Tag Archives: Green

Is Plastic Recycling Greenwashing?

We all have household bins in our homes and local councils encourage us to recycle to a point where we are shamed for not recycling, especially when it comes to plastic.

As consumers, we are told and expect our plastics to be taken away and recycled into new packaging and this is a big reason many of us recycle where we can. We all want to do our best for the environment and we trust what we are being told.

But I do wonder whether plastic recycling is a form of greenwashing.

According to Greenpeace, “Thousands of tonnes of our household plastic packaging put out for recycling, as well as other kinds of plastic waste ends up in waste incinerators in the UK” and there is a lot that is sent overseas which ends up being someone else’s problem.

Something that has bothered me for a while is the marketing from big corporations, businesses and supermarkets on recycling…the responsibility has been placed solely on the consumer.

And they’ve been very clever with it.

If we, as consumers, don’t recycle, how can the big company actually recycle the single-use plastic? The responsibility has fallen on us but bears no mention of fixing the issue at the source.

Companies such as TerraCycle are trying to do what they can but even they have admitted in the past that it’s not really a solution to our plastic issue.

Over the last few years, more and more zero waste shops have been popping up in town centres and following a refill station trial at a store in Leeds, Asda have decided to roll it out to another four stores.

Source: Asda

I genuinely don’t know why it’s taking so long for supermarkets to catch up. It seems like they’re really reluctant to move with the times. It’s so obvious that giving consumers options like this will dramatically reduce single-use packaging.

I do think householders still should recycle but the key is legislation. The UK government introduced a 5p charge on plastic carrier bags, before the charge was introduced in October 2015, the number of plastic bags used was 7.6 billion bags, in 2019-2020 it was reduced to 564 million.

This is proof that government intervention really does make a difference but the UK government seem really slow to make a meaningful change to push the responsibility back to manufacturers and corporations.

There are certain foods like rice and pasta which are packaged in plastic. I really don’t know why and I can’t seem to find an answer. It shouldn’t be cheaper to buy a plastic bag of fruit or vegetables than buying loose fruit or veg – that’s insane but I still see it. Maybe teaching school children the basics on growing some of their own food would be a good idea, but I guess that’s not how businesses make money.

If you would like to get started with sustainable living, check out my 30-day eco challenge.

The Big Plastic Count

Last week, I took part in The Big Plastic Count.

The founders of this fabulous initiative is Greenpeace and Everyday Plastic asking households to take part investigating how much plastic is used for a period of one week – 16-22 May 2022.

By collating all this data, they can provide the government evidence that more needs to be done with tackling single-use plastic.

At the time of writing this blog, over 188k people had signed up and it wasn’t just households, schools, community groups and businesses we also included to participate.

The layout of the form is clear and it’s easy to identify where the information needs to be logged.

After a week, I was surprised.

I’ve noticed that the number of fruit and veg trays I buy is a lot more than I usually used to. I have recently kept an eye out and started buying more yellow sticker foods (reduced), especially fruit.

When the weather is really nice, I do prefer to eat more fruit but despite attempting to buy fruit loose, there are some fruits that you can’t buy loose; Strawberries, blackberries, green and red grapes.

I have a bit of a crisps problem! I love crisps but the empty packet…not so much! I have attempted to make my own crisps but I can’t seem to get the knack of it. They come out as if they’ve been sitting around for a week. yuk. I haven’t given up, though. I will keep trying to find something that works for me.

Bread bags is another one. I do have bread bags but I’m glad I buy most of my fruit without packaging so this figure was quite low.

All in all, it is a really good exercise to determine how much plastic we are using in our households and thinking about how it can be reduced.

I know it can be hard seeing the results and thinking that you expected it to be better. Remember, you are doing your best, which is a million times better than not doing anything at all.

I’m just about to submit my results, it would be great to see the results from this.

I realised this was similar to the household waste analysis I created quite a while ago, If you’re looking to start reducing your household waste, check out the free download

Green Blue Peter Badge

I recently had a major proud parent moment.

As a child, I absolutely loved watching Blue Peter. I will never forget the best make of all by Anthea Turner, Thunderbirds’ Tracey Island. I must admit, I wasn’t a fan of Thunderbirds but even I found it awesome watching this creation unfold on TV. We talked about it in school, watched other people fall over themselves trying to get hold of the instructions. It was HUGE!

As a parent, watching my 6-year-old daughter watch Blue Peter is a real joy and reminds me of my childhood.

She mentioned a while back about wanting to do something to get a Green Blue Peter badge so I looked online to see what she would need to do for a Green Blue Peter badge.

As an environmentalist, I make an effort to adapt my habits with the environment in mind and it turns out she’s been watching me and picked up a few habits.

She asked again if she could apply for one so I looked online to see the requirements.

The Pledges

Named Climate Heroes, there were three pledges she needed to do for at least a month; Power, Plastic and Plants.

Power – this one was to encourage children to save power; my daughter would always turn her nightlight off at the wall in the morning.

Plastic – reducing one piece of plastic from your lunch box. She has school dinners and takes a piece of fruit for a snack everyday.

Plant – planting something in the garden. As we are moving, I purposely haven’t planted anything this year as it could get damaged during the move so we sent in pictures of us litter picking (she asks to go litter picking!)

I filled in the online application, attached pictures and waited.

It was about four weeks later and this turned up in the post.

I can’t tell you who was more excited; me or my daughter. A major proud parent moment that I told anyone who would listen!

I think deep down inside, I had always wanted a Blue Peter badge but I was never encouraged to apply for one and watching her earn one for herself, I felt like she had achieved a dream of mine, as well as her own.

I strongly believe the key to slowing down climate change is education and one of the best places to start is with children. After all, they are inheriting the planet from us.

