Saturday 29 October 2022

Positive News Autumn 2022

 Positive News October 2022

Tree in Bubble Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Rest your soul a little by reading something positive
🌎

1.     Super Reserve in Somerset

In May 2022, Natural England announced a new 'super' nature reserve to be created in Somerset, protecting over 6000 hectares of precious saltmarsh, heath and wetland habitats, home to nationally significant wildlife populations.

The site will link six nature reserves and managed land in the Somerset levels, coast and moors and will join England’s developing Nature Recovery Network.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-super-national-nature-reserve-created-to-protect-rare-wildlife

Various Nature Recovery projects will extend across 99,000 hectares of land in total over time – this is equivalent to all the 219 current national nature reserves in England.

2.     Bee Numbers Increasing in Sussex

Community funded projects have led to an increase in bee numbers in the South Downs. Sussex residents raised £75,000 to help a young charity, Bee Lines, plant wildflower oases across the South Downs national park.

There has been a 72% rise in bees and other pollinators since the projects began.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/aug/22/new-wildflower-havens-in-south-downs-national-park-boost-bee-numbers

3.     Large Blue Butterfly Making a Comeback

Large blue butterflies were previously very rare in the UK. During an re-introduction program, around 1,100 of butterfly larvae were released at West Country locations, with 750 butterflies successfully emerging.

It is the first time for 150 years that the large blue butterfly - the largest and rarest of all nine British blue butterflies - has been recorded at Minchinhampton and Rodborough Common (Stroud in Gloucestershire).
 
https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/53757437

It was also announced in March 2020 that butterflies have bounced back to the best levels in 20 years after a monitoring survey took place in the UK. 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/51987691

4.     Bison to Help With Rewilding in Kent

The UK is one of the most nature depleted areas and to help with re-wilding the Wilder Bean project have introduced wild bison to England, for the 1st time in thousands of years. 

Their grazing can help bring light to young shoots, their poop fertilises the land and their rolling (in dust baths) can help create habitats for lizards, birds, insects and other animals.

Three bison have been initially released in Blean Woods, Kent. The wardens were delighted to find a new calf was born in September (see video below)!

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/wild-bison-return-uk-first-054502529.html


5.     George Ezra Donates to National Trust

Partnering with You Tube's Sustainability Fund, George Ezra has donated £85,000 to the National Trust which will help them plant 17,000 more trees.

The trees will create a new woodland that will lock in carbon, help reduce flooding and create homes for wildlife, the National Trust said.


6.     Fin Whales Returning in Large Numbers

A study published in July 2022 noted large numbers of fin whales in the Southern Ocean. Researchers estimate there could be at least 8,000 fin whales in the Antarctic, where they were hunted almost to extinction in the 20th century.

One group being spotted contained 150 whales - wowsa!


7.     Glastonbury Festival's Social Housing Pledge

Michael Eavis, the founder of Glastonbury Festival has donated some land just two miles from the Glastonbury festival site to The Guinness Partnership (who build affordable social housing).

The new houses, flats and bungalows will be built and equipped with heat pumps. Michael has also generously donated £275,000 to help with development costs.

https://www.positive.news/society/glastonbury-founder-digs-deep-to-build-affordable-homes/

8.     Glasgow City Emissions Continues to Fall

Glasgow City, which is historically home to some of Scotland’s most polluted streets due to traffic emissions, reported that their CO2 emissions fell by 13% since 2020 and 50% since 2006.

The Scottish Environment and Protection Agency (Sepa) said their latest statistics across Scotland follow a downward trend in emissions since 2007.

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/scotlands-greenhouse-gas-emissions-continue-171614944.html


9.     Salvaged Metal in Future Coins

A newly planned Royal Mint factory set to open in South Wales in 2023 will aim to use salvaged metals in the production of new coins. 

Precious metals (including gold) can be extracted from used mobile phones, laptops and circuit boards. They aim to process up to 90 tonnes of UK sourced circuit boards per week, to retrieve hundreds of kilograms of gold per year.

https://www.recycleyourelectricals.org.uk/royal-mint-to-turn-electronic-waste-into-gold/

10.     Milestone Reached in Great Pacific Garbage Patch

The Ocean Cleanup team released prototypes to skim plastics from an area in the North Pacific Ocean known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Their first ocean plastic cleaning prototype (system 001 Wilson), was launched September 2018 which collected a little over 7,000 kilos of plastic. 

The 2nd system (system 002 Jenny), was released August 2021 and has collected over 100,000 kilos during its 45 extractions, which is equivalent in weight to 2.5 Boing 737-800s - wow!



1,000 more extractions will be needed to complete the mission but they are delighted a milestone of 100,000 kilos has been reached. 

The Ocean Cleanup Team are hoping to release system 003 soon for more sweeps to take place at a faster rate (at 3 times the size of system 002).


