Top Tips For A Plastic-Free Picnic

As I mentioned in my previous post, one of the launch day events for Plastic-Free St Albans is a Plastic-Free Picnic at Highfield Park. This is also an awesome way to celebrate Earth Day too. So whether you are planning a picnic for this reason, or having one on any other day, here are my top tips for a plastic-free picnic…

Top Tips For A Plastic-Free Picnic

Shopping

Firstly, choose items that are sold loose or in recyclable packaging. Avoid plastic packaging as much as you can! It is hard to do, which is why there are several campaigns focused on holding shops and supermarkets more accountable for this too. If you are feeling abit rebellious, you could unpackage everything after you pay, before you leave and give the rubbish back to them… maybe it will help them to take the hint!

Better yet, head on down to your local eco store, if you have one, with your refill jars and avoid the supermarkets with all their unnecessary packaging full stop!

(Oh, and wherever you shop, don’t forget to take your reusable bags, obviously….)

Plastic Free St Albans eco friendly reusable bag organic cotton sustainable bag

Packing Your Picnic

Transporting

Use an old style wicker basket to carry your picnic! Or choose from one of the many reusable bag options available. This one is easy; just don’t use a plastic bag! Moving on…

Containers

Tuppaware containers are ok as they aren’t single- use plastic. However, there are even better alternatives! Stainless steel containers are more environmentally- friendly and will most likely last you longer too.

Keeping it Fresh

Rather than cling film, use sandwich bags or reusable wax wraps. These keep food fresh very effectively and are much kinder to the environment.

Reusable sandwich bag

Plates, Bowls and Cutlery

Taking your own cutlery that you use at home is a good choice. You don’t actually need different cutlery just because you are eating outdoors! But if you do prefer to use something else, invest in a reusable bamboo cutlery set if possible.

For disposable cutlery options, as well as bowls and plates too, choose eco- friendly items such as from The Blue Speck. They are 100% biodegradable and sourced directly from plants.

Drinks

Take a flask along with a reusable cup for hot drinks. For cold drinks, take along a reusable drinks bottle. If you need a straw, invest in a reusable one made from metal or bamboo, or buy disposable alternatives to plastic, such as paper straws.

Reusable eco friendly cup

Other Useful Info

Low Tox Box also has a fab zero waste starter kit. It contains several reusable bags, spork, cup and straw for £30 plus P&P. They also plant a tree for every box sold and send a certificate too.

Enjoy your plastic- free picnic!

Click here for more zero waste tips

7 Simple Ways Kids Can Contribute to an Eco-Friendly Lifestyle: Guest Post by Veronica – My Parenting Journey

Families often live wasteful lives, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. Living an eco-friendly lifestyle with children can seem like a daunting task. Little humans can create a lot of waste, but there are plenty of ways kids can contribute to an eco-friendly lifestyle. Now is the time to change your habits and set better habits for your growing kids.

Child outdoors exploring nature

Can Families “Go Green”?
A common assumption is that families can’t go green because children tend to produce a lot of waste. The amount of waste children generate depends entirely on the lifestyle you live.

The Environmental Protection Agency states that an average American family generates 4.4 pounds of garbage a day. That means each week your family puts out about 29 pounds of trash. Seems crazy, right? There are ways to reduce that output. Having kids doesn’t have to be wasteful!

● Use cloth diapers
● Try an eco-friendly laundry detergent
● Breastfeed
● Save clothes for other children
● Shop used sales
● Use stainless steel or glass bottles

Talk With Your Kids
Before you introduce an eco-friendly lifestyle to your kids, it is important to sit down and have a chat with your kids. Discuss with them why you want to make this change! Show them ways you may already be going green at home or school. Do their schools or classrooms recycle?

During your talk, encourage your kids to think of ways you can go green together as a family. Kids are creative and inventive, so give them this time to shine. Start with their ideas first to encourage them to keep going!

7 Simple Ways Kids Can Contribute to an Eco-Friendly Lifestyle title with image of two children

7 Ways Kids Can Contribute to an Eco-Friendly Lifestyle

1.Start a Garden
Our family, kids included, gardens and grows a large portion of our food. You don’t need a large garden; growing any of your food is a step in the right direction. Gardening gets everyone outside, soaking in vitamin D, and it brings the food cycle to you! Kids make fantastic gardeners with a little direction.

2. Work a Compost
If you are going to garden, composting makes sense. Composting creates a source of free nutrients for your garden while eliminating your waste.

Your kids can collect items each day for the compost, such as the eggshells from breakfast and veggie scraps from dinner prep. Kids can also stir the compost and add in grass clippings or shredded leaves!

