Waste.

Seeing litter lying on the streets, in the oceans or any other place you can imagine isn’t a very nice look. Litter pollution is having a negative impact on the economy, our health and sadly, our environment.

For all those reasons as just mentioned above, I enjoy using the waste around me to create or rather, give a new life to materials so that they can be reused with a new purpose and meaning rather than be left sitting in a landfill for thousands of years.

“One mans trash is another mans treasure.” – Famous quote.

 

After seeing some of the materials being thrown away because some people no longer give them value, I see so much truth in the famous quote “One mans trash is another mans treasure.” From old wooden ladders to wine corks, I see now there is value in collecting these materials (for free) and turning them into something completely new!

I have only started upcycling old materials from October. The idea has been with me for the last 18 months while I did a bit of backpacking but as soon as I landed back home in October, I have started gathering any free materials I can to create new pieces of whatever I can think to create. So far, here is a list of the materials people have kindly given to me or I have collected with some pictures showing of the pieces I have created;

  • Alcohol bottles
  • Bottletops
  • Tyres
  • Pallets
  • Old butchers table
  • Music vinyls
  • Bamboo sticks
  • Comic books
  • Cricket bat
  • Chair
  • Chest of drawers
  • Side tables
  • Cardboards

 

 

There is probably more on the list but they are the materials that spring to mind right now. But all of these materials have been put to great use; free cardboard has been used to package some of the products I sell and materials such as broken bamboo stick have been used to create the products that I sell!

5 months in and I can say that so far I have had a lot of fun; this is also an area completely new to me and I am still learning as I go along but the whole purpose of starting RestoreRevolution is to make a reasonable amount of income that will allow me to do something creative while giving me the freedom to raise awareness on a subject which I am concerned about…that subject is the environment.

If you have a interest in nature, the environment or even handmade crafts including furniture that involve creativity then check out the shop and also like the page with all things RestoreRevolution! You can also get ideas for any upcycle ideas you might be thinking about!

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Climate Change.

Whether you know about it or don’t, whatever your beliefs are on climate change; the truth is that the climate is changing which is impacting our limited resources, economy, our health and just about everything else you can think imagine.

What is climate change?

Climate change is a change in weather patterns or when the Earths’ average temperature changes. Peoples outlook on climate change can vary depending on education, religion, wealth, profession, location and other various differentials.

Here is a short video giving a simple outlook on what climate change is to give you a better understanding.

 

Should we care about climate change?

YES. The simple answer is Yes. Climate change has impact on everything around us whether your passion is surfboarding or investing in the stock markets. Shifts in weather patterns have huge impacts on our daily lives and there is no bigger economic disaster than natural disasters. Not only that but when we see frequent droughts, floors or hurricanes, it puts our lives in danger.

 

What the professionals are saying…

97% of Environmental scientists believe that climate change is affected by human behaviour and it is for that reason that 195 nations came together in Paris to sign the Paris agreement which aims to reduce global warming to well below 2 degrees.

Because of that, climate change will be an issue you will hear more of in the newspaper, on radio & TV and probably see some of your favourite celebs tweeting or talking about.

More and more people are becoming aware of the impacts an individual has on the environment thanks to Netflix documentaries such as Cowspiracy, Before the Flood, Dirty money and others along with books from ‘Naomi Klein: This changes everything’ or even just by listening to global superstars such as Leonardo Di Caprio while he dedicated his Oscar speech to climate action.

 

This week, I want to show you many simple ways you can have a go at helping the environment. Having a go at this doesn’t mean you have to do it for the rest of your life. Instead why not just have a go for 1 month (28 days) and see how you feel after. So many people have opinions on matters when most of the time their opinions are formed based on being mis-informed, lack of information or sadly, other peoples experiences. Why not form your own opinion and give ALL of these a go so that the next time the subject comes up in conversation, you can actually say your opinions based on your experience. Who knows, you could actually improve your health, fitness, bank balance, knowledge and overall happiness just by giving these a go for one month.

 

Here is the list of things to give a go and next week I will write how doing these can benefit the environment and give you a better understanding on climate change.

