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Sustainable Ideas for Bump, Birth & Baby

So as some of you may know I am currently expecting baby #3 and as I start to think about what I want for my birth this time around and gather together all our newborn bits and bobs from the loft it got me thinking about sustainable choices for birth and beyond.

My first baby was a typical collection of the disposable and plastic norm (albeit slightly pared down). We started our low waste living journey when she was 6months old so for my second pregnancy and birth I incorporated more sustainable choices (reusable pads for me, reusable nappies for baby, vegan nipple balm, sulphate free soaps for baby etc) Now another baby is imminent I wanted to look in to what more I can do this time round to go a bit further.

So here’s my personal product recomendations and ideas for packing a more eco friendly birth bag and making more conscious purchasing choices for things you want/need in pregnancy and those newborn days. Even if you just get one idea or want to try one suggestion out – remember no matter how small, your effort is making a difference, to you, your baby and to the planet.

Be sure to check out the shop for our featured products.

Baby Butter

A creamy blend of soothing lavender and chamomile, with nourishing shea and coconut oil, this gentle butter melts into your baby’s skin, encouraging a calm and restful night’s sleep while healing and protecting from skin irritants and common baby rashes.

Reusable drinks bottle

Its super important to remain hydrated while pregnant and while in labour so caring a water bottle around with you can help make sure you keep up that water intake. And if you’re breastfeeding baby then you’re gonna be thirsty, so great to have a drink in reach at all times! Reusable bottles are great for around the house as well as out and about, where you can top them up at free refill stations.

Vegan Lip Balm

Very dry lips can be common in labour, especially if you are using gas and air. Keep them moisturised with a nourishing lip balm. In an easy to pop in your bag tube – this natural lip balm is rich in nourishing and organic ingredients; jojoba oil, illipe and mango butter to smooth and soothe and myrica wax seals in the moisture and offers that protective layer.

Reusable Straws

It can be easier to drink with a straw while in labour as you have hands free drinking – your birth partner can simply hold it out to you to drink from.

However, plastic straws generally can’t be recycled, so straws have to be sent to landfill, where they take a long time to degrade, can leach chemicals like BPA, break down into microplastics, and can be ingested by wildlife. There are however alternatives:

Bamboo Drinking Straws can be reused hundreds of times and can be composted at the end of their life cycle. Our bamboo straws are an eco-friendly and sustainable solution to plastic, made without the need for any harmful pesticides or chemicals. The entire process is safe, non-toxic and completely organic. Each straw is 100% organic, handmade and biodegradable.

Silicone Straws tend to be light and durable, made from 100% Pure Food-Grade FDA/LFGB certified Silicone.

colourful smoothie straws close up

Shampoo/Conditioner/Soap bars

Let’s face it birth can be messy, there’s literal blood,sweat and tears! Plus throw in some milk, amniotic fluid and maybe some newborn poo aswell. That post birth shower is definitely well earned! Instead of using space in your bag for your usual bottles which are often 500ml plus, or having to resort to plastic travel miniatures why not opt for a travel tin of shampoo and soap bars. With the added bonus that they won’t leak in your bag! I would also recommend a travel kit for an easy grab and go solution!

Maternity/Nursing Clothes

Opting for second-hand maternity clothes is both financially beneficial and eco-friendly. Charity shops, facebook selling groups, local swap meets, nearly new sales, and hand me downs from friends and family are great options to get clothes that you’ll only need for a few months. Then when not needed anymore you can sell on local groups or donate to charity. I also found that I personally couldn’t be bothered with most nursing friendly tops and just opted for a vest top with a normal top over the top for a discreet feed and now I just wear my normal clothes and feed regardless.

