Eco Made Jeans: Review

As with the other areas of my life, I try to adopt an eco-friendly approach to clothing wherever possible. As I mentioned in a recent blog post, I need some new additions to my wardrobe (as much as I still love my oldest favourite jeans, I bought them in Las Vegas back before I was even a mum!) So I was very happy to receive an email asking me if I would like to review a pair of eco jeans from JD Williams

Eco Made Jeans: Review

About

Eco Made indigo slim fit jeans are available in sizes 10 – 32. They are made partly from COOLMAX® ECOMADE fibre, which is made from 97% recycled material such as bottles, so helps reduce the environmental impact of plastic and keeps it out of our oceans.  This innovative design keeps moisture away from the skin to help stay cool in summer (or at hot gigs!) so are perfect for all year round and a variety of occasions.

Price: £40 (RRP) Shop here.

EcoMade slim fit jeans

Review

These jeans feel quite stretchy and are very comfortable. The sizing is as expected and they fit well. Having worn them at two gigs already (and one venue was particularly warm!) the material does indeed seem to feel cool when needed but still as warm as any other jeans on a cold night.

EcoMade jeans dressed up with boots for gig

They can easily be teamed up with different tops and footwear to either dress them up, or opt for a more casual look. For example, I wore them with boots and a long sleeve top for the gigs, which worked well. The fit is flattering, yet relaxed and comfortable enough to dance around, or laze around, or go for a long walk! I love them and would definitely recommend!

Lazing on sofa in jeans

*Disclosure: I was sent these jeans to review from JD Williams All opinions are my own. 

Did I Manage A Plastic-Free Birthday? #ZeroWasteWeek

So on Friday, for the final challenge of Zero Waste Week, I tried to manage a plastic- free day. Actually, I tried to manage a zero waste day! But how did I get on…

Did I Manage A Plastic-Free Birthday To End Zero Waste Week?

Day Out Struggles

We went to a local farm for a day out. We had a lovely time feeding the animals; of course this meant washing our hands afterwards for hygiene reasons! We had to use paper towels to dry our hands and Squiggle was the first to notice there were only landfill bins, no recycling. I guess this could be for sanitary purposes but it was still disappointing.

Potential solutions could have been to take our own cloth to dry our hands (I don’t know whether that could pose hygiene risks though, I suspect the farm might not allow it, if they saw us) or to take our paper towels home to recycle (same issue?) I am not really too convinced that we had much of an alternative in that scenario, unless we avoided feeding and stroking the animals, but depriving ourselves of such experiences is not really the idea! So sadly a few paper towels went to landfill.

Squiggle feeding goats at farm

My personal waste audit for the day:

Aluminium coke cans – recycled

Plastic container – reuse then recycle

Paper bag x 2 – recycled

Cardboard roll – recycled

Paper towels – landfill

Squiggle couldn’t go without her rice cakes, which come in packets, so that also created landfill.

Ok, so I didn’t manage an entirely zero waste, or even plastic-free, day. But I think I did pretty well! Now to find new and creative ways to tackle some more of those weak spots…

How did you get on with Zero Waste Week? What did you find most challenging? What is one thing you have improved on, thanks to these challenges? Let me know in comments!

Food and Drink: Reducing Plastic in the Kitchen

I made a mistake today. I made a wrong assumption, when I should have checked to be sure. I usually ask the right questions, but this time I didn’t. This arrived…

Fruit and veg box full of plastic packaging

This is what happened…

I knew we wouldn’t get a chance to go out to buy plastic-free fruit and veg this week, so I ordered a delivery from somewhere new; a local family business. I was thinking it is a nice thing to shop local and support independents. Other fruit and veg boxes that I have ordered from different companies before have been very low waste and no plastic, so I just expected it to be the same.

Sigh.

But I don’t want to dwell on it. I am gutted we now have more plastic waste than any other week, I won’t lie. But here’s the thing…

I am on a zero waste journey. I don’t pretend to literally be ‘zero waste.’ I don’t claim to have all the answers, or to get it right everytime. I will happily share my successes, and my failures too. Because we all make mistakes – but we can learn from them too.

“Sometimes we win, sometimes we learn.”

Today was a reminder for me; ask those important questions! And keep going, even when things go wrong. This was like a scene from a horror movie for a Zero Waste Ambassador to be honest lol! But I will get over my epic fail and keep trying – I got this!

Anyway, I don’t have any intention of naming and shaming the company or anything like that, I just feel that sharing my mistakes might help others feel better about theirs – zero waste can sound extreme, and very daunting, so I am keen to paint a clear picture of what it means for us in reality! We are just a family trying to do what we can to reduce waste, especially plastic.

