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Month: September 2017

War on Straws

Earlier this year, for the month of May, my hubby and I  (Tamara) tracked and tried to reduce our non-recyclable waste  I did my best to avoid single-use plastic and to be more mindful of this when I shopped and ate out.

Plastic cutlery and straws have always been a sore spot in our house because I will always bring them home with me and reuse them till they fall apart or my hubby chucks them. My hoarding tendencies drive him mad and soon there was more plastic cutlery in our house than real cutlery!

Straws are such a small thing – but they can’t be recycled easily and straws find their way into our seas and oceans, causing havoc to the sea life. Many moons ago, I bought a metal straw from a Green Fair at Victoria Park for the grand total of £1! I love it and it has pride of place in my kitchen and it even came with a teeny little brush cleaner thingy to stop it going manky. So, refusing straws for one month would be easy…right? Uh…not quite!

 

 

First, most of the time it didn’t even occur to me that I would be given a straw with my drink. So I would be surprised when I received one and then would sheepishly use it anyway. Then, I would remember about the straw after I ordered a drink. And finally, towards the end, I would remember while ordering to state ‘No Straw thanks’ and then would be enraged when 75% of the time, my drink would arrive with a straw in it anyway!

 

Once, I was out for lunch with a friend at Koh Thai Tapas on Elm Grove and was super chuffed with myself for remembering to say no straw at the point of ordering. My delicious ice-filled cocktail arrived without a straw. Yess! I am saving the world one straw at a time! I looked at my drink. It was a very tall glass. My friend looked at it. She took her straw out of her drink and gave it to me. I shook my head defiantly. Never! I shall not yield! I will not be defeated in my mission. I tried to sip my cocktail. My nose bumped into the ice. I sighed and took her straw! I then took her straw home with me and added it to the ‘Bag of Shame’ – what we called the bag that contained all of May’s non-recyclable waste (apart from food waste…cause, Ewww!).

 

 

Though I lost that small battle, my straw vendetta continues. While I love my metal straw, I find it bangs and clanks in my glass at night whenever I sip my water. I was determined to solve this niche first world problem. I turned to my mate Google and bought myself some bamboo straws. Four for £5. Not as cheap as my original metal straw but not too expensive. My friend christened them with a number of gin and tonics – she said they made her feel like she was on holiday! I used one the next day with water and I hated the texture of the bamboo straw in my mouth and it made my water taste weird. Sigh! Maybe I will have to only drink gin and then I’ll be fine with them! So my war on straws continues…

Why Pride is still Vital in 2017?

Welcome guys, gals, and nonbinary pals to a special edition of Shades of Green focusing on the LGBTIQA+ community, written by your friendly neighbourhood queer (Emma).

If you live in or around the Portsmouth area, you may be aware that Pride is happening tomorrow and the Portsmouth Green Party will be marching in the parade (for photos, check out our Instagram), so what better opportunity to explore why Pride is still important for the  LGBTIQA+ community and explore the Green Party policy on LGBTIQA+ rights?

What’s the point in Pride?

Pride gathers our community and our allies together in a show of solidarity, whether we’re fighting to change the law or the hearts and minds of the people. It can give closeted people the confidence to come out sooner or straight people the push to support our rights.

Pride is about standing up for your rights, the rights of your friends and family and the rights of the LGBTIQA+ community as a whole, because human rights are non-negotiable, no matter where in the world you live.

Some people, even those within the community, question the relevance of Pride in 2017 in the UK because being LGBTIQA+ is legal and acceptable now, isn’t it?

Well, I hate to burst your bubble but  LGBTIQA+ people do not enjoy full equality in the UK or anywhere in the world, according to Equaldex.

