Recycled Plastic Bottle Bags

With the increasing number of headlines about the environmental issues caused by single-use plastics, it is hard not to think about your own plastic usage.  Back in January, I wrote about the plastic problem and suggested some ideas that could help us all reduce the amount of plastic in our lives.  Since then, I have invested in several reusable everyday items, some of which I thought I would share with you.

I really enjoy browsing the Rex London (formerly dotcomgiftshop) website for quirky gifts and homeware, and am always impressed with their offers / sales.  They sell lots of reusable items such as bottles, coffee cups, snack pots / boxes and paper straws, but in my most recent haul, I purchased several bags!

Firstly, lunch bags!  I take lunch to work everyday and although I mainly use a bento box (also from Rex London) I occasionally need something a bit bigger or an extra layer in case something leaks, so these are ideal.  They have foil insulation, carry handles, a zip fastening and are wipe-clean, but what makes these extra special is that they are made from recycled plastic bottles, so not only do they reduce the use of plastic bags, they have already reduced the amount of plastic that could have ended up in landfill or the ocean by being made of it.  And at £1.95 in the sale (£3.95 usually) I just couldn’t resist!  I have been using the geometric print one for a few months now and am rather impressed – measuring 21 cm x 16 cm x 12 cm it holds plenty of food (including my bento box) and can even fit in my small rucksack which is very handy indeed.  I also used it over summer for small picnics and the foil insulation kept my food nice and fresh.

Next is a Blue Tit print picnic bag.  Again, made from recycled plastic bottles this is a fantastic and very strong bag, perfect for larger picnics!  I was extremely pleased with this when I received it.  At 31 cm x 30 cm x 22 cm it is a great size and could definitely be used for a family of four.  Like the lunch bags, the nylon straps make it easy and comfortable to carry, foil insulation keeps food fresh and recycled plastic outer has helped the environment.  This was a super bargain price of £2.95 in the sale (£6.95 usually).

The final recycled plastic bottle bag I bought is a large Garden Birds design shopping bag.  We get our food shopping delivered (without carrier bags) so it helps to have a large bag to transport the goods through to the kitchen.  When I saw this one at only £1.95 in the sale (£3.95 usually) I was very happy as it is one of my favourite designs by Rex London.  I have used this for shopping every week for a few months, often with quite heavy items in and it is still going strong!  It’s also great as it folds down flat so can be stored away when not in use.  Due to the material and generous size of 60 cm x 37 cm x 20 cm, it would also perfect for a day at the beach!

Have you bought any cool, recycled products recently that you would recommend?  If so, I would love to hear about them.

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My Big Garden Birdwatch Results

So the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch is complete!  I hope you all had a wonderful time identifying and counting the birds and wildlife in your gardens or local parks.

This year I completed the survey at my in-laws house who live further out of the city.  Last year, at my childhood home, the birds played a trick on me and decided not to land, meaning I only counted a handful of birds.  I therefore wanted to see whether the location difference would affect my results.  As you may know from my post about the Robin, my own back yard is pretty small and bird-less.  I have a bird feeder and occasionally put out dried meal-worms, but do not want to encourage many birds as both of my neighbours have cats.  Luckily though, my Birdwatch location had several well-used feeders out ready, so it was as simple as pulling up a chair to the window, getting comfy with a cup of tea and waiting for the birds to arrive.  The hour ‘flew’ by and I managed to record twelve birds in total (from the garden and surrounding trees): 1 great tit, 1 robin, 1 blue tit, 4 woodpigeons, 2 house sparrows, 1 female blackbird, 1 collared dove and 1 carrion crow.  Throughout the rest of the day, many more birds landed in the garden including a wren, and the female blackbird returned on several occasions (she is a regular apparently).  A plump squirrel also made an appearance and stayed long enough for me to take a few photographs!

 

© The lovely robin and squirrel who visited the garden during this year’s Birdwatch.

4, 383, 224 birds have been counted and submitted to the RSPB so far and I am really interested to see the final results from mid-February.  The results will help the RSPB find out what wildlife is thriving and what is in trouble, ultimately leading to “action to put things right”.  The survey started back in 1979 as a small children’s activity, but now has over half a million people taking part each year!  With the 38th year of data now being collated by the RSPB, the insight into UK wildlife is more accurate than ever… and it has already provided some fascinating information, for example between 2006 and 2016, the UK song thrush population decreased by a staggering 98% whereas the UK goldfinch population increased by an impressive 89%.  As of 2014, respondents have also been asked about other wildlife as well a birds in their gardens, so a greater picture is beginning to be painted UK-wide!

Did you take part this year?  If so, what birds and other wildlife did you record?