As the cost-of-living crisis continues, the cost in energy bills, food, rent and fuel continue to rise. UK consumers have started looking towards second-hand shopping from charity shops, online marketplaces, and resale platforms like Vinted. The additional benefit of this means consumers are, maybe without realising, reducing their environmental impact.
With inflation still high, consumers today are changing the way they shop; cutting back in some areas and opting for second-hand items in others.
According to new research from eBay Ads, the rising cost-of-living and sustainability concerns are accelerating the second hand shopping market. Between December 2021 and January 2022, searches for ‘upcycled’ rose by 40%, ‘second hand’ rose up 24%, and ‘repair kit’ rose up 21%. It would appear that shopping habits are favouring sustainable purchases. Our habits are changing and more of us are looking to adopt sustainable lifestyles.
Elisabeth Rommel, Global GM at eBay Ads, commented: “Between the rising cost-of-living and a growing desire to make more sustainable purchases, UK consumers are increasingly thinking about how they can be savvy with their shopping. With upcycling, buying second-hand, and more sustainably sourced products all rising on shoppers’ agendas, retailers in turn need to be adapting to these evolving preferences in order to engage their customers and contribute to the circular economy.
“Whether it be offering a repair service, starting a second-hand shop, or making packing and materials more sustainable – retailers must tap into what really matters to consumers today, and communicate sustainability credentials clearly in their marketing and product information.”
In 2022, eBay became Love Island’s First Ever Pre-Loved Fashion Partner. This news was received positively across social media as people were becoming more aware of fast fashion‘s environmental impact.
But something has changed in the quality of second-hand fashion, more noticeably in the last year.
Something is changing
I came across a tweet where someone was asking second-hand shoppers if they had noticed a difference in the quality of secondhand clothing recently. After a few conversations, my pre-recorded mini interview was aired on BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme along with other secondhand shoppers to get a broader view on the changes in the secondhand market.
It would appear that charity shops may be missing out on sales due to the rise in online second-hand clothing websites and apps.
Charity shops have noticed that since the rising cost of living they have seen more people are choosing to sell their clothes online on places like Vinted and Depop, whereas these items may have previously been donated to a charity shop. This has led to a fall in quality clothing available those hunting secondhand fashion.
In the current economic climate, when many of us are strapped for cash, we look at what we have that we no longer need. Selling online has never been easier – you can do it from the comfort of your own sofa, lying in bed or travelling on the bus. Potentially making an extra few quid for a few minutes work does have its benefits.
Of course, where does this leave charity shops?
Many of us are acutely aware of how fast fashion brands greatly benefits the fashion industry. Some brands make clothes at break-neck speed to hit high street shops to keep up with fashion trends. In some cases, these clothes are cheaply made and of low quality. I’ve personally noticed these low quality clothes are appearing more and more in charity shops.
Since secondhand shopping tends to be primarily on the area of fashion, it’s helpful to focus on this. Secondhand shopping, whether it’s charity shops, thrift shops, or online apps, is part of a wider growth of the circular economy because it’s designed to avoid products ending up in landfill; a closed-loop system where materials would be reused over and over again.
It’s clear that consumer behaviour is changing and second-hand spending is becoming the norm, especially as younger generations, especially Gen Z shoppers are seeing the reality of climate change. We’re all becoming more careful on how we spend our disposable income.
In a society that places growing importance on sustainability and environmental accountability, the search for meaningful sustainable swaps has become more important than ever.
The new year is a great opportunity for many of us to make some important and meaningful changes to our lives and habits.
It could be giving up smoking or exercising more. It’s also a great time to start thinking about our individual environmental impact by looking at our own carbon footprint, and what we can do to reduce it. More and more of us are becoming aware of using and making simple swaps to a more sustainable lifestyle. The amount of plastic packaging that plagues our environment is eye-watering and we have seen an amazing growth of eco-friendly products and reusable products available in a bid to eliminate single-use plastics and the plastic pollution it causes.
Consumers want more of these products and companies are listening.
Some great examples are; reusable water bottle, menstrual cup, beeswax wrap, non-paper paper towels, period pants, organic cotton, reusable shopping bags that actually last, safety razors to name a few.
To make your life easier, I’ve done the leg work in this blog post (so you don’t have to) and found the best eco swaps you can make in 2024, helping you to find eco-friendly alternatives to reduce your plastic waste so you can start making sustainable swaps today!
BLUE VELVET CERAMIDE SERUM – An organic ceramide serum that is designed to nourish and repair the barrier layer of dry and sensitive skin to help it relax and calm down. It contains skin barrier strengthening Ceramides alongside plant-based Squalane oil to naturally hydrate and boost skin’s glow whilst Camellia Oil and Blue Tansy restore and nourish the skin to bring relief and calm inflammation and redness.
All you need to do is apply 3-4 drops of the serum onto clean skin, gently pat into face and neck.You can use this serum as part of a daily routine and follow with your preferred moisturiser.
Good news! This product is certified COSMOS Natural, vegan and cruelty free. Certification and sustainability claims are independently verified by Provenance
What I thought – I have to say, I’ve fallen in love with this product. It’s really gentle on my skin and leaves my skin really soft.
Wrapper Free Snack and protein Bars with a 100% edible coating.
Get ready to embrace a whole new world of sustainable snacking with One Good Thing (OGT) – the world’s first range of completely wrapperless snack and protein bars. Made from nothing but delicious, natural ingredients, the groundbreaking new snackable squares are coated with a completely edible, natural beeswax film, that protects the tasty contents inside. They can be rinsed or wiped and eaten in exactly the same way you would an apple – meaning no more plastic waste!
Made using only raw cold-pressed, low carbon ingredients, OGT bars are the best way to fuel busy days on the go whilst minimising our impact on the planet. There are seven different flavours of Snack bars available, including Mango & Passionfruit, Strawberries & Cream, Rhubarb & Custard and Cherry Bakewell, and a further seven different varieties of Protein bar, including combinations like Apple & Cinnamon, Sticky Ginger, Berry Burst and Butterscotch.
What I thought – This is such a good idea, they were a massive hit in this household. Really tasty, filling and no chance of food waste!
Focused on creating reliable, comfortable and leakproof period underwear while working hard on tackling the issue of single-use plastic waste as well as period poverty.
‘In an ideal world we would be free to make choices for our bodies and wouldn’t have to consider the consequences of our actions and how it might affect the environment. Everything we bought would be kind and gentle to the earth. We wouldn’t be limited to choices that don’t fit our bodies comfortably. We wouldn’t have to worry if we could afford the right solution for us. We may even hope that our choices impacted others in a positive way. Power of Pants is more than just a collection of very delicious knickers, it exists to nurture our environment, our bodies and our community. POP is freedom, a way of life – a ball that won’t stop rolling.‘
This is a great way to ditch single-use products and could save you money in the long run.
What I thought – I ditched pads and tampons a while ago and haven’t looked back. I’ve saved so much money doing this. This is a great sustainable solution that can have a positive impact.
VASO offers reusable insulated stainless steel coffee tumblers that are ideal for enjoying a variety of hot or cold beverages, from coffee and tea to cocktails and soft drinks. Crafted from 18/8 food-grade stainless steel, each tumbler features a double-walled, vacuum-insulated layer to preserve the temperature of your drinks. The outer powder-coated finish not only adds grip but also prevents condensation on the cup’s exterior. The tumblers come with a new slide-close, press-fit lid design, featuring a silicone O-ring for a secure seal and a sliding mouthpiece that covers the liquid flow hole when closed. Cleaning is easy – just wash the tumbler with warm soapy water and rinse. This is a great alternative to coffee cups.
What I thought – Although this is great for when you’re out and about, I use it at home during the day. As it keeps my drink hot for longer, it’s saved me from throwing away cold cups of tea away. A great sustainable living swap; it’s time to ditch the plastic bottles.
If you’re looking to replace your kitchen in 2024, this is a more sustainable option.
Rehome, the Kitchen, Bedroom, and Bathroom outlet is the UK’s largest BCorp certified retailer that specialises in the sale of quality sourced pre-loved, ex-display and end of line kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, and appliances (including fridge, freezer, washing machine, and hob) , many of which are from leading designer brands. Founded in 2015 by Helen and Phil Lord, Rehome.co.uk is committed to providing a more sustainable and affordable way to renovate your home. They believe that interiors deserve to be re-loved, and that quality builds and designs can be sold and reused. By encouraging consumers to rethink how they replace home improvement products, Rehome.co.uk is not only providing a meaningful renovating solution but is also helping homeowners to offset their carbon footprint along the way.
