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Blog 27th 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 and Lizzie) who are trying to live without single use plastic at the Deanery during Lent.

Tuesday 27th February - day 13


Whilst of course recycling is better than not recycling, hopefully throughout all the publicity plastic is having at present we are learning to make recycling the last option - not our default.  Our mantra this week has been the Waste Hierarchy - reduce, reuse, recycle.

Whilst researching suitable biodegradable cups (note not recyclable) for use in the Cathedral, we've stumbled across many articles and reports on disposable and fully compostable cups.

Most disposable cups appear 'papery' and are deemed recyclable, but because of the thin lining of polythylene most recycling facilities cannot cope with them.  Once used the paper part of the cup is contaminated.  There is no UK market for contaminated paper food packaging.  2.5 billion coffee cups are used and thrown away each year in the UK -  enough to stretch around the world roughly five and a half times - but less than 1 in 400 (0.25%) are recycled.  There is confusion around coffee cups which has not been addressed by retailers and hampered also by the lack of infrastructure to recycle them.  It is encouraging that a 2017-2019 House of Commons report is recommending to the Government that all single-use coffee cups should be fully recyclable by 2023.  If this target is not achieved, they are advising the Government should ban disposable cups.

In January, Iceland announced plans to eliminate all plastic packaging in their own brands by 2023.  In its place, they will create packaging made of paper and pulp trays, paper bags that are fully recyclable through domestic waste collection or in-store recycling facilities.  They will begin by launching new food ranges in the coming months that have paper instead of plastic trays - hurrah for Iceland and let's hope other supermarkets follow suit.

Saturday 24th February - a test day for anyone having to cook for 14 guests for late Sunday lunch.  Everything was going extremely well until a decision needed to be made for a pudding.  Those who have sampled the Lemon Posset in the Deanery will know that it is sublime, but the issue of where to find cream without the plastic pot was raised.  After a week researching we were no wiser, so double cream was purchased in plastic pots (our second purchase of plastic from the start of Lent - you wil recall horseradish root was the other culprit).  However, these two pots will not be single-use, we shall use them for storage.

For those of you who are buying flowers throughout Lent (we did it just for our guests of course!), don't buy from supermarkets all wrapped in plastic, support Rococo Florist in South Street, Chichester.  Steph and Laura are phasing out all their plastic and will only use brown paper and string.  For about the same price we got lovely tulips, daffs, narcissi and sprigs of Wax.

Upon opening a cardboard box of dishwasher tablets today, instead of those housed in a 07 plastic bag, we were horrified that they were individually wrapped in 05PP wrappers.  Whilst 05 is recyclable we're unsure whether Chichester has facilities for it, so until then we've turned to loose powder.

Sunday 25th -  A member of the congregation shared an article with us which as written by Dee Caffari (who in 2006, became the first woman to sail single-handedly and non-stop around the world "the wrong way") she is currently leading the Volvo Ocean Race with team 'Turn the Tide on Plastic'.  Her mission is to educate and inform people about the effect plastic pollution is having on our oceans having seen it first-hand.  This link makes some great reading - click here to read more.

Monday 26th - today we recieved clothes washing powder in a sturdy paper bag and bars of washing soap from Mangle & Wringer - which produce 'natural cleaning remedies'.

Their natural bleach has been tried and tested on the white napkins from Sunday - result!  So much better than the stuff you can but in plastic containers, and with the added advantage that it is not-toxic and biodegradable.  It can also be used as a bleach for the loo.

Many of you have expressed an interest to join in with "Lent without plastic" and have asked where to start, well this would be our top 10 recommendations which would have a huge impact on reducing the devastation single-use plastic is having on our world.

1.  Change the way you shop: no more pre-packed potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, apples etc.  Don't put them into a plastic bag to take to the check outs, either use the paper mushroom bags or leave them free-flowing.

2.  Always take your own bags, containers for meat and fish, glass jars for olives, beeswax cloth for cheese to the farmshop or supermarket - no more 5p bags, or 10p bags for life.  Don't feel that you are the annoying person who insists on own packaging - always remind yourself why you are doing it!

3.  Never buy water in plastic bottles.  If you have to carry a bottle around with you, but a metal water bottle (click here).

4.  In the bathroom, switch to unpacked shampoo and soap, (no more liquid soap or body wash in plastic bottles) and toothpaste in glass jars without all those microbeads.

5.  Say goodbye to clingfilm and hello to beeswax wrap - see our earlier blog.

6.  No more plastic teabags - use Teapigs or loose tea.

7.  Replace household cleaners with homemade products - vinegar, water and bicarbonate of soda stored in an old plastic cleaning bottle.

8.  Buy a bamboo kitchen sink brush or loofah and use an old cotton flannel as a cleaning cloth rather than one which sheds microbeads.

9.  Never use the freebies in hotel bathrooms - even though they look lovely!

10.  And of course, write to companies that you believe are over-packaging their products and tell them why you are no longer a customer of theirs.

More than anything, Lent without plastic is about planning, making compromises and not giving up when you produce waste.

Handy links -  Click on the links below for West Sussex's council informative illustrated sheet and a good factual sheet to print out to place by your bin area to make sense of what recycling is available:

WSCC Watch Your Waste Leaflet
WSCC What Plastic Can be Rcycled

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