Zero Waste Snacks

But let’s move onto celebrate our successes now! Look at these yummy plastic-free snacks I got from The Refill Pantry recently…

The Refill Pantry zero waste plastic-free shop #zerowasteweek

Zero Waste Shoppers – Brighton Frog

And the lovely people over at Brighton FRoG have sent me a Zero Waste Shopper Box. This fab set is currently onsale at £14 and includes a gorgeous aqua Turtle bag (which matches my bottle – love the colour!), as well as a mesh bag for fruit and veg, plus three different size canvas bags for pasta, bread and so on. They are 100% plastic free, organic cotton, ethical and fair. Also, they were sent in a small cardboard box with no excess packaging – really impressed!

Zero Waste Shopper - Brighton FRoG #plasticfree #zerowaste week

Living Life Our Way Selfie. Holding Zero Waste Shopper set from Brighton Frog. #plasticfree #zerowasteweek

The Refill Pantry

I will be using these bags to do a better job with my fruit and veg next time I go shopping! Also, another main reason I got them is that I want to stock up on more food from The Refill Pantry as and when our dried goods run out and need replacing – pasta, grains, and so on. So I am looking forward to putting them to good use very soon!

The Refill Pantry food stock - pasta, grains. Zero waste. Plastic-free. Zero Waste Week

Convenience vs Zero Waste

For us, the biggest challenge is balancing convenience (and sensory issues) with our mission to reduce plastic waste. It is difficult when so many snacks come in plastic wrappers! This was the main weak area I noticed immediately when I did my rubbish observations recently. That is why I am turning the responsibility back to the manufacturers for that one.

On The Go

We take food with us from home if we will be out for a while and will need to eat before we get back. The only snacks we ever buy on the go, rarely, are ones that we could only buy from a packet anyway, or the occasional ice-cream in summer!

Drinks

For drinks, we mainly use our reusables. Slight confession here; I admit, I am rather fond of diet coke as well – but I always recycle the cans and buy them in a cardboard box, so no plastic packaging! Not good for my health, but not as bad for the environment at least! I must get back to drinking more smoothies though – excellent for nutrition and reducing food waste too!

Summary

I have probably missed loads of stuff – but one thing at a time! Every small step in the right direction is a success. It is much more beneficial to focus on what you have done, and can do next, than try to tackle it all at once. So on that note…

#ZeroWasteWeek how can you reduce plastic in your kitchen?

What is the one thing you could do to reduce plastic in your kitchen? Tell me in comments!

Personal Care: What Plastic is Lurking in YOUR Bathroom? #ZeroWasteWeek

Ok, so today’s Zero Waste Week question is…

How could you reduce plastic in your bathroom?

#ZeroWaste Week how could you reduce plastic in your bathroom?

So now I get to tell you about some of the fabulous goodies we got from our local zero waste shop, The Refill Pantry, recently! They sell an excellent range of personal care items, which made it much easier to go plastic-free in the bathroom…

The Refill Pantry personal care zero waste products

I already have a bamboo toothbrush, and I have used the same plastic disposable razor for a very long time that I will continue to use for as long as possible because it would be wasteful to throw it out otherwise, just because it is plastic! I don’t wear make up very often so doubt I will need to consider replacing that in the near future. I don’t use skincare products either; water for my face and coconut oil to moisturise my skin where needed, but that comes in a glass jar.

However, the rest of my bathroom products are a different story, so I made some simple switches…

Plastic bottle of shampoo switched for zero waste refillable reusable dispenser

Obviously I haven’t thrown out the plastic products we were using, because that would be pointless. It makes sense to use up anything we still have laying around, rather than discard it before it is empty. Once they are properly finished with, they will be put in recycling, not landfill though!

Also, I am still toying with plastic roll on deoderant at times at the moment, but I do have also have a cardboard Earth Conscious one that is effective! Toothpaste is tricky due to sensory issues, so I have decided not to tackle that at the moment. But let’s stay positive and focus on what improvements we have achieved…

So anyway, we now have reusable dispensers for our shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and handwash – yay!

Zero waste refillable, reusable dispensers shampoo, conditioner, showel gel and handwash

When empty, they will be taken to our local zero waste shop to be refilled. Simple!

Huge containers of bathroom products at zero waste shop

Now admittedly, it isn’t perfect, because these particular products do still come from plastic containers, but they are the biggest size they can get of course! And I have no doubt they are then recycled or even reused if possible. Bottom line is, if you prefer, or need, liquid rather than bars it is certainly much closer to zero waste!

So that is our bathroom… what plastics are lurking in yours?!

Welcome To Zero Waste Week!

