Becca Jane St Clair

Personal Blog

Archive for the 'Environmental' Category

No Plastic Bags in Wales!

If you’re going on holiday to Wales, don’t forget to pack some reusable bags for your shopping, including souvenir shopping! If you want a plastic bag, you will have to pay 5p for each bag. Everywhere. From Tesco to the corner shop, farmer’s market stands to tourism sites. There is no escaping the plastic bag “ban”, though there are some exceptions. Using very small plastic bags with no handles or small paper bags is still free.

There are also certain items that you can put in a plastic bag and not be charged, such as fruits and vegetables….however, those have to be the only items in that bag when you walk away from the till. From their informative website:

“You could have loose apples, potatoes and pears in one bag and not have to charge. If you then placed a box of tea bags in there too, you would need to apply the charge.

This is to prevent a loop hole in the law. A person can not put an apple in one bag with lots of other shopping, a potato in another bag with lots of other shopping, a lettuce in another etc. and get all their single use carrier bags for free.”

Which is quite clever, because I could see someone attempting to do that!

The plastic ban also brings up a different kind of disposeable bag…what about fast food? Here’s what the website has to say:

“If you went to a fast food restaurant and purchased a packet of fries and a burger then the fries can be placed in a free bag as they are only part wrapped and you would not be expected to place these in a reusable bag as there could be some food safety risks. If the burger is also placed in the bag, then the bag would be charged for. This is because it is safe to place wrapped food into a reusable bag and the purpose of these Regulations is to change customer behaviour every time they shop and in every situation.”

Wow. Tim and I didn’t eat any fast food while we were away, so I hadn’t thought about the impact of ordering fast food at all. Imagine being charged an extra 5p each time you ate at McDonalds!

I’m also curious as to where the 5p you pay for a bag goes…and the answer is that the shops can do whatever they like with the 5p, though the Welsh Assembly expects “that the proceeds should be passed on to charities or good causes in Wales, and in particular to environmental projects.”. So…any time you need a plastic bag in Wales and pay 5p for it, you could just be lining the pockets of the shop. Or, you could be donating 5p to a worthy cause…hang on a minute, if I pay 5p for a bag I’m helping out charity? That actually doesn’t sound too bad….is this really going to prevent people from asking for plastic bags and bringing reusable bags?

I didn’t know about the charge before we went to Wales, but fortunately, Tim and I always carried folding reusable bags in our rucksacks, and our house at home is loaded with canvas, burlap, and plastic shopping bags — Tim would probably say I collect them, and he might be right. I like to pick up bags when we are on holiday because it brings a smile to my face when I pull that one out to use. For example, when we were in Austria, the local grocery store was called “Billa”. We purchased one of their extra-large shopping bags we affectionately call “BillaBag” and I can take that bag into town for a shopping trip and not need any other bags. I also have a bag I purchased in Walt Disney World on our honeymoon, a bag I bought on my first visit to Stonehenge, and the familiar blue IKEA tarp bags, which always remind me of my time working there. I purchased a bag from the Vale of Rheidol Railway on this trip!

I’m also glad I stuffed a bunch of carrier bags into the caravan for rubbish, or we would have had to purchase rubbish bags!

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

For full Copyright and Disclaimer, please read

No comments

It’s Not Easy Being Green…

No, I’m not actually talking about Kermit, but he did say it best when he said “it’s not easy being green”…especially when you like to travel, and want to travel the world.

National Geographic just released the Ultimate Guide to Sustainable Travel and includes 50 tips for making travel greener. Suggestions such as packing your own water bottle instead of purchasing a disposable one, packing a snack in a reusable container and using that for packing leftovers while out (they even mention bento!), and bringing along a reusable shopping bag for your purchases all are things I already do, and I encourage everyone else who reads this to start.

