(Maybe?) Disappointing delivery from Book Depository

STOP PRESS … I’ve just found out that there is a cornstarch version of these and indeed one of these has just dissolved in water. I’ll ask Book Depository and let you know what they say. Until then ignore the article below.

Disappointing and unnecessary use of polystyrene to package books from Book Depository in Melbourne – I can imagine their warehouse with big bins of this stuff ready to scoop into boxes – ugghhh!!!

From Wikipedia: Under ASTM standards, polystyrene is regarded as not biodegradable. It is accumulating as a form of litter in the outside environment, particularly along shores and waterways, especially in its foam form, and in the Pacific Ocean.

I have bought books from them before and they sent them in cardboard (see post below) – not sure why they are taking this retrograde step.

Time to support my local book stores and not buy from Book Depository.

I’ve emailed them and will post their response if I get one.


Update June 2020 – COVID-19 and some other stuff

PP is back again on World Environment Day.

Where has the year gone with COVID-19 ravaging the world?? We are so lucky in New Zealand to be in the position we are in – maybe about to go to level 1 and back to normal life.

But the big question is …. given that there is going to be a lot of upheaval that we can’t control (and let’s be kind to the affected people) …. are we going to use this opportunity to make changes for the better for a sustainable environment, including curbing the plastic scourge. PP has said before: plastic has many great uses but our use of plastic has gone over the top into many unnecessary applications – the sheer size of the plastic waste problem everywhere in the world needs urgent action from governments and in the choices we make when we shop.

Plastic has been invaluable over the past few months for protective equipment for health and other essential workers and for COVID-19 testing kits. But as gaps appeared on supermarket shelves I found myself having to buy some necessary products – because my usual brands weren’t there – wrapped in unnecessary plastic eg toilet paper.

Speaking of unnecessary use of plastic …. I was in London in September last year and was disappointed to see the amount of plastic being used in shops and restaurants. I was on the look-out for an example of perishable packaging to photograph and put on this site. However, I was in central London for a week and did not see a single good example of PP. The chain ‘Pret’ had some great food but it’s plastic use was excessive. Salads and fruit salad in plastic – fine, but individual servings of hard foods in plastic containers with plastic lids – not fine!

Ahhhh London …. not sure when I will see you again x


Back to this year and COVID-19 …. Over the lockdown period we had a lot of stuff delivered to our house. Most of it was in paper and cardboard eg Arobake’s fresh baked goodies, Regional wines wine and beer, and Commonsense Organics boxes of groceries arrived with no plastic in sight.

Unfortunately, some suppliers haven’t got it yet. I received 2 bags of recycled paper kitty litter that comes in paper packaging – I use this brand because it is PP – contained in a horrible unnecessary plastic bag. Bad call Pet Centre! To be fair I have received the same delivery before in a cardboard box – when I asked – I didn’t ask this time because I was told last time they were trying to decrease their use of plastic. Apparently progress is slow.

See the photos below of an example of PP delivered to me by Pet Centre in uneccessary non-PP:   

      IMG_0216       IMG_0132

Last weekend my partner and I took our first trip out of Wellington since lockdown. We went walking in the Tongariro national park. We walked around Rotopounamu and saw lots of trees and birds and a pristine lake ahhhhhh 😍 There was no litter (except 1 tin lid on a beach which I did remove). This is what’s at stake:


A roundup of articles

From RNZ

Commissioner targets govt & biodegradable single-use plastics

From Nine To Noon, 9:37 am on 12 July 2018

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Simon Upton, is calling on government to pick up its game around biodegradable plastics and its overall environmental goals.

The commissioner wants urgent attention paid to understanding the implications for the end of life of these products, as well as sorting out the terminology and labeling schemes.

To this end the PCE has produced an online resource of key facts aimed at improving consumer and business understanding of the plastics issue.


click here

Rachel Brown: Plastic bags are just the beginning

From Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan, 1:18 pm on 1 July 2019

This interview with Rachel Brown the CEO of the Sustainable Business Network says the ban on retailers supplying single use plastic bags is just the beginning.

click here

$3m grant for NZ’s first 100% recycled plastic food packaging

5:41 pm on 15 July 2019

The government is investing $3 million in the creation of New Zealand’s first 100 percent recycled plastic food packaging range.

click here

Are bio-plastics the answer?

From Nine To Noon, 9:32 am on 31 July 2019

This interview with Elspeth MacRae the Chief Innovation & Science Officer at the New Zealand Forest Research Institute (Scion), the Crown Research Institute for forestry, wood and biomaterial products, asks can we produce packaging that isn’t going to seriously harm the environment?

The answer may lie with bioplastics but, there is a great deal of confusion about what alternatives there are. Unlike conventional plastics that are made from petroleum, bioplastics are made from plants or other biological material. But it’s worth having a good look at the different types – as some have greener credentials than others.

click here

From Stuff

Commonsense Organics aims to be NZ’s first plastic-free grocery

From The Spinoff

The Primer: the company behind packaging made of plants, not plastic

JANUARY 25, 2018

This is an interview with Tony Small, founder of plant-based packaging company Innocent Packaging.

click here

Ending the magical thinking on compostable packaging

FEBRUARY 28, 2019

This article discusses the downsides of compostable packaging.

click here

Out-of-packaging experience: The rise of the plastic-free retailer

MARCH 12, 2019

This article looks at the retailer GoodFor that sells bulk organic staples – BYO containers or purchase online in paper bags. Not in Wellington yet but plan to be this year.

click here


Groceries #1


So much stuff comes in glass and tin – a product needs to be pretty good for me to buy it if it’s in plastic: Pitango soups, my favourite Moore Wilson’s sauces, hummus, mozzarella balls …. Angst!!! …. Nope these are rare treats now and where’s that hummus (start from scratch) recipe!



Home cleaners


Loooooove Eco Store plant based products that come in sugarcane plastic. We’ve been using these products for years now. There’s no ammonia smell (like that from the spray cleaner in the kitchen at my work).

The bottles are recyclable – if our government/local authorities will get on and make sure we have efficient means of recycling plastic waste! In the meantime we can at least reduce the amount of petroleum-based plastic going into tips and the sea by buying ‘good’ plastics (I know that’s problematic) and reusing as much as we can (rather than buying new each time). These bottles have been refilled many times at Commonsense Organics.




img_5957.jpg  img_5978.jpg

These are products I now use. Ethique pitch themselves as plastic free and the soaps, face wash, and shampoo that I have tried are really nice to use.  And they seem to last a long time.  The packaging is good quality cardboard so you can reuse it for storing your soaps. Unfortunately I didn’t find the Ethique conditioner worked for me so I’m still using conditioner out of a plastic bottle (let me know if you’ve found an alternative for me to try!).

These Trilogy products are great and come mostly in glass or tin. My favourite is the night cream. Trilogy also have a lot of products that come in plastic eg the day cream which I have stopped using – who says you can’t wear night cream under makeup!