Subscribe: Crafty Green Poet
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade B rated
Language: English
book  crafty green  dog  green  including  natural  nature  people  plastic  read  time  trees  water leith  water  year 
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: Crafty Green Poet

Crafty Green Poet

creative thinking ~ greener living

Updated: 2018-03-21T17:14:58.182+00:00


International Day of Forests


This year for International Day of Forests the theme is Urban Forests and Sustainable Cities. The urban forest includes all the trees in a city, street trees, those found in parkland and in private gardens.

In the UK urban forests have made it into the news a lot recently, given the shocking fact that Sheffield (once known as a very green city) has been destroying many of its street trees. Gone or threatened are historic avenues of lime trees, monuments to those fallen in the wars and a rare elm tree that is resistant to Dutch elm disease and home to a very rare butterfly. As if this isn't bad enough, those people who have been protesting the tree fellings havebeen treated as criminals, charged in the courts or in some cases injured when police have attacked them in the streets.

It's not just Sheffield though. Edinburgh City Council recently removed all the beautiful trees from Picardy Place so they can improve the traffic flow - the trees were removed almost overnight and with barely enough time for the ink to dry on the so called consultation on the traffic measures. The beautiful trees around Meadowbank Stadium have a very uncertain future under plans to modernise the stadium and use 'excess land' for housing and other developments.

Urban trees provide many benefits to urban communities, from cooling the environment and saving energy, to providing health benefits and building resilience against floods and storms. They should be nurtured and celebrated not destroyed for the sake of traffic.

Trees for Cities is the only international charity working to create greener cities.  Since 1993, they have engaged over 70,000 people to plant over 600,000 trees in urban areas.  They plant trees where they will have the greatest social and environmental impact on local people and their communities.  In London for example this might mean planting trees to clean the air while in Nairobi it may mean planting fruit trees for food.

Woodland Trust protects and creates woodland across the UK, some of their woodlands are near or in urban areas. 

I took the photo at the top of the post in the woodland area at Musselburgh Lagoons today. Coincidentally, my poem Traffic was posted today (which is also World Poetry Day) at Plum Tree Tavern.

As ever, red text in this post contains hyperlinks that take you to other websites where you can find out more.

Some Advice for Dog Owners


I walk through  the Dells alongside the Water of Leith most weeks. I've met a lot of lovely dogs while doing this, but today was one of the rare occasions when I had a bad incident with a dog. I was cutting back some overhanging vegetation (which is part of my role in patrolling the river) when this dog jumped at me (and not in even remotely a friendly way) and started ripping my cotton carrier bag apart. The owner muttered 'Sorry, very sorry' as she walked past but if your dog is likely to attack people like that you really need to a) train it better and b) keep it on a short lead!


A dog related problem that I encounter far more frequently in the Dells is that of dog poo. It is disgusting how many people let their dogs poo in the woodlands or even worse pick up their dogs poo in a poop bag and then throw it into the trees! If your dog poos, pick it up in a bag and then bin the bag! It's only commonsense! (The anti-fouling sign above is more picturesque than most and can be found near the site of Lindsay's Mill alongside the Water of Leith as it passes through Dean Village.)

There are also seasonal issues related to dogs.

At this time of year many fields are full of lambs and pregnant ewes who will soon give birth. Dogs running wild can panic pregnant ewes and cause them to abort the lambs. There have been several incidents recently where livestock have been attacked by dogs running out of control. To avoid this, if you have a dog, please don't take it into fields where there are young animals.

The same applies to ground nesting birds - from April to July is the nesting season for bird species such as skylarks, which are decreasingly drastically in number. To help give them the best chances of breeding, please keep them on a short lead in open areas where birds might be nesting.

Outdoor Access Scotland has some good advice for dog owners and professional dog walkers on their website, you can read it here.

A Relaxing Green Space or a Venue to make profit from?


One of the nicest features of the centre of Edinburgh is Princes Street Gardens with its views of the castle and other iconic city buildings and its lawns and trees that support a range of wildlife and are enjoyed by residents and tourists alike throughout the year. However, increasingly the gardens are being commercialised, the Hogmanay festival that takes place every New Years Eve these days sees the gardens shut to public access from Christmas until into the New Year!

The old Ross Bandstand admittedly could do with a facelift

but current plans seem to be excessive (see this article) - with plans to potentially hand over management of the gardens to a private company who will make the gardens a profit making venue holding daily events. Now I have no problem with there being a profit making element to the gardens, it's good that there are small cafes in the gardens in the summer, and I have no problem with events as long as they are in keeping with the setting (the free events that sometimes happen during the Festival Fringe are excellent for example). On the other hand, the gardens are a tranquil green space in the centre of a capital city and that's what they should remain.