All products sold through Rehome.co.uk are subject to stringent quality certification and give an honest reflection of condition to help buyers make an informed choice. The company is based in Cheshire and offers a nationwide collection and delivery service alongside a Which? Trusted Trader dismantling service for consumers and retailers who are looking to sell via the site. In 2022 the Company was recognised by The Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Sustainable Development and most recently in 2023 was awarded the accolade of Marie Claire Sustainable Home and Lifestyle Retailer of the year.
What I thought – I genuinely didn’t realise such a business existed, this is a great option of anyone who is looking to upgrade their kitchen in a sustainable way.
If you’re looking for zero waste swaps and finally ditch plastic completely, you’re going to love these!
Protective Lip Balm, which comes in a biodegradable cardboard pot, and the Pure Deodorant, which is presented as a solid stick in a push up, plastic free, biodegradable, bps free, cardboard tube.
Pure Deodorant – This exclusive formulation contains natural vegetable enzymes to effectively neutralise odours and will keep you fresh all day long. With the subtle, fresh fragrance of Camomile this mild deodorant will not block pores or cause irritation. Vegan.
Protective Lip Balm – This rich, solid cream helps repair dry, chapped lips and prevents moisture loss. Both moisturising and soothing, it is ideal for outdoor protection from windburn and exposure to the elements.
One of best sustainable alternatives for everyday products while ditching the plastic packaging. These small changes are a great step in the right direction. Check out Beauty Naturals website for shampoo bars too.
What I thought – The scent for the lip balm is really gentle and soothing. The little pot fits perfectly in my coat pocket. The deodorant fragrance is not overpowering like other brands, it’s very easy to use. I love that these products have no plastic packaging.
If you’re looking for toilet paper that is kinder to the environment, keep reading for this sustainable swap…
All of their products are plastic free, made with sustainable materials and delivered to nearly 40 countries.. Available in Double length rolls; 400 sheets, Super comfy 3 ply, Cheaper cost per sheet than leading brands, 100% recycled paper (no virgin trees used!), and Biodegradable and plays well with most septic tanks. The best part? Carbon neutral shipping.
When I found out that all the plastic toothbrushes I’ve ever used is probably sitting in landfill somewhere, I decided to do something about that and made the switch the Truthbrush.
Truthbrush is the only B-Corp certified oral care company in the UK, meeting the highest standards of social and environmental impact. I tried a few other brands but liked this one and only ever use their toothbrushes. Some of my friends and family have made the switch too. They are sent in recyclable packaging, which is perfect for plastic-free products and eliminates unnecessary waste.
This is one of my favourite sustainable swaps. All their products are vegan and their shipping is carbon neutral. You can even purchase a holder for any travel lovers out there.
Rachel Fearnley Designs are a sustainable small business that handmake gifts, wedding favours and home accessories. Their motto is “gifts that don’t cost the earth” as they are both affordable and eco-friendly, making a sustainable lifestyle more accessible. All of their products are made out of 100% GOTS certified cotton, linen and wool.
These Lavender Scented Pyramids are a delicate home accessory that are made out of 100% GOTS certified cotton and are completely customisable. They can choose any print and any colour. Whilst they look delicate and luxurious they also have numerous health benefits. The home grown lavender used in the pyramids can severely reduce stress levels and anxiety, encourage a great night’s sleep, perfect for soothing headaches and migraines etc. Style in any room such as the kitchen, bathroom or hang in your bedroom. They could act as a great alternative to candles and read diffusers.
Check out their website for other handmade gifts; wedding favours, ring cushions, fabric reusable bags, and fabric bookmarks.
What I thought – These are beautifully made and smell gorgeous. I’ve got mine on my bedside cabinet because I don’t tend to sleep well. The home-grown lavender is calming.
This is a revolutionary sustainable, plant-based, BPA-free, pre-filled reusable water bottle. Made in Wolverhampton, Bottle Up turns renewable sugar cane sourced from Brazilian grasslands into durable, sustainable bottles which are then filled with pure British spring water from Elmhurst in Staffordshire for minimum carbon impact.
Bottle Up’s reusable bottles are available to buy in Morrisons, Ocado, WH Smith, The Coop, BP, Wholefoods, and Amazon RRP £3.
What I thought – I genuinely had no idea these existed, it’s such a good idea and available from so many places. The water tastes good and bottles come in a variety of colours.
There you have it, the best eco swaps to make in 2024!
When it comes to owning indoor plants, knowing when to water them and how much they need can be a challenge. Trust me I know.
OK, this is going to be a little confession, so you know I’m talking from experience, one of the first ever plants I had was a cactus. His name was Alfred and he was a little baby cactus. I’ve got a habit of naming all my plants, more on that later!
Although I knew next to nothing about how to look after small plants, my first thought was “how hard can this be?”. You know what’s coming, don’t you? I didn’t know what the right amount of water I needed to give him so I guessed and watered him every week. After a short period of time, I noticed his needles were starting to fall off, and one side went bald! Yes, my cactus went bald! I really wish I had a taken a photo of it because, thinking about it now, it’s too ridiculous for words. I don’t know what type of cactus he was, just that I killed him.
So that was my first experience with a potted plant.
Fast forward about thirteen years later, older and ‘wiser’, I wanted to get some plants but I needed to find the easiest way way of not killing them first. This is when I came across bottom-watering plants.
What is bottom-watering plants?
This is a way of watering the plants by sitting them in a bowl or a tub with a few inches of water. Instead of top watering (watering from the top), they are bottom watering (watering from the bottom). As your plant pot has drainage holes, the plant will drink enough water through the plant’s roots and won’t take in any excess water. It will drink as much water as it needs. You’ll see the water level drop after a while.
Also, knowing when your plants need a drink is something to keep an eye on. I’ve seen some who water their plants weekly on a schedule but different plants have different needs; some plants will start drooping slightly or a good idea will be to put your finger in through the soil surface, if it’s dry, it’s probably time to water. Alfred, being a cactus, didn’t need watering weekly, because he was a tropical plant. I know this now!
What are the benefits of bottom watering?
It’s easy to do – I’m starting with my favourite one; it’s easy. Fill up a bowl of water and pop your plant in. Easy Peasy Greeny!
Eliminates watering guesswork – It’s tough to know how much water your plants need, you could end up giving them too much or too little water. This takes the guesswork out of the equation. Plus, any excess water will sit at the bottom which could lead to root rot. No one wants that.
No dry patches – sometimes, the centre of the pot is getting most of the water which could lead some areas not receiving as much water. Bottom watering is a great way to ensure all the soil at the bottom has an even distribution of water, eliminating any patches of dry soil.
How do I do this?
As this is technique that I already use, and post about it on my social media, you’ll see how easy it is. Don’t worry, you don’t need any special equipment. You’ve probably already got everything you need at home.
You’ll need a bowl / large plate / Plant tray / Casserole dish, basically anything you can use to fill some water at the bottom of the container where your plants will sit. I’ve seen people use their bathtub. I like this because you can water many (if not all) your plants at the same time.
Fill up the container with a few inches of water and place your plants in. This is where you leave them and go off and do what you need to do; have a cuppa, sleep, watch an episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
I personally, leave my plants for about an hour but remember, they won’t drink anymore than they need, so you don’t need to worry about getting too much water. If you’re not sure, check the top of the soil. If the surface of the soil feels wet/damp, your plant has had plenty to drink.
Of course, larger plants will need more time as they will drink more water and smaller plants will need less time as they drink less water.
I personally use a mixture of tap water, filtered water and rain water. As I live in a hard water area, I make an effort to use rain water where I can. I’ve also used cooled down leftover water from whenever I’ve cooked pasta or potatoes, which seem to work for my houseplants. If you do this, make sure you don’t add salt to the water, you’ll kill your plant.
Here are a few videos from Instagram. Peace Lillies can be so dramatic!
This is my only watering method I use; it stops me from overwatering my plants, there’s no excess water at the bottom of the pot which can lead to root rot, and the plant drinks what it needs.
What’s with the naming plants?
