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!

How To Reduce Household Waste: Zero Waste Tips (Including Giveaway)

When people hear the concept of zero waste, it can seem somewhat overwhelming. How can someone not create any rubbish?! But the truth is, for the vast majority of people who try to practice a zero waste lifestyle, it is more like zero waste is something to aim towards by taking a slow step by step journey in the right direction. And that’s ok. It is really about doing your bit to protect our planet. Plus each action you take tends to become a gateway to the next. So it really isn’t as hard as it first sounds!

This post covers alot of different areas, but the point is just for me to share tips and alternative products with you all. I intend for you, my readers, to pick somewhere to begin, and to find new ideas to continue from whatever stage you are already at; the idea is not for anyone to try to take it all on at once! Gradual change is the key to making it feel sustainable and not too overwhelming. This is also by no means a comprehensive list by any stretch of the imagination! There are many, many people far further along the journey than I am, but we can all learn from one another, so I am just sharing what I know!

Here are my ideas for developing a zero waste lifestyle, divided into sections for ease of reference (because I like to be organised!)…

Toiletries

This is the area that I have been working on myself most recently, so I figure it makes sense to start here!

Deoderant

zero waste, eco, green living, natural, sustainable, environmentally friendly, Earth Conscious, deoderant
Earth Conscious Deoderant Stick (RRP £8)

Earth Conscious sell a zero waste natural deoderant that now comes in both tin or stick format. I have only just got mine so too early to comment personally, but reviews on it are great! 

Shampoo/ Conditioner

Shampoo bars are the obvious choice for zero waste hair washing. Alternatively, powder is another option. However, if you cannot get on with shampoo bars or powder, I recommend that you buy a huge bulk size container of shampoo and conditioner so that it needs replacing far less often. You can purchase a smaller reusable pump bottle to make it more practical. 

For example, Faith in Nature sell huge 5 litre refills for around £50. If you feel put off by the price for a product you haven’t tried, it is well worth ordering the smaller size versions first then investing in your favourite. They also offer free samples for a small limited number of their products, so you can try before you buy that way too. I realise this may sound like it defeats the point of choosing zero waste items somewhat, but it is really about looking at the bigger picture and thinking ahead. Other brands probably have bulk size versions too, if you look into it and find any others, do let me know in comments.

As for conditioner, I have written before about natural hair conditioners. Although these are not actually zero waste ideas as such, they are items that can be used for a range of purposes and again can usually be purchased in much larger sizes so this helps to drastically reduce waste.

Soap

There are a wide range of beautiful, often handmade, natural soaps available that are sold without packaging (or minimal, recycled packaging) so produce little to no waste. If you prefer liquid handwash, again I recommend buying in bulk to reduce waste. 

Facewash/ Scrub

I totally recommend you make your own! There are some fab DIY recipes around if you google. I made a great coffee scrub last year. Alternatively, there are various eco conscious independents and other brands who ensure their packaging is minimal and environmentally- friendly. (And remember to check for no microbeads too!)

Toothbrush

Go for a bamboo toothbrush. Most come in fully recyclable minimal packaging and the toothbrush is biodegradable. I have one from Save Some Green. 

Cleaning

Alot of people buy many different types of cleaning products for all different purposes, which immediately creates far more waste. So my first bit of advice is try to simplify!

Cloths/ Wipes/ Scrub pads

Opt for resuable versions made from sustainable natural materials, such as bamboo, hemp or organic cotton cloths and wipes, and coconut hair scrub pads for example.

Multi – Purpose Cleaner

I recommend making your own DIY version if possible. We tend to use vinegar solution. Otherwise choose an eco-friendly brand in the largest size possible that covers a range of uses. 

Washing up Liquid

Again my best advice is to select one that lasts longer so less waste!

Laundry

zero waste, eco, green living, natural, sustainable, environmentally friendly, Living Naturally, soapnuts, laundry
Living Naturally Soapnut Laundry Medium Starter Kit (RRP £15.66)

I was sent this fab soapnut starter pack from Living Naturally, which I have used for my most recent washes (probably about 4 loads now of various items). I am really impressed at how effective they are; in my opinion, they leave clothes just as clean and fresh as regular detergent! Not only are they natural and zero waste but they also work out much cheaper too, so this is a very cost effective way to do laundry as well as protecting the environment. Do give them a try and tell me what you think!

