Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Friends of the Earth Tip of the Day...

I've been a member of Friends of the Earth since I first started earning my own money (so when I was 16) and still think it's one of the most important things I'm a part of. When I (eventually) move I'm going to join the local action group and get properlly involved...but for now I'll stick to doing letter writing and online actions.

Friends of the Earth will send you an Eco Tip of the Day by email, usually really simple things that give you a bit of inspiration each day that a small action made by you can make a difference!

You can subscribe here...


and see a list of past tips here...


Monday, 28 September 2009

Reusing Ribbons...

You know those little loops of ribbon from the shoulders of tops and dresses that you're supposed to use to keep them on the hanger, I cut them off and keep them in this old hair conditioner pot thats made from mystery, unlabeled plastic (not sure if it's recyclable!) so I can use them to tie up small gifts or to use in crafts...

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Product Switcheroo - waffles and wrapping paper...

After taking part in My Zero Waste's National Zero Waste Week and reading lots and lots of blogs about how people are reducing their waste I decided I really could do so much more to reduce what I throw away, so to start I'm making some small steps...

1. Sometimes when I'm having a studenty-food moment I'm not so interested in anything healthy or organic and NEED potato smiley faces (sadly I don't seem to be able to find Alphabites anymore, which were my processed potato option of choice) but sadly they come in a plastic bag, which can't be recycled here. However, they are easily replaceable with potato waffles, which come in a nice, recycleable, cardboard box.

2. Wrapping paper, this is a Mummybiscuit switcheroo, cos I use newspaper, magazines or fabric to wrap things up, but Mum doesn't like that, and she was 'persuaded' (lol) into buying some loose sheets of wrapping paper from a locally owned card shop (10p a sheet too!) rather than a roll of paper wrapped in un-recycleable plastic! Yey for Mummybiscuit!

Very small steps to start with, but one day maybe my bin will be empty!

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Book Review - Grow Your Own Drugs.

I'm trying to read at least one environmenty/gardeny/green book each month to increase my knowledge, so I can actually, y'know, know stuff about what I'm on about! And so I keep up with this I'm going to review my book of the month here...this month I've been reading 'Grow your Own Drugs' by James Wong, which is based off a BBC2 programme of the same name. (except I think the book is better!).

I liked...
1. It has lots and lots of pretty pictures, I like the layout of the pages and just think it's a pretty beautiful book all round.
2. It has general instructions at the beginning, what tools and equipment you'll need and where to get the ingredients and then the remedies are split up into sections, like skin, aches and pains, kids, women's stuff, mind, face and body, which makes it easy to find what you need.
3. James Wong is quite cute really :)
4. It has a section at the back, 100 top plants, with information about how to grow, harvest and use medicinal plants - this is my favorite bit, because I'm having lots of 'when I have a garden....' type thoughts at the moment and this is fuel for those thoughts!
5. It's printed on FSC approved paper.
6. The reaction to the book on my shelves - 'Grow your own Drugs??? What?! What are you growing?? etc, etc, etc'

The only thing I didn't like was that lots of the ingredients are stuff I'd never be bothered to go out and buy (to be honest! I'm quite lazy!) like glycerin and waxes and stuff, but I like to think I could make 'improvised' versions of some things that would cut out the need for these items and then once I'd made those and failed I might get motivated to eventually buy the stuff and make it properly!

Next months book will be 'Vegetable Growing Month by Month' by John Harrison.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Charity Shop Treasure...The Wedding (guest!)...

I had a wedding to go to this weekend and I decided in advance that I was NOT going to buy anything new for it, because how many wedding outfits get bought and then never worn again?!

I got this dress from a charity shop for £10 (it was second hand so not really new, but new to me - I don't count that as cheating!!). I wore a necklace that had belonged to my Nan and bracelets, rings, bag and shoes that I already owned from my pre-not-buying-anything days!
I wonder if it'll make it into my usual daily outfit choice of t-shirts, holey trousers (I'll get round to mending them one day!) and trainers though?

Sunday, 13 September 2009

National Zero Waste Week - Progress...

This week I've taken a small part in My Zero Waste's National Zero Waste Week, by cutting out my use of plastic shopping bags and plastic drinks bottles - here's how I did...

Monday - I took some parcels I needed to post for ebay into town in a fabric bag, I didn't buy anything so it didn't get refilled. I also took my Hello Kitty flask s when I got thirsty from all the parcel posting I had a drink on hand.

Tuesday - I took some more parcels for ebay into town, didn't buy anything but did have a drink of Hello Kitty water! I also went to the shopping centre in the afternoon to buy a present for a friend who's starting a new course this month, which I put into the fabric bag I'd remembered to take with me!

Wednesday - Took some more parcels for posting (are you noticing a pattern here!??) bought some stuff from the charity shops and skipped home with it in my fabric bag!

Thursday - I didn't do anything that requires a bottle or a bag today!

Friday - I went on a big walk today and even got to use my big, blue Hello Kitty flask (I discovered it's a leaker!) and bought an organic lemonade in a glass bottle with a recyclable metal top from a cafe! I used my fabric bag and backpack to carry the picnic we bought in.

