Monday, 13 July 2020

Green Rosie Life Blogging Break

I am taking a small blogging break over the Summer and will be back writing again in early autumn.

That said, I am still posting my Daily Green Tips over on Facebook so please do visit the page every day to see them:

And I am still blogging regularly over on my Eco-Gites of Lenault website where I am writing a blog a week in a series called 365 things to see and do in Normandy.  The first one I wrote was all about Eco-Friendly Normandy.

The gite is back open again after lockdown with Covid-19 protocols in place.  We are booked all summer but if you are looking for an autumn break in Normandy, France come and stay with us!  More details about the gite can be found here:

Oh and I am also busy with a Facebook group I help run called: Book Your Holiday Direct with the Owner: Book direct so you get the best service and pay NO booking fees!

Finally just time to say .... 

What you might think I'm doing over the summer ...

Hammock sunset wine

What I am actually doing over the summer ...

Cleaning Covid-19 rubber gloves

and some of this ...

Gardening digging

And maybe rather too much of this:

Woman computer sleep

Do drop me a comment with what you are up to over the summer or just to say hello!

Monday, 18 May 2020

35 Uses for Old Muslin Cloths

My boys are now older teenagers but I still have a number of the muslin cloths I used when they were babies because they are just so useful for so many things.  They are lint free, super soft, strong, absorbent and natural - don't get rid of them after your baby grows up and  re-purpose them into something new.

Straining jam with a muslin cloth and upside down chair

35 uses for old muslin cloths

Around the house:

1. Make into a duster
2. Use as a washable cleaning cloth
3. Shoe shining cloth/buffer
4. Make into pot pourri drawer freshening sachets.
5. Use as gift wrap (include a link to this blog so your friends will know what to use their cloth for afterwards!)
6. Hang insect repelling herbs in a muslin bag by windows and doors
7. Put cotton wool soaked in peppermint oil in a muslin bag and hang in your wardrobe to deter moths and others insects.

In the kitchen:

8. Make into a jelly bag to sieve fruit when jam/jelly making
9. Make DIY tea bags
10. Squeeze lemons through them
11. Drain yoghurt through them when making thicker Greek yoghurt
12. In cheese making use them to separate the curds and whey
13. Store/dry cheeses in them
14. Strain nut milks through them
15. When making chutneys tie spices in a muslin bag
16. Make into a bread storing bag
17. Use to squeeze moisture from vegetables
18. Make into a beeswax food cover
19. Use as a jar cover when sprouting seeds
20. Make into storage bags both for bought and home grown vegetables/fruit
21. Use to make a bouquet garni

In the bathroom: 

22. Make in to a bandanna to protect your hair when applying face masks etc
23. Make into a soap saver bag
24. Use to gently exfoliate skin and lips
25. Use as reusable cloths for make up removal

Out and about:

26. Make into a light and fold-able drawstring bag
27. Cut down into reusable travel wipes
28. Make into lightweight reusable produce bags
29. Make into a wrap-up case for reusable cutlery
30. Use as a small lightweight towel
31. Make them in to small travel blankets
32. Use as sun shades in the car


33. Makes clothes for your children's toys
34. Make clothes for your children such as super soft PJs
35. Use them as a backdrop in photography

Muslin cloths are amazingly useful when you have babies ... and just as useful afterwards. Do you have any more uses for old baby muslin cloths?

Straining jam with a muslin cloth.

Monday, 4 May 2020

Green Blog Round Up - March and April 2020

Each month I put together a post with some of green themed blogs I have come across over the preceding month. I didn't do a March roundup as things all got a bit weird with lockdowns being put in place across the globe and I'll admit my blogging MoJo left home. But it's back now and you'll find below my round up of some of the blogs I have come across in March and April.

I also want to send you this message:

We are on the brink.

Covid-19 has allowed us to see the type of world that is possible if if we pull ourselves back. Now we have been given a glimpse into a different future, what is being coined a "New Normal", we cannot let this go. So please, read these blog posts that all share a common green theme and then spread their messages far and wide. Tell your friends, add them to your social media and above all act on the messages they contain.