Hooray, Zero Waste Week has arrived! I am so proud, and very excited, to be an ambassador for this inspirational challenge! This year the focus is on reducing our use of (unnecessary) plastics.

Zero Waste Week Ambassador logo

Plastic has its uses. However, it is also designed to last for years, yet gets used for items that are only needed once for a few minutes! And much of our plastic packaging is excessive too. It is this reliance on single-use plastics and over-use of unnecessary plastic that we would like to reduce in particular.

The main concern with plastic is that it is not frequently recycled, and cannot be recycled many times over. Plastic is also not gentle on the environment either; it leaks toxic chemicals. It also breaks down into microplastics that harm our marine life and end up in our food chain. Not ideal.

Zero Waste Week - Microplastic facts

Read more about how plastic pollution is harming our environment.

So here is today’s question…

Why do you want to reduce your use of plastics?

There are lots of good reasons; caring about how we leave our planet for future generations, protecting our environment and saving wildlife, or saving money. Squiggle said it is important to be environmentally- friendly and not create landfill; it is just the right thing to do. That sounds like a good enough reason to me!

#zerowasteweek - why do you want to reduce plastic?

Read 10 ways reducing plastic can benefit you.

Tell me your reasons in comments!

Can You Give Up Plastic? (Just For One Day)

We can be heroes, just for one day…

Tomorrow, Tuesday 5th June, is World Environment Day. You will hopefully have already seen the global game of tag in action to help raise awareness of plastic pollution and to highlight how easy it is to switch from single- use plastics to reusables. And now for the real challenge…

Can you give up plastic on World Environment Day? Just for one day. #OnePlasticFreeDay #PassOnPlastic

Can you give up plastic completely, just for one day?

Take on the challenge and see how well you can do!

Use hashtags #PassOnPlastic and #OnePlasticFreeDay to share your efforts and achievements on social media, alongside #BeatPlasticPollution and #WorldEnvironmentDay too. Please also feel free to tag me if you wish – I would love to see how you get on!

And last but not least, one final challenge…

I have just set up a club on Litterati – simply search Living Life Our Way to join me. The idea is to document the rubbish we all collect – very simple – just take a snap, tag the pic, then bin/ recycle the item.

But this free app makes it an exciting challenge – we can track the impact we are having and see who is highest on the scoreboard for some fun competition!

Download the app here: litterati.org

Then remember to join my club! (Living Life Our Way).

Take action to #BeatPlasticPollution (and all other pollution!) in aid of World Environment Day. Let’s do this!

#BeatPlasticPollution Tag – World Environment Day

World Environment Day is on 5th June and this year the topic is plastic pollution, with a global game of tag! So who’s ready to play?!

#BeatPlasticPollution World Environment Day tag

How to Play

The major issue of plastic pollution has been gaining much awareness lately, thanks to numerous documentaries and high profile campaigns. As we wake up to the level of destruction to our planet caused by single- use plastics, people are increasingly switching to reusables. Hooray! Join us in this global game of tag by sharing photos of your reusables to help #beatplasticpollution Let’s play!

The Rules

All games have rules 😉 These ones are very simple…

1. Take a photo of between 1- 3 reusable items that you personally have switched to, in order to help tackle plastic pollution.

2. Caption your photo with a short message to raise awareness.

3. Also include your top tip for beating plastic pollution.

4. Share your photo and caption, along with your top tip, tagging at least three other people.

5. Please also link back to me in your blog post and tag me on social media, thank you!

Blog: livinglifeourway.com

Twitter: @followourpath

Facebook: livinglifeourwayblog

Instagram: living_life.our_way

That’s it, just 5 easy steps!

Oh, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #BeatPlasticPollution and #WorldEnvironmentDay in your posts too!

My Top Tip

Switch out one single-use plastic at a time. It feels less overwhelming then!

Here’s my photo…

Selfie of Katie holding a Planet Wise zip sandwich bag, Save Some Green Bamboo Toothbrush and a bamboo straw.

A zip sandwich bag to avoid cling film, a bamboo straw because I don’t suck and plastic straws do! Plus a bamboo toothpaste… ok, so plastic toothbrushes are not technically a single-use plastic, but these are far more sustainable! What switches have you made to help #BeatPlasticPollution? Show me your reusables!

Tag, you’re it!

Now I am tagging the following lovely bloggers to take part too…

Katie – Mummy’s Diary

Jennifer – My Mummy’s Pennies

Sarah – Mummy Cat Notes

Louise – Birds and Lilies

Amy – Eps and Amy

Clare – Freddie’s Mummy

Liberty – Liberty On The Lighter Side

Hannah – Fab Fat Mama

Kim – Kim T Mum of 3

Ok, go! Show us your reusables!

