7 plastic free bloggers

Filed in Blog by on August 9, 2010 22 Comments
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turtle eating plastic carrier bagAs you’ll be aware, we’ve been reducing our waste for over 2 years now. This year’s goal is to send nothing to landfill. Apart from a small box of unmarked plastics, things are looking pretty good.

Our mission over the past couple of years has meant finding out where we can locally recycle things, setting up a compost heap, feeding worms and creative reuse. As well as looking for alternatives to things that came in environmentally un-friendly packaging.

We haven’t chosen to give up plastic per se. As a family if we can buy something in a number 1 (PET), number 2 (HDPE), number 4 (LDPE) or number 5 (PP) then we’re happy enough as it means we can easily recycle it.

This isn’t the perfect answer of course. In my ‘perfect’ world I would give up these plastics too, as I am aware of some of the detrimental effects to both health and environment, but I just don’t feel that I can at this particular point in my life. In my ‘perfect’ world I wouldn’t use plastic at all but right now I’m not a purist and I don’t want to make our lives too restrictive by putting a ban on plastic.

We have reduced plastic use as much as we can by choosing alternatives, but we’ve found there isn’t an alternative for everything so we compromise.

However, there are many people in the blogosphere and beyond who have made it their mission to focus on plastic and are aiming to live without it.

I wanted to share the link love and talk about some of them today.

Plastic isn’t nice

The new kid on the plastic-blogging block is John from Lincolnshire UK. Together with his partner, they were inspired after watching a video clip which showed graphically the effects the stuff is having in our oceans and created Plastic isn’t nice. Their mission is to reduce their dependency on plastic and inspire others to do the same.

Plastic manners

Taina from Vancouver, BC, began Plastic Manners at the beginning of this year. As an ocean lover, she became increasingly annoyed by her own lazy consumer habits because she knew deep down that plastics affect her health and the planet. Her mission is to raise awareness about the dangers of disposable plastics for humans, wildlife, and our environment.

The Plastic Diaries

Isabel, from Cornwall UK runs The plastic diaries, along with partner Bron. They started in 2009 after reading ‘The World Without Us’ by Alan Weisman. Isabel was shocked and disgusted after reading the chapter on plastic and realised just how harmful the extraction, processing and dumping of plastic was on the environment.

Leave only footprints

PolythenePam from Northern England has made it her goal to give up plastic, one month at a time with her “leave only footprints” blog. Her inspiration came from seeing plastic litter everywhere; disposable plastic carrier bags in trees, coke bottles washed up on the beach and crisp packets in the hedgerows.

Citizen Green

Citizen Green from Indiana has been reducing plastic since June 2008 and was originally motivated to eliminate single-use plastics from her life by her son who worked for the Algalita Marine Research Foundation. In February, 2008, the crew of the research ship, Alguita, sailed across the Pacific, through the North Pacific gyre to sample the plastic debris in the seawater. Through this awareness, Citizen Green decided to become a more mindful consumer and has been blogging ever since.

Fake Plastic Fish

The most famous of them all (take a bow, sweet lady) is Beth from Oakland, CA over at Fake Plastic Fish. She has been blogging about reducing plastic since June 2007 after being inspired by Envirowoman’s blog “Living plastic free”. Like us, she was motivated after seeing some of the devastating effects plastic waste can have on marine life. Beth has 4 main goals including the education of others, which she does wonderfully through her regularly updated site.

Reduce plastic waste

Over in Malta, Martin from Reduce Plastic waste has made the conscious decision to reduce the amount of plastic he  uses since May 2007. He charts his progress and shares his discoveries.

What about you? Have I missed any great plastic bloggers? What has inspired you to give up or reduce the amount of plastic you use?

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About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (22)

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  1. Jo says:

    You’ve forgotten Bea from The Zero Waste Home in California. http://zerowastehome.blogspot.com/ The two of you have inspired me to drastically reduce my consumption of plastic and packaging.

  2. John says:

    Hello Mrs Green

    Thank you for your comments about our blog, ‘plastic isn’t nice.’ I have to come clean here and admit that it was you and Mr Green who really inspired Helen and I on this journey. You are both very inspiring people, believe me. And that shows by the number of people who read and leave comments on this site, many others seem to think so too.

    You have mentioned that you have had to cut back the time you both spend doing this and I can understand why. It must be a hugh operation to keep this all up to date, reply to the many people who contact you as well as wring to businesses about their waste.

    I salute you both.