Photo by Christian Sterk on Unsplash

As of September 2017 in the UK:

  • Equal Marriage is still only partially implemented and is banned in Northern Ireland, Jersey, and seven overseas territories.
  • It is illegal to conduct a civil partnership in any place of worship.
  • Conversion Therapy, where a charlatan attempts to make an LGBTIQA+ person straight, is not yet banned.
  • Men who have sex with men are still effectively banned from donating blood because no one is abstaining from sex for a year in order to donate blood.
  • Married trans people require the written permission of their spouse to continue a marriage before applying for a gender recognition certificate.
  • There is no legal recognition for non-binary people.
  • There is no legal recognition for trans people under the age of 18.
  • There is no provision for the alteration of birth certificates for intersex people.
  • There are few protections for trans people to access services and gendered spaces (such as toilets, sporting facilities or hospitals) that match their affirmed gender.
  • A trans person’s birth certificate does not have the same legal standing as a cis person’s.

Even if, legally, we enjoyed the same rights as heterosexual and cisgender people, there is still the matter of implementation of such laws and discrimination.

  • 18% of UK people surveyed by Pew Research Center in 2013 said that society should not accept homosexuality.
  • Trans people are often forced to conform to stereotypical gender roles before being able to transition.
  • Trans athletes are often outed, subjected to humiliating treatment, or forced to endure medical exams in order to compete.

So what would the Green Party do?

The Green Party recognises that discrimination against LGBTIQA+ people is as bad as racism and sexism and must be challenged. We are determined to offer that challenge by strengthening anti-discrimination legislation to include LGBTIQA+ people and refusing any legal opt-out from discrimination laws, offering a better education about LGBTIQA+ issues, and providing more help to the LGBTIQA+community.

The Green Party know that LGBTIQA+ rights are human rights and they will support these rights. If you would like to know more about Green Party policy, visit their policy page.

3 Common Green Goofs and How to Fix Them

This series of blogs is entitled, “It’s easy being green” but sometimes it’s just as easy to mess up. Everyone makes mistakes and we can either beat ourselves up over it or we can work to reduce the problem.

In this blog, I (Emma) will explain how we can turn these trip-ups into triumphs.

1. Accidently Taking a Plastic Bag

While I’m sure that everyone reading keeps a stockpile of reusable bags in their car and has at least one in their purse/backpack, there are always times when we trip up.

Sometimes you’ll already be on your way to a barbeque or a dinner party when the host texts and ask you to pick something up at the last minute and you don’t have a canvas bag or you’ve been to Subway and you were so caught up choosing which cookie to have that you forgot to say “I don’t need a bag, thanks”.

So what can you do?
· Reuse the bag but if you’re already overflowing with reusable bags you probably don’t want to
· Donate it to a friend that doesn’t have an outstanding reusable bag collection
· Donate it to your local charity shop, as smaller causes don’t have the money to create their own
· You can also recycle used and broken carrier bags at most supermarkets

2. You bought bottled water

 

I know, I know.

You were in a rush when you left the house and your reusable bottle is still on the table. If you go back, you’ll be late for work but you can’t go without water until you get back. You’ll just have to stop into a shop on the way and grab a bottle.

Now you could reuse it but you already have a metal bottle and you’ve been scared by some of the unsubstantiated cancer claims on the internet. Regardless, you don’t want to just recycle it. What can you do?

DIY Water Filter

A Stiff Broom

Scooper

3. You ordered take-out and you’re worried about how to recycle the containers

 

I am as lazy as you and I love take-out; all kinds. But the packaging, oh no.

I’m eternally grateful that Portsmouth City Council will take chip-shop paper and pizza boxes as long as you don’t leave any food remnants on the packing (I have never left remnants of take-out in my entire life).

If you are a little worried about melted cheese on your paper and cardboard, then you can compost the -tear it up first or it will take ages to degrade; you can even soak it in a little water to speed up the process.

 

No compost bin? Not even at your local dump? You could offer it to local gardeners on Facebook. It helps to keep weeds down.

If all else fails, tear the top of the box off; it’s usually less greasy and can still be recycled. It at least cuts down on the waste.

If you have plastic boxes from your Chinese take-out, then they unfortunately cannot be recycled at the kerbside. Once you’ve washed them out, you can reuse them as lunchboxes and craft storage or if you order Chinese food as much as I do, you can recycle them at your local Sainsburys.

I hope that this has solved some of your common sustainability slip ups Have you got any other eco mistakes that you’d like help solving? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll try to answer your problems in a future blog.

This post was inspired by a post on my personal blog.

 

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