  1. When you want to go somewhere within 2 miles of location. Walk. DO NOT DRIVE.
  2. Eat plant-based foods.
  3. Eat everything! Well, everything that doesn’t contain any animal products in.
  4. Purchase no plastic bags or plastic bottles.
  5. When you go to the supermarkets, take alternate bags and plan in advance by taking old bottles out with you.
  6. Limit your showers to 1 minute.
  7. Public transport anywhere possible
  8. Shop local
  9. Turn off the tap while you brush your teeth.

You may already be doing some of these which is great! Now give the rest a go and see how you feel! It is so easy to come up with the reasons why you can’t or won’t take part in something but instead, open yourself up and say why not? You are not fixing yourself into anything that is going to be lifelong unless you want it to be and like I said at the start, you could see improvements in health, money and productivity in both a personal and professional self.

Benefits of picking up Litter

None of us like the sight of litter. Litter spoils the look of where we live but that’s not the only reason for picking up litter. There are a number of benefits from picking up litter that you may not have considered before so here are some great reasons to get involved.

Safer environment

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Areas with litter are more likely to see crime.

Areas where higher levels of litter are present are shown to attract crimes. An area that is not kept clean will give criminals the idea that they will have an easier time committing crimes in an area that is not well looked after. For that reason, it makes sense to keep your neighbourhood clean.

Litter = more litter

lambrini litter.jpg
Either the same person loves this place as there drinking spot or people feel it’s acceptable to dump there unwanted bottles here. 

 

People feel they can litter if there is other litter around or see other people littering. For example, if you see a group of people smoking and the first person throws their cigarette butt on the floor then chances are the rest will follow suit. The same works the other way too. People will be less likely to litter if they are in an area with little amount of litter or are surrounded by people who make a conscious effort to discard waste properly.

Send a message

We can all send different messages to people who see us picking litter. If an older person sees somebody younger litter picking or vice versa then that can really help inspire others to get involved to make a real difference. One message resonates and that is to take pride in the place you call home.

Protect wildlife

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Help wildlife by making sure the litter isn’t there in the first place. 

I have said it often but every year over 100,000 marine animals are affected by litter pollution. Imagine how much higher that number is when you include animals on land too. Wild animals and domesticated animals are trapped in discarded litter every day around the world so if wildlife is a passion or animals in general then why not get out into nature and collect just one bag of litter! Doing this will help protect the wildlife in your area making sure they are still there in years to come.

Create a community

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At first it can seem quite embarrassing, picking up litter. Once you remove yourself from the situation and stop caring what people think them you will soon see that people actually appreciate what you are doing. Why not inspire people to get involved and see if they would like to join you in making a difference. Doing this can be great because it creates a community where people can become friends allowing people to socialise and develop skills that can benefit in both a personal and professional environment.

Physical Exercise

What bet way to get in to shape than cleaning your local neighbourhood? Not only will it give you more pride in the place that you live or help you get to know your neighbours but because of the walking, lifting and range of movements involved, it also means that spending just 1 hour a week litter is great for your physical health.

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Thumbs up to people trying to make a difference.

Saying all that, imagine if you transformed an area with high crime, low community spirit and high obesity rate to the exact opposite just by picking up a few pieces of litter. It seems unbelievable but give it a go and see just how much you can benefit yourself as well as others around you.

Week 4: Cigarette Butts

The UK fixed penalty fine for a littered cigarette butt is £75. It seems many people are taking their chance when around 200 million cigarettes are discarded daily in the UK alone.

Cigarette litter accounts for one in every five items collected on clean ups across the world ranking it number 1 on the most littered items list. Because of that, we really need to wonder, why is it happening and what can we do to stop cigarette litter completely.

Whether you smoke or not, nobody really enjoys cigarettes. Otherwise, we would probably take the time to put them in the ashtrays of our cars rather than throwing them out the window while driving or maybe we would place them in our pockets until we reach the next bin so that we can dispose of them properly. But why would we want to do that when we know they would ruin our clothes or make our clean cars smell bad? It makes more sense to throw them on the floor and make them somebody else’s problem doesn’t it?

cigarette butt.jpg
group of cigarette butts.

