5 things this Monday…

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Evening friends!

  1. First up, a petition! Let’s show the supermarkets that we as the consumers do not want our produce smothered in plastic. Sign this petition and share it with your family and friends- let’s do this.
  2. A London cafe has ditched dairy after watching a 5 minute video on the dairy industry called ‘dairy is scary’. They put the above poster in their front to explain why. It’s so exciting to see companies taking action after educating themselves 🙂
  3. I have finally started using this search engine that I heard about a little while ago. They plant trees with the money raised from ads. I’ve only used it for one day and they are committed to planting 8 trees on my behalf- talk about an easy way to do something awesome for the planet! See this video for more on how it works…
  4. Looking for a zero waste alternative to hair gel? Well look no further! This amazingly easy recipe requires only flax seeds and boiling water. And that’s not even the best part- you can use the seeds again and again before composting them!
  5. If you’re based in the UK you will no doubt be familiar with many of these restaurant chains. Fun fact: they all have vegan options and some even have a whole menu. YIPPEE!
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5 things this Monday…

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  1. The picture above shows a turtle who got caught in some plastic packaging from a 6-pack of cans. It caused the his shell to be misshapen as it grew- but that’s not all. This poor guy’s organs were unable to fully form due to the constriction of his body. Even after he was liberated, Peanut has been unable to live unaided which is really sad. But now he’s being looked after and makes appearances across schools in the US to teach them about what happens to plastic waste! It is pictures like this that really bring it home that our consumption is making animals really suffer.
  2. Now for some happy news! A vegan cafe has opened in Mexico City, and is challenging the eat-obsessed culture. It’s called ‘Los loosers’ and it sounds magnificent 🙂 hopefully this will be the beginning of better availability of plant-based food in the area.
  3. Lots of people don’t have the option of visiting bulk shops where you can fill up your own bags and containers. How do you do your best to minimise packaging and landfill waste whilst shopping at your average supermarket? Zero Waste Nerd tells you how.
  4. Next up, the Independent hears about how undercover investigations are exposing the widespread animal abuse in farms. It’s time to face the reality that the vast majority of the animals we eat have lead terrible, painful and scary lives. It is not necessary to cause this suffering, and it’s about time it ended. Please take a read if you have not yet learned about what modern animal agriculture looks like.
  5. Finally, nutritional evidence shows that the healthiest diet AND the most environmentally friendly, consist of the same foods. Diets which are low in meat, dairy and oils as well as processed foods are better for your body and have the least environmental impact. Have a look for yourself!

Have a great week!

 

5 things this Monday…

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I saw this and it spoke to me (Source)

Hi friends! It’s time for another round up!

  1. Jamie Oliver has some great video tutorials for vegan meals! This one for sweet potato + white bean chilli looks simple enough but also ridiculously yummy. I’m in.
  2. Zero Waste Memoirs shares some tips on eating down the pantry and starting fresh. When you keep duplicates of tins and packets, it normally ends up being a waste of money and/or food because you can lose track. Keeping less + being creative with your food stock is the key. I found this a great read!
  3. Some news- Swedish supermarkets have started using laser marking to replace stickers on produce. I love hearing about creative ways that technology is making solutions to the problem of waste. In the words of Peter Hagg, one of the pioneers, ‘It’s small but I think it adds up’. Especially for people who have dramatically reduced their trash, these little produce stickers are annoying and unnecessary and everywhere!
  4. This super short, beautifully filmed video shows Jamie Kate Adoc’s zero waste travel kit. It’s just a collection of basic items to bring on a trip and avoid picking up disposable waste. I normally carry a canvas bag on my travels, but now I’m super inspired to put together my very own kit!
  5. LEGO have recently announced that they are investing 1 billion DKK into the ‘research, development and implementation of new, sustainable, raw materials to manufacture LEGO® elements as well as packaging materials’. YOU HEARD RIGHT! Possibly the greatest toy manufacturers ever are jumping on the eco bandwagon- there is hope for everything else too 🙂

Have a great week!

