Friday, 16 February 2018

Beaker Tips for a Plastic Free Lent

Following on from the Church of England's advice, here's some tips of our own on a plastic-free Lent:

Many modern steam irons are made with large amounts of plastic. Just have creased clothing instead.

If you are a regular user of medical syringes - why not buy your own reusable syringe, crafted from bull's horn or mother of pearl? Unfortunately the current syringe sterilizing equipment has a high percentage of plastic, but scientists are already working on a bamboo version.

Does your mobile or "smart" phone have plastic in it? Why not replace its telephonic operation with shouting? Or drive or fly to see the person you want to talk to. Instead of using it for Social Media, just go to the Houses of Parliament and shout abuse at politicians.

Re-use the plastic windows in any mail that gets past your Junk Mail ban by gluing together and using them as home-made condoms (may not apply to Catholics)

The modern Cybermen contain more plastic than their 1960s ancestors, who were basically wrapped in tin foil and wearing their pants on their heads. Only watch old episodes of Dr Who, which you will have to wait to see on some kind of UK Old type channel. Don't buy the episodes on videos or DVDs, which contain plastic.

Local Authorities provide plastic bins for recycling purposes. Bury them in the garden and use wicker instead.

Bottle openers and corkscrews often contain plastic parts. Instead of buying them, open beer bottles with your teeth and push the corks into bottles with a (bamboo not plastic) chop stick.

Remove all the televisions in your house and dump them outside a farm gate. Replace them with a nice bamboo-framed picture - but make sure the painter didn't use plastic handles on their brushes.

Many cars have plastic trim. Rip it out and replace it with hand-tooled leather or walnut. Ideally, organically-sourced walnut from a sustainable walnut forest. Don't be content with only doing this to your own vehicle. Flag down passing cars and refit them as well. Explain to the owners that it is for their own good.

Does your bleach come from the supermarket in a plastic bottle? Insist instead that the retailer pours it into your cupped hands, and carry it home.

Replace all the plastic plant pots in your garden with nice terracotta ones. Ideally hand-cast somewhere they don't have plastic. There is a real danger of the pots picking up microplastics in a non plastic-free environment.

If your church's Communion set is made in Tupperware, why not use gold or other precious materials instead? Try not to catch the eye of the redundant Tupperware representative as they queue up to receive.

Instead of plastic dog-poo bags - consider having your favourite pet stuffed. Also far better for the environment without all that meat consumption.

Burn your old vinyl record collection in your solid-fuel stove. Saves on the gas bills and there's no way that plastic is ending up in the stomach of a squid.

Embrace "Curate Living". If your house has UPVC double glazing, consider instead ill-fitting glass Georgian sash windows.

Instead of using a plastic remote controller, change the channel on your bamboo-framed picture with a snooker queue.

Plastic is frequently used in electrical plugs. Next time you buy electrical equipment, insist they use plugs made from aluminium. Aluminium is lightweight and easily recyclable. OK, it is not an electrical insulator. But you can't make omelette without electrocuting some eggs.

If in searching your kitchen you find thousands of plastic drinking straws, stick them together to make a model of Boris Johnson. It's bound to be at least as plausible as the real one.

Baptism frees you from original sin. So if your clothes contain plastic fibres, just go around in the nude. As recommended by the Bishop of Sherborne.

Feel free to listen to the 1977 Punk classic, "Ca Plane Pour Moi". Turns out there's no Plastic in it.

Cyberperson from Wikiemedia Commons
By Chris Sampson - 270811-041 CPS, CC BY 2.0,

Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.


  1. Our local authority has withdrawn plastics recycling bins, as they say that they are being contaminated by plastics that cannot be recycled.

    So, they put their heads in the sand and demand that we put all plastics into little boxes outside our homes, which are collected fortnightly?

    Off course, the lids on the little PLASTIC boxes blow off in windy weather and the contents get blown down the street, littering and having to be picked up by the road sweepers and recycled as general waste.

    The council boast that they are the second best borough in the great Metropolis with recycling, all that I can say is that the rest of the Metropolis must be centres of waste, piled up in the streets if this statement is true.

  2. How frustrating. The council needs to do a better job of educating on what is recyclable. They probably have a problem finding a place for the plastics since China got tougher this year about which plastics they'll accept.


Drop a thoughtful pebble in the comments bowl