Throughout Plastic Free July each #plasticfreefriday we have been sharing suggestions on how to reduce single use plastic, which included highlighting some of our favourite ethical brands. However, there are just not enough Fridays in July to share all of the businesses that we love because of their efforts to make low-waste, sustainable lives easier for us all to live. So here is our list, it is not exhaustive so we are open to suggestions for worthy additions ?
Zero plastic, homemade soap
Natural home products
This business is super focused on making natural, eco-friendly and sustainable home and beauty products accessible by stocking tons of ethical and eco-friendly brands. Plus their packaging is 100% considered being made from low impact materials.
Balancing personal pampering with conscious beauty is the focus of Jenny from The Scottish Soapworks' soap and shampoo bar making course. Reducing packaging, particularly plastic, as well as knowing what goes into our beauty products is a great way to reduce waste, whilst learning a new skill!
Candles are great for creating atmosphere and those that contain essential oils are brilliant for enhancing your mood, but not all candles are born equal, so it is important to know what goes into the making of them. Lucy from The London Refinery creates beautiful soy wax candles with high quality fragrance, and for those who want to be even more conscientious she runs candlemaking workshops too.
Recycle and repair old clothes
We love their statement:
It's the future, remade.
They make circular clothing from recycled organic material using renewable energy. And it looks really cool too.
They produce stylish clothes that are vibrant and bold, whilst being committed to the environment, low waste (check out their remnant accessories!) and fair supply chains!
Turn an old jacket into a bag, a dress into a skirt, a duvet set into children's pyjamas or learn to beautifully repair well-worn items. One of the most sustainable ways to refresh your wardrobe - the ultimate in 'reduce, reuse, recycle'. And if you're not too familiar with a needle and thread there are plenty of fashion and design tutors to help you on your way with some really interesting courses.
You could even make your own material using natural printing and dyeing techniques.
Tough, durable and long-lasting the original chalk paint has revolutionised our attitude to dated or worn out furniture by enabling us to give a new lease of life to a multitude of objects around our home including kitchen cabinets and even radiators!
Lucy has all the interior design skills to help you on your way to revamping your home, including upholstery, recover a lampshade, using decoupage and making a roman blind. She can help you to make things feel fresh and new with little wastage and low impact on the environment. We are big fans.
There are too many workshops out there to pick just one so have a browse of what is available near you to get you started on your upcycling journey.
Oat milk coffee
Food & drink
We are obsessed with having Oatly Barista in our coffee (it tastes soooo good) and total suckers for their unconventional and entertaining advertising and packaging. They are also really focused on sustainability, and improving, so they had to be on this list... as well as on our weekly shopping list!
Grow your own fruit and vegetables to reduce packaging waste, food miles and the use of nasty chemicals in your food production. Kim Stoddart is a gardening expert and journalist who is always ready to share her valuable advice.
Trying a new craft can be a wonderful gift
It is only natural that we would say this, but we really do believe it:
One of the best presents that you can give is the gift of creativity and learning!
It isn't another 'thing', it doesn't have a big carbon footprint, it doesn't contribute to waste and it is certainly plastic-free.
You could pay for someone to try a craft that they have always fancied, arrange a special birthday activity around a workshop or buy them a gift voucher that let's them choose from 1000's of options in hundreds of crafts, all around the UK or by remote learning and the comfort of their own home.
I know, I know, we may be biased! So, I will just leave this here...
My wife bought me this as a birthday gift and it was without doubt my favourite present in 34 years. The location is naturally really beautiful and what Mark has done there serves to accentuate the surrounding environment. We spent the whole day learning around a campfire, under the canopy of a parachute that is nestled within a woodblock - I felt completely detached (in a good way) and de-stressed shortly after arriving.Ben, 29th September 2019
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