Struggling.

IMG-20170902-WA0016.jpg

I’ve been feeling a little rubbish about myself and my commitment to living green (have you noticed by my lack of posting for FOUR months?!) I guess I feel like a bit of a hypocrite when my bin looks more like the average person’s than it ever has since I first started with this zero waste thing.

BUT!

As always, there is a lot to be learned from going through hard times, some say you even learn more. And that means I can learn and pass on a few things, even if I’m not perfect (which is all the time by the way).

The little things DO matter

Much in the same way as getting out of bed is a struggle for me some days when I’m going through a rough patch in my mental health, saying no to a straw or a plastic bag can be a massive deal (and still is to me). God knows they make it hard to even do the little things without making trash; the amount of times I’ve requested a drink without a straw and before I know it they’ve plopped one in and it’s too late! I could go on, but you get the picture. This whole thing is hard. Cut yourself some slack and celebrate the little things.

It’s okay to fall from a high standard

In fact, it’s humbling. When you’re too perfect, you lose the ability to empathise with most people. Before I judge someone for eating meat or buying vegetables wrapped in plastic I can remind myself that I did exactly the same not too long ago. It doesn’t mean we stop trying, but it does mean we shift the focus back to improving ourselves and not focusing on everyone else. You have more influence like that anyway.

Take as long as you need

Sometimes we just need to take a breather. When you don’t even feel human, how can you expect to be your best self? If you’re struggling with mental or physical health, you need to do what you need to do to get your immediate needs met before you can concentrate on anything else. I’ve done a lot of beating myself up over waste I’m creating, but you know what, now I have perspective I can see that it’s just not gonna be a priority when you’re in a state like that.

—-

It’s been a short and sweet post today, but I’m hoping this is the beginning of some regular-ish posting from me again. It’s something I’ve heard other zero waste bloggers say on a small scale, but I wanted to commit an entire post to it. This is the post I wish I’d read a while back. Please look after yourselves people.

 

Advertisements

Sticking it to the man.

Hi there! I’ve been doing some thinking recently (help us all!) and it occurred to me that through this new way of life I’ve been living the last few years, I’ve been able to participate in my own acts of resistance against things I wasn’t even aware of before. Here are a few ways I’ve been sticking it to the man…

Screenshot_2017-07-16-10-53-05.png
ooh, so edgy. Bare faced b+w shot

cosmetics- don’t use shampoo, and only use 3 makeup items

I am resisting the advertisement industry that lies and profits from women’s insecurity, telling us that we need an eye cream, foot cream, nail cream, and a different soap depending on whether you are male or female. My hair and skin haven’t been softer since I ditched the products which whilst doing a job, make your body reliant on them for something it can do naturally.

Screenshot_2017-07-16-11-07-45
taken from zerowaste_munster

clothes- buy only a few items of clothing as needed, from ethical brands and charity shops

Spanish brand ZARA for example churns out a crazy 52 (micro) seasons a year, averaging 12000 styles (the retail average is 3000). It’s just irresponsible to think you can produce so much and encourage people to buy more and more with the situation already in dire straights. I am resisting the over over over-consumption and prices so low that people pay for your clothes with their lives on the other side of the planet.

20170701_191631.jpg
Ribs sans animal products from 100% vegan restaurant Cafe Van Gogh

veganism- I choose not to eat animal products

I’ve had people personally offended that I don’t eat meat. I’ve even had people ask me how I can call myself Jamaican. I am aware that in some cultures meat is very embedded into the every day, but there is no reason why someone should have to condone an act they consider wrong to be a part of a culture. I’ve also been told that I am being rude or fussy when refusing food that someone of another culture has made for me because it has meat in it. I understand that for a lot of people, they don’t see or think about the process and simply see meat and animals as food. My intention is not to reject your generosity but rather to live by a principle that I think matters.

Also, something I haven’t had to experience as a woman, but that I have witnessed happen around me: the association of manliness with meat-eating. Who knows where it stems from; cavemen ideology, the preoccupation with protein and muscle-building, I can’t really comment. But as weak as the argument seems from someone liberated from the need to fit in with gender stereotypes, I have seen that in many people the need to perform their gender and what they consider to be essential components of their gender is a really strong pull.

I am resisting the association of meat-eating with culture or by being a mixed-race British person of Caribbean heritage who does not eat animal products. And as a woman I do not perpetuate the myth that to be strong, healthy, happy or fit in, it is necessary for any gender to do so either.

___________________

Yeah, so we got a little bit political today, but that’s okay! It’s important to remember that often things that are worthwhile and right, are not easy. Being aware of underlying influences in society is crucial to breaking their power and realising that they do not need to control you. Thanks for reading 🙂

Ethical clothing.

womens-carousel-item-2
Finisterre Clothing (Source)

Yes people. It’s all very well trying to buy environmentally friendly fabrics, and not use animal products, but it all means nothing if you’re still buying into businesses that effectively use slave labour. (That was a bit more direct than I thought it would be, but there’s nothing like a little harsh truth!) As it’s Fashion Revolution week, and the anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster, I figured it might be good to share something.