If you’re looking to start reducing your household waste, check out my free download

What I’ve Learned So Far – Block 2 – The Arctic

When I tell people that I’m studying for a degree, they are interested in what I’ve been learning. I’ve done two years so far (another four to go) and my favourite was the first year. I absolutely loved it.

Here’s what I learned in my first year studying toward BSc (Hons) Environmental Science.

In one of the first questions I was asked at the start of the textbook was write down what images came to mind when I thought about the word ‘Arctic’. For me it was; polar bear, igloo, and a person shivering from the cold. It turns out the Arctic is much more than that.

The Arctic has always fascinated me. I find it incredible that an extracted cylinder of ice can tell us so much about the past. When I first saw a picture of an ice cylinder, the line markers for each year were clearly visible indicating the snowfall for that particular year, similar to the rings on a tree trunk. In one of the pictures, I recall seeing a line marker that was easy to pick out, the others were various shades of white, but not this one, it was black, this indicated a volcanic eruption, and by counting the lines allowed scientists to know which year this event occurred. The information that can be gathered isn’t only about volcanic eruptions, from the air bubbles trapped in the ice, we can determine what the CO2 level was the year that snow fell, these bubbles are ‘fossils’ frozen in time giving us clues about what the atmosphere was like thousands of years ago.

We learned about the people and animals who live in the Arctic circle. The indigenous people have so much knowledge that has been passed down the generations, what would happen if this information isn’t recorded somewhere? This crucial information could be lost forever. The block looked as the many voyages to the area and people’s idea of the region and looked at two maps; The Mercator projection and The Peters projection. For those who are fans of The West Wing, you will be familiar with the scene that discusses this in season 1. The map you’re familiar with, isn’t quite correct.

As the Arctic is melting, access to the region is becoming a real possibility for companies who would like to drill and/or use it as passage during the summer months benefitting in shorter journeys by sea.

Whenever I thought about the Arctic melting, I immediately became concerned about the animals and people who live in the region; how will they manage as the ice continues to melt. Although the region refreezes during winter, the area refrozen is reduces every year. How can they adapt to a quickly changing environment? It never even occurred to me there would be companies interested in the Arctic for opportunities to drill for fossil fuels and the damage they will almost certainly cause to the environment.

The thought of drilling in the Arctic makes me sad and one of the reasons companies haven’t actually followed through with their plan is because the weather is incredibly harsh during the winter months. I think that’s the Arctic’s saving grace at the moment. Sadly, I don’t know how long the Arctic will be able to keep these companies away?

The TMA question was for us to pretend to be a curator of a museum, selecting five items with the theme ‘Exploitation of resources in the Arctic’. Once we had selected our five items, we had to write an audio guide for it.

Reducing our household waste is a really great way to start helping to protect our environment. If you’re looking to start reducing your household waste, check out my free download

Eco-Friendly Menstrual Products – Review

About eighteen months ago, I ditched my pads and tampons for eco-friendly alternatives and I’ve wanted to write a review about them but I’ve always been hesitant. I wasn’t sure why? Until now…

I recently started reading Brown Girl Like Me by Jaspreet Kaur. In the book, there is a section about periods and I quickly realised the reason I was hesitant to talk about periods is because growing up in a South Asian household, periods are a taboo subject. We rarely spoke about it. I never spoke to my cousins about it and I learned what I know from talking to my white friends and reading magazines like Just Seventeen (I’m showing my age!)

I’ve decided to take this taboo and kick it to the curb!

Here goes!

Women’s Environmental Network state on their website that menstrual pads can contain up to 90% plastic and 2 billion menstrual items are flushed down Britain’s toilets each year. This is absolutely shocking.

I had been using tampons since my late teens (pads before then) and I had been flushing tampons down the toilet, because that’s what I was told to do. 

According to Friends of the Earth, menstrual products flushed down the toilet causes sewers to block (just like wet wipes). Many enter the sea and on beaches and the rest end up being incinerated or sits on landfill. Not to mention the plastic tampon applicators – you can follow Ella Daish about ending period plastic.

Menstrual Cup

I opted for this first because I have been using tampons for years. I did some research and read reviews on the main brands and chose the Moon Cup. 

It takes quite a bit of getting used to it as it acts like a suction cup and found it a bit of a pain to use. When I’m tired, I could easily change my tampon without even thinking about it but with this, I needed to pay attention all the time. I work from home so emptying the cup wasn’t an issue, not sure how I would get on if I worked in an office. There are cleaning instructions you need to follow after you finished your period to ensure the cup is hygienic. Personally, I found it a bit of a faff but I know other’s who absolutely love it. 

Period Pants

As someone who hasn’t worn pads since my teens (and after I had my child), I was a bit reluctant to try these but I didn’t want to go back to tampons. 

Again, I did my research and read reviews. I ended up opting for five pairs I found in Sainsburys. I have to say, I was really surprised at them. I expected the pad to be uncomfortable, like I had a nappy on, but it wasn’t like that at all. The brand I bought also included odour control and, as someone who is prone to heavy periods, I was really conscious about leaking through my jeans. This wasn’t an issue at all.

In the morning, I rinsed my the pants I had been wearing last night while I’m in the shower which rinsed off most of the blood (there isn’t actually that much) and then pop it in the washing machine for a proper wash.

It was easy and I prefer period pants, if I go swimming and I’m on my period, I will use my menstrual cup. 

The best advice I can give is to do your research, ask your friends and/or family for recommendations.

For both products, always read and follow the instructions. 

I appreciate the initial cost my be a bit pricey but in the long run, you will save money and you will be helping the environment. 

If you’re looking to start reducing your household waste, check out my free download and do follow me on Instagram

Planting Trees for the Future

Those of you who are familiar with my blog and follow me on Instagram will know I am a massive advocate for teaching children about the environment so when my daughter’s school sent a message out on the school app asking for volunteers to dig holes for sixty trees that needed to be planted, I replied almost instantly.

Ashford St Mary’s Church of England Primary school had been offered sixty Coppice Hedgerow trees to plant in the school field and were expected to be delivery by 18th March.

To ensure the trees could be planted straight into the ground on arrival, the volunteers’ mission was to dig sixty holes at the edge of the school field along the fence.

Led my Jenny Thorpe, we all assembled by the school field and started digging holes in the ground. All of the children who participated were being supervised by their grown-up and everyone else were digging, every so often, pausing to move wriggly worms to safety before carrying on.

Although it was a sunny afternoon, there was a cold wind but that didn’t deter the volunteers. It wasn’t long before our mission was complete, and the area was taped off.

The trees were donated by the Woodland Trust who have a fabulous scheme offering free trees for schools and communities “We want to make sure everybody in the UK has the chance to plant a tree. So, we’re giving away hundreds of thousands of trees to schools and communities. Together, we’ll get millions more trees in the ground.”

The school previously received five trees from The Tree Council, which had already been planted on the school grounds – two apple trees, two pear trees and a plum tree.

The Tree Council have a National Schools Programme: Orchards for Schools and Young Tree Champions with a map on their website showing all the schools who have taken part so far – “Thanks to over 800 incredible schools, this planting season we have planted over 30,000 fruit trees and fruiting hedgerow whips. We are working together to create a healthier future for young people and the planet by unlocking the power of trees. Thank you to each and every school – you are a Force For Nature.”

Projects like this is a fabulous way to encourage young people to reconnect with nature and each other. It’s also great way for them to learn about why trees are important and why we need to do what we can to protect our environment – after all, they are inheriting the planet from us.

If you’re looking to start reducing your household waste, check out my free download

What is Imperfect Environmentalism?

Since I’ve become more aware of my actions and how they affect the environment, I’ve joined many online groups: listening, reading and learning from others. I think it’s important to take part in discussions and debates, it allows us to understand a subject from a different perspective.

I absolutely love the collaboration and meeting like minded individuals with the same goal. The one thing I find unhelpful is when individuals are shamed for not doing things the ‘right way’. In my opinion, this is counterproductive and holds some people back.

I don’t believe there is only one way to live sustainably.

Being an imperfect environmentalist means you care about the environment and want to do what you can adapt your habits to reduce your impact – ‘do what you can’ this is the key and this will be different for everyone.

Where you live, finances, availability, convenience, trust in companies are some factors when it comes to wanting to live sustainably.

There is a quote I remember reading a while back, I think it was by Anne Marie Bonneau who said

We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly

This sums it up perfectly!

Where do I start?

Every plastic straw you refuse is doing something, every time you walk instead of using the car, buy loose instead of pre-packed fruit and vegetables – they all make a difference. I’m not saying get rid of your car, for a lot of people this isn’t possible but using it less still makes a difference.

There are areas I don’t do well; I still eat meat – although it’s not as much as I used to – and other areas I know I am making a difference by swapping my plastic razor to a safety razor. Break Free From Plastic produced a Global Brand Audit Report in 2020 which stated Coca Cola was the top worst polluter and I still drink coke (In the cans, I refuse to buy plastic bottles). I try to buy things in glass bottles as they’re widely recycled instead of plastic but, for some, the price is a factor. That’s OK.

Don’t be so hard on yourself

Being ‘perfect’ is only going to lead to overwhelm, that’s how I started and I wouldn’t recommend it. When I tried to do everything I found it stressful and I burned myself out, I had to reset and start again.

Start on one area in your home – bathroom is usually a good place to start – take shorter showers, shampoo bars, safety razors, bamboo toothbrush. Once you’re happy with the changes, move to the next area in your home.

If you’re unsure of where to start, I created a 30-day Eco Swap Challenge, it’s $7 and will help you get started.

Do what works for you and don’t forget to keep learning. Most of us didn’t learn about sustainable living at school, we’re all trying to figure it out as adults. Join local litter-picking groups, learn from people who educate others, listen to the science, write to your MP, if you have an outside space – start with learning to grow potatoes, switch off lights when you don’t need them.

We need to stop shaming people for not doing things ‘our way’ and remember that progress, in whatever form, is always better than nothing.

Above all, be kind to yourself – start small, do what you can, build from there

Environmental Awareness Days 2022

At the start of last year, I posted a list of environmental awareness days for 2021 and I received quite a few messages from people who said they found it really helpful and referred back to it throughout the year.

So, I’m doing the same again this year!

Please note, this isn’t a comprehensive list list.

January

  • Veganuary 1st January to 31st January – This is an annual challenge which helps educate and promote veganism. The purpose is to encourage people to explore a vegan lifestyle throughout the month.
  • Big Garden Birdwatch – January 5, 2022 – February 22, 2022 – This is organised by the RSPB and encourages everyone, young and old, to spend some time outside monitoring and recording birds you seen. Afterwards, the information is submitted via their website and allows them to record how many birds there are in the UK.
  • Houseplant Week UK – January 10, 2022 – January 16, 2022 – Houseplants are brilliant at purifying the air, this week is a perfect opportunity to find out which houseplant to buy. A good place to start is a blog I wrote last year about the plants I have.
  • Big Energy Saving Week – January 17, 2022 – January 22, 2022 – This week is dedicated to how to cut your energy use and how to save money. This initiative is lead by the Citizen’s Advice Bureau in partnership with the Energy Saving Trust and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. The website is full of tips and ideas.

March

  • Compost Week – March 14, 2022 – March 20, 2022 – As the name suggests, this week is dedicated to composting and its benefits. Composting is becoming quite popular and it’s really healthy for your garden. If you’re a newbie, the link is a great place to start.
  • Global Recycling Day – March 18, 2022 – Started in 2018, this day is recognise and promote recycling and the importance it plays on the future of our planet.
  • World Water Day – March 22, 2022 – This day educates us about how vital it is to have clean water. Even today, there are still parts of the world that do not have access to safe drinking water and water pollution affects many lives.

