Eco- Friendly Periods: What’s So Amazing About Menstrual Cups? A Guest Post by Jackie Bolen

Here’s something that I have some serious regret about…

Not knowing about menstrual cups until I was in my early 30’s. I’m not sure how I didn’t figure it out until then. Maybe I wasn’t hanging around the eco-friendly crowd, or maybe it was that menstrual cups weren’t so popular back then. Whatever it was, I’m happy that I did eventually hear about them from a friend of mine. I went out and immediately bought a Diva Cup, and have been using it ever since.

I do regret all those wasted year though. Imagine how much money I could have saved, and how much trash I could have not thrown out?

I’m going to share with you what’s so amazing about menstrual cups, and offer some advice if you’d like to make the switch yourself.

Eco- Friendly Periods: What's So Amazing About Mooncups? Image of 4 confident womens silhouettes against a sunset background.

More Money in the Bank at the End of the Month

I’m sure you know this already, but disposable pads and tampons are expensive! I know that I always feel a bit of sticker shock every single time I walk down that aisle at the drugstore. According to the Huffington Post, people spend an average of 13 pounds a month on feminine hygiene products. That’s a lot, especially considering that it’s an expense we incur every single month for around 40 years.

In the UK, tampons and sanitary towels are taxed at a rate of 5%. This has changed a few times during the last 40 years, but it’s currently at the lowest rate possible. It’s still too much.

Although menstrual cups cost around 20 pounds, they can last for years with proper care and cleaning. The best news is that you’ll recoup your costs in only a couple of months, when compared to disposable pads or tampons.

Less Waste Going to the Landfill

Estimates vary, but it’s thought that the average person uses between 11,000 and 16,000 tampons during their lifetime, resulting in 100-200 kg of waste from sanitary products. A portion of this waste is plastic which is not biodegradable. Although tampons and pads are not a big part of the larger waste problem, this is waste that can be avoided by making the switch to a menstrual cup.

Menstrual cups generally last for 5-10 years, so over a lifetime, a person will need only 4-8 of them. This is significantly less waste than thousands of pads and tampons. And there’s more good news—depending on where you live, menstrual cups can often be recycled.

Reduce your Exposure to Chemicals

Pads and tampons often contain trace amounts of pesticides and other harmful chemicals. Manufacturing companies aren’t exactly upfront about what’s in their products, and legislators have been slow to require this. Although there are no long-term studies about what effects these chemicals have, it’s thought that exposure to them might be linked to things as serious as cancer.

I hope that governments will pass legislation that requires companies to disclose what’s in pads or tampons, and/or companies will work to eliminate these harmful things. In the meantime, it makes sense to use a menstrual cup instead.

As long as you get a top-quality cup (avoid the cheap ones from China), it’s made from medical grade silicone that is safe to use inside your body. It will not leak chemicals into your bloodstream and you’ll be able to have a safer period experience.

No Risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome

To date, there has been one reported case of Toxic Shock Syndrome that resulted from using a menstrual cup. With tampons, there are thousands of cases every year. Menstrual cups are not without risks, but it seem that the risk of this very serious condition is far lower than when using tampons.

Ready to Make the Switch?

Are you ready to have a cheaper, safer, and more environmentally friendly period? Then it’s time to consider choosing menstrual cups instead of disposable pads or tampons.

If you live in the UK, an excellent place to start is the MoonCup. It’s a company based in Brighton that makes one of the most popular menstrual cups in the world. MoonCup has been around for years, and people that try the cup really seem to love it.

You can buy the MoonCup directly from the cup for around 20 pounds, and shipping is free in the UK. Check it out here: MoonCup’s Website.

Image of hand holding mooncup with box and bag also in photo. Photo by Dylan and Me.Image Credit: Dylan and Me

Author Bio

Jackie Bolen is a tree-hugging, friend of the Earth who can usually be found on top of a mountain, paddling the rivers, or drinking coffee around Vancouver, Canada. She hopes that one day, a menstrual cup will be found in the hands of every single menstruating person in the world. This has the potential to make it a much better place.

*This is a guest post.

Rainwater Harvesting: Advantages for Your Home and Garden

It need not be said that water is an essential resource for all of us. We can live without a day of electricity, and there are many undeveloped places in the world that make do without its convenience; but everyone in the world, regardless of where they are, needs water. It is a necessity to all life.

Some of us are privileged to have instant and convenient access to water anytime we want. But not all of us appreciate this privilege; in fact, a lot of us take it for granted. We think all the water that we have at our fingertips -literally – is unlimited. But it’s not. Already, certain parts of the world are experiencing drought, and if we remain heedless about how we consume our water supply, this drought will become a global problem.