 

Cigarette litter is a huge threat to the environment; not just in terms of wildlife mistaking the butts for food and dying but also because cigarettes which have not been properly put out are the result of thousands of forests fires every year which are putting people, animals, livelihoods and everything in its path in serious danger.

The average cigarette weighs around 1 gram, that means the finished end weighs no more than .2 of a gram; when you consider this fact, it’s hardly surprising to think that billions of cigarette butts are making their way into our oceans, stream and rivers. This isn’t good for our health when you consider those toxins are coming through the taps we turn on. To think you tell your children the dangers of smoking when really they could be drinking the toxins every time we turn the tap on is rather worrying.

tap water.jpg

 

There needs to be a serious change in the way we see cigarette litter. Clearly a £75 fine is not enough as people are still taking the chance daily as they know the probability of being cause is low.

While governments propose tax increase to help cure the cost of cleaning up litter, here are some effective initiatives that have been put in place to reduce cigarette litter which I think are more sustainable;

 

Cigarette pit falls

 

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www.nobutts.co.uk allowing people and companies to place these bins in common smoking areas.

 

Here, one company has started promoting cigarette reduction by creating bins which people and companies can place bins in common littered areas where people passing can throw their cigarettes? Seems ideal! You can still throw your cigarettes on the floor, but you are actually throwing them to be recycled rather than harming the environment, and you don’t even have to go out of your way!

 

 

Rewarding people who collect cigarette litter

 

money.jpg

 

Would you be likely to give up some of your time if you could receive money for picking up littered cigarette ends? Many people across the world do this for free because they have a passion for outdoors and would like future generations to have the chance to see the outdoors like we can but other people would prefer a physical reward for their time.

That’s why Wellington City councillers in New Zealand introduced a scheme where people can collect littered cigarette butts, take them to a place to be weighed where they will cashed in people to do as they wish with their earnings.

From what I have read here, the scheme came about to reduce the amount of beggars in the inner city which seems quite unethical as it is a way of brushing a serious problem under the carpet. Saying that, I still like the concept and believe that corporations as well as other governments allowing this could create similar schemes to encourage a reduction in cigarette litter.

 

 

Cigarette poll bins

cigarette bin poll.jpg
Image showing a bin where smokers can vote their answer by disposing cigarettes properly.

Now this is my personal favourite. One clever company, BallotBin, have creatively made bins which have been designed as polls where people vote by placing their discarded cigarette butts. For me, I think this is a very clever of not only getting people to see the amount of cigarette butts that are discarded but it is also a clever way of stopping people to actually finish their cigarette and dispose of the butt in a fun way; hopefully next time that person who needs to discard their cigarette butt will do so correctly.

 

This week I have not created any particular item from cigarette butts however I have been in contact with my local MP who forwarded my message on to the Director of Environment and Leisure in my local town of Blackburn with Darwen; it is my aim to create bins that will promote cigarette litter by also asking people questions where people vote with their cigarette butts; I will intend to make these bins from littered aluminium cans rather than using new materials. I don’t want to make these though until I have places where I know they will be put to use; the director told me via e-mail that they will discuss my plans with the recycling officer and come back to me shortly so I look forward to that.

animal cigarette.jpg

Anyway, the next time you go to throw your butt on the floor, take 30 seconds to walk to the bin because chances are, there will be one close by.

Week 1 – Plastic containers 

Week 2 – Plastic Bags 

Week 3 – Plastic bottle caps (This coming Sunday I will use littered plastic bottle caps)

Week 4 – Cigarette butts 

Week 5 – Aluminium

 Week 3: Trash to Treasure (Re-using Plastic bottle caps)

Over the next 5 weeks I am re-using the litter I pick to create new items that will give purpose to somebody and hopefully preventing that same plastic from ending up as litter once again.

Last week I used littered plastic bags which you can read about here. The focus this week is on re-using plastic bottle caps. Something small but when you consider its purpose, chances are a littered bottle cap equals a littered plastic bottle as it serves no use anymore. You may probably still say that a plastic bottle is only small and insignificant but when we stop to consider that it takes 400-1000 years for a plastic bottle to decompose then that soon adds up over just a persons’ lifetime!