Green themed blogs roundup March-APril 2020

Home and Beauty:

Alternatives to Deodorant from Helen McGonigal at Spot of Earth 
My Favorite Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products from Laura at Fairly Southern

Food related:

Baking when you are missing a key ingredient from me as A Green and Rosie Life
Cashew Nuts, Innocent or not? from Justine at Little Green Duckie
How to make home-made wax wraps from Jaymee at The Mum Diaries
Meal plan organisation - keeping track from Karen at Cats, Kids and Chaos

Waste reduction

Simple ways to reduce your household waste from Emma Reed at Emma Reed Writes
Making the case for Eco-friendly Reusables from Laura at Reduce, Reuse, Renew
25 Incredibly Actionable Zero Waste Hacks from Rachel at Fresh Planet Flavor
How to compost Biodegradable Plastic from Christine at Wellness Travelled.


Eco-Friendly Normandy from me as Eco Gites of Lenault
How to use reviews to encourage hotels etc to go low waste from Kayla at Writing from Nowhere
Vegan Zero-Waste Travel Kit for Beginners from Anna at My Travel Scrapbook
Sustainable Travel snacks from Karina at Explore Blue Wild 

Economics and Sustainability 

Covid-19 and Capitalism  from me as A Green and Rosie Life
We Are All Corn People from Susan at Green Living
How to invest sustainably from Aa-saa at Consciously, Awovi
A Guide To Sustainable Materials & Fabrics from Jess at
Pollution falls. The sub-plot of the Covid-19 Crisis, a LinkedIn article from David Mitchell


16 Best Sustainable Documentaries on Netflix from Vivien at The Dharma Trails

Finally, I would like to include this article from the Financial Times. It's an interview with Mr Macron, the French President about the future after Covid-19: Emmanuel Macron says it is time to think the unthinkable.

Take note - it's behind a pay wall so if you are not an FT subscriber you can only open it once before you are locked out.

... oh and don't forget you can follow my #DailyGreenTips over on my A Green and Rosie Life Facebook page.

Love Daily Green Tips

If you have a blog post you would like to be added in the May roundup please do get in touch.  If it is green, sustainable, ethical, organic, fair trade, environmental, seasonal or local please do get in touch and I'll include it next month.

Green blogs March April 2020

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Covid-19 and Capitalism. Why we need a new sustainable normal

Covid-19 in humans resulted when a virus jumped from a wild animal to humans, possibly via an intermediate host species.  Since 1957 there have been numerous new viruses including SARS, MERS, Ebola, HIV and several flu strains where-as in the previous 1800 years there were far fewer major new viral outbreaks.  This begs the question why we are seeing such an increase in new viruses?  These outbreaks have coincided with a time of greatly reduced natural habitats across the globe leading to wild animals coming into much closer contact with humans so increasing the chances of a virus jumping across species barrier.  Some viruses are able to then make the deadly jump of being able to pass from human to human rather than just from animal to human.  When this happens in overcrowded urban areas the virus can spread quickly amongst the human population.  Add to this how much we travel around the world and it is easy to see how a pandemic such as Covid-19 was a disaster waiting to happen.

Covid-19 and Capitalism - Habitat destruction - loss of biodiversity

You may question why Italy became the first European country to be so badly affected when other countries closer to China have fewer cases.  Northern Italy and China have build strong business links through Italy's fashion industry and brands such as Gucci and Prada which are located there.  In a bid to keep down costs and raise profit margins many fashion houses outsource manufacturing to China, notably the Wuhan region and opened up the first international flight routes between Europe and mainland China.  Over the Chinese New Year many families flew between the 2 countries, some of whom were unknowingly infected.

With Covid-19 affecting the respiratory system anything that weakens it will lead to a worse infection and greater likelihood of getting life threatening secondary infections and pneumonia.  High levels of air pollution as seen over large urban areas make the effects of the virus worse. These areas will have more people with asthma,  lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema. Anyone with any of these conditions will find it harder to fight off Covid-19. 

