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Hello Again

Well, after a long break from blogging – 6 months – I’ve finally got enough time to myself to contribute some more thoughts…
In the time I’ve been away lots has happened: I have tried very hard not to aquire more stuff, ethically reduce the amount of stuff I have already, and to live as lightly as possible. But I have fallen off the wagon a bit and need to refocus.
I will be blogging over the next few days about each of my goals/interests and also introducing a couple of new things into the mix.
I’m using my work laptop just now so don’t have many photos available to make this post a bit prettier but I’ll have a browse now for something.

The Beach at Holkham, Norfolk - one of my favourite places.

The Beach at Holkham, Norfolk – one of my favourite places.

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Living Lightly 2 – Bye Bye Plastic Bags

I have been trying to cut out using plastic bags – especially single use plastic bags for some time. Like many people, my intentions have been good but, from time to time, I still find myself accepting a bag when offered in a shop. Even when I am determined to say ‘no thanks’ I find myself saying ‘yes please’!

So, inspired by ‘Polythene Pam’ and her Plastic is Rubbish blog  I have decided that from now on I will NEVER use a free plastic, single use carrier bag or produce bag again. I will also avoid, as much as I possibly can, plastic packaging and other disposable plastic stuff.

I have bought some re-useable produce bags from Onya. They are made of a nylon mesh and are very light so loose fruit and veg can be put in them and weighed. They can be washed and reused 100s of times saving 100s of plastic bags from ending up in landfill.

I’ve also bought some PLA tubs and lids. These look like clear plastic deli pots but are made from corn starch and are compostable. I will use these for buying olives, houmous etc. as well as storing food in the fridge and in our packed lunches. They can be used a few times before they start to break down. I will use new ones for shopping so as to not freak out the deli counter people too much.

I’ve also bought some compostable kitchen caddy liners and bin liners. I will use these in place of a plastic bag for instance when buying fresh meat and fish as well as lining the bin. This will probably freak out the butcher/fish merchant but I’m sure they’ll get used to it.

The other investment I’ve made is in some sandwich wrap mats – wipeable, washable, reusable wrappers for sandwiches so I can stop using cling film.

Being technically backward, i haven’t managed to insert links to the products mentioned above so I’ve listed them below:

plasticisrubbish.com (very inspirational site – if i can be half as dedicated to ridding the world of plastic rubbish I’ll be chuffed!)

onyabags.co.uk (reuseable produce bags, sandwich wrapnmats etc.)

all-green.co.uk (compostable bags, bin liners, caddy liners)

vegware.com (compostable PET containers and other eco friendly catering/household supplies)

Plastics-bags

Look like jellyfish don’t they?


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Living Lightly – Mobile Phone

Hello everybody.

This is the first of my living lightly posts. I am trying to find more sustainable, Eco-friendly ways of living.

The first thing I have been looking into involves reducing the impact of my mobile phone.

Phones on the Scrap Heap

Phones on the Scrap Heap

Firstly the mobile phone itself. I really hate the fact that it is so tempting to upgrade things like mobile phones whenever a new model comes out. Even if the old one is sent off for reuse/recycling, if it still works fine why get rid of it at all?  And I’m not convinced that the    phones don’t end up being sent to third world countries for breaking up where the dangerous elements are released without proper safeguards for the health of the workers or the environment. Anyway, the long and the short of it is that I will keep my current mobile phone for as long as it works and then research the best way to dispose of it and look into ‘green’ mobiles for the replacement.

 In the past it has always been that the battery stops holding a charge and, when I enquire about a replacement battery, that model is no longer made. Therefore a whole phone has to be discarded rather than just the battery. I find this extremely irresponsible on behalf of the   phone manufacturers and would be interested to hear if anyone knows of any companies who have a better environmental ethos.

 The other things I am now doing are trying to reduce the electrical power needed to keep my phone charged and extending the life of the battery and the phone itself.

I have changed the following settings on my phone to conserve power:

1. Turned down the brightness to its lowest level.

2. De-activated the scrolling photos wallpaper to a plain one.

3. Changed the ringtones to the factory installed ones rather than having downloaded music ones.

4. Switched off the vibrate and led light notifications.

5. Switched off the keystroke sound.

6. Set the screen timeout to the minimum.

7. When I’m somewhere I’m not allowed to use my phone I switch it off rather than just to silent.

8. I intend to clean my phone carefully inside and out from time to time. Apparently dust build-up can reduce battery life.

I will no longer leave it charging overnight, even if it still has quite a lot of power left in it. I will only charge it when it goes down to 10% unless I know I’m going to be unable to charge it when I might need it. (Hardly ever). Apparently this is better for the life off the battery than continually topping it up.

I will stop leaving the charger plugged in and switched on even when nothing is charging. 95% of the energy is still drawn from the supply even when nothing is plugged in!

I have also been looking into alternative technologies for charging up electronic devices. There are now solar powered, wind powered and wind up chargers. The best one I’ve seen is a Kinetic energy charger which gets it’s power from the movement of your body when walking, cycling or running! It’s a bit expensive though, so I might need to save up for it. My husband is a keen cyclist so it is tempting to attach something to him or his bike to store up his energy.

I need to do a bit more research into these devices and I will report my findings. If anyone has any experience of using these I’d love to hear from you. Also any other ideas about green mobile phone use would be very welcome too.

Next time I think I will tackle the thorny issue of plastic bags…..