The German Stores – I am loving their helpful recycling labeling on most of their own products.

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With My Waste Free Home – making your home as waste free as you want it to be – I have to watch what I purchase seeing as I no longer have a waste company collecting my trash. I usually shop in Tesco as it is the closest store to me and sells all my favourite brands such as Ecover & Glenesk, and their fish counter is pretty good. Well, this has all changed as when I am now shopping I look at the Recycling Labels on EVERYTHING I put in my basket. I need to know this information to be one step ahead and know where I will be putting the end of life packaging. Well Tesco are crap at giving me the information I need to be able to dispose of packaging correctly – their own products have little or no information and to be honest majority of big brands just don’t include this information either!

With My Waste Free Home – if you choose to reduce your waste bills by up to 90% and share a communal waste bin with your neighbours and recycle and compost the majority of your waste. The web site will give you all the information you will need and even a list of products – what they are made from and how to recycle them. I will also be giving information emails that you can copy and paste and will help put pressure on retailers and companies to 1. Label Correctly to ensure packaging is recycled where it can be and 2. If the packaging is just too over the top you can let the company know you feel this way and 3. Why they are not using packaging that CAN BE recycled????

I know it will shake up a lot of things in Ireland and hopefully pave the way for a more logical waste solution that gives people a greater choice. I am finding I have changed my shopping habits greatly buying more fruit and veg locally to reduce the dreaded non recyclable packaging. Shifted totally away from Tesco as I read all about their clubcard and didn’t like what I read…You can read my findings here. I just pop in for the few bits that I need there and pop quickly back out again. I am loving my local Lidl as their products have clear recycling labels and this gives me the understanding that yes as a whole, their company is much more involved in sustainability – their stores are smaller – they have a more European feel to them and I like that.

My Waste Free Home is still being implemented in my home and I am getting the whole concept together with the relevant bodies behind it – then the big launch will happen – in the mean time if you want any information be sure and email me claire@clairelewis.ie 🙂

GreenMe.ie – Find them at Electric Picnic!

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GreenMe.ie is proud to be part of the Global Green area of this year’s edition of the Electric Picnic festival (Friday 30 August – Sunday 1 September, Stradbally Estate, Co. Laois, Ireland) marking the 5th time that this website makes it to one of the greenest
and most eco-friendly music festivals in the world.

GreenMe.ie is the leading Irish green consumer website and social campaign promoting greener and more sustainable ways of living in a simple and realistic manner and offering independent info on green products and services. The website is not just for the
green “purists” but for everyone who wants to be greener. Through the website and social media forums GreenMe strives to help to make informed decisions about ecofriendly lifestyles. It’s your trusted source of information, from green news and tips to environmental blogs, product information and advice for a greener lifestyle.

At this years festival GreenMe will be returning with the hugely popular welly up-cycling station using

old materials/clothes/bits’n’bobs to fashion new-style funky wellies sure to be the envy of fellow festival revelers. Last year thousands of up-cycled wellies could be seen glittering and boppin’ to the wee hours and it was delightful that this creative recycling idea captured the imagination of so many young people who happily embraced the notion of upcycling. Should the weather turn out to be sunny (fingers crossed), fear-not, GrrenMe will help you upcycle your sunhats, your sandals or whatever you wish. Pictures of last years creativity can be seen on our facebook page.

Additionally, this year there will be an information stand with simple tips/ideas/recipesetc. to live a greener lifestyle. Some of the crew is deeply involved in high-level recycling and biomass activities should any of the more serious greenies wish to visit and have a chat.GreenMe will also have some face painters on hand using face paint made in-house with common kitchen ingredients which children (or adults) can make if they wish. (This recipe for the face paints will be available at the information stand also)
A multi-media information and broadcast point will also be running in the tent and theGreenme.ie roving reporter will be touring the Global Green area interviewing all of the other Global Green community sites which will be streamed in the tent after on-site
editing via our multi-media broadcast point. In this way, GreenMe.ie hopes to provide useful information and directions about all of the activities ongoing in our Global green community as the weekend progresses.