Air pollution disproportionately affects poorer people who live in overcrowded urban areas, many of whom work in factories supplying goods for people around the world, be that cheap goods or designer goods.  Economists often say we need economic growth to prevent recessions but the bottom line is that capitalism creates economic inequality: a few people get extremely rich from it and many more are left in poverty where their need for any work is exploited and their human rights are eroded.

Where is this air pollution coming from? It comes from particles and gases that are emitted from vehicle exhausts, factories as well as "natural" sources such as forest fires, pollen and volcanoes.  The pollution that hangs over cities is primarily human derived. As well as these visible forms of air pollution that can be seen as a haze over cities there is another form of air pollution, the increase in greenhouse gases.  Some of these gases come from natural sources (volcanoes, animal respiration etc) but the vast majority have built up since the mid 18th century due to man-made activity:  burning fossil fuels for electricity and vehicle fuel, through agriculture (arable and livestock) and deforestation, by the creation of refrigeration gases and plastics plus a plethora of other man-made sources.  The result of these increased levels of greenhouse gases is far reaching - rising sea levels, increasing extreme weather conditions, loss of biodiversity and changes in global climates which affect agriculture and the spread of diseases.

So what if the Covid-19 pandemic could act as the catalyst we need to restructure our lives and our economies. We don't need the mega-corporations that, through their businesses, are destroying the planet.

We have power through what we spend our money on. What if we move away from the likes of Amazon, Coca Cola, NestlĂ©,  etc. What if we start to fully support local businesses who pay their employees living wages and acceptable working hours. What if we didn't buy so many new cars, phones, TVs, wardrobes full of fast fashion items, imported out of season food, excessively packaged goods etc but were happy to make things last, mend them and share with friends and neighbours. What if we bought fewer things but that they cost a bit more and they lasted longer.  Businesses would survive but quality over quantity would be better for the environment and for the workers in factories producing these goods.  The CEOs and shareholders would not be quite so stupidly rich but the poor would not be so stupidly poor. And more importantly the earth could begin to heal.

In a post Covid-19 world we will remember that most of us survived under lockdown and for the most part our worlds did not fall apart because we couldn't fly around the world, buy useless tat on everyday trips to the shops or upgrade our phones etc. We discovered the power of our local communities and of small independent shops. We marvelled at the simpler things and saw pollution levels drop.  This lockdown Easter a friend bought her son just one high quality chocolate egg which he got in place of large numbers of lower quality ones he usually received from family and friends. They had a low key family day, playing games and making Easter  decorations. Her son voted Easter 2020  "the best Easter ever"!

Do we really need to fill our houses and lives with so much tat? With less comes a greater appreciation of what we already have. Not only was the one quality chocolate more appreciated by its recipient but it was also better for the environment and better for the chocolatier who made it.

Capitalists tell us we need growth.

Do we?

Yes, we need jobs but what sorts of jobs and the way we work needs to change ... as lockdowns continue the world is able to breathe again and we must not lose this opportunity to do the right thing for future generations. Surely businesses can see that at least some home working and online meetings are perfectly workable options.  Individuals can make sustainable choices and Governments can support those who actually keep countries running.  In lockdown we valued key workers in essential services and this must continue because it was in lockdown when we realised we didn't need the the bankers or CEOs with their fat cat salaries nor the super rich, many of whom flew away in their private jets to their private hide-aways.

As I write this much of the world is still lockdown so I urge you to stay home and stay safe.  I hope you can use this time to work out how you can become more sustainable. For the sake of the future of humanity and for something positive to come from those who died from Covid-19 we have to change. We cannot return to normality because that normality was fundamentally flawed. We need a new post Covid-19 future: a new sustainable normal.