I have a few plants; snake plants, peace lilies, an orchid, and a spider plant. Actually, the spider plant was something my daughter planted at school and I, somehow, inherited it. I did have some aloe vera plants but when we moved house, let’s just say, they didn’t make it.
When I went to the garden centre, I looked for a low maintenance plant, and a Peace Lily caught my eye. I didn’t bother looking at any others, I bought it. After a while, I thought it was lonely so I got it a friend. It was around the time I first got into Marvel and ended up calling them Wanda and Pietro. After quite a few months later, they were still alive so I ended up buying a snake plant, but he got lonely so I got another one for Mother’s Day. I named the first one Thor and the second one Loki.
The United Kingdom, with its stunning blend of rich history, diverse culture, and exquisite natural landscapes, offers an array of possibilities for families to embark on eco-friendly adventures.
In a time where environmental consciousness is becoming increasingly important, exploring the UK’s beauty through sustainable and responsible activities is not just a leisurely pursuit—it is an opportunity to connect with the planet and foster an enduring commitment to its preservation.
The UK’s beauty extends far beyond its bustling cities and historic landmarks; it is a country where the landscapes are as varied as they are breathtaking, created naturally over thousands of years. From the rugged majesty of the Scottish Highlands to the tranquil beauty of the Lake District, from the windswept coastlines of Cornwall to the lush greenery of the Welsh valleys, this island has something to offer every nature-loving family, all without having to get on a plane.
But what sets these eco-friendly activities apart is not just the visual brilliance of the UK’s natural beauty; it is the potential for families to become active participants in the ongoing narrative of conservation and environmental stewardship.
Eco-friendly adventures in the UK are not only about the thrill of discovery but also about taking tangible steps towards protecting the environment. As families, we share a collective responsibility to ensure that the landscapes, ecosystems, and wildlife that define this country continue to thrive for generations to come. These activities are a tangible way to make a difference, to move beyond words and into action.
For families, these experiences have the added benefit of forging stronger bonds, creating lasting memories, and instilling values that will endure a lifetime. The United Kingdom’s natural wonders provide the backdrop for moments of joy, learning, and connection. Whether it’s the laughter of children exploring a forest, the quiet fascination of observing a rare bird, or the sense of accomplishment that comes from participating in a beach cleanup, these eco-friendly adventures have the power to shape both individuals and families as a whole.
1. Hiking and Nature Walks
Location: All over the UK, from national parks like the Lake District to local nature reserves.
Why it’s eco-friendly: Hiking and nature walks encourage physical activity and a direct connection with nature without a significant carbon footprint. Spending time walking in the fresh air can also help us feel energised and helps your mental health.
Tips: Research the area’s trails and wildlife before heading out. Ramblers website is a good place to start if you’re completely new to nature walks and hiking. It’s important to be safe and ensure you have the necessary equipment.
2. Wildlife Watching
Location: Various wildlife sanctuaries, reserves, and national parks such as the Scottish Highlands or the RSPB reserves.
Why it’s eco-friendly: Observing wildlife in their natural habitat promotes conservation awareness and generates support for endangered species.
Tips: Bring binoculars and a field guide for identification. Keep a respectful distance from animals to avoid causing stress and ensure you stay safe.
3. Beach Cleanups
Location: Coastal areas all over the UK, including popular beach destinations.
Why it’s eco-friendly: Removing litter and plastic from the beach helps protect marine life and maintain the beauty of the coast.
Tips: Bring gloves, bags, and a willingness to pick up litter. Join local beach cleanup initiatives, like the Great British Beach Clean or organise your own with a group of friends and family. It can be really rewarding and it’s a great way for little ones to get some fresh air, while the TV and tablets are all left at home.
4. Camping and Glamping
Location: Campsites and glamping locations across the UK, including the New Forest and Dartmoor.
Why it’s eco-friendly: Camping is a great way to immerse families in nature and minimises environmental impact when done responsibly.
Tips: Choose eco-friendly campsites that promote sustainability. Great options could include local farms and enjoy the great outdoors. Some places offer family friendly accommodation and some are adult only, ensure you check this before you book.
5. Tree Planting and Reforestation
Location: Participate in tree-planting programs across the UK, often organised by conservation charities.
Why it’s eco-friendly: Planting trees helps combat climate change and supports the restoration of natural habitats. This is a great eco-friendly activity that the whole family can enjoy
Tips: Check for local community tree-planting events and volunteer opportunities. Learn about the native tree species and the importance of reforestation. The Tree Council have their flagship event, Tree Planting week, where people get together from up and down the country to participate and plant trees.
Why it’s eco-friendly: Cycling reduces carbon emissions and provides a green mode of transportation. Bring your mountain bike but don’t forget you’ve got your family trailing behind!
Tips: Rent or bring bicycles suitable for the whole family. Plan routes that are safe and enjoyable for all ages and skill levels. Take your time and enjoy the beauty of nature
7. Organic Farm Visits
Location: Organic farms open to the public throughout the UK, like Mossgiel Organic Farm Visits or Daylesford Organic.
Why it’s eco-friendly: Learning about organic farming methods and sustainable agriculture can foster an appreciation for locally sourced, eco-friendly food and the different ways on how it’s having a positive impact on the environment. You could also learn about seasonal produce and their low carbon footprint.
Tips: Schedule a guided tour, participate in workshops, and shop for organic produce to support sustainable agriculture. Make sure you ask a lot of questions and wear suitable clothing, depending on the weather, it could get a little cold and/or wet!
Location: Anywhere in the UK, as geocaches are hidden all over the country.
Why it’s eco-friendly: Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunt that promotes outdoor exploration and adventure.
Tips: Download a geocaching app, bring a GPS device or smartphone, and respect the natural environment while searching for caches.
9. Birdwatching and Bird Feeding
Location: Your own garden or local park and nature reserves with bird hides.
Why it’s eco-friendly: Birdwatching encourages an appreciation for local wildlife and can promote responsible bird feeding practices. This is a fun activity for little ones to spot the different species of birds.
Tips: Set up bird feeders in your garden, keep a bird identification book handy, and create a comfortable birdwatching spot at home. There are many creative ways to make your own bird feeder, a fun way (and easy way) to entertain the kids. You could check out the RSPB’s annual Big Garden Birdwatch where you record the number of species of birds you see so the RSPB can keep a record of birdlife in the UK.
10. Organic Gardening and Allotments
Location: Organic gardening and allotments can be found in urban and rural areas across the UK.
Why it’s eco-friendly: Cultivating your own produce using sustainable practices reduces the carbon footprint of your food and fosters a deeper connection to the environment.
Tips: Consider renting an allotment or creating an organic garden at home. Research organic gardening methods, composting, and eco-friendly pest control to yield healthy, chemical-free produce. National Allotment Week is a great place to start if you’re a completely new to allotments. When you’re ready, you can apply for an allotment.
11. Nature Art and Craft Workshops
Location: Art centres and nature reserves, such as the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust centres.
Why it’s eco-friendly: Nature art and craft activities teach creativity while using natural materials, promoting a deeper connection to the environment and out natural areas. These can be a fun project for children and some places may even offer a scavenger hunt.
Tips: Look for local workshops or create your own nature-inspired art projects using materials from the outdoors. These will be advertised as schools approach half-term or summer holidays.
Why it’s eco-friendly: This is a great opportunity to learn about marine life and conservation can instill a love for the oceans and a commitment to protecting them.
Tips: Participate in interactive exhibits and support institutions dedicated to marineconservation. Some aquarium’s will provide children with an activity sheet to encourage children to participate (and keep their interest). When my daughter was little, we used to find all the characters from Finding Nemo.
13. Eco-Friendly Farm Stays
Location: Various eco-friendly farm stays across the UK, offering organic, sustainable experiences promoting an appreciating towards a more sustainable lifestyle
Why it’s eco-friendly: Staying on eco-friendly farms can provide hands-on learning experiences in sustainable living, and enjoying the natural green space around you.
Tips: Research eco-friendly farm stays, look for organic and sustainable practices. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy farm-to-table experiences. Some places offer family friendly overnight stays and some may be adult only, ensure you check this at the time of booking.
Why it’s eco-friendly: Wildlife photography can promote a deeper connection to nature and raise awareness about local biodiversity.
Tips: Invest in a good camera or use a smartphone with quality photo capabilities. Study local wildlife and its behaviour for captivating shots. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out this page from the Natural History Museum.
15. Forest Schools
Location: Participate in forest school programs held in various natural settings across the UK.
Why it’s eco-friendly: Forest schools foster a love for the outdoors and encourage sustainable living practices.
Tips: Enroll your children in a local forest school program or look for forest school-inspired activities in your area. Make sure there is always adult supervision.
Why it’s eco-friendly: Volunteering for nature conservation projects directly contributes to the preservation of ecosystems.
Tips: Search for local volunteering opportunities, join conservation efforts, and help protect the natural world and encourage others to do the same. Volunteering also offers the opportunity to meet and make new friends with like-minded people.
Why it’s eco-friendly: Learning to cook with environmentally conscious practices can reduce food waste and promote sustainable eating.
Tips: It’s a perfect time to look for cooking classes that focus on seasonal, organic, and locally sourced ingredients from local farmers. This will also help you appreciate where and how our food is produced.
19. Solar and Wind-Powered Boat Tours
Location: Experience solar and wind-powered boat tours in various waterways, such as the Solar Heritage in Chichester.
Why it’s eco-friendly: Exploring waterways on eco-friendly boats demonstrates the potential for clean energy alternatives.
Tips: Do a little research on eco-friendly boat tours. Once you’ve booked, you can sit back, relax and enjoy a clean and green journey on the water, something you’ve probably never done before.
20. Upcycling Workshops
Location: Participate in upcycling workshops, often offered by environmental organisations or someone who is passionate about upcycling.
Why it’s eco-friendly: Upcycling promotes creative recycling and reduces waste by giving new life to discarded items.
Tips: Attend upcycling workshops and learn how to repurpose and reuse materials to reduce environmental impact. This can be from repurposing an old pair of jeans into a bag, reupholstering an armchair, creating planters from old boots, using old plastic bags to create a basket, turning an old photo frame into a wipe board and so much more. The possibilities of upcycling are endless, it’s all abut using your imagination.
In conclusion, the UK provides a wide range of eco-friendly activities for families to enjoy. These activities not only allow families to bond with each other while exploring the natural world but also instil a sense of environmental responsibility and respect for our planet. By engaging in these activities, families can play a massively significant role in preserving the beauty and biodiversity of the UK for generations to come not to mention creating core memories for their children.
Whether it’s hiking in the countryside, exploring marine life, or participating in conservation efforts, there are countless ways for families to enjoy eco-friendly adventures in the United Kingdom.
There’s probably more on your doorstep than you realise!
As someone who is always on the lookout for new eco-friendly products, and have a lot of friends and family who ask me for recommendations, I recently came across Mum & You 100% Biodegradable Baby Wipes.
‘Mum & You 100% Biodegradable Eco-Friendly Baby Wipes have been developed to look after baby’s delicate skin and the world they live in. They are made from sustainably sourced, naturally derived viscose from the most abundant and renewable wood fibre on Earth. Gentle and kind on baby’s skin, they contain 99.4% water and every ingredient is hypoallergenic and suitable for sensitive skin. They are 100% plastic-free wipes too.’
One thing I like about being a mum is that mum’s talk. We talk about products we’ve tried; ones that work and ones that don’t. We share tips and tricks to help our babies (and ourselves), and we want to make each other’s lives easier as we try to navigate this crazy journey called parenthood.
Who are Mum & You
The Mum & You narrative is straightforward. Their goal was to establish a company where the support of mothers and their infants would be at the core of everything.
The inception of Mum & You stemmed from the realisation that in order to provide babies with the optimal beginning in life, it was crucial to offer support to mothers. The initial 1,000 days of a baby’s life are paramount for their development, constituting a critical phase in which the groundwork for a child’s future is laid, profoundly influencing their capacity to grow, learn, and thrive.
Yet, this period can also be the most challenging for any new mother.
Mum & You at Christmas
The Christmas period is a season of giving and a bit of indulgence. Engulfed in the frenzy of purchasing gifts for everyone, including our furry friends, it’s no surprise that the UK is a nation of generous gift-givers. In reality, the UK generates over 688,000 tonnes of Christmas waste annually.
Becoming a parent is a transformative experience, prompting many to become more conscious of the world they inhabit, looking for gifts made from sustainable materials, and the lasting impact their choices can have on their baby’s future. The first Christmas with a baby is particularly special, offering a prime opportunity to reassess gift-buying habits and adopt a more thoughtful and sustainable approach to giving.
My friend recently had a baby and she’s been struggling with finding a solution for her little one’s nappy rash. It turns out her daughter has quite sensitive skin and a lot of the other wipes she’s used seem to irritate her daughter’s skin. I asked her to try the Mum & You sensitive range.
It worked an absolute treat. The rash started disappearing and now she has no rash. My friend said she will only use this brand and has already stocked up on more. She also likes that the scent isn’t overpowering. A happy baby equals a very happy (and relieved) mum.
As I said earlier, mums talk. She regularly attends mum and baby groups and she’s already starting praising these wipes.
A massive thumbs up!
Ideas for gift-giving
Here are five plastic-free baby stocking filler ideas that are kinder to the planet and also make a real difference to mums:
1. Organic cotton cloths and muslins – a mum can never have too many
2. Biodegradable wipes – Mum will get through around 36,000 baby wipes over 4 years and many of these are not biodegradable, taking up to 100 years to break down (let’s eliminate traditional baby wipes)
3. Handknitted baby mittens or booties (handmade gifts can be the ultimate kindness gift)
4. Nappies – not the most glamorous but something that would be helpful!
5. A 1st Christmas handmade tree decoration – something to treasure for years to come.
When my daughter was a baby, we went through A LOT of baby wipes. They were easy and convenient, especially when we were out and about. However, back then I never thought about the environmental impact I was having on the products I used.
Thankfully, there are a lot more products on the market that are kinder to the environment and have undergone biodegradation testing, use good quality natural ingredients, created using plant-based materials, and the best part, many don’t have harsh chemicals that cause nappy rash or aggravate your baby’s skin.
These Mum & You 100% Biodegradable Eco-Friendly Baby Wipes are a great addition to any baby change bag so it’s time to ditch the conventional baby wipes.
Mum and You is now available at Tesco as well as Boots online, Amazon and Ocado.
Stay updated! Here are nearly all of the environmental awareness days and sustainability dates to look out for in 2024 for the UK.
The great thing about awareness days is that there’s an awareness day for nearly everything. My favourite is International Chocolate Day which is held annually on 7th July. Personally, I tend to eat chocolate most days but it’s nice to know there’s a day for it.
I’ve written Environmental days 2023 UK and previous years and it’s something that is growing year on year as people are kind enough to let me know of additional events – it’s one of my favourite ones to write.
If you’re planning your social media content or a teacher looking for help for lesson plans or would like to organise a sustainability event in your community or at your workplace, this list of environmental days will make your life easier
As you can imagine, there are loads of dates for your calendar so the hyperlinks for each month will make it easier to navigate.
I have included what I can at the time of posting this and will update any new sustainability days for 2024 as and when new information is available.
Throughout the month of January, Veganuary invites and inspires people to explore a vegan lifestyle. Since 2014, 2.5 million people have signed up from 228 countries and territories around the world. It’s a great way to discover how to cook with different vegetables and allows you to be as creative as you want. Their website has a wealth of advice and recipes to get started.
This is a great opportunity to do with little ones. All you have to do is sit in the garden, be very quiet and count the bird you see. If you don’t have a garden, it’s fine, sit in the park, watch from your balcony, anyone can take part. Birds play an important role in nature and with our help, the RSPB can keep an eye on the population our feathered friends. Check out their website to see how to get involved.
Houseplant Week UK 8th – 14th January 2024
Usually held annually during the second week of January, this week celebrates the benefits of having indoor plants. Indoor plants not only look good, they can help purify the air and there are so many low maintenance options if you’re worried about forgetting to watering them. I’ve got some Peace Lilies and a spider plant. I’ve also three snake plants; Thor, Loki and Hela (one for Marvel fans!)
Looking for an environmental day in February 2024? I got you
World Wetlands Day is celebrated annually to mark the anniversary of The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands which was signed on 2nd February 1971 to protect wetland habitats which play such a vital role within our ecosystem.
Here are the March 2024 environmental awareness days for your calendar
This is a United Nations International day to celebrate the all the wildlife and around the world. Focusing on the importance of why these wildlife and plants are crucial to all life on this planet and why loss of habitat is affecting their survival. This date was specifically chosen to cite the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which was signed in 1973.
Knowing that we are using finite resources, we have to look closely at what we are throwing away. This day was created to encourage and focus on why recycling is important and how we can reuse the precious resources we have without taking more from from the environment. Check out their website for facts and figures on recycling and how you can take part to look after the planet for future generations.
Held annually on the 22nd March, focuses on the importance of freshwater. It raises awareness of the 202 billion people around the world who do not have access to safe water. The theme for 2024 will be ‘Leveraging Water for Peace’.
Sustainability days for the month of April 2024
National Walk to Work Day – 1st April 2024
This day is dedicated to encouraging us to walk to walk. Admitted, this means not hitting the snooze button so many times, walking has so many health benefits and according to Well ‘A 20 minute walk per day could cut your risk of premature death by a third.’ Leaviing your car at home will reduce carbon emissions and help towards a better future.
Community Garden Week – 1st April – 7th April 2024
This is a week where community gardens and school gardens come together, to support and inspire each other. Creating these gardens for everyone to enjoy. What’s not to love?
Dolphin day – 14th April 2024
Held annually on the same day, this day is to think about and raising awareness about protecting these beautiful marine mammals.
For Earth Day, earthday.org will be demanding a 60% reduction in the production of plastics.Not certain types of plastics, ALL plastics, by 2040. We have all see n the devastating effects plastic has on us and the environment around us so this quite an important one. Check out their website and find out how you can get involved. There is a section on their website where you can learn more about plastics and also a report called The Plastic Waste Maker’s Index showing what companies are most responsible for plastic pollution. Take a guess who is at the top of the list? (paeg 49). The first Earth day was held in 1970 and has been going strong ever since.
So much food is wasted daily and there are so many ways to reduce this; freezing, buying less, donating. 45% of root crops, fruit and vegetables produced globally is lost or wasted per year, that’s way too much waste. There is so much world hunger and there are things we can do. This day focuses on education, check out their website to find practical and creative sustainable solutions of reducing your food waste
Here are some more environmental events to take part in May 2024
Plantlife’s annual campaign, No Mow May is a pretty simple one to take part in. Just don’t cut your grass for the month of May. That’s it! The aim is to provide a space for nature to do their thing. According to their website ‘We’ve lost nearly 97% of flower rich meadows since the 1970’s and with them gone are vital food needed by pollinators, like bees and butterflies‘
This annual education initiative is to raise awareness of the importance of composting, from the benefits of composting to the importance of creating healthy soil. You don’t need a lot of space for composting and this week will show you how you can get yourself and little ones involved. This is a great example of the power of collective action.
Endangered Species Day – 17th May 2024
This annual event focuses on the species that are likely to be extinct in the near future and there’s a possibility that we’re losing species before we have even discovered them. There are many reasons for this: exploitation of the environment, depletion of natural resources, habitat loss, and the lack of meaningful climate change action by world leaders. The WWF website keep an updated list of the species that are on the endangered list.
Bees are the hardest working creatures on our planet, as they play a critical role in pollinating our food and I don’t think they get the credit they deserve. There are over 250 species of bees. Learn more about bees and how we can help them by planting wildflowers and preserving the flora we have.
There are so many people around the world who do not have access to fresh drinking water. Water is a vital source for all life on this planet and this week is a national initiative dedicated to bringing awareness and promoting ways in which we can save it.
This is a great way to celebrate and encourage the enjoyment gardening hold for our children. Kids aren’t afraid of getting their hands dirty and it’s a great way to teach the next generation about the importance of gardening. You don’t need to have a large space for gardening, it can be about maintaining school gardens, gardens in our local communities or in your local park. This is one of the sustainability events that is popular up and down the country with a view to make our environment a better place.
June 2024 is a busy month for national environmental days
This world day is held on the same day every year, which is dedicated to our environment. This United Nations Environment Programme has the main aim of focussing on the only home we all share and how we need to look after it for the next generations to come. If you’re looking for some great ways to help children learn about environmental protection and more about the Earth’s environment, this is a great place to start. Let’s make a positive impact.
This is one of the UK’s largest celebration of actions taking my local communities to tackle climate change and to protect nature. This can involve anything from litter picking to writing to your MP. Check out their website to see how you can plan an event in your local area and get your community involved in looking after the only home we have.
For a healthy planet, a healthy ocean is vital for ALL life on this planet. As a global event, this year’s theme is ‘Catalyzing Action for Our Ocean & Climate’ aimed at campaigning and encouraging our leaders to make the decisions needed to preserve our oceans and make climate action and global warming an urgent priority.
According to their website ‘Every year, air pollution causes up to 36,000 deaths in the UK.’ We all have the right to access clean air as pollution causes so many health problems, especially in children. Their website has a wealth of resources where you can get involved in this important day.
Held annually on the same day, World Refill Day encourages us to ditch our single-use plastic bottles and using refillable bottles where we’re out and bout. Millions of people get involved around the world. They’ve created an app to find out where you local refilling station is. It’s time to join the refill revolution.
Working with various organisations and indigenous people, their mission is to highlight and celebrate the importance of our rainforests which are at threat due to human activity. This is a global movement with the aim of protecting and restoring the rainforests we have left. Filled with biodiversity and are home to so many species, some of which we may not have even discovered yet.
This month-long campaign has grown year on year encouraging use to adopt sustainable habits to reduce our plastic consumption. We don’t realise how much power we have as small changes can make a huge difference. #PlasticFreeJuly is a great way to find ideas on what you can do for this month. I’m always talking about reducing my plastic consumption, check out my profile on Instagram and follow me
Don’t Step on a Bee Day – 10th July 2024
This day is observed annually in the UK. Bees are amazing pollinators and they are key to our long-term survival playing a massive role in balancing our ecosystem. If you’d like to know more, check out my blog on why they are so important and how you can help them.
Having access to green spaces is vital to our mental health and this week is dedicated to celebrating these spaces and everyone who contributes to them. Go for a walk in the park and enjoy nature and the blue skies.
Held annually on the fourth Sunday in July ‘in celebration of bogs, fens, swamps & marshes is an opportunity to raise awareness of peatlands – the benefits they provide, the threats they face and the ways we can all help protect them.’
Here are environmental awareness days for your calendar for August 2024
This week is where the The National Allotment Society encourages us to the benefits of having an individual or community allotment. They also promote the benefits of having healthy soil. Check their website to see how you can get involved.
Hold on to your hats! September 2024 is a bumper month for sustainability days
This campaign is a month-long annual celebration by Oxfam to promote buying second hand and reduce waste. By buying second hand, we can reduce our carbon footprint. I’m a huge fan of #SecondHandSeptember and here’s what I bought in September 2023.
This annual campaign is led by the Soil Association who work tirelessly to raise awareness of the benefits organic farming. This isn’t just important for our health, but the planet too. This environmental day is one for the diary. Artificial fertilisers are depleting the nutrients we need in our soils to grow food.
This is a key environmental day in history of when, in 1987, the the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was adopted.
‘As the treaty turns 35 on Ozone Day, we will remember how the Montreal Protocol ended one of the biggest threats ever to face humanity as a whole: the depletion of the ozone layer. When the world found out that ozone-depleting gases used in aerosols and cooling were creating a hole in the sky, they came together. They showed that multilateralism and effective global cooperation worked and they phased out these gases. Now the ozone layer is healing, allowing it once again to shield humanity from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.’
Held annually on the fourth Sunday in September, is to celebrate our waterways. It focuses on the numerous benefits of our rivers, aims to boost public awareness, and promotes better care of rivers worldwide. Rivers in nearly every nation confront various challenges, and it’s only through our active engagement that we can safeguard their well-being in the future.
This environmental campaign focuses on helping and encouraging homes, schools, businesses and community groups to find ways on how to reduce waste that is destined for landfill. Check out their website to see how to get involved.
This is a great initiative where thousands of people give involved in cleaning up our beaches allowing people to enjoy our beaches without having to avoid rubbish. As their flagship event ‘Litter data collected on beach cleans drives our conservation work, helps us to campaign for change, and also feeds into the International Coastal Clean-up (ICC).’ It’s the perfect way to get our little ones involved in caring about their environment, besides, who doesn’t enjoy some fresh air and time away from the TV? I’ve taken my daughter to the beach to litter pick, find out how we got on.
This global annual event had some amazing results in 2023; 19.1 million participants took part from 91% of listed UN nations and collected a whopping 205,000 tons of waste! What an amazing achievement. I’m sure 2024 will be another massive year for this fabulous campaign.
Each year, the FSC Forest Week is a global initiative that urges all those responsible for forests to raise public consciousness regarding the significance of sustainable forestry. The objective is to motivate these consumers to make a difference by selecting products that carry FSC certification.
Here are all the environmental days in October 2024
This annual, month-long campaign was started to create and promote awareness on how we can improve the health of our sewers, drains and seas. First launched in 2019, thousand of people up and down the UK have made pledges to change their bathroom and kitchen habits. Many of us don’t realise the wider environmental implications of what we put down our drains. Check out their website for tips on the different ways you can change your habits.
Led by Living Streets, this is a month-long campaign to encourage children and parents to walk to school. Promoting better travel habits that are kinder to the environment, road safety awareness and the fun of exercise, there are may ways to get involved. Check out some great #WalkToSchoolStories on their website.
This day is dedicated to not using a disposable cup. Their website states “Daily in the UK we use more than 7 MILLION DISPOSABLE CUPS – 500,000 are dropped on the floor! UK is one of the worst in the World in disposable cup waste using 2.5 billion cups a year – this would create a pile of disposable cup waste as big as the Albert Hall in London!” This one is easy to solve. Get yourself a reusable cup.
This annual event, hosted by Recycle Now, serves as their primary initiative to promote and foster recycling throughout the entire country. They’re really keen to get schools involved in this great initiative and learn how the can get involved.
International E-Waste Day acts as a platform for heightening awareness regarding the problem of electronic waste. Any organisations that have an issue with E-waste can take part. ‘You can recycle anything with a plug, battery or cable! International E-Waste Day to shed the light on ‘invisible’ electronic waste.’
Here are some more environmental events to take part in November 2024
Led by the Tree Council, it’s their largest annual event celebrating our trees. This annual event encourages thousands of people in Britain to come together to plant trees, marking the start to tree planting season.
This day highlights the importance of the health of our soil and why it is essential for long-term food security. They promote the importance of sustainable agriculture and encourage environmental conservation through education. Without the nutrients in the soil, we won’t be able to grow food. As someone once said to me “We can’t grow food in dirt”.
So, there you have it. A list of sustainability days for 2024. Feel free to comment below if you have a campaign you would like included. I’m always happy to share as many environmental awareness days and dates for 2024.
It’s common to find shop bought skincare products in containers that add to the never ending plastic waste problem, and some of these products might also contain harmful chemicals that could be detrimental to both your skin and the environment.
It can be really exhausting when you want to do better for your skin (and the environment) but there doesn’t appear to be another, chemical free, option that works for you or, if there is, its way out of your price range.
There are some brands that may claim their products are sold in eco-friendly packaging and made from natural ingredients, be aware of this because this isn’t always the case. There are other brands who genuinely do care about the environment and work towards making their products more sustainable. You just need to look more closely.
As I’m not one for settling, I started looking at various DIY recipes and ended up making my own skincare products using natural ingredients which really work for me. Not only is this better for the environment, the good news is I’ve found that I’ve actually saved quite a bit of money doing it.
At a time when many of us are probably struggling with our finances, who doesn’t want to save some money?
As I’m referring to recipes that work for me, it would probably help including a little information on my skin type.
My skin type is a little all over the place; I have dry skin around my chin area, oily skin around my nose and my forehead seems to have a mind of its own. Thankfully, I’ve never suffered from sensitive skin. As you can imagine, I’ve tried quite a few DIY recipes with a variety of simple ingredients.
Make sure you’ve got a chopping board, bowls and mixing utensils.
These are my favourites.
How to Make Your Own Eco-Friendly DIY Skincare Products at Home
DIY Hair Removal Wax
I’ve been waxing (and shaving) my legs for years and I really can’t bear to think about all the wax strips that have ended up in the bin (and then landfill) over the years. Not to mention how much I’ve spent by having to keep buying more pots of wax or wax strips over and over again.
No only is it bad for the environment, and can become quite costly, and when I look at the side of the wax pot, there’s loads of chemicals, possibly toxic chemicals, that I don’t know what they’re doing to my skin.
This is why I prefer to make my own and is one of my favourite natural skincare products I make for myself.
2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup of lemon juice (squeezed)
Bit of warm water
Cotton wax strips (cut up an old shirt you no longer need into strips)
Heat-resistant airtight container (glass jar will do)
Add all the ingredients in a pan and heat up on the stove on high heat until it starts to boil.
Reduce the heat to low and keep an eye on it.
When the mixture starts to resemble the colour of honey, take it off the heat and put in a heat proof container (If you use a glass jar, make sure you warm up the jar first otherwise the glass will crack)
Make sure the mixture has cooled enough so you don’t burn your skin.
From the years of waxing, I’ve saved a few of the plastic tubs because I know they can be microwaved. If you have any of these lying around, clean them out and reuse them.
The great thing is that it could help save you money, you know what’s in it, and it’s better for the environment because you’re not throwing away any plastic packaging. Goodbye harsh chemicals and welcome to creating the first of your own skincare products.
This has helped me avoid some skin irritation I’ve found from store bought options and contains Vitamin C.
DIY Foot Scrub
As we’re on our feet all day, our feet can become battered and tired and need some TLC. Sometimes, you just want a little spontaneous self-care feet pampering but then you quickly realise you need to go to the shop to buy something (like you don’t have enough to remember). Let’s not forget the possible toxins you could be putting on them from store bought options as well as the plastic bottles they are sold in.
Nope, we can do better than that!
This is a homemade scrub I use myself, it gives my feet the refreshing feel my poor, tired feet desperately need and you’ve got everything you need in your kitchen!
You wanna try it?
Two cups of granulated sugar
1/4 cup of coconut oil
Juice from a lemon
Airtight container (old pasta jar will do)
Mix everything up in a bowl and rub some on your feet.
Leave for five minutes and wash it off.
Top tip – I found gently rubbing the mixture in circular motions helps to gently remove dead skin cells
Refreshed, a great way to have happy feet without the toxins. Keep the rest in the container and give your feet some love whenever you feel like it. Best of all, something else you don’t need to buy from the shop and made from natural products. Another addition to your self-care beauty routine.
DIY Face Mask
I’ve personally tried loads of different shop bought face masks and it really annoys me that they tend to only be available in those silly plastic pouches that can’t be recycled kerbside. Some dry out my skin, some make it too oily, there was one that left red patches on my face so I’m staying well clear or that one.
Getting a good one can cost money and it all adds up – not to mention all the other ingredients in them that aren’t good for us. This is why I like homemade skin care recipes because there are other options to add to a good skin care routine.
I found this great recipe a while back and I genuinely can’t remember where I found it but it works really well for me. It’s all natural and making it yourself is a fraction of the price (plus you know what’s in it!). The best bit, there are only two key ingredients.
Honey (Manuka honey works well)
Seriously, that’s it!
Scoop and crush up half an avocado then add 2 tablespoons of honey and mix in a bowl.
Apply on your face and neck and leave for about 25 mins
Avocado is known to have healthy oils that naturally nourish and hydrate your skin, plus it’s a good source of Vitamin E. Some brands of natural honey contain antibacterial properties and can help with healing/reducing inflammation so it makes sense using these together.
Someone I know adds a little crushed rolled oats to help with exfoliation too so you could give this a go, if you fancy it. A great addition to a zero-waste skincare routine.
These DIY beauty products are ones that I’ve tried and tested myself personally, they work for me and help me with my zero waste skin care routine, they’ve also helped me save money in the long run.
There are many natural alternatives and it’s a case of finding what works for you.
Transitioning to a more eco-conscious skincare routine starts with making small changes. Each choice you make communicates the importance of embracing sustainability and by finding products that you can make yourself, you’re not only caring for your skin but also contributing positively to the environment (and potentially save some money in the process).
