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.

#TransformationTuesday

Is there anything more inspiring than transformation photos on Instagram? Photos showing a person who was at a low in their life and then one day they decide that enough is enough and so they take control. Then we see a completely new picture, a picture showing what all the hard work and determination has produced. A positive, inspirational and productive person.

I have decided to do the exact same…

…but for litter.

bench litter
Before: January 30th 2018.

If the Instagram hashtag can inspire more people on a daily basis that we can all control our health and fitness by simply showing people the difference we can make then hopefully, that same hashtag will inspire people to take charge and help protect the environment.


We literally walk past litter on a daily basis. For some of us, it is probably becoming a scene that we are all to familiar with so have grown accustom to it. What will it take for people to see the sad consequences of communities contaminated with litter and the problems it poses? Is it seeing a cat with their head trapped in a can? Maybe it could be seeing a Swan swallowing a plastic bottle cap? Well, if it’s none of those then maybe it could be seeing a young child pick up a plastic bag that was once holding a bag of cocaine and swallowing that…

They may seem like potentially unlikely scenarios but today while I was cleaning this particular area, I saw that all of these scenarios were very likely possible…

drug packets near a bench along the blackburn with darwen canal
A bunch of plastic bags commonly used to store drugs such.

On the surface, we see the littered cans and empty crisp packets but when we take just a second and look a little closer, the concern is much worse. To think that so many of these packets were found here along with the cigarette packets and discarded beer cans really is putting a persons life at risk. A cocktail of all these drugs is only an accident waiting to happen, especially next to a canal.

the end result of 1 hour litter picking 2

In the space of an 1 hour, it was great to see what a difference was made. An area now free of rubbish (for now anyway) where animals are less likely to be harmed by others ignorance.


Anyway, here are some more of the photos from the first #TransformationTuesday and I hope this can inspire you to even pick up once piece of litter today, tomorrow or forever to help make this planet just a little bit cleaner.

transformation tuesday bench.jpg

After also nearly falling in the canal (twice!), I also helped out as best I could to clean the bottles so that there were little chance of the animals getting their hands (or beaks rather!) on any materials that shouldn’t really be there.

transformation tuesday canal

Clearly, the after pictures look much better than what was here before. It would be great to see that the area is still kept clean next week but if not, then I will be back again until the area is litter free..

Even if you only pick up one piece a day, you are still making a massive difference so give it a go. Help be a part of the solution.

Michael Peel borderline going in the canal for a plastic bottle
Feeling myself on the verge of going in the canal. Fortunately I didn’t.

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

drop it cigarette pits.jpeg
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

greenpeace plastic bottle petition.png
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.

plastic bottle by the sea.jpg
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.

Don’t be a tosser.

Around 9 billion tons of litter ends up in the ocean every year. When you consider the impact it’s having on the environment, we need to ask, why? how? and who?

Litter is becoming a growing problem due to a number of different factors such as a growing population, technological advancement and a change in consumer patterns along with many other demographically challenging issues such as economic wealth, education and weather patterns. It seems there use to be a time where if something you owned was broken, you would fix it. Now a days it seems there has been a shift in mentality where for some, it’s just as easy to throw the item away and buy a new one.

We haven’t just changed the way we buy clothes or the way we use our phones. A change in the way we consume food has also helped with the litter problem. Since 2014, fast food outlets in England alone have increased by 4,000. Chances are, if you live near a takeaway then you will have witnessed plastic forks, cardboard pizza boxes or plastic bags floating about the streets. This isn’t to say the people shopping there are littering, litter could be happening from the weather sweeping the materials from the bins because they are just overfull with rubbish.

Compared with generations older than myself, I think that our lifestyles have also changed. We are much busier now, we snack more and with that, purchase more products. All of these purchases that we do not necessarily need carry unwanted tags, extra buttons or fancy packaging which really do not do the environment any favours at all. It would be interesting to see if you could remove all those unnecessary additions to have the products at a cheaper price. That would surely benefit both the business and consumer wouldn’t it?

litter lot 1
A lighter; you could have one lighter and keep refilling that but people see it just as easy to buy a new one. Sadly, producing even more unnecessary plastic.

Saying that, how do we know about those new burgers at KFC, upcoming music festival or new takeaway that’s opened down the road? Advertising. We can all relate to the paper menus coming through the letterbox or the flyers we have taken from the person stood in town. Do these advertising methods even work in terms of sales because it seems all the flyers just end up in the next bin. Truth is, it will help much more if you add a ‘NO JUNK MAIL‘ to your door or letter box and say ‘NO’ if you don’t want one (it will save you time and stress from having to keep getting rid of them). Hopefully that way, businesses will get the message that wasting paper just isn’t worth their money too.

Every Sunday, I take just a little bit of time out my day to pick up some litter in my local area. Every little bit counts after all. Today, while walking, I was wondering to myself, “Could this litter just end up as litter again?” The answer is obviously yes, there is no guarantee that even if I recycle the materials properly, they could easily fall out of a lorry or wherever and end up in the ocean which is obviously what I do not want…

My focus today was to collect as many plastic containers as my arms would let me. Instead of disposing of these items properly, I will use the materials and give them a completely new purpose; that way, somebody can enjoy a product which offers value.

Here are a list of 5 common littered materials that I find on my walks and over the next 5 weeks, I will be using the materials and creating something completely different to help us think about litter differently.

Week 1 – Plastic Containers

plastic containers

Week 2 – Bottlecaps

Week 3 – Plastic Bags

Week 4 – Cigarette butts

Week 5 – Aluminium cans.

 

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