Covid-19 and Capitalism. Links with habitat destruction and fashion items

Monday, 6 April 2020

Baking ideas for when you are missing key ingredients

If Facebook is anything to go by a lot of people are baking at the moment. As a mother of 2 teenage boys with hollow legs I know I am. But what happens when you realise you are missing a key ingredient and you can't just pop to the local shop to buy it?

The main ingredients for cakes, biscuits, pastries etc are flour, eggs, butter and sugar which will make you umpteen different sweet treats either on their own or with other extras.  However do not panic if you're missing on or more of these key ingredients as I've put together this list of cakes and other sweet treats you can still make.  Please note for ease of being able to write this blog I am going to use the word cake as a general term for any sweet treat be it cake, biscuit, loaf, pastry etc etc.

Selection of baked goods

Baking without flour

First of all remember you can use different types of flour in recipes and you can make self raising flour by the addition of baking powder  Wholemeal flour can be used instead of plain although the result will be a slightly heavier cake.   Likewise spelt, rye, bread, oat, gram (chickpea), rice etc flours can all be added to a recipe to top up a lack of the flour stated in the recipe as well as rolled oats and ground almonds/other ground nuts. The result may be a but different but it will still taste good.

Cakes etc that use no flour:

  • Meringues
  • Chocolate Krispie Cakes
  • Flapjacks
  • Coconut pyramids
  • Macaroons
  • Oat biscuits/cookies


Baking without eggs

You can still cook a cake that requires eggs by adding cider or distilled vinegar and bicarbonate of soda to give the equivalent raising effect of eggs. One tablespoon of vinegar and  one teaspoon of bicarb. This will work best for recipes that only include one egg or you only use this to reduce the egg number by one. 

For totally egg-free recipes go for:

  • Jam tarts
  • Fruit tarts
  • Scones (choose recipes that don't use eggs or simply bulk up the liquid with milk)
  • All sorts of biscuits and cookies
  • Shortbread
  • Some fruit breads don't need eggs.
Jam tarts

Baking without butter

You can just as easily use margarine/spread although you will of course notice a less buttery taste.  I have been known to add a percentage of oil or lard to recipes without anyone being any the wiser. Muffins use oil as their form of fat.  However if you are completely without any form of fat you can still bake.

Totally fat free cakes

  • Weetabix cake
  • Fatless sponge
  • Swiss roll
  • Meringues
  • Peanut butter brownies

Raspberry Swiss Roll

A lot of online peanut butter recipes have some butter in them but this is one I have found in a cookbook that has none:

Recipe for peanut butter brownies

225g peanut butter (ideally crunchy but smooth will work too)
200g dark chocolate broken into pieces
300g soft brown sugar
3 medium eggs, beaten (and you could always substitute vinegar/bicarb for one egg)
100g self raising flour

  • Heat the even to 180°C/160°C (fan oven)/gas mark 4.
  • Set aside 50g of the peanut butter and chocolate for the topping.
  • Line a 20cm square baking tin
  • Gently melt the remaining peanut butter, chocolate and sugar, stirring to prevent it burning.
  • Once melted beat in the eggs and fold in the flour
  • Place in the lined tin
  • Melt the remaining peanut butter either gently on the stove on is a microwave on high for around 45seconds until runny
  • Cot over the brownie mixture
  • Bake for 30-35 mins until it has a rust but the middle still appears slightly under-done. Do NOT over cook it!
  • Melt the remaining chocolate in a water bath and drizzle over.
  • Leave to cool in the baking tin
  • When cold cut into pieces.

Baking without sugar

As cakes are by their very definition sweet this can prove to be the most challenging ingredient to be missing. Let's first talk substitutes for sugar.

  • Use other types of sugar than specified in the recipe - they are all sweet and you can still make a sponge cake with dark brown sugar, it just won't be quite as light and airy.
  • Golden Syrup
  • Treacle
  • Banana
  • Peanut butter
  • Honey
  • Dates
  • Malt extract
  • Sweetener (Personally I am uncomfortable with these but I feel they do warrant being mentioned here)

All these can be used to bulk out as sugar supplies run low and in many cases can be used as the only source of sweetener.  I really love the sound of this chocolate cake which has no added sugar.

