It’s September already! I don’t know about you but I always find September to be like a mini-January. The feeling of a new start with the changing seasons and school terms.
However, a new start doesn’t have to mean all new purchases. Yes, I’ve been that woman struggling around the town centre spending almost a months wages on shirts, shoes and bags amongst many other things ready for that first day back.
Since developing a more slow and sustainable lifestyle I’ve hardly bought anything new, in fact I’ve actually found pleasure in upcycling and making new clothes from pieces I already have that either don’t fit or I’ve never worn.
The first thing I did this year was ask my teenagers going into year 9 and 10 what they actually needed. Apart from a few stationery bits, the only item of clothing was a pair of trainers for my son who admitted his current pair has holes.
credit: Vent For Change
I’ve reduced my Back to School bill by about 80% taking that staggering triple figure to a more manageable double figure with pounds to spare.
Part of the local parents group I’m proud to be part of we have a uniform swap shop.
Over the last 18 months, children have hardly worn some of their uniform so good quality items are donated for others to use.
My son had a growth spurt in 2020 so we’ve donated some perfectly good black school trousers.
The game changer for us was actually looking at what we already had.
In the midst of all the new term chaos its easy to get swept into buying more than you need. With a list, shopping was done and dusted with no stress at all.
Did you know you can get pencils made from old CD cases?
And pens made from plastic bottles?
Sustainable materials are becoming so much more widely available for every budget.
Check out F&F at Tesco, they use recycled polyester in their range of school uniforms.
Making your own lunch to take to school can save you money, time and help reduce unnecessary waste.
You have more freedom to pack lots of great, healthy and zero waste snacks–like almonds, carrot sticks and grapes.
In England, car use for school
journeys has doubled over the past two
decades, and as many as 1 in 4 cars
on the road at morning peak times
are taking children to school meaning schools have become pollution hotspots.
Child exposure may be unnecessarily increased
by engine idling (stationary vehicles
with engines running) and vehicle
acceleration-deceleration, both in and
near school premises, during drop-off/
pick-up hours; is it any wonder the UK has a higher prevalence of childhood asthma than any other
Recently my family and I went to a festival for the first time since 2019. As big festival fans this was a huge deal; the atmosphere was electric, the weather was uncharacteristically good, the music started playing, it was time to get a cold beverage!
Now it’s not the overpriced pint that shocks me, it’s the plastic glass placed into my hand. Like in the movies, there’s that slow motion realisation which prompts me to look around, through the dancing and bucket hats, I see it, plastic glasses everywhere.
That feeling right there, is eco-guilt. Be it a conscious or unconscious decision, even with no other alternative, that mental and physical affect of environmental impact can lead to eco-anxiety.
Anxiety is defined as “a mental condition characterized by excessive apprehensiveness about real or perceived threats”, so we can translate that into defining eco-anxiety as “worry and concern for the real or perceived threats to the planet”.
There’s no wonder the term eco-anxiety is gaining traction, as we’re constantly reminded of the effects of human behaviour especially in first world countries that are known for contributing most to the shocking statistics we hear, read or even see with our own eyes more and more often. Watching the devastation of the Australian bushfires, which have since been connected to human-caused changes in climate temperatures, would pull on the hearts of many but especially those who actively pay attention to their own environmental impact.
The doubts creep in; can one person really make a difference? Are we all just doomed? Is it too little too late? Could I be doing better? Is what I am doing just not enough?
Eco-anxiety and eco-guilt vary with social factors such as age, gender, economic status, social support, relationships, family factors and not just whether you are more prone to mental illnesses, certain personality types or even if you’ve had prior exposure to distress.
The truth is obsessing over changes you can’t help does absolutely no good; not to the planet and definitely not to yourself.
Its simply impossible to be perfect in an imperfect world. In the UK alone it is estimated that five million tonnes of plastic are used every year, nearly half of which is packaging, which places a large amount of responsibility with big companies producing and using such materials when alternatives are available. Use the energy you would waste on feeling guilty to spread the word, pressurise these companies to make real change and make it fast!
The most effective way to initiate and continue change is with encouragement, whether that’s encouraging yourself or others.
You can absolutely pat yourself on the back and feel ‘eco-smug’ much more often than feeling eco-guilty with small changes. Yes, one day we are bound to forget our reusable bags, or be handed a plastic water bottle to drink, or in my case, a cold crisp cider.
Living an eco-friendly lifestyle already comes with its false views of difficulty and expense. Lets not add anxiety or guilt to that list.