If you’re interested in some more DIY projects, check out my other blogs
The number of people becoming aware of climate change, greenhouse gas emissions and opting for more sustainable living options has increased greatly in the last few years. This has led to an increase in green and sustainability buzzwords, a marketing tool used by companies to promote their products to appeal to anyone who is looking to reduce their environmental impact. I’m not going to lie, there’s lots of jargon!
As someone who is familiar with greenwashing, I’ve seen so many bold statements by companies aligning their products as using recyclable materials, highlighting a reduction in carbon footprint and promoting their corporate social responsibility. It’s hard to decipher whether these companies have changed their practices and their claims are sincere or whether they’re just interested in selling their product, regardless of whether they share our environmental concerns.
The World Health Organization (WHO) are working hard to highlight the effects of global warming and reduce the world’s carbon dioxide emissions are using their voice to make significant change and allow the ability of future generations to be self-sufficient.
You’ll come across words like; zero waste, carbon neutral, circular economy, fast fashion and so much more but what on earth do any of these mean?
Fear not, I’ve got you covered.
This is a term used to describe materials that break down naturally to their original state over a period of time. This process takes places using nature’s micro-organisms which will eventually decompose the material. A great example of this is food scraps. During the composting process, the food scraps break down by insects and bacteria and become compost again which can be used in your garden. Something I have noticed is that you need to be a little wary when something says biodegradable, some products are made with harmful chemicals which will leach into the environment as they break down.
This is a measure of the variety and variability of all life on Earth. This pertains to different species of plants, animals, insects, fungi and microorganisms and how they interact with the ecosystem as a whole. Biodiversity will vary around the world due to the different climates.
These are fuels that are derived from plant matter, instead of fossil fuels, with the intention of being carbon neutral, which is believed to be less harmful to the environment.
These are referred to a type of plastic that, in cases, has been made from natural resources such as vegetable oils and fats, recycled food waste, straw and other organic materials instead of creating these products using fossil fuels.
This is often referred to as a process of trapping and removing, mainly from industrial processes, carbon dioxide in their supply chain and storing it in a way so it isn’t released into the atmosphere.
I’m sure you’ve heard of this one before. This is a measure of carbon emissions products by a person, a company or a product. Everything on Earth has a carbon footprint including your home, anything you consume, your car. The United Nations (UN) have provided some guidelines on how to reduce your carbon footprint that will benefit not only yourself but the planet too. One of the suggestions outlined is Walk, bike or take public transport where you can. Something I do is regularly delete unwanted emails and unsubscribe to newsletters you no longer want.
This term means having a balance between carbon emissions from a company’s activities and their carbon absorption from the atmosphere. It’s done by reducing the greenhouse gas from somewhere else within the business (carbon offsets).
This is an attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Essentially, it’s offsetting carbon from one area to another. There are many companies that buy ‘carbon credits’, usually businesses and organisations, in order to ‘cancel out’ their emissions.
This term is mainly used within the fashion industry as fast fashion and it’s manufacturing process has a massive impact on the natural environment. The concept is to keep materials and products in circulation, thus eliminating the need to manufacture new products and raw materials. The key is to produce products that last much longer and made from better materials that can be reused. A few great examples of a circular system is second-hand shopping like charity shops or apps like Vinted, and upcycling.
This refers to the long-term changes in global temperatures and weather patterns. Scientists have seen record of this throughout the Earth’s history, this is a natural process, but since 1800s, human activities has accelerated this process and is seen as the main driver of climate change. Mainly from burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas, increasing the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere.
It’s a situation where urgent action is needed globally to slow down the effects of climate change and to avoid irreversible environmental damage which could be catastrophic to all life on Earth.
This term is used to describe a product that can breakdown into natural elements which are non-toxic to the environment. A great example of this would be food scraps which require microorganisms to break them down into organic matter and return them to the earth as healthy soil. Some items can be composted at home.
This is referred to something that is not harmful to the environment and generally refers to a product.
This term is referred to the use of less energy in order to perform the same task or the ability to produce the same result. This can mean a product or activity. An example many would be familiar with is an energy-efficient lightbulb; it does the same job as a regular lightbulb but uses less energy to do so.
Ethical comes from the Greek ethos “moral character” and describes a person, company or their behaviour as right in the moral sense – truthful, fair, and honest. It can be used to describe someone who follows a set of moral standards.
This is a trend, from the fashion industry, which replicates fashion trends incredibly quickly and cheaply to meet consumer demand. The goal is to get the newest trends from the catwalk to high-street shops as fast as possible leading to overproduction, overconsumption and the use of synthetic materials, which is difficult to recycle. Many fast fashion brands have come under fire for not paying their workers fair wages and environmental groups are calling for these brands to encourage slow fashion.
This occurs when greenhouse gasses in the planet’s atmosphere trap the heat from the sun, cause the temperature of the planet to rise. The main greenhouse gasses that are rising are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
As one of the biggest sustainability buzzwords, this refers to when a company (and/or their product) claim they are doing more to protect the environment than they actually are. This is a powerful tool used by some marketing agencies to help a company promote an ethical product, when in reality, it may not be.
This is the process of integration and interaction between people, business, corporations and governments on a worldwide scale, usually referring to increased trade and cultural exchange between nations allowing them to be interconnected and interdependent.
This is defined as cotton which has been organically grown without the use of any synthetic chemicals like pesticides and fertilisers.
This is often referred to food or a diet consisting largely or solely of vegetables, grains, pulses, or other foods derived from plants. Avoiding any food products from animals.
This is a process of converting waste material from things we no longer need into new objects and materials. It’s materials that can be used over and over again through an industrial process.
This is energy from a source that is self-replenishing and won’t run out. Unlike fossil fuels, which is a finite resource, energy like solar and wind are infinite sources of energy also known as a renewable energy source.
This usually refers to an object or product that can be used over and over again.
This is often referred to a product or a way of life that cause little to no damage to the environment and allows it to continue for future generations and allowing them to reap the long-term environmental benefits previous generations have enjoyed.
Development that does not leave a degraded environment for future generations to come. The aim is to meet goals for human development while preserving natural resources to meet the needs of humans without compromising the planet.
This is referred to as a critical threshold that causes a particular system to change from one state to another, if it is crossed. When discussing climate change, this could lead to large and potentially irreversible change in the climate system. If these tipping points are crossed, they are likely to have severe impacts to all life on Earth, not just humans.
This is referred to a person who doesn’t eat any food that is derived from animals and someone who doesn’t use animal products in their lives; clothing, medicine, skincare.
This is a set of principles based on the prevention of waste and encourages for items to be reused, recycled or repurposed. The end goal is to avoid sending rubbish to landfill or anywhere else in the environment. You’ll see zero waste shops where food items are in dispensers and the customer is able. to purchase only what they need into their own containers, avoiding plastic waste.
And there you have it, a list of sustainability buzzwords. If there are any you would like me to include, let me know in the comments.
As we are approaching the Christmas season, more and more people are not only thinking about the cost of gifts for loved ones but the impact their gift has on the planet.
If you’re an eco-conscious consumer, who is concerned about climate change and you’re looking for the perfect gift that’s made from sustainable materials and reduces your carbon footprint, I’ve got you covered.
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Keep reading for some of the best eco-friendly Christmas gifts you can give someone for the upcoming holiday season. Here’s a great sustainable gift guide.
Smol not only offer cleaning products, they have recently released a new personal care range to encourage a more sustainable lifestyle, which includes toothpaste as well as body, shampoo bar and hand soap bars, with the UK’s first 100% plastic-free antiperspirant, all with the goal of reducing plastic waste. These products are currently available to anyone who signs up with their free trial. When it comes to sustainable gift ideas, it’s at the top.
As well as being plastic-free and Leaping Bunny certified, the range also aims to cut down on industry ‘fluff’ and unwanted ingredients, such as hand soap free from SLS, parabens and silicone, and no SLS in the low-foaming toothpaste.
Curlicue are a UK based business selling beautiful eco-friendly gift wrap. They only use 100% uncoated recycled paper which is FSC certified recycled paper, all their products are plastic-free and their gift wrap is made in the UK, not only does mean they support UK manufacturing, the carbon footprint of their products is much lower. Best of all, it passes the scrunch test so guess what, unlike other gift wrap, it CAN be recycled with your household recycling. A great gift for that eco-conscious friend.