If you do purchase new, look for clothes that are made of sustainable materials, so they have less impact on the planet, and also usually last longer as well. This includes bamboo, hemp and organic cotton. GOTS certified organic clothing will be very kind on your skin and is super breathable if you’re pregnant over summer (I’m now doing this the third time so trust me on this!) . Because they are very durable and quality garments, there is usually plenty of life left in them once they’re no longer needed so you can sell them on or donate them.This keeps items away from landfill and extends their life – it also means one less garment being made and the impact of the production that goes with that.

Birth Accessories

Borrowing or passing on goods from friends/family is a great way to get items you need without adding to demand or sending anything to landfill. See if a friend or relative has a birthing/yoga ball, tens machine etc before buying. I bought a tens machine for my first birth, had it on five minutes and really didn’t get in with it so it was a wasted purchase really. You could borrow one and just buy some new pads.

Scar & Stretch Mark Lotion

If your newly acquired tiger stripes or C-Section scar are bothering you or you feel they are in need of some nourishment, this lotion is a great option. It contains a range of fruit extracts and essential oils that work in a number of ways to soften and reduce scar tissue and stretch marks.

Rich in vitamin C, lemon essential oils function as an immune system booster is vital to help skin repair and regeneration. Lemon stimulates the white blood cells, increasing the body’s ability to produce healthy, new skin cells that will eventually cover over the old, dead skin cells in a scar. Coconut oil is effective at decreasing the appearance of stretch marks, by accelerating the skins recovery following damage. Grapeseed Extract is great for for boosting wound healing! When applied during pregnancy grapeseed extract prevents the appearance and formation of stretch marks by regenerating any damaged blood vessels and improving connectivity skin collagen and tissue.

Nipple balm

Breastfeeding doesn’t always come easy for everyone, and it can have its moments in the first few days/weeks while you and baby figure out what you’re doing (remember you’re both learning) If you have some soreness or cracking, or just want a nourishing balm then this one is great! And its lanolin free and vegan!

(It shouldn’t be painful though so if you’re experiencing pain or are struggling then please reach out to a IBCLC – a certified lactation consultant)

Breast pads

I absolutely hated using disposable plasticky pads to catch milky leaks with my eldest. When my son was born my low waste living journey had already begun and I opted for washable reusable pads and fell in love! SO much more comfortable and no rustling noises! Feeding a baby and a toddler and having an oversupply meant lots of leaks and they were never defeated and the rate I needed them I felt much better about them going in the washing machine to be used again, as opposed to landfill forever.

I would also highly recommend looking in to reusable cloth pads or pants instead of disposable maternity towels as i just found the cotton of reusables so much more comfortable than itchy plastic. Personally, I found I could use regular menstrual pads and didn’t need special postpartum ones, but you can get a wide variety of shapes/lengths and for different flow types, night, postpartum, etc.

Muslins

These super soft and large organic cotton muslin cloths are perfect for all those situations on the go, in the house where you need to clean up your baby without any irritation.

Cloth Wipes

Most baby wipes are made of non-biodegradable materials and obviously can only be used once. They are a massive source of waste at landfill and also despite not being flushable (even the “flushable” and “biodegradable” varieties are not truly suitable to be flushed) they often end up clogging up our sewers and waterways.

Cloth wipes are more cost-effective, create less waste in the landfill, and help you avoid the use of irritating soaps and chemicals on your baby’s delicate bottom.

Cleaning up with cloth is as simple as just add water and wipe, though many people use homemade wipe solutions and you can purchase store-bought solutions if you prefer. You can keep them in special wipe boxes, or just use wet bags for on the go. They are available in a variety of materials, cotton is the usual go to or for luxury feels, you can buy ultra soft minky, velour, or bamboo cloths. We have some classic white bamboo terry wipes, or you could opt for pastel reusable wipes in a handy travel tote.

Cloth Nappies

Get eco-friendly by opting for washable cloth nappies instead of disposable nappies. Disposable nappies are made of synthetic materials, filled with chemicals, so besides being non-biodegradable, they can be harmful to your child’s tender skin. And obviously, you can only use them once.

