the herbs and spices that are available package-free. The helpful shop assistant told me that many of their customers bring their own containers, or if not they provide people with paper bags.
They also sell package-free Ecover – washing up liquid, washing machine liquid, fabric conditioner and surface cleaner which have the added advantage of being kind to the environment.
Well done Nicholsons! I will be stocking up on lovely herbs and spices here.
I’ve just read about these guys who have done a marvellous job of going through a whole month without buying anything in plastic. They’ve also researched a lot about the implications of plastic packaging, and it’s well worth a read.
Today has been the final day of the first ever No Plastic October; an entire month without plastic packaging. When Lindsay and I conceived the idea of a No Plastic October about 8 weeks ago we had little idea what it was going to be like or what was going to happen. Sitting here writing the final blog of the month I find myself smiling as I reflect over all the things have happened over the past few weeks; all of the people we have met, the positive changes that we have created, and the no plastic solutions that we have found. It’s been great!
Unpackage Me was conceived by two behavioural ecologists chatting over a glass of wine just over 8 weeks ago. Perturbed by the amount of plastic we kept throwing away and the scary facts we kept hearing about the problems caused by plastics we knew…