Jungle Culture is a brand I personally love. They sell plastic-free and zero-waste products that are ethically produced and sustainable. One of my favourite products are their line of safety razors, which are made using a combination of natural and organic bamboo, and durable metals such as stainless steel, nickel or chrome. I’ve had mine for quite a few years and it’s still going strong and they’re really mindful of the manufacturing process.
I talk a lot about it in my blogs and I’ve had more than one family member who have made the swap from disposable razors. It’s one of the easiest swaps to make when it comes to sustainable living. When it comes to sustainable Christmas gifts, this is one of the best perfect eco-friendly gift you could give.
Johnsons Lawn Seed’s Celebration Wildflowers Mix – launched in the summer – can take a part of an existing lawn or flowerbed and convert it into a meadow. Containing bright and vibrant annuals, the mix has 17 different flowering species including cornflowers, poppies, cosmos, marigolds, and daisies, providing a diverse assortment of local insects which all have a positive impact on the environment.
Established in 1820 Johnsons Lawn Seed is the oldest lawn seed brand in the UK with a long and prestigious record of product innovation and grass breeding.
Not only do the Celebration Wildflower tins make ideal gifts for garden-loving friends and family, but they also offer an important gift to nature, as the wildflowers will encourage pollinators into gardens, providing nectar for these vital winged insects. Outdoor spaces will come alive with bees and butterflies for months at a time as soon as the flowers appear.
This is the ultimate green gift to anyone who loves spending time in the garden.
After finding out that all the toothbrushes I’ve ever used is probably sitting in a landfill somewhere, I quickly made the switch the Truthbrush.
Truthbrush is the only B-Corp certified oral care company in the UK, meeting the highest standards of social and environmental impact. I only ever use their toothbrushes and have encouraged friends and family to make the switch too. They are sent in recyclable packaging and eliminates single-use plastic.
This is one of my favourite sustainable brands. All their products are vegan and their shipping is carbon neutral. You can even purchase a holder for any travel lovers out there.
Or if you are looking for something a little more indulgent, Pulsin’s mouth-watering range of enrobed protein bars are made with plant-based chocolate, includes Choc Fudge and Cookie Dough which are delicious stocking filler alternatives to traditional chocolate and a tasty pick-me-up to boot.
Pulsin has also created a dedicated Keto range for those looking to support the low carb, high protein keto diet during Christmas.
Complete Vegan Protein Powders By combining multiple plant-based protein sources, including pea, faba bean and pumpkin seed Pulsin has created a unique range of complete vegan protein blends that provide all nine essential amino acids required by the human body, as well as delivering a more rounded texture and neutral taste that is a great base for shakes, smoothies or when added to cereal.
The new blends, which are available in vanilla, chocolate, chocolate hazelnut and berry, contain an enhanced 20g of high-quality plant-based protein with each serving, as well as key micronutrients like iron and phosphorus.
Purely Plantain Crisps Conscious Christmas snacking Along with more sustainable gifting, ‘conscious snacking’ is also on the rise as consumers choose authentic, passionate brands with a social conscience, who offer healthier snacking options that don’t compromise on taste. Purely’s Plantain Chips – are available in three flavours; including, Wild Garlic, Nice & Spicy and Sea Salt, they make for the perfect healthy alternative to potato-based crisps for the festive period.
Sudocrem Naturals – For those eco mummas out there, Sudocrem Naturals Nappy Cream formulation is 96% naturally derived, dermatologically tested with no synthetic fragrances or artificial colours, and suitable for normal, sensitive, and dry skin. It also comes in a recyclable, PICEA™ wood tube made from 95% renewable resources (recycled wood shavings) so it’s as good on the outside as it is on the inside!
Gently protects baby’s skin leaving it feeling soft and supple so you have a happy baby.
As the season has shifted and the darker days and nights are starting to draw in, this is the perfect time to look after your mental and physical health. The winter months are approaching and the winter blues can set in. During this time of year, our self-care and well-being can take a hit due to the end of daylight savings, the weather becomes grey and tinsel has already started appearing in the shops.
With Stress Awareness Week approaching (30 October – 3 November), it’s a good idea to keep an eye on our mental health now that the shorter days and colder months are approaching.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is something that affects many people this time of year leading to low mood, and difficult times due to less daylight. Seasonal depression can take a toll on our emotional health.
There are many positive things you can do to help yourself; spend time in the fresh air even if you many not want to, have a warm bath, avoiding junk food and adopt a healthy diet.
Check out these self-care tips for eco-friendly ways you can look after yourself. Self care is so important so look at which self-care routine tips you could adopt to help with the dark days and cold weather.
A hot drink
This is such a British thing, when we’ve got troubles, we ‘put the kettle on’, it’s a great form of self-care and there’s nothing better than a warm drink. I’m a huge tea drinker and have swapped to loose tea leaves. Some teabags contain micro plastics which could swim around in your cuppa so I’ve ditched the tea bags. If tea isn’t your thing, try Pumpkin Spice Latte or a refreshing Mocha. Give your tastebuds a little head start.
Self-care with candles
When I’m having a soak in a hot bath, I light some candles. Why? Because it’s a fabulous way to unwind and wash away the day. Candles come in all shapes, sizes and scents. I find they’re a great way to get rid of any negative emotions and really relax. If you fancy it, you could even add a bath bomb. I don’t tend to worry if my fingers end up looking like prunes, the goal is to relax and make myself feel better. You could read a book in the bath or listen to some music. I personally prefer to daydream.
A wheat Bag
This is a great way to unwind if having a bath isn’t your thing and these are extra special because they are something you can reuse over and over again. Many are scented with Lavender and other soothing essential oils which can be perfect to help you relax, unwind at watch a good movie at the same time. It can make you feel really cozy.
Time to de-clutter
Having a lot of clutter around you can really affect your mental health. Take some time to start decluttering areas around you that may be bugging you. You don’t have to do it all in one go, do a bit at a time. Look at things you no longer need or use; I’m sure there’s things you can donate to charity or regift to close friends.
Self-care with a sleep mask
Getting a good night’s sleep is the key to everything. Because without a good night’s sleep, it is difficult to function properly. A good sleep mask will block out all light and help you fall asleep. I use one myself and I wouldn’t be without it.
Disconnect from Social Media for a bit
Don’t get so caught up on what others are doing. Remember, people only put the best of themselves on social media, people don’t tend to post the bad side of their lives. You’re only seeing a small snapshot of what’s going on with them and some of what you see is probably artificial. It’s OK to turn your phone off.
Dopamine can be your friend
Lack of dopamine can negatively affect your mood, motivation and focus. Do something you’ve never done before; there’s probably a large hill near you, climb it and enjoy the view. Music is a great way to elevate your mood; put your headphones on and dance around the living room like no one is watching.
Move your body, get some exercise, you don’t even have to go to a class, I bet you’ll find something on YouTube. Now this is a bit extreme for me but a friend of mine has a little lake near her and she goes for a swim. She’s a really strong swimmer and she finds it helps her mood (make sure you don’t go alone and stay safe at all times!)
There are a wide range of essentials oils that help with relaxing, general wellbeing and can have restorative benefits. Check out this post I found with some great information on how essential oils can help your overall health.
This may not be everyone’s bag but writing down how you’re feeling can be quite freeing. I’ve found that once something is out of my head, I think about it less. This is an incredibly personal thing so don’t be too scared to write down everything you think about; the good, the bad and the ugly. Get it out of your head. Remember, it’s OK not to be OK.
Learn something new
Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn but never found the time? Could be something you may not ever use again… Learn the piano, juggle, learn a new language, twirl a pen with your fingers, memorise all 50 US states (don’t forget Hawaii and Alaska, I always forget those!), whistle with your fingers, play poker, learn the monarch song (I learned this!), line-dancing, balancing act with a fork and a toothpick, how to burp on command. You see where I’m going with this. There are so many things you could learn, do something for yourself and it doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else.
The beauty of sleep
A big one to include in your self-care plan. Sleep. Without sleep, we struggle to function. Dark mornings and dark nights can affect our daily routines. Make sure you get a good night sleep and keep your body clock ticking over.
Self care looks different for everyone, there’s nothing selfish about it and the best thing is to find new ways to look after yourself. These self-care practices will go a long way with positive health benefits.
UK Eco blogger who cares about sustainable living, loves writing about environmental awareness days, Sustainable living ideas, and self-care the eco way – without judgement