Love, Light and Green Vibes,
The world is opening up again and many of us are looking for a getaway.
Whether that is a staycation in good old blighty or further afield I’ve put together some top tips for an eco-friendly and sustainable stay!
If you can, consider a staycation in the UK. Not only is it easier for you (think, there’s no currency exchange, airport hassle,….) but staying in the UK is so much more environmentally friendly not taking flights.
We have some gorgeous destinations on our doorstep and we are keeping our money in our own countries’ economy.
My personal favourites are Newquay in Cornwall, Ilfracombe in Devon and the Snowdon area in Wales.
But lets face it, if we want some summer sun, or even on the other end of the scale, some snow, it may mean leaving the UK.
I’ve already touched on it lightly so lets explore travel options.
Land travel can only get you so far, so you can use sea crossings to get to France, Spain and many other European countries such as Holland, Belgium and Denmark.
You want to go further? The good news is flights aren’t all that bad as the average fuel consumption per transported passenger is below 4 litres per 100km compared to cars averaging 8-12 litres per 100km.
There’s also big steps being taken to further reduce fuel consumption, serving environmentally friendly meals and even adjusting the materials used for in-flight magazines (or removing them altogether!)
The most recent data puts TUI Airways as the most eco-friendly airline. So when booking take a few seconds to google the eco-credentials of the airline and consider alternatives. You might even save some money choosing a more ‘no frills’ approach to flying.
Travel options at destination
It’s easier said than done but try to pack light, every extra kilo on the plane burns extra fuel. We all take far too many clothes and other accessories. You could pack some super lightweight laundry strips in your case to hand wash and freshen up a few pieces to wear again.
Just the size of an envelope they wont take any room in your cases!
Time to find somewhere to stay. Choosing family-owned/independent hotels or home stays are great ways to support local businesses especially in the UK.
When you’re in your room treat it like your own home:
Try to avoid using the extras placed in rooms such as shampoo bottles and single use tea and coffee items. Taking your own shampoo bar doesn’t count towards your liquid allowance on flights and is a real space saver in those small hotel bathrooms.
These handmade ones mean you only need 1 bar for 5 uses which also reduces weight in your case.
Natural and cultural environment
Its time to explore! These top tips will ensure you keep the locals happy:
With so much to see and experience in such a short time why not combine the two? Join in with a beach clean up spending the day by the ocean while keeping it clean.
Eating and Drinking
IMPORTANT: stay safe when drinking water/ice in foreign countries to avoid issues arising from the differently treated water. Check the advice for the country you are travelling to.
You can decant bottled water into your reusable bottle to ensure the empty bottles are disposed of correctly and they are more handy to carry around.
Ideally you could embrace a different cuisine by supporting small and local bars and restaurants. IMPORTANT: be safe when ordering certain dishes including known culprits such as chicken and fish.
Other things to consider
Reduce/ resist buying souvenirs – most items taken home from holidays seem like a good idea at the time but then collect dust when you’re back to reality. Often souvenirs in tourist hotspots are unethically produced with unsustainable materials.
Completely avoid any items that could be considered illegal and/or use animal or wildlife in any way; for example, products using ivory, tortoise shell, reptile skins, furs and some corals and seashells.
Its not to say don’t buy any souvenirs. At the end of the day it’s a lovely token to remember a holiday. Try to support local projects that hand make items for charities and good causes.
It’s an unfortunate reality that all might not be as it seems on your dream vacation. Try to be alert to signs of slavery/trafficking. Do not enter into any confrontation or behave in a way that may cause a scene. Contact relevant local authorities to report any signs of illegal activity.
Wherever you choose to go and whatever you choose to do, make amazing memories and leave no trace except footprints in the sand
Love, Light and Green Vibes,
Firstly, I’ll ask you to cast your minds back to March 2020, before you switch off…. this isn’t a blog post about COVID-19.
March 2020, the world needed, amongst toilet roll; hand sanitizers and masks. Suddenly there was a shortage of these items that previously took up minimal space on shop shelves if at all.
What happened next is very important to the point I’m trying to make.
People wanted it, they needed it, they did anything to get their hands on it even smash the sanitizer spots in hospitals off the wall to steal it. Make masks from anything they could, I even saw someone go into a shop wearing an old Halloween mask, we were desperate, and scared.
The weeks went on, as did the demand, during which time big brands, small brands, unrelated brands and new brands popped up to provide everything we needed.
BrewDog begun making hand sanitiser at its distillery in Aberdeenshire, an American company went from making CBD products to making hand sanitizer, even a Car Polish company started making it.