Menstruation

Ok, so granted this isn’t relevant to everyone but menstruation products can cause alot of waste so this is an important one! There are various reusable products, so you will most likey find that there is something to suit everyone that needs them. Earthwise Girls are my go to site for this, since they stock a good range of items to choose from. Personally, I mainly use a cup but also have reusable tampons, period pants and cloth pads too so that I can go with the flow. (Get it?! Sorry, excuse the pun!!!)

Eco Fluffy Mama has written alot on this subject and offers great advice.

Food and Drink

This is a huge area. There are so many different aspects and I doubt very much that I have covered even the majority of them in this post, but here goes…

Groceries Shopping

First things first; take your reusable bags along! Or use cardboard crates instead, which is what we do as we find that easier.

Choose items with minimal and recyclable packaging wherever possible. Aiming for a fresh raw food diet, rather than buying convenience goods, is not only good for your health, but better for the environment too. Fruit and veg, for example, do not need plastic wrappers! Of course, I totally understand this might be ideal but is not always realistic for many – but it is, at the very least, just something to consider when doing your shop. Buying bigger versions of long lasting cupboard food also saves on some packaging too.

Food Waste

Try not to buy more than you will eat, freeze if applicable so it lasts longer and my favourite for fruit and veg – make it into a smoothie and drink it up!

Storage/ Lunchboxes/ Picnics

There are lots of durable, practical ways to store food without causing waste. Mason jars, glass or metal containers, resuable sandwich bags and washable beeswax wraps (to replace clingfilm) are all good options. For snacks on the go, carry around reusable cutlery, made from bamboo or similar. Plus carry washable cloths rather than wipes in your bag too.

Drinks

Use a resuable cup or flask, and water bottle for drinks on the go. And ditch the plastic straws, opt for eco- friendly alternatives instead if you can’t do without!

Other

Did you know? Aluminium foil is not rubbish; scrunch it into a ball and throw it into your recycling pile!

Further Reading

There are lots of great blogs, articles and books about this subject, but here is just a small selection…

Eco Fluffy Mama green living blog

12 Ways To Cut Your Waste by Grow Eat Gift

Zero Waste Guide by Earthwise Girls

Rethink Your Rubbish by PinkOddy

Zero Waste Week Supporters

Last but not least…

To celebrate Zero Waste Week, I have a fab Bathroom Starter Kit from Earthwise Girls to giveaway to one lucky reader! 

zero waste, eco, green living, natural, sustainable, environmentally friendly, Earthwise Girls, bathroom set
Earthwise Bathroom Kit (RRP £14)

Earthwise Bathroom Set includes:

  • Bamboo medium bristles toothbrush
  • Wooden hair comb
  • Hemp hair & body soap (supplied in a compostable wrapper)
  • Earth Conscious deodorant
  • Divine chocolate bar
  • Pukka herbal teabag

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ends 25th September 2017. Open to UK residents only. Other T&Cs apply.

My Zero Waste Haul (with Eco Friendly Bundle Giveaway)

As part of Plastic Free July, I have been making more effort to find new ways to reduce waste in our home. We have been on a journey to consciously gradually reduce our waste, and especially plastic, for a while now anyway but there will always be more action we can take! So I walked around the house, and looked at our current waste and recycling, to come up with an action plan. Then I did some online shopping for zero waste essentials! Here are some of my purchases:

Bamboo Cloths

green living, eco, environmentally friendly, zero waste, environment, sustainable, plastic free, bamboo cloths 

I purchased these Cheeky Wipes reusable cloths through Amazon* for multiple purposes. They come in a pack of 25 in five different colours (£17), which is handy for keeping separate cloths for own their different uses/ remembering who they belong to!

green living, eco, environmentally friendly, zero waste, environment, sustainable, plastic free, bamboo cloths

I was disappointed that they arrived in plastic wrapping! However, aside from that I am pleased with them; they are a nice size and wash well.

Bamboo Toothbrush

green living, eco, environmentally friendly, zero waste, environment, sustainable, plastic free, bamboo toothbrush

I needed a new toothbrush so it seemed the perfect time to opt for a more sustainable alternative than the usual plastic toothbrush! This lovely bamboo toothbrush (RRP £2.75) was kindly sent to me directly from Save Some Green, along with one to giveaway as part of my mini eco bundle too! (See below to enter). It even comes in eco friendly packaging, very impressed!

Coconut Scrub Pads

green living, eco, environmentally friendly, zero waste, environment, sustainable, plastic free, coconut scrub

Again, the Safix scrub pad (RRP £2.70) was kindly received from Save Some Green and is a super environmentally friendly alternative to usual versions. It is biodegradable and compostable so zero waste.

green living, eco, environmentally friendly, zero waste, environment, sustainable, plastic free, coconut scrub



Resuable Water Bottle

green living, eco, environmentally friendly, zero waste, environment, sustainable, plastic free, reusable water bottle

Hubby bought this water bottle from a local store recently, which can also be purchased through Amazon: Brita Fill & Go Water Bottle* (£12.37). However, I also know that the Clean Kanteen water bottle (£30) comes highly recommended and is made from stainless steel, so that would have been even better still! 

Food Wraps and Zip Bag

green living, eco, environmentally friendly, zero waste, environment, sustainable, plastic free, food bag, reusables

green living, eco, environmentally friendly, zero waste, environment, sustainable, plastic free, reusables, food wrap

I purchased this Planet Wise zip bag (£5.95) and Abeego food wraps (£14.95) from Babipur. They are really easy to wipe clean and a very handy alternative to cling film!

green living, eco, environmentally friendly, zero waste, environment, sustainable, plastic free, abeego, food wrap, reusable

Babipur have also kindly offered these two fab items as a prize for one lucky winner. You can enter via instagram below:

***GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED. WINNER ANNOUNCED IN COMMENTS. THANKS ALL FOR TAKING PART.*** As part of #PlasticFreeJuly I purchased this Planet Wise zip sandwich bag and Abeego wraps, which are so useful 💚 I have now teamed up with @Babipur for one lucky instagrammer to win their very own awesome reusable eco essentials! 😊👍 Prize: Planet Wise zip sandwich bag (caribou bloom design) and a pack of 2 large Abeego wraps. To enter: All you need to do to enter is like this photo, follow me and @Babipur here on IG then tag a friend in comments! T&Cs: Winner will be drawn at random after the closing date. Ends 11.59pm on 12th August 2017. UK residents only (sorry everyone else!) Prize is kindly offered and dispatched by Babipur. Good luck! (My own items are pictured, but prize is the same).

A post shared by Katie (@living_life.our_way) on


Reusable Straws

I have already written about my fab straw purchases from Eco Straws, plus it is not too late to enter my giveaway to win a set of bamboo straws too! 
Last but not least…

green living, eco, environmentally friendly, zero waste, environment, sustainable, plastic free, Save Some Green, giveaway, competition, win
Save Some Green have sent me this awesome mini eco bundle for one lucky winner to win! Enter via rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Competition closes 20th August 2017. Open to UK residents only. Other T&Cs apply. 

St Albans Mission To Ditch Plastic Straws: #RefuseTheStraw Campaign 

St Albans #refusethestraw campaign is inspired by Plastic Free July and has one simple aim; to drastically reduce the use of plastic straws in bars, pubs, cafes, coffee shops, restaurants, schools and everywhere else across St Albans. After watching A Plastic Ocean as part of the St Albans Film Festival, Emma (founder) felt even more motivated to push forward with this movement to rid St Albans of these harmful, and unnecessary, single- use plastics from our community.

#refusethestraw, #strawless, #StopSucking, plastic free, single use plastic, plastic straws, environment, sustainability, eco, green living, campaign, St Albans, Herts

A plastic straw has a useful life of around 20 minutes, and most places don’t bother separating them out for recycling. Many end up in our oceans. A great example of human wastefulness! Local businesses can take part in the following ways:

  • Provide a straw only when requested by a customer
  • Provide compostable paper straws instead (not those with a polyethylene lining) or other eco-friendly straws
  • Get rid of straws completely* 

*Note: In the interest of considering customers with disabilities, ideally sustainable alternatives to plastic straws would still be available, at least on request. 

Furthermore, individuals can help by spreading the word, speaking to people who work in local businesses about changes they can make, and simply by refusing a straw when buying a drink.

The campaign has got off to a roaring start and is gaining momentum fast! So far 16 businesses (and counting!) have pledged their support and are taking action, with more being added to the list daily. This is great news for our environment!

#refusethestraw, #strawless, #StopSucking, plastic free, single use plastic, plastic straws, environment, sustainability, eco, green living, campaign, Beech House, St Albans, Herts
Beech House

At the time of writing, the following are all phasing out (or already have removed) plastic straws:

The Beech House

Charlie’s Coffee Shop

The Fleetville Larder

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks

The Hare and Hounds

Smokehouse Deli

The Green Kitchen

Dylan’s at the Kings Arms

The Craft and Cleaver

The Boot

The Great Northern

The White Lion

The Courtyard Cafe

Lussmanns – all 5 branches across Herts

Inn on the Park

George Street Canteen

Thank you, and well done to you all! 

#refusethestraw, #strawless, #StopSucking, plastic free, single use plastic, plastic straws, environment, sustainability, eco, green living, campaign, Craft and Cleaver, St Albans, Herts
Craft and Cleaver

I am so excited about this fantastic step forward and can’t wait for further developments! To keep up with the latest campaign news and progress, make sure you follow @starefusestraw on twitter and St Albans #refusethestraw over on facebook. Neighbouring town of Harpenden also has its own #refusethestraw campaign, which you can find on facebook or twitter too.

And don’t forget to tag us in your local strawless or eco straw photos and/ or share them with us using the #refusethestraw hashtag to help spread the word even further!

#refusethestraw, #strawless, #StopSucking, plastic free, single use plastic, plastic straws, environment, sustainability, eco, green living, campaign, Living Life Our Way

Small changes make a big impact… and together we can clean up our planet. 

If you would like to set up a campaign in your local area, here are some top tips: 

  • You can get started just by setting up an email address, Twitter and Facebook page.
  • Approach businesses initially with a polite email, following up with an update if no response.
  •  Keep it light – we all know this is a serious thing, but a big green rant might  put people off.
  • Start with green and community minded businesses who are more likely to switch to get the ball rolling and build momentum. Other people are more likely to switch if they see others doing so!
  • Take it at your own pace. Even just 1 or 2 emails / calls / visits a day makes a huge impact! 
  • Be prepared with information to be able to widen the conversation if the business would like further details e.g. disposable cups, food waste etc…
  • Don’t be afraid to try the big chains. Ask them to use your local branch as a pilot.
  • Spread the word about your campaign on local Facebook groups etc…
  • Regular updates on social media keeps momentum. Post successes, and regularly publicise a list of everyone who has switched. 
  • People like to share photos, encourage use of the hashtag to help spread the word further. 
  • Approach local media and bloggers to get coverage.
  • Work with local groups e.g. WI, Transition, Scouts. 

#refusethestraw, #strawless, #StopSucking, plastic free, single use plastic, plastic straws, environment, sustainability, eco, green living, campaign, St Albans, Herts

      Plastic Straw Alternatives

      There are various sustainable straw options. I have tested out a couple of different ones at home; including steel and bamboo reusables, plus disposable paper and wheat ones too. I recommend the best thing to do is try some out for yourself and decide which is best for you. But here are some of my personal opinions:

      Wheat Straws (£3.49 for 40 straws)

      Pros – they can be cut to size 

      Cons – feels like they are softening as drink

      Paper Straws (£7.99 for 150 straws)*

      Pros – cheap and easy to source

      Cons – they can get soggy

      #refusethestraw, #strawless, #StopSucking, plastic free, single use plastic, plastic straws, environment, sustainability, eco, green living, campaign, St Albans, Herts

      Steel Straws (£5.99 for 4 pack of 145mm angled straws plus cleaning brush)

      Pros – very durable, easy to clean

      Cons – maybe feels abit cold and uncomfortable, plus mind you don’t bash your teeth! (Some have latex covers which would be good). Also makes an annoying sound against glass

      Bamboo Straws (£3.99 for 4 pack of 145mm straws plus cleaning brush)

      Pros – Cheap for reusables, highly sustainable, I like the fact they are chunkier than most straws (comfortable)

      Cons – May stain abit from drink

      Conclusion: The bamboo straws are my personal favourites! 

