Going Green. It’s something that we all want to do; it’s something that we hope everyone is trying to do, but what does going green mean? Whether that’s using a reusable water bottle or keeping an eco coffee cup with you at all times, buying less fast fashion or cutting down your meat consumption - there are so many ways you can do your part. Here are some of the simple switches I have made to help do my bit.
You can buy some really great designs on Etsy, these were my favourite and lasted me a year until I had to replace them
I’ve since bought the Soul Projekt pack of 20 pads as they are made from bamboo, they have 3 types of pad and come with a handy bag to wash them in, and after 9 months of use they are still not staining and wash really well.
This has been such an easy switch to make and thinking about how often I used to have to buy a pack of cotton pads, it really makes you think one small purchase can change both your spending habit on a product and also change the amount of waste you are sending to landfill.
Since reading issue 184 of Ethical Consumer Magazine I realised how unethical the mainstream soap brands are, and also how much plastic we are using on single use bottles. Overall the environmental impact of solid bars compared to liquid soap is much better, liquid soap has a higher carbon footprint (due to being heavier and containing lots of water) has more packaging (where the plastic ends up in landfill) it can also contain harmful substances that can bio accumulate into living organisms – essentially damaging aquatic life.
I now make the effort to seek out eco friendly soap brands like Little Soap Company and Faith in Nature as they have plastic free packaging and are against animal testing. They are a little pricier than the usual leading brand, however I do think the quality is better, they lather up better and smell amazing too.
I spent years - and also a lot of money – buying the leading brands’ washing capsules, and each time I would come home with a plastic box that would not be reused or repurposed when we were finished. My mum always used Surf washing powder, for as long as I can remember, so I’m not sure why it took my 5 years of having my own house to realise it is so much more economical and better for the environment. Sold in a cardboard box, which is much easier to recycle, and I find that it also lasts so much longer - less packaging being purchased. Win/win.
I have not bought a new roll of cling film in 2 years. Yes I am pretty proud of that statement. We are still nursing the one from 2 years back thanks to a present from my fiancées Aunt two Christmas’ ago. Bees wax wraps aren’t cheap but they do last a long time, a pack of 5 can set you back about £20 however you can re-wax them when they start to lose their stickiness, by getting a wax bar and melting them slightly in the oven on a low heat.
I would call them the perfect sustainable present – but I also love anything kitchenware related!
My fifth and final point is a big one, as it takes time to train yourself and it definitely isn’t easy. Cutting out high street chains that have a bad reputation for being unsustainable, and looking for the smaller independent shops that source consciously and ensure that the makers of the product are paid fairly and treated properly.
The high street is still very much focussed on disposable fashion, which is supported by overworked and underpaid factory workers – putting profit over people and the planet is not a sustainable way of keeping the fashion industry going. There is a lot to think about when making choices about where you shop, from the carbon footprint of goods, to companies with tax havens, animal down being used in products, sustainable cotton farming, and the recyclability of a lot of man made fabrics – the list goes on. It can be very overwhelming, but start small. I highly recommend signing up for Ethical Consumer magazine, it is a great resource that shares a lot of information about specific companies, the policies they have spoken out about, or not spoken out about, and how they rank on their ethical score card. It is around £30 a year and shares invaluable information to help you source smarter. They also release a bi-monthly magazine that you can receive in print and also electronically.
I will be covering some of my favourite sustainable stores in a future blog post, but remember to look out for brands that speak openly about how they source, being open about pricing, the make up of their products and where they are being produced. Ethnic Collective Co’s focus is on the makers first and foremost. Our debut collection has all been handmade in Marrakech and the surrounding villages by a small group of artisans. They have a really great relationship with my partner on the ground in Morocco, and they are given a steady amount of work so they can support their families. I am counting down the months until I can finally travel to go and meet some of the people of Morocco who are sourcing and making such beautiful homeware.
Being more sustainable doesn’t have to be difficult. It is all about starting small, and taking on a few changes at a time so they then become second nature. Talk about it with your friends and see if they have any tips of their own and share some of your favourite sustainable tips with me! Leave them in the comments below, I can’t wait to hear them.