11.     The Great Bubble Barrier!

Meanwhile, entrepreneur Claar-els van Delft in the Netherlands devised a clever plastic catching device to be placed in rivers. 

Known as the Great Bubble Barrier it uses compressed air to push up plastics and push them to one side to be collected. This will help reduce the number of plastics that make it out to the oceans!


Sun through the Trees Photo by Ray Bilcliff from Pexels

Check out our positive news section for more encouraging reads. 
https://www.lovelierplanet.com/p/lovelier-news.html

Enjoy!

🍁

Saturday 15 October 2022

Cost of Living Tips

Save Your Pennies & the Planet!

Piggy Bank Photo by Maitree Rimthong Pexels

The cost of living crisis has taken an all time high & set to get even trickier. What a tumultuous decade we've had so far, it just keeps on giving, doesn't it?

I've been reflecting on ways to save energy costs. The good news is that most of the tips below could also help save the planet just by using less of the Earth's resources.

I'm sure that many of the tips below are ones you already consider, but if I throw in one extra thing that you haven't yet tried it'd be worth me typing it all out! 

So here goes. 

Washing

Wash Less Often – I'm all for this - don't wash as often, embrace the smelly! Your best mate might not thank you for it but the planet will. 

Running hot water uses several things - electricity to kick start the boiler into action, gas to heat the water (if you have a gas boiler) and water costs (if metered) to run the water, until it finally gets hot. So washing less will save money on all 3. 

Get ya kids in the bath together, save left over bath water for plants and set a timer on showers (for those who can't get out once they're in!)

Here's a savvy tip from an eco forum poster, run the water into a jug while you're waiting for it to heat up. The excess water can be used to water a house plant. Water ultimately does get recycled, but if you get charged for each bit of it you use, it pays to reduce the run off.

Wear Clothes for Longer – If you regularly chuck rarely worn items straight into the wash, have a think and decide if it can last a day or two longer. Not only does it save on number of washes you have to do, but it can also make your clothes last longer, as washing regularly can degrade your fibres.

Wash at Lower Temperatures – I've wondered if washing at lower temperatures can really make a difference as I've always washed at 40 degrees. But lately I've started to take more notice, when I read you can save about 40% electricity, just by reducing your wash temperature. 

Washing Machine Photo by rawpixel.com Pexels

It makes sense to use full loads when you wash (forget doing little tiddly washes) and if your energy supplier charges less at certain times of the day or night, aim to do your washing then.

This web site has some handy tips on ways to save money on your washing: 
https://inthewash.co.uk/laundry-and-ironing/save-money-doing-laundry/

Plus a comparison of different brands of machine: 
https://inthewash.co.uk/laundry-and-ironing/cost-to-wash-clothes-uk/ 

(Savings may seem small but really do add up over time).

Recycle Your Water - Also known as 'grey water', consider using old water from washing up bowls, baths etc for watering outdoor plants. The RHS says that soap suds are filtered in the soil so shouldn't affect the plants too much. 

May need to avoid doing this with edible plants though in case of any contaminants. https://www.rhs.org.uk/science/gardening-in-a-changing-world/water-use-in-gardens/using-grey-water

Water Saving Devices - these devices can help cut down on your water consumption, such as the hippo for toilet cisterns and aerators for your shower. 

Some devices are free, so it's worth checking with your local water provider. 
https://www.reducereuserecycle.co.uk/greenfreebies/free_water_saving_devices.php

Cooking

Unplug Unused Appliances - Some items can continue to drain energy on standby, so consider unplugging to save some pennies. On a recent 30 Tips to Cut Your Bills program, aired on Channel 5, it was suggested that microwaves for example are just expensive clocks. I've now started to unplug mine!

Smart meters are excellent tools, so you can see which appliances use up the most resources. Switch lights to LED to make some savings on lighting too.

Boil Less in the Kettle - Most will have heard this, but boiling water in a kettle is energy consuming. Cut your costs by boiling only what you need. Some folks even use a flask and top up their cuppas using previously boiled water. I guess if there's any left you can use it to have a wash later, cool it off to water house plants or stick it in your dog's water bowl!

Baking Cakes in the Oven Photo by Cottonbro

Use Oven Less - The oven is an expensive way to cook. Heating food in faster ways is more cost effective - think stir frys, microwave meals or air fry machines. 

If you do need the oven, bake several things at once & consider batch cooking (cooking more than you need) so you can eat it during the week. Use residual oven heat to heat the room after (a good excuse to turn the radiators off!)

Left overs are a great quick meal for lunch the next day. Take it to work and use their microwave to heat it, using their electricity instead of yours!

Put your freezer to work - by storing batch cooked meals (remember to label them as once frozen it's easy to forget!) If storing cooked food in fridge/freezer, allow the food to cool down properly first. This will reduce your appliance having to work harder, trying to cool it down electronically.

They say a fuller freezer is more economical to run and stocking with frozen fruit & veg is fine, as they are usually picked & frozen quickly, meaning you can avoid food waste (as frozen food keeps longer) and still eat nutritional meals. 

