Recycling Project for School Equipment

I’ve been sent some info on a community recycling project that sounded like a great initiative worth sharing, particularly during these challenging times of funding and spending cuts.

Community Recycle is a new venture set up to help schools across the country receive a range of free goods and equipment that otherwise could have gone to waste, sitting in storage for years or be sent to landfill.

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Meet the Founder: Compostable Eco Packaging You Can Grow Plants In By Rhythm108

Waste is a big issue. In 2018 in the UK, 55% of all household waste went to landfill. Household waste accounts for 12% of all UK waste, and packaging would certainly have a part to play in that.

So when a brand has considered the impact of its packaging and developed a solution to avoid unnecessary waste, it’s worth talking about.

Enter Rhythm108 garden-compostable snack-packs.

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An Expert’s Guide to Plastic Ingredients in Beauty #PlasticFreeJuly

Microbeads commonly used in beauty products have been proven to pollute our ocean life and waterways and after much-deserved press, campaigning and consumer pressure the laws were changed. In 2018 in the UK, plastic microbeads in body scrubs and exfoliating rinse-off product were banned.

However, the story and fight for cleaner products and ocean conservation doesn’t end there. There are actually a host of other plastic-based ingredients commonly used in conventional beauty products that are less obvious than microbeads but still cause damage.

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Review: Eco-Friendly Instant Fruit Smoothies

Did you know the UK throws out almost 4.5 million tonnes of food waste a year? To put such a large number into context, as that’s probably hard to imagine, according to wrap.org.uk it’s the equivalent to:

  • 8 Wembley Stadiums (London, UK)
  • 90 Royal Albert Halls
  • 38 million wheelie bins (based on a standard 240l)
  • 3,600 Olympic sized swimming pools
  • 490,000 bin lorries

I consider myself to be fairly mindful with food – I always try to use up what’s on its way out, save leftovers to eat or make something new from, and not to buy more than I need, especially fresh food – but still might end up throwing out the occasional unused half bag of salad leaves.

Foga Instant Wholeplant Smoothies were created partly to help people get more natural fruit and veg nutrients into their diet and partly in response to this issue of food waste.

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Zero-waste Beauty News: Ren Skincare

I’ve recently been impressed with beauty brand Ren for its zero-waste 2021 targets, which have involved upgrading packaging to use Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) from landfill and ocean plastics.

It’s always reassuring when a brand takes an issue by its horns, gives things a shake up and is genuine in its efforts to tackle it.

Our Zero Waste Ambition: to use only packaging that’s recycled, recyclable or reusable by 2021.

Ren Skincare

To achieve the zero-waste goals Ren is redesigning packaging to reduce cardboard and plastic, using ocean and landfill plastic in bottles and caps, re-thinking processes for a circular economy and revisiting skincare formulas for an even cleaner makeover.

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Eco Kitchen Inspo: Bee Zero Waste Food Wraps

One of the best ways to encourage the masses to change habits around single-use plastic is to have easy, accessible and affordable alternatives. Replacing cling film in the kitchen with reusable beeswax or vegan wax food wraps is a great example of this. Sustainability in action.

I received a set of these nifty food wraps from a friend as a present a few years ago (great eco present idea btw) but, being a bit worn out now, I was due to replace them soon so I was lucky Bee Zero Waste got in touch, inviting me to try their vegan version.

beezero waste eco food wraps
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Check out: Eco-friendly wedding stationery

https://poppyandthistle.co.uk/

As sustainability issues continue to grow, more people are thinking about how to make their wedding day more sustainable. Eco-friendly choices from food to decorations are expanding so it’s timely to be introduced to Poppy and Thistle eco wedding stationery.

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Eco Pioneers of the Year 2019

I was lucky enough to go to the P.E.A (People, Environment, Achievement) Awards this year, an event I’ve always wanted to attend as it celebrates the eco, sustainability and green heroes of our world.

Beauty brand Weleda kindly invited me and my sister, and we joined a few other green beauty fans, including my fave green make-up artist friends Lou Dartford and Conscious Beauty Union, on a decadent table for an entertainment-filled night at Studio 338 in Greenwich, London.