It becomes crucial then that we find ways on how to save on our water usage. For one thing, we should fix leaks around the house, as leaks are one of the top causes of wastefulness in the home. You might think all those drips don’t amount to anything, but over time, they accumulate to a sizable quantity of water. How sizable? Approximately ten thousand gallons per year. So get in touch with a professional plumber and stop those leaks before they give you problems.

Another thing you can do is to upgrade the faucets and showerheads in your household to more modern and more efficient ones. For instance, when brushing your teeth, do you really need a faucet with a really strong, pressurized flow? You are much better off with a low-pressure flow for these activities.

Finally, the practice of harvesting rainwater can help to cut down your monthly water consumption as well as your bills. Rainwater harvesting is the habit of making use of one of nature’s free resources – rain – and harnessing it for our own various household uses. This practice can bring about several advantages for your home and garden…

Rainwater Harvesting: Advantages for Your Home and Garden title with image

It reduces the risks of soil erosion and flooding.

This sustainable habit can benefit the environment in a lot of ways. For one, it can help to prevent erosion around your property as well as reduce storm water runoff. It can also decrease incidences of flooding in your area. In incidents of a torrential downpour, there’s a lot of excess rainwater that doesn’t get soaked into the ground and only ends up flooding your area. It would be much better if you made use of this water instead.

It reduces your water bills.

Harvesting rainwater can also help you reduce your monthly water consumption. Imagine if you were to use rainwater for your various household needs and tasks like doing the laundry and washing your car. You would not need to consume that much water from your tap like you normally do. Ultimately, you get to save on your water bills each month.

It can give you a backup supply.

There may come a time when your water supply gets cut off due to various reasons, like when the water company is doing major repairs or when there is simply a drought in your area and your community needs to ration their water use. In these instances, the rainwater you harvested can serve as a useful and necessary backup supply.

It eases the demand for ground water.

Although the Earth is covered with water for about 71 percent of its surface, more than 96 percent of that water is ocean-based and thus is unusable. Disregarding inaccesible fresh water found in icecaps and glaciers, we thus only have access to 1 percent ground water. Consider the fact that entire Earth population relies on this 1 percent and you can realize the extreme demand that is continually put on our limited supply. Once we start harnessing the power of rain, we can greatly reduce the demand that our population exacts on ground water.

Rainwater can be used for a variety of purposes.

We use water in our household for a variety of purposes, such as doing the laundry, washing the dishes, bathing and showering, flushing the toilets, washing the car, watering our plants, among many. All these tasks require a large amount of water in total every single day. While rainwater is the softest kind of water there is, it is also versatile in that you can use it for all these different purposes. Because it has no chemicals, it is better for your hair and skin and your plants and it also requires lesser amounts of detergents when washing clothes and dishes.

Now that you know all about the advantages that rainwater harvesting can bring about for your home and garden, you might want to invest in quality containers that a reputable company like Rain Water Tanks provides. Just a little cost upfront will help you save a lot on your water consumption and bills in the future.

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored guest post.

4 Eco-Friendly New Year’s Resolutions

Make sure that you give yourself the best possible chance of achieving your New Year’s resolutions in 2018 and do your bit for the environment at the same time with some green, eco-friendly resolutions!

The end of another year is fast approaching, and we all know what that means – it’s time to make your New Year’s resolutions!

Of course, we all know that making the resolutions is the easy part. When it comes to keeping them and staying on course, many people find it too difficult and give up before really giving themselves a chance.

The trick to sticking to your resolutions is to choose something which is realistically attainable and that really matters to you; you need to be motivated to succeed! So go for something that is personal to you and pick something that you really want to achieve, as then it will provide that little extra boost of motivation to get you through if you start to waiver.

The usual resolutions like visiting the gym, eating healthily or giving up smoking are all great, as long as you are truly motivated and determined to stick to it. But for 2018, why not go for something a little different and work to incorporate a greater level of eco-friendliness into your life?

To provide some inspiration and get you thinking, here are four green New Year’s Resolutions perfect for starting 2018 in the right way…

Title 4 Eco-Friendly New Year’s Resolutions with faded background image of jogger outdoors

Greener Parties

Whether it’s a birthday, a New Year’s bash or a kid’s party, the vast majority of parties and special events are simply not sustainable. Just think about how much uneaten food gets wasted! Add to this the massive amounts of single-use paper (or worse, plastic!) cups and plates being thrown away, and it’s no surprise that many parties could do with an eco-friendly boost.