Tips for zero waste food shopping.

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A recent disposable cup-free success!
  1. Keep a canvas/mesh bag on you for spontaneous shop visits. I’ve pretty much got my normal weekly food shop down without creating rubbish, but whenever I’m caught out it’s when I’m travelling or out and I remember I need something because I have no option but to take a plastic bag in the shop. You’re best off with one fabric bag on you for ’emergencies’ 🙂
  2. Cloth for dry goods, mesh for produce. I made my own small drawstring bags to store food in when I go bulk shopping, but you don’t have to search hard online to buy them if you’re not craftily inclined. I use cloth (calico) bags for grains, nuts etc. because these products can be crumbly. Using mesh bags for produce is often helpful in markets and supermarkets however, because the checkout person needs to know what and how many items you have.
  3. If it looks impossible, ask anyway. This one is generally more effective the smaller the business (some large companies have annoying policies on stuff), but still. There may be plastic/paper bags laid out for you to use, but it wouldn’t hurt for you to ask ‘is it alright if I use my own bags?’ or ‘would you mind putting that in my own container please?’ I worked myself up to ask someone to put my smoothie in my own bottle a few weeks back (pictured above), and she was just like ‘yeah no problem!’ The worst that’ll happen is they’ll say no, so you have nothing to lose.
  4. Package-free first, recyclable second, and try to avoid plastic. This one’s pretty self-explanatory, but prioritise buying package-free items first, then settle for recyclable packaging (non-plastic) next. Cardboard and glass are widely recycled, but even if your council technically collects your plastic, most of it won’t be recycled and the rest will be down-cycled (turned into a less valuable type of plastic which’ll then go to landfill after use). Jars are great for repurposing too, so there’s that.
  5. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s taken me over a year to get to this point, and I still have to throw stuff in the bin more than I’d like. But it’s about being better than you were last month, last week, even yesterday. Small changes are far likelier to stick than doing it in one fell swoop (I’m reminding myself here, as much as telling you!)

A really useful app for finding package-free products is the Bulk app (now a website) created by Béa Johnson of Zero Waste Home. You type in the area you want to search, then you have the option to pick the types of products you’re looking for (optional), and it shows you the locations on a map! I would encourage you to have a look if there’s anywhere near you.

1 year on: LUSH ‘Right Eyes’ mascara

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I got this mascara from LUSH a few weeks after my arrival in France, and initially it was a purchase I was very sceptical about. Compared to conventional mascaras, this one takes far more application to get the desired results not to mention the short brush which takes a lot of getting used to. On the plus side however, it is one of the few mascaras that comes in an even partially recyclable packaging AND it’s made of mainly natural ingredients- woo!

What I really do love about it is that it doesn’t irritate my eyes (I would often have to clean off my old mascaras in the early evening as it would get in my eyes and start stinging). When I first bought it, the consistency of the mixture was thin. It was like wetting your lashes with a black liquid. It was really easy to smudge onto your lid by accident, especially with the short brush. You had to let it dry then reapply (LUSH advises using several coats). With time the mixture becomes more like conventional mascara, and I tend to only apply 1 or 2 layers nowadays.

Price:

Again, I bought my mascara in France, but in the UK ‘eyes right‘ sells for £12. This is a pretty competitive price for a mascara. Depending on what brand you are used to using, you could be making a saving, or at least paying the same amount as before.

Durability:

You are supposed to replace mascara every 3 months, says a Google search I did just now. I may have hung on to this one 4 times too long, woops. Over time the consistency only got better, and I haven’t had any adverse effects from using it so long. I guess it’s up to you as to how long you keep yours.

Verdict:

Now that I have had a year of using this mascara, I have gotten used to the texture and short brush. If you prefer significantly bolder, thicker lashes, it’s just not gonna give you what you want; thankfully all I want is a mascara that makes my lashes a teeny bit longer and darker. In my opinion it’s a small price to pay for a product that uses significantly more natural ingredients, has a better animal rights and ethical record and comes in a more recyclable bottle than nearly all its peers. As for the future, I plan to wash out the bottle and refill it with a homemade zero-waste mascara. If that fails I will repurchase ‘eyes right’ then recycle the old glass bottle.