The year’s event, sponsored by Octopus Energy, was co-hosted by P.E.A. founder Jarvis Smith and biophilic design expert Oliver Heath with an immersive theatre performance by Enlightenment Cafe, including a brilliantly fun Climate Change Bingo.

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Step-by-Step Guide: How To Do a DIY Natural Beauty Home Facial

weleda Skin Food facial review

If you’ve been inspired by the continued rise of natural and organic beauty then you’ll love this DIY natural facial massage from Weleda, one of my favourite natural and organic beauty brands. It’s also a lovely, nourishing treat to give skin at this time of year as the season and temperatures change.

The key product in this facial is Weleda Skin Food – an iconic skincare product that contains natural extracts of calendula, chamomile, rosemary and lavender, with natural waxes and plant oils (now also available in light version, lip balm and body butter) – alongside a few other Weleda products.

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New Weleda Deodorant and New Eco-Design Packaging

weleda roll on natural deodorant

I’m always looking for the next great-working natural deodorant so I was pleased to hear Weleda has expanded its 24h Roll-On Deodorant collection to include a new scent, Sea Buckthorn. This joins Citrus, Men’s and Pomegranate in the range to try.

What makes these deodorants special?

They are formulated without zirconium or aluminium salts that block underarm sweat ducts in an anti-perspirant product. Instead, these Weleda deodorants will allow skin and sweat ducts to function naturally and healthily, so yes, you will sweat, but keep reading…

Yikes, does that mean I will smell of bad body odour?

Hopefully not! While these natural deodorants won’t block pores and you’ll still sweat naturally, there are ingredients that’ll help stop body odour from developing: organic witch hazel distillate should act as a natural astringent, and organic liquorice root extract has antimicrobial properties to inhibit odour-causing bacteria.

What else is in there (or not in there) I need to know about?

Pure essential oils fragrance help preserve the product, meaning artificial preservatives and parabens can be avoided. Over 70% of the ingredients are NATRUE-certified organic, all ingredients are suitable for vegans and vegetarians, and dermatologically proven for skin tolerability.

Tell me about the new eco-packaging…

The packaging for all the deodorants in the range has been re-designed in recyclable bottles made from 70% recycled plastic. This is part of Weleda’s new eco-design programme.

Weleda says: ‘The new, fully recyclable HDPE bottles made from 70% post-consumer recyclate (PCR) has been carefully sourced from British food packaging such as milk bottles.’

Pretty cool, huh?

Read more about Weleda’s commitment to sustainability here

Read more about HDPE plastic bottles and recycling at wrap.org.uk.

Get more of my natural deodorant recommendations here and another here

Introducing Fjaka – the Mediterranean way of mindful living

saint-iris-adriatica-skincare

Saint Iris Adriatica, a luxury green beauty brand, takes its inspiration from the Adriatic sea, mountains, thermal spas and wild spaces.

Founder Sanela Lazic says the brand is all about channelling fjaka [pronounced: fyak.ka], which is a relaxed state that embodies the spirit and wellbeing of Croatian life.

Sanela has taken traditional Adriatic folk remedies and combined them with natural ingredients to create products that help to strengthen skin against the stresses of modern life and encourage a more balanced state of body and mind.

I asked Sanela to talk more about fjaka….

Saint Iris Adriatica instagram
@saintirisadriatica

What is fjaka and how can you create the Fjaka feeling?

‘Fjaka is a way of life from Croatia but also practised in Italy, Spain and Latin America (with different spellings across these regions).

‘Fjaka is about being relaxed yet powerfully alive with a sense of mindfulness. It’s a blissful Adriatic state of mind that comes from simply feeling great in your own body and doing what you love.

‘Fjaka is taking time for yourself, which shouldn’t be seen as lazy or selfish; in Croatia and Italy this is seen as an essential part of self-love. Only by investing in yourself can you give back to others.

‘Often, in Croatia, you’ll hear people saying “pomalo” or “polako”, which means “bit by bit” or “slowly” and we’re now returning to some of these slower lifestyle qualities: slow-cooked food, slow fashion, self-care time – this is all fjaka in action.

How can we create fjaka?

Saint Iris Adriatica

‘Start by asking yourself, what brings you joy? What makes you feel good in body and mind? Think long-term and tune into your needs and energy.

