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 McDONALDS HAPPY MEAL PLASTIC TOY.

 

During a recent beach clean / sea glass hunt, my husband (aka Señor Cseaglass) came along with me (cheers hubs!) and picked up a McDonalds happy meal plastic toy.  It was in quite  good condition despite being in the sea for goodness knows how long. When we got home & googled the character -  we were shocked to find out how old it was.

 

Who else remembers The Tweenies? Well, he found "Fizz",  who, according to the bottom of her shoes, was manufactured in China in  2003!

 

That's 16 years and still looking like new. She will probably be around for another 516 years as plastic doesn't decompose and when it eventually does, it would be into teeny tweenie  (get it?!)  micro-plastics. These are extremely detrimental to all of us, especially in the food chain - plankton will eat it, then small fish, then big fish, then humans if we eat the fish! This is what happens to plastic when we throw it away, - it just doesn't go "away".  These plastic toys aren't recyclable either.

 

In 2003, the BBC stopped  McDonalds from using their Tweenies characters as they had been criticised for promoting unhealthy junk food - (high in fat, salt and sugar)  - to small children.

I wonder how many of these "Happy" meal toys (which also came sealed in clear non recyclable plastic bags too!) McDonalds have distributed globally over the years? And how many have been tossed into the trash globally over the years? I can imagine the numbers would be mind boggling. Millions probably - all still out there somewhere!

Have you ever found any washed up on a shoreline around the world? If you do beach cleans, what's the oldest item you've picked up?  I'd love to know......

WHY?

Recently I have been doing a bit of "eco-bricking" with all the bits of plastic I can't currently recycle. I thought I'd share my experience with you in case you were wondering just what to do with all the non recyclable plastics in your household too. This simple activity is fun to do and keeps plastic out of landfill and the ocean.

I try to avoid purchasing items wrapped in plastic in the first place, but it's not easy and often unavoidable. So what to do with all that  unrecyclable  plastic?

HOW?

You'll need a 1litre empty plastic bottle , washed and dried with the label removed. You'll also need  long stick or wooden spoon to squish the plastic down into the bottle.

The plastic must be clean and dry. e.g. a frozen bag of blueberries or peas etc, just wash it out and dry before it goes in your brick.

I've found it much easier to cut the plastic up into manageable pieces (if it's too big to fit in) and have a mix of "bendy/stretchy" bits such as toilet roll bags, or supermarket bags and "hard" plastic such as old yoghurt pots, butter tubs and the like.

We have a glass vase under the kitchen sink which we fill up with these plastics - when previously it would get put into the regular bin. As a result, our normal bin sometimes doesn't need to go out for over a month! Great news!

Here's about 2 month's worth of collected plastics -

Plastic collection point

 

ready to go!

 

 

 

 

 

 

After cutting up , get stuffing! Use the stick (I had a bamboo garden cane) to really push the plastics into the bottle, it needs to be solid and firm.Pack it in tightly!  I find it quite satisfying and it only took about 30 minutes to (nearly) fill this empty tonic water bottle.

Still room for more!

Yes, all that mountain of plastic fitted in here, and there's still a bit of room for more. The 1 litre size  "brick" should weigh between 350-370 grams.

 

 

 

Still room left in here...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOW WHAT?

I've made several of these over the past year, I haven't decided what to do with them all  yet. There are several options-

Use them to build some raised beds in your garden. Use them to make a little stool or table, covering with fabric to hide the bottles. Visit You Tube for more ideas.

If you don't want to use them yourself, you can get them verified on line (to ensure they're the correct weight) and drop them off at local collection points. You can find more information on this on Facebook pages or Google.

So- are you going to have a go and do your bit for the environment? You could even fill a bottle during an episode of your favourite soap one evening, so you won't be using up precious time! If you have children, perhaps their schools would like to get involved?

Let me know how you get on in the comments below.

This is a question I asked myself when I first found a piece. I spotted one, like a green juicy jelly bean, glistening amongst the pebbles on a Scottish beach.

It may have started off as a discarded beer or  soft drinks bottle and ended up in the sea after being washed downstream from rivers. Or tossed overboard by inconsiderate humans from ships and boats. Sea glass can also be from old car windscreens, headlamps, jam jars, windows etc.

It then gets broken up- both physically against rocks and chemically by the salty water. It will become smooth and acquire that characteristic "frosty" look after many decades being tumbled in the sea before it gets washed ashore , usually after a heavy storm. Rough, rocky shorelines will transform the glass better than a sandy one. This long term weathering, oxidation and exposure to UV light interact with the chemicals in the glass and affect the eventual colour.

Colour Rarities.

Clear / Milky -most commonly found -2 in 3 pieces. (milk bottles, jam jars) .....I've found lots in this colour.

Brown - 1 in 2.....  (usually from beer medicine bottles, jars) Lots of this too!

Green - 1 in 5 ( beer bottles)..... Found in abundance in the UK, what does this say about us?!

Sea foam and Soft blue - 1 in 50 (soft drinks, remember the old "Coca Cola" bottles?) One of my favourites to find.