April

  • Walk to Work Day – April 1, 2022 – Not only does walking provide great health benefits, it’s also good for the environment. Plus, walking doesn’t cost anything.
  • Community Garden Week – April 4, 2022 – April 10, 2022 – This week takes the opportunity to celebrate schools and community gardens up and down the country. Learning to love our gardens has been lost in the last few decades. Working together and inspiring each other, what’s not to love?
  • Earth Day – 22nd April – This movement has been going since 1970 and their aim is to educate and encourage individuals to protect our planet. You can sign up to their newsletter and keep up to date with their progress and campaigns.
  • Stop Food Waste Day – April 27, 2022 – The amount of food wasted is eye-watering. The website provides great tips and creative ways to reduce food waste.

May

  • No Mow May – 1st May to 31st May – I found out about this campaign about two years ago and it’s a brilliant initiative. The idea is that you don’t cut your grass for a whole month, allowing flowers to bloom which are a vital source of nectar for bees and other insects. Ever heard of a ‘scaremow’? – click on the link to the National Trust Website to find out more.
  • Sun Awareness Week – May 3, 2022 – May 8, 2022 – This is a campaign led by The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) to educate and highlight the dangers of UV radiation from the sun. Their website has some great ways about staying safe when the sun is shining.
  • Water Saving Week – May 17, 2022 – May 22, 2022 – This week is to raise to raise awareness of the issues around water usage. Promoting ways we can use it efficiently everyday.
  • The Great British Spring Clean – May 28, 2022 – June 13, 2022 – Encouraging you to pledge whatever time you have, even if its an hour, and use that time to go litter picking or join a litter picking group.
  • National Children’s Gardening Week – May 28, 2022 – June 5, 2022 – Use this week to celebrate the joy gardening holds for children. They love getting their hands dirty and it’s a great way to teach the next generation about gardening.

June

  • World Environment Day – 5th June – On the same day every year, this day is dedicated to our environment. A healthy eco-system is the key to life on this planet.
  • Bike Week – June 6, 2022 – June 12, 2022 – In partnership with Cycle UK, this annual campaign is to celebrate cycling and its many benefits. Also, this a brilliant way to reduce your carbon footprint!
  • Garden Wildlife Week – June 6, 2022 – June 12, 2022 – An annual celebration of the natural world around us, including the plants and animals who live in it.
  • World Oceans Day – 8th June – This day aims to raise awareness of the importance our oceans play and how it helps to sustain a healthy planet. There is a lot in the media about plastic entering the ocean. Sign up to get involved.
  • World Refill Day – June 16, 2022 – I remember this from 2020. In an effort to prevent plastic pollution, this campaign highlights and encourages us to make the swap from single-use plastic bottles to reusable ones. Time to join the refill revolution!

July

  • Plastic Free July – 1st July to 31st July – This is a global campaign I am incredibly passionate about and encourages us to make changes to reduce our plastic use. I even wrote a blog about what I did for 2020. Small changes do a massive difference and I would encourage everyone to make a change. If you’re on Instagram, check out my profile.
  • Plastic Bag Free Day – 3rd July – This is a global campaign to eliminate the use of single-use plastics which is part of the Break Free From Plastic movement. I honestly can’t remember the last time I bought a plastic bag! Their website also has some interesting facts about the different types of plastic used in bags.
  • Don’t Step on a Bee Day – 10th July – Bees are vital to the planet’s ecosystem. Check out my blog about bees.
  • Love Parks Week – July 23, 2022 – July 31, 2022 – An initiative launched by Keep Britain Tidy, it encourages us to visit and enjoy our local parks.

August

  • National Allotments Week – August 9, 2022 – August 14, 2022 – This week is to celebrate the importance of allotments and their benefits; I strongly believe learning how to grow your own food should be a life skill. If you can’t get an allotment, you can grow food in your garden or windowsill.

September

  • Organic September – 1st September to 30th September – The vision of this campaign is to bring awareness by exploring and eating organic food and to educate people about farming practices in growing organic food.
  • Recycle Week – September 20, 2022 – September 25, 2022 – As the name suggests, it’s a week to promote and encourage recycling. This is Recycle Now’s flagship event to celebrate recycling up and down the country.
  • The Great British Beach Clean – September 17, 2022 – September 25, 2022 – Every year, thousands of people give involved in cleaning up our beaches. It also gets you outside and there’s nothing like breathing in sea air!
  • FSC Friday – September 24, 2022 – Promoting awareness about forest management and the vital role they play in climate change.

October

  • Unblocktober – 1st October to 31st October – This campaign promotes awareness for our sewers, drains and waterways by changing our habits at home. The amount of items flushed down their drains that can cause blockages is startling. I’m sure we are becoming aware of what baby wipes do to blockages. Their website has some brilliant ideas.
  • No Disposable Cup day – 4th October – as the name suggests, it asks everyone not to take a disposable cup for that day. Personally, I think everyday should be disposable cup day!
  • National Clean Air Day – 8th October – Their aim is to help protect children from polluted air. Their website states ‘Every year, air pollution causes up to 36,000 deaths in the UK.’

December

  • World Soil Day – December 5th, 2022 – Learning about the soil and it’s maintenance is vital for food production. Chemicals used in food production around the world is leaving large areas of land unusable as the soil is no longer fertile enough to grow food.

If there are any other events that you feel should be mentioned, please do let me know 💚

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How to repurpose Christmas Cards into gift tags

I’m a massive fan of repurposing items and my favourite is Christmas cards and gift tags.

We all get christmas cards from friends and family but what do you do with them afterwards?

Most Christmas cards and gift tags can’t be recycled because they will have glitter (miniature plastic), bows, embossing etc so will be destined for landfill. This will be the same for the ribbon / string used on gift tags, they can be reused year after year.