Commit to making any parties or special events you host in 2018 much greener affairs – buy fully recyclable wholesale party supplies to cut down on waste and make sure not to go overboard on the food itself. You could even go for a full-on green theme to really push the boat out!

Reduce Waste

In the UK, 1.9 million tonnes of food and drink is wasted – every year. While we, as individuals, have little sway over the habits of the food industry, we can do our bit to cut down on waste by being sure to only buy things we need or that we know will get eaten. Try and cut down on impulse buys (this resolution will also be beneficial for your bank balance!) and plan out any shopping trips before leaving the house.

Similarly, try to opt for organic produce, locally-grown or sourced food and items with recyclable, and less, packaging wherever possible. Just this one small lifestyle change will help you become healthier and benefit the environment and local industry at the same time!

Sticky note saying reduce reuse recycle pinned to wooden board

Head Outdoors

How often do you use the car to travel somewhere within easy walking distance? Reduce the impact of vehicle emissions and help yourself keep fit in 2018 by committing to using your personal car less, wherever possible.

Even if you can’t walk to your destination, have you considered using public transport? For work, it may also be worth finding out if any colleagues live in your area and wouldn’t mind setting up a car-sharing scheme.

Quality over Quantity

A key part of sustainable living is cutting down on what you buy, how much you buy, and the amount of waste that you generate. While it is probably food that first comes to mind, there are actually many other ways in which you can resolve to cut down on low-quality items and waste.

Just think – how many times have you picked up a few pieces of cheap or low-quality clothing while out shopping only for them to disintegrate within weeks or shrink in the wash? Instead of continually buying large quantities or poor-quality clothing, commit to choosing fewer pieces of high-quality clothing that will last throughout the year.

Are you ready for the New Year? What green, eco-friendly resolutions are you planning?

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

How To Live More Sustainably: My Top Tips On Easy Ways To Become More ‘Green’

Would you like to find out more about living a more eco- friendly sustainable lifestyle? Are you looking for tips on Green Living so you can be more environmentally friendly? Then this post is for you! Read about my top tips for green living and overview of different ways you can live more sustainably…

I have talked alot about green living previously and regularly discuss ways that we can all help to protect our environment. But more often I cover specific aspects in-depth, therefore I thought it would be useful to pull it altogether into a post about my top tips for green living. So here is an overview of different ways you can live more sustainably…

Background image of wind turbines with title How To Live More Sustainably: My Top Tips On Easy Ways To Become More 'Green'

Go Electric

Have you thought about buying an electric car? There are many factors when choosing a car generally of course and some specific considerations when it comes to choosing an electric car. One of the biggest concerns – aside from the retail price, which is in the longer term offset by the low running costs and also is dropping dramatically as they become more common anyway – is the availability of chargepoints. However, as electric cars grow hugely in popularity, the distribution of chargepoints has become far more widespread. You can also get a NewMotion chargepoint to charge your vehicle safely at home too.

Electric car at charging station

Home

From a full renovation to simply changing a light bulb, there are lots of ways you can make your home more eco-friendly. Using LED lightbulbs, changing your shower head and toilet flush to low-flow and turning your water temperature down on your boiler are all fairly cheap and easy minor changes you can make. When it comes to buying new appliances, choose environmentally- friendly models with high energy efficiency ratings. Also opt for eco-friendly, ideally natural, products to clean your home so there are no nasty chemicals!

Switch To Clean Energy

I mentioned above switching away from fossil fuels in the context of vehicles; the same applies to your home. Install solar panels if you can or switch your supplier to a green energy company.

Zero Waste: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse (then Recycle)

The term zero waste sounds daunting I admit! But really the aim is simple – to reduce the amount of rubbish you create. Especially waste that ends up in landfill in particular. Key elements for achieving this are actually quite straightforward:

  • Refuse single- use plastics, especially ‘the big four’ (straws, bags, cups and bottles).
  • Reduce your waste by trying to choose items that have less packaging, especially plastic, when shopping generally. Try to reduce your amount of food waste too.
  • Reuse items. Invest in reusable bags, straws, coffee cups and bottles. Use long-lasting reusable containers to store food too.
  • Recycle as much as possible of whatever rubbish you do create. Don’t throw anything into the landfill bin that doesn’t belong there!

And an extra point on this subject…

  • Upcycle and Repair. Try to mend before discarding things. Upcycle old furniture and other items if possible. If you have any household items, toys, clothes etc… that you have finished using yourself, pass them onto someone else to use.

