The best 10 plastic alternatives – we have tried them all

Plastic is a very hot topic when discussing global warming. Plastics are commonly used due to its diverse usefulness. It can be coloured, melted, shaped and squashed into a multitude of different shapes or forms. However, plastics are frequently littering cities, oceans and waterways as well as increasing health potential problems in animals and humans.

According to Sea Turtle Conservancy, over 1 million marine animals such as fish, turtles and birds are killed each year due to plastic in the ocean.

Because of this, we are very passionate about advocating the use of less plastic, especially single use plastics, in our everyday lives and providing suggestions on how we as a society can incorporate more eco-friendly, less wasteful ways of living.

Reusable Makeup Remover Pads

They are zero waste, reusable and washable. They come in plastic free packaging and come with a little wash bag. The one we tried £13.99 for 21 pads on Amazon. Click here to have a look. There are, of course, plenty of alternative brands available.

Reusable cotton buds

Here is a compostable and biodegradable alternative and comes in recycled packaging. £5.49 for 300 pcs (found on Amazon).

Glass water bottle-

Ryaco Water Bottle made of borosilicate glass. It can preserve the natural fruit flavor of your drink to prevent oxidation. It comes with a Portable Carrying Sleeve in 14 different colours.

Bamboo toothbrush-

Bamboo toothbrushes are becoming ever popular and there are several brands now on the market. We’ve been trying out this brand from Booaluo.

Boobaluo £2.65

Bee’s wax wraps –

Bee’s wax wraps are also increasing is popularity and use. These can be purchased or you can actually make your own version which can be a great little activity to try with children. https://moralfibres.co.uk/beeswax-food-wrap-diy/

Amazon, £11.59 or Boobaluo, £15.00

Produce Mesh Shopping Bag

We have seen many people with these produce shopping bags. They are amazing! Set of 9, £13.49 on Etsy OR set of 4, £11.50 on Amazon

Straws, various options –

When it comes to thinking about straws, one of the most commonly found items of litter in our environment, you will find many great alternatives. We would recommend dropping the use of straws as much as possible, but where is this isn’t then straws come in various environmental friendly materials. Some of our favourites are; metal straws which can be cleaned and reused, paper straws (easily biodegradable), or (we’ve yet to try) pasta or apple straws – yes this is a thing. Apple straws are also edible, so no waste left at all.

Apple Straws £39.99 for 200

Pasta Straws £29.99 for 375

Metal Straw set of 4, £4.00 Amazon

Paper Straw £2.00, TESCO

Bamboo cups –

Get yourself one of our Clean Seas Please reusable bamboo coffee cup. You can either pick one up at one of our events (regularly updated on our Facebook page). Alternatively, you can contact us directly here. We accept donations as a form of ‘payment’.

+ Tips to reduce your plastic waste:

  • Instead of buying vegetables and fruits packaged in plastic, traditionally found in large supermarkets, try switching to non-packaged and farmer’s market products – Buying local also helps support smaller businesses and independent retailers.
  • Meal prep your lunches in reusable containers – Not only does this save you money and is typically healthier, but also saves waste.
  • Use plastic packaging as a trash bags (e.g. buy toilet paper in bulk and use the big bag as trash bag). When reducing isn’t an option, reusing is the next best alternative.

If you have any great tips or produces of your own to share please comment below or via our social media pages, we’d love to hear from you.

Clean Seas Pledge- New Year, New Beach

Clean Seas Please are launching a new campaign for 2020. Using the hashtag #CleanSeasPledge we invite residents and visitors within Hastings and Bexhill, UK, to make a small and simple pledge (New Years resolution style) that will have a positive impact on the bathing water quality for our seas.

Story so far

During the 2019 Hastings Herring Festival we trailed our #CleanSeasPledge campaign with the help of our Hastings Herring.

Visitors were asked to write a pledge on one of the colourful scales. Something they felt they could easily commit to.

The Hastings Herring

People from all age groups were more than happy to support the campaign and it really gave us the opportunity to speak to everyone in more detail.

Pledges received

We’ve already receive some great first pledges including: *I will attend a beach clean. *My aim is to use less plastics. *I pledge to encourage my writing group to start using reusable cups instead of single use. *To not flush anything except the 3 P’s (pee, poop and paper). *I’ll ask other people to take care of our environment. *To use glass bottles of water and cooking oil.