Now I’m an advocate of the largely secondhand wardrobe, because not only does it contribute to good in the world, (if it comes from a charity shop you are making a donation to their work) but it means that instead of garments going on a one-way path to the garbage heap, they become part of a loop economy. Products that can be used again by someone new, avoid the fate of landfill and all the horrible dangers associated with it. When you buy secondhand you don’t require anything to be made from scratch in a factory, so no energy is wasted to create it. There’s enough already in existence to mean we shouldn’t need to buy very much completely new! It can go round and round the loop until it can’t be used any more!

However, sometimes you can’t be searching high and low for things. Also, there’s something to be said for encouraging and supporting ethical businesses with our money. So without further ado, here is a list of ethical clothes manufacturers on my radar…

womens-loose-fit-scoop-neck-t-shirt11

The White T-shirt Co.

Based in: UK

Specialises in: Good quality t-shirts designed to last a lifetime, they can even be tailored to your requirements.

Credentials: Organic, Fair trade, Vegan

Prices: ££

Hiut Denim

Based in: UK

Specialises in: Good quality jeans produced in a small factory (they make 100 per week!) They commit to repairing any jeans you buy from them for free for life!

Credentials: Fair trade, (Some) Organic, Repairs for life

Prices: £££

Finisterre

Based in: UK

Specialises in: Casual clothing with a focus on outdoor activity wear. Very good knitwear, jackets, base layers. Committed to eco-friendly initiatives.

Credentials: (Some) Organic, Fair trade, (Some) Recycled materials

Prices: £

Monkee Genes

Based in: UK

Specialises in: Organic jeans in a large range of styles and colours.

Credentials: Organic, Fair trade, Living wage, Vegan, (Some) Recycled materials

Prices: £

belle-beaumont-organic-cotton-denim-top-2
Beaumont Organic

Beaumont Organic

Based in: UK

Specialises in: Casual/luxury clothing made from organic materials

Credentials: Organic, Fair trade

Prices: £££

Rapanui Clothing

Based in: UK

Specialises in: Organic t-shirts and hoodies

Credentials: Organic, Fair trade

Prices: £

Sea Salt Cornwall

Based in: UK

Specialises in: Casualwear, shoes and accessories

Credentials: (Some) Organic, Fair trade

Prices: ££

Swedish Stockings

Based in: Sweden

Specialises in: Sustainable hosiery made to last, using eco-friendly practices and materials. They also accept any brand of hosiery for recycling to divert them from landfill!

Credentials: Fair trade, Recycled materials, Eco-friendly practices, Zero Waste

Prices: ££

bs17ws002_1022_1024x1024
Bibico

Bibico

Based in: UK

Specialises in: Ethical casual clothing using natural fibres

Credentials: (Some) Organic, Fair trade

Prices: ££

Green Fibres

Based in: UK

Specialises in: Organic underwear, nightwear and outerwear

Credentials: Organic, Fair trade

Prices: ££

Lowie

Based in: UK

Specialises in: Casual clothing and accessories committed to introducing organic and eco-friendly materials to their range. They offer free repairs on all purchases too!

Credentials: (Some) Organic, Fair trade, Repairs for life

Prices: £££

The Keep Boutique

Based in: UK

Specialises in: Ethical brands offering casualwear and accessories

Credentials: (Some) Organic, Fair trade

Prices: ££

Minimalist bathroom + make-up tips.

20170201_100212.jpg
the superstars.

I’m still working out what an ideal amount of toiletries is for me, so by no means consider this the final edit. However, there are a few things I’ve learned when narrowing down my collection which you might find useful. The following tips are things that I do to keep my bathroom products to a minimum…

Water for face + hair washing:

Yep, you heard me- no shampoo or face wash! Apart from my skin and hair completely thriving on water alone (after a transition period. I will be writing separate posts on these soon!) the best thing about it is that I don’t have to pack anything up to go away. Water is everywhere! More bag space and less expense and complication, WOO!

 

2-in-1 eyeliner:

If you have an eyeliner pencil, you can use it normally for a soft line, or to make your lashes look thicker,  hold a lighter 1-2cm from the tip for a few seconds, it softens the consistency and it makes more of a gel or liquid liner. The black gets bolder too. If you’re an eyeliner fan, trust me, this will blow ya mind 🙂 Now you only need one!