A cloth nappy is a reusable nappy, usually made from cotton or other natural materials. The picture that might come to your mind when we hear the term are those squares of cotton that our mothers used. Now I’m not talking about terries or the endless soaking and boiling of previous years. Modern cloth nappies are easy to clean, dry pretty fast, have poppers or velcro (no fiddly or sticky pins) and come in a multitude of prints and designs. As far as cleaning goes, nappies and many wraps just go in the wash at 40 or 60. No need to soak or to boil wash.

It can sound surprising that cloth nappies are more cost effective than disposables because they can call for a hefty initial investment (though you could always purchase preloved from selling sites to save money). But in the longer run, they turn out to be less expensive than disposables, even better if you can reuse for more than one child, and you can always sell on afterwards.

Most estimates of how much you will spend on disposable nappies are around £850-£1,100 per child. If you choose to use a nappy disposal system, it adds in the region of £200; otherwise you’ll need to add the cost of nappy bags.

However, we paid just shy of £300 for our daughters nappies, they were mostly brand new and are a popular and fairly top end quality brand, we also bought additional spare inserts. She has been using them for 3 years and our son has been sharing for the last 18 months. We have since bought a few more nappies (mostly preloved – some were a bargain at £1 each!) so we can have longer between washing since we have two little ones in cloth. If they were in disposables that could have been over 10,000 nappies between them so far. That’s a lot of plastic off to landfill, not to mention a lot of money. And while our daughter has started potty training and wont be using nappies much longer, our son will be wearing them for around another year, and soon baby 3 will be using them too, and after he’s done with them we can sell them on and get some money back. Yes you have the costs of washing but if you wash your nappies two or three times a week at 60 degrees, and take into account the cost of electricity, water and detergent, then the grand total is about £1 a week, or about £130 over two and a half years.

So disposables could’ve cost us £3000 for our 3 children, instead of the £400 or so we’ve spent on cloth nappies and maybe £260 on washing, as we do wash ours more than twice a week as we have two in cloth. That’s a saving of up to £2340, and we still have the potential to make some money back when they sell on. If we had opted for other brands or for muslins/flats or got them all preloved then there could have been even more savings as those would have a cheaper outlay.

According to WRAP, the UK adds 3 billion disposable nappies to landfill every year, so making the switch to reusables can really make a difference. They are not as hard as you think and most local councils offer a nappy voucher incentive when you buy your first set of nappies.

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Sustainable Spring Cleaning Ideas

Plastic sponges, paper towels, a massive selection of plastic bottles of various cleaning sprays – plastic, one use, throwaway products and harsh chemicals. It’s easy for our cleaning routine to contain all of the above.

But can you really keep your house clean, while still keeping our planet clean?

Of course you can. Here’s my favourite sustainable swaps you can use to clean up with a clean conscience.

Why Make your Clean Green?

Whether you have been living the zero waste life for some time, or are new to the journey, let’s have a quick refresh on why you should care about reducing the amount of plastic involved in your cleaning routine. 

  • Plastics are made from non-renewable fossil fuels and create a lot of pollution when produced, when thrown away they either stay in landfill for hundreds of years, or end up in our oceans, washing up on our beaches and harming the environment.
  • Chemicals from cleaning products can end up in the ocean, harming wildlife and plants.
  • Many single-use or plastic items are used in cleaning routines – like plastic containers for cleaning products, plastic based cloths, paper towels and plastic bristled scrubbing brushes.
  • Recycling is not the solution (only about 9% of plastics are recycled).

So here’s my favourite swaps to get you started…

  1. Choose environmentally friendly cleaning products, like these plastic free cleaning sachets. The sachets are made from plant-derived, sustainably sourced ingredients and dissolve in water to make your cleaning solutions, simple! They are antibacterial to kill germs and power through grease and grime even in the oven! All this but whilst still being kind on the environment with no harmful chemicals and up to 70% natural ingredients all of which are 100% Vegan. They allow you to reuse the same bottle over and over rather than keep purchasing plastic bottles to then throw away. You can also have reusable glass spray bottles for your cleaning products, cutting the plastic altogether!