Now it’s your turn…

There are many more possible pledges besides the examples we’ve given. Why not have a think and then let us know your pledge using the Hashtag #CleanSeasPledge on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Alternatively you can email us directly by emailing hello@cleanseasplease.uk

#CleanSeasPledge poster

Sustainable Christmas

Alternative Wrapping Ideas

The season of giving and receiving is just around the corner, and most of us are already panicking more or less about the pressure that comes with the holidays. All the stress of wrapping the gifts and preparing the whole magical day is well worth it, but one thing we need to be mindful of is the amount of plastic and wasted materials we produce over the course of the Christmas period.

UK consumers alone use 227,000 miles of wrapping paper each year (Telegraph, 2011).

Most of our wrapping materials are designed for single use, despite the possibility that it can often be use two or three times. Also, as a happy owner of ‘butterfingers’, the idea of wrapping is almost like a mission impossible, however, there are alternatives to single use wrapping.

  • Instead of using the traditional non-recyclable paper, use decomposable, zero-waste wrapping papers or brown paper which can be recycled (as a plus, this method looks stylish or can be embellished with string, stamped designs and more – children love decorating the paper too!)
  • Reusing an old shoe box, cardboard box or wooden box can be a lovely way to gift give. Boxes and be personalised or decorated and reused many times.
  • Using reusable/resealable gift bags as an alternative to buying disposable wrapping paper. These will last much longer, while still being fashionable and festive!
  • Many people have turned to Furoshiki – the Japanese art of gift wrapping using fabrics.

Not only are these options better for the environment but will also save you money in the long term by not having to repurchase paper, decorations, tags, and boxes every year!

What to give to one who has everything?

There are so many gift ideas that don’t include traditional materialism. For example, giving an experience gift card that resonates the receiver’s personality would be great idea. Also, the experience could anything from rock climbing to cooking class, only the sky is limit.

  • For coffee lovers, you could gift them reusable coffee cups, Fairtrade coffee grounds, or even a personalised coffee mug painted by local artists!
Coffee grounds
  • There are also dozens of amazing organisations like The Red Cross which provide various gift ideas where some or even all the profits from the products go to charity. Therefore, you won’t even feel bad about spending!
  • Along with supporting charities and giving back this Christmas, you could also support local small businesses where you can find truly unique gifts, such as art/prints, handmade clothing, pottery, and home decorations that cannot be found anywhere else.

We hope this provides you with a bit of inspiration for helping you achieve a more eco-friendly, sustainable Christmas.

Happy Holidays!

References:

Ross, T. (2011) “How Britain bins 227,000 miles of Christmas paper” Telegraph

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/8964837/How-Britain-bins-227000-miles-of-Christmas-

Unblocktober – the fight against F.O.G.s (part 2)

5 tips to reduce F.O.G.s (fats, oils, greases) at home and in your community. + 3 extras

For kid friendly activity scroll to the bottom of the page

  1. DO scrape food scraps into the trash or compost. If and when it is not possible you can pour cooled oil or grease into a container; then seal and discard with your regular trash or recycle it. If it is too hot pour it into a heatproof dish, leave it to cool then scrape it.
  2. DO wipe off oil and grease from pots, pans, dishes before washing them up in the sink.
  3. DO use washable/reusable wipes instead of single use. If single use wipes are required then dispose of these in the general waste, please do NOT flush down the toilets and drains.
  4. DO put baskets/strainers in sink drains to catch food scraps; then empty contents into the trash or compost.
  5. DO reuse oil up to two times, but only if it has NOT been heated past its smoking point, NOT changed colour or oil that looks cloudy. You can do so by using a skimmer to skim off any floaters and large pieces of debris that might be lurking in the pot and bin them.

TOP TIP: Increase the life-span of your cooking-oil by using a thermometer. Overheating oil will get it to break down into unusable form.

Low-waste tip: stain used cooking oil through a coffee filter use again even 2 times. After straining, store the oil in a jar in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. Cooking oil takes on the flavour of the food you’ve cooked in it, so if you’ve already used it to fry some garlic veggies then reuse it when you’re cooking a dish with similar flavours!

Fun Tip
You can create your own bird feeder using the suet/lard leftover from cooking things like sausages/bacon.
All you need is a handful of bird seed and peanuts and/or sunflower seeds (unsalted), some raisins or graded cheese, dry leftovers of oats, bread or cake. One you mixed these ingredients in a mixing bowl, you can either cover a pine cone with it (make sure you attach a piece of string to cone before doing so) or you can just form balls by hand.

If your suet is too solid you can melt it in a saucepan before mixing it with the dry ingredients. BE SURE to let it cool down before touching it!

If you find that you have more suet-seed mix than you need, pour that into a freezer-safe container and keep it frozen so you can use it in the future.

