Tips on Turning the Plastic Tide

Turning the Plastic Tide Tips.

I know I look ridiculous but it is ridiculous the amount of plastic we all consume on a daily basis. I have become so aware of the plastic pollution through programs as The Blue Planet, A Plastic Tide, A Plastic Whale and A Plastic Voyage. As an artist I have used plastic in my work which at the time was because of its transparent, reflective, watery and manipulative qualities. I made the above costume to take part in the Loony Dook which was on New Year's Day in my home town of South Queensferry in Scotland. It launched my own personal journey of reducing, refusing and reusing plastic in my daily life. I am calling on the help of my friends to help me and to share our discoveries as we embark on Turing the Plastic Tide.

Organic Home Grown Veg

My friend Sara Baker is not only a talented illustrator she also grows her own vegetables and is a very good cook. Unlike me Sara wakes up thinking of what she will have for breakfast, lunch and dinner. She describes flavours and cooking and I always wish I could be more like her.

Sara has started selling her veg so each week I get a card board box which is re-used each time, the box is bursting with fresh home grown vegetables and not a glint of plastic. This is something I notice while shopping in the supermarket walking past the gleaming aisles products smothered in plastic of which not all will be recycled and end up in our oceans and seas.

Sara also gives me two beautifully hand written recipies.

I was so eager to eat my "Full of Greens Fritters" I took the photo half way through eating it!!! Paula Proof it was delicious.

Face oil and Deodorant

I have used West Cork Produced Modern Botany Oil for over a year now. It comes in a glass bottle and is a multi tasking essential oil that can be used on your face, body and hair. I use it all the time especially after a swim, it smells divine and leaves your skin feeling amazing. I was so excited when I found out they were producing a 100% natural unisex deodorant. It also comes in a glass bottle and smells so lovely I have stopped using perfume.

I called into their Headquarters in Schull to ask I could refill my bottles. They said they were working on this and hope to in the future offer this service to customers. So I am holding onto my bottles and will keep you updated. The award winning oil cost 35 euro and the deodorant 25 euro, they are just amazing products I highly recommend them and they are worth every cent.

Products made from Plastic

Adidas has partnered with Parsley who have developed a process that turns plastic into a polymer that can then be used to construct the knit fabric for the trainer. Each shoe uses an average of 11 plastic bottles and the re-cycled plastic is also used in the trainers laces, heel and sock liner. Other companies are following suit Allbirds and Nike are also rethinking the materials they use. It is up to us the consumer to support and demand such products.

Plastic Free Cooking

Martina Urbancova was my au-pair 14 years ago, she has become part of our family and thankfully still lives in Ireland and has had a beautiful baby girl Alma. While visiting Martina made a delicious meal and told me it was from the third Happy Pear book Recipes for Happiness by David and Stephen Flynn. On my way home I stopped and bought the book and it has made a huge difference to my recycling bin and has changed our family meal times for the better. The recipes are Paula proof they are easy and quick you make every meal from scratch and they are healthy and delicious. I am a busy working mum and if I can do it anyone can. Just make the right choices when purchasing your veg and if not possible to buy plastic free discard in the shop. I am polite but tell the cashier I do not want plastic.

If we all do this the supermarkets will get the message.

Cotton Buds

Johnson's Cotton Buds are no longer plastic the sticks are made from 100% paper. They just need to sort out the top of the packaging .

Re useable bags

Declan loves his Super Value padded handled bag. Ireland was a leader in bringing in a tax on plastic bags, we now do it unconsciously it is normal practise ( just remember your Tupperware tubs for meat and fish). I wash them and put them back in the bags. It has become normal practice for me. Only recently have the U.K followed. I was hoping Ireland would again take the lead on taxing coffee cups but that has only recently fallen through. So it is up to us individually to tinker the consequences of what we do in our daily lives to protect our beautiful world from rubbish and plastic. If I can do it anybody can.

Washing Powder

I was seduced by fancy washing tablets and liquids with plastic measuring cups etc. Simple powder comes in cardboard and washes just as well.

Baking Cakes

We always have tea and cake after a swim. I am finding it difficult to buy a cake without plastic. My daughters made my husband a birthday cake, so I realise I will have to make time to bake. I am asking friends for quick and simple Paula proof recipes which I can share with you, so watch this space.

Bio Bags

Bio Bags are made in Ireland and fully compostable. Supermarkets as Super value Scallys in Clonakilty being the first after a demonstration of shoppers taking the plastic off at the counter on mass. Now Drinagh and Fields in Skibbereen have followed suit. I still shop without using bags as best as I can and always take off the plastic at the counter and leave there for the shop to deal with. Fields do have a trolley for you to do this, but I still leave at the counter to make more of a statement.

Loose Fruit and Vegetables.

I am finding it easier to buy loose fruit and vegetables in my local supermarkets which is fantastic. However I do have to shop in different ones. Lidel do not have loose potatoes while Fields do and the other way around for peaches. The good new it is possible, although the checkout people are aways offering me plastic bags. If I do not have time to shop in two places I simply take the plastic off after the checkout and leave it in the shop. If we all do this it will hopefully get the message across.