Amber - 1 in 25 .... Found the teensiest pieces.....

Pink - 1 in 1000.... In my dreams!

Purple & Cobalt - 1 in 250 Could be from old ink bottles.....found a few bits but not many.

Orange -1 in 10k (sometimes from warning lights & some tableware in the Art Deco times)....Not found any yet!

Red- 1 in 5k.....should stand out in the beach crowd, but I've yet to see any.

Yellow 1 - 3k...... I've actually found a small haul of this, or could be classed as amber colour  - In North Wales.

Sea glass is becoming harder to find, due to manufacturers producing plastic rather than glass (this happened in the 1960's) , also us (responsible) humans do recycle our glass now. (yay!)

I just love the thrill of finding it and wondering where it originated from and what it originally was.Recycling and repurposing it into something nice to wear like a necklace or earrings is a very enjoyable process for me, keeps me quiet for many hours!

Fun fact : This amazing beach in Fort Bragg, California is made entirely of sea glass!

However, it's unlawful to take any sea glass off this beach now. I'd still love to see it though!

Have you found any sea glass on your trips to the beach? If so, what were your favourite colours to find?  I'd love to hear in the comments below!

Happy glassing everyone,

Caroline. x

Great to see the plastics issue making the headlines today!

Seems I am not alone in my quest to see a plastic free planet after all. Apparently 162,000 of us responded to this issue. Whilst it won't happen overnight it looks like the cogs are finally turning with the powers that be. Here in the UK it's being debated whether or not to tax manufacturers of non-recyclable plastic items such as single use cutlery, crisp packets, cling film and drinking straws.  The consumer would end up paying more for these products but why would you when there are so many alternatives out there  these days? It's being debated now in parliament and could potentially be rolled out in November's budget.

What are you thoughts?

Plastic Tax coming?

 

2

Welcome to my blog, "Peeping through the Porthole" this May 2018.

I thought I'd share with you my reasons for donating 5% of my profits to an ocean clean up organisation.

It occurred to me whilst out beach combing that I was, in effect, cleaning up the beach of discarded rubbish (old bottles & jars which were thrown into the sea years ago). It's reached unprecedented unacceptable levels. Check this out in beautiful Bali!

We can't avoid the hot topic at the moment, plastic pollution. It's  presently being debated in Parliament too (hooray!) That's how serious it has become.

Nearly all of us were  glued to our TV's enthralled by "Blue Planet", Sir David Attenborough's wonderful series about life under the deep blue sea. (He  just turned 92 last week, happy birthday Sir David!) He has such an infectious passion for our planet and had a sobering message for us all - if mankind continues to use & discard plastic at the rate we do, many species of mysterious & beautiful sea creatures will suffer, or worse, become extinct.

That would be a catastrophe & quite frankly, unacceptable.

Who saw these sad images recently  of the whale, washed ashore with 29 kilos of plastic in its stomach?

And the plight of the turtle with a plastic straw up its nostril? Heartbreaking. (thankfully rescued & saved)

There are lots of alternatives we can all use to limit our usage of plastic, for example  refuse that straw with your G & T or white wine spritzer.  A dear friend recently gifted me a glass straw (complete with it's own dinky brush cleaner) . Great idea!  (and so much classier than nasty plastic!)

Remember to take our own drinking vessel to get filled with coffee or water instead of single use plastic, & take our own reusable shopping bags to the store. Small actions now result in a larger impact on our planet and oceans later. The whales and turtles will thank us for it!

I'm sure, like me, you would like to see cleaner coastlines for many years to come and to know that beneath the waves,  our aquatic friends can go about their business unhindered by all our plastic waste.

So, as I was taking something from the beach, I thought it only right to give something back in return. Every time you purchase one of my sea glass creations for yourself or a gift, I will donate 5% of the profits to www.lessplastic.co.uk so they can continue with their work.

I hope you enjoyed reading my blog, I'd love to hear any great suggestions on how we can all limit our plastic use. Please leave any comments below.

3

My interest in sea glass began during a recent visit to Pittenweem harbour in the east neuk of Fife,  Scotland. We arrived during the  "beast from the east" storm,  throwing the waves about 30feet over the harbour wall.

Anstruther harbour March 2018

However a few days later, when all was calm, I walked along the shoreline and  little shiny nuggets of glass (which had been washed up by the storm) were catching my eye. I started to collect them in my pockets, thinking I could do something with them at a later date. I noticed that if I dug a little deeper down the sand, the glass nuggets were much smoother, rounder and tinier. (or more 'wee' as they say in Scotland!) Ideal for making into little stud earrings, like these little beauties!

"Wee" sea glass nuggets I turned into earrings.

I have always enjoyed bringing new life into old, discarded items (I loved repainting unloved furniture, my home is full of it) so these little glass gems started some new creative juices flowing!

So when I returned home, I began to experiment making earrings, pendants and sun catchers, incorporating a few pieces of lovely weathered driftwood and rope to continue the nautical theme. What do you think?

Actually a gorgeous blue sea pebble with a little gem of bright blue sea glass.
Sun catcher using driftwood and various coloured sea glass on nylon thread.