Graphic of bottle, bag, straw and cup with caption 'I will say no to plastic's big 4'

    Slow Fashion

    Fashion has alot to answer for in terms of environmental impact. With ever changing trends, there is a high consumer demand for cheap fashionable clothing. The problem is, this throwaway fast fashion culture has a high price on the environment. Make a capsule wardrobe with high quality pieces made from natural materials your new latest trend instead.

    Reduce Meat Intake

    Whilst not everyone necessarily has any desire to become vegetarian, or vegan, a plant based diet is better for the environment. Even reducing your meat intake by having just one meat-free day per week is a step toward living a more sustainable life.

    Picture of a delicious healthy vegetarian meal.

    What are your top tips for living a more sustainable life?

    *Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

    How To Renovate A House Sustainably

    Have you ever thought about how to renovate a house sustainably and turn your home into an environmentally friendly palace? This post is full of ways to renovate a home more sustainably, with ideas such as building essentials, materials, energy saving design ideas and eco friendly finishing touches.

    Renovating your home can be costly. But it is not just the financial cost of renovations involved; it can take its toll on the environment too. Yet it certainly doesn’t need to be that way. Renovating your house whilst protecting the environment at the same time is achievable, and the result can be a beautiful eco-friendly home. So if you are looking to renovate your house sustainably, here are some ideas…

    A picture of a house with title of post written in sky next to it.

    Building Essentials

    Choose tradesmen who are environmentally conscious. Insist that they do what they can to reduce waste or recycle, minimising the amount that ends up in landfill. It is also absolutely essential that anything that does unavoidably have to be disposed of (as a last resort!) is done so responsibly.

    If you are looking for an eco house refurbishment specialist in the London area, Twickenham based company Unique Design and Build offers energy efficient and green solutions designed to preserve the environment, and save money too. They understand that people might not have time to devote to labour-intensive projects or have a definite idea about how to make their ideas into a reality but still want the best results.

    Materials

    When choosing materials, try to use natural whenever possible. Alternatively, use recycled or reclaimed materials. Certainly make sure materials are non- toxic. Also try to source materials as locally as possible too, because of the environmental cost of transporting it.

    As suggested in a Telegraph article “choose wood-framed windows rather than UPVC or metal. They are easier to repair, more insulating, last a lifetime and are less polluting than the cheaper UPVC (unplasticised poly vinyl chloride), from which many domestic window frames are made, which emits toxic compounds”.

    A picture of architectural plans and colour samples.

    Design Essentials

    One of the key things to consider is insulation. Properly insulated walls, ceilings and floors help to keep heat in, which prevents wasted energy and also saves money. Fill cavity walls with insulation, otherwise they can be almost as wasteful as an uninsulated loft. On that note, ensure the loft is well insulated too! For all types of insulation, again use natural materials or recycled materials, if at all possible.

    For heating up your home, underfloor heating is cost- effective and can be installed in older homes that are being renovated as well as new homes. Also, choose your boiler carefully. An energy efficient boiler that is regularly serviced will make a big difference to your energy bill… and the environment.

    A picture of a room flooded with lots of natural light.

    When designing your home, also try to allow for the maximum amount of natural light to reduce the need for artificial lighting. Install double-glazed windows, which are far more efficient at keeping in heat and therefore save energy, then team them up with thermal-backed curtains for even more energy saving.

    For powering your home, rather than using fossil fuels, choose clean energy sources. It could well be a good investment to install solar panels for this. Alternatively, try to choose a clean energy company to supply your home.

    Extra Considerations

    Redecorating

    Use water, rather than oil-based, paints with natural pigment as they are more environmentally friendly.

    Furniture

    Choose secondhand furniture, upcycle or select furniture made from recycled materials.

    Fixtures and Fittings

    • Swap regular light bulbs for eco bulbs.
    • Fit a water-saving showerhead. You will save more energy if you opt for an aerated or low-flow showerhead. Same goes for sanitary fittings too.
    • Select appliances with high energy-efficiency ratings.
    • Install a rainwater collection tank.

    *Disclosure: This post is written in collaboration with Unique Design and Build.

    Duffy’s Lucky Escape (Duffy The Sea Turtle): An Inspiring and Educational Childrens Book About Ocean Plastics (Review and Giveaway)

    About the Book

    Duffy’s Lucky Escape is a fantastic engaging story with the most stunning gorgeous illustrations that takes children on an adventure with Duffy when she encounters plastic pollution in the sea after a storm. This beautiful book, aimed at ages 4-10 years old, highlights the relationship between humans and wildlife, and how we negatively impact their health by polluting their natural habitats. It also teaches how to help in a fun and friendly way.Cover of the book Duffy's Lucky Escape by Ellie Jackson

    This book is the perfect present for a special child in your life or even gift a copy to a local school, community group or library.