3. Sort Recycling
Reducing the amount of waste you generate as a family reduces your carbon footprint. All should do recycling. Create a recycling bin system and encourage your children to sort the waste throughout the day. They can rinse out milk jugs or put the newspaper into the right bin. Later, take your children to drop off the recycling and see if you can visit a recycling center!

4. Turn Off Lights
Make it a game to see who can turn off the most lights each day. Reducing your electricity usage saves your money and contributes to a green lifestyle. Children are sponges, and they adopt whatever lifestyle you encourage in them. Teach them to turn off the water as they brush their teeth and more!

Another idea is to have family nights when you turn off all electronics. Unplug the TV and spend time together reading or playing board games. If it is nice, head outside for a hike or a game of soccer. You are reducing your energy output while spending time together.

5. Bike Together
Cars are massive producers of pollution. Biking to places may not be easy depending on where you live. If you live in a city, biking could be a great opportunity for your kids to get exercise and to reduce pollution. Walking or riding bikes are great alternatives! If you have a baby, you can get a seat to put on your bicycle. Families with toddlers can attach a pull-behind seat!

6. Make Reusable Bags Together
Kids love to craft, so why not make a craft that has a purpose? Reusable bags are a staple for green families. You might end up with a small collection everywhere. You can find easy tutorials to make bags from t-shirts or old pillowcases. Be creative! It is also a great opportunity to teach your kids to use up what they have rather than going to purchase new.

7. Make Homemade Cleaners
Another easy task for your kids is to get them involved with making homemade cleaners! Working with vinegar, baking soda, and more is quite safe for your kids. Older kids can learn about the toxicity of harsh chemicals. Show them how to clean with simple ingredients. It is best for you to add essential oils if you use them rather than the little kids!
Living an eco-friendly lifestyle takes more than just one person in a family. It has to be a family effort. Teach your kids the importance of treating the earth with kindness and show them simple ways to do so. You are instilling values that will last a lifetime.

Image of two young children exploring a pond

About the Author
Hi! My name is Veronica Mitchell. I am a mother to two adorable little girls and a handsome little boy. I spend my days caring from my children, packing lunches, reading aloud, kissing boo-boos, and working as the Chief Editor of My Parenting Journey.

Costa Rica: A Nature Lover’s Paradise

Have you ever considered visiting Costa Rica? This Central American eco country is famous for its rainforests and biodiversity, so is an absolute dream for nature lovers. It has been described as “the most biologically intense place on Earth” by National Geographic because it crams 2.5% of the planet’s biodiversity into just 0.001% of its surface area. And with roughly a quarter of the country made up of protected national parks and areas, which are home to over 840 species of birds, around 2000 plants and hundreds of mammals too, it is an experience you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Costa Rica even aims to be the first country to eliminate all single- use plastics; it takes environmental issues very seriously!

It is also a great place to travel generally. As explained in this article by The Telegraph, it is a cool country to visit for loads of very good reasons. For example, in 2016, it was named the happiest place in the world by the Happy Planet Index; that is pretty awesome to say the least! Who wouldn’t want to visit?!

Title Costa Rica: Nature Lovers Paradise on faded background image of Costa Rica coastline.

Where To Stay

Enjoy a spot of luxury in one of these beautiful Costa Rica rentals. Or you could spend time travelling around different parts to fully appreciate the diversity of this fabulous country. Honest advice suggests that perhaps the capital, San Jose, is not the best place to stay and it is probably a good idea to plan as little time there as possible. However, the rest of Costa Rica sounds absolutely amazing and there are lots of fantastic location choices.

The west (Pacific side) tends to be hotter and is the more touristy side, especially with American visitors, so this might be considered easier with kids. Manuel Antonio National Park, for example, is situated right in the centre of the west coast, and is a great place for seeing an abundance of wildlife.

Costa Rica National Parks map

Source: Go Visit Costa Rica

Places To Visit

As I have said, Costa Rica is all about the stunning scenery along with an incredibly vast range of plants and wildlife. These can best be found at the numerous national parks and nature reserves, and each one has its own unique qualities. I have already mentioned a couple of places briefly, but here is some further information about a selection of the must-see, must-do nature spots…

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Puntarenas Province

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve sounds like a truly spectacular place where you can not only see an amazing array of wildlife, but you can also walk across a hanging bridge to view the forest canopy from magnificent heights. You can even zip wire over the forest!

Monteverde Cloud Forest hanging bridge above the forest canopy.