If food can be defrosted, then cooking chilled rather than frozen will save on cooking times also, so remember to take it out for defrosting ahead of time.

Left over fruit & veg can be turned into homemade jams and chutneys to keep them going for longer. Check out some more great energy saving tips below:

Heating

Reduce the draughts - you've probably heard it all before but draughts will cause you to crank up the thermostat, so blocking the escape of heat you've already paid for will ultimately save ya pennies. Tips include lagging water tanks, adding extra loft insulation and placing draught excluder tape around doors and windows.

Dial it down - popping your thermostat down a couple of degrees can help with heating costs and turn off radiators in rooms where they are not needed. 

Place reflective material behind the radiator to help distribute the heat and if the radiators feel too cold or uneven, they may need bleeding to help get them working more efficiently. 

Individual thermostat radiator valves can also keep different rooms controlled as different temperature settings. 

Heat yourself up - rather than heat the whole house maybe put extra layers on yourself, embrace the warm blankie and fluffy slippers. I always find hot food warms me up, so a hearty bowl of soup is quick, nutritious and body warming too.

Puppy in Blanket Photo by Em Hopper Pexels

See this article below on six ways to keep your heating costs down:
https://www.which.co.uk/news/article/six-ways-to-keep-your-heating-costs-down-aD82Q4d0RDcQ

Buying Products

Get Cashback - consider using Cash back sites such as Topcashback for your normal purchases. I've managed to save over £400 doing this, so whether you get pennies or pounds back they really do add up. 

You get cashback on insurance, travel, home products, personal products and even sites such as Etsy & Ebay. I find their competitions and bonus cashbacks helpful too, so keep an eye out for those.

Free or Loan Products

Embrace Preloved Items - I'm always shocked when I hear how many clothes are thrown into landfill each year. It doesn't need to happen - there are so many ways to keep unwanted clothes going - donate to charity shops or place in charity collection bins (there's plenty in supermarket car parks or look out for when they next come around your street for collection).

Also place them online, Facebook market place, freecycle, eco trash forums, vinted, ebay etc etc. Or maybe have a swap party with friends.

Find a Repair Workshop - you may be able to save on the cost of buying a new item by having it repaired instead. Check out this map to find a repair workshop near you. https://www.repaircafe.org/en/visit/

If you do find your electrical item cannot be repaired, avoid placing them in the general waste. Council sites often have an electrical appliance section where items can be disposed. Check out: https://www.recyclenow.com/recycle-an-item/electrical-items.

Swap and Share Your Items - if you have an item you no longer want or need consider joining a Swap and Share group on Facebook or look up a local Eco Trash group or Items for Free Group. These are good ways to get a second hand item for little or no cost.

Photo by Liza Summer from Pexels

Trade your Skills - maybe swap a homemade cake in return for a hair cut? Or walk a dog in return for a meal maybe? So many different ideas. 

Loan Something! - Why not check out the 'Library of Things' - a London group where folks post items available to loan - it could save you having to buy something if you just need it for a day. Check your local area for similar groups.

Find a Community Hub - if you need a moment to get warmth some community hubs are being set up by local councils and charities. You may find a community cafΓ© near you, some provide free hot drinks, low cost food, warm space and a friendly face.

Driving

Drive Lighter - extra weight in the car causes more fuel to drive so reduce your fuel costs by taking out heavy items that aren't needed. Those top boxes could be weighing you down and causing extra drag too, so if you have somewhere to store them take them off until you need them the next time.

Another tip I've never thought of doing until now is only half fill your car with fuel. Fuel is heavy, so less fuel means a more energy efficient journey. Drive more steadily too ie letting the car slow down gently (also saves on break pads) and get up to high gear as soon as you can.

Ensure your tyres aren't under inflated. Under inflated tyres can cost you £65 a year on extra fuel according to this article - lots more tips below: 
https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/advice/know-how/30-money-saving-motoring-tips/ 

Landrover on Gravel Photo by Tim Compound Pexels

Car Pooling - if you notice your neighbour goes to the same school, workplace or shops on a regular basis as you, maybe pool together and share the driving. You can even rent out your drive these days to get some extra pennies!

Do It Yourself

Make Your Own Products - you can make cleaning and personal care products easily and cheaply too. Some ideas to get you started can be found at: 
https://www.lovelierplanet.com/p/home-made-section.html

Hobbies

Fitness - you can get fit for free by walking in the local countryside or find a local outdoor gym. This site shows some ‘fresh air gyms’ that might be near you. Or why not become a dog walker and get paid while you walk?

Consider volunteering for an eco group to help with litter picking, beach cleans or tree planting which will also help to keep you fit. Lots of ideas on volunteering can be found in our directory page.

Crafting - check out an eco trash group on Facebook for random bits you can use such as fabric remnants, buttons etc. or maybe join a local freecycle group.