However, if you want to go totally sweetness free you can bake both normal and potato scones without sugar and serve them with jam for sweetness.  Adding dried fruit will also give them more sweetness.   I may have a go making English muffins and malt loaf .  I have a sugar free recipe for both but you recipes contain some sugar you could always add honey or golden syrup or simply have a slightly less sweet version missing out the extra sweetness altogether. Your waistline will probably thank you!

Scones and jam

Finally you could also hone your bread baking skills and make bread to be served with your favourite jam, golden syrup or other sweet spread.   And crumpets only use about a teaspoon of sugar.

So what will you bake today?  Please do let me know your favourite things to bake in a comment as I am happy to try and adapt it if I am missing any ingredients.

Happy baking everyone!

Baking ideas jam tarts, jam

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Green Bog Round Up - February 2020

Each month I am putting together a post with some of green themed blogs I have come across over the preceding month. Here are my favourites for February 2020 and if you have any interest subjects such as reducing waste, plastic free living, carbon offsetting and green cleaning then you will find at least one blog post here to enjoy.

Love green blogs

Helen from Spot of the Earth reviewed her local Zero Waste Shop
You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook

Zero waste shopping

Aaron from The Busy Papa will help us reduce fridge waste with this post.
You can find him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest

Reduce waste from your fridge

Teja on the Horizon wrote about Carbon Offsetting based on your personality
You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram

Caron offsetting

With Summer on the way Justine from Little Green Duckie talks about how to having wet wipe free festival fun!
You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter

Say no to wet wipes

Spring Cleaning must be in the air as two bloggers have written about natural cleaning: 

Trail  of Breadcrumbs wrote about the simplicity of Green Cleaning  
You can follow this Trail of Breadcrumbs (see what I did there?!) on Twitter and Pinterest

and so did Isabel from Sustainable, Responsible Living  - Cleaning with Natural Products
You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Bicarb, vinegar and lemon juice

Whilst we are talking Spring Cleaning I wanted to also highlight this post. I have recently become aware of cleaning influencers on instagram and how they are pushing their followers to use ridiculous amounts of cleaning products. This overuse is a disaster both for anyone who uses this amount of cleaners (something I blogged about before) and for the environment. One of these influencers, a brand ambassador for P&G, has over 3 million followers and in the unregulated world of instagram is able to post stories promoting their excess use whilst also showing unsafe ways to store these dangerous chemicals aka laundry tabs.  I can see no better reason to stop using these commercial cleaning products than the facts that they need child proof lids (that should NEVER be removed) and 7000 cases of ingestion were reported in a one year period and 6 deaths since have been attributed to people eating them. (source).

Laundry tabs box with child proof lid removed

Finally I wrote a post about making environmental connections:

Flooding and Flying

Find A Green and Rosie Life on Facebook, Instagram (joint page with the gite), Twitter and Pinterest.

... and don't forget you can follow my #DailyGreenTips over on my A Green and Rosie Life Facebook page.

Love Daily Green Tips

If you have a blog post you would like to be added in the March roundup please do get in touch.  Posts need to be current and on any of these subjects:

  • Recipes with seasonal and/or foraged ingredients
  • Organic gardening and attracting wildlife to your garden
  • The 4 Rs and a U - Reduce, Re-use, Recycle, Repair and Upcycle.
  • Natural crafting
  • Waste and energy reduction.
  • Conservation posts - helping wildlife, wild flowers and their habitats.
  • Connecting kids to Nature
  • Discussions on green, sustainable, ethical, organic, environmental subjects such as:
    • Green hobbies
    • Green technology/advances
    • Green politics
    • Good environmental practice 
    • Greenwashing 
    • Sustainability and you
.... and lots more besides.  If you have a current post with a theme that is green, sustainable, ethical, organic, fair trade, environmental, seasonal or local please do get in touch and I'll include it in next month's round-up.