    Educational Value

    The book and the accompanying website is exceptionally high quality with a wealth of learning opportunities. It can be used as an educational resource in any setting to discuss recycling, reducing use of single-use plastics, global citizenship, environmental activism and empathy for our natural world. The website has plenty of great ideas on the resources page. There are also some interesting little video clips on their facebook page about the making of the book too.

    A picture of Duffy the Sea Turtle swallowing a plastic bag. One of the beautiful illustrations from the book.

    The Story Behind Duffy

    Duffy was suffering from something called Floater’s Syndrome where the plastics she had eaten were stopping her from diving down under the water to eat. Luckily turtles who are on the surface are more likely to be spotted by people out on boats and so are more likely to be rescued. The first thing they do is to build up the turtles strength before they can find out what is wrong with it via x-ray. In lots of cases they see plastic caught in the turtles throat, stomach or intestines causing the blockage and making them feel very ill. If the turtle is well enough the vets can operate and remove the plastic before they can eventually be released back into their natural habitats. The whole process from the initial rescue to the release can take up to a year. Read the story in more detail here.

    A stunning illustration of Duffy in rehab at the rescue centre. A page from the book Duffy's Lucky Escape.

    About the Author

    I never thought about becoming an author, it was a process that I fell into by reason of circumstance and luck. An amazing opportunity to live for a year on a tropical island in the Great Barrier Reef was not something that I ever thought would lead to a new direction for me – we moved there as a family for beaches and adventure! The most beautiful beaches, framed by palm trees and sunsets, just how you would imagine an island paradise to be. We didn’t wear shoes for a year, we had our own pool, and a great circle of friends. My three children were all under school age and it was the perfect chance for us as a family to experience a more laid back approach to life and give our kids real freedom. My husband works from home and this allowed us the chance to try something different before we had to start real life when our eldest started school.

    We heard about a turtle release happening on one of the beaches – I have to say I didn’t realise what a big deal this event was going to be – the whole island turned out plus TV cameras and journalists. When it was time for the turtle to be put back into the water, we formed two lines into the sea and the turtle was released on the beach and immediately headed for the sea and was gone in a matter of seconds. It was a surprisingly emotional experience to see this turtle who had spent a year in the aquarium getting fit and healthy again, returning to her ocean home.

    After the turtle release, we visited the Turtle Hospital on the mainland and heard all the different reasons as to why turtles need our help – one of which is where they suffer from eating too much plastic. As soon as my young children had made the link between plastic on the beach and turtles, every time we went to the beach they were running around picking up rubbish saying “Mummy, I’m saving a turtle!”. Well that was it for me, I was amazed at how such a simple true story could motivate and encourage such enthusiasm for picking up rubbish!

    An illustration of Duffy the Sea Turtle after her release back into the ocean.

    Further Information

    Shop: Purchase via Duffy the Sea Turtle website directly or buy on Amazon.*

    Cost: £7.99 with a percentage of all profits going to UK national marine charities.

    To find out more, visit duffytheseaturtle.com or find them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

    *Contains an affilliate link.

    Giveaway

    One of you can win a copy of this wonderful book! Simply enter via rafflecopter below. UK residents only. Ends 15th December 2017. Other T&Cs apply. Good luck!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    8 Tips for Taking an Eco-Friendly Vacation (Guest Post by Samara at Tiny Fry)

    What is Eco-Friendly Tourism?

    Trends come and go, but here’s one we hope will stay: eco-friendly travel!

    What does this actually mean? Well, the terms “eco-friendly” and “sustainable” are often used interchangeably, although it’s possible to be eco-friendly without being sustainable. However, for the purpose of this article, we’ll be using both terms to mean a form of travel that does not negatively impact the natural environment or culture.

    Why Should I Do It?

    Choosing an eco-friendly vacation means you’re in for a unique adventure, experiencing a place through an authentic lens. You’ll enjoy places without the slick tourist spiel, and learn what really goes on in a community. What’s more, you’re helping locals. For example, you can show your support by shopping locally and choosing activities that won’t harm the environment.

    A picture of someone hiking through the countryside with a camera in hand.

