10 November 2016

How to identify unknown plastics using home methods

My biggest problem so far is time.
I have no time to go from one shop to another just to get fresh organic food, which isn't packed in tonnes of plastic, foil wraps and nets.
Most of the time I have no idea if it's recyclable, and I bet you don't either. How can we?!

Just take a look at my recent communication with a producer, when I tried to order something to sell in 0waste.market:

Me:
Hello,
We have just ordered a sample of your products to check if they are a good match for our shop:
0waste.market
However they come in paper/foil packaging, and we have strict rules about informing our customers what the packaging is made of.
So, would you please let me know what kind of plastic foil are you using?
Thank you
Them:
Hello, many thanks for choosing our products. There is our supplier for foil packaging *****
Then I went on to contact the supplier of those foils, and when nothing happened came back to the producer of the starting product.

Me:
We have contacted them last Friday, but they have not responded, would you be so kind and step in?

Them:

All our products are certificated-all materials, colours. In supplement I'm sending certificate for our toys. Page 9 - there is written that packing is all right - foil packaging.

Brilliant, right?
Foil...

Let me get back to my main thought:

Most of the time we get some information on the packaging, but it is:
"not recycled".

Or sometimes it is: "not usually recycled" or even worse: "check your local recycling centre".

And they will tell you: We recycle HDPE, but not and here you can insert your abbreviation of choice.

Even if you do know what HDPE or that other thing is, most of the times the packaging simply says: "foil", or "other".
Great!

So I came with this idea. It takes time, yes, but it might save your time in the long run (after all once you know what that net in which you get nectarines is, you don't have to check it every time), but also the environment.

The Idea: Identify unknown plastics using home methods.


  1. Check if your foil or other plastic packaging really has resin code given. They can sometimes be given on a separate leaflet, outer paper packaging (common for breakfast oats and flakes), or on the bottom of the container (plastic bottles and cans). Follow to step 2.
  2. Take a look at the table of resin codes from Wikipedia and if you know the code search for it and look up recycling instruction. If you don't know it follow to step 3.
  3. Look through the list of uses and try and narrow down possible resins (plastics). For example if you have a plastic bottle with no code in your hands it could be:
    Plastic-recyc-01.svgPlastic-recyc-02.svgPlastic-recyc-03.svgPlastic-recyc-04.svgPlastic-recyc-07.svg
  4. Cut a small piece of your bottle and perform a float test following this excellent and simple diagram, coming from a Density Column Using Recyclable Plastics exercise for students (click the title for details about the exercise).
  5. If your piece sinks in water, sinks in Glycerin but floats in Corn syrup it is most likely a PETE bottle.
  6. But you want to be 100% sure, and for that you can perform burn test. It is less pleasant and if you're a child I don't advise it at home or without adult supervision. Trust me, burning plastics can be way more dangerous than you think. www.boedeker.com has a great table on how to distinguish plastics based on: flame presence, flame colour, drip  presence, burning odour and fumes. You can download the table from here too.  
  7. You think the bottle is PETE, which is an abbreviation for:  Polyethylene terephthalate, now if you look at the table you will find polyethylenes there but it will also have a remark stating that it will float. Our piece doesn't! That's why you have to check floating first, because plastics can have different densities. So your plastic could still be PETE, but simply a high density one. Check the flame and bubbling when buring and that's a good indicator. 
WARNING!
Although the smell of the flame or burnt plastic is an identifying factor I advise you don't do it.
Many plastics (especially vinyls) are very harmful to us if inhaled!


Some more excellent reading:
How do I recognize nylon from plastic? by Miranda Marcus
Polymers: What does burnt plastic smell like? by Miranda Marcus
How does a recycling facility separate PLA from other plastics? by Amadeo de los Ríos
Which is more environmentally friendly—a cup made from corn, plastic, or glass?
Great Pacific garbage patch


14 September 2016

On the cloth menstrual pads

I did a little bit of maths the other day.

Earthwise medium

Simply because my period came and with it the inevitable use of pads.

I have been using the Earthwise Menstrual Pads and 0waste.market Cloth menstrual pads and I must admit they are brilliant!