Image result for fat bird feeder recipe

Unblocktober – the fight against F.O.G.s (part I.)

Fat, oil and grease in liquid form may not appear to be harmful, but as it cools it congeals and hardens. It sticks to the inner lining of drainage pipes and restricts the wastewater flow causing the pipes to block. Using detergents or bleach may appear to help but this is only temporary as the mixture soon turns back to thick or solid fat.

As F.O.G clogs pipes, the bits of rotting food trapped in the F.O.G form hydrogen sulfide. The hydrogen sulfide combines with water to form sulfuric acid, which eats the pipes.

The clogs caused by F.O.G can also cause sanitary sewer overflows, which expose people to raw sewage—a serious health hazard—and are expensive to clean up. Nonetheless, there is an increased possibility that raw sewage will eventually enter the sea.

“370,000 sewer blockages every year, 80% of which are caused by F.O.G.”

British Water

Problems locally

Egerton Park
source: Environment Agency

It is all connected. The picture above was taken of the lake in Egerton Park right by Wickham Avenue. Which is where the Surface Water Sewer is connected to the lake. The water gets released to the sea at point ‘R’ at the end of bathing season after the summer. Therefore, the surface water sits there for a number of months…

Here is a couple of things you can do to prevent F.O.G.s, and basically anything that is not supposed to be put down the drain, get into our sewage system. Blog post with more detailed solutions can be found in Unblocktober Part 2.

  • Use a container to dispose of any fat or oil used in cooking before putting it in the bin.
  • Wipe dry any pans and plates before putting it in the sink.

Keep dog litter out of the sea

Today, 30th September, is the day that dogs are allowed back on Bexhill beach between the Sovereign Light Cafe and the Sailing Club since the 1st of May.

Although dogs are restricted on some beaches, there are miles more that welcome responsible dog owners. When it comes to dog mess, bag it, bin it and enjoy the beach with your four-legged friend.

Dog litter washed down the sea, one way or another, will cause the spread of bacteria. In some extreme cases, it may cause blindness to humans. This is due to the parasites found in dog poop cause zoonoses, diseases or infections of animals that can be passed to humans. Water washed into the sea from inland containing dog poo residues, will contribute towards the increase of the sea’s bacterial levels, therefore, worsening the bathing water quality.

The Water Quality is currently rated Sufficient. Ratings can be found on the Environment Agency website.

The organic solids in dog feces consist of: 25–54% bacterial biomass and is understood to have dangerous levels of E-coli, salmonella and parasites. To prevent this bacteria contaminating the sea, it is better tucked away in a biodegradable bag and disposed of at a Dog Litter Bin.

The Environment Agency produces data on the E. coli and Enterococci content level of the bathing water in Bexhill. As seen on the graph, there has been an increase in cases of both faecal indicator bacteria, especially during the bathing season.

Environment Agency – Water Quality Data

Keep Britain Tidy had launched a campaign in 2014 called ‘We’re Watching you’. It’s aim to reduce dog fouling in public area and it has been introduced in several locations in the Rother District. The campaign has proven to be successful as there has been a known reduction in dog litter. However, according to the graphs above, there is still room for improvement. In the hours of darkness, dog walkers still feel like they are not seen and are more likely to leave the dog litter on the streets and beaches. Hence, there is often an increase in the levels of dog mess during winter and the days being shorter.

As a dog owner, you have a responsibility of cleaning up after your pet. If the owner fails to comply, they will face a fixed penalty notice of £100. Rother District Council states: “A person is not exempt from the responsibility of removing dog faeces in the event he/she is unaware of the defecation of their dog or not having a poo bag on hand suitable to clean up.”

You can find more information through your local council.

Rother District Council – Dog Fouling

Hastings District Council – Dog Fouling

the WINNER is…

After receiving 63 design entries over the last few weeks, we are pleased to announce the two winners. It is safe to say, our job was not easy choosing the winner. This is because all of the little artist did an amazing job at our design stations.

The BEST Mug Design was chosen out of 32 designs.

The winning mug design. Mermaid – ‘Clean Me’

The BEST T-shirt Design was chosen out of 31 designs.

The winning T-shirt design (sticking with the Seafood and Wine(!!!) Festival theme)

If one of the winning designs is yours do not hesitate to contact us as these designs will be made into real products.
On Facebook
By e-mail: betty.toth@rva.uk.com
By telephone: 01424 217259

We are looking for Ambassadors!

Are you someone whose involvement in the community is outstanding? Someone who does voluntary beach clean ups? Someone who is passionate about getting the message out there about the current environmental issues and is keen to make a change? If any of the above applies to you or you know someone, we would love to hear from you!