Saturday - My big cousin got married today :) No bags or bottles required (unless you count the bottles of champagne!)

Sunday - Recovering from wedding and visits from family, no need for bags or bottles yet, although I might take my pink Hello Kitty water bottle for a nice long walk later!

So, I'm quite pleased that I remembered my reusable bags and bottle every day this week, but I noticed lots of other waste I created along the way - especially on our picnic which involved lots of pre-packed stuff and was from Tescos (I am ashamed! I haven't been in a Tesco for years but I was with relatively new people, they were being really lovely and preparing a vegan picnic when I was the only vegan and I would have looked really ungrateful if I'd have given them my anti-tescos rant), so I think there's lots more work to be done!

Did anyone else take part in Zero Waste Week? How did it go?

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Charity Shop Score...

I found some excellent second hand stuff in the Charity Shops today!!

Alllll this ribbon and lace and red spotty bias binding (my favorite bit!) for £3!!

And this wooden jewellery box, that I think I'm going to paint and make beautiful, but which I've already arranged my earrings in for now because I couldn't wait, for 99p!

Monday, 7 September 2009

Potato Party...

My mum planted some potatoes we had that went all root-y and yesterday we decided to dig them up becuase the plant-y bit at the top had all died (our next door neighbour- who is AMAZING by the way, shes in her 80's and still grows her own fruit and veg! - told us to wait for that to happen before digging them up).

IT WAS SO EXCITING!!!!!!! I did literally cheer everytime a new potato was unearthed!

Which was 32 times, because that's how many potatoes we got, out of two root-y potatoes that were going to go in the compost! You can't see in the picture but there were some pink potatoes too!!! Squeee!!!

They were really yummy as roasties with our Sunday dinner :) And we still have two more recycled-rooty-potato plants we're waiting to harvest too!!

Sunday, 6 September 2009

National Zero Waste Week...

This year I'm going to take part in My Zero Waste's National Zero Waste Week

National Zero Waste week calls for you to think of something you can reduce, reuse or recycle to lessen your household waste.

I've chosen two things to concentrate on next week that will hopefully become good habits for life!

Firstly - water bottles. I go shopping with my mum, we get thirsty, we are unprepared for this thirst and buy a bottle of water. I'm not doing that anymore! It's the only time I buy bottled drinks and I feel guilty every time I do it (even though it only happens about twice a month). I have two new strategies to deal with this...

1. REMEMBER to take my flask! I've moved it from the back of the cupboard and put it where I can see it.

2. If flaskless, then buy a can of drink instead (which I can take home and recycle - plastic bottles can be recycled too of course, but the lids can't) or go to a nice, locally owned cafe for a drink.

The other thing I'm going to do to reduce my waste is to stop using plastic bags, I have a LOT of reusable bags, but I also have a shameful plastic bag mountain. I usually take reusable bags with me, and then can't fit everything into them - after filling my reusable bags, handbag and pockets I have to admit defeat and get a plastic one too! So all I need to do here is to remember to take more reusable bags with me when I go shopping!

Is anyone else taking part in Zero Waste Week?

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Made in England...

I can't actually find any statistics about how much the UK imports overall, I just end up on government websites that don't seem to give me any answers! But I'm guessing it's a lot, so many things you see in shops have little labels on saying 'made in China/Twain/Korea/India...' and considering the whole running-out-of-oil thing I think we should be saving petrol (do ships/planes run on petrol?) and thinking about trying to use things from our own countries when we can. Which is why I was glad to find these products whose labels all clearly state that they were made in the UK!

I needed a scart lead so I could watch TV in my room and I bought this one from the local market (supporting local business - yey!) and was very pleased to see it had been made in Essex (Mercury TV and video Accessories)! The packaging was recyclable too!

If it was up to me I'd clean the house using lemon juice and vinegar and all those other natural things Kim and Aggie use on how clean is your house (why yes, I am watching too much daytime T.V. at the moment, how could you tell?!! lol), but Mum's yet to be converted to that. We mostly use Ecover but she still has some dangerous addictions. Like Febreze which is made by Proctor and Gamble (booo!!!), so I was super-happy when we found this Febreze copy which, although is still in a plastic bottle (recyclable) and is all chemically, isn't tested on animals and is made in the UK!

She also likes liquid soap, so we found this one which is made in the UK, not tested on animals and has no parabens or triclosan - and even though it's in a plastic bottle it's recyclable! yey!

How to Use Up Scraps...Fabric Yoyos, Origami Lucky Stars...

Due to all the unemployment I've been on a bit of a making things kick these last couple of weeks, but because I have trouble throwing anything out I end up with millions of tiny bits of material and paper...but finally I've found something to do with them....

Fabric yoyos...

I made a brooch out of 3 yoyos stitched together and stuck it to a card for my friends birthday. I'd like to make a bag covered in yoyos!

Paper lucky stars...

I L.O.V.E these! I'm going to attach some to earring hooks and have starry ears! And thread them on string to make star-chains to decorate my room!
I used the (brilliant!) tutorials here for both...