‘The world today is skewed towards a masculine, fast-paced energy that can drain us, bring stress and self-doubt, chase the ideal, compete or fight rather than slow down or flow. Fjaka helps to create a balance of energies.’

Saint Iris Adriatica is a natural and cruelty-free brand and contains no parabens, sulphates, propylene glycol or synthetic fragrances.

Dr Hauschka Shower Cream now comes in packaging made from recycled plastic milk bottles

dr hauschka shower cream recycled packaging

This new Dr Hauschka Shower Cream comes in innovative sustainable packaging, made from PCR (post-consumer recycled) material, which includes plastic milk bottles. This apparently has saved over 65% of raw oil normally used to make conventional plastic tubes.

The shower cream has a gorgeously soft, creamy texture and an instantly uplifting lemon and lemongrass scent (developed by an in-house perfumer).  I’ve been told the shower cream can also double up as a facial cleanser as it has anti-microbial properties. A pea-sized amount is all you need.

Here’s a mini Q&A with Tara O’Rourke, Dr. Hauschka’s brand trainer and expert who explains more about the recycled packaging and Dr Hauschka’s approach to sustainability:

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Recycle your old running shoes at Runners Need stores

Recycle Trainers Recycle My Run _ Runners Need
What do you do with your old running shoes? I’ve definitely done a Google search or two over the years for ways to recycle my old trainers, but usually end up taking them to the charity shop. Although I’ve also found community groups who take good quality sports kit and donate it to disadvantaged groups.

 

Now Runners Need, the specialist running shoe store, has re-launched ‘Recycle my Run’ initiative to give you £20 off your next pair of trainers if you bring in your old running shoes into store before 7th March 2019. In 2018, this same campaign led to 7575 trainers being recycled. How cool is that?

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My favourite eco, ethical and sustainable gifts

pukka bamboo keep cup

Last minute shopping for the plant based, eco warrior in your life? Or maybe you just need some inspiration for good eco and ethical gifts. Look no further than a few of my favourite products that I use and highly rate.

These tick eco friendly, sustainable, stylish (and if not stylish, then useful!). Would love to hear your what eco presents you have given, received or recommend. After all, ethical and sustainable should be all year round, not just for Christmas.

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Get your hair done at an eco hair salon

karine jackson eco salon
Karine_jackson salon covent garden london
Karine Jackson, Covent Garden IS LONDON’S first certified Sustainable Salon

Ever wondered how eco your hair salon is? Or maybe how eco your hair routine at home is? With the rise in environmental awareness, the University of Southampton discovered haircare and salons to be highly energy intensive (surprise, surprise) so they decided to launch the sustainable salon certification….(insert applause here)…

If you pop along to Karine Jackson salon in Covent Garden you’ll get a truly eco experience as it’s now officially the first hairdressers in London with this sustainability certificate. That means Karine and her team have not only made significant changes to reduce water and energy consumption and waste in the salon but advise customers how to do the same at home.

Karine, former London Hairdresser of the Year, has been a life-long advocate of green living and was one of the first salons in the capital to offer organic hair colouring (Organic Colour Systems), which uses fewer chemicals than conventional hair dye, and vegan hairdressing services, which I’ve reviewed several times and highly recommend (- not only for the dairy-free biscuit an almond latte, but for the team’s amazing cut and natural-colour skills).

…someone who washes their hair every day, rinses, repeats and blow dries uses 500kg of carbon dioxide a year. Washing hair every two days and rinsing only once, the carbon footprint goes down by 2000% to just 25kg of carbon dioxide.

Just check out the stats above – this is a single person’s carbon footprint so you can imagine how much energy a salon gets through each day, week and year. So giving a hairdressers a green makeover is not only an environmental win but the energy saving would save the business a ton of money too – a win for all. Karine is hoping this new eco initiative will encourage other salons to get on board too.