Love Green blogs - feb round up

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Have you made the connection? Climate Change and YOU

A few short weeks ago the news was full of stories of the bush fires in Australia. Whilst summer bush fires are not unusual the number this year there were many more than normal, they were bigger, they burned longer and the loss of life (wildlife, plant life and human) was greater than ever before.

Photo Credit

Now the news is full of a completely different natural disaster with catastrophic floods affecting many parts of the UK.  As with the fires in Australia there are more floods than have been seen since records began, they are deeper and have lasted longer.  Whilst deaths due to the flooding have thankfully been kept very low there have been deaths caused by falling trees etc in the storms than bought the flooding.

It is not just the UK either. In January 2020, 66 people were confirmed dead in Jakarta as a direct result of flooding and there are countless other examples of extreme weather events leading to loss of life, property and damage to land.

Image credit

The bush fires started earlier than usual and with greater ferocity due to exceptionally hot and dry weather.

The UK floods were caused by extremely heavy rain brought in on 2 severe winter storms.

These and many other extreme weather examples indicate that the overall climate is changing. Australia is becoming hotter and drier and whilst the UK is experiencing warmer and drier summers but having more winters with severe storms.

Climate Change is the result of increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  One of main ways this happens is through the burning of fossil fuels.  Fossil fuels are burned to create the electricity used to create all the stuff we buy and what it is powers aeroplanes.  Our excessive consumerism and addiction to flying are 2 of the main reasons we have bush fires and flooding.  We are therefore all responsible and have each played our part in these disasters played out around the world.   

Is your addiction to so much STUFF (clothes/imported food/electronics/cleaning products/plastic etc.) and the desire to FLY to a foreign holiday destination really more important than leaving behind a planet for our children to thrive in?

Burning forests and shopping - they are connected

Flying leads to clinate change that causes flooding

You can pin these images:

Shopping leads to wild fires. Climate Change is fuelled by consumerism.Flying and floods - they are connected. Climate Change.

Saturday, 1 February 2020

Green Blog Roundup - January 2020

Each month I am putting together a post with some of green themed blogs I have come across over the preceding month. Here are my favourites for January 2020 and if you have any interest in sustainable holidays/tourism, green campaigns, litter picking, natural crafts, sustainable fashion, meal planning, plastic and staying healthy to help the environment then you will find at least one blog post here to enjoy.

Green heart blogs

Isabel from Sustainable, Responsible Living has written about Responsible Tourism
You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Sustainable tourism

Diana from Greener Identity outlines Green movements to join all year round
You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Justine from Little Green Duckie talks about how to  find your local litter pick group
You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter

2 women, litter picking
Add caption

Lucy from Kids of the Wild show how you can make a driftwood star 
You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest

Home made driftwood and shell star

Jackie from L'Oven Life (Naturally Jackie) - Sustainable (mostly free) fashion
You can follow Jackie on Facebook and Instagram 

Free fashion

Trail  of Breadcrumbs wrote an essay about meal planning

You can follow this Trail of Breadcrumbs (see what I did there?!) on Twitter and Pinterest

And a couple I have written ...

... As Eco-Gites of Lenault I give you Eco-Friendly Holidays
You can follow the gite on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest

Eco friendly holidays

... and as A Green and Rosie Life I implore that you keep the Plastic you already have

Plastic containers, plates and bags - keep using them

and show you 10 ways to stay healthy and help the environment

Woman with a cold

Find A Green and Rosie Life on Facebook, Instagram (joint page with the gite), Twitter and Pinterest.

If you have a blog post you would like to be added in the February roundup please do get in touch.  Posts need to be current and on any of these subjects:

  • Recipes with seasonal and/or foraged ingredients
  • Organic gardening and attracting wildlife to your garden
  • The 4 Rs and a U - Reduce, Re-use, Recycle, Repair and Upcycle.
  • Natural crafting
  • Waste and energy reduction.
  • Conservation posts - helping wildlife, wild flowers and their habitats.
  • Connecting kids to Nature
  • Discussions on green, sustainable, ethical, organic, environmental subjects such as:
    • Green hobbies
    • Green technology/advances
    • Green politics
    • Good environmental practice 
    • Greenwashing 
    • Sustainability and you
.... and lots more besides.  If you have a current post with a theme that is green, sustainable, ethical, organic, fair trade, environmental, seasonal or local please do get in touch and I'll include it in next month's round-up.