20170201_100414
My organic muslin face cloth for wiping off make-up. Bought here

Oil:

Be it coconut oil, olive oil or argan oil, (to name but a few) they all make great make-up removers. Just rub a few drops over the area then wipe away with a cloth. Now that my skin is natural, it tends to regulate itself in terms of moisture, but occasionally it gets dry. This is where the oil comes into its own again. Rubbing a teeny bit of oil (sometimes diluted with water for a lighter effect) is all I need to revive a dry patch. Having one product that serves many purposes is the best way of saving space and simplifying.

20170201_100156
Left to right, top to bottom: ‘lust’ solid perfume, LUSH; pina colada flavour lip balm, gift; homemade mascara, recipe here; lighter; argan oil, ClementsClements; eyebrow brush, Ecotools; Kohl eyeliner pencil, Boots

Refine:

Remove items from collection and store somewhere else. If you don’t miss them after a few months, get rid (donate, give to friend, chuck). It’s easy to keep products that you think you might need for an occasion, but it’s very eye-opening to discover that you only actually tend to use a fraction of the things you have.

No duplicates, this is not the apocalypse:

You don’t need to stock up. There isn’t going to suddenly be a shortage. Also, if you decide you no longer want to use a certain brand/product, you can easily change because you don’t have 10 duplicates in your drawer waiting to be used up. Replace when you are really close to running out/have already run out. Vow that you’re not going to buy another shampoo until you’ve used up what you have, or if you do fancy starting fresh immediately, donate the unused stock.

5 things this Monday…

19159403814_ef14d2f2d0_b
Would you look at that soapy goodness. (Source)

Hello friends! Some things that inspired me this week…

  1. Imy from Sustainably Vegan shares how to buy from bulk shops using your own bags and jars. Her style is so laid back and inviting! I have been meaning to try out Wholefoods when I’m in London but I have to admit I’ve been scared to just rock up with my containers when I don’t know their systems. Now I know I was just being silly, and I can’t wait to walk into that room choc full of everything you could ever want package-free! Check out the video, it looks great!
  2. When I read this homage to bar soap, I got that feeling. You know when you read something that is so you that you have to do a double take?! (tell me I’m not the only one!) I guess what I mean is, I kind wish I’d written this! I am the world’s biggest convert to bar soap, there’s nothing getting between us, and it totally deserves a massive article just to sing its praises. If you’re not yet convinced, give it a read. I dare ya.
  3. Forbes online tells us 9 things we can do about climate change. What I like about these suggestions is that they’re nice and simple. I’m planning on focusing on a few at a time and becoming more conscious when I’m shopping and travelling etc.
  4. This article dissects the craziness of our society which has taken disposables to a ridiculous level of superiority. Let’s be honest, when did we ever really need the invention of disposable plates or kitchen roll anyway? Some of the things we no longer even notice, actually have reusable alternatives, and it doesn’t mean a reduction in comfort or convenience.
  5. And finally, this post had me at its title: DIY chocolate tooth powder! CHOCOLATE GUYS! When I run out of my bicarb and coconut oil toothpaste, I’m switching over to this for the spring 🙂

1 year on: Ecoegg laundry egg

ecoegg-soft-cotton-refills-no-packaging
(Source)

It’s been a while since I reviewed a green product, and this’ll be the first non-toiletry related ‘1 year on’ I’ve done too! Ecoegg is a replacement for washing detergent, and is a hollow egg shape filled with pellets. As your machine fills with water, the pellets release a natural foam and mild fragrance to make your washing clean and fresh. I bought my Ecoegg just before I moved to France, and it was super useful not to have to worry about buying washing powder/tabs/whatever at all during my time there. Here’s what I think after over a year of using this.

Price:

I bought mine on Ebay for £18, which is more or less retail price. As is the case for many of my other reviewed products, I did have to initially spend more than I usually would in one go, but when you consider that what I bought should last me approx. 720 washes, you can imagine the saving! (Ecoegg calculates their product to cost about 3p per wash)

Durability:

So how it works is that you buy the egg along with refill pellets (I bought 10 refills which you replace every 72 washes, hence it all lasting me 720 washes). The mineral pellets should wear down by 72 washes, so then you just top it up with another refill. After all my pellets have run out I simply have to buy more to refill my egg 🙂 The egg itself will last a lifetime- that’s as reusable as I could hope to be!

Verdict:

I appreciate the simplicity of the Ecoegg; now all I need to remember is that (and the clothes obviously hah) not to mention it makes travelling a doddle.  I can’t imagine having to even think about regularly buying detergent! They both go in the drum and no need to worry about fabric softener either! The pellets are made from natural minerals and are 100% hypoallergenic- so if you have sensitive skin or babies, no problem 🙂 My only gripe is that the pellet refills came portioned out in 10 small plastic wrappers. If it wasn’t for that, they would’ve been completely waste-free! ARGH! Even so, it’s less plastic than individually wrapped tablets or bottles of fabric softener. I will however be shooting them my feedback via email after this to see if something can be done about the wrappers 😉

My natural christmas tree.

