Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Week three

Plastic free living is fully underway and friends, family and colleagues are starting to get used to my unusual 'no plastic please' requests!!

I'm pleased at the results the plastic challenge is having as supporters frequently mention that they are frustrated 'over' packaged items. For example, birthday card shopping proved to be nearly impossible! Hundreds and hundreds of cards are singly wrapped in plastic film. I eventually found 4 or 5 options unwrapped, they were no different from the rest, so why wrap the others? Shelf appeal is not a good enough reason.

The impacts of plastic pollution in our oceans need to be recognised and by getting people to realise how prevalent it's in our society is the first step. I'm proving that reducing your plastic footprint is achievable.   

I visited a few different butchers who have been happy to serve meat straight in to my tupperware box - yipee!! Another reason why independent shops can be better than the big chains (plus you can also ask where the meat came from!!).

Admittedly, shopping in the supermarkets is difficult. I've tried to find plastic free alternatives but I find myself back at the local stores picking up items for the week. Loading up with rice, pasta, cereals at the start of the challenge has made living plastic free so much easier and investing the time to do that was worth while.

Storage for all my bits has proven interesting as I've run out of tupperware!! I found myself being resourceful, re-using glass jars and cereal boxes to store food!

Will you make the plastic promise?

5 gyres, a US organisation states that the solution to marine plastic pollution starts with you. See the 5 simple things you can to today...

Plastic out.

Make sure you follow me on twitter for regular updates @Emily4Smith

Monday, 25 February 2013

Litter discovered in the Earth's unexplored realms

"Litter discovered in the Earth's unexplored realms" is a caption taken from today's Guardian article.

The article highlights the scary extent of how far we are polluting our planet.  

A deep sea survey being undertaken by UK royal research ship, James Cook, has found litter 5,000m underwater. This deep sea survey in the Cayman Trough is the first to see this part of ocean, however they have found human litter to have arrived long before them....

Deep-sea pollution at 5,000 metres. Photograph: NERC (Image source:

Extract from the guardian article:

"In the logsheets that we use to record our observations at the seafloor, we have several categories for any human impacts that we encounter. To pass the time during a recent three-hour descent to the ocean floor, one of my research students asked me which of the categories I had seen before in recent deep-sea expiditions. The answer was all of them. Discarded fishing nets? Yes, on underwater mountains in the Indian Ocean. Discarded longlines? Yes, more than a mile deep in the remote south Atlantic. Plastic? Yes, a shopping bag at a deep-sea vent in a Pacific marine protected area. Scrap metal? Yes, a tangle of discarded pipework on an undersea volcanic ridge north of the Azores.

I wonder how long it took for the bottle to reach the seabed? Hours? days? Weeks...?

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Week 1 - My plastic free lent

Wow - what a fantastic week! Firstly I want to thank everyone who has donated and shown their support.  £430 has been raised for the marine conservation society, keep it up everyone, every penny helps save our seas and fund important beach clean ups. 

Going plastic free has sparked lots of interest and got people thinking about where plastic waste ends up. Here are some reminders: 
  • 94% of seabirds in the North Sea are found to have ingested plastic;
  • Fish in the North Pacific Ocean could be ingesting plastic at a rate of roughly 12,000 to 24,000 tonnes per year; and
  • 100 million tonnes of rubbish is dumped into our oceans annually, 75% of this is plastic waste;
  • (Image source:

Living in Bristol has certainly helped me access non-plastic products (see earlier blog). However I'm keen to find out how easily you can live plastic free from the supermarkets, so over the next week I'll focus my efforts here.

Lunches have been the most difficult as you need to be prepared. Last week I forgot my lunch and had to eat lots of banana's, yesterday I didn't have time to heat up my soup so I ate only bread! Meat, salad, surface spray and paracetamol have proven to be tricky...any plastic free suggestions?

I've been surprised at the variety of non-plastic packaged items out there, you can easily reduce your plastic footprint by looking around and making a change. Here are some of the very easy replacements I've made;
  • Chocolate and sweet wrappers are found everywhere, try buying the larger bars wrapped in paper and foil;
  • Olives can easily be replaced by ones in a jar (I'm a big olive fan and found the jar selection to be very good and just as tasty!); 
  • Fresh soup - purchase Covent Garden in card containers rather than supermarket own brand soups;
  • Milk  - Getting a milk delivery is much more environmentally friendly as bottles are  used up to 20 times before being recycled. Having it delivered to your door is super convenient. Check the milk and more website to see if a milkman can deliver to you:; and
  • Shower gel - just use soap! 
Keep your thoughts, suggestions and donations coming folks....

Plastic out.

    Saturday, 16 February 2013

    Thank you natracare

    A huge thank you to natracare for their generous £100 sponsorship, I'm blown away by their support and it's certainly given me a great start to the 6 week challenge.

    Natracare are an award winning, ethical company committed to offering organic and natural solutions for personal health care.

    I've enjoyed navigating around their website, each click leads to more information on how this company are reducing their carbon footprint and supporting the environment. Please make sure you visit their website - 

    They have some great information about plastic waste in our sea's, I particularly enjoyed the video which demonstrates fish swimming in a plastic ocean, ingesting toxic plastic particles, being caught and put on show in  shrink-wrapped plastic packaging. Ironic hey?

    From the Natracare website:

    "Plastics are present in every part of every ocean on our planet and since we humans live uphill and upstream from the oceans, a large part of our lightweight plastic trash inevitably ends up in the sea. From this point, it moves to innumerable habitats where complex problems occur. Plastic trash, such as sanitary pads and diapers are often found fouling the beaches of the world and cause a public health hazard. Plastic entangles marine life, killing it by strangulation, drowning and reduction of feeding ability. Plastic is ingested by marine creatures such as seabirds, marine animals and turtles, as they mistake it for natural food and as a consequence, it irritates the stomach lining, interferes with fat accumulation so it affects migration and breeding and ultimately the creatures starve to death.