Admittedly the plans outlined in the article I linked to above havenot been finalised but Edinburgh Council does have a tendency to be less than transparent when it comes to its development plans. So I think it's a good idea to know what's being discussed.....

Easter Cards


I always like making greetings cards and these are a few of the Easter cards I made this year.

I used coloured card stock that I recently bought from a 2nd hand shop and added pre-cut shapes and floral papers that I had also bought from 2nd hand shops. Even the rubber stamp I used to complete the design of the first two cards was 2nd hand!

Landlove magazine has a lovely template for lino-print Easter cards which you can find here.

Meanwhile I've added several pairs of new earrings to the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop, which you can see here



There’s something of life in the picture –
dull, dreich mist over storm-dark hills, the lift
of the water as it leaves the canvas,
the peek of light through the foreground
break in the clouds.

I feel wet sand between my toes,
watch eddying rain watering down
shy sunlight, hear the splash of sea
on rocks, the pull of currents.

Wind fresh in my face, drawn into
the scene, I drown in the lake
of a painter’s imagination.

Reposted from May 2006 and previously published on the Sound and Image issue of Online Poetry Journal.  

Meanwhile over on Shapeshifting Green I've reposted another poem from 2006, you can read it here

Wild Garlic and Birds Building Nests


In the Dells along the Water of Leith, wild garlic is the signature scent of Spring. Even before it flowers it fills the woodland with the scent of garlic

You can forage wild garlic to make a delicious pesto, but I wouldn't forage anything from the ground in a place so popular with dog walkers! If you're really keen on foraging, it's better anyway to leave the wild garlic and instead forage the wild leeks which are invasive and taking over from the garlic in places. The two species of leeks can both be recognised from the garlic by their thinner leaves (the flowers blooming in the photo below are snowdrops which as far as I'm aware are not edible)

It's a very pretty time of year, with the undergrowth looking so green

even though most of the trees think it's still winter

 The birds aren't fooled by this year's strange weather - I saw a magpie carrying a twig that was longer than itself, a jackdaw flying back and forth with twigs and a pair of dippers gathering moss.

Help Ensure Our Woodlands are Looked After


Every part of Britain has its own distinct woodlands and cultural heritage associated with trees and woods. They are a valuable and much loved part of our natural heritage. Our woodlands and trees have shaped history, and continue to enrich local culture as well as to support rare wildlife species. Edinburgh has several beautiful woodlands, including Corstorphine Hill, Hermitage of Braid and the Dells alongside the Water of Leith, which are valuable wildlife sites and popular for recreation (and frequently appear in my blogposts!).  Since 1994 the Woodland Trust has been awarded £30 million from the National Lottery, mostly via the ‘Heritage Lottery Fund’ (HLF). HLF currently funds the trust's work on 50,000 hectares of ancient woodland urgently in need of restoration – from the Glens of Scotland to Exmoor at the foot of England.However HLF are currently reviewing their funding priorities and the trust fears ths could mean that in the future they will receive less money for their vital woodland conservation work. It's vital that the lottery continues to fund 'natural heritage'. I certainly think of nature as an essential part of our heritage. And all of us, whether we play the lottery or not, love our natural heritage, and we need to ensure that this is reflected in the amount of funding awarded to conservation projects. You can join the Woodland Trust's campaign here and respond to the lottery consultation on their future funding priorities. [...]

The Lost Heifetz and other stories by Michael Tabor



'Full of quirks and intrigue, the stories in The Lost Heifetz and Other Stories are sometimes humorous, occasionally bleak and always smart, with flawed characters trying their best to carve out a life for themselves and find the balance between how people see them and how they would like to be seen.'

That was how this book of short stories was described to me when I was asked to review it. I entirely agree with that description and would add that many of these twelve stories would rank among the best short stories I've read. I love the cleverness of  the stories, the inventiveness, the humour and the insight. I also love the variety of setting and theme.

Many of the stories focus on creativity, for example the title story follows an amateur musician who meets an old man in a record shop and becomes  convinced that he is a violinist believed to have died during the second world war. The story within a story approach can be tricky to pull off but here is handled deftly and works beautifully to create a storyabout the power of music.

Meanwhile, The Show Never Stops reflects on life in the theatre from the varying perspectives of people who work in the theatre and some of the inanimate parts of the theatre including the stage and the mirror behind the bar. It's particularly entertaining to read the opinions that the characters have about each other.