Get Paid to Watch TV - Watching television of course uses electricity, but if there's a program you can't do without, then why not get paid to watch it? 

GFK Media view site lets you review your fave TV and Radio programs. You will randomly be selected to win rewards which you can cash in for a coupon to use against your favourite purchases online. I have made about £50 so far!

Christmas

Christmas Crafts Photo by Boris Pavlikovsk Pexels

Looking for an Eco Christmas? - support your local charity shop, grab their christmas catalogue or check out their online store (they'll love your support & you'll feel better knowing your pennies went to a good cause). 

Or support a local home crafter on etsy (did you know, we sell home made cotton washing up clothes and re-usable christmas crackers)? 

Maybe try your hand at making your own goodies? 

Check out Spruce Crafts for some great ideas: 

Some articles on going green at Christmas are listed below..πŸŽ„

Enjoy an Eco Friendly Christmas:
https://www.lovelierplanet.com/2021/11/festive-dreamin.html
https://www.lovelierplanet.com/2019/11/dreamin-of-green-christmas.html
https://www.lovelierplanet.com/2019/12/less-waste-at-christmas.html
https://www.lovelierplanet.com/2020/11/how-to-have-eco-christmas.html


I do hope you enjoyed the article and thank you for reading! πŸŒž

Wednesday 24 August 2022

Fruit squash without the plastic


A Look At Some Plastic Free Cordials! 


If you go down the fruit squash, cordial aisle you can’t fail to notice the rows upon rows of plastics. It can be soul destroying to see. With the plastic tax now taking effect in the UK I would say that more manufacturers will come on board to include recycled content in their bottles.

Meanwhile, if you do look around you may see some lovely UK made products also available in glass. Glass is heavier to transport sadly but on the flip side, it is one of the most recycled products out there. Plus we love to keep ours going even longer by making our own cordials (see recipe near bottom of page).

In this article we have a look at some of the products you can buy and also how to make your own (really easy) if you choose to do so. Some products in glass bottles can be pricey so look out for special offers to keep your pennies lasting longer.

Belvoir – Belvoir Farm lies in the Vale of Belvoir in Leicestershire. The first cordial was made in the farmhouse kitchen by Peverel Manners, utilising wild elderflower that were spilling into the family’s garden. No artificial preservatives, additives or sweeteners are used. The team now owns 60 acres of organic elderflower which are harvested in June. 


Belvoir Elderflower & Rose Cordial


Blossom Cottage – Made in the Cotswolds with hand picked fruits added to spring water. You can buy morello cherry or elderflower flavours with no artificial colours or sweeteners. 


Bottlegreen – This company was founded by husband & wife team Kit & Shireen in 1989. They use their own spring water at a mill in the Cotswolds with filtering techniques for their elderflowers, similar to the process used in wine making. They do an interesting array of flavours including pomegranate & elderflower, blackberry, apple & sloe, lime & mint, apple & plum, winter berry & more. 


Robinson – Robinson’s history goes back to 1823 where Matthias Robinson patented Robinson Barley to make Barley Groats (Barley in powder form in tins). Later, Mr Smedley Hodgson combined it with lemon & sugar. This became a refreshing drink for Wimbledon tennis players since the 1930s.

In 2017 Robinson’s launched Fruit Creations making cordials with fruit & botanicals. Available in glass bottles the range includes Raspberry, Rhubarb & Orange, Lime & Mint Cordial, Blackberry, Cranberry & Sloe plus Pear & Elderflower. 


They do include sweeteners as well as sugar but steviol glycosides are used (which in my opinion are far better than other sweeteners on the market). They also contain some preservatives too.

Rocks – the family farm in Devon was founded by Hugh Rock who sought to make refreshing, natural fruit drinks without additives, colours or sweeteners. Hugh has since retired but the company still continues to this day making squash from whole fruit, sugar & water. The range includes orange, blackcurrant & lemon squash. 


Summary - Here we’ve just focused on cordial (or squash) – those where you add your own water. You can also look out for p
ressΓ©s if you want a pre-made drink. Some of the brands above have fizzy drinks pre-made you can buy. 

See below on how you can save money by making your own!

Lime & Mint Cordial (Homemade in Robinson's Bottle)

Homemade Lime & Mint Cordial

Step One: You need 2 limes, 160ml mint leaves (about 2/3 cup), 225g caster sugar + 250ml water

Step Two: Grate limes & extract juice. Dissolve sugar in water & add mint leaves & grated lime.

Step Three: Simmer for 20 mins. Remove from heat & add juice of the limes.

Step Four: Stir & then allow to cool. Place in bottle via a sieve. Store in fridge.

Can be diluted with water to make a refreshing cordial or why not add a splash of cordial to a homemade mojito*?

The run down - Cost wise I estimate just over £1.00 for the ingredients. I haven’t estimated cost of elec/gas to simmer the sugar water nor the cost of the water (which will have some cost if you’re water metered), but just a little over £1 a bottle is a good half of what you normally pay for a bought item. 