Grab your badge here (if you wish!):

Project Green Challenge 2016: Aiming For Zero Waste

As part of Project Green Challenge by Turning Green, I have been collecting all the waste I have produced for the last 24 hours.

Zero waste, trash, rubbish, landfill, recycling
Waste produced in 24 hours

I do aim to refuse, reduce and reuse; and feel I have done quite well with this! BUT there is plenty more to be done and there are a few things this challenge has taught me…

I never thought about the cat food! I didn’t even check to see if the fish is from a sustainable source let alone consider the packaging it comes in. This is now a top priority on my to do list.

Obviously some things took more than 24 hours to become empty and therefore become waste (ie plastic film toilet paper packaging and handwash bottle), so it just so happened they fell into my waste pile during the challenge. But this led me to think what would have mounted up if the challenge had been over a week, or a month? 

Aside from the plastic film packaging around the toilet paper (I wonder if there are paper alternatives to this?) the main culprits would be household items (handwash, shampoo/ conditioner, deoderant and washing liquid containers) and plastic fruit containers, so I need to take a closer look at potential alternatives to these. With the exception of the plastic film wrap, the other plastics do all get recycled locally, but this is not ideal and is a last resort. Refusing, reducing and reusing is better if possible. 

Last but not least- crisp packet and coke cans- I really should cut out the junk food and drink! The packets end up as landfill. The coke cans are recycled and are arguably much better than getting a plastic bottle version, especially if the cans are packaged in cardboard, but cutting them out completely would be better for a multitude of reasons of course!

So, you’ve opted for reusable carrier bags, you say no to straws, you have a reusable water bottle and coffee cup, you take food in reusable containers and you refuse plastic cutlery, taking your own reusable version instead (or just do without!) You have come along way in reducing your waste, which is great! But what are the next steps in aiming for a zero waste lifestyle? Here are some more things to think about…

Look at your household items. Handwash, washing liquid, cleaning products etc… Can you find alternatives that have less packaging, or is more easily recyclable materials at least? Or buy in bulk- bigger versions mean waste less often at least! 

Check your beauty and hygiene products. Shampoo and conditioner, soap, deoderant, wipes, scrubs etc… Can you find a reusable substitute for some items, such as wipes? Are there alternatives that come with packaging, such as shampoo bars? Or could you even try making your deoderant or face scrub? I had a go at making my own coffee face scrub as part of 5gyres #beadfree campaign about banning microbeads (tiny toxic plastic beads). It worked really well! Oh and don’t forget to look out for those pesky microbeads too! 

Choose food products with less packaging. Buy fruit and vegetables loose if possible. Look out for paper or cardboard alternatives to plastic. If unavoidable, choose bigger packets so less waste overall. And remember to take reusable packaging, containers and bags with you to use whenever you can! If you have pets, remember to consider the items you buy for them too. 

No doubt there are lots of other ways to help achieve zero waste, I would love to hear your tips too!

For more information watch this video: storyofstuff.org

Also see these websites for more information:

 www.5gyres.org

 www.trashisfortossers.com

For reusable products (US) check out: www.ukonserve.com

30 Days Wild – Day 24: Microbeads 

What are microbeads?

• Microbeads are tiny bits of plastic found in some personal and beauty care products, such as toothpaste, scrubs, sunscreens and make-up.

• The microbeads used are mainly made of polyethylene (PE), but can be also be made of polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) and nylon. If any of these are listed under ingredients then the product contains microbeads.

• Microbeads wash off your body and down the drain, then end up in oceans.

• Microbeads, and other microplastics absorb harmful chemicals like a sponge. They become over a million times more toxic than the water around them.

• Fish and other marine life mistake them for food and eat them.

You can pledge to go #beadfree by only choosing products that are free from microbeads.

For more information about microbeads and plastic pollution, check out the following websites:

www.5gyres.org

www.beatthemicrobead.org

30 Days Wild – Day 16: DIY Coffee Scrub

As previously mentioned, I have pledged not to use products containing microbeads. There has been recent good news about this subject; the UK government says a ban is the best approach and that they will lobby for a European-wide ban. There are no details yet on what this will cover or when it will be implemented but it is still an exciting, positive step forward for ocean health and tackling plastic pollution.

image

However, trillions of microbeads will still end up in our oceans before any new legislation comes into force. In order to raise awareness of this, and as part of 5Gyres campaign, I am arranging local drop-off points for opened products containing microbeads.

image

image

With this in mind, today I decided to try my hand at making my own natural face and body scrub using coffee, coconut sugar, coconut oil and vanilla extract.

DIY Coffee Scrub Recipe:

1/2 cup of ground coffee
1/3 cup of coconut oil
1/4 cup of sugar
1 tsp vanilla

image