I was afraid they would slip, after all, there is no adhesive of any kind of them, but that has never happened, and with two clips it's easy to adjust them to different widths of lingerie.

Another thing I was worried about was heat. For some reason, cotton seemed warmer to me than plastics used in disposable towels. And again I was wrong. Yes, they are warm, but they are also so much more pleasant to touch it's hard to describe. A friend of mine actually told me that plastic ones always chafed her skin, while cotton doesn't. And frankly the heat turned out to be in line with my body heat, so absolutely normal.

One more fright I had: spillage. The cloth wings lack absorbency. They're there only to keep the pad in place. But again, they work great. It really is very easy to tell when your pad is full, simply because the fluid reaches the wing and you can see it. It will also fill your pad more evenly, not like with plastic pads, where the middle will get soaked, wings wet, but ends completely dry. So again a win.

Of course, I've heard that I have to use detergents which aren't so great, but that's wrong. Pads are small. They hardly put a strain on your normal washing routine. I wash them with anything really. Darks, whites, colours, everything goes. And I don't have to add extra washing powder just to have 3 extra pads washed in addition to the laundry. This is a flawed argument, especially that a lot of plastic pads are filled with chemicals which are dangerous to environment, not to mention plastic itself, which in case of towels isn't really easily recyclable if at all.

Some other person told me they don't like the thought of blood being washed with their clothes. I'm sorry, can't help you there. I sometimes pre-wash them in only cold water, especially if I have to carry them from work to home. Closed tightly with those aforementioned clips they are quite easy and safe to carry, but if it's hours between change and going home, then sure you will want to pre-wash them. That also means that a very small amount of blood goes into a washing machine. Besides who never cut their knee or a hand and didn't have to wash off blood from their clothes. Come on. The
alternative is animals choking on plastic. Check Youtube, there's a lot about that there.

So far so good, right? No. I have also tried another brand of pads, bought from Ebay with really pretty design of birds on top. And it was a mistake. The cover fabric of these towels is simply too stretchy. It's hard to unclip them, they stretch so well that they might actually work as elastic wound covers, but are really bad for not so comfortable menstrual gymnastics. So if you look for something, I strongly advise trying one first.


So what about the maths?

Since everything else works so well, I just needed to be sure I am making a 100% good choice, after all, my wallet isn't bottomless.

And there it is.

I have heavy periods. On a normal month (no extra stress, no exercises like house moving and no very hot weather) I easily use 5 long night pads and 17 normal ones. That's a minimum of 60 long pads and 204 normal ones per year. Again assuming that I will be stress-free and weather is kind.

I used to use one of the most popular brands which I could get for £1.50 for a pack of 12 long ones, and £1.50 for a pack of 14 normal ones unless I could lay my hands on the "silk" ones which were nicer to my body, but more expensive. But for the sake of clarity and simplicity let's assume it's just one type and a cheaper one too.

That means I have to buy 5 packs of long ones and 15 packs of normal ones per year. Which comes down to surprisingly low figure: £30 pounds a year.
But that's not all. Almost every two months one of these plastic contraptions would fail, resulting in at best in a loss of a pair of knickers, at worst a need for a quick wash of pants. That's for me some extra stress and around £15 of loss in underwear, sometimes much more.
So far it has never happened to me with the cloth pads!

I initially had only 3 long ones and 6 normal. Even if I have to dry them indoors because the weather isn't great it takes two days to get that done, so I actually spent on my initial set:
£12 + £21 = £33

Later I got two more long ones from the extra pleasant to touch 0waste.market brand and 3 normal ones, so my set in total is worth:
£33 + £7 + £9 = £49
and has 5 long pads and 9 normal ones.
Seems to cost more than plastic, right?

Well, counting my lost lingerie (some of which I really liked), and stress that I might get up from that chair with a stain on my bottom it isn't.

Especially that, these will last me for YEARS.
And seeing how well they wash I'm assuming 3-5 years at least.

Which means that I've spent £49 pounds as opposed to £90 (3 years of plastic sanitary towels).
If they last longer then that's even better.

If that's not a win, then I don't know what is.


16 August 2016

Washing up the dishes.