5 Things this Monday…

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  1. This post called ‘My Zero Waste is not Pretty‘ is brilliant. I am definitely guilty of wanting to make everything glamorous and beautiful which means I’ve turned down perfectly usable items I already own to replace them (not really the point of this whole zero waste malarkey…) I definitely needed the reminder that it’s a slow and not always pretty process.
  2. The infogram above from Food Navigator USA illustrates the difference your diet makes on the environment, from regular meat consumption to vegan. Hopefully it’ll be an encouragement wherever you are on that scale towards eating less animal products, that every little bit counts- keep it up!
  3. Next up is a video that came up on my suggested videos on Youtube. I don’t currently follow this guy, but his story about why he became vegan is both funny and original. He explains why he doesn’t broadcast his views and why it’s really easy to judge other people and it’s just quite refreshing to get another perspective. I think he’s a cool guy basically.
  4. These 5 reasons to avoid plastic containers are a must-read. Plastic is everywhere you look nowadays, but keeping it off your food is so important, especially when you know the stuff it can do to you.
  5. Last but not least, Ariana from Paris To Go addresses a concern I hear quite a lot: that the thought of wearing secondhand clothes is somehow dirty. As I read this, it reminded me of what I was like about certain items a few years ago. The post is so well-written and covers the disturbing reality of new clothes today, as well as practical tips for cleaning and restoring secondhand products before use. My favourite read of the week I’d say.

1 year on: LUSH shampoo bar

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(Source)

I have been a little in love with LUSH products for a few years now. When my liquid shampoo from them ran out in September last year, my thoughts turned straight to solid shampoo bars. I’d tried a combined shampoo and conditioner bar previously, and due to a mixture of my laziness and the conditioner in the bar, it turned into a sloppy gloop.

My experience this time around has been quite the opposite. I picked the ‘Jason and the Argon Oil’ bar- I’m going to be honest- just for the name, (I’m a sucker for a pun) but then I smelled it and I knew I definitely needed it in my life! I keep it in an aluminium tin, and rub it against my wet hand in the shower to build up a lather which I then massage into my scalp. Some people like to rub the bar directly onto their heads, but I prefer to use my hands so I can work it through my roots with my fingers.

Price:

I got mine in France, but I just checked the LUSH website and it sells for £6 in the UK. This is maybe double the price of conventional bottled shampoo in the supermarkets but surprise surprise, it lasts waaayyy longer!

Durability:

A year on from the purchase date, my bar is still 3/4 its original size. I always leave it out to dry after I shower before closing the tin and putting it away which helps it to last.

Verdict:

This bar smells great, lathers up well and does the job of leaving my hair clean. It is made from vegan-friendly, mostly natural ingredients which is good enough for me at the minute. I would purchase this bar again, but I am interested in forgoing shampoo altogether in the future, so we’ll see what happens when this runs out.

5 things this Monday…

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  1. First thing’s first, this is one of the most hopeful things I’ve read in a while- the Swedish government is cutting VAT on repair services. Increasingly it seems more logical to buy new appliances and items because repair is either expensive or unavailable, but the bottom line is that repairing is simply out of fashion and doesn’t fit in with convenience culture. It makes sense that our first port of call should be to try and fix things- GO SWEDEN!
  2. I’m no stranger to recycling weird and wonderful things, but this prototype for a shoe made from recycled carbon emissions blew my mind! I don’t understand the science behind it, but it’s so great to know that people are putting their heads together to come up with ways to divert pollution from destroying the earth. Every little helps after all.
  3. In a move towards transparency and better treatment its garment factory workers, GAP has published the names of the factories that supply its clothes and shoes. In theory, this move gives workers and advocates the ability to alert the companies of injustices for swifter correction amongst other things.
  4. And the good news just keeps on rolling! France has banned plastic cups, cutlery and plates as of 2020, and plans to replace them with compostable alternatives. It is a good initiative to start the process of reducing pollution, but some argue (fairly) that it might send the wrong message; greener living isn’t just subbing one material in for another but rather wasting less. That said, I still think the less plastic floating around the better.
  5. After 4 pretty monumental events this last one seems a little trivial, but hey ho: StyleCaster gives 10 ways to remove wrinkles without an iron. I relinquished my iron recently after using it a grand total of about once a year, and I have to say I don’t miss it; but if I found myself in need I would definitely consider a few of these ideas! Most of them require no planning or specialist equipment which is right up my street 🙂