How about giving them another lease of life, even if it is just another year. Turn them into gift tags.

Cut the front of the Christmas cards and gift tag, punch a hole through a corner and insert the string / ribbon and voila! A gift tag for next year! Admittedly, you won’t be able to do this for ALL gift tags you get but you can reuse the ribbon / string.

Some of the cards may be too big for a gift tag so you can cut them up into smaller tags.

A really good tip is to collect ribbons throughout the year. You could get them on tags, gifts, clothes as these will come in handy for your gift tags.

Christmas cards aren’t the things you can use to repurpose to make gift tags. My daughter had finished with a activity book and before it went into the recycling, I repurposed the cover into gift tags as there wouldn’t be any writing on the back of it.

There are so many ways to repurpose what you have; it’s good for the environment and your pocket.

I don’t think I will need to buy gift tags ever again!

Litter Picking At The Beach

Last month, in the UK, the kids were off for a week for half-term. I asked my 6-year-old what she wanted to do and one of the things she asked to do was litter picking on the beach.

Being an eco-warrior myself, I couldn’t help smiling.

We usually go litter picking in our local area and we have had positive comments and smiles from people passing but we’ve never done it on the beach.

It was a bright, sunny day on the beach in Folkestone, Kent, armed with our litter pickers we asked my friend, Rachel, to join us as she lived locally.

When we’re litter picking in our local park, we tend to find the usual suspects; crisp packets, McDonald’s packaging, sweet wrappers, bottles and polystyrene fast food trays.

Here’s a few photos of what we found at the beach

We found the odd bottle cap and sweet wrappers but the main thing we found was bit of nets used in fishing. There were so many little pieces of them littered everywhere along the stretch of beach.

Who knows how long they’ve been in the sea or sitting on the beach ready to be washed out again by the tide and we all know what this does to wildlife.

If you’ve got 30-minutes to spare, grab a litter picker and a bag and pick up litter – it doesn’t even have to be at the beach. You’ll get a bit of exercise, some fresh air, you’ll be doing something for your community and it’s free to do!

Do something green today 💚

Eco Discovery Subscription Boxes Coming Soon

I recently wrote a post about the plastic we get when we send or receive gifts from loved ones. More individuals are becoming eco-conscious and want to start changing their habits to live a more sustainable lifestyle. 

But where do you start?

Sustainable Living Products

So many eco-friendly products come on the market all the time, it seems like the choices available to us are vast and can be incredibly overwhelming.

  • Is the product good?
  • I don’t know anyone who has tried this
  • I don’t have time to keep looking for something eco-friendly
  • I want to support a small business but I don’t see their stuff
  • How can I find out about new eco-friendly products?
  • I want to try myself first before I buy for a friend

All of the above were examples of what I said to myself. 

Since launching my blog, Easy Peasy Greeny, I have tried a lot of different products; some good, some not so good, and some I don’t even want to mention. I won’t lie, it can be overwhelming because I didn’t know where to start either. 

This is exactly why I am launching a subscription box service with eco-friendly products called Eco Discovery Subscription Box, some of the products I am already familiar with.

My aim is to take the hassle and headache away from YOU and it will be delivered direct to your door.

There will be two options

Option 1

A quarterly subscription box that will contain 4 – 6 items and will be posted on a set day. In addition to discovering new products, every three months, your box will include a bamboo toothbrush because you should always change your toothbrush every 3 months, one less thing for you to remember!

Option 2

An eco-friendly box for a one-off payment, there will only be a limited number of boxes. I’m currently working on Safety Razor starter boxes which will contain a safety razor, razor blades, a jute bag and a bar of shaving soap. I’ve got quite a few ideas on some other boxes so I will let you know about when they’re ready.

All orders will come with a handwritten note on seed paper so you can pop the note in a plant pot and let the seeds grow.

Why should you have your milk delivered?

In January 2020, someone knocked on my door advising us of a new local milk delivery service that will be starting in the area and asked whether it’s something we would be interested in.

It was something I had thought about for a while but never got round to setting up. The plastic cartons were a real bug bear for me.

I wish I had remembered the name of the gentleman who turned up on my doorstep because his passion and enthusiasm for his product was so infectious, we signed up on the spot. Something I NEVER do.

How has it been going?

Since January, we’ve been Plurenden Manor Farm customers and every milk delivery have been on time and correct. Having milk delivered direct to my doorstep is so convenient; they’re delivered in glass bottles and the old glass milk bottles are taken away, cleaned and reused. Just like the old days.

I’m really glad we signed up when we did because two months later, the UK were placed in lockdown due to the coronavirus so I’d imagine demand would have gone through the roof.

They don’t just do milk either, they have a range of products they sell; groceries, eggs, preserves, bread and even milk alternatives.

milk bottle

You are provided with your own account details where you can update your deliveries or let them know you’re going to be away. It really is simple, stress-free and I pay my invoices via Paypal, easy peasy!

Support local businesses

I’ve noticed that businesses similar to Plurenden Manor Farm have been popping up in other parts of the country and, as a small business owner myself, I’m all for supporting small businesses. I love that I can access this service in my area and I’m sure, before long, you may be able to do so in your local area through a local farm.

Another great way to support local businesses is by eating seasonal food.

I’m not sure why milk deliveries disappeared for a decade or so but I’m really glad milk deliveries are back and I hope they are here to stay.

If you’re interested in reading about what I’m doing to be greener, keep up to date by signing up to my newsletter, click here, I promise not to spam you.

Steps to Sustainable Living in Your Home

I’m in the process of launching something I’m really excited about. A guide called Steps to Sustainable Living in Your Home.

Since I started this blog in January 2020, I’ve learned so much about sustainable living, a lot of which, I have adapted into my own lifestyle.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect, I’m still learning everyday and one person’s vision of sustainable living doesn’t always necessarily compare to someone else’s vision.

I remember at the beginning I was trying to change so many things in one go and found it so overwhelming. I wanted to live plastic-free, look at everything I was buying, only buy locally because the carbon footprint will be lower, companies I buy from and their view on sustainability, clothes that were environmentally friendly and so on.

What I quickly realised is that, by trying to do everything in one go, I wasn’t doing anything well. I was trying to change a habit I’ve had for the last 40 years in a short period of time, and I failed miserably.

I decided to take a step back and pick on one thing.

Looking back on where I am now from where I was, I realised how difficult it was to get information. Of course, the internet is jam packed with a wealth of information, but it’s knowing where to look and whether it’s reliable too.

I wish I had somewhere to start from; a guide, a handbook, a manual, something to steer me in the direction I wanted to go.

This was the reason I wrote Steps to Sustainable Living in Your Home. To be able to give you the chance to start your mission into sustainable living without the confusion and overwhelm I had. To pass on what I have learned so far, give you guidance on where to look for information about clothing materials and toxins found in cleaning products, what recycling symbols mean and what greenwashing actually is.

I’m not a scientist or an environmental professional, I am someone who is looking to help others live sustainably based on what I’ve learned so far.

Since the start, there’s something that has always come back to me:

I’m not sure if I heard it somewhere or if I came up with it myself, but I always say this to people.

So, you’re probably wondering, what’s in this guide?

 8 sections – Introduction, Household Waste, Cleaning, Kitchen, Bathroom, Fashion, Carbon Footprint, Conclusion
 13 accompanying PDF downloads
 Editable PDF downloads, no need to print them off
 Introduction videos for each section
 Lifetime access
  Work through the course in your own time

How much is the guide?

The full price of this guide will be £57. That’s it, less than a full tank of fuel.

To register your interest, please sign up below and you will be the first to hear when Steps to Sustainable Living in Your Home will go live.

7 Quotes For Environmentalists

I call myself an environmentalist and since starting my blog back in January 2020, I have come across many who are doing amazing work and are inspiring.

One thing I absolutely love are quotes. I use them across my social media and quotes can be so powerful. I’ve put together a little list of some of my favourites

“If you are fearful of the destruction of the environment, then learn to quit being an environmental parasite.” —Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry Quote

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.”
—Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall quote

“A nation that destroys is soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.” —Franklin D. Roosevelt

FDR quote

“Grow food, not lawns.” -unknown

Grow food, not lawns quote

“We are the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last generation that can do something about it.” ~ Barack Obama

“We are the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last generation that can do something about it.” Barack Obama

“Together and united, we are unstoppable.” ~ Greta Thunberg

“Together and united, we are unstoppable.” Greta Thunberg

“The truth is: the natural world is changing. And we are totally dependent on that world. It provides our food, water and air. It is the most precious thing we have and we need to defend it.” – Sir David Attenborough

“The truth is: the natural world is changing. And we are totally dependent on that world. It provides our food, water and air. It is the most precious thing we have and we need to defend it.” Sir David Attenborough

Share some of your favourite quotes

Unwrap The Plastic Crisis

Buying gifts for loved ones is such a lovely thing to do, for me, seeing a friend or relative open a present I bought them and seeing their face light up means more to me than how much I spent on their gift. It makes the other person feel good which makes us feel good too.

Every year, we buy gifts for loved ones; Birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Anniversary, Valentines day, Mother’s Day, Father’s day, secret santa and those are just the ones that come up year after year at the same time, let’s not forget the one-off ones; leaving present, baby shower, new baby, Weddings. There are so many occasions we celebrate with those that are important to us and it’s great to share the love. 

I need you to think back at, let’s say, Christmas. Think about all the gifts you received from friends, family, colleagues. Think about how you felt..I bet you felt good. 

Now think about what they were wrapped in? And the packaging? Do you remember seeing gift tags with glitter? What about plastic ribbons? If you received clothes, was the tag attached with a plastic loop? Did any of the packaging come in plastic bags or sleeves? 

Now think about the gifts you have purchased for others? Can you see a plastic pattern? I spent Plastic Free July looking at ways I could buy gifts for friends and family that didn’t include plastic and I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t easy. 

The amount of packaging that ends up in landfill after Christmas is eye-watering. According to GWP 

  • An extra 30% of rubbish is produced and discarded throughout the festive period when compared with the rest of the year. This additional waste will be in the region of 3 million tonnes
  • Approximately £42 million of unwanted Christmas presents are thrown out in landfill each year
  • Brits will also bin what equates to 108 million rolls of wrapping paper. This means that approximately 100 million black bags full of packaging from toys and gifts are discarded

We cannot sustain this level of waste. We all love buying gifts for loved ones but we need to start really looking at what we buy.

Something massive corporations don’t like us knowing is that, as consumers, we have an incredible amount of power when it comes to the purchases we make. We can literally make or break a product/brand/line – if no one buys it, it’s back to the drawing board for their creative team. 

Start looking at what you are buying and be careful about Greenwashing, marketing companies love to trick us but we are wising up to their tactics. Here are some tips to help you

  • Can you see plastic?
  • Do you have a zero-waste shop near you
  • Is the packaging paper/cardboard and can it all be recycled?
  • If it comes in plastic, does the store offer a recycling drop off recycling facility?
  • Have you looked online to see if there is an eco-friendly alternative?
  • Eco-friendly subscription boxes are a great way to cut out the plastic

There are so many eco-friendly products coming on the market everyday but these are sometimes drowned out by massive corporations shouting about their own products. Read my blog about greenwashing and how to identify it.

5 Easy Eco-Friendly Swaps For The Bathroom

There are so many products we use in the bathroom that are encased in plastic and they don’t need to be. The bathroom is the easiest place where you can make eco-friendly swaps.

This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. Thanks.