I've read a couple of posts about how it's so easy to replace your dish washing tablets or powders with something easy, cheap and biodegradable made of baking soda and salt in most cases and I was thrilled!

Just in case if you really want to try yourself, be my guest, but please read until the end so that you avoid disappointment.

I have tried a simple recipe suggesting:

2/3 soda bicarbonate (the basic ingredient in baking soda),
1/3 kitchen salt
and a few drops of dishwashing soap.

I've tried this with fully loaded dishwasher and it didn't work well. Light loading it didn't improve things, replacing baking soda with soda bicarbonate grade A purity, pure salt (without anticaking agents and such) and simple castile soap left all my dishes looking like this:



Frankly? They looked as if they weren't washed at all. Knives were greasy and marked with white residue. Glasses streaked with a powdery cover which only went off when washed manually.

Then I read an article that what actually is going to help is turning baking soda into sodium carbonate. Sodium carbonate is well known domestically for its everyday use as a water softener, and since I have a very heavy water I thought it must be it. 

You can make sodium carbonate quite easily from sodium bicarbonate.
Spread a thin coat of SB on a baking tray and put it in the oven for an hour in 200 deg.

Then you mix it in the following proportions:

2 cups of sodium carbonate
1 cup of sodium bicarbonate
1 cup of borax (also known as sodium borate)
1/2 cup of citric acid.

Now why did I chose this particular recipe?
Because people overall were ecstatic about it.
It had really high reviews and contains stuff you can easily buy and is safe for the environment.

Now I was expecting a huge improvement.
Right?
Both sodium carbonate and borax are water softeners and should make my dishes sparkling.

Well, I had a reception the following day and I ended up hand washing ALL of my dishes in preparation because there was literally no improvement at all.

I could not give my guests glasses which looked like taken from my grandma's dusty coffer and not even wiped clean.

So after the party, I just went and bought already tried and tested Ecover Dishwasher Tablets.
They are zerowaste, Even the small packet in which the individual tablets are packed are nicely marked with the type of plastic they are made of and it is a widely recycled one.



Sure I personally would like not to use ANY plastics at all, but I am working full-time. I can't wash manually daily. Not to mention that even if I wanted to, castile soap also comes in a plastic container. And on top of that manual dish washing is wasting a lot more water than the dishwasher does, and water should be saved too.

05 August 2016

How do you deal with bullies?

Title: Aggression
License: Creative Commons 3 - CC BY-SA 3.0
Creator: NY - http://nyphotographic.com/I
I haven't been in the movement, if Iay call it like that, for a long time but I have already encountered my fair share of mockery or even outright hostility.

Sometimes it comes from fiercely loyal employees of well known drug stores who feel my reusable sanitary pads are some sort of attack on their department stores. Other times it comes from people who think it is right to dress their laziness in the clothes of common sense and deny me any sense at all.

Regardless of the reasons it is always unpleasant and hurtful.
Especially that what I do will benefit these people as well.

Have you ever encountered people like this?
How do you deal with their terrible behaviour?
How do you keep up your spirits?

31 July 2016

Unbleached paper

Unbleached paper
Whoa!
I'm going to share my latest find because it is amazing.

I've read a lot about making your own sandwich bags, and I swear I wanted to. Only... I never have enough time. Not to mention, buying beeswax is not as easy as it would seem here.
And then I've stumbled upon IF YOU CARE products. Good name for an eco-friendly company.

What they do is pretty unique and I, love the idea. IYC use materials specifically chosen to reduce their impact on the environment. They use unbleached paper, recycled materials and wood and paper coming from sustainably managed forests. In short, they replace petroleum based ingredients with natural and renewable resources; paper from pulp and paper mills practising the highest levels of clean water management.

What's so unique about their paper that I've mentioned it in the title?

Wood pulp, in its natural state, is brown or beige. Papers made from such pulp – for example, brown paper bags, and most cardboard boxes – are also brown. Usually, paper is subjected to a bleaching process to make it white, using chlorine derivatives, principally chlorine dioxide (ClO2), with horrible environmental consequences. Chlorine derivatives still produce toxic chlorinated organic compounds, such as chloroform, a known carcinogen.