Home Again explores the life and personality of Jean, a professional house sitter. The various layers of her persona are peeled back to gradually reveal surprising facets of her identity and personal history.

Sir George and the Dragon is a very clever and entertaining account of  how pompous George Tomkins wins over the new resident of the 'big house' in the village, also called George.

It's not fair to choose a favourite story, as they are all so brilliant and all well worth re-reading. However, I was particularly interested in the ideas  in The Pawnbroker, in which Sam visits a pawnbroker to pawn a story. What follows is a fascinating insight into inspiration, authorial voice, professional jealousy and the blurred line between truth and fiction.

So if you love short fiction you need to put this book on your reading list. If you have yet to discover the great enjoyment that can be found in short stories, this is the book to start with!

The Lost Heifetz and Other Stories by Michael Tabor published by S and S Bookends

Disclaimer, I received a free review copy of this book.

Gardening for Bats


Last night Crafty Green Boyfriend and I went along to a Scottish Wildlife Trust meeting expecting to hear a talk about Urban Pollinators. However the speaker was unable to be there and at the last minute Liz Ferrel from the Bat Conservation Trust gave a talk on bats in the UK and how to garden for bats.

There are seventeen resident species of bat in the UK (only some of which are found in Scotland, due to our colder climate). Then there is the sad tale of the greater mouse eared bat, which was declared extinct in the UK in 1990, but since 2002, one lone male has flown over from France every winter to hibernate in the south of England!

Thelargest part of Liz's talk focussed on how to garden so as to encourage bats. British bats feed exclusively on insects so the best way to encourage them is to encourage the right insects to your garden, which in turn means planting the right flowering plants. In addition you may want to put up some bat boxes on your house, or on trees in your garden. You can find out more here or download the guide to Encouraging Bats here.

Bats eat a variety of insects and can help keep down the number of midges and mosquitoes! 

Edinburgh is home  to a good number of bats and we've enjoyed a number of guided bat walks in the city,  most recently this walk last September. Common and soprano pipistrelles are the city's most common bats with Daubenton's bats being quite common over the canal and our rivers.

Can Nature Save the World?


Warning - this is a long post with lots of links!  Environmentalists tend these days to focus either on climate change and its impact on humanity or on nature and wild landscapes. Most tend to focus on climate change alone and very few tend to focus on both. Human activities have caused a 40 percent increase in carbon dioxide in the air since the industrial revolution. This has lead rightly to present concerns about climate change, which focus on changing the way we generate energy.  Renewable energy, energy efficiency and clean transport together receive nearly 30 times the amount of public investment than do  nature based solutions to climate change.It is, of course, vital that we address how we generate our energy. However, human impacts not directly related to energy generation (including deforestation and unsustainable agricultural practices) make a significant contribution to climate change (see this article on the Nature website).According to a recent study published in the US based Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences natural actions, such as planting trees, could prove as effective in combating climate change as immediately ceasing to burn oil. Their results (also discussed in the previously mentioned Nature article) show that if implemented within the next 15 years, investment in twenty selected natural activities could cost-effectively reduce emissions by 11.3 billion tonnes of CO2 per year. This would account for 37 percent of the emissions reductions required to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius by 2030 — the benchmark outlined in the 2010 Paris Agreement.Healthy forests and peatlands are particularly important as they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Forests also help prevent soil erosion and regulate the water cycle. A recent study (see this article) led by researchers from Leipzig University and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), shows that many of these ecosystem functions perform better in forests with a larger number of different tree species. Their research shows that trees in more biodiverse forests grow faster, store more carbon and are more resistant to pests and diseases than trees in forests with fewer species of trees.Healthy oceans too are vital as up to 90% of earth's CO2 is stored in and cycled through the oceans (see this report).The UK Government Environment Agency has published papers on natural flood management, which you can read about here. Natural flood management includes such processes as restoring bends in rivers, changing the way land is managed so soil can absorb more water and creating saltmarshes on the coast to absorb wave energy.The US Nature Conservancy Global Solutions website has an interesting section on natural climate solutions which you can read here.Many of these solutions would fall under the umbrella of natural capital as described by Tony Juniper in his book What Nature Does for Britain (which I review here). There's also the much more (to me) controversial version of natural capital which defines nature purely in terms of its financial value, which is critiqued very well here. [...]