Plus, since these are concentrated sachets, they are able to come in a small packet instead of 5 large plastic bottles. This reduces the amount of space they take up in transport, which also reduces their carbon footprint (which is already fairly low due to being made in the UK)

2. Try a compostable sponge – they are durable and will last for months with no bad odours. They also require less soap than a traditional sponge scourer and produce more suds for easier cleaning!

3. Another great option for compostable cleaning is these Swedish dishcloths. They are an incredible and eco-friendly alternative to the traditional synthetic sponge or microfibre cleaning cloth. These cloths can be used all around the house, on bathroom surfaces and kitchen countertops to dishes and everyday spills.

Traditional cloths and sponges are made from plastics and cannot be recycled or composted. Millions of microplastics from cloths have also found their ways into oceans and into the stomachs of our wildlife.

They’re hygienic, reusable, and fully biodegradable, created from 70% FSC certified cellulose (natural wood fibre) and 30% waste cotton. The pack contains 4 different colours, which are handy to identify which cloth you use for where in the home. No more mixing up the dishcloth with the bathroom cloth! One of our tried and tested favourites!

4. If you like to wear gloves while cleaning, you could opt for natural latex rubber gloves. Suitable for household cleaning, washing dishes or to protect your hands from household cleaning agents. Reusable, biodegradable and compostable.

5. Use washable or reusable fabric kitchen roll instead of paper towels. If you do want to stick to disposable kitchen roll, opt for a plastic free packaging, like paper or biodegradable materials and choose a bamboo kitchen roll, which is much more sustainable than paper.

6. These coconut husk scrubbers are non-scratch, durable, and usable on products such as bottles, plates, cookware, and cutlery. Made sustainably from coconut husk, also known as coconut fibre, carefully wrapped around a thick stainless steel wire.

7. Swap plastic sponges for compostable bamboo dish scrubs, pot brushes, fabric unsponges or biodegradable varieties, that won’t shed microplastic in to the water system and ultimately our oceans.

grey dishbrush

8. Plastic-free your laundry routine – even stain removers are available as bars. You also have the Eco Egg as an option, both for washing and drying.

The Eco Laundry Egg is an innovative laundry washing system that cleans clothes effectively, using two types of natural mineral pellets encased in a recyclable egg. Containing no harmful chemicals and kind to your skin, it completely replaces laundry detergent and fabric conditioner, giving you a kinder and easier laundry solution!

Lots of laundry detergents use petrochemical-based surfactants to help break up dirt and stains. This sounds great, but the problem is it’s not anaerobically biodegradable. After use it washes down the drain into a sewage place or a river, and if oxygen is not present, it does not biodegrade. Most detergents also contain phosphates, but unfortunately, when released into waterways these can lead to algal blooms that stifle fish and other aquatic life.

The Eco Laundry Egg helps to reduce your plastic use. Once you’ve used your Laundry Egg for around 70 washes, you can buy Refill Laundry Egg Pellets which allow you to use the egg over and over again.

If you switch from liquid detergent and fabric conditioner to a Laundry Egg you will save up to 40* bottles of plastic each year. (*Based on 7 washes a week and 18 wash bottles.)

A sustainable spring clean is neither a hard, complicated nor an expensive goal to achieve.

Simple swaps will be easy on your budget, as well as the planet. And remember reusable products are an investment, so you buy once instead of repeatedly purchasing single use, throwaway products.

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Conscious Christmas Gift Guide

With the ‘C’ word drawing ever closer, we’ve rounded up our pick of our eco-friendly offerings to help you shop small and buy sustainably this Christmas. There’s something for everyone, from newborn up, and to cover all budgets.

