Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically and to Permaculture principles, which we share with Chickens, Cats and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I am a Master Composter and have spent more than a decade as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council.
I'm a self employed Environmental Educator so I run workshops and events where I talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. I also run crafts workshops and Forest School/outdoor play sessions in our wood.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun.

To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!

Thursday 7 March 2013

Message in our bottle

No, not the Police hit single!

I was lucky enough to be invited to London yesterday by Ecover to the launch of their new campaign ‘Message in our Bottle’ - but sadly I could not attend ( my back is not yet up to a 3  hour each way train journey yet)

As I was sent the press release, though, I thought I would share it with you all as it sounds really interesting. and is a positive step forward in both reducing packaging waste AND reducing marine pollution.

From the Ecover press release... 
Ecological innovator, Ecover, today unveiled plans to launch a world-first in packaging in 2014 - an entirely new form of fully sustainable and recyclable plastic incorporating post-consumer recyclables (PCR), Plantastic – plastic made from 100% sugarcane and plastic fished from the sea, along with an influential art project designed to attract mass attention.
Ecover launched  100% sugarcane-derived plastic (Plantastic) as packaging  in 2010. This was followed by a further move to tackle the growing plastic waste mountain, resulting in its most recent announcement of the inclusion of PCR into Plantastic bottles.

The press launch yesterday was to announce the aspiration to create an entirely new plastic incorporating a percentage of sea waste into its Plantastic/PCR packaging by 2014. 

Ecover says...
Research from the Marine Conservation Society reveals that plastic debris accounts for almost 60 per cent of all litter found on UK beaches and it is widely recognised that vast amounts of beach waste ends up in the sea.  Working closely with Waste Free Oceans (WFO), Logoplaste (who are supporting the development of the new materials) UK plastic recycling plant Closed Loop, Ecover will be working with fishing communities to collect plastic* and reintroduce it into the recycling chain via its bottles – a solution which will help protect the delicate sea-based eco-systems and give a whole new meaning to ‘catch of the day’.  Trials have already begun on the exact mix of the three plastics which allow the brand to deliver what will be the first ever fully sustainable and recyclable plastic.
 The press launch was also used to unveil an ambitious art project designed to influence and engage.

 Ecover say...
Renowned sculptor Ptolemy Elrington, will be creating a free-standing, attention-grabbing art installation which will be unveiled at Glastonbury 2013.  Using recycled content – including sea waste – the installation has been designed as a focal meeting point for festival goers – and an education opportunity into the bargain.  

After Glastonbury, the new installation will then take pride of place at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show alongside Ecover’s show garden by Matthew Childs. An upcoming gardener, Childs won the Conceptual Gardens category at Hampton Court in 2012. This year he is designing the ‘Ecover Recovery Garden’ which will also be championing plastic from the seas, and will help further convey the importance of sustainability within plastic materials.

All this sounds really interesting and I was really sorry I had to miss out on attending. But, even though I could not go to the launch Ecover sent me the goody bag I would have received if I had gone, which was jolly nice of them and which I will enjoy using. The bottles are made from Plantastic - if you use Ecover products look for a distinctive green and blue Plant-astic logo

What do you think about this? I have mixed feelings about using land to grow sugar cane to make plastic, rather than using it for food BUT I totally applaud the idea of retrieving plastic waste from the seas and recycling it.

If only we could stop people throwing the stuff into the seas, in the first place...!


  1. Here in Australia our sugar comes from sugar cane and the sugar cane bagasse or leftover sugar cane after extraction of the sugar, is a waste product. If the ecover bottles use this sugar cane bagasse for their bottles then they're actually utilising a waste product and hooray! :D
    We have a toilet paper here in our house made from bamboo and sugar cane bagasse, just as nice to use as normal virgin pulp tissue paper. It's the only thing I've heard of (not that I have researched it) that uses the bagasse.
    And from watching Power of Community I know the bagasse is burned as a source of fuel to get electricity in Cuba.
    Personally I am not a fan of plastics, mostly no matter where they come from and I try to avoid using plastic when and wherever possible. I do recognise however that avoidance is not always possible and I love the idea of recycling plastic from the sea most of all. Maybe they can do something to reduce the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. :)

  2. Sadly not - according to Ecover

    "Manufacturing our new Plant-astic is unbelievably simple. Sugarcane is harvested to produce sugar, which is then fermented and distilled to produce ethanol. This ethanol is dehydrated to create ethylene, which is polymerized into Plant-astic. That's really all there is to it. Plant-astic is impressive in so many other ways. Because the sugarcane is grown and harvested in harmony with its natural environment, the nearby Amazonian rainforests remain unaffected. In fact, sugarcane is one of the few plants that actually captures carbon and stores it safely away, which is great news for the earth's atmosphere. And the entire production process is so efficient that we need only harvest 15 hectares of land to make a year's worth of Ecover packaging."

    So not a by product, but still better than using fossil fuels I guess.

  3. I do worry that this will go the way that sissal has done - everyone clamoured to have paper and cardboard which could be recycled, which required sissal. This was such a huge industry Madagascar began cutting down their forests to plant sissal instead. The decimation is extreme - I think the figures are over 70% of the forests there are gone, replaced with sissal farms, all so smug Westerners can say "Oh, we're being so eco-conscious and recycling."

    The hope would be that perhaps they could convince farmers to use the crops they have to half-produce sugar/half-produce sugar for plastic, or something along those lines - but I suspect greed will have its day somewhere. As ever.

    (sorry that read as a bit of a downer, but with ongoing reports coming in that perhaps all our eco-conscious/"in touch with nature" steps are doing more harm than good, I have reservations on our not learning from previous mistakes)

  4. Oya not a downer at all, I worry about greenwash claims and the use of good agrcultural land growing non food crops as well.

    I think I am cautiously approving of Ecover here, though - at least they are trying a new way forward and with the recycling element from "plastic fished from the sea" it has to be a good thing.

  5. As a professional, I have to say that most of the people have no idea how to reduce their waste at home and that's why I'm really scared about the general rubbish picture around the world. The idea of using the plastic rubbish from the sea is great. I will check the Web for more info about it.


Hello! Thank you for reading my blog and for commenting. I try to reply as quickly as I can and I really appreciate your interest in my life and doings here in The Compost Bin.