According to a guardian report in June 2017, A million plastic bottles are purchased around the world every minute. Those millions of barrels of oil being wasted to produce these dangerous plastic bottles every year could be put to better use such as fuelling cars, communities or better yet, being left in the ground so that we are actually helping to reduce sea temperatures from rising and meet targets set out in the Paris Agreement. Rather than using sustainable alternatives, unfortunately production in plastic bottles has increased and is expected to increase even further in the coming years which can only foresee a sad future whether it’s for you, me, an animal on the endangered list or some small town that is prone to droughts or floods.

graph showing predicted rise in use of plastic bottles.jpg

If those Polar bears in the Arctic are to stand any chance of survival, then change must happen while we still have time.

polar bear

Here are two simple but effective steps you can take that will help towards a sustainable future, one where Polar bears are no longer endangered;

Deposit Return Scheme  

Countries all over the world have introduced plastic bottle return schemes and given the success of the scheme, it is now time for the UK to get implement that same scheme so that there is a reduction in the amount of bottles ending up in our oceans, streets and beaches.

Not only will you be helping the environment, but you will also be giving yourself the chance to get cash back for your bottles. Think about all those drinks you had over the Christmas period and the money you could save! For the Polar Bears, take 30 seconds and sign the petition at Greenpeace below to show that you would like a plastic bottle deposit scheme in the UK.

https://secure.greenpeace.org.uk/page/s/bottle-deposit

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Want to save money just by returning waste? Sign the petition here.

 

Make the decision to Say NO.

Saying no to the use of plastic bottles is not only healthier for the environment but it can also be healthier for your body (watch this video to see 10 shocking facts about plastic pollution, number 10 will shock you!) and your wallet! If you take the time to invest in a bottle that will last year’s, then chances are you won’t make those impulse purchases of drinks that you don’t actually want which can only be healthier for your wallet. Check out sustainable bottles here.

Making the change from using plastic bottles to suddenly never using them again can seem like a hard thing to do. An easier start for yourself may be focusing on just one change to a more sustainable bottle. For example, the next time you do your shopping, instead of purchasing the drink you like in the plastic bottle, try and find the same or similar drink but in a more sustainable packaging like cardboard or paper. If you can’t find an alternative, then you really need to ask if that drink is value for money considering what it is doing to the environment.

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Can our favourite drink really taste that good when we stop to think the impact we are having on the environment?

 

They may seem like very simple steps but with more and more people making those small changes and supporting change really does help to create a sustainable future.

 

As I said at the start, this week I have been focusing on using plastic bottle caps that have been littered to create something that promotes for a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. I had a lot of fun trying to make a bunch of different things with the bottle caps and if you have children, grandchildren or even pupils then you could really make some fun projects while also teaching the importance of keeping our environment clean.

 

littered plastic bottle caps transformed into fun garden feature
1) Littered plastic bottle caps attached to a littered bucket I found that is now a fun garden feature.
littered bottle caps upcycled fridge magnets
2) Took less than 5 minutes to create these fridge magnets to keep memos attached to the fridge. 

If you like what I do then take your time to give my page a like to stay up to date with other ways we can reduce litter. Also, if you like my creations then check out my shop to see a whole range of handmade gifts that have been made from littered materials!

 

Week 1 – Plastic containers 

Week 2 – Plastic Bags 

Week 3 – Plastic bottle caps (This coming Sunday I will use littered plastic bottle caps)

Week 4 – Cigarette butts – This will be scheduled for the 21/01/2018. 

Week 5 – Aluminium

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plastic bag or Jellyfish?

Plastic bag or Jellyfish? This is a constant question for Turtles swimming in Oceans across the world due to the amount of plastic bags being littered every year globally.

According to a study led by Queensland University, 52% of Turtles worldwide have consumed plastic or other human rubbish. Of the 7 species of Turtles, 6 of those species have found a place on the endangered list. Wouldn’t it be a shame if future generations couldn’t see those Turtles in open waters, where they belong?

 

Instagram: @j.r.j.w swimming free diving with an Hawksbill Turtle on Christmas Day. Thank you for letting me use this video Jacob.