To find your nearest certified sustainable salon visit the salon locator: ecohairandbeauty.com

 

Sustainable and ethical gifts from Madagascar

Handmade ethical embroidered Kindle Case madagascar ethical gifts

Madagascar ethical sustainable gifts Kazy Anastasy, Vololonirina Marie Cleire, Rasoamihanta Elyse

I’m fascinated by people who go away on holiday and come back to completely change their lives. Sarah Brown, an art lecturer from Leeds, went on hols to Madagascar and saw how extreme poverty has affected women there – she saw a lack of self belief, poor living conditions, no access to paid employment and illiteracy. She decided to do something about it so left her job, moved to a small village in the South East of Madagascar called Sainte Luce and set up Stitch Sainte Luce embroidery project to teach women how to create beautiful products which Sarah now sells online at stitchsainteluce.org.

Take a look and you’ll see traditional creativity mixed with bold graphic prints. Really love the first one which looks fresh and modern.

Handmade ethical embroidered Kindle Case madagascar ethical gifts

Purse by Esterline madagascar ethical gifts Madagascar Olga with cushion ethical gifts madagascar Make-up bag by by Didiane ethical gifts

Creating and selling these products brings in an income stream for the women and they also learn new skills. What I also love is the fabric is recycled and the products are brought back to the UK by volunteers who are on holiday in Madagascar so no additional air miles are expended. Stitch Saint Luce is supported by SEED Madagascar, a charity which aims to help people, animals and plants of Madagascar in a sustainable and ecological way.

Do check them out and consider them for any gift buying – beats an ordinary purse from the high street for sure! The products are also available on Etsy.com: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/StitchSainteLuce

 

How to stop deforestation – an infographic

We all know rainforests are endangered but do you know what from? Or quite how vital rainforests are? I certainly didn’t know that 40% of the world’s oxygen is released by rainforests or 200,000 acres of rainforest are burned down each day for cattle ranching, until a press release came through the other day to mark Earth Day.
The facts behind deforestation are quite shocking so eco business Eco2Greetings have created this infographic to spread education on the issue. Check it out and share! @yanarbeauty @eco2greetings.

The Alarming Truth Behind Deforestation

how to stop deforestation by eco2

Wrag Wraps: Try eco wrapping paper this Christmas… 

Worried about excess waste at Christmas? Trying to have a festive season that treads a little lighter on the planet? Fear not, I assure you it’s possible! Yes, Christmas is probably one of the most un-eco times of year but if going green with wrapping is on your radar then check out Wrag Wrap – reusable, fabric gift wrap. A innovative new way to wrap and give.

wragwrap eco wrapping paper 4

I discovered Wrag Wrap on Twitter  – a small company inventing a novel approach to wrapping. A lot of thought has gone into making Wrag Wraps as ethical and as sustainable as possible.

Did you know that the UK sends 5 million tons of paper waste to landfill every year? And it takes six mature trees to make one tonne of paper. That’s 50,000 trees for the 8,500 tonnes of paper used at Christmas.

The ‘paper’ is made from 45% plastic waste (from recycled plastic bottles) and 55% polyester (although they would like it to be 100% recycled materials in the future). The type of recycled polyester used has a 50% lower carbon footprint than organic cotton, and apparently keeps 900 million plastic bottles a year away from landfill. Read more here about why WragWrap choice recycled polyester over cotton or other sustainable fabrics.

wragwrap eco wrapping paper 3

Wrag Wrap founders know that people like the tradition of wrapping and unwrapping presents so they added crackle into one of the styles: A 30cm x 30cm square with vibrant, fabulous prints, a cord and button attached so you don’t have to use tape, plus a tag pouch so you can write a message – they’ve thought of everything!

If you’re wondering about the crackle (could it be some un-eco cellophane paper?), I can tell you even that’s been considered: made out of discarded music festival tents, collected before being scooped up and taken to landfill. Brilliant!

wragwrap eco wrapping paper 2

If you’re wondering how to make reusable wrapping work for you, WragWrap co-founder, Nick has this note of inspiration: “Some prefer to keep their Wrag Wraps in the family, starting a new tradition and passing them around from year to year.  Others like to send them out on a journey – give one to a special friend, who then gets to pass it on.”

I love the ingenuity of Wrag Wrap and hope they go from strength to strength!

Read more about the staggering problem of paper waste here and the shocking stats of plastic waste here.