What we see here is everyone jumping to supply to the demand.
Did it help? Yes.
Did it make them money? Yes
The World wanted it and needed it – It was provided, in MASSIVE amounts.
So, what am I getting at here?
The Planet needs to be saved, and we have to WANT it.
During my 3 day Earth Day challenge in April 2021, me and my daughter streamed live during a litter pick in our local area. I was a little surprised the amount of engagement this live session received as essentially it was my daughter with her litter picker and me with my phone in one hand and rubbish bag in the other chatting away.
The number one thing we picked up that day was crisp packets. Upon realising this I shared the fact that compostable crisp packets do exist. Now rather than just suggest the brands we’ve had and tried, I decided to point out that this technology and these compostable materials for the use of crisp packets exist. My next question, framed more as an encouragement, wasn’t “why don’t you choose those instead”, it was “why aren’t big brands using this?”
My first thought would be cost. At the end of the day, I’m not naïve, they are running an enormously huge business and from what I know so far about huge companies like Walkers, they care about money, not people or the environment.
A quick hop, skip and a jump/search on their website states:
“We understand the responsibility we have to reduce the impact of our packaging on the environment, and we’re on it!
At the moment, the packaging we use is the best way to keep our crisps crunchy and delicious. However, we’re aiming to make all our packaging 100% recyclable, compostable or biodegradable by 2025”
I continue to scroll through the Q&A part of the website to find the answer to my next question, “Why Not NOW?” There isn’t an answer and although there’s a section labelled “Can’t find your answer here? We can’t wait to hear from you!” and I wouldn’t want to keep them waiting…
Here is my sent request:
I would like to request more information regarding your sustainability and environmental promises as stated on your website:
“we’re aiming to make all our packaging 100% recyclable, compostable or biodegradable by 2025”
Could you clarify how this process is progressing and why not an earlier target date?
The technology and materials for compostable crisp packets exists so to suggest it could take till 2025 to achieve doesn’t quite make sense to me.
I really do look forward to your reply via email as someone extremely passionate about the unnecessary and avoidable impacts on our environment.
Mrs J Clough
When/If I get a reply, I’ll be sure to keep you updated as I always do.
If Walkers, or any companies see trends that could skyrocket or even reduce their profits they have to act. For example, if the consumers of the 6 billion packets of crisps consumed each year in the UK bought brands of crisps in compostable packaging, what do you think these big companies would do?
I bet they wouldn’t wait till 2025 to make change….
Love, Light and Green Vibes,
Don’t Forget to Share this Blog Post – It Really Helps Spread the Word!!!
Hi I am Kerry and Plant Based Hipster is my company.
I sell hand poured wax melts in the most delicious fragrances, to fill your home with the most wonderful scents and hopefully put a smile on your face.
The reason I started making wax melts are because ones that I had tried, no matter what brand, were causing me health issues. I suffer with asthma and also oral allergy syndrome and I was finding that wax melts and scented candles often had an adverse effect on my breathing and gave me an allergic reaction and I ended up having to take anti histamines. So I made it my mission to develop wax melts and scented candles that wouldn’t negatively effect my health. There was a lot of trial and error experimenting with different fragrance companies. I had to do a lot of research into fragrances and waxes to be able to grasp what ones would be better for my health. Eventually I found fragrances that were free from the usual nasty chemicals that can causes harm to health and I decided to use coconut and rapeseed wax with no additives such as paraffin as this wax is totally natural, causes no harm to health and it’s completely biodegradable . All our wax melts are made from coconut and rapeseed oil wax which is a sustainable source unlike soy which is contributing to worldwide deforestation.
A little bit about why I chose coconut and rapeseed wax:
In my opinion, coconut and rapeseed waxes are currently the most sustainable source of wax (and, in comparison to other waxes, have supply chains with the most ethically transparent practices) with each singular wax requiring the properties of the other so as to function effectively. The supplier of my coconut and rapeseed blend wax certifies that this wax is free from Palm, Soy, Beeswax, Paraffin, Polymers, GMO materials and any other additives
Coconut & rapeseed wax is the new wax on the block. It’s definitely more expensive to use, but because of it’s great scent throw and even burn we think it’s worth the price tag.
