My Thoughts on Garnier Shampoo Bars

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gUEST bLOG : mRS SPARKLE TALKS TERRACYCLE

At Mrs Sparkle we create handmade, eco friendly, natural products for use in the home.  Our aim is to make it easy for everyone to make eco swaps in their busy lives at an affordable price.

We collect and share information so you can make informed decisions whatever your goal, be it to go natural, reduce plastic consumption or to find more zero waste products.  

Our mantra for sustainability is Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.  Recently we have become interested in the work done by Terracycle and decided to find out more.

✨”Eliminating The Idea Of Waste”✨

I am familiar with Terracycle, have used their bins in supermarkets and have been known to say ‘ have a look at Terracycle, they take everything’ if someone mentions being unsure about recycling something.

I wanted to find out a little more about them, and share my discoveries!🌿

Terracycle collects items not currently recyclable through local councils.

They offer recycling solutions for typically hard to recycle waste, such as collecting things like laundry tablet boxes and melting them down into hard plastic pellets that are then remoulded into new products.

Below is a table offered for sale in their store, made from recycled toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes!💚

As it stands, these are some of their achievements –

✨202 million people are collecting and handing in their waste, across 21 countries
✨That means billions of pieces of waste collected so far
✨44 million dollars raised for charities through this scheme

Terracycle offer many incentives for schools and charities. Once you start collecting, you accrue points for your chosen organisation that are then transferred into donations✨

So many things can be collected, from bread bags, cheese wrappers and crisp packets,  to rubber gloves and plastic toys and games!

All you need to do is –

✨Choose ‘programmes’ – which items or brands you would like to collect, and sign up for free
✨Collect any waste items
✨Print a free shipping label
✨Send in your waste for recycling

There are drop off points too at many local shops, churches and other businesses – take a look to see where your nearest location is, and what they accept!

Mrs Sparkle and Between Green would love to hear about any other recycling schemes that you have heard of, big or small – it’s great to hear about the amazing work being done!!🌸

Thanks for reading and thanks to Between Green for inviting us on here.


What is Greenwashing and How To Spot it!

Who’s heard of Greenwashing? If you haven’t here’s a quick definition;

Green washing is the use of false environmental claims with pictures or words such as ‘natural’ or ‘ethical’ as a marketing spin to imply their product is Earth friendly, sustainable and basically, as green as it can be.

Now, for people who want to do their bit for the environment this is very frustrating as finding and using alternatives already has its barriers without multi billion pound companies use these eco ‘buzzwords’ without much legislation.

How to spot Greenwashing:

  1. Ignore the packaging with those misleading buzzwords such as ‘recyclable’ and the vague use of ‘eco’ and read the label.

2. Don’t be fooled by branding. its easy to be swayed by the little green leaves and happy little Earth images but do your research.

3. Find proof of green practices – get familiar with spotting those words that don’t really mean anything until proven that their values helps them to make sure that they are doing all that they can to operate sustainably.

4. Beware the slogans! Here’s a shocking example:

LUSH – now you’d be led to think when you walk into the store that its a vegan cruelty-free paradise. Now only part of that is true. LUSH are very dedicated to not testing on animals but 33% of their products are not suitable for vegans. That means some products are not free from any kind of animal extract.

And have you ever wondered why you can smell LUSH from a mile away?

I’m sorry to say but its due to the use of potent parfums and parabens so their products have a longer shelf life.

You want to know more right…?

Let’s talk about McDonalds – In June 2018 the multi billion dollar fast food chain made the switch from plastic straws to paper straws. However, eagle-eyed milkshake slurpers called them out as not actually being recyclable.

McDonald’s has since stressed the straws are made from recyclable materials, but current recycling infrastructure does not allow for them to be processed by recycling plants.

So what can you do next time you swoop in for a happy meal? Say no to straws and use your own reusable one. As well as metal straws you can get handy foldable silicone ones for out and about.

Ready for another shock?

Be warned the next image can be distressing and upsetting!

Not all L’Oreal products are 100% vegan meaning some of their products contain animal-derived ingredients or animal by-products such as egg white, mink oil, beeswax, honey, and other animal by-products.