They also talk a bit about overpacking. I’ll be the first to admit, I do have a tendency to overpack….BUT, I also generally use/wear everything I overpack. When I went to Canada, I packed bare minimums for the two months and I still had my bag weighing in at over 30 pounds. While I was in Canada I began to miss some of the items I neglected to pack – different shoes, a sweater, my favourite skirt – just to name a few. So for my next trip, I’m creating a packing list and I have 14 shirts on the list so far. I only took 8 with me to Canada (and the only shirt I didn’t wear a lot was my peasant blouse, and that’s not even on my UK list!). But 14 shirts isn’t really a lot, when you consider that I’m going away for 2 months and I’ll be gone partly for Fall (shorter sleeves) and partly in the Winter (long sleeves). I also need to pack two jackets – a Fall jacket and a Winter jacket. There are just some situations where you *need* to pack a lot of clothing. However, I do make sure I always stay within the weight guidelines of the airline I am flying on, and I only check my large suitcase that holds everything. When I’m going on a shorter trip, I usually pack enough shirts to have a clean shirt each day, plus one extra just in case.

However, I have learned my lesson for the next cruise I go on. I lived in the same denim skirt and capri pants the duration of the cruise (and visit to my cousins), only changing my shirt, yet I had packed at least 4 other options for my bottom half.

Another thing a lot of greening sites suggest is just not flying. Many green bloggers claim that flying completely eliminates all the greening efforts that you do at home. Now, I agree that flying is sort of silly for a short trip you can bus or take a train to unless you need to fly…but I think it’s really unreasonable to suggest people cease international travels or cross-country travel. That’s like saying to someone “don’t have a vacation”. I know the idea of a stay-at-home vacation (staycation) is becoming popular, but there are still people who enjoy traveling the globe. I see no reason to pile on the guilt because I’m flying across the Atlantic Ocean or flying across the United States when I do everything in my power to conserve and be green at home.

The National Geographic article has lots of other suggestions on ways to stay green while traveling, and I think it’s well worth reading over.

No comments

Going Green

I didn’t leave the house yesterday,and I probably won’t today…I’m currently glued to the Olympics. Weather also says it’s supposed to storm, and I don’t want to get caught out in that, since I forgot to pack my umbrella.

I’m still not sleeping well. I’ve been here for a week, and I keep wanting to go to bed around 11PM CST, and then I’ll wake up around 130, 3, 5, and then 7. Usually I’ll wind up giving up on sleeping somewhere between 8 and 9AM CST. Sometimes I fall back asleep quickly, sometimes it takes me a while to get back to sleep. The sleep timer on the television has been a big help. Every time I wake up, Casper thinks it’s time to play, and he’ll jump up on the bed and get right up in my face. This morning he accidentally swiped my nose with his claw.

I also wanted to pass along a link to a website I was given: For the cost of shipping ($5.99 in the US) you can get two free LARGE reusable grocery bags. The more reusable bags we use, the less plastic, and this means there will still be a world to travel on. Several countries have banned free plastic bags, charging a tax if you require one, and many US cities are giving it consideration, too. I’m all for it. We leave the reusable bags in the trunk of the car, so we always have them when we go shopping. Up here, I’ve been taking my backpack with me to the grocery store along with an insulated bag ($2 at Weis markets), and between the two, I manage pretty well. Most grocery stores sell reusable bags for about a dollar these days. Even Wal-Mart gets into the act. Wal-Mart in the US had been selling black reusable bags for $0.50, Wal-Mart here sells large plastic reusable bags for CDN$0.97, made from recycled plastic bottles. Some stores even offer credit for bringing in bags to reuse. Weis Markets gives a three cent credit per bag you bring in (when they remember). Use a bag 33 times and it’s paid for itself!

Sarah and Joe have done a lot to their house so things are more environmentally friendly. From special windows, to cork floors, to a special toilet that uses less water. You can read all about the changes on their blog. The post is about a year ago when they were still in the process of moving, but it explains things far better than I possibly could!

Oh, and because I thought this photo was cute, here’s naptime for the cats:

(click for bigger)