Here is a list of some of my favourites (and they are easy ones too!) plus where to buy them!

Bamboo buds

Buds have many uses but, like a lot of things, they are plastic. The plastic tubes end up everywhere and cause all sorts of problems, especially when it enters the sea. Bamboo buds are eco-friendly and will decompose easily. I put mine in the food waste. When I have some more space and start composting, I will pop them in the compost bin.


Safety Razor

If you’ve read by blogs before, you will know that I’m a huge fan of safety razors! They’re friendly to the environment and they last a very long time. Read my previous blog about them.


Body Soaps and Shaving Bars

Soap bars tend to be sold in mixed paper/plastic wrappers which are difficult to recycle and are no friend to the environment. Swapping to bars is a great choice and are easily found in boxes and even without any packaging.


Bamboo toothbrush

Think about all the toothbrushes you have used in your life, did you know they are still around? Plastic toothbrushes are terrible to the environment. Bamboo ones are eco-friendly and they only need to be replaced every three months. You can also buy them for children too.


Dental floss

Dental care is so important and you shouldn’t neglect your gums. Which is why I over the moon when I found these beauties.


If you have any other swaps, let us know 💚

Wild Deodorant – Product Review

As we all are aware, deodorants come in all shapes and sizes but you will have noticed that they come in single-use plastic containers. Not good for the environment.

This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. Thanks.

I noticed Wild Deodorant a few months ago but I wasn’t sure about it. Is this just another product telling us they’re good for the environment when they’re not? Claiming to be the “world’s first zero-plastic deodorant refill.”

Let’s find out…

Their mission is “to be a pioneer in sustainable and natural personal care, acting as a positive catalyst to raise the standards of sustainability across the bathroom. We want to build a progressive and inclusive business that makes switching to natural and sustainable products possible without compromise.”

Their website allows one-off purchases or subscription boxes. I opted for the one-off purchase as I wanted to see what it’s like first. There is an option for sensitive skin and my purchase included 3 refills. I chose fresh cotton and sea salt. The other options they have are:

Mint & Eucalyptus
Coconut Dreams
Bergamot Rituals

Orange Zest
Fresh Cotton & Sea Salt
Sandalwood and Patchouli

The order arrived within a few days and turned up in a letterbox friendly box.

Already a good start!

I’ve never used this product before and I thought I would create a reel on instagram opening the box and assembling it. If you like the song by KSI – Holiday, unmute it!

As you can see, it was simple to put together! Easy Peasy Greeny!

It’s now been a month since I made my purchase and I have to say. I absolutely love it!

Deodorants I’ve used before, I found that they don’t tend to last all day and by the evening, I notice a faint smell of BO, no thanks! I didn’t have that issue with this deodorant. I really does last all day. And that’s what you want from a deodorant.

Apparently, it takes a week or so for your body to get used to it but I didn’t have this. There are no harsh chemicals, and it got me thinking of the chemicals I must have been rolling on my pits for years! They don’t include parabens, aluminium or sulphates and are suitable for vegans!

The twist bottom is easy enough to use, the case is sleek, available in a variety of colours; it’s easy to hold, easy to refill and the refill cases can be composted.

I contacted Wild to find out which scents were suitable for men – Mint & Eucalyptus, Fresh Cotton & Sea Salt and Sandalwood & Patchouli.

I’ve found a deodorant I’m really happy with.

Let’s look at the pros and cons.

Pros

  • Sleek case
  • Variety of scents
  • Option for sensitive skin
  • Plastic-free
  • Refills cases are compostable
  • Easy to use
  • Letterbox friendly

Cons

  • Price (this is genuinely the only con I can think of!)

For some people, the price is going to be an issue. The refills are £6 each (you have to buy 3 at a time) or £5 each if you buy a refill subscription. For me personally, the price isn’t really an issue. I was paying £5 each for my previous Sure deodorant and as this actually works and lasts, I don’t mind the price.

All in all, I love this product and I highly recommend it.

If you want to give this product a go, I’ve got a link for 10% off your first order with code AFFXY10

Let me know how you get on 💚💚💚💚💚💚

Why bees are in trouble and what you can do

Bees are one of the most hardest working creatures on our planet, they play a critical role in keeping us alive and I don’t think they get the credit they deserve.

There are more than 250 species of bee in Britain and I’ve decided to delve a little deeper and find out why these incredible creatures are so incredible.

Pollination

When in comes to pollination, bees are vital. Some plants rely on wind to pollinate and others rely on insects, this is where bees do their bit. They are constantly hunting for nectar (they use this to make honey) and spend a lot of time flying around from flower to flower. This allows them to collect pollen from one plant and deposit it on other plants and this is how bees help with pollination.

Crop fertilisation

Crops in the UK such as vegetables, berries and fruits rely on bee pollinations. There are about 60 – 70 different crops that rely on bee pollination including apples, broccoli, cucumbers, watermelon to name just a few.

Bees are in trouble

Due to climate change, the bee population are in decline and the increased use of pesticides doesn’t help either. Climate change is affecting the global temperature which is throwing our seasons out of sync and having a knock-on effect on wildlife too. Bees are coming out of hibernation before flowers have started blooming. As they rely on flowers for their nectar, there isn’t enough food for them to survive. Pesticides are another big issue and they are used to keep pests off our food preventing them from damaging our crops.

Some of these pesticides actually make insects ill including bees. On one side crops need to be protected for food but on the other hand, these pesticides are harming the insects we rely on to help pollinate our food.

Bees are declining, what could happen?

If the bee population continue to decline, what do you think will happen?

  • Plants that rely on bee pollination will decline if there aren’t enough bees to pollinate them
  • If plants decline, the animals that rely on these plants for food will also start declining. Especially, if the animal solely relies on a particular plant for survival
  • The farming community will have to find a way to pollinate their crops manually. The cost of this could run into the billions
  • As we rely on bee pollination for fruit and vegetables, these will be in decline too. The pressure on food supplies will be high.

The term ‘circle of life’ is exactly that, when there is a break in the circle, it stops becoming a circle.

You can help

If you have an outside space, big or small, turn it into a flower and vegetable garden and avoid using pesticides.

Grow flowers – especially purple flowers, they see this colour more clearly than any other – lavender, alliums and catmint. If you’ve already got flowers in your garden that aren’t purple, keep them! They’ll love them too. I grow sunflowers in mine and the bees love it.

A little vegetable garden is also a good idea; tomatoes, strawberries or even some herbs. Go nuts!

Repurpose and reuse – Clear tape plastic core

Have you got things around your home that no longer has a purpose? Do you really need to throw them out or can you repurpose it to use them elsewhere in your home?

Since I’ve been more aware of the things I buy and more importantly, the things I throw in the bin. I can’t help but look what what I’m just about to throw away and ask myself “Can I reuse this somehow?”. I’ve recently noticed that it seems to be automatic.

I’ve repurposed these items into things I actually needed around the house rather than hoarding them and I’m all for sharing my ideas.

Repurposing is all about being creative – use your imagination

Repurpose plastic core

We’re going to look at the plastic core you’re left over when you’ve finished a roll of clear tape (some are cardboard cores which can be easily recycled, but not all)

Years ago, I bought a bunch of small clear tape refills and I’ve still got quite a few left. Rather than throwing away unused clear tape (which makes no sense at all) I’m using up what I have before I move towards an eco-friendly alternative.

When the sellotape is finished, what do you do with the plastic core?

Repurpose and Reuse - Clear Tape Plastic Core

They’re quite strong, maybe I could give these to a school for their junk modelling?

Well, I have found a fantastic way to reuse these.

In an effort to reduce my waste, I wanted an alternative to using tin foil or baking paper when I put something in the oven. The answer to this wasteful problem? silicone sheets. The only problem was that these sheets were far too flimsy to store. I needed to find a way to stand them up and take up less space.

And voila!!

My silicone sheets are nice and neat and I found a great use for these plastic cores. Another use for these can be napkin rings. Either way, they won’t be going to landfill! Hooray!

Notice I put them in a big Cadbury’s Hot Chocolate tin? These tins are mixed materials so wouldn’t have been easy to recycle.

When you’re about to throw something away, look at it and ask yourself ‘Can I repurpose this?’

If you repurposed anything and saved it from landfill, we would love to see them

If you’re interested in reducing your household waste, grab my free download

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Greenwashing – What is it and why it’s a problem

Greenwashing is a real problem. More and more products are on sale with packaging splashed in various shades of green with environmental imagery. Ever wondered why?

The definition of greenwashing – When a company (and their product) claim they are doing more to protect the environment than they actually are.

In 2020, Break Free From Plastic produced their Brand Audit Report 2020 and it’s grim reading. Page 30 of the report lists the top 10 worst polluters

1. Coca Cola (Coca Cola, Fanta, Sprite)

2. Pepsico (Pepsi, Doritos, Lay’s)

3. Nestle (Nescafe, KitKat, Nestea)

4. Unilever (Persil, Sunsilk, Cornetto)

5. Mondelēz (Oreo, Cadbury, LU)

6. Mars (M&Ms, Wrigley, Snickers)

7. P&G (Tampax, Ariel, Pantene)

8. Philip Morris International (Parliament, Marlboro, Merit)

9. Colgate Palmolive (Colgate, Palmolive, Ajax)

10. Perfetti Van Melle (Mentos, Chupa Chups, Alpenliebe)

Of course, you will recognise quite a few on the list and probably use them regularly. Some you may not have heard of the parent company but recognise the brands under their umbrella.

Changes in packaging

Recently, many brands have started incorporating the colour green into their packaging (if it wasn’t there already) and are including key words like ‘eco’ or ‘biodegradable’ hoping to appeal to the eco conscious market. This gives the consumer the impression that this product has been made with the environment in mind and is environmentally friendly. But that isn’t always the case. Greenwashing!

Sadly, because of these practices mean some companies are not being completely truthful in their marketing.

Let’s explore an example of greenwashing

Below is an example that really got to me recently. I can see they are trying but, in my opinion, they haven’t got it quite right.

My five-year-old loves crafting so we go through quite a bit of clear tape, I’ve been looking at environmentally friendly alternatives and saw this in the shop.

First thing to notice is all the words and images expected if you are eco conscious – ‘zero plastic’, ‘plant-based’ and they’ve got an image of the earth and a leaf. Thus, giving us the impression it’s environmentally friendly.

How can you dispose of this?

Because I was intrigued, I had a look at the product information for this product online. Look more closely to the below screenshot

The key sentence – ‘is biodegradable in an industrial composting plant‘.

This product is sold in a box and its core are easily recyclable and it’s great the tape is biodegradable, however, only if the tape is placed in an industrial composting plant. How does it get there in the first place? Do you separate your rubbish into a box for ‘industrial composting plant’? No? It’s OK, I don’t either. So, where do you think it will end up instead?

An equally important aspect was this article I came across published in 2020 in The Guardian, it appears there are only 53 of these industrial composting facilities in the UK.

What to look out for

  • Key buzzwords like ‘green’ or ‘natural’ or ‘eco’ – there aren’t any strict regulations on what these are.
  • Packaging with images of the planet, leaves, plants and a lot of green.
  • Do your research – lookout for approved seal logos on their packaging. In order to use these logos, the company would have to follow very strict guidelines in their practices.
  • For example, can all of it be recycled kerbside? Look out for terms such as ‘recycled in an industrial composting plant’ as there aren’t many in the UK.

In spite of this, there are a lot of companies out there are trying to do their best for the environment, they key is to do your research and buy sensibly.