Coconut & rapeseed Wax is a soft creamy white color and is the eco-friendly choice. Harvesting the oil is an organic process with coconuts themselves being a sustainable high yield crop
Benefits of Coconut & rapeseed Wax
My wax melts and candles are:
Cruelty free ✅
Soy free ✅
Sustainable wax source ✅
Free from CMRs and/or phthalates ✅
Free from parabens and silicon ✅
Free from PEG ✅
Recyclable packaging ✅
CLP compliant ✅
My wax melts are completely biodegradable and even the glitter! All of my packaging is recyclable and also biodegradable. The wax melts themselves come in glassine bags. I have chose glassine over recyclable plastic as we all know a lot of what we put in our recycling bin ends up getting shipped abroad and put in landfill. Glassine will biodegrade in 2-3 weeks where as plastic takes 450 years. Any orders we post are packaged plastic free and even the tape I use can go in your recycling bin.
Thanks for taking the time to read about my little business
Kerry’s amazing wax melts will be featuring in the Between Green Box for May and there’s only a few days left to grab yours!
The surge in popularity of chemical filled bottles of plastic with mind bending names such as “Midnight Blooms” and “Country Garden” and pressure to create an ‘Instagram worthy home’ its easy to ignore the truth behind the ingredients being used faster than stores can fill the shelves.
The average household contains around 62 TOXIC chemicals from the most obvious; oven cleaners, to the not so obvious; sensitive laundry detergent. With research showing that these chemicals are as bad for our lungs as smoking cigarettes lets have a real good look at what’s inside.
Most shockingly to me was the chemicals in ‘baby-safe’ products such as Johnson&Johnson Baby Shampoo and sensitive fabric softeners.
The iconic yellow bottle of ‘No More Tears’ is instantly recognisable but what might not be so clear is the use of dioxane and quaternium-15 which are known formaldehyde releasing substances. Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen which you may know are believed to cause cancer.
Say NO to these companies focussed purely on profits not people by choosing a sulphate & palm free, vegan and sensitive skin friendly (including your perfect little baby) shampoo and body bar.
Made with coconut derived gentle cleansers and contain organic Shea butter and Argan oil, these solid bars lather so easily that a little goes a long way so bath time is quick and easy without the hassle of holding a slippery bottle and slippery baby!
Next, Fabric softeners with their cute animals on the packaging and snuggly baby blankets are hiding shocking ingredients. Fabric softeners and dryer sheets are not required by law to list all their ingredients on the label so here’s a list of what you could find:
Together these chemicals can cause a host of health problems including respiratory problems, central nervous system problems, eye irritation, dizziness, headaches and nausea.
Also, just to let you know several of these ingredients are on the EPA’s hazardous waste list.
So when you take a long sniff of your fresh laundry you are probably inhaling a cocktail of toxic chemicals. Not to mention what is being absorbed through your skin when wearing your clothes.
Now you are shocked, horrified and eager to switch up your laundry routine – where do you start?
Luckily I’ve done the hard work for you! I’ve tried a lot of different ‘eco-friendly’ ‘natural’ laundry products for me and the rest of my family of 4, including 2 teenagers (I point this out purely to focus the need for effective cleaning, deodorising and scent!)
So instead of pouring that bright green/blue/pink/purple liquid in the washer drawer or grab the liquid tabs for throwing in the drum, take a look at Laundry Detergent Sheets!
Each laundry strip packs ultra-concentrated, hypoallergenic, eco-friendly cleaning power into a tiny, pre-measured strip of liquidless laundry detergent that you just toss in the wash. Its low-sudsing formula works in all types of washing machines, including high-efficiency (HE).
They also cut down on the clutter under the sink with ultra-efficient packaging. No bigger than a large letter envelope in size and thickness, you can fit over 400 loads worth of Tru Earth Eco-Strips in the same space as a single 100 load jug of traditional detergent. The carboard packaging is more widely and easily recycled than plastic bottles and tubs that are dumped into landfills or floating in our precious oceans affecting land and marine life.
100% natural, vegan-friendly and cruelty-free and made from coconut oil, coconut oil extract and deionized water they are great for babies and sensitive skin.
Isn’t it time we said NO to chemicals and YES to natural cleaners that work effectively, save the planet, save money and save yourself from chemical inducing health issues?
I’d love to see you over on my social media platforms where I share all my favourite top tips, expose more big brands and show you how easy it is to be eco-friendly no matter who, what, where, why or when!
or use the code JODIC5 at checkout
This blog post has been shared from Crystal Cole on June 13, 2019 (credit: Crystal Cole)
I am probably going to make myself really unpopular by saying this, but I am going to say it anyway.