Monteverde, Costa Rica by Haakon S. Krohn (Source: Wikimedia)

There are other cool things to do at Monteverde as well; such as eat in a quirky treehouse restaurant, exciting horse riding treks or visit Don Juan’s Coffee Farm. Costa Rica Experts detail this tour on their website: “This tour gives you a closer look of the production of Don Juan’s coffee. After learning the drying and roasting process of the beans, explore other food staples of Costa Rica. Embark on a culinary journey. Discover the history of cocoa pods and make your own chocolate using traditional Costa Rican recipes. Yes, you will get to try your creations! This sweet experience continues to the “El Trapiche” (a mill made of wooden rollers), which is used as a tool to extract sugarcane juice and make tasty sweets and much more. This visit wouldn’t be complete without the chance to buy an authentic cup of Costa Rican coffee at the souvenir shop.”

Tortuguero National Park

This is home to nesting sea turtles, and respect for their needs is to be priority if visiting this park. For this reason, the area is out of bounds after 6pm unless you are with an official tour guide. During these night tours, you will see most likely see adult turtles coming onto the beach to lay their eggs. However, if you are lucky, you might even spot a newly hatched turtle heading toward the water!

As well as turtles, there are plenty of birds, fish, monkeys and other wildlife to see at this National Park. A good way to do this is by taking a boat ride along the canal. Or you can hire a canoe and paddle down.

La Fortuna, Alajuela

This is perhaps one of the best known tourist spots, because it is situated at the centre of several wonders. Top of that is Arenal Volcano, an active volcano that regularly erupts. There are also hot springs to bathe in, heated naturally by the thermal activity from Arenal. Then there is the most stunning waterfall too. Plus there are day and night tours at nearby Ecocentro Danaus, a private ecology reserve, for wildlife watching. With such breath-taking scenery and experiences, it is hardly surprising that it is a popular choice. For this reason though, I am told it can get very busy! Check out quieter times to visit if you prefer to avoid the crowds.

La Fortuna waterfall, Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park has a wealth of wildlife to discover. You can explore independently or get a tour guide. As A Strong Coffee To Go explains, even just sitting on the beach you will see animals such as sloths, monkeys and iguanas without going to any effort. But if you are keen to spot more hidden creatures, as well as gain greater insight and knowledge, then you might find a tour guide beneficial. They carry telescopes and know where and what to look for, which gives a somewhat huge advantage over an inexperienced traveller with their naked eye. Of course, you don’t need a telescope, or an expert, simply to bask in the beautiful surroundings though!

One of the beautiful birds that can be spotted in Costa Rica rainforests.

Obviously these are just a small handful of the wonderful places to visit in Costa Rica. But wherever you choose, and whether you cram in as much as you can or take things at a more leisurely pace, it is bound to be an unforgettable experience! It truly does sound like a nature lover’s paradise.

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

3 Questions That Make For a Better, Cleaner Wardrobe

We’ve all been there. You open the door to your closet and it’s a mess. Closets seem to always become the place we store everything we love and hate at the same time. They always have the top you can’t live without, while also containing some items you hope never see the light of day. Cleaning and organizing our wardrobes is a task that can always seem daunting, which is why it rarely gets done.

When we start to ask ourselves some tough questions about where our clothes come from and how they were made, the choices of what to keep and what to donate can be much easier than you think. Today I wanted to bring you some hard and fast rules you can use to get the job done. As a bonus, you’ll feel better about yourself and the environment as well.

Go through each piece of clothing you own and ask the following questions…

3 Questions That Make For a Better, Cleaner Wardrobe

Was it ethically made?

It’s easy to overlook the true cost of some of our clothing in regards to the physical labor that goes into making it. Unfortunately, with the rise in globalization came an increase in child labor and exploited adults in the fashion industry. Take a look into some of the brands you own and find out if they are using ethical labor to produce them. There are a lot of tools out there made specifically to help you research various brands and their manufacturing practices. If you find out something nasty about a brand, ditch their clothes! You’ll make some room and will no longer support their actions as a brand.

Is it made from sustainable material?

It’s no secret that the production of the clothes we love has a pretty big impact on the environment. Cotton alone  consumes 25% of the world’s insecticides and 10% of all the pesticides! Now more than ever it’s important to support brands that ensure their materials come from sustainable sources. Sustainable clothing materials include soy, hemp, bamboo, PET plastic, and organic cotton. Pact is a great example of an up-and-coming clothing brand that uses only organic cotton to help cut down on the use of chemicals in the environment. Bonus: they’re GOTS certified, which means their clothes are also ethically made.

If you are on the fence about keeping something, take a look at what the item is made out of. If you like it, and it’s made from natural, recycled or upcycled fibers – keep it. But if you’re not sure, and it’s not made from something sustainable, ditch it!

Does this piece bring me joy?

Sounds simple right? But how often do we ask ourselves that question about the clothes we wear? It won’t have a major impact on the environment or teach any unethical brands a lesson, but it will help you ensure that every time you open your closet, you’ll come away with something that makes you feel great. This method of organization was pioneered by Marie Kondo with her now famous “KonMari” method of organizing. This way of thinking teaches us to cherish the things that matter, and get rid of the things in our lives that don’t. If you tackle your closet in this way, you’ll be amazed by the impact it can have on your well-being.