Green blog heart

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Keep using the plastic you already have

Plastic is everywhere. It is in our homes and offices, in our clothes, our cars, surrounding our food and almost anything that we buy etc and it's not really surprising: plastic is a bit of a wonder material - it is lightweight and strong, it can be made into a variety of forms and it is cheap to produce.  But as we now know this all comes at a price: plastic is made from fossil fuels and it's manufacture contributes to increased levels of atmospheric CO2 and by default global warming. Now people have become aware of how bad plastic is and there are calls across the globe to see its end. As a result you will see many people saying they are getting rid of plastic in their lives and replacing items with other materials. I saw a video originally uploaded to Instagram by one of the Kardashians where she proudly announced that in her pantry she had got rid of all of her plastics and replaced all her containers with glass jars .... STOP.  Just stop right there.  STOP. We need to keep using the plastic you already own and NOT throwing away perfectly usable plastic.

Re-use plastic

Single use v reusable plastic

On the face of it getting rid of all plastic might seem the right this to do but not so but that is far too simplistic. First off we need to separate plastic into 2 major usages - single use and non-single use.  The really bad guy is the single use plastic, the items that are used once and thrown away - plastic bottles, packaging, take-away cups, straws, sanitary towels/tampons, razors, coffee pods, wet wipes etc. We absolutely need to stop buying this form of plastic. So ditch plastic bottles, buy packaging free goods and food, have a reusable cup etc.  Non-single use plastic is the plastic we use time and time again - it may be used in our cars or household goods, our tech, our furniture (the list goes on) ... oh and refillable plastic food containers.  We should aim to keep the plastic that is in our lives for as long as possible, reusing it time and time again and re-purposing it where we can.

What happens when plastic decomposes?

If we get rid of plastic, what happens to it? Whilst some forms of plastic can be recycled (which itself is energy heavy and polluting) many forms cannot and very little is actually recycled anyway - almost all thrown away plastic ends up either in either landfill or our oceans. Plastic will eventually decompose but this can take anything up to 500 years, possibly even 1000 years and the process comes with its own set of problems.  As plastic decomposes it breaks down into increasingly smaller pieces which often get eaten by animals.  As the process continues it releases pollutants known to be cancer forming and which also disrupt the reproductive systems of animals.

In contrast plastic in daily use is stable. So when Ms Kardashian said she dumped all her plastic containers for glass, she made a poor environmental choice. It gets even worse when you remember that all the new glass containers used new materials and energy to be produced.  Furthermore if you watch more of the video you will see she has 4 energy draining fridges including a massive walk in fridge and more plastic packaging and plastic bottles in her home than the average small shop.

But the purpose of this blog post is not to have a dig at celebrity extravagance (I'll save that for another post) but to highlight the fact that we all have plastic in our lives and we really need to be using that for as long as possible.  Use the plastic you already have for as long as possible.  By all means look for plastic free alternatives but only when your current plastic is too damaged to be of use.

How to keep your existing plastic out of the bin.

  • Keep reusing all those plastic items you already have - plastic food containers, plastic kid's crockery etc.
  • Reuse plastic bags, washing them if necessary. 
  • Use refill stations for washing liquid etc even if the bottles you use are plastic.
  • Pass on plastic you no longer use - sell it or give it away to someone who can use it.
  • When the plastic you have is no longer fit for use can you find a new use for it - old food containers in our house get down graded to storing DIY bits and pieces, old plastic bags become a bin liner, plates go under plant pots, plastic bottles can become a DIY plant watering system. Get imaginative with your plastic and do what-ever you can to keep it out of the bin.
  • When you do need something new can you buy it second hand? If it is plastic that's one more plastic item kept out of the bin.
  • Buy items made from recycled plastic.
It may seem counter intuitive to keep using plastic but it is so important we do this, whilst at the same time we totally reject single use plastic.  How are you managing the plastic in your life - have you any innovative ideas on how to keep your plastic out of the bin?