Totally chlorine-free (TCF) paper is paper which is either unbleached or bleached using no chlorine or chlorine derivatives. Bleached papers which are totally chlorine-free (TCF) have been bleached with oxygen, ozone and/or hydrogen peroxide. These bleaching methods have none of the environmental impacts of chlorine chemistry.

IF YOU CARE paper is unbleached and always totally chlorine-free (TCF).

Now, what does it really mean for us?

Pretty much, that their products have really small impact on the environment compared to common methods used by other producers. So not only are we zero waste at home (because we can recycle and compost what we get), but we can also be sure that those products come from a place where they are manufactured in the most green way currently possible.

They are in fact efficient enough to produce recycled aluminium foil using only 5% of the energy normally used to create foil!

Another quite interesting thing they do is using supplies which might normally go to waste, and create a product that's very much needed: Soybean wax.
Soybean wax is a 100% natural, 100% renewable resource, unlike the more common petroleum-based paraffin wax. It is clean, safe, non-toxic and biodegradable. Soybeans are a renewable and sustainable resource grown by American farmers. Soybeans have a particularly good environmental impact in that they return nitrogen to the soil. Using soybean wax in place of petroleum-based paraffin wax helps reduce the use of petroleum products. For the farmers, this is a new way to make economical use of the soybean surplus.

Back to bags...

This is my favourite product of theirs: If You Care - Paper Sandwich Bags

If You Care - Paper Sandwich Bags - 48

With a price of 7 pence per bag, it is a no-brainer for a busy mum like me.
Also, the fact that the entire packaging is recyclable (carton) and the bags are compostable is another win. 
They are big enough to actually hold quite good pieces of food and are quite sturdy.

And the list of bonuses gets longer still:

  • Unbleached greaseproof paper
  • Totally chlorine-free (TCF)
  • Natural barrier properties – not chemically treated
  • 100% renewable resources
  • No petroleum products
  • Minimum waste
  • Vegetable-based inks for printing
  • Non-toxic glues
  • Replaces petroleum based plastic sandwich bags
  • Suitable for vegetarians and vegans
  • Microwave safe
  • Gluten free
  • Allergen free
  • Star-K kosher
  • No animal testing
  • No animal ingredients

12 July 2016

GRRR!

The title might sound a bit aggressive, but it actually is just a fun abbreviation of the latest by Oxfam:

Give, Reuse, Resell, Recycle!!!

Give 

Every item you donate helps them save and change lives for the better. They can change unwanted items into life-saving essentials such as seeds, classrooms or clean drinking water.

Resell 

Alongside Oxfam's online shop and High Street shops, there are pop-up shops at various music festivals which raise around £250,000 each summer to help change the lives of people in poverty.

Reuse

Clothes which don't sell in their shops are collected and sold elsewhere. One of Oxfam’s social enterprise projects is Frip Ethique in Senegal where women earn a living, sorting and selling donated clothes to local market traders

Recycle 


As a last resort, any leftover textiles are recycled into things like mattress stuffing or car soundproofing. But it is your high quality donated items that raise the most money for Oxfam's work.




I have just donated 10 bags full of good quality clothes (sometimes new with tags!) to not only follow up with my de-clutter plan for 2016 but also help their cause.

21 June 2016

50 years of credit cards in the UK

50 years of credit cards in the UK
Apparently this year marks an anniversary of this vital financial tool.
There is a list of 50 fascinating facts about credit cards on Moneysupermarket.

I'd call this a list of sad state of the issue after half a century! And I'm not even referring to the sad state credit card utilisation mean to a lot of people.

Take a look at these points:
  1. There were around 60 million credit cards in circulation in Britain as of November last year.
  2. Placed end-to-end, they’d cover 3,125 miles.
  3. That’s roughly the distance from Dublin to New York.
  4. If the average card weighs 5-10g, their total weight would be somewhere between 300,000 and 600,000kg.
  5. That’s roughly equivalent to between 25 and 50 double decker buses.

Now translate that to the fact that these cards are replaced every year. True, some of us hold onto their card for three years or more, but some lose, misplace or damage theirs way more often. We also usually own more than one, sometimes more than 10! On top of gym cards, loyalty cards, and various different utility cards we get this easily will tally up to 1 million kilogrammes, or 1000 tonnes or over 2 million pounds!