    Oh I’ve just read too, on here about the wooden tooth brushes, that’s amazing, as I was only thinking in the bath earlier that I wish I could find a plastic free toothbrush! Now can you help me find an alternative to razor blades and razors?

    Love John

  3. Julie Day says:

    I wish that I could go plastic free but sadly I can’t,and even more sadly is that my council only recycles plastic bottles,so lots of plastic ends up in our normal rubbish. This annoys me but I can’t do anything about it. So I try to reycle as much as I can that I know I can for example plastic bags that bread or salad comes in which I take back to the supermarkets.

  4. magdalena says:

    @John, do what my husband did, and stop shaving!

    I’ve blogged about this myself somewhere in the past. Because I live and work in someone else’s home, I don’t have complete control over the use of plastics, but I am steadily making plans and doing research so that when we are back on a farm, I can go plastics-free. It is very difficult to do this without a huge amount of sacrifice re:modern conveniences, but as a Plain-living person, I don’t expect to have mod cons forever.

  5. John says:

    Ugh nooo Madalana! lol I don’t like beards. But think I’ve found the solution for now at least unless the amazing Mrs Green has a better eco one. Helen has just told me about those Palmolive shaving sticks. So I can ditch all plastic now in the bathroom! As we only use soap to cleanse with, no gels in plastic bottles.
    http://www.theshaveden.com/forum/showthread.php?t=433

    I had a nice email too, from the woman who runs the company, who produce wooden toothbrush’s, as we don’t have a cheque book she says we can still pay on line and hand the money into a post office :) We can also buy shaving soap there too, so no more shaving cans for me

    Julie what a shame your council isn’t up to scratch with waste! It amazes me that council’s across the country have different waste policies. We are fortunate to live here where our council is one of the better ones

  6. Hi there! Great list. Another plastic-free blogger to add is Juli Borst from PlasticlessNYC: http://plasticlessnyc.blogspot.com/

    Juli worked on the Brita filter recycling campaign with me and then was inspired to start her own plastic-free blog in November of 2008. Now, she has a campaign to urge U.S. celebrity Ellen Degeneres to cancel her bottled water advertising contracts. There is a Facebook Group:

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=logo#!/group.php?gid=147797688570526&ref=ts

    And an online petition:

    http://www.gopetition.com/petition/38311.html

    Spread the word. :-)

    Beth

  7. Mrs Green says:

    @Jo: Ah, great Jo – thank you! I shall pop along and introduce myself; does Bea focus solely on the plastic issue?

    @John: Hi John, I’m working on the plastic-free hair-free conundrum :D We covered it back in January and there were lots of comments on there: http://myzerowaste.com/2010/01/is-a-zero-waste-shave-possible/
    Great that you have found the shaving sticks, however and I’m pretty sure LUSH do something as well and well done for finding a solution to paying for the toothbrushes!

    @Julie Day: I think we all have to do what we can, Julie and if we all did our best, it would make a massive collective difference.

    @magdalena: Sounds like you have a good plan Magdalena – good luck with it all!

    @Beth Terry @ Fake Plastic Fish: Great stuff; Beth – thanks for the headsup

    @Jen: Thank you Jen – so many people; it’s really exciting to be sharing the world with such incredible people who care :)

  8. Jo says:

    Hi Mrs Green
    Bea has an all encompasing view on waste reduction! Her motto is ‘Refuse, Refuse, Refuse. Then reduce, reuse and recycle (and only in that order).”
    Recently I was talking to my 8 year old about cutting out plastic usage and mentioned Bea and you. I started to explain how you live, thinking about everything that comes into your house and how it can be recycled and why is this a good idea. To my amazement he brushed me off saying he’d already knew about how you live as he’d seen you and your daughter on News Round!
    Jo

  9. Mrs Green says:

    @Jo: Haha! What a wonderful story from your son – glad he saw the presentation. It’s one of my favourites of all our media work (but then I would say that ;) )

  10. John says:

    As the risk of overburdening you all with more and more things to read, I’ve just come across this blog, by a guy called David, who committed to going a year without sending any waste at all to landfill. I don’t know if he’s still doing it, but his reasons for why he stared, make a good read.
    http://365daysoftrash.blogspot.com/2007/12/365-days-of-trash.html

  11. Ben says:

    I don’t like single use plastics or plastics that cannot be recycled, but otherwise I don’t object to plastics more than other materials. In fact, plastics can, if used properly, be a better choice for the environment.