Greenme.ie counts with almost 4,000 followers on twitter and over 1,600 on their facebook page. The communications manager will be busy broadcasting the goings-on around Global Green via social networking to the techno-savvy assistants, promoting
upcoming activities throughout the weekend, sharing fun pictures with participants etc.. In-keeping with the Global Green community spirit, GreenMe will be hosting an open mike evening on Saturday where poets, singers and musicians alike are welcome to join in or simply sit and enjoy.

Finally, keep an eye out for some members dressed up in funky retro-traditional stempunk gear. A reminder how we can invent out future by drawing from the past!

The Big Upcycle Event – 23rd & 24th of August…

The Big Upcycle Market

Lynn Haughton founder of The Upcycle Movement is so passionate about Upcycling and the Environment it was natural that we got on like a house on fire when we met last year. It is great to see Lynn getting so proactive about her passion with the upcoming launch of The Big Upcycle Market. Ireland needed an expo for all the creative and amazingly professional and functional items that are being made. Upcycling can be something that everyone can enjoy and you don’t have to be a certain type to appreciate the excellent craft that is Upcycling. I even have a love for Upcycling myself and have completed quite a few projects – check them out here.

I am sure this Market will be a massive success and it is a shame that I will be in Cork to welcome the arrival of my sister Sue’s second baby tomorrow 🙂 But I will be here for the next one and hope to have a stall there too!!

Best of Luck Lynn and of course Gwen xx

For anyone interested in The Big Launch Night that is Friday from 5pm – 7pm.

Location: The Stillorgan Park Hotel, N11 Dublin

Date: Saturday 23rd & Sunday 24th of August

Time: 11am – 6pm on both days.

My Waste Free Home is here!

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Yes, it is finally here and I am finally set up to manage my own house-hold waste myself, on site and actually saving money in the process! Getting the house waste free organised and ready was tough and I still have lots to do, but as I said at the beginning this is a lifestyle and my whole house will need to row in behind me. Now I do have a very small tin trash can with a biodegradable (Earth Rated Dog Poop) bag – as the liner, just incase my family or visitors bring me some items that I have not planned for or cannot recycle!

TrashedTo celebrate the start of this exciting venture for me and hopefully others will follow – saving tones of waste from landfill, I have a copy of  ‘TRASHED’  the amazing film starring Jeremy Irons, to give away to one lucky winner.

All you have to do to be in with a chance to win is:

Go to My Waste Free Home’s Facebook page and LIKE it.

If you don’t care for Facebook then please leave me a message or email me at claire@clairelewis.ie.

Be sure and keep checking my blog to find out all about my trials and tribulations, how much I am saving, the benefits of taking on a challenge like this to all of your family – bringing OUR waste problem HOME where we can show our children and others that we CAN do something positive to make a difference.

 

Industries and Companies need to lead by example!

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SNAPS plastic wrapper buried since 1996 and not a scratch on it. 17 YEARS of being buried in my front yard. Highlighting the fact that industry needs to take account of the product and wrapper IT produces and IT sends to landfill because people cannot recycle them?! Taking care of the earth is a joint effort and people in power need to lead by example…

It really infuriates me when Industries have the upper hand, spending millions on marketing and shelf placement, making the shopping experience like going to a brain wash warehouse! Because of all of this our kids annoy us to high heaven to purchase these brands, we do so because we don’t want to feel like – bad parents! Even though my gut is always right about the food I give my child. My gut – speaking metaphorically, but also quite literally – can cut through the marketing BS.

But, what I cannot handle is when, the packaging our food and other items are packed in is NOT RECYCLABLE. How is this possible?

I always wanted to do a scientific experiment, to show how PLASTIC does not break down. It will always be on the planet. It might break up into tiny pieces but it will never be GONE. This weekend, my husband and I did some major gardening. In the front garden hedge, we found a range of rubbish, including about 20 glass vodka bottles! But, the interesting thing for me was the buried plastic wrappers. I have highlighted the word buried because, these are the same conditions the wrapper would have been exposed to in a landfill situation. And after 17 years it still looks brand spanking new – minus the dirt and bugs of course!