Plastic bags are just one of the many problems that marine life face in the oceans due to of the amount of time it takes for materials to degrade but also because it can easily be mistaken for food. It’s for that reason that this week I am using littered plastic bags to re-create something that we can re-use rather than throw away.

jellyfish 5 

Take the picture above as an example. A Turtle could easily mistake the plastic bag for a Jellysish. Floating, same size and similar in look, it’s easy to see why plastic bags, balloons and other similar materials are helping to put Turtles on the endangered list.

 

What can we do?

Thankfully, Governments, Businesses and consumers are becoming aware of this problem and action is being taken to reduce the amount of plastic bags we use every single year.

Businesses are beginning to make the transition to no longer offer plastic bags as a way of packaging; instead ethical businesses are pushing for a cleaner and more sustainable environment by offering paper bags, cotton bags and some even using eco-friendly bags which are made from natural starches and vegetable waste. Check out this post to see 6 creative alternatives to plastic bags. (Number 2 is my favourite!)

Governments around the world are becoming aware of the cost involved to clean up litter. In 2015, the UK government implemented a law where any business employing over 250 people are required to charge a minimum of 5p for any single-use plastic carrier bag. The proceeds from the single-use plastic bag sales are not taxed, instead companies are expected to invest the proceeds to worthy causes. This is definitely a start as some of the top retailers such as Tesco reported a drop in the amount of single-use carrier bags being sold. Read all about why there is a plastic bag charge here. 

Businesses and Governments are not making these changes because they believe it is the right thing to do, they are making these changes thanks to a growing concern from consumers who want to see businesses and governments acting ethically for the interest of sustainability as well as environmental organisations like Greenpeace putting pressure on Governments and Businesses to act ethically .

 

Week 2: Trash to Treasure (Re-using littered plastic bags)

Over the next 5 weeks I am re-using the litter I pick to create new items that will give purpose to somebody and hopefully preventing that same plastic from ending up as litter once again.

This weeks material I had to use was littered plastic bags.

To be honest, I found it quite difficult creating something completely different with the plastic bags. At the end of the day, it’s a plastic bag; what am I suppose to create other than a bag!

I started by fusing different layers of plastic bags together with wax paper in between to prevent the plastic melting and emitting fumes. It took a while to do this and to say it’s a first go, I am happy with the results and here are just a few of the results which give you an idea what we all can do with littered plastic bags rather than allowing them to end up in our oceans or on our streets.

 

upcycled plastic bags with small upcycled coin pouches
An idea what we can do with littered plastic; 3 small wallet/purses and a larger bag to protect belonging at the beach or by the pool.
upcycled plastic bag
The larger pouch gives plenty of room to protect belongings.

As you can see, I have created something a little bit different here. For people that enjoy going to the beach, camping or relaxing by the pool on holiday then the larger bags would be perfect as the plastic is strong and would prevent water coming through yet it is also light for practical use and can easily be rolled up for easy storage.

As this is is a first go, I am really pleased with the results and just like with the littered plastic containers I used last week, I will be using these again in the future.

 

Anyway, let me know what you think and please let me know some other practical items I could create which may be of benefit to you so that we can reduce the amount of litter we see on our streets and in our oceans.

 

Week 1 – Plastic containers 

Week 2 – Plastic Bags 

Week 3 – Plastic bottle caps (This coming Sunday I will use littered plastic bottle caps)

plastic bottle caps

 

Week 4 – cigarette butts

Week 5 – Aluminium

 

Please take 2 seconds to like the Facebook page to stay up to date with ways we can reduce litter.

Is there any point?

According to the Litter Strategy published in April 2017, over £750m has been spent cleaning up street litter in the UK in just a single year. To put that number into perspective here are some of the budget plans for 2017;

  • £100m to place more GPs in accident and emergency departments for next winter
  • New funding totalling £20m to support the campaign against violence against women and girls
  • £540m to support the growth of electric cars, including more charging points
  • £40m teacher training fund for underperforming schools in England. Worth £1,000 per teacher

 

 

litter 2

 

Just at a glance, it’s not surprising that 81% of people are angry and frustrated by the amount of litter lying all over the country. When you look at the budget plans for this year, an extra £750m would make a significant difference to services we can all relate to and much rely on such as education, health and green energy.

