Plastic and the sea.
Plastic and the sea.
Is it me or is plastic the hot environmental topic of the year? Not before time!
First of all it was plastic beads – I’ve mentioned that in a previous blog. I also mentioned “paper” cups in the context of plastic swapping – these less than innocent products and containly a plastic layer between the paper! I stopped getting take outs, even changing coffee shop when they were having a crockery crisis one day but have to confess to have one emergency take-out coffee… baby steps…
Next we had the cauliflower steak embarrassment, not to mention coconuts – we don’t need half as much plastic wrapping – in fact I’m fed up of seeing windows on food boxes – I don’t need them.
And then the news swiftly moved on (as it does) to tea bags – are no beverages safe!? – I tried to buy loose tea but even that had plastic inside the box!!
I heard an interesting news article about what the supermarkets are doing to get rid of plastic packaging – this seems to be the web article to go with it. Can’t they do more??
So, how about this website for
a few, well 100 actually, ideas for avoiding plastic? How many do you do? How many can you do?! I might just write a list with a fountain pen…
This week I reduced my veg shopping plastic – no more broccoli bags! Yeh. Another small step or marginal gain.
Also, I bought loose tea but that wasn’t such a success but Whittard’s puts plastic inside the cardboard box (more excess packaging)… next time, I’ll ask them not to or find an alternative.
Oh, and the UK government has been making identified the environment as an interest for young voters so they have published an environment policy paper. If nothing else, its increased the column inches about plastic and raised a bit more awareness.
I’ve started taking stock of the plastic around me (well, its not long since I made that resolution), the more I look, the more I see. I’m noting all the excess and unnecessary use I see and actually use and am thinking about what to do about it. Yesterday, I was thinking about coffee cups – not so innocent as they seem but more about that another time – and I came across the idea of plastic swaps. That struck me as a great approach and an easy way to deal with the plastic mountain so I’m going to have a go at that. My first swap was making use of those tiny plastic boxes that come in the nest of useful kitchen boxes instead of clingfilm. All of a sudden I realised that they were for lunch box cake – why have I never done that before.
On a positive, it was so good to see that yesterday, at last the UK has banned microbeads in cosmetics. And I’m happy to say that only a day earlier I’d consigned the bottle of body scrub with indeterminant bits, that had been lurking in my bathroom for too long, to the bin. OK its landfill but better than the water courses or sea.
I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions – no resolution, no failure – but I’ve been thinking more and more about plastic and our mis-use of it, especially single use plastic. So, this year, I’m going to see what I can do about my use of plastic, how I use it and how I can reduce that use. I’m going to try and learn a bit more plastic and how its used and ask organisations about their use.
I’ve seen some of the BBC Inside the Factory programmes, they are fascinating insights into the manufacture of food but I can’t believe how much plastic is used to make the food and then package it: in tea bags; to transport ingredients around a factory; to package the product and then to hold packages together. This is all single use plastic and just seems so excessive. Do we really need windows in boxes? Do we need plastic within boxes? Always?
First I’m going to look at what single use plastic I use…
I’ve been having a go at fusing plastic bags. The idea is to make something more durable and either useful or ornamental from ordinary plastic shopping bags and food wrappers. There are lots of Youtube videos with hints and tips but the essence of it seems to involve an iron, baking parchment (essential to protect the iron and ironing board) and plastic bags. Friends warned me that it was fairly unpredictable and not as straightforward as some of the videos seemed so I was expecting to experiment. So, I did…
I started with food wrappers. Crisp bags are good, cheese wrappers too and even coffee bags. I liked the contrast of the silvery inside of the crisp packets and the colourful exterior. I think these could be embellished with embroidery or maybe added to larger pieces.
Next I tried shopping bags. Its important not to use biodegradable ones for obvious reasons. I used a combination of bags, they all worked fairly well. Plainish, white ones worked well as a base. Those that have a paint/ink coating needed more heat but eventually fused.
I added small pieces of different colours and text to give some interest to the surfaces. Keeping the number of layers more or less the same across the piece means that a similar level of heat can be applied and the layers bond at the same time; this keeps things simpler. But, you can go back to an area that doesn’t bond first time to give it more heat.
Next I started fusing the pieces together. I’m not finished yet but the plan is to make a bag or container. Watch this space and see how it turns out.
Random thoughts from deepest Northumberland
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