Plastic containers - reuse.

Sunday, 5 January 2020

10 ways to stay healthy and help the environment

Being unwell is horrible for you and also horrible for the environment.  Health Services are one of the most wasteful sectors of society with many items made from single use plastic wrapped in plastic and most of this is not recycled. Gowns, masks, gloves etc are often thrown away after one use. Medicines, operations and care in hospitals or at home are all heavy on resources and every bottle of children's medicine you ever buy comes with a spoon/syringe.  Whilst no-one can predict unforeseen illnesses and injuries there are many ways we can keep ourselves healthy and reduce the negative environmental impact from time spent under the care of your health service.  Why not make your New Year Resolutions to be more healthy not just for you ... but for the planet as well.

Operation in a hospital - heavy on resources

How to keep yourself and the planet healthy:

Don't overeat

Being overweight increases your risk of being ill. In many cases heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, gout and sleep apnoea can be attributed to excess weight - furthermore overweight people put extra pressure on their joints etc leading to a higher risk of joint damage and other injuries. You read more about this subject in this blog post I wrote: Overeating, food waste, obesity and climate change.

Eat healthily and avoid over-processed food

It is now realised that eating well is more than just eating the right amount of calories, you also need to be heating healthy calories. So plenty of fresh produce (especially local and in season food) and less empty calories from biscuits and fizzy drinks etc.  Often processed food is high in salt, fat and sugar none of which are healthy in high amounts. Replacements for these products are also not good for your health including sugar substitutes, unnatural flavourings and flavour enhancers.

Keep up the exercise

You don't have to join a gym or take up a sport and there are so many small lifestyle changes you can implement to increase how much exercise you take.  Park a street or two away and walk the last bit of your journey, walk the kids to school, walk the dog a bit further (or offer to walk the dog of an elderly or unwell friend/neighbour), take the stairs, run upstairs, spend 5 mins doing yoga stretches every day. This list goes on! And get outside in the fresh air every day, what-ever the weather.

When ill keep away from others

If you are ill stay off work and keep out of crowded places and keep unwell children at home. Especially in warm heated buildings you are going to spread your germs and without rest you will lengthen how long you (or your child) is ill.

Use natural remedies

For minor illnesses and injuries consider natural remedies - for example rosehip syrup, elderberry port and honey and lemon are great for colds and coughs.

Let minor illnesses such as colds take their course

Colds cannot be cured by antibiotics so unless the patient has underlying health issues such as asthma or is very young or elderly colds should just be allowed to run their course - take natural remedies to ease the symptoms and keep away from other people.

Avoid antibiotics

Overuse of these winder medicines is resulting in bacteria becoming resistant to them and so there is a risk of us returning to a time when illnesses and even minor injuries can become life threatening as bacteria cannot be treated. This places a massive burden on health services and it is why we are seeing a rise in cases of MRSA also known as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus - the bacteria is resistant to many of our antibiotics and no new antibiotics have been found recently. The same goes for antibacterial cleaners - do not over-use them.

Avoid toxic products

For example over use of cleaning products can lead to asthma and so many toxic products risk making us ill.  Avoid chemicals where-ever you can. Keep you house fresh by opening the windows and use house plants to help cleanse the air.

Give up smoking

Just that - it's bad for your health and for those around you. Just do it.

Avoid flying

We all know flying is bad for the environment but there is more than just the direct impact of the flight. First off you are stuck in a closed shell and at risk of picking up illnesses from fellow passengers. Secondly long haul flights increase your risk of getting life threatening deep vein thrombosis.

These are my Top 10 Tips - do you have any more to add so we can all stay as healthy as possible?

Stay healthy

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