Now some card providers apparently switch to more green card materials, but most are your good old PVCa (polyvinyl chloride acetate). It's a copolymer of two monomers, production none of which is exactly nice for the environment, nor is the end-effect good for it.

Apparently PVCa is better than PVC because it degrades quicker.
Except, that 90% of credit card issuers add extra additives to their cards, to make them more durable for example. Some do not even disclose what those additives are; hiding behind patents and such.
And even if they did, cards are built in a much more complicated matter than just a sheet of plastic. This affects recycling in a massive way.

And, of course, it is hard to recycle. Cards are designed to sustain a lot of stress. They have to be durable and that is an opposite of biodegradability.

What we end up with is 600,000 kilos of dangerous plastics which, if not today, then in a very short time will end up in a landfill near you.

Even though some suppliers switch to greener materials, I think it's time to do more!

It's time to go virtual.

That's why I like so much all those ideas some companies (I'm not going to advertise here) come up with.
Sadly most of them still rely on cards.
And if your concern is about security, then you have to be aware that paying with your phone isn't that much more dangerous than contactless really, yet people switch to the convenience of that payment method gladly.

Why should we not shift to the mobile then?

Nowadays almost everybody has a bank application on their mobile.

There is no reason not to use it as a payment tool.

I have written a letter to all major UK based payment card issuers and AmEx to ask about their view on it, alternatives they are proposing and issues they face.
Watch this space for their replies.

13 June 2016

Zero-waste cleansing routine for an acne prone skin

My skin has always been a problematic one.
It seemed like it stopped at a teenage stage and refused to mature! It is almost fine because even now at 40 I have no wrinkles, but the acne! I'd gladly trade some of it for fine crow's feet.
On top of that, I have a dry combination skin which makes it particularly hard to take care of it. And when I say dry I mean dry like sandpaper, not just slightly dry. While my T-zone can be dripping oil in hot weather. Cosmetic disaster.

I've tried creams, masques, dermatological treatments, some crazy expensive and the results were at best temporary. Until I've found the oil cleansing method (follow this link to read more from the source). 
The inventor of the method based her idea on one premise:

Keep in mind that oil dissolves oil. 

Which seems quite simple, so why have I not thought about it ages ago?

I have been using this method for a couple of months now, and I am astonished.
My skin hasn't miraculously renewed, nor does it look more youthful or better fed. None of the marketing BS major companies promise you happened here. Which, let's be honest rarely happen anyway. At least not to people with the kind of problems I had.

Yes had.

I have recognised that even though my T-zone is oily, my main problem areas were the dry ones, so I am using the recipe for dry skin:

3:1 ratio olive oil to jojoba oil plus a drop of tea tree essential oil per 6 spoons of olive oil.

This is different from the proposed suggestion on the page, but that's after some trial and error I went through.

this comes down to:

6 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp jojoba oil
1 drop of tea tree essential oil

For makeup removal I don't add any essential oils!

REMEMBER that essential oils are very concentrated and may damage your skin, so before using any try on a small patch of skin in a covered area.

Tea tree works very well for me as it has many healing and antiseptic properties and my skin seems to like and tolerate it well.

That, as the creator suggests, is a good cleansing method in the evening.
There is no need for any night creams after it, which for me before I've found this method, was a must, because hard water from my taps always left my skin feeling rough and dried up.

In the morning, I follow another routine which is to simply wash your face with pure natural honey.
I cover my face with a thin layer of it, massage and rinse with warm water. Then just pat dry.
This leaves my face feeling clean and moisturised.

You can find really good value honey on Amazon, for example:



Other ingredients I use are:
Plus any organic olive oil.

Kitchen utensils

Kitchen utensils
What I really don't like is the plastic that touches my food. Just the thought of it makes me cringe, yet there are so many actually pretty plastic utensils it is amazing how easy it is to fall down that hole.