Of course this is just gifts you can purchase from us at The Path Less Wasteful and whilst we’d love you to choose us to help get your sustainable Christmas sorted, even if you decide to get your gifts elsewhere we hope this list can give you a bit of inspiration for this years present picks.

Remember all of these products are:

💚Plastic free

💚Vegan friendly

💚Cruelty free

💚Eco-friendly

💚Sustainably made

💚Ethically sourced

For the Little Ones:

These rompers are thick, warm, breathable and provide comfortability for everything from playing, sleeping and out during the day. 100% organic cotton, they are available in essential romper style and this knitted footsy style.

Perfect for pre-schoolers and imaginative play, stacking rainbows offer multiple uses and endless possibilities for open-ended play. You can stack them, balance them on top of each other, they could be bridges or tunnels for small cars – we are sure you will come up with plenty more ideas. The wood used is upcycled and sustainably sourced and painted with non-toxic paints.

Available in original or large size and traditional rainbow, contemporary or pastel colours.

Make feeding time a little easier with these bamboo plates, bowls and spoons.

Watch them engage in mealtime in a whole new way whilst knowing their bowl is ethically made, food-safe certified and free from chemicals.

Another perk of using bamboo for your baby weaning set is it’s lasting-power, this set will grow with your baby as they transition from infant to toddler, and can be used across all siblings and even into different generations.

This wooden teether ring and bird teether set is the perfect baby gift. The set includes a wooden teething ring and a bird shaped teething toy. They are the perfect size for baby to hold and made from natural untreated wood so safe for baby to chew. The teethers have a smooth finish so are comfortable against baby’s skin. Wooden teething toys are a natural, BPA free and eco friendly baby toy which can help with the discomfort of teething as well as improving hand eye co-ordination.

Handcrafted so no pair is the same. Eco-friendly cotton with a non-slip vegan leather suede sole. These perfect little baby loafers will compliment any outfit, aid with those first steps and keep tootsies warm as feet dangle from the pram. Available in a variety of designs.

For the Coffee Drinkers:

High quality double-walled stainless steel construction to keep their drink the perfect temperature. The stainless steel construct also ensures the long-lasting and freshest flavour of the drink with no metallic after taste. Lightweight and durable, perfect for use at home, in a favourite coffee shop or on the go. The perfect size to carry around and fits under all coffee machines. The soft matt finish and compact shape for easy gripping will mean that they won’t want to put it down. Available in a variety of colours.

Made from the highest quality borosilicate glass, these cups are designed to replicate the coffee shop drinking experience and unlike plastic or bamboo will not taint the flavour of the drink. Available in a variety of colours/sizes.

A truly sustainable travel cup. Huski Home recycles rice husks to create a durable, environmentally friendly, non-toxic material. These non-toxic, melamine, BPA and silicone-free travel cups feature a leak-proof flip lid and a non-slip base.


Great for hot or iced beverages on the go, they are twin walled to keep drinks warmer for longer without burning hands and insulated to keep hot drinks at an optimum temperature for up to 90 minutes. Available in a variety of colours/sizes.

reuseable coffee cup

Lightweight, durable and fits perfectly under a coffee machine. Ideal for use at home, in a favourite coffee shop or on the go. The double walled reusable cups are designed with both style and comfort in mind. A spill-proof resealable lid combined with a water tight silicone seal to prevent any unwanted leaks. Available in a variety of colours.

For the Make Up Artists:

The Flawless brushes deliver a perfect makeup look every time. All of the brushes are luxurious and vegan, containing no animal hair. The hand finished synthetic fibres are ultra soft yet firm enough to effortlessly apply your makeup with a flawless finish.

Unlike animal hair, synthetic fibres are non-porous, allowing more of your makeup to be applied to your skin rather than being absorbed into the hairs, causing a build up of product and bacteria. This enables less wastage of makeup and is much healthier for the skin.