Lets check your greenwashing skills:

“in 1989, L’Oréal was able to end all testing of its products on animals, without making our products any less safe. Since March 2013, the Group has taken another decisive step: The Group no longer tests on animals, anywhere in the world, and does not delegate this task to others. An exception could be made if regulatory authorities required it for safety or regulatory purposes.”

Did you spot the greenwashing in this policy?

The L’Oreal animal testing policy states they test their products on animals where required by law.

Right so lets dig a little deeper….

Required by law animal testing means that the brand is allowing animal testing to occur on their products due to various laws and regulations around the globe. These laws may apply to ingredients, formulations, or finished products. They could also happen pre-market (before the products are available to consumers) or post-market (after the products are available to consumers).

The truth is there are so many alternatives to all these wonder creams, lotions and potions!

Take a look at our vegan, organic natural solid deodorant:

With your new greenwashing skills, which products are you going to choose???

All our alternatives are available in our Sustainable Swap Shop including the deodorant shown above:

SUSTAINABLE SWAP SHOP: Between Green (between-green.com)

How to Save The World while Working From Home

Hands up if you’re working from home…. yep, me too!

I’ve put together some really simple ways you can save the world from your dining table, bedroom, living room, wherever you are staying home and safe!

1. Unplug your computer overnight

Make it a habit to unplug your computer every night. Not only is this a real energy saver, but it also can protect your computer from serious damage. It’s not an old wives’ tale — a power surge caused by lightning can completely fry your computer.

A computer, modem, and monitor, TV, phone charger, or cable box all consume a considerable amount of electricity even when not in use.

2. Disable Screensavers

Yes, they are very pretty however, a PC with a screensaver going can use well over 100 watts of power, compared with only about 10 watts in sleep mode.

Most screen savers use the same amount of energy as when the screen is in normal use. Some more sophisticated screen savers actually use more energy. You can set most screens to automatically power down after a pre-set time of user inactivity, e.g. 1 minute. By clicking the mouse or pressing a key the image is quickly restored. Remember to fully switch off at the end of the working day.

3. Use a paper bin

YES – obviously its way more eco-friendly to reduce your paper waste in the first place but when paper waste is inevitable make sure you are recycling correctly.

If you haven’t got a spare bin you could use a strong shopper bag or even an empty cardboard box which makes it all the more easier to recycle!

Now lets see if we can reduce the amount of paper….

4. Print on both sides

If I need to print anything I make sure I can fit at least 2 pages to one sheet and most printers have an option to print on both sides.

You’ve saved paper, saved ink and saved electricity! Well done you!

5. Lower your Screen Brightness

This green tip comes to us from Harvard Law School’s energy manager Eric Potkin who found that reducing your computer monitor brightness from 100% to 70% can save up to 20% of the energy the monitor uses.

Most people won’t notice much difference in their monitor between 100% and 70% brightness, so reducing brightness to the minimum comfortable level is a great opportunity to save up to 20% of your monitor’s energy consumption.

6. Make your own snacks!

So we’re at home and we’re not using coffee cups or plastic bottles, we get to use our favourite mug all day…WIN!

Making your own snacks means less, or even, no packaging.

Nuts left over from Christmas make awesome seeded bars and flapjacks, or try your hand at the lockdown favourite of banana bread to reduce food waste.

Being at home is the perfect time to get creative – make sure you share your home recipes!

7. Change your search engine

Goodbye Google…

Bye Bye Bing…

Adios Ask.Com….

Ecosia uses the ad revenue from your searches to plant trees where they are needed the most. By searching with Ecosia, you’re not only reforesting our planet, but you’re also empowering the communities around our planting projects to build a better future for themselves.

Give it a try!

Stay Safe Everyone

Let me know if you use any of these tips by connecting with me on Facebook and/or Instagram

Love, Light and Green Vibes….

Jodie

The Best Handmade Gifts to Give This Christmas

A Gift that’s handmade,

Is a gift not replaced,

Entrapping sweet memories,

That can’t be erased.

Amanda Evanson

There’s just something amazing about unwrapping a gift, wondering what’s inside. Underneath the wrapping paper could be anything, a CD from your favourite band, a new headset, any one of a million things from a million stores. But what’s really special is when you open up that paper and what’s found inside is a tangible representation of the love and adoration the person giving the gift felt you. Nothing says that like a hand-made gift, you get to be the one to share that love with the people you care about.

There was time, not all that long ago, when a hand-made gift was the only sort of gift you could give. There were no major manufacturing facilities churning out the latest trend that you and every one of your friends has, instead when a gift was made, you knew that it was hand-made. Even more common was that a gift would be hand-made by those presenting it, with time and care spent crafting it with you specifically in mind. Can you imagine how important that made every article you received? Whether it was a simple as a Christmas card, a photo in a frame, chocolate truffles… each of them were hand made with attention and love.

Try your hand at producing a gift, no matter what it is. We all have skills we can turn to producing something made with personal care and attention. Whether you’re creating a card with the little emblems and symbols you know the recipient adores, or creating an entire gift box of goodies. Really express yourself and your view of the recipient through arts and crafts.

The kinds of gifts you can make is limitless, and if you don’t possess the skill to create a gift you can certainly use this as your excuse to learn! Start by making cupcakes for your family and friends, get some coloured icing and get a little creative, who knows what you can come up with! Your recipient will know how much you love them and how much you value your relationship, all wrapped up in one hand made bundle.

The Best Handmade Gifts to give this Christmas:

  • Baking enjoyed another moment in the spotlight this year as we were all at home making banana bread… why not create a box of baking ingredients and equipment so they can enjoy special time together making brownies, cupcakes, or another banana bread! Baking is a great way to reduce food waste and there’s no plastic packaging on cakes fresh from the oven!
  • Get in touch with your inner artist and create a beautiful Christmas card. The recipient could bring it out every year so the handy work is enjoyed year after year with no waste.
  • Make Your Own selection boxes! Selection boxes of chocolate are filled with plastic and there’s always one bar in there that you don’t like. Homemade truffles and other chocolate treats aren’t as hard as you think. Add dried fruits and nuts or mix in peanut butter for those nutty fans!
  • Beauty makes in reusable mason jars look beautiful and so easy!

For a lemon hand scrub just mix:

Lemon Juice

Sugar

Olive Oil

Or why not leave out the lemon and use a few drops of essential oils? We have an extensive list here:  http://www.between-green.com/essential-oils/

Ways to Get Prepared and Organised with only 30 days till Christmas

In just 1 weeks time, Lockdown 2.0 is scheduled to be finished. What that means to different areas of the UK remains to be seen but one things for sure… Christmas is on its way!

credit: belfast telegraph

The words “stampede” and “astronomical rise in number of people on the streets” were used to describe the scenes in Northern Ireland who are preparing for their two-week lockdown rushing to the shops and high streets to get their Christmas shopping.

Now to me, that sounds absolutely awful, and it got me thinking… Christmas – that most wonderful time of year filled with gifts, festivities, and a whole host of ads and promotions constantly bombarding you about it. It’s no doubt that Christmas has become commercialized.

credit: John Lewis

But in all of the commotion of promotions, sales, and Christmas shopping, maybe you forgot something important. You’ve been running around like mad – is there anything in for dinner tonight? Or maybe you need to buy some things for the house?

If you must go out, spend time at home beforehand making a nice list of what you need, gifts that you need to buy for people, all of the things for wrapping gifts at home, and all of the decorations to put up? Limit your journeys out by being ultra prepared and organised.

Now, before you get your coat, shoes and face mask, can any of these things be bought from small businesses online?

I know I’m missing out on Christmas events and markets this year, and for most other small businesses, Christmas is their most profitable time of year.

Crafters, bakers, movers and shakers can still be found in their thousands on sites such as Etsy or simply let everyone come to you. I’ve seen so many posts on social media of people putting up their Christmas lists and then people add in the comments if they can help or know someone who can.

Shop small and local if you can, then encourage friends to do the same. Share your purchases, like and follow a small businesses that you love, share their posts, tag friends who might be interested…so many things you can do at home without a queue or hand sanitiser in sight!

You’ll be able to sit at home and relax with a nice mug of mulled wine when everyone else is running around shopping (don’t forget to check your local bakers for a mince pie to go with it!)

Love, Light and Green Vibes

Jodie @ Between Green

Guest Blog: Rock Your Birthday

Greetings from @Rock Your Birthday – an eco-friendly alternative to a birthday card.

Hi, My name is Chris, creator of ‘Rock Your Birthday’.

RYB is a culmination of my life choices, skills and illnesses (yes, you read that right!). I’m an eco-conscious person. I’m a musician. I’m an SEN teacher. I have Crohns disease and I also have Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS).

Last year, due to my illnesses, I was forced to give up large parts of my working life in order to look after myself. It was at this point I decided to put my efforts into making a difference.

RYB allows you to record your recipients name, a personalised message, the name(s) of those that’s it’s from and to add your favourite 10 photo’s. This is all edited into your choice of one of our many different styles of ‘Happy Birthday’ and is returned to you via email or Facebook messenger as a birthday ‘song & video’ for you to share with your lucky recipient. In effect, it emulates a Birthday card, without the need for cutting down a tree or wrapping it in the dreaded ‘P’ word… yes, pl***ic. You can see examples of our work on our facebook page – facebook.com/rockyourbirthday or website – rockyourbirthday.com. They’re quick and easy to make and are returned to you the same day that you order.

RYB is fantastic for all ages. Anyone would love to receive one and everyone can make them. You can even have your child’s voice on a song from any age by simply asking them to repeat what you say (your voice would then be edited out of the song). My family members have received them from my daughter since she was two. To capture her voice like this is priceless and is something we’ll all treasure throughout our lives.

As the covid-19 outbreak hit, I wasn’t launched. I wasn’t ready. But the world was struggling and I felt it was time for people to dig in and do what they could to help. And so, with many people unjustly missing their loved ones birthdays, I opted to be a helper and to give them away for free throughout the first outbreak. We made hundreds! I’ve had to stop that now – with little work, I’m struggling financially, but they are available for the princely sum of just… £3! Instead, throughout this lockdown, I’m donating 50p from every song to an NHS charity.

To date we have saved over 600 cards from being created and 600 pointless plastic sleeves to wrap them in. It’s not much, but it’s a start!

Being eco-friendly doesn’t have to mean changing everything overnight, but it is about changing. The more we can change ourselves and each others habits, the more we achieve and preserve our beautiful world. Through RYB, I hope to be able to be a part of that change.

As Sir David Attenborough said “We need immediate action”.

I’d be delighted if you had a look at our service at either:

https://www.facebook.com/rockyourbirthday
or
http://www.rockyourbirthday.com

And, if you want to give us a go, you’d be treading on that ‘helping’ path too.

Thanks for reading,

Chris
Rock Your Birthday

HelloFresh #2

Hello and Welcome to another Blog Post Thursday.

I hope this blog reaches you safe and well! Unfortunately, we are self-isolating as my daughter has tested positive for Covid-19. She is over the worst of the symptoms, but she’s exhausted while her little body fights off this awful virus. In a way I’m so happy we’ve continued with food subscription boxes now we are unable to go out it’s become a life saver!

So, let’s round off our HelloFresh Trial Period Blog with what we’ve had for the last few weeks!

Recipes we’ve had recently include Chicken Chow Mein, Mexican Chilli on Wedges, Speedy Sausage Pasta and a Lamb Linguine, which I went Live in on my Facebook Page as a little demo and cook along! (Catch on replay here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=756607124888573 )

The last box we received had a very welcome freebie – Costa Coffee grounds! Thanks HelloFresh!

Once again, the recipes have been a hit all round with empty plates. The Mexican Chilli made so much we probably could have fed 6 of us!

I think my favourite has to be the Pork and Oregano Sausages with Spring Onion Mash and a gorgeous Apple Sauce.

A few more points from the last few deliveries, I have to admire the way Hello Fresh have reduced plastic packaging of their meats especially compared to what you’d get in a supermarket.

All our ingredients have been fresh and had plenty of days left on Best Before/ Use By Dates, however in my Facebook Group one of our members has said her ingredients haven’t been great. It’s not my experience but I’d be careful to check dates when the box arrives.

What I also forgot to mention last week is that we received a few promotional booklets called HelloPerks. There’s a few discounts 10%/20% off other companies’ products. We’ve taken advantage of the free Graze box so maybe I’ll share our treats at a later date!

