how do we translate our business eco-credentials into our everyday personal lives?
I guess this is kind of a sequel to my last non-covid-related news post – news . . . as well as a follow-on it’s me finally getting around to putting pen to paper (so to speak) about a number of small but mighty products we use here that we think are just too good to keep to ourselves!
Since moving into two refurbished shipping containers on our carpark in 2015 and then subsequently our commercial eco-build Larchwood Studio in March 2019, Aubrey and I have been living in an unconventional way to say the least. This most recent move into the forever-pad has given us the opportunity to discuss, observe, research and refine many of our daily systems, processes and products.
Over the last year or so I’ve focused mainly on reducing plastic and ensuring that any plastic we do purchase is recycled… and it’s been really satisfying to see less and less plastic make its way into the recycling bins here.
It’s also important at this moment to point out a term called ‘green washing’ which is something to beware of! For example even if something is completely plastic-free… if it’s been shipped half way around the world and any paper/cardboard element is produced from trees felled half way around the world then the carbon footprint is HUGE so is completely at odds with the plastic-free-focus you were drawn to it with in the first place… BEWARE!
Below are items that I am now re-buying and are firmly part of our household and personal routine. You can tell from the pics that everything is being used well! If this gives even just one person the confidence to try a greener option and make a positive change then job-done! Eco shops, stall-holders and suppliers are springing up in great number more recently which is fab – bringing choice, awareness, availability and competition all much needed in this sector – so shop local, shop around and keep asking questions. I’ve listed suppliers, producers and manufacturers below but it’s also well worth looking at eco-shops, this can be online if you don’t have a physical local shop or market. Look for family-run, small-scale uk-based companies in this instance such as Its All Good Eco or Hereford Eco Products or Peace with the Wild – oh and enjoy it – saving the planet is wicked . . .
home and hands
Planet Detox cleaning bars (bought from Peace with the Wild) smell SOOOOO GOOD! Everyone comments on the lemon syllabub smell from the washing-up bar. The three I bought in September 19 are still going strong – one each for kitchen cleaning, washing up and bathroom cleaning. They also make your hands feel properly healthy as they are mostly essential oils.
On a more basic hand and hair washing level Friendly and Alternative Suma soaps are now on mass at every sink here… especially since the covid-crisis.
Aaaaah teeth . . . this has taken a bit more trial an error as we went through a couple of different brands of tablet and powders. We settled on tablets as powders were a bit messy plus you have to buy a glass jar every single time… but we do find we have to use two tablets per brush rather than suggested one to get a really good clean. I use the georganics compostable floss which is great value and lasts for ages but Aubs prefers the little brushes so we get them as a ‘treat’ because they are very expensive – eek. We get our toothbrush heads from these guys now – Live Coco – and send the use ones back to get made into new ones – ‘closed loop’ – yes! Oh and effervescent mouthwash tablets are genius – fact.
underarms and general kindness to skin
There are soooooooo many products out there you could spend a whole lifetime trying different things out but I think I’ve struck gold with the above as far as meeting our criteria and making us feel great! The particular star of the show is the Kutis Natural Deodorants which even make Aubreys’ pits smell good after a whole day on the canoes(!!) plus the company is just down the road from us in Llandrindod Wells – win!
We are fortunate to have Aubreys’ grandfathers shaving brush and soap pot which we top up with either Friendly Soap or Neals Yard shaving bars from R M Jones Pharmacy in Hay (local legends).
At Christmas I gifted Aubs a Mutiny Double Edged Safety Razor BUT you have to be patient and slow with this equipment so after one hurried session and a cut top lip it’s now used by me to shave my legs instead… I think it’s great, it makes you slow down and concentrate what you’re doing! Once the blades are blunt you can recycle them. This is one item that is significantly cheaper than the non-recyclable alternatives.
new guest room
Moving from the Shipping Containers into a house with multiple rooms and bedrooms meant we did have to purchase some new household bits and bobs … I want to stress though that it’s absolutely ok to keep using plastic things – buying new, non-plastic items and chucking your plastic ones is not necessary – if it ain’t broke and all that! So for example I still use an old plastic toilet brush to clean our bathroom and the staff toilet but I needed to get a few bits for our new guest room so that was my opportunity to make a switch away from plastic – bingo! I went for a wooden and stainless bog brush with natural bristles from one of the local eco companies that have a stall at the Thursday Hay Market. During autumn I treated the room to a little plastic-free dustpan and brush so guests can keep the room free of leaves and larch-needles which we have falling in abundance from October to December!
I now use scourers that are made from natural materials such as coconut husk, again easily sourced locally and for many years now I’ve used natural cleaning and dishcloths that get washed and re-used year after year… we don’t ever use kitchen roll or disposable dish/cleaning-cloths.
I talk about our loo-roll choice in my last green-news post as it’s relevant to our business as well as personal life… but here’s another opportunity to highlight again that we use and are ambassadors of Ecoleaf from Suma Wholesale, here’s a great article that explains this choice far better than I can – Moral Fibres – which is the best plastic free toilet paper?
I don’t use much on my face but I do like to tidy my eyebrows, add a bit of a healthy tint and keep well moisturised … I’ve always been very tight when it comes to buying makeup, not buying much so keeping it simple and cheap. That however meant a compromise on packaging and ingredients with most of it not being recyclable, biodegradable or cruelty-free (much to my disgust when looking at items in more detail!). Switching my three key products has been up-front expensive but more cost-effective for me and the planet in the long run. Zao is an awesome emerging uk company but sadly Fat and the Moon is from the states (which I didn’t realise until it arrived – I was slacking that day I think!) so I’ll be looking for a local alternative for the face-moisture element once I’ve used this one up. I like the look of Wild Sage & Co. who are local to me in nearby Herefordshire – I already swear by their Himalayan Salt Soap Bar so feel optimistic for their wider skincare range (when I’m next feeling flush!).
Not a huge amount to say here other than this is either for you or it’s not but I got one in February 2018 and since then have used nothing else… no tampons or pads, NO WASTE. If I had my way every young person that wanted one of these would be given one – there are heaps of different brands but they all fundamentally do the same thing, this is the one that I have – Moon Cup – check it out and buy one! . My next adventure is to try some period pants – they are on my xmas list!
On that note I’ll sign off with some favourite words of mine – “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” Robert Swan