This morning, I posted a photo on our social media account of a natural deodorant. The photo showed two candles behind (obviously, as we make candles too!) and within seconds, a comment was posted ” Ironic that you hash tagged zero waste and then put photos of plastic electric candles in the background” A quick look on our page would clearly show that we make candles. Instead of doing a bit of background checking, the comment was made flippantly and quickly retracted when we put the poster straight. We make candles. We are trying to be a plastic free company. Showing plastic or electric candles just wouldn’t be us because well, it goes against our ethos and we don’t use them because we have candles in abundance in our workshop! How dare anyone pass judgement without doing a little investigation. The comment was taken down very quickly once they were set straight, which is really sad because my reply gave some really good insight in to what we do and how we do it and that is generally trying to cut out plastic and waste from our products and company. That was never seen or read by the poster; i guess they didn’t want to open their ears to bit of education around the company.
Last week, I had to defend myself and my company on a zero waste parenting group on Facebook, as a comment was made that “this company seems dodgy to me – I’ve looked at the reps photo and she doesn’t appear to be the sort of person who is a zero waster” How dare anyone make such a judgmental and flippant comment on a reps looks. Is it really ok to cut down a person or a company with such damaging comments without even getting to know us or ask us any questions first. Do you know how upsetting it is for someone to be told that their face doesn’t fit their ethos. How crazy is it that an opinion can be formed on what a person looks like in one photo!!!
More and more I am seeing posts of people pleased to show off the changes they are making to reduce their waste and more and more I am seeing comments that are belittling, rather than encouraging and supportive.
Who cares if john still uses tea bags, but has changed to a biodegradable toothbrush?
Who cares if Brenda still washes her hair in shampoo that has come out of a bottle, but she takes her own bags to the grocery store instead of using plastic carrier bags.
Whose journey is this? yours or theirs? If you don’t like my company – don’t use us! But if you haven’t used us, how can you tell the world that we are “dodgy?” If you don’t like that John still uses teabags, how about congratulate him on his efforts so far, maybe offer some advice, but cut him down? Thats just not on.
There is far too much superiority in zero waste groups and whilst some people has spent time educating themselves on the east ways to avoid waste, what they are failing to see sometimes is that their superioirty can come across as really negative. We are all trying to fight a war against waste together and in the battle field, we need to build each other up, not tear down our fellow comrades. Wars like this are won by many people doing the best that they can, but no one can be perfect. Show me someone living a zero waste life and I will show you a liar. Because I am not perfect, my company is not perfect, John and Brenda are not perfect. We are all just trying to do our best.
So next time you feel the need to post a negative comment that could potentially bring down a small business, or give Brenda a mouth full because her face doesn’t fit and her hair is not washed with the urine of a zero waste guardian angel, just remember, everyone starts somewhere and everyone can easily go AWOL from the zero waste war because of your comments. Be kind and supportive.
From now on, we will be using the hashtag myzerowastejourney on all of our social media posts, because zero wasting is personal to us all. This company is MY journey to help do my bit, not yours. Your journey is yours too. Doesn’t make either of us right; it just makes us soldiers in the same fight, just taking a different route to the battle.
Please stop to think about how your comments towards small businesses and new zero waste individuals can be as damaging as the plastic we all are fighting to rid the planet of.
I choose zero waste, kindness and positivity. What do you choose?
Hi Betweeners, just to let you know this blog post has been shared from another site but it resonated with what I wanted to say so well! REMEMBER: Be Kind. Always.
Here’s the original piece: https://crystalcole.co.uk/blogs/news/cutting-the-crap-out-is-not-just-about-zero-waste
Share your views over on my social media!
Between Green Eco friendly home group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/740608686769927/?ref=share
During lockdown periods due to the Covid-19 pandemic, households had learned to get better at preventing waste. Concerns about going to the shops and running out of food initially motivated people to waste less. Pre-shop planning, smart storage and creative cooking all contributed to the decrease in UK household food waste.
It’s an uncomfortable truth. The more lockdown measures are eased, the more food waste there is in UK households.
Did you know, global food waste produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all commercial flights.
Globally, around a third of all food produced is lost or wasted, which contributes between 8 and 10 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions.
It isn’t just the leftovers on our plate to consider but the many resources that go into producing our food, like water and land.
Many things, including water, land, energy, time, and transportation are needed to produce our food, so it’s really important that we don’t unnecessarily waste it.
It became a household staple in 2020, using up your soft bananas to make banana bread. Yesterday my daughter did a LIVE cookalong on Zoom making the perfect banana bread
Find the FULL recipe and method in my Facebook Group
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