Guys! It’s the first of December! In my house that means Christmas music on loop and going into full festive mode 🙂 I’ve had my tree up for about a week now, but I thought it was about time I shared…

snapchat-8603425607958567194
the tree after I put it up in our living room

I was inspired by the smart people of Pinterest (what was life before Pinterest..?) who did a similar thing. I think I started collecting sticks from about the beginning of November. It was easy to get most of them, but the two longest ones at the bottom I had to really scavenge for in the park! Then I used a natural twine I had in the house to tie them together. They could’ve been arranged more neatly, but I really like how it turned out- it has character! I used some foil chocolate wrappers wrapped around a cardboard cut-out I made to get the star.

snapchat-5860606456887392036
Gold foil star 🙂

I’m trying to decide if I should decorate it, and if so, what with. But yeah, I hope you feel inspired to use what you have around you to have a bit of fun and decorate for the holiday season! The best thing about this tree is that when Christmas is over nothing goes in the bin- the sticks go back to the park, and string goes back in my stash 🙂

 

Thanks for reading!

Packed lunch.

snapchat-7374009079836913555

In an attempt to save money and avoid the temptation of buying packaged things, I’ve been taking a proper packed lunch. A properly organised packed lunch! Me!

Lunch is my least favourite meal. I’ve got breakfast down, and it’s a chuck-it-all-in-the-bowl scenario so it’s easy. Dinner is the fun one, when I get to try out new things and invest my time and energy into making something I’m proud of. Lunch on the other hand… What even is lunch? Anyway, that’s a question for another time.

After working out a lunch that is sufficiently filling and easy/quick to prepare, this is my current set-up along with the products that help me avoid rubbish and plastic!

First up, I make a sandwich with the baguette I buy package-free at the market, and fill it with peanut butter and jam. I have this pouch from Keep Leaf which seals with velcro, then folds out to a handy mat so that I don’t leave crumbs wherever I’m eating (usually a desk or in the café). I normally just brush off the crumbs and wipe the inside down with a wet cloth when I get home and it’s good to go again! It can also go through the washing machine I believe. It’s a great alternative to foil/cling film/sandwich bags which all end up in landfill.

I buy dry goods package-free every two weeks and I tend to alternate between almonds, cashews and brazil nuts. So whichever of these I have in that week, I wrap up a handful in a hanky to take with me. To tie up the hanky you simply take opposite diagonal corners and knot them together so that the ends of are laying over the remaining two corners (top right picture above). Then you make a second knot with the remaining two corners. It works a treat!

 

snapchat-3715375928771453330

Finally an apple and an orange go in. I then put all of the bits in my Keep Leaf lunchbag. Keep Leaf specialises in using organic fabric to make eco-friendly products and I think it’s  awesome. The food pouch/mat is a particular favourite and comes in useful all the time! Lunch sorted.

Little things.

Today I thought I’d take a leaf out of The Beauty in Simple‘s book and share a list of small things that I am grateful for or excited about at the moment. I really love the fact that you can find beauty and value in the every day, mundane details and I’m trying to get better at it, so here goes…

5 simple things that have made me happy this week:

snapchat-4562748337242138963

  1. On Mondays I get the majority of my food from the market on my uni campus. I bought a beautiful baguette off a very nice lady who complimented me on my baguette-shaped cotton bag. My day was made and it hadn’t even hit 12! snapchat-3653081788801760395
  2. My worm bin finally arrived! Watching all the little wriggly babies settle into their new home and giving them their first load of food scraps was really amazing yesterday. I may have stayed there watching them until the very last one wriggled underneath the surface of the soil before I reluctantly put the lid back on… Expect a post soon about how I’m getting on with this new compost method! snapchat-6525766345540802439
  3. Having a cold really blows, (GET IT!) but since I’ve been using handkerchiefs instead of tissues, I don’t get that sore red nose thing that I thought was inevitable. Plus I keep them in this jar in my room, and all the colours and patterns look so nice together. snapchat-314470562345266043
  4. Today rounded off week 3 of my final year at university, (eek!) and whilst it’s pretty hectic, I’ve managed to minimise the things I take with me. I have one bag (a year ago I would’ve been rotating at least 3) one notebook and one folder for all my lessons. It is really nice not to have to empty and refill my bag and risk forgetting things, because I just carry it all around every day.snapchat-3383675782844297014-1
  5. Breakfast for me consists of jumbo oats soaked overnight in nut milk, 1 chopped banana, 1 chopped date, a handful of nuts and a sprinkle of vanilla/cinnamon. It’s filling, refreshing, yummy, healthy- I can’t think of a better way to start the day!