If you have the time it’s worth giving it a try & so super easy to do! I like to use an old glass bottle from a cordial I tried in the past.

My husband loves to make his own fizzy drinks too using a ginger beer plant, some apple juice or fresh fruits such as strawberries plus sugar & water. It makes for a refreshing alcoholic drink. We don’t use glass as the fizzy product means it may need room to expand while it’s brewing, so for that we use old plastic bottles that we re-use time & time again.

I may start experimenting with other fruits too as I’ve only tried the lime & mint so far. It’s blackberry picking time soon so you never know what may unfold! 

Last year I made some rosehip syrup from locally foraged rosehips & hedgerow jam from local sloe, rosehips, blackberries, apple & left over frozen fruit we had in the freezer. Utilising old jars & bottles is a great way to keep containers going until you’re ready to recycle them. 

Lovely too eating/drinking your own home made products!

Homemade hedgerow jam

Enjoy ya refreshing drinks but do keep an eye out for special offers in the stores to keep the costs down, as some of the brands can be quite pricey, or why not have a go at making your own?

*NB: To make homemade mojito add white rum to lemonade with splash of your lime & mint cordial, add sprig of mint, piece of lime & several ice cubes.

🍸 Sit back & enjoy! 🍸

Thursday 11 August 2022

Greencare - A Review

 This is my 23rd review on plastic alternatives.

Scoring system:

❤ = Will keep, I love it / πŸ‘€ = Not sure, will try some more / 😐 = Oh dear, it's not for me


Review Twenty Three - Greencare by Sainsbury's


You may not have failed to notice that these products in the Greencare range are in plastic bottles, so you may also be wondering why these are being reviewed in a 'reduce your plastics' site?

Greencare Products in 100% Recycled Bottles
My reason for choosing this product is that it comes in a 100% recycled plastic bottle. 

For years we were recycling plastics not realising (like many) that most of it doesn't get recycled & some may even find its way abroad. This led me to start this wonderful blog & sent me on a mission to do more.

So it's great to see some companies beginning to use utilise recycled plastics which is why I have supported this. They are pretty good products and at a decent price too & I found myself switching to them with no trouble at all. E-cover for example are becoming too much out of my price range & Method can be pricey too.

For various brands that do use recycled plastics in their products check out this post at: 

Plus check out my recent post on the British Plastic Survey for statistics on recycling, shipping abroad, landfill plus incineration.

So back to Greencare, they are a range made by Sainsbury's who do washing detergent & fabric conditioner, cleaning sprays, window & floor cleaner, washing up liquids (smells lovely), dishwasher tablets and shower spray (smells scrummy too). 

Greencare Label Sainsbury's

When they have both price AND product mix right as well as being eco friendly then it makes me happy.

Now there is the issue of what happens to plastic when it is recycled. Can we keep it going for a long time? Well sadly it downgrades (often know as downcycling) so is not a long term solution. 

Humans need to act fast to find a better solution however we also need to find ways to use the recycled stock that we do have, to make new things, rather than relying on virgin materials (or nurdles - for more on nurdles check out my blog post on hidden plastics).

I found this article below very interesting where it discusses how different plastics are rated and how some plastics are better able to be melted than others and why it cannot be recycled an infinite number of times. Green Matters - Can You Recycle Recycled Plastic?

Also this article on downcycling is a good read: https://ailuna.com/what-is-downcycling/

For me I love the greencare range so will score it a ❤ from me.

Next I'll be reviewing the eco egg which I finally got around to purchasing. Mixed feelings about that which I will explain more in a later post.

Meanwhile, happy washing!!

Monday 18 July 2022

Plastic Free July

 The Big Plastic Count Results Are In!


Plastics Collection by Anna Shvets from Pexels


Just in time for Plastic Free July, the Big Plastic Count results are in. A survey was sent out to interested hosueholds in May 2022. Published by Greenpeace & Every Day Plastic, the results of the survey are indeed very shocking. 

Some takeaway nuggets include:

🌍  Nearly a quarter of a million people (248,957) from 97,948 UK households took part in the biggest ever Plastic Count Survey.

🌍 On average, each household threw away 66 pieces of plastic packaging in one week, which amounts to an estimated 3,432 pieces a year.

🌍 Over a million pieces of plastics were counted from fruit & veg packaging whilst over a million more made up of snack bags, packets and wrappers.

🌍 The majority of these types of plastics (57%) are soft plastics which are less likely to be recycled.

🌍 The survey found that just 12% of the type of plastics discarded will likely be recycled in the UK whilst 17% shipped abroad, 25% could end up in landfill whilst 46% be incinerated.*

🌍 The UK is the 2nd worse country for plastic waste per capita after the USA and is almost double the weight than plastic waste generated in Italy.