When we made the resolution to stop using stuff that harms our environment we noticed how much of our kitchen needs replacing:

Stunning and completely non-eco-friendly utensils (ABS plastic is not only not biodegradable but also made from non-renewable resources!)
What we use instead are stainless steel:

And since these are not suitable for surfaces that can get scratched we also have some bamboo ones:



Chopping boards are also to be replaced. We used these lovely, and quite useful:


Now we use bamboo ones: Not only are they more eco-friendly but also easier to clean and smoother than wooden ones:


Instead of a host of plastic containers we had:

Product Details Product DetailsProduct Details

We have moved to glass, steel and ceramics (I really love the garlic one!!!):

Product Details

Kitchen Craft Classic Collection Ceramic Garlic Jar

Product Details

Kilner Square Clip Top Jar 1.5ltr

Product Details

We also had this (I must say very useful dish drainer):
As pretty as it is, in my household supplied with mostly hard and very hard water it quickly changed into a hideous calcite covered piece of garbage, which I really wanted to replace!!! I don't like wooden ones because they don't dry quick enough, this is England...

So what we bought instead is your old but very useful steel one, which is so much easier to clean and because it is more open dishes dry quicker in it.
It also isn't very big, which promotes organised cleaning ;) You simply have to take those dishes of off it and put them away.


We are slowly replacing our strainer/bowl/measuring cups set:


With your good old metal and glass things. 
Three major points in favour of those are:
  1. Ease of cleaning (plastic gets scratched and starts collecting dirt easier)
  2. Heat resistance (some of the pieces of that set got damaged with heat and stopped stacking nicely, I'm not even thinking what they seeped into our food!)
  3. Dishwasher and oven safe glass bowls, make reheating and storage a bliss! Why did we ever start using plastics in the kitchen?! I like pyrex bowls especially because of that. They also come in a lot of sizes so you can stack them up nicely and save space.

Product Details
Pyrex Glass Bowl, 3.0L
Master Class Large Stainless Steel Fine-Mesh Sieve, 20.5 cm (8")

We all know plastic funnels, right? 

Product Details
I was extremely pleased to find that not only you can replace them with something eco, but also UPGRADE!
How? How about a funnel with removable filter :) I love it.
Again with this one you don't have to worry that the liquid is too hot.
Kitchen Craft 13cm Funnel With Removable Filter

25 May 2016

Results of three years of composting

We started composting our food leftovers before we even begun thinking about going zero-waste.

After all, because I am an amateur gardener composting is simply a logical thing to do.
It makes even more sense for gardens such as mine: covered with a poor quality soil and in constant need of plant-food.

We have bought a 120-litre compost bin in 2013 and have been gradually filling it with food, small garden waste and even our cats' catches. The latest might seem a bit extreme to some, but remember this is organic matter, binning it is not allowed and since these poor animals were already dead, it only felt like a natural thing, and in some primal way "a thank you" for their ultimate sacrifice.

120 litre seems like a lot, but it is not. The bin fits nicely in a corner of our fence, and on occasion seems too small!

It is made of plastic sadly, and I wasn't able to find any information about its toxicity, other than it's made of "safe" material. Just to be on the safe side, I'm using compost made in it for decorative plants only, not the ones we eat. I am bugging producer for information too.

It doesn't need aerating as it's bottom is open, and worms migrate freely out and into it. Also, plastic, even though quite thick is soft enough, so that the cover never sits tightly on top of it and so some air always gets inside. It is dark, so it also accumulates the sunshine and retains heat quite well.

As you can see from the photo, it is the classic design, which assumes that non-degraded materials are added at the top, and you take ready compost through the opening at the bottom.

Fun fact: My cats love sleeping on it in the cooler months because the cover gets several degrees warmer than the ground.

  • We do not have to turn over its contents; it is too small for it.
  • We don't put worms inside. They come on their own.
  • We rely on nature to take its course and it works great!


What goes into it:


And what comes out:

That second photo looks pretty rough and unprocessed but, in reality, it is perfect. It is already an excellent compost, and various half-biodegraded pieces of wood and twigs are providing a longer-term sustenance to any plants which will be planted into it. 