      On that note; to celebrate the launch of this campaign and as part of Plastic Free July, I have teamed up with Eco Straws to giveaway a set of 4 bamboo straws (215mm) for one lucky winner! 

      Bamboo straw, giveaway, competition, eco straws, #refusethestraw, #strawless, #StopSucking, plastic free, single use plastic, plastic straws, environment, sustainability, eco, green living, campaign

      Enter via rafflecopter below.

      a Rafflecopter giveaway

      Open to UK residents only. Closes 10th August 2017. Other T&Cs apply.

      *Disclosure: Affiliate Amazon link. This does not cost the buyer any extra.

      Thank you to Eco Straws, who supplied the bamboo straw set as a prize. I purchased my own straws. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 


      The Secret is in the Soil: The Importance Of Healthy Soil

      We don’t give much thought to the soil under our feet but without it, we wouldn’t have food on our plates. It takes a lifetime to create the ideal soil conditions for plants and crops to grow, but no time at all to destroy it. For every plant to thrive, it needs nutrients. And these are found in the soil. With the right nutrients in perfect balance, a plant or tree thrives.

      Healthy Soil = Healthy Planet

      So how is Soil Made? And why do we need to keep adding organic matter and other nutrients to get the best from it? Does it mystify you as to why soil in one part of the garden is fine and dust-like but in another part, heavy and dense?

      The soil is made from the earth’s crusts and its deposits being ground to a finer powder over thousands of years. The type of soil created, depends on the deposits that created it. The quality of soil also depends on how much life is in the soil. Worms, for example, are essential to mixing the soil as well as aerating it. Other soil-borne life forms are important too. Soil needs plenty of nutrients and water to offer the best growing medium, an increasing problem in a world with an increasing number of mouths to feed.

      Do you know how to look after soil?

      From adding organic matter to understanding the type of soil and what will grow best, this infographic has it all. Find out more and truly understand the ground beneath your feet. 

      soil, healthy soil, nutrients, healthy planet, soil health, garden, gardening, growing, grow your own, green living, our world, #livinglifewild, environment, rattan direct, infographic

      *Disclosure: This post has been written in collaboration with Rattan Direct. 

      World Oceans Day 2017 (and #30DaysWild linky!) 

      We are now one week into #30DaysWild and so it’s time for a new linky! Thank you to everybody who linked up in the first week, I really enjoyed reading your posts and connecting with you. What has been your favourite challenge so far? And what ideas do you have for the rest of the month? I would love to hear from you!

      World Ocean Day, ocean, environment, plastic free, green living, #30dayswild, #livinglifewild, 30 days wild, marine conservation society

      Today is World Oceans Day, so I would like to share some information about useful resources and how we can help to protect our oceans. Late last night, I wrote a post about current campaigns, which you can read here. Previously, I have also written about other ways you can protect our oceans and why microbeads should be banned. Last but not least, Marine Conservation Society have some great plastic reduction tips or share your own! Plus grab yourself some sustainable plastic alternatives from their store too.

      World Ocean Day, ocean, environment, plastic free, green living, #30dayswild, #livinglifewild, 30 days wild, marine conservation society

      If you would like to read more about the wonders of our oceans, Global Guardian project have a free Oceans Capsule for download. Or read about the therapeutic benefits of water in the book Blue Mind by Dr Wallace J Nichols. (Amazon affiliate link). 

      What are you doing to celebrate World Oceans Day? Tell me in comments!


      Why We All Need To Stop Sucking and Go Topless (For Our Oceans)

      Firstly, yes this is still a family blog! So, what am I talking about? The answer is the environment and our oceans of course! More to the point, this post is about all the single-use plastics that get dumped into the environment every single day – polluting our oceans and harming our wildlife – and what we can do about it. 