Eco fashion, ethical clothing, sustainable fashion clothing. Lady wearing a comfy jumper.

I hope these questions help you get your closet organized. I think the ethical and environmental impact of our clothing should play a huge role when deciding what to keep, and what to purchase for that matter. And of course, never settle for anything that doesn’t make you happy!

*This is a guest 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.

    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.

    Simple Ways To Reduce Energy Consumption In Your Home

    Last week I posted about energy waste and how to save money on your bills. I mentioned briefly how to reduce energy waste within the home. However, I think these tips definitely deserve their own post! 

    So here are some simple ways to reduce energy consumption in your home…

    Technology Use

    Leaving technology on standby or plugged in when not in use consumes small amounts of unnecessary energy that quickly adds up over time. Set technology to fully shut down automatically and/ or remember to turn it off properly at the socket. Unplug phones, tablets etc… as soon as they are fully charged then unplug the charger itself too. 

    Small Appliances

    Unplug small appliances at the socket when not in use to ensure they are not sneakily wasting energy. At the very least, ensure they are turned off properly at the socket. 

    Smart Power Strips

    Alternatively, a smart power strip is an affordable way to combat energy waste in your home. These clever strips cut the power supply to technology automatically when it goes into standby mode. Very smart indeed!

    Lighting

    The Lighting Superstore have created this useful infographic showing why LED bulbs are the way to go as part of their #LEDeasy campaign. In summary, LED lights use up to 90% less energy compared to incandescent bulbs. They also have a longer lifespan, are more environmentally friendly, are versatile in both style and placement, plus offer a wide range of lighting options in terms of brightness and colour too.

    The Lighting Superstore, infographic, energy consumption, environment, green living, home and garden, sustainability, eco friendly

    Heating

    Using your existing heating thermostat/ timer correctly to make sure your heating only comes on when you need it, as high as you need it and for as long as you need it, ensures you heat your home efficiently and only use the energy you really need. 

    Water

    Take a few moments to sort out any drippy taps in your home. Also switching your showerhead to an eco-friendly design is a fairly inexpensive way of saving water and energy consumption.

    My top 5 personal energy-saving actions for my own home:

    • TV, console and freeview box are all on the same strip anyway; so easy to turn it off at the socket! 
    • Ensure other technology is also turned off at the socket or unplugged when not in use. This includes unplugging mobiles as soon as they are fully charged!
    • Unplug kettle, nutribullet and microwave (and any other small appliances) when not in use. 
    • Use LED lightbulbs.
    • Use heating thermostat effectively.


    What are your top home energy-saving tips or eco-friendly actions you will take in your own home from now on? Tell me in the comments!


    *This is a collaborative post.

    Eco- Friendly Christmas Decoration Ideas

    We love it when it’s time to decorate for Christmas and turn our home into a festive wonderland! For us, it’s all about getting into the spirit and having fun together. But one thing that is also important to me is finding ways that we can make our Christmas decor abit more eco-friendly. We always try to be mindful of the materials we buy or choose to use, and the amount of waste we create, but Christmas can be an extra tough time for the environment. So on that note, here are some wonderful creative festive ideas that won’t cost the earth…

    If you are looking for an alternative to a traditional Christmas tree then take a look at these great DIY versions by Inhabitots. We have a cardboard tree from IKEA (sadly no longer in stock) which we love because it can be reused – ours is on it’s third year – and can be easily recycled once finished with. The design could easily be recreated at home if you are feeling creative!

    Christmas, decorations, reuse, recycle, eco, environment, DIY, festive decor, cardboard tree

    The Forestry Commission have some beautiful suggestions for natural homemade decorations on Pinterest. Squiggle has been asking to make our own wreath, and there is a lovely design for us to try out.

    I also love these ‘reuse and recycle’ ideas from Festive Lights. I didn’t know that gingerbread cookies can be varnished to make longer lasting decorations; I’m very keen to try that out, such a simple but effective idea, and a fun family activity! I also particularly love the snowman fridge too, so cute!

    Christmas, decorations, reuse, recycle, eco, environment, DIY, festive decor, infographic, Festive Lights

    Salt dough Christmas tree ornaments are natural and fully biodegradeable, yet are easy to make and look great! There is an excellent detailed step-by-step guide by MommyPotamus here. Squiggle had fun making some recently!

    Christmas, decorations, reuse, recycle, eco, environment, DIY, festive decor, salt dough hanging ornaments

    Do you have any eco-friendly decoration ideas? I would love to hear about them!

    Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.