    How Should I Do It?
    Planning an eco-friendly vacation requires some research and preparation. Here are 8 tips to get you on your way…

    1. If You Travel by Air

    Obviously, taking a plane isn’t “green” but if it’s your only option, search for direct flights that require less fuel than ones with stopovers. Once you reach your destination, you can walk, ride a bike, or rely on public transportation to get you where you need to go.

    2. If You Travel by Car

    Choosing an energy-efficient vehicle can reduce emissions by up to 50%. Make sure the car is in good shape and as efficient as possible (for example, clean the air filter, fill the tires). Pack only what you’ll need (lighter cars are more fuel efficient!) and plan your route before you go so there’s less of a chance you’ll get lost and waste both fuel and time.

    A photo taken from the inside of a car. Out of the windscreen there is a view of mountains.

    3. If You Camp

    Camping is probably the “greenest” option and also may be the most cost-efficient. That said, it does require some careful packing. You’ll want to be as self-sufficient as possible and carry the essentials with you: your own water bottle, snacks, toiletries, and utensils (disposable cups and utensils are wasteful). If you’re traveling with kids and plan to hike or bike, assume you need to bring your own gear (bikes, strollers etc…)

    A picture of a tent and sunrise scene.

    4. If You Prefer a Hotel

    Sustainable hotels are popping up in major cities and towns. What to look for: low-energy light bulbs, non-toxic fabrics, non-toxic cleaning supplies, recycling programs, bikes for guests, locally sourced menus and a green certification from a bonafide agency. If possible, green hotels should be built and furnished with reclaimed or renewable resources and they should definitely employ locals. Another tip: ask if the hotel has a volunteer program that allows you to get directly involved in the community (for example, plant trees or work in a garden).

    5. If You Hire a Guide

    Rather than joining an exclusive tour group, hire a local guide. Certainly, a guide who lives in the area has more invested in the surroundings than a company that’s only interested in making a profit off of your trip. The best guides promote ethical practices, explain how to support the community, respect the natural habitat, plus show off the most authentic and “behind the scene” spots!

    6. If You Book an Experience

    There’s so much to get excited about when travelling to a new place that it’s easy to overlook stuff. Overall, you never want to be disruptive or disrespectful when playing the role of tourist in any community. What’s more, if you want to get up close and personal with the wildlife, make sure you aren’t in any way harming or disturbing the creatures or their habitats.

    A photo of someone taking a photo of a beautiful canyon.

    7. If You Buy a Souvenir

    Double check that your souvenir of choice is 100% ethical. For example, you don’t want to take home anything that may have come from an endangered species or was made with enforced labour.

    8. If You Want to Make an Impression

    Be mindful of what you leave behind! Don’t mess with your surroundings and pick up your trash wherever you go. The goal of eco-travel is to make only a positive impact on the area; in other words, leaving behind nothing but some dollars for the local businesses and a tremendous amount of good will!

    The Evolution of Travel

    Eco travel has been a hot vacation option for some time now and it’s growing in popularity. It’s easy to see why. Traveling responsibly is as good for the tourist as it is for the host.

    It offers an authentic, educational, and inspiring look at an unfamiliar territory while supporting and promoting local resources. By booking a sustainable vacation, you’ll be doing your part to ensure that vacation areas will be protected for the next generation of travellers.

    A photo of Samara and her family.

    Author Bio

    Samara Kamenecka is a New York-born freelance writer and translator living in Madrid. When she’s not busy trying to mold her two kids into functional, contributing members of society, she can usually be found enjoying a glass of wine (or three), or eating ice cream straight out of the container. You can find her blogging over at Tiny Fry.

    Shayna EcoUnified: Turning Plastic Waste Into Useful Architectural Tiles

    Shayna EcoUnified is an innovative company that uses new technology to help tackle plastic pollution in the environment, by turning plastic waste into affordable yet high performance structural materials, in the form of tiles and blocks. 

    A picture of the floor and wall tiles in a range of colours piled up with Shayna EcoUnified logo in the bottom corner of the image.
    Floor & wall tiles available in different colours.

    About The Company

    Shayna EcoUnified are the first and only company in India and SAARC countries to have the technology to produce these. This has been achieved in collaboration with the Council of Scientific Industrial Research (CSIR)- National Physical Laboratory’s (NPL), with whom this technology was developed, tested and certified for usage in multiple applications.

    About The Product

    The products have a range of qualities that have been successfully tested. For starters, they are incredibly durable; they are weather and heat resistant, acid and corrosion resistant, and chip resistant too. They are also hygenic, since they are both anti-bacterial and anti- microbial. Last but not least they are practical; they have anti- static and anti- skiding properties, and are ready to use with no drying required.