    Petroleum based polymers do not biodegrade and move slowly in the ocean creating massive plastic islands thousands of square miles across not only creating visual pollution but as the plastic breaks down into brittle, smaller pieces, they can be mistaken for plankton, and when these particles sink to the bottom of the ocean, they interfere with the composition of ocean floor sediment, and inhibits exchange of gasses  across the ocean floor and upper levels possibly interfering with CO2 sequestration. (Goldberg 1997).  Marine plastic litter  threatens coastal species by destroying nursery habitat where new life would otherwise emerge.  Microscopic marine plastics have increased significantly in the North Atlantic since the 1960’s (Thompson et al., 2004). Plastic was found in all trawl samples in the north Pacific between 1999 and 2007 (Moore C J et al 2007)."

    Susie the owner has built this company with a great philosophy and made it successful through her caring decisions. 

    Thank you natracare, keep leading the way! 

    Finally, to all the ladies - lets support this great company and our mother nature! :) 

    Friday, 15 February 2013

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    Wednesday, 13 February 2013


    Lent starts today and my plastic challenge is underway!

    What a better way to start than an interview with the Bristol Evening Post!! I met with David Clansy who is going publish a feature on my plastic challenge, this is fantastic and it will certainly help raise awareness about the plastic problem. Make sure you purchase tomorrow's copy!

    Are you giving something up for lent? Why not take something up instead?! Be more charitable and support people and organisations who dedicate their time and money to making a difference. Want to help reduce plastic waste in our oceans? Join the MCS on one of their Big Beach Cleans in 2013 ( or simply donate! Visit my virgin fundraising page to do your bit :)

    I received my first milk delivery today from the local milkman. Plastic free milk delivered to your doorstep is definitely the way forward!

    Plastic out.

    Sunday, 10 February 2013

    Ready, steady......

    Hi everyone, 

    A big thank you to the support I've received over the past few days, people have been asking lots of questions and donating generously :) 

    I've had a few successful days in preparation for Lent 2013. 

    Firstly I popped into LUSH to purchase their naked products, I was greeted by the very helpful Minx who guided me around the store and explained each item. 

    I walked away with shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, moisturizer, toner and TOOTHPASTE! LUSH have saved me! Not only are the LUSH products sold 'naked' they have great ethics. Everything contains natural ingredients, less preservatives and they avoid using palm oil which is a great achievement. I will enjoy having a healthy mind as well as a healthy body! 

                 (From left to right: deodorant, toner, conditioner, shampoo and moisturizer!)

    Secondly, I hit Gloucester road (street in Bristol containing a fab selection of independent shops - I've heard its the longest road of independent retailers in Europe!!) loaded with containers and re-usable bags. I now have everything I need for a week PLASTIC FREE, bread, veg, pantry items and cheese! 

    The pantry items were purchased from Scoop-away, an organic food store that sell products in 'serve yourself' bins/tubs. I was amazed at the selection they have, everything from baking ingredients to cereals, herbs, spices and dried fruit! 

    Kate the owner was interested to hear about the challenge and kindly helped me load up my containers, weighing them separately to ensure the cost of my tubs were not included in the total. My scoop-away receipt read cous-cous, rice, pasta, tea bags, pepper, cereal and fairy liquid (from an ecover dispenser!)

    On top of getting everything plastic free, It was so great to see Gloucester road bustling with people. Each store was packed and everyone happy supporting their community by shopping locally! 

    I have a positive outlook for the week ahead, hopefully I havn't forget anything as I will not be able to return to G.road during working the week! 

    Plastic out! 

    Thursday, 7 February 2013

    Enter your email in to the bar above and follow my blog!! 

    2 DAYS TO GO!!!

    Today I received my first donation J thank you Si Pattenden, I started the day off with a big smile and glad to see someone supporting the challenge.

    Last night we had strong winds in Bristol, I stepped out my front door to find a mess in the garden. You can see how easily plastic can be swept away uncontrollably – photos to follow.

    I have an idea of where I’m going to pick up most of my plastic free items on Saturday, Gloucester road has a scoop-away for pantry items such as rice, lentils etc. There are plenty of fruit and veg, deli and butchers shops to stock me up. Hopefully they will let me use tupperware! LUSH have their gorgeous ‘naked’ products, I’ll be visiting the store and hoping they have their toothpaste, deodorant and shampoo in stock!!

    Please share any useful tips and ideas! The more brains I have behind this the better!

    From my Mum:

    An idea for bin liners: Go to your local grocery shop; see if they have any of those big potatoe paper sacks you can use!

    Cheers mum! I’ll add it to the list! J

    Plastic out.

    Tuesday, 5 February 2013

    Lent is nearly here and I'm getting ready for the challenge!

    Firstly, make sure you read the challenge and donate pages above.

    I've been munching my way through the fridge to make sure it's empty of plastic items on Sunday, I don't think i'll eat all the butter, tomato puree and mayo- still I do have my handy housemates to rely on!!

    I'm making preparations and wondering if we have a local milkman, can I find toothpaste in a non-plastic tube, how will I wash my hair? Yikes! It's looking like it will be a long 6 weeks!

    However my main task is to start distributing the blog, so make sure you share my link on your twitter and facebook pages and spread the love! Thanks folks!

    Plastic out.

    Tuesday, 29 January 2013


    12 days to go....

    Great article by Susan Watts highlighting long term threats of plastic.

    Make sure you watch the programme tonight or on iplayer...