 

litter 3

 

Reducing litter pollution is something that can benefit the whole country no matter where you are, what you do for a living or the views you may have. Saying that, creating a clean environment shouldn’t be an endless battle, expensive or even stop us doing the things we enjoy.

Instead, it should be fun, save money and make a real difference that inspires every generation including the next so here are three simple solutions that will help for a cleaner environment;

  1. Make the change from single use plastic bags to bags for life.

The average family takes home around 1500 single use plastic bags each year. When you consider those family shops to the supermarket, gifts you buy for your friends and those snacks you buy when you go to the petrol station, it’s not surprising that 1500 soon adds up over the year; when you consider the fact that single use plastic bags are only used for an average of 12 minutes, we need to ask… Is it worth the damage it’s having on the environment?

Fact: The amount of petroleum used to make one plastic bag would reportedly power a car 115 metres. 14 plastic bags = 1 mile.

 

How does a bag for life help you?

  • Using a bag for life could save you over £70 a year and that soon adds up if you are taking home over 1500 single use plastic bags every year.
  • It looks better; Have a look around and pick a bag that represents you. Something that you value and makes you smile. Also, bags for life are not huge meaning you will probably only fit in the necessities rather than impulse spending and that can surely only be a good thing can’t it?

How does a bag for life benefit the environment?

  • 100,000 marine animals alone are killed by plastic bags annually; it seems unnecessary considering we only use them for an average of 12 minutes.
  • Only 1 percent of plastic bags are recycled meaning the rest end up in landfill or in the environment. Plastic bags can never be fully broken down meaning the toxins and microplastics could end up in our drinking water; by making the change, it’s going to produce cleaner drinking water which can only be a good thing.

Where to buy?

After a quick search on google, here are a few sites where you can pick up bags for life with many different designs;

https://ethical.market/women/ethical-bags-purses/ethical-tote-bags.html?dir=asc&order=price – (Range of ethical bags £5.50 being the lowest price)

https://thecleverbaggers.co.uk/cotton-carrier-bags-with-short-handles-6-pack (£5.76 for a set of 6 multi-coloured cotton shopping bags)

2) Get children involved.

If you have children and they are in school, then chances are that they will already be aware of litter pollution from teachers talking about this and getting them involved with helping to keep the playground clean. As adults, it’s probably become part of the daily routine for us to see litter in the street, canals, rivers and every other place it really shouldn’t be. The only way that we can reduce litter is by getting everybody involved and that includes children so the next time you are at a place with your child or children and litter stands out, see what your children think of the issue;

“What do you think of all that rubbish over there?”

“What does all that rubbish over there do?”

“Is that rubbish harming anybody?”

These are just a few questions you could ask to get them thinking but when young people talk about these issues, that’s when we can make a massive difference because it’s then when more people pay attention.

3) Dispose of cigarette ends.

So simple but again, it makes a massive difference. Something so small is having huge impact on the environment right now. Dropping one may seem insignificant but when you combine that with the amount consumed over a year… it equates to over 200 tons of cigarette butts in the UK being littered every year. Don’t worry though… it’s not just the UK guilty of this. In fact, globally, approximately 4.3 trillion cigarette butts are littered every year. Nobody wants to be the reason why a leatherback turtle chokes on one of these so just take an extra 30 seconds to dispose of the butt properly. Plus it avoids any £75 on the spot fines for throwing them on the floor (think how many cigarettes you could smoke with £75!).

Fact: 80% of butts on the ground find their way into our water systems and detract from the quality of our drinking water. 

 

On a brighter note… Christmas is coming! This is another time for you to be creative in the gifts that you buy for loved ones. I am creating handmade drink coasters which have been made partly or entirely from waste materials to promote for a clean, healthy & sustainable environment along with waste cardboard for the packaging of the products. If you haven’t bought somebody a Christmas gift yet, click the link below to find some small gifts and get them in time for Christmas with free postage to anywhere in Europe.

Click here for handmade gifts