The thing that people forget is nature deals with building up and breaking down. It is cyclical. There is nothing a. natural about this plastic packaging and b. it can NEVER be broken down. Industries will fob you off stating things like:

Q. Are Huggies Baby Wipes biodegradable?

A. All Huggies Baby Wipes will begin to breakdown over a long period of time.

This is NOT TRUE because they answer their own question here:

Q. What are Huggies Baby Wipes made from?

A. A stretchy non-woven fabric called Coform. Coform is made from a combination of microscopic and continuous plastic fibres and wood pulp (cellulose) fibres that provide gentle care to baby’s skin.

Yes they begin to break down as they contain wood pulp but the key thing that Huggies cleverly evade is that the baby wipe will NEVER break down because it contains, and I quote “microscopic and continuous plastic fibers”.

I constantly see baby wipes left on beaches, forests and area’s where kids get mucky. But, people do not realize baby wipes are essentially plastic and they will get into the ecosystems, ingested by animals and will NEVER break down.

So, until industries start to take notice that their product ends up in landfill or back into the ecosystem BECAUSE of their decisions. Yes, as the consumer we do not need to purchase the product, but it would be a whole lot easier if we could purchase products safe in the knowledge that the packaging and product was recyclable and kind to the planet.

I would like to make a call to world industries and companies to produce products that are easy to recycle and show that you actually care about the human race – because at the moment industries are mass producing products that will end up “wiping” us all out – pardon the pun, but it just had to be done!

Ireland – have you discovered TerraCycle yet?

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TerraCycle launched in Ireland in 2011, but I still am amazed that the Irish public has not yet grasped the concept, or even tried to turn their trash into cash? So, I feel it is my duty to create an awareness around this really great company that is leading the way in ‘eliminating the idea of waste’

TerraCycle was set up by CEO Tom Szaky – an idol of mine and an absolute genius. Tom originally made his name when studying at Princeton – he fed the dorm food waste to worms creating liquid and solid fertilizers and packaged the products using recycled plastic bottles collected on campus. TerraCycle in the USA, have gone on to develop recycling programmes for cigarette butts and, wait for it, dirty nappies/diapers!!

The process is simple, worldwide there are a huge number of products that can be recycled ranging from mobile phones, diapers, crisp wrappers, biscuit wrappers and baby wipe packets. In Ireland, there are only a select few recycling programmes (that are called brigades)  part because the uptake has been so low I guess? For each item returned you get 1cent that is credited to your account. You can spend the money on upcycled items that TerraCycle makes from the trash or you can donate the money to charity – and by the way a school is deemed a charity so it is a perfect way for schools to make extra money and also promote entrepreneurship amongst eager students wanting to make money.

The brands in Ireland are:

  1. McVities biscuit wrappers brigade (but any brand of biscuit wrapper can be sent back)
  2. Ella’s Kitchen pouches brigade (but any brand using the same container can be sent back)
  3. Johnson’s & Johnson’s Baby wipe pouches brigade (but again any type of pouch can be sent back)
  4. Old mobile phones (cash for each unit varies from 50cents to €2)

All you have to do is collect a bunch of wrappers, or get all of your friends and neighbours to help out, print off an An-Post postage label and send them off.

TerraCycle are one of the global brands that got behind my Less Is More Challenge for Earth Day and hope to get them into every school in Ireland for The Less is More Schools Challenge for Earth Day 2014. If you are a teacher or student in a school and would like to know more about The Less Is More Schools Challenge please email me at claire@clairelewis.ie.

I will also be setting up an account with TerraCycle to help with My Waste Free Home and have already started to collect biscuit wrappers, it just so helps that McVities Digestives are a favourite in our house – smothered in Nutella chocolate spread, I might add!!

So, come on Ireland lets show the world that we may be a small nation but we can recycle like no other – and it helps to get something back from it too!