    They typically use less energy and resources to make. Plastic bags consume much less energy and water than paper ones, and you can clearly see the reduction in raw materials when you compare a typical 1 litre plastic bottle that is made from just a few grams of polymer with a 1 litre glass bottle that weighs hundreds of grams. There are real savings to be made by using strong lightweight materials like plastics to replace heavy, energy intensive materials like glass, metal or ceramics.

    What we need to do is take advantage of these savings without cluttering up the environment with waste plastics. We need to reduce the use of all materials, most of all single use popular items (bags come to mind instantly), and to close the material loop on items we cannot avoid by using recycled plastics to make things which in turn can be recycled. As long as the plastics stay in a useful cycle without going out in to the environment in significant amounts, then they’re a useful material that can help us use significantly less energy and resources.

  12. John says:

    Ben. Although plastics may be more energy efficient in their production. The devastating effects they cause in the environment, far outweigh such savings. Anyone who has seen images of dead seabirds, their stomachs full of every sort of plastic, watched film of a seal entangled in plastic rope, seen a gull eating a whole plastic carrier bag and witnessed a sea harrier with a coat hanger stuck around its neck, will want to do all they can, to never touch the toxic material again. I could carry on about how plastics only break down into tiny nodules, which are then ingested by mammals, and birds, in the belief it is edible, thus it gets into the whole food chain.

    It is considered that in every square mile of ocean, there are more of these nodules floating about then there is food.

    It is fine talking about what we should be doing to limit our use of this material, but the fact is that the majority of humans are lazy and unaware of the dangers plastic poses and will always take the easy option when disposing of their garbage. Already we may be past the tipping point where, what is already out there will continue to do untold harm to future generations of wildlife. Remember every piece of plastic that has ever been created is still out there.

    Even if you incinerate it, you produce harmful dioxins which pollute the atmosphere

  13. Mrs Green says:

    @Ben: @John: You make some very interesting points, Ben. My views on this higly emotive topic keep changing the more I learn and I sway between all plastic is bad – ban it! like John’s to more easy going thoughts like yours.

    Whether we like it or not, I think we have to face that plastic is here to stay, so yes, getting rid of once-use items is a must. Maybe in my utopia we wouldn’t have plastic at all, but then would I really want that? I enjoy things that come in plastic such as yogurt and bags of rice. it’s a very hard issue to resolve in my own mind, let alone in the greater world….
    Thanks for the link, John – always good to hear of new bloggers :)

  14. We can’t claim to be plastic free, our innovative ‘Aquapax’ water cartons (paper supplied by Tetra Pak & caps by BerriCap) are 77% plastic free and have a lower carbon footprint than both plastic and glass.
    Sadly the carton would go soggy if we didn’t have an extremely thin LLDPE layer to act as a waterproof lining – the good news is that Tetra Pak have pledged to source a bio-plastic solution in the future & providing this doesn’t taint the taste of our water, we can’t wait for this.

    NB. Before I get the ‘bottled water is evil’ barrage – the market is huge and growing around the world – while drinking tap is ideal (if you’re close to one) the market won’t go away by a minority ignoring it. As discussed at length with Mrs.Green – we’ve become the conscience of the bottled water industry – proving to all there is another way to ‘ditch the plastic’! :)

  15. @Neil Bottled water is evil!

    :-)

    Seriously, I’d be interested in talking to you more. Please contact me at beth (at) fakeplasticfish (dot) com.

  16. Mrs Green says:

    @Neil Tomlinson: Neil, thanks for sharing more about the construction of your aquapax cartons; and the news that a bio plastic may be on the horizon is very interesting ;) Hope you managed to catch up with Beth

  17. John says:

    Hello Neil

    I don’t like plastic, full stop. Yet neither I nor any sensible person, no matter what their views are on this material, would wish to describe it as ‘evil,’

    But I do have to take serious issue with you on several points. You say that your new water carton is 77% plastic free, nice marketing speak there Neil ( you will go far in the business world), that leaves 23% which is plastic right! So that’s another 23% of a synthetic material could do serious harm to the environment, ( or can you guarantee that everyone of your consumers will dispose of the empty bottles in a considered way)?
    Choke and strangle more wildlife, pollute the atmosphere (dioxins) and generally screw up soils). And I don’t care if you use biodegradable plastics or not, it’s all the same. See the article on so called biodegradable plastics on my blog: http://plasticisntnice.blogspot.com/

    You may be correct in your predictions that the bottled water market will continue to grow, then again, the manufacturers of say DDT or cigarettes would have come out with the same conclusions in the 50′s no doubt!