Youth Ambassadors

Anyone who is 18 or under and is passionate about our local environment, has clean up the area they live, or promoted environmental issues somehow.

Clean Up Ambassadors

Anyone who is passionate about or enjoys spending some time litter picking in their free time.

Businesses with ethical practices

Any business in the local community that has been adopting environmentally ethical practices. We would like to give a shout out to business who have gone out if their way to be behave in a more environmentally conscious way with attention to the cleanliness of our seas.

We would also love to recruit volunteers.

Beach School Ambassadors

We are looking for volunteers who would be interested in working with children in our beach school sessions.

This might include: setting up sessions, running an activity, planning an activity, risk assessments.

Events / Advocates Ambassador

The Clean Seas Please team could use a helping hand at events. Role would include, for example: setting up and packing away, supporting our stall and speaking to the public about our core messages and issues surrounding the bathing water quality locally.

Promotional Ambassador

There is much more to a project than reports or attending events. In the digital world, where everyone receives information online, we need to keep up as well. Therefore, online and social media presence is just as important.

Can you help us: edit our social media pages, write blog entries, or sharing the word about what we do in the area?

We can provide free food hygiene level 2 training (relevant to beach schools), risk assessment training, and first aid training to all our volunteers. We believe these would be some great skills to put on your CV.

Contact us for more details on our Facebook page or alternatively by e-mail: lindsay.white@rva.uk.com

T-shirt and mug design competition

After a very successful weekend at the Bexhill Festival of the Sea, Clean Seas Please had received 24 entries to the T-shirt and Mug design competition. However, by the end of the competition we had 53 design to choose from.

Winners will be announced on our Facebook page on the 18th of September. The winning designs will be produced into a T-shirt and Mug.

You could find us at the Seafood and Wine Festival in Hastings on the 14th and 15th of September 2019, where we had our design station set up. It was completely free entry!

On the occasion your art is already submitted and uploaded on either our Facebook page or our website, do give it like or share it on your page. 🔻 Keep scrolling for all the arts submitted. 🔻

Alternatively, if you are unable to come and see us in person, we have created a printable template of both items. We accept entries as picture or a scanned document on our Facebook, by e-mail: betty.toth@rva.uk.com or to our postal address: 47 London Road, Bexhill on Sea, East Sussex, TN39 3JY.

You can access the T-shirt printable by clicking here and for the mug printable just click here.

Clean Seas Please stall and design station at the Bexhill Festival of the Sea
Hastings Seafood and Wine Festival
Design station at the Seafood and Wine Festival in Hastings

SEAVAX

The solar powered vacuum to clean ocean plastic

The SeaVax project began in 2015 under Bluebird Marine Systems with the aim of removing plastic from rivers and seas. The project is developing new technology to aid ocean conservation battle climate change. Since its launch, SeaVax has put a plethora of research into developing low carbon alternatives for waterborne transportation which they have used to design a zero-carbon vessel powered by wind and solar energy. A proof of concept 1/20thscale model was exhibited close to the start of the project. 

In 2017 SeaVax was taken over bythe Cleaner Ocean Foundation (a ‘not-for-profit’ organisation with charitable attributes based in Hailsham, East Sussex). The organisation has chosen not to raise funds selling SeaVax commercially. Despite the Climate Emergency, there has still been a struggle to secure funding to build something as big as SeaVax. This lack of support for the project has had a significant effect on the development of the full-size model. 

There is still hope for SeaVax as a developing system to transport people and goods via zero-carbon vessels. The Climate Change Challenge project, working in association with the Cleaner Ocean Foundation Ltd. has received funding to create the ‘Climate Challenger’ – a zero-carbon long-range cruiser. Since the same wind and solar system operating system would be used for both vessels, there may be some hope for EU funding. This has been potentially hindered by the political vulnerability of the UK at the end of 2019, but the SeaVax team remain hopeful. 

Alongside building a zero-carbon machinery, the project supports changes in G20policy made by leaders in Hamburg in 2017. There is currently a lack of policing when it comes to dumping plastic waste in international waters. 

Thanks to G20, now there is a limit on single use plastic on land. This will have a positive long-term impact on the environment as it will reduce the rate at which plastic is dumped. Unfortunately, it will not reduce the levels of plastic already present in our oceans. It is vital to not only to fund further research but to support in policy towards ocean cleaning projects. 

Congratulations to all the volunteers that have gotten SeaVax to where it is today and will continue to push the project forward.