Plastic Bottle Photo courtesy of Pexels
*Different local authorities handle recycling in different ways so there's some level of guesswork involved but the calculations were based on types of plastics being discarded in the week (a tick off chart helped categorise what was being used, ie cartons, peelable lids, trays, wrappers etc and also categories for food, personal products (for body washing etc) & household products such as cleaning sprays & wash tabs etc etc.)

🌍 They concluded that 62% of the pieces of plastic recorded in the count are either not collected or poorly collected for recycling by UK local authorities, and likely to end up in landfill or incinerated.

🌍 Incinerating plastics cause way more pollution/carbon emissions than burning coal & releases toxic fumes into the environment.

🌍 Landfilling meanwhile releases methane & ethylene into the atmosphere as the plastics are broken down (if the landfill is exposed to the elements), coupled with microplastics being carried by wind.

This highlights the need for much better investment in recycling products, reducing single used products & encouraging a deposit scheme for return of plastic bottles as an urgent requirement. The government discussed previously a deposit return scheme however a scheme has yet to be implemented.

Also a bigger look at circular economy would be a help, for instance Mother Nature has far less waste, what is no longer needed goes back into the system and used by some of other part of the eco system. Humans have a much more linear system, make something, use it, discard it, buy another and so on. 

We need to be more forward thinking rather than letting waste pile up to the point where we can no longer live due to all the products we rely on (meat, plants, water, air) becoming too polluted to rely on. Many would say we are already past the tipping point.

A thorough report of the Big Plastic Count is available at: 
https://www.greenpeace.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Final-Big-Plastic-Count-Results-Report-V2.pdf 

So how did I do? 

I've been trying to reduce plastics for a number of years and have been recycling plastics since the late 80s/early 90s. Even so, my weekly plastic tally came to 40 plastic items. 

A portion of these items are re-used as we wash out plastic bottles for making our own fizzy drinks, using a ginger beer plant as a base plus plastic ziplock bags are used for disposing of cat litter. 

The majority of plastic products I buy have recycled content in them, however 40 items was still shocking to me - this is under the national average but it's still too much.

Time for Change Photo by Art Bokeh from Pexels

Some useful links for you:

🌍 5 Surprising Things from the Household Plastic Count
https://www.greenpeace.org.uk/news/5-surprising-things-we-learned-from-the-biggest-ever-household-plastic-count/

🌍 Government on the Next Steps to Tackle Plastic Waste
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/next-steps-to-tackle-plastic-waste

🌍 Dame Ellen MacCarthur Foundation - A Circular Economy to Encourage Less Waste
https://ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/

🌍 Greenpeace, Plastic Questions Answered
https://www.greenpeace.org.uk/challenges/plastic-pollution/

🌍 Books on Plastic Waste for Adults
https://www.lovelierplanet.com/2019/12/plastic-free-books.html

Thursday 16 June 2022

Eco Minded Celebs

It's great to see celebs who are willing to support Planet Earth. There are many of course but here are just a small handful of folks paving the way for a better tomorrow.

Rihanna

Bajan singer Rihanna has donated $15 million to grassroots climate justice groups through the Clara Lionel Foundation. The 18 groups funded included Climate Justice Alliance, the Indigenous Environmental Network, and the Movement for Black Lives.

She noted that disparity is the reason for her foundation, which is named after her grandparents, which prioritizes both climate resilience and climate justice work.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/rihannas-foundation-donates-15-million-to-climate-justice

Ellen MacArthur


In 2005, Dame Ellen MacArthur became the fastest solo sailor to sail around the world. 

After circling the globe – carrying everything she needed with her – she returned with new insights into the way the world works, as a place of interlocking cycles and finite resources.

Five years later, she set up the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to accelerate the transition to a circular economy.

According to her website: In our current economy, we take materials from the Earth, make products from them, and eventually throw them away as waste – the process is linear. In a circular economy, by contrast, we stop waste being produced in the first place.

The circular economy is based on three principles, driven by design:
Eliminate waste and pollution
Circulate products and materials (at their highest value)
Regenerate nature

I found this 10 minute interview below very insightful - Dame MacArthur explains the problems we face but also how sensible solutions can be found.


Stephen Fry

Comedian and writer Stephen Fry has supported 34 charities including Healthy Planet, Environment Investigation Agency, TigerTime, Save the Rhino and Global Cool.  
https://www.looktothestars.org/celebrity/stephen-fry

He has also been President of the Great Fen Project since 2006 and Vice-president of international NGO Fauna and Flora International since 2009.

Pink Floyd’s guitarist David Gilmour sold his collection of more than 120 guitars in 2019, during an auction at Christie’s in New York. This was in aid of ClientEarth, to support their efforts to fight the climate crisis.

ClientEarth was set up by a lawyer to help fight environmental causes.

From their website:

We have helped governments to write environmental laws, and regulators to enforce them. We have saved Europe’s oldest forest from destruction, smoothed the way for environmental lawsuits in China, and helped communities in Africa’s last great rainforest cut illegal logging.