    The use of plastic though isn’t the only problem with buying bottled water either. As an intelligent guy, you must be aware of the desperate shortage of water that exists in the world? If you aren’t aware of the situation, then please look at this documentary: http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-world-without-water/

    I have no idea where you source your water from (perhaps you could let us know), but wherever it comes from, you will have to transport to your factory, and then bottle it up, before sending off by transport to the shops. (all of which of course involves a tremendous amount of energy and oil). I forget how much water is actually needed to make a one litre of bottled water, but the statistics don’t look good.

    All of your business speak and green wash doesn’t really hold up Neil. Many of use find nothing wrong with good old fashioned tap water. If we are in a minority, so what?

    So, you are the conscience of the bottled water industry, are you? Hmm I wonder what those Albatross chicks who chock on ingested plastics would think of that statement?

    Warmest regards
    John

  18. Hi John – too many widely varied comments to tackle as we’d bore the other readers. I quote your own blog post of 14 August back at you and I urge everyone else to read and understand what (I believe) you were saying…

    “And this really is the point, of choosing to make a stand for the good of the planet, it is the little things we do, the tiny choices we make that, in the long run will clean up the mess we’ve all contributed to, for so long.”

    “There must never be any sense of cohersion, or of lecturing others, for what we may perceive as their wrong actions. We are all one together on this planet, we’re ‘all in it together,’ Thus, developing a sense of compassion and understanding, is important too, as we progress on our chosen paths. We all have to deal with personal problems and worries in our daily life’s. And we’re all doing what we can, given our individual circumstances, energies and resources.”

    Your own words John! FYI – I spent 5 years as a director of a statutory water utility, responsible for the public health in the south of England, earnestly urging consumers to drink tap and ditch the plastic; all the while the global bottled water market continued to grow disproportionately to other markets. The world’s response to the 2004 Tsunami was to send plastic bottles to a previously unpolluted part of our planet – this was my personal catalyst to create a ‘better solution’. – Try reading some of my blog posts :)

    I make NO claims at a perfect solution and working with my wife to create a product on our own (without external financial backing) and turning it into a brand that now sells in 3 countries and which commands a premium over the massively overmarketed (100% plastic) bottled waters peddled by multi billion dollar corporations is something I’m actually quite proud of. Despite not yet drawing a salary, we continue to carbon balance our still small business with our steadily growing product distribution, because that’s what we committed to when we decided to compete and become the conscience of the sector.

    The brand which bears my name (AQUAPAX) is packaged in a 77% plastic free container which is both BPA and phthalates free. This isn’t marketing speak John – it’s fact! It’s also fact that our carton has the lowest carbon footprint of any container (with integrity) bar none and it’s also a fact that our mineral water is around a dozen times purer than evian with c.20 times lower nitrates than volvic.

    I wasn’t making any attempt at highjacking this discussion John, merely contributing to it at a human level. The sentiment of your post (accusation of a green wash) did rattle me a little and I thank you for catching me before I left my office on this particular Friday afternoon. You’ve given me an opportunity to elaborate on how I’m dealing with my own ‘personal problems and worries in my daily life’, ‘doing what I can in my circumstances’ ‘with my energy and resources’ – before going off to enjoy the bank holiday.

    Warm wishes to all.
    Neil T – aka waterguy

    PS. note to Beth – I sent you an e-mail on Monday afternoon offering to call you if you send me your landline no. Please bear in mind I’m on GMT – my note’s possibly caught up in your spam filter… :)

  19. John says:

    Hi again Neil

    As we risk this becoming our own personal debating chamber, I’ll keep this comment brief. I hope my last mail didn’t come across at all as high handed or arrogant? If it did, then I must apologise sincerely. I greatly admire that you have chosen to become involved in an area of business that, up to now has done more harm than good to the environment. I may disagree with the ethos behind bottled water Neil, but who am I to make judgements! And I too have run my own business in the past, so know all too well the struggles any individual goes though to try to make a living alone.

    I witnessed in the debate about global warming, the anger and nastiness that was generated on both sides of the argument, and have no wish to pick fights with anyone, after all, we are all sentient beings, doing what we can.

    So all the best in your venture, I won’t be buying any of your products, but I hold out my hand in friendship to you Neil and wish you well.

    Best wishes
    John

    PS. A member of my of my family drinks bottled water, so I will pass your products name onto her :)

  20. Thank you John – I appreciate your message.
    Sincerely
    Neil

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