A Win! Brighter Shade of Green in Top 20 Greenest Blogs

Top 20 greenest blogs by GreenMatch

It was very cool to hear that my little blog, Brighter Shade of Green, has been named one of the Top 20 Greenest Bloggers list by GreenMatch, an energy sustainability and green energy comparison site, as part of its Top 100 Green Initiatives list.

The Top Greenest Blogs list was a fabulous who’s who of environmental champions, from charities and brands to independent blogs and families – from Green Peace and The Ecologist to the Transition Network, Wrap (promoting sustainable resources) and ScrapStore (a community group that puts clean material waste to good use). I’m particularly passionate about re-using and recycling so those last two organisations really stood out – congratulations to all.

GreenMatch says: ‘At GreenMatch, we strive to encourage more people to go “green” and take advantage of different eco-friendly energy sources. For that reason we really love seeing people like you, promoting the same cause in any possible way.’

Top 100

As a magazine writer and online editor in the beauty industry, I’m surrounded by brands and activities that are far from green so I set up this blog to try to share and celebrate the products and people I come across that tread more carefully on the planet and on us. I do believe a greener and more sustainable commercial world can exist, we just need to be encouraged to work towards it.

As well as Top 20 Greenest Bloggers there was also Top 20 Greenest School, Greenest Projects and Community Projects, all featuring a plethora of amazing initiatives. Totally thrilled (and pleasantly surprised!) to be in such great company – thank you GreenMatch!

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Fashion made from recycled car parts

Yes, you read that right – one of my favourite press releases of late – Ford, the car manufacturer, challenged 10 emerging fashion designers to create pieces using recycled Ford car parts and textile waste. Dresses, shirts, jackets and skirts were made from seat covers and other parts and shown at Hong Kong Fashion Week. An inspiring piece of news for the possibilities of recycling, and the future for sustainable fabrics…

Ford fashion recycled material car parts

Ford already uses plastic bottles and post-industrial waste to make recycled fabric as part of its upholstery in its cars so it partnered with Redress, a Hong Kong based charity that promotes sustainability in the fashion industry, to see how designers could transform materials and waste from vehicle production.

The Redress Forum: Ford Design Challenge was born and held during Hong Kong Fashion Week. From ten finalists from around the world, including UK, there were two winners, from Malaysia and Sweden

How did they do it? If, like me, you’re intrigued as to how you get from plastic bottle to bolero, check out this video which explains how to make fabric (polyester) out of recycled bottles – it’s amazing!!!

 

I can’t believe the whole recycling process is so long and intricate; so many miles, countless stages, so much energy and hours of manpower (someone has to manually fish out the floating bottle lids from pools of broken down plastic?!). This complex process is carried out in China and probably only possible because of cheap labour. So now you know what happens to our plastic once we’ve chucked it in the recycling box – a long and arduous journey to reincarnation.

Ford fashion recycled material car parts 2

Ford states that ‘on an annual basis it recycles enough plastic bottles and postindustrial waste to make more than 1.5 million yards of recycled fabric.’

This recycled fabric is then used as car seat covers, an initiative that has apparently been so successful Ford has committed to using at least 25% recycled fabrics in every car. Some, like this one, uses 100% recycled fabrics.

Ford fashion recycled material car parts 4

Interestingly, I’ve been told that Ford is also working with Heinz to investigate the use of tomato fibres in developing sustainable plastics. It’s also decreased water use in its vehicle production, from 64 million cubic meters to 24 million cubic meters so it seems like Ford is on a bit of a sustainability mission.

It feels a little weird talking about a car manufacturer on an eco beauty blog but as I’ve always said, let’s champion the brands trying to tread more carefully on the planet – the fact that it’s a car manufacturer makes it all the more interesting.

I think innovation in sustainable fabrics is really cool and even high street stores – Marks & Spencer and H&M – are getting involved and experimenting with recycled fabrics.

Hopefully in the future we’ll see more and more products and materials made from post-consumer waste and hopefully it will become a second nature thing for brands and manufacturers to use recycled materials as a first port of call instead of virgin plastics.

I guess it all comes down to economics at the end of the day, so if and when virgin plastics become too expensive to use, brands will be forced to innovate and turn to recycling post-consumer waste. It’s not inconceivable that day will come sooner rather than later and thankfully there are already brands leading the way.

Ford fashion recycled material car parts 3