    In summary, they offer better structural stability at a lower cost compared to conventional materials, as well as protecting the environment from plastic dumping. For example, 600 waste plastic bags are used to make one 12″ x 12″ tile weighing 900g. Each tile costs less than ‎£1.

    Uses

    The tiles have a range of uses such as wall and floor tiles, pavement tiles and structures such as public toilets, shelters, park benches and guard rooms. They have recently been able to produce a prototype of a roof tile and will be starting the production of it in a few months.

    An image of the prototype of a roof tile with Shayna EcoUnified logo on the bottom corner of the picture
    Prototype of a roof tile.

    Process

    The entire process of production is 100 per cent eco- friendly. The types of waste plastic that will serve as the raw materials are PP (Polyproplyene), LDPE (Low density polythene), and HDPE (High density polythene). It will be processed at a controlled temperature to ensure no hazardous gases are emitted. Furthermore, all the stages of production is largely mechanical, further ensuring a safe and healthy environment.

    Ethics

    Shayna EcoUnified are about to start fully fledged production in the next few weeks. The prototypes have been made by daily wage workers who they are hiring on full- time basis starting next month. The production site is adequately sized, the machine-run production area is covered, whilst the rest is open and full of greenery.

    There are essential facilities provided on-site for labours, and filtered drinking water supply maintained. Health and safety measures are currently being installed. Also, they will be conducting training and capacity building sessions for women.

    An image of three different colour interlocking tiles used for pavements. Shayna EcoUnified logo on bottom corner of image.
    Interlocking tiles which are used for pavements.

    Distribution

    Once they become established in the Indian domestic market and are able to deliver maximum output, they plan to sell the product in other countries as well.

    Find out more about Shayna EcoUnified on their website, twitter or facebook.

    Eco- Friendly Gift Ideas (Gift Guide With Giveaway)

    Do you want to find a gift with a difference? Then why not choose something that helps our planet! Here is a list of eco-friendly items to fill your (bamboo) stockings with…

    Collage of all items featured in gift guide. Title written in centre.

    Bamboo Coffee Cup Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) £12 each

    This awesome 400 ml reusable bamboo coffee cup is dishwasher-safe, easy to carry around and lasts for years. It can be disposed of by crushing, soaking in hot water and burying with organic compost. The silicone lid and sleeve can be recycled.

    A picture of SAS bamboo reusable coffee cups (boxed and stacked 3 x 2) in 6 different colours.

    Annual Memberships

    The Wildlife Trusts
    The Wildlife Trusts do fantastic work, and annual membership is a lovely gift for eco-friendly nature lovers.

    Wildlife Matters magazine and Go Wild leaflet by The Wildlife Trusts

    Surfers Against Sewage
    SAS works tirelessly to campaign for cleaner environments and supports the development of sustainable communities. Membership to this charity makes a great gift!

    Image of SAS Pipeline journal

    Homemade Soap Gift Set Living Naturally Cost: £26

    This beautiful Soapnut Soap Selection Set is handmade in the UK from 100% natural, organic, vegan, sustainable, ethically-sourced & cruelty-free ingredients! They only use recycled/recyclable paper packaging, so you will not be contributing to landfill either.

    A set of 7 beautiful vegan, eco, ethical, natural handmade soaps.

    Salad Kit The Crop Club £30

    These ‘grow your own’ kits are perfect for even small spaces and do their bit for the environment and sustainability. They include; 6 varieties of seeds, compostable cardboard and PLA pots, peat free compost discs, palm leaf trays for your pots, wooden spoon plant markers, bottletop waterer (80% recycled plastic, made in the UK) and coffee sack planter bags.

    A picture of the contents of the crop club salad kit.

    Every coffee sack is unique and different. They have already been used to transport coffee and are then upcycled. Due to this they can be a little dirty and messy but perfect for growing!

    Eco Clothes (Custom and Various Designs including Charity Clothing) Living Life Our Way Cost: From £13

    All Living Life Our Way clothing is made from 100% organic cotton, in a wind powered factory. Designs are printed using low waste, cutting edge technology. Furthermore, everything is ethically made and fully traceable from start to finish. Sustainable, ethical and good quality too. Choose from bags, sweatshirts, hoodies, tees and vests in a range of designs, or custom your own.

    An image showing 6 of the different designs available from the store.

