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Blog 23rd February: Lent Without Plastic at the Deanery

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Lent without Plastic at the Deanery...

A Blog by the Dean & Mrs Waine (Stephen & Lizzie) who are trying to live without single-use plastic at the Deanery during Lent.

Friday 23rd February 2018:

Landfill site
Landfill site

A thought by means of encouragement:

If 200 people who come to the Cathedral for the 11am Eucharist on a Sunday use one less piece of single-use plastic per day and if we calculate that 50 pots or single-use wrappings fill a recycling box or black bag, then between us we save four such bags/boxes per day.  Taking 40 days in Lent that's 160 less black bags going to the incinerator, landfill or 160 less re-cycling boxes.  Changing a habit by such a small amount will have a huge impact.

"Lent without plastic" is turning out to be a "Lent of awareness".  It may sound naive, but we really hadn't realised how much single use plastic pervades our lives.  It is everywhere - it takes an exercise such as we've embarked on to realise that our footprint, like so many others, on this planet is huge.

We are only on day 9, but still having a buoyant time with achieving Lent without plastic:

Tuesday - the butcher at Waitrose asked for our packaging before an order was delivered at the counter.  Whether that was because we are now labelled strange or maybe he actually understands what it's all about we will never know, because realisation dawned - he uses a piece of single-use plastic to pick up the meat to place into our dish and then the said plastic is being thrown away.  We recalled the same happened with fish a few days ago.  On questioning why not using hands it would appear "that's the supermarket standard", whereas the farm shop it's hands-on and no waste.  Goodbye supermarket fish and meat counters!  We will need to be more organised and use the fish stall at the Wednesday Chichester market and meat from the farm shop.

Bamboo Dish Brush
Bamboo Dish Brush

Wednesday - we came back to earth with a bump as simultaneously four plastic containers finished in the bathroom - shampoo, hair conditioner, shower wash and deodorant.  How much plastic can one have in a bathroom that's totally unnecessary?  So, as of Thursday, all that plastic was replaced with bars of soap, shampoo bars, hair conditioner bars all wrapped in paper and deodorant in a glass bottle with, yes, a plastic stopper but we will take those to Lush for recycling.

You will recall from our blog that we've changed our kitchen pan scourers, the yellow and green ones - to loofahs.  If you also want to stop using those microbead shedders you can now find bamboo washing up brushes in Waitrose at £2.50 - a small price for such a huge impact.

Thursday - fabulous - we purchased some lovely wooden clothes pegs ready for those windy sunny days.

Great wooden clothes pegs
Great wooden clothes pegs

Even the dogs went plastic-free today; a delivery of Beco Dog Poop bags and they finally went from food in single-use packaging to food in a sturdy paper bag.  Even their new ceramic bowls - thank you Emma Bridgewater - Patron of the Festival of Flowers 2018.

After a quick research of plastic-free food shops on the internet, an excellent website popped up with a list of local packaging- free shops around Sussex:

Hisbe (How It Should Be) supermarket have a good range of loose foods in dispensers and detergent refills.

The Foodshed Co-op, which kitted out it's premises with found materials, has a large range of loose goods and offer a discount if you bring your own containers to refill.

Emma's lovely dog bowls
Emma's lovely dog bowls

Down to Earth in Hove has detergent refills, including shampoo.

The Green Centre, an amazing resource who run a second hand market to prevent stuff ending up in landfill, and have a stall at Brighton Market on Thursdays where you can drop off hard to recycle items to raise money for charity.

Charlotte's Cupboard is the UK's first packaging-free shop on wheels, offering home deliveries around Sussex.  They also visit markets and have a helpful online list of everything they sell.

In Horsham, there's Town and Country Weigh, which has a selection of dried goods for refill.

Middle Farm, not far from Lewes has a cider barn with a range of drinks available on draught.  You can bring your own bottles or use one of their returnable kegs.  It also has a farm shop selling unpackaged fruit and veg.

Breakfasts now consist of eggs; cereals - apart from porridge - all come in lovely cardboard boxes but, inside, are housed in plastic adding to the fact that by 2015, humans had generated 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic, 6.3 billion tons of which had already become waste.  Of that total waste, only 9 percent was recycled, 12 percent was incinerated and 79 percent accumulated in landfills or the natural environment.

And if anyone can tell us where you can buy dairy cream in glass bottles locally before Sunday we would be most grateful...

Despite the 5p charge on single-use plastic bags, major retailers in England still sold 2.1 billion in the last financial year.  In a bid to solve the problem, the PM has called on supermarkets to introduce "plastic-free" aisles and consider taxes on single-use plastic items like food containers - hurrah!

On Sunday 25th February the Dean was interviewed on Emily Jeffery's BBC Sussex Radio Breakfast Show about the challenges of trying to live without singe-use plastic.  If you would like to listen please click here and scroll to 1:18:17

Follow our progress on Tuesday next week.  Stephen and Lizzie.

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