Thanks for tuning in today! We received our first Gousto Box yesterday and we will be having our first meal from it tonight. My son has chosen Chipotle Beef Burgers and Wedges!

I shared the unboxing live in my Facebook Group yesterday so you can catch it here: https://www.facebook.com/744235153/videos/10164463235450154/

Love, Light and Green Vibes

(Please Stay Safe)

Jodie 😊

Our Between Green Home & Hello Fresh Food Delivery Boxes

*Disclaimer – this blog is in no way affiliated with HelloFresh

Hello and Welcome to Blog Post Thursday! For the next few Thursdays I’m going to be talking about our experience the last few weeks with Hello Fresh Food Delivery Service.

For those that don’t know, Hello Fresh is a meal plan that delivers boxes of food and recipes to your doorstep as often as you need each week. Choose your meals from a selection of curated, easy-to-follow recipes every week. Suit your lifestyle with a choice of extras, including desserts, wine and sides.

I’ll be honest I was approached with a deal I couldn’t turn down, 50% off my first box and 35% off the following 4 boxes. 4 meals for 4 people 4 days a week… bargain…!

(Quick disclaimer, we are not Vegan or Vegetarian in Our Between Green Home, however We try to reduce our meat consumption as much as possible)

So, week one, I went on the Hello Fresh Website and made my 4 choices. There’s a long list of options as well as some ‘premium’ options where you pay a small additional amount per person, such as the HFC, Hello Fresh Chicken that we had in week 3.

I chose Herby Chicken with Red Onion Mash and Garlicky Beans, Hoisin Sticky Baked Chicken Thighs, Bacon Penne all’Arrabiata and Cheese Burger with Wedges and Slaw.

The box was delivered to my house, luckily my husband is still on furlough so he was in to take the parcel. If you’re not in you can add instructions to be left somewhere else. The good news is the bag is sealed with insulation and ice blocks to keep food cool and fresh.

credit: themealkitcomparison

Each meals’ ingredients are separated into paper bags with numbers on relating to which meal they are for. All ingredients are pre-measured so there’s no weighing or measuring, and most importantly no waste! There is also a recipe card for each meal showing ingredients with images and step by step instructions.

Seeing how simple it would be with pre-measured ingredients and the step by step instructions card I thought this would make a great opportunity to get the kids (12 and 14 year old) in the kitchen.

So day 1, meal 1, Cheese Burgers with Wedges and Slaw. My son, accompanied by my husband cooked this meal. My son, Bradley, said

And I have to agree they were delicious! So far, so good…. 5/5

Day 2 we had the Bacon Penne all’Arrabiata with chives and garlic ciabatta. This time it was my daughter, Jaime-Rae, in the kitchen. She says

Empty plates all round, the high point being the garlic ciabatta…. Another success! 5/5

Day 3 was my turn, Hoisin Sticky Baked Chicken Thighs with roasted broccoli and red onion. I’ve never roasted broccoli before and WOW this was amazing! When it was plated up with plenty of Jasmine Rice and scattered toasted sesame seeds it was restaurant presentation worthy! 5/5

Day 4, me and my daughter in the kitchen, ready to make Herby Chicken with Red Onion Mash and Garlicky Beans.

I’m not a huge fan of green beans but these were delicious cooked in garlic, salt, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. 5/5

So, as you can see it was perfect marks across the whole week!

Apart from the delicious food what else I liked about Hello Fresh is just the total convenience. Its on your doorstep so no running to the supermarket, finding that supermarket doesn’t sell the ingredient you need or its out of stock, we know it happens!

Every single ingredient is used so there is no food waste at all. And with big appetites in our home there wasn’t any not eaten.

I love that the outer packaging, the cardboard box is recyclable and the PET liner that insulates to keep the contents cool is made from old plastic bottles.

However, there is still quite a lot of plastic packaging for the food items. Looking on the Hello Fresh website they are conscious of reducing their plastic waste and have already made some changes such as replacing larger plastic trays for certain vegetables and meat with ‘skin packs’ that use less material.  

Come back for week 2 of Hello Fresh in our Between Green Home next Thursday…

Love, Light and Green Vibes