    Mens Yoga Clothes OHMME 2- Dogs Yoga Shorts £45

    OHMME is an eco- friendly athleisure slow fashion brand created as ethically as possible, who also donate to CALM Charity. They use GreenDefence, which incorporates a built-in antibacterial function to the garments that stops bacterial growth and reduces odors without using harmful chemicals. They also use bluesign® to minimise environmental impact and to help evolve towards a sustainable textile industry. It eliminates harmful substances right from the beginning of the manufacturing process and sets and controls standards for a safe production.

    Image of a pair of blue Ohmme 2-dogs yoga shorts for men.

    These 2-Dogs Yoga Shorts for men are stretchy and silky, lined with a soft compression layer for total freedom of motion. The material is stretchy; this tight but stretchy fit allows for excellent blood flow. The cut is fitted with an extra panel from the crotch all the way down the inside of the leg, removing the strain from the seams and keeping your shorts in place for maximum body mobility. They are made for all body shapes and types of workout allowing you to focus on your practice and forget about what you are wearing.

    One lucky reader can win a pair of these brilliant blue 2-dogs mens yoga shorts! Enter via rafflecopter below. UK only. Ends 4th December 2017. Other T&Cs apply.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Stocking Fillers

    Do you have sustainable gift ideas? Please share them with me! I’d love to hear them.

    This post contains affiliate links and is a collaborative post.

    OFFICIAL LAUNCH NEWS: Living Life Our Way Clothing Range 

    Fantastic range of ethical and sustainable clothing designs. Including custom made t- shirts using child’s own drawing to create a unique peesonalised gift. All clothing is made from 100% organic cotton in a wind powered factory and printed using low waste cutting edge technology. Fully traceable from start to finish. Adult and kids t-shirts, hoodies and bags available. Stylish and sustainable, look great while protecting our planet! Chari-tees collection also supports various causes and charities by donating a set amount per sale. Look good, feel good, do good. Shop for our ethical, sustainable fashion eco clothing.

    EXCITING NEWS!!! 

    Squiggle and I are thrilled to announce that we have launched our very own sustainable and ethical clothing range!

    Our Story

    Squiggle loves designing her own clothes and has several tops that she has hand drawn herself using fabric pens. Being the mini entrepreneur she is, toward the end of last year, she asked if she could sell her clothing designs to other people too. However, we both agreed that we would need to ensure that our items would be eco- friendly and so our mission began to turn our ideas into reality…

    sustainable, ethical, eco, fashion, clothing

    And now our goal has finally been realised! We have successfully sourced a manufacturer who almost perfectly aligns with our values – and we are so happy and excited to have found such an ideal match! All of our clothing is made from 100% organic cotton, in a wind powered factory. Designs are printed using low waste, cutting edge technology. Furthermore, everything is ethically made and fully traceable from start to finish. Sustainable, ethical and good quality too, we couldn’t be happier!

    But that is just the beginning of the story…

    Originally this started out as Squiggle sharing her own designs. However, inspired by my lovely friend Maxine and her fabulous My&Me Jewellery range, we decided to extend this to offer custom tees in your child’s own design. This makes a really unique and thoughtful personalised gift for a child – or even a special adult in their life!

    sustainable, ethical, eco, fashion, clothing, custom made, gift ideas

    Chari-Tees

    Inspired by Squiggle’s creativity and drive, and my desire to support causes I feel passionate about, I have designed a couple of products with particular charity campaigns in mind. For each of these sold, a set amount will be donated. Details are on the website under the item description. I intend to keep expanding this collection to help raise money for more fab charities!

    sustainable, ethical, eco, fashion, clothing, charity, causes, fundraising

    Other Collections

    I have also created some general designs too. I often find myself getting creative as a way to relieve stress, so either when Squiggle is having a tough time with her complex needs, and/ or if there has been something major happen around the globe.

    For example, my ‘Spread Love‘ design was inspired by an instagram post asking people to share photos of love in response to the Las Vegas tragedy. I try to focus on the love and kindness in the world, especially during difficult times, and my design is a reflection of that.

    sustainable, ethical, eco, fashion, clothing, spread love, hoodie, t shirt, kids top, adult tee

    Another love of mine is music, and I find live music very therapeutic. It is an important part of my life. Hence my ‘Live Music‘ hoodie design. Perfect for wearing to gigs! 

    sustainable, ethical, eco, fashion, clothing, music, gigs, live music, hoodie

    Giveaway

    To celebrate the launch of our clothing range, I have an awesome adult or child t- shirt to giveaway! Enter via rafflecopter below. Open worldwide. Ends 1st November 2017. Winner can choose from any design. Other T&Cs apply. 

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Shop for clothing here. Thanks for your support!