      World Ocean Day, ocean, environment, plastic-free, #strawlessocean, #stopsucking, #topless4oceans, #cleanseas, #plasticfree, #30dayswild, #livinglifewild, 30 days wild, lonely whale, 5gyres, marine conservation society, plastic challenge, campaigns

      Lonely Whale Foundation recently launched their Strawless Ocean campaign asking everyone to pledge to #StopSucking by refusing plastic straws and either go straw-free or use more sustainable alternatives. Between Brits and the US, we use 550 million plastic straws every single day. Each single-use plastic straw takes 200 years to break down into tiny toxic particles. Alot end up in the ocean. That is a huge amount of plastic pollution.

      Share the video and pledge to ditch plastic straws!

      Another great charity, 5Gyres, have also launched a campaign to address the use of disposable cups. Ideally the best thing to do is to take a reusable cup with you to cafes and coffee shops. However, if you don’t have a reusable cup available (and why not? There is no excuse – lots of places sell them!) then at least go topless, so that is one less piece of waste!

      Did you know in the UK only one in 400 coffee cups are recycled? It is too difficult to separate their plastic coating and cardboard to recycle the card. Yet, as reported by Telegraph, half of people believe their disposable coffee cups are being recycled all or most of the time. As many as 2.5 billion paper coffee cups are thrown away in the UK each year – again, that is ALOT of waste. Invest in a resuable cup and remember to take it with you as a small commitment to protecting our oceans, and our planet.

      World Ocean Day, ocean, environment, plastic-free, #strawlessocean, #stopsucking, #topless4oceans, #plasticfree, #30dayswild, #livinglifewild, 30 days wild, lonely whale, 5gyres, marine conservation society, plastic challenge, campaigns

      If you would also like other ideas about actions you can take, check out Clean Seas to see what others are up to and join in with their existing campaigns – or start one of your own! 

      World Ocean Day, ocean, environment, plastic-free, #strawlessocean, #stopsucking, #topless4oceans, #cleanseas, #plasticfree, #30dayswild, #livinglifewild, 30 days wild, lonely whale, 5gyres, marine conservation society, plastic challenge, campaigns
      Squiggle doing a quick beach clean-up during our last visit.

      Happy World Oceans Day!

      #WorldEnvironmentDay – I’m #WithNature

      #WorldEnvironmentDay #WithNature

      For my own favourite nature spot, I was torn between green and blue, so eventually decided I simply had to choose photos of both! 

      The first photo is a local park that is one of my very favourite nature spots, largely just because I spend alot of time here. The tree in the photo is straight up one of my absolute favourite subjects to photo because it is so photogenic- it always comes out looking so magical!

      World Environment Day, #WorldEnvironmentDay, #WithNature, United Nations, Highfield Park, Living Life Our Way, 30 Days Wild, The Wildlife Trusts, photography, environment, #30DaysWild, #LivingLifeWild, campaign, outdoors, get outside, tree photo
      Highfield Park

      The second picture was taken at Donna Nook in Lincolnshire last November for our annual visit during pupping season. Whilst not recent, or the best photo ever, it is one of my most favourite spots on earth for feeling truly connected with nature and wildlife. It is an amazing experience.

      World Environment Day, #WorldEnvironmentDay, #WithNature, United Nations, Donna Nook, Living Life Our Way, 30 Days Wild, The Wildlife Trusts, photography, environment, #30DaysWild, #LivingLifeWild, campaign, outdoors, get outside, seals, seal pup
      Donna Nook

      The final photo was taken a few days ago at Southend-on-Sea. I didn’t feel that I could possibly post about my favourite nature spots without listening to my #BlueMind and therefore including the beach that we visit most regularly! This isn’t my favourite capture of it if I am perfectly honest, there are more striking photos of it on my blog photo gallery, but this is the most recent so I stuck with that!

      World Environment Day, #WorldEnvironmentDay, #WithNature, United Nations, Southend, Living Life Our Way, 30 Days Wild, The Wildlife Trusts, photography, environment, #30DaysWild, #LivingLifeWild, campaign, outdoors, get outside, beach, sea, ocean
      Southend-on-Sea

      Where is your favourite nature spot? Share it today to be part of World Environment Day!