1 year on: Salt of the Earth deodorant

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I bought this alum stone deodorant in the summer of 2015 from Holland and Barrett, very soon after I discovered the zero waste movement. I was super eager to stock up on supplies for my ‘new life’ and did research into waste-free deodorants. Of all the alternatives I found, I thought this one seemed pretty easy; all I had to do was buy it and use it, just like I did before. Only this time, I would be using a completely natural product that created no waste!

To use an alum stone as a deodorant, all you need to do is wet it underneath the tap then rub it over your armpits. It doesn’t soften, nor does a load of liquid come off it, it just feels like you are rubbing a wet stone on your skin (funnily enough!) But it works- it does an amazing job of keeping you odour-free all day long, plus if you’re already a little smelly it ERASES IT INSTANTLY. Can you tell I’m impressed?

I would say the difference between this and a conventional roll-on is that it doesn’t actually smell of anything. It prevents or removes smell, but doesn’t add anything else. No perfumes, no chemicals, no colour, yay! Another thing I only discovered in the last few weeks is that alum stones can be used after shaving to stem and close any nicks or cuts or settle any redness or inflammation.

Price:

I paid £3-ish for mine (the smaller travel size version) which is about double what a conventional roll-on costs, but this lasts wayyyy longer so I’ve definitely saved.

Durability:

As I said, I bought the deodorant stone a year ago, and it has only shrunk by about a 1/4 or a 1/3. If you make sure to dry the stone after use- which I have done with the exception of a couple of times when travelling-  it will last a crazy long time. It’ll no doubt still be going in another year!

Verdict:

My review of this product is near-on flawless. The stone is lightweight and small enough to travel with, it keeps you fresh, it lasts a billion years, literally what more do you need? My only regret is the packaging. In my hurry to stock up on all things zero waste I neglected to notice that it comes in a plastic screw-on cover (pictured). When my stone eventually runs out I am going to try and source the bare stone. If you fail to find one package-free, this is a good compromise.

5 things this Monday…

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  1. First up Pret a manger, a UK-based sandwich shop for anyone international, set up a veggie (all vegetarian/vegan food) pop-up shop for a month in Soho, London. It did so well they kept it open all summer, and that did so well they’re keeping it open for good! It’s so encouraging to know that society is moving in the direction of plant-based food, and that even massive chains are taking note. See the article explaining their decision here.
  2. Talk about blowing my mind, here’s another awesome story: Bundanoon: Australia’s First Bottled Water Free Town. To protest against a bottled water company that planned to truck water from them to sell in Sydney they sent a clear message and banned plastic bottles in 2009. ‘Bundy’ residents can fill up their reusable water bottles at taps all over the town. SO COOL!
  3. Courtney from Be More With Less shares 8 tips for small-space living, that are simple and straight forward, but really useful too. No matter if you live in a small place or not, following this advice will have you on your way to simplicity and freedom from an endless cycle of messing up and tidying up (I know that all too well!)
  4. Brasilian brand Insecta takes on the dominant culture of leather and meat consumption by creating vegan shoes made from vintage clothing (pictured above). The business has been doing really well and it just goes to show that people are eager to support green alternatives. Plus they’re really awesome-looking shoes 🙂
  5. Finally, have you ever wondered how to pack a zero waste picnic? As with everything, it’s all in the preparation. This article explains down to the smallest details how they avoid waste from the food containers to wet wipes. I’m definitely hanging on to this for future reference!