And it couldn't be easier! Frankly, the only things I have to do are:
  1. Cut bigger branches into smaller pieces when inserting into it, which really is a no-brainer and a must, because large stuff wouldn't fit into the opening,
  2. Add contents horizontally, so that they take their time "going down", 
  3. Don't add stuff that might kill worms, such as vinegar, alcohol and such,
  4. Empty the lower compartment now and then and enjoy "the spoils" :)
Feel free to ask me any questions if you are interested in my methods.


18 May 2016

Clothes upcycling, mending and reusing

Clothes upcycling, mending and reusing
Enjoy a collection of amazing ideas for dealing with clothes when they are nearing state when most people would just throw them away, as well as some suggestions as to what to do when your clothes get stained for example.

I am not the author of these tips, and I doubt people who shared them are either, but to give them due I will note that those come from an amazing thread on Quora: What are some dressing hacks everyone should know?

This is an extremely long thread and not all of the suggestions are about re-using or mending clothes, so I thought it worth to fish for the most relevant ones. I hope you like them.


or cool patch with matching stitching:


Sew old or cheap bra cups into a backless dress
Did you say you need a special bra for a backless dress? No stick-on bra, no multi-way bra, just an old cheap bra is what you really need.


    This one is well known, but just in case you don't know it and your zipper is misbehaving...




    You can also freeze it off any clothes.


    Stop your jeans from bleeding by washing it with salt.


    If you lose your earring backing, tear a pencil eraser from the back of a pencil. If you press the eraser onto the earring where it sticks out behind your ear (where the missing backing used to go) it will work just as well and keep your earring on.

    And some general advice on how to make your clothes serve you longer

    Not exactly a dressing hack, but still: A bra should NOT be washed after each wear, only when it has been worn three-four times (or when it looks dingy or when it doesn't smell fresh). By not washing it so often you make it last a lot longer. Knickers, on the other hand, should obviously be washed after each wear. So - in order not to be stranded with a bra that cannot be used because it has no matching knickers, BUY THREE PAIRS OF KNICKERS FOR EACH BRA.

    Learn to pay attention to the fabric/material of any item while purchasing. Do not fall for 70%-80% sales.

    Invest in items which you think you will wear even after 4-5 years.

    A lot of classic well-made things can be found in the second-hand shops if you don't have much money.

    Simple budget shoe hacks infographic

    This hack might save a lot of closet space

    17 May 2016

    Got An Unusual Planter? You Could Win £50

    How about upcycling and getting a chance to win with your idea?
    Green Waste Club has just announced a planter competition:



    Got An Unusual Planter? You Could Win £50
    If you’re feeling creative, why not take part in our ‘Unusual Planter’ competition?
    You could win £50-worth of garden centre vouchers. 
    All you have to do is create a unique or unusual planter in your garden, take a photo of it, and email it in. It could be as simple as an old colander, an old pair of wellies, or any other unusual container in which you can grow plants. And it’s up to you as to whether you decorate your planter, or leave it ‘as is’. 
    Email your photo, with Planter Competition written in the subject line, to gwc.@biffa.co.uk Please remember to include your name, GWC membership number, and telephone number. Entries must be received by Friday 3rd June 2016 – good luck!
    see more in the 12th Green Waste Club newsletter.

    13 May 2016

    Practical upcycling and reusing ideas

    There are very many ideas for upcycling trash or reusing old items in new adventurous or imaginative ways.
    A lot of them turn old junk into pieces of art. But what I really am amazed at are purely practical uses, even better zero-waste promoting ones.
    Here is my list of favourites, I hope you like it too!


    Sanitary pads made of old baby rompers
    source, and a detailed manual on how to do it here.




    Beautiful candles made from  old candle wax and teacups.
    source here



    Amazing lamp made of plastic bottles and disposable spoons






    Plastic bottles turned into broom



    Old suitcases turned sofas

    Comfortable sofa made from suitcase:

    or side table

    Fun Do It Yourself Craft Ideas - 62 Pics:

    Some of my ideas :)

    Reuse disposable paper or plastic plates (even used, but cleaned ones) to protect your frying pans from scratching when storing in a pile. Just alternate pans with plates.

    Use old cards or paper gift boxes to decorate and create your own. Cut into smaller pieces can turn into interesting "3D" embellishments.

    See also: 10 creative ways to upcycle your plastic bottles