Half Earth by Edward O Wilson


I've enjoyed other books by Edward O Wilson (you can read my brief reviews here) so was looking forward to reading Half Earth. Sadly I was very disappointed, I felt it was often superficial and while dealing with a vital issue -  how best to conserve the world's remaining biodiversity - doesn't offer enough concrete ideas for how to do that.

Wilson's basic idea is that we need to set  aside half of the earth to be protected areas for nature and lists places around the world that he feels should be included in this plan. However he offers no road map for how to set up the surely necessary overview to make sure this happens and to evaluate how the project works and he offers  no advice on how to ensure that individual areas can be protected into the future.  

Plus although the broad brush stroke approach of much of this book probably makes it accessible to a much wider audience, there were too few specific examples to really grab the reader's attention. Some specific insights into the lives of certain  species of ants were fascinating (Wilson is an ant ecologist) but more, much more in a similar vein would have made the book more enthralling and would have supported the overall argument much more vividly.

I also felt the whole book was badly edited, as though the publishers had thought - 'E O Wilson is such a distinguished scientist he doesn't need an editor!' But all writers need an editor.

So I found the whole reading experience disappointing but this is an important issue that needs to  be addressed before it's too late.

Can we protect half the earth for nature and wildlife to thrive?

How do we choose which areas to protect?

What about indigenous people who may live in these areas and understand their ecology better than we realise?

Are there alternative approaches that may save nature?

The organisation Nature Needs Half is 'committed to improving the relationship between people and nature and ensuring that at least half of our planet remains protected throughout large, connected eco-regions, now and in the future.'

There's an interesting article in the Guardian newspaper asking 'Should  we give up half of the earth to wildlife?' while Prakash Kashwan critiques the idea of protected areas for wildlife in poorer countries here

Half Earth by Edward O Wilson published by Liveright  Publishing

Winter Wonderland in the Dells


It's beautiful in Craiglockart Dell at the moment

these next two photos are taken from inside one of the grottos in the Dells. The grottos were built originally as a place for women to rest while the men in the party went hunting.

Unfortunately though it's very beautiful out there, the snow has compacted and is seriously slippery and potentially dangerous to walk on.

National Old Stuff Day


Today is National Old Stuff Day - a day to appreciate old things! If we can appreciate old things and not constantly be buying new then we are reducing the waste we produce.

I love old furniture, and we  have several pieces in our flat,including these two items in our living room

  Some people like to refurbish these types of items by sanding them down and painting them in bright colours, but I like the original look!

National Old Stuff Day is also an opportunity to think about old things that you have that you don't want any more and see how you can bring them back into use - perhaps by repurposing an item for another use, refashioning an old item odclothing, donating old furniture to a charity that houses homeless people, giving the item as a gift or donating it to a second hand shop.

Age UK asked their staff to share their most treasured old items, you can read what they said here.

What are your favourite old things?



Well the so called 'Beast from the East' storm has arrived in Edinburgh, bringing high winds and blizzards.These photos are from Crafty Green Boyfriend who works just near Corstorphine HIll and walks round the hill most lunchtimes! He takes birdfood with him to leave on walls and logs at the top of the hill (where several other people do the same). He took extra food yesterday and attracted blackbirdscarrion crowand dunnockBirds are really struggling in this extreme weather, here's some advice from the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection for Birds).Meanwhile over on my Shapeshifting Green blog, I've shared some photos of the snow people of Edinburgh! [...]

Quick and easy fridge magnet


I'd had this wee magnet lying around for a while, annoyingly attaching itself to random metallic crafting supplies, so finally I decided to superglue it to a piece of sea pottery and it's made a lovely little fridge magnet.

There are some beautiful pieces of sea pottery out there on beaches everywhere and there are plenty of ways of using them in crafts! I've made rings, brooches (like this one in the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop) and most recently decorated a picture frame.

Have you made any interesting things using sea pottery or sea glass?

Finding Verity by Jenny Louden


I don't normally read romance novels, and Finding Verity seems at first glance to be purely a romance novel, but when Jenny Louden asked me to review this book she emphasised the connection that the main character Verity has with nature and thus persuaded me to read the book! And I'm glad I did as it's engagingly written and I felt immediately drawn to Verity as a character, her creativity and her relationship to nature. She's a character who notices things, whether it's the leaves on a plane tree or the decor of a house she's visiting. It's also refreshing to have a romantic novel featuring a female protagonist who for most of the book is 'around 50'.

Verity marries Matt and they live in London, with Verity hoping that eventually they will move to the countryside, while Matt sees this as too much of a risk. He wants Verity to continue running her interior design business and paint in her spare time, while she wants to paint full time and live a rural life:

'if there was anything these past years of trying to paint had taught her, it was that she worked best outdoors, and she needed a proper large and well lit place in which to complete her work......The paintings which had been chosen forexhibitions over the years had all been landscapes she had done while on holiday in Italy or France. It was hopeless trying to do anything in this confined space where her elbow hit the wall and her canvases were, of necessity, small......She could not put off her dream any more.'

A holiday weekend in the south of France unexpectedly brings Verity back into contact with Edward an old friend and pushes her into reassessing her life.

 It's a very readable novel about finding the courage to live your dreams and explore your creativity  and has plenty of drama to make you keep turning the page.

Surveying Plants along the Water of Leith


I've joined a team of volunteers who will be surveying the plants along the Water of Leith downstream from the Water of Leith Conservation Trust Visitor Centre. This is to update the information held from the previous plant survey made ten years ago. Last year I updated the plant survey information for Colinton and Craiglockart Dells (just upstream of the Visitor Centre and the patch I patrol most weeks). This year my patch is the area running from the visitor centre up to Saughton Park (though not including the park as it is currently being restored and remodelled).We're concentrating on trees and wild flowers,  though we include whatever else we can! (I particularly record fungi and ferns). At this time of year the only flowering plants are winter specialists such as winter aconitesnowdropsand the first crocuses of the yearThere were plenty of birds around too, including several goosandersand this carrion crow, which is either a hybrid with a hooded crow (and there are a few such hybrids around here, with differing plumage patterns) or partially leucistic.Finally I took this photo from near the bus stop,I look forward to seeing the changing plantlife of the area over the next year! [...]

Hidden Figures - Shape of Water - Parallel Worlds


We recently watched Shape of Water, widely tipped to walk away with the best film Oscar this year and it is strangely like a parallel reality to Hidden Figures, which should have won the best film Oscar last year (you can review my brief review here).

In Hidden Figures (a story based on historical facts) Octavia Spencer plays brilliant mathematician Dorothy Vaughn who in 1961 was a vital part of the team behind putting the first US astronaut in space.

In Shape of Water (very definitely not based on historical fact), set around 1962, Octavia Spencer plays Zelda a cleaner who along with her colleague Elisa (Sally Hawkins) becomes aware of a strange water creature in the top secret  government facility where they work. NASA are interested in how this creature could help their research in the space race.

To make this feeling of parallel realities even stronger, the sets of the research centres in the two films are very similar. 

So I got to imagining Dorothy Vaughn dreaming of finding a sea monster while working as a cleaner or is Zelda dreaming of being a top class mathematician? Anyway these musings added another layer of enjoyment to what is already an excellent film.

Shape of Water is showing at Edinburgh Filmhouse until 15 March.

These two films would make a brilliant double bill.......

Gorgeous Gorse and the first bumble bee of the year


It's a beautiful sunny day today with the scent of Spring in the air (though we are promised a cold snap next week!). The gorse is beautiful in the sunshine

As I took this photo (on Corstorphine Hill) two sparrowhawks were circling each other high above (probably a courtship display) not far from a buzzard (probably hunting). Lovely to watch!

While waiting for the bus home, I watched two bumble bees (probably buff tailed bumbles) flying round this heather. The bees didn't pose for their photos, but the heather is still very photogenic.

Sadly there haven't been any bunnies on this slope outside the hotel for over a year now. They used to offer great entertainment while waiting for a bus. Of course there's plenty of animal entertainment in the nearby zoo, but we miss the bunnies!

48 hours without


(on a 2 day sponsored fast for charity)

I bought a bag of tangerines
for the time of breaking the fast –
they sat, glowing orange
temptation in the fruit bowl.

The first day I struggled
to remain normal, distracted
by ugly rumbles in my stomach –
signs of a deep hunger

that on the second day
gave way to dizzy light headedness,
an ability to float
above the mundane everyday.

On the forty ninth hour
I held a tangerine, its scent
spicing the air; how strangely
difficult it was to eat

to deny myself my entry
into that other existence
I had almost started
to glimpse.

Previously published as part of Gabrielle Bryden's Citrus Fiesta.  

 Meanwhile I've posted another poem on my Shapeshifting Green blog, you can read it here

Another felt bookmark - this time with added lace and beads


After the success of my first felt bookmarks (see this post) I had the idea of using some scraps of lace and some beads to decorate the next bookmark and this is how it turned out

This bookmark is made from the final piece of felt from the same square I used to make the two original pink bookmarks. Again it's just one piece of felt, as this felt is relatively thick and robust. So this is an ideal bookmark if you don't like too much thickness between the pages of your book!