We sue polluting companies, and we help them change their business model to do better in future. Because protecting the planet is best for us all.

Prince William (Earthshot Prize)

The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge unites people to tackle some of today’s biggest challenges, delivering impact on a range of issues that matter to Their Royal Highnesses and to society.

Launched by Prince William and The Royal Foundation in October 2020, The Earthshot Prize is the most prestigious global environment prize in history, designed to incentivise change and help repair our planet over the next ten years.

Leonardo Di Caprio

Leonardo DiCaprio has announced he'll be pledging $43 million (£30.2 million) to help protect the GalΓ‘pagos Islands.

DiCaprio posted on Twitter saying: "More than half of Earth's remaining wild areas could disappear in the next few decades if we don't decisively act."

The project should bring the pink iguana, the Floreana giant tortoise and the Floreana mockingbird back from the brink of extinction, and to ensure the people of the Galapagos thrive with the wild.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/57168243
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In collaboration with scientists Leonardo founded a conservation group called Re:Wild

According to their site: Re:wild launched in 2021 combining more than three decades of conservation impact by Leonardo DiCaprio and Global Wildlife Conservation, leveraging expertise, partnerships and platforms to bring new attention, energy and voices together. In 2020 alone we worked to conserve over 45 million acres of wild places and to reverse the plight of 835 threatened species.

Their vital work has protected and conserved more than 180 million acres benefitting more than 16,000 species in the world’s most irreplaceable places for biodiversity.
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In More News: 

President vows to 'protect our most precious marine landscapes' as Leonardo DiCaprio pledges $7m to 'meaningful' ocean protection.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jun/17/obama-oceans-marine-reserves-leonardo-dicaprio
Blue & Orange Starfish on Beach Photo by Mark Walz from Pexels
Leonardo, You're a Star!
Some more useful links for you:


For a look at some conservation charities, where you can donate money,
or volunteer your time
 πŸŒ check out our newly created Directory. 🌏

Saturday 14 May 2022

The Big Plastic Count

 πŸ¦‹ Welcome to Mindful May

Bee on Blue Flowers by Pixabay on Pexels

Be kind to one another, take a break, say a compliment, start a new hobby, breathe in the fresh country air and look around you. 

Maybe things we should be doing normally anyway!

πŸ¦‹ 10% Offer. 

Meanwhile, as a treat we have 10% off our Etsy store for the whole month of May. 

Did you know, we make our own wildflower seed balls to add joy to your garden no matter how small, plus compostable wash cloths with lovely patterns to brighten up your kitchen sink or bath tub?


 πŸ¦‹ The Big Plastic Count

Taking part during 16th to 22nd May the Big Plastic Count is an initiative to encourage families, schools and businesses to record each bit of plastic they throw away. 

Check out this video below!

 

Grab a tick off chart to record your count of plastic items at: https://thebigplasticcount.com/

πŸ¦‹ Our New Directory

Check out our newly listed directory to help you navigate the world of reducing plastics and loving nature. https://www.lovelierplanet.com/p/directory.html

πŸ¦‹ Nest & Watering Hole Cams!

If you love wildlife, why not check out this lovely set of nest cams in Ash Wood in Yorkshire including owls & kestrels plus visiting pheasants at a watering hole. I’m addicted to it!


Meanwhile have a great May and enjoy your Spring. 

It's lovely to see trees and wildlife springing back to life again. Huzzah!

Read some of our uplifting stories here!

πŸ¦‹

Friday 22 April 2022

Positive Earth Day News

Positive News for Earth Day 2022


Butterfly on Flowers by Pixabay at Pexels

Welcome to Earth Day!

First held on April 22, 1970, 
EarthDay.org provides a wide range of events coordinated globally. 1 billion people in more than 193 countries get involved.

Folks can grab an Earth Day Action Toolkit 2022 here.

To celebrate Earth Day, I have pulled together a snapshot of some good news.

1. 90,000 Trees Planted at National Trust Property

A tree planting project backed by the UK Government's Green Recovery Challenge Fund is underway at Wimpole Estate in Cambridgeshire. 39 native apple species will be planted in corridors connecting woodland areas, helping to attract pollinating insects, birds & bats into the area. 

Wimpole estate have planted 14 different species of native trees including oak, hornbeam, wild cherry, field maple and birch, and 10 species of shrubs including hawthorn, hazel and spindle.

“The variety of trees is really important to help build resilience into the landscape, in the face of a growing number to tree diseases, and to attract different birds and animals," noted Project manager Jason Sellars.

UK retailer Boots has vowed to stop selling all wet wipes that contain plastic fibres by the end of the year.

After selling more than 800 million wet wipes last year, it now plans to replace plastic-based wipes with plant-based biodegradable alternatives.


3. Rihanna Backs Climate Change Projects with a $15m Donation

Bajan singer Rihanna has donated $15 million to grassroots climate justice groups through the Clara Lionel Foundation. The 18 groups funded included Climate Justice Alliance, the Indigenous Environmental Network, and the Movement for Black Lives. 

She noted that disparity is the reason for her foundation, which is named after her grandparents, prioritizes both climate resilience and climate justice work.

Be Kind to the Planet by Olya Kobruseva on Pexels

4. Kites Are Flying High!

In the 1980s Red Kites were a globally threatened species facing near extinction. Following a reintroduction of breeding pairs 30 years ago numbers have steadily increased.

The Nature Conservancy Council collaborated with the RSPB, Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), Zoological Society London and British Airways to release the birds 30 years ago in an area on the Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire border.

By 1996, at least 37 pairs had bred in southern England and today red kites can be seen regularly in most English counties with an estimated 1,800 pairs breeding across the UK.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/30-year-anniversary-of-landmark-release-of-red-kites-in-the-chiltern-hills

5. Natural History GCSE Being Introduced

In three years time, students between the ages of 14-16 in the UK will be able to sit down and officially study natural history as a dedicated subject.

It is the result of a decade-long campaign by naturalist Mary Colwell, who garnered support from many people and organisations, including Chris Packham, Baroness Floella Benjamin, The Wildlife Trust and the Natural History Museum.

Mary says, 'Everyone will have the opportunity to be nature-literate, to learn about British wildlife and how it relates to the rest of the world, which is essential for a sustainable, green future.'

The qualification is being developed by the examinations board OCR and will be ready for students to take by 2025.


Planet Earth First Photo by Lauris Rozentāls on Pexels

6. Ocean Plastic Loving Barbie!

Mattel have introduced a new Barbie range called Barbie Loves the Ocean - the 3 dolls and accessories are made using 90% recycled ocean bound plastic.

The company's goal is to achieve 100% recycled, recyclable or bio-based plastic material use across all its products and packaging by 2030.


7. EU Calls for Recycled Clothing

BBC article states that globally, an estimated 92 million tonnes of textiles waste is created each year and the equivalent to a rubbish truck full of clothes ends up on landfill sites every second. 

The European Union are now calling for cloth manufacturers to improve the recycled content of their products by 2030.

There are some wonderful companies finding ways to recycle materials into new fibres, including Carol Lin, a chemical engineer at the City University of Hong Kong, who developed a technique for recycling fabrics made from cotton and polyester blends by feeding them to fungi!


8. Plastic Free Flip Flops Made From Algae

This video looks at how micro bloom algae mixed with sugar cane can be used to make eco friendly foam soles for flip flops. 

Flip flops are often discarded on beaches but the PVC & polymer contained within them can prevent them from being broken down. These eco shoes can be interchanged into mules and sandals - what a great idea!

The video below explains this great innovation.


9. Coffee Grounds For Your Shoes

Entrepreneurs Jesse Tran and Son Chu had the ingenious idea of mixing waste coffee grounds with plastic pellets (made from recycled water bottles) and turning them into a coffee polyester yarn.

The yarn has been used to make upper material for sneakers and hoodies too.

They've been able to recycle over 750,000 cups of coffee and more than 250,000 post-consumption plastic bottles, with sneakers being sold across 100 countries worldwide.

Each hoodie meanwhile is made from 43 cups of coffee grounds and 12.5 post-consumption plastic bottles plus 40% of bamboo viscose.


10. UK's Plastic Tax Takes Effect

The Plastic Packaging Tax introduced by the UK Government will take effect from 1st April 2022. The tax will apply to plastic packaging produced in (or imported into) the UK that does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic.

The tax will provide an incentive for businesses to use recycled material in the content of plastic packaging, which will create greater demand for this material. 

It is hoped this will stimulate levels of recycling and collection of plastic waste, diverting it away from landfill or incineration.


More than 220 new animal and plant species have been discovered in the Greater Mekong.

A total of 155 plants, 16 fish species, 17 amphibians, 35 reptiles, and one mammal have been found in the Greater Mekong region of southeast Asia, conservation charity WWF has said.

More than 3,000 species have been spotted in the area in the past 24 years.

https://news.sky.com/story/more-than-220-new-animal-and-plant-species-discovered-in-greater-mekong-wwf-says-12525571

12. Queen's Jubilee Blooming Display!

To honour the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen there will be a colourful, vibrant field of flowers at the Tower of London.


In spring 2022, over 20 million seeds will be sown in the Tower's moat from carefully designed seed mixes. The flower display will erupt into new colours and patterns creating a dramatic and engaging experience throughout the summer.

On arrival, visitors can grab a mat and slide down into the moat on their Superbloom slide! 


Some Useful Links:


🌎 Check out this list of 14 ways to lower your carbon footprint.

🌎 Niantic has partnered up with Ecosia (the tree planting web browser) to provide tree donations for players using Pokemon Go at community events.

🌎 And finally - a splash of optimism to nourish the soul!