An article in the Southern Star by Aisling Meath features my blog and other plastic crusaders who I hope will give me more plastic saving tips.. so watch this space.

Single-Use Swaps.

The People who make the biggest difference are the ones who do the little things consistently.

Dog poo.

As a dog owner I have a responsibilty to pick up after my two dogs. I was using plastic sandwich bags or the free green bags from the council. My driveway is always littered with other dogs mess and my neibour Barry brought a spade so we could clear the driveway while waiting for the school bus. The spade is hidden in the hedge and I have now started taking it with me on walks with the dogs, so no plastic bags needed and I dispose of the poo in hedges/ditches away from the pavement. As you take your dogs lead take your spade, thanks Barry for the inspiration.

No more plastic water bottles.

My family loved drinking fizzy water and those green plastic bottles were always in on our table, in the fridge and utility room. My husband Richard bought a Brita water jug which takes out all the impurities and makes the water taste delicious. It has transformed our water drinking for the better. Not only are the green bottles a thing of the past (apart from a few still remaining from Christmas) we are drinking more water and can be kept cold in the fridge. Far better for our health and the environment. Richard bought ours from Thornhills in Skibbereeen for €16.99. Check out My daughter Lucy is pouring her second glass. She takes water to school each day in her reusable bottle too.

Paper lunch/ Freezer and Party Bags

A simple non plastic alternative for your sandwiches. My boss at the West Cork Campus Marie O'Sullivan told me about these paper lunch bags from Lon an Lae which I bought in my local supermarket Fields. I re use mine and they are suitable for home freezing and for novelty party bags. The outside packaging is made from 80% recycled material and is recallable too. Such a great tip that can save lots of every day plastic.

Cloth Nappies

Anzhelika is a strong advocate for Cloth Nappies for several reasons. Babies skin is less likely to be irritated and they are more comfortable. Anzhelika reckons there is also less washing very surprising but as there is less leaking with cloth nappies. So although washing the nappies, there is less washing of the dirty clothes. Cloth nappies are a major money saver. Anzhelika recounts a saving of €700 for an average family over two years. And of course environmental as it takes 500 years for a disposable nappy to decompose and that is very scary. There does seem to be different kinds of nappies available look up.

Good Old Fashioned Soap

Collette Gallagher always takes her water bottle with her and has ditched shower gel for good old fashioned soap. I must say I have done the same and see no difference to shower gel. The huge difference is in my shower where the plastic bottles are slowly disappearing. I use Dove which I have used on my face too. However after getting my shampoo and conditioner soap bars in Lush I bought a "Movis" facial soap which is very good even on my super sensitive dry skin. My cousin Ginny told me about a U.K company that make natural handmade soaps that are chemical free, so check out The best thing about soaps is there is no plastic packaging and brilliant for travelling. Happier days and thanks for sharing ladies.

O' Niell Coffee Shop Skibbereen

Colm Crowley uses compostable coffee cups, lids and sugar sachets in his coffee shop O'Niell Coffee on Market Street in Skibbereen. I take my own coffee cup with me and lunch box whenever I am out and about. It just takes practise to remember then it becomes a habit. Colm uses glass milk bottles from Gloun Cross Dairy in Dunmanway. The milk can be bought from Fields and bottles returned there. I am delighted to see a local business who have a conscience and care about our environment. David Attenborough asks us all to think of the consequences of what we do and how we organise our daily lives. I believe we can change but we have to work at it and help and support each other as we try and do it.

Bamboo Toothbrush

Brian Stokes is full of tips and advise on how to reduce plastic. I am sure this is the first of many tips he will share. Brian got this from a chemist in Cork City and here are some on line options.

Plastic free fish and meats.

 Taking your own tupper ware tubs going shopping for fish and meats. You just have to get into the habit of putting the tubs in with your shopping bags. It has made a huge difference to my recycling bin and it makes me feel good actually taking action and making a difference to my own plastic footprint.

Shampoo and Conditioner

Tracey Wood Wolfe has discovered the wonderful shop Lush.Environmental issues are at the core of this cosmetic company. The silver tins are reusable at €3.50 and the shampoo bars €8.95 and conditioner €8.75. They smell fantastic , work and are completely plastic free. I got my own and they even work on dry, curly hair like mine.

Water Bottles

Simon Duggan uses a Hydro Flask and it keeps water cool even on the hottest summers day. It also works for hot drinks. So perfect to take on any adventure. They come in a variety of sizes and prices. Check out Amazon prices from 18.89 sterling to 33.36 sterling. The trick is to always remember to bring with you.

Clingfilm and Cotton Buds

Monica Boyle uses "Wrappies" instead of Clingfilm for her sandwiches from the Farmers Market in Skibbereen. They come in a variety of sizes and patterns. Ditch plastic cotton buds for bamboo from Sostrene Grenes and