This bookmark is now in the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop, you can see it here.

Goblin by Ever Dundas



Goblin is an outcast girl growing up in London during World War Two. She witnesses a brutal and shocking event that pushes her into creating and living in her own imaginary world. She gathers a menagerie around her, made up of real animals (including Groo the cat who grooms all the other animals, and the very characterful Corporal Pig) and invented creatures (including Monsta, created from bits and pieces and brought to life with Goblin's blood).

Goblin wanders London, using the fact that she looks like a boy (and allowing people to think she is a boy!) to get away with things that girls back then couldn't get away with.

She runs away to the circus where she finds adoptive parents and a community of misfits who she (most of the time) fits in with. She travels Europe with the circus, having relationships with men and women (she's refreshingly matter of fact about her bisexuality) and settles in Venice, where she hopes eventually to be reunited with her brother who she hasn't seen since childhood.

In a parallel story running through the novel, Goblin now old, is working in a library in Edinburgh and trying to avoid confronting the upsetting trauma from her childhood.

Will Goblin find her brother? Will she be able to give up her imaginary world and learn to live fully in the real world? Will she be able to confront and come to terms with her trauma?

This is a wonderfully imaginative and beautifully written debut novel.

Goblin by Ever Dundas published by Saraband.

Signs of Spring


There really are a lot of snowdrops in Craiglockart Dell (by the Water of Leith) at the moment, morethan in previous years it seems to me

The hazel catkins are also putting on a wonderful display and the tiny red female flowers are also out, can you see one in this photo?

I smelt this patch of wild garlicc before I saw it!

and  this tree trunk looks very autumnal covered with fungi - not sure on the species here, I thought hairy stereum at first but I'm not sure. If you can identify this fungus, let me know in the comments!

The birds were singing too, it was particularly nice to hear the loud repetitive song of the song thrush and the slow melancholy song of the mistle thrush.

For Nature Notes.

Weekend Birds


Very mixed weather  today and most of the rain seemed to fall while we were out walking! The shelduck at Cramond didn't seem to mind too much thoughThere were plenty of other birds at Cramond too including good numbers of  lapwings and curlew, with a small flock of geese (probably pink footed geese) flying over.  By the time we'd got to the fields at Silverknowes the sun was out again and we were delighted to see so many curlews and oystercatchersPlenty of sheep in the fields too, they're only there some of the time, I think they're taken to other fields sometimes.The light was lovely at this point in the walk and this curlew posed beautifully for usThanks Crafty Green Boyfriend for these photos! [...]

Plastic Free Friday



 image from Free Images

The crisis of plastic pollution that is affecting our waterways and oceans is big news at the minute. Many supermarkets are pledging to reduce their plastic use while others are digging their heels in. The Queen has pledged to make Buckingham Palace and the Royal Estates plastic free and BBC are going to ban single use plastics by 2020.

This article here is excellent in teasing out some of the complications round the issue - for example, some foods, such as cucumbers, keep much better when wrapped in plastic, so the use of plastic here reduces food waste. (On the other hand, in my own experience most foods keep just as well without plastic and mushrooms really shouldn't be kept in plastic - I really can't understand the stores that insist on packaging mushrooms in plastic punnets.) Part of the secret though is to buy the food you need when you need it, rather than buying fruit and vegetables in bulk (though this depends on you living or working close to good grocery stores). Also take your own reuseable carrier bags and produce bags or refuse produce bags at all where possible.

What is undeniable however is that plastic waste is compromising the health of our riverine and marine environments.

As part of a response to this Friends of the Earth Scotland have started Plastic Free Fridays! They are asking people to sign this pledge to reduce their use of plastics and to completely avoid single use plastics on Fridays.

And to help you, they have compiled a list of ten top tips to reduce plastic use.

My additional top tips

Have a few reusable carrier bags which you carry round in your handbag so you always have one with you to avoid picking up any plastic carriers (but avoid the temptation to acquire loads of reusable bags, they use more energy in their production than plastic bags)

Get refills on products where possible (New Leaf in Edinburgh offers a brilliant  refill service for a number of products including washing up liquid and shampoo. Just take along a bottle and fill it up with the product you need! You save money that way and your bottle doesn't need to be the same brand as the product in store!)

Do you have any top tips for reducing plastic use? Share them in the comments section!