Each brush boasts a sustainably sourced bamboo handle. Bamboo is a strong grass which is harvested and used in the beauty industry for its anti-bacterial properties. Due to being a natural material each brush handle will be unique.

This cotton canvas bag measures 15cm high by 20cm wide, fully lined, perfect for makeup or travel cosmetics.

The world’s first plastic-free Micellar Water. Carefully formulated to with aloe vera and lavender which contain anti-inflammatory properties to soothe, heal and hydrate the skin. Aloe Vera is also an effective impurity and makeup remover, leaving the skin feeling fresh, clean and smooth.

For the Candle Lovers:

This beautiful ‘https://thepathlesswasteful.co.uk/product/handmade-soy-candle-hygge/Hygge Rituals’ soy candles is handmade, from Lovaine’s little house in West-Wales. These candles are paraben free, vegan, free from animal testing and made using eco wicks. They come in large 345ml eco friendly, glass jars, which have a burn time of 60+ hours.

They are made with love at every stage, from the design to fragrances, to pouring, labelling, packing and posting.

A variety of scents and message labels available.

A trio of soy candle tins hand poured in West-Wales.

  • Wake up and start the day with the beautiful ‘Rise’ bergamot & orange soy candle.
  • Find calm with the ‘Reset’ coconut & vanilla soy candle
  • Relax and end the day with the ‘Rest’ lavender & geranium soy candle

These candles are paraben free, vegan friendly, made with eco wicks and free from animal testing. The 100ml travel tins have a burn time of 15+ hours each.

These handmade wax melts have excellent scent through and their lovely character is a guarantee for making a home feel even more cozy.

  • 100% natural alternative to paraffin and soy wax
  •  Hand-poured, pure, ethically sourced coconut-rapeseed wax candle
  •  Sprinkled with natural botanicals
  •  Natural, ethically sourced fragrance oils that are FREE from CMR’s, Phthalates, Parabens, Silicone and PEG.
  •  Up to 6 hours burn time per melt
  • Eco-friendly packaging, with biodegradable waxed paper bags

Available in a choice of scents.

These hand-poured, pure, organic, ethically sourced coconut-rapeseed wax candles come in a beautiful hand-made, repurposable ceramic container and have an organic cotton wick. Natural, ethically sourced fragrance oils that are FREE from CMR’s, Phthalates, Parabens, Silicone and PEG. Packaged in a cloth gift bag.

Choice of scents available.

Individually wrapped for freshness, these 20ml coconut-rapeseed wax candles make up a pack of 8, packaged in fully recyclable gift wrap, with a handmade ceramic tag. Each tea-light is hand-poured, organic, ethically sourced and provides 6 hours burn time. Natural, ethically sourced fragrance oils that are FREE from CMR’s, Phthalates, Parabens, Silicone and PEG. They are entirely handmade and feature an organic cotton wick.

Choice of scents available.

For the Travelling Ones:

bamboo travel cutlery

The reusable bamboo cutlery set is the perfect plastic free alternative for eating on the go! These portable travel utensils are BPA free and handmade from a single piece of organic bamboo without the need for any harmful fertilisers, pesticide or glues.

It’s small enough to take in a bag wherever you go; the perfect zero waste swap! This bamboo travel cutlery set is everything needed for a waste-free and guilt free lifestyle. Jungle Culture have made it easy to carry eco utensils & include a hessian travel pouch in order to conveniently store this portable bamboo cutlery set when not in use.

bamboo straws

Individually hand crafted and harvested by local artisans at a small, family-run farm in rural Vietnam. These reusable bamboo straws are an eco-friendly and sustainable solution to plastic, made without the need for any harmful pesticides or chemicals. The entire process is safe, non-toxic and completely organic. Each straw is 100% organic, handmade and biodegradable. Jungle straws can be reused hundreds of times and are engraved with the Jungle Culture logo. They come in a naturally made soft hessian pouch (Wheat Coloured)

A beautifully rich, 100% natural and completely vegan cleansing and moisturising balm for face, body and hair. Packed with nourishing cocoa butter and lashings of vitamin E and essential oils, the Miracle Worker balm provides deep hydration to tired skin and hair.

The Miracle Worker balm is highly versatile. It can be used as a cleanser, by applying a small amount to the face and massaging in a circular motions to lift grime and pollutants from the skin, before wiping away with a muslin cloth or flannel soaked in warm water. Breathing in the relaxing scent of lavender, eucalyptus and rosemary for deep relaxation in the evening. It can also be used as a body moisturiser, but massaging a small amount into areas of dry skin, such as the hands, heels, elbows and knees.

Finally, Miracle Worker can be used in very small amounts as a hair wax to tame unruly flyaways (a little goes a long way!) or as a conditioning treatment by lightly massaging the balm into wet ends, relaxing for 5 minutes and then rinsing with warm water.

Its multi uses make it the perfect travelling companion, cutting down on waste, products needed and luggage space!

Ideal to pop in a bag, desk drawer or take away on holiday, this on the go kit provides all the products needed to freshen up and be ready for the day wherever.

Choice of kit – Fresh or Floral

For the Bearded Ones:

A quality moisturizing beard oil for the most adventurous of beard owners. Formulated with only natural ingredients, there are no toxins or harmful chemicals – just 100% natural, healthy hold.

Choice of Scents.

A 100% natural, plastic-free beard shampoo and shave bar for naturally rugged faces. This handmade, vegan bar creates a smooth rich lather, which nourishes and softens beards and makes for a soothing shaving lather. Perfect for a quick shave in the shower or bath, or a longer, luxurious shave with a sink full of steaming hot water.

A great stocking filler gift for the bearded beauty in your life.

The paper packaging is secured with biodegradable clear stickers. No plastic. No palm oil. No sulphates. No triclosan. No phthalate. No cruelty. No worries.

For the Four Legged Ones:

This is perfect to keep your little furry friend happy. These soothing and nourishing dog nose balms are all-natural, vegan, and cruelty-free. Made to gently nourish and soothe those little doggy noses.

For The Home:

These hand-carved eco-friendly coconut wood cooking and serving utensils are made from coconut trees that no longer bear fruit. By utilising this material that would otherwise be discarded, it helps to reduce unnecessary waste. This set of coconut wood utensils are perfect for everyday cooking use, serving meals, and more!

These hand-carved eco-friendly coconut wood soap dishes are made from coconut trees that no longer bear fruit. By utilising this material that would otherwise be discarded, it helps to reduce unnecessary waste. Available in Leaf, Turtle or Heart design.

food wrap

Reusable Vegan Waxys Food Wraps are made from organic Indian cotton printed with unique designs in the UK and coated with vegan-friendly wax by Dundee specialists Halley Stevensons. Unlike beeswax wraps Waxyz don’t have any smell or sticky residue and are perfect for wrapping sandwiches, bread and leftovers.

Waxyz designs are bright, colourful and gender-neutral. We have medium or large size and multipacks. Variety of colours/designs available.

Practical and stylish, these knitted organic cotton dish cloths make a useful and attractive addition to any kitchen. Highly absorbent and durable, these dish clothes are super versatile, use it for cleaning counter tops, doing the dishes, or even as a mini hand towel. Choice of colours.

For Those Who Deserve Pampering:

The Bathtime Pamper Bundle is just what is needed for a relax and recharge. Luxurious, vegan and ecofriendly – for a indulgent but conscious pamper & relax time. It makes a brilliant gift to someone who needs a little treat. Includes an organic cotton bath pouf, a handmade soap bar, a bath soak, and a pack of 3 bath bombs.

Or if you want to gift the ultimate pamper session then choose our Ultimate Pamper Bundle for the soap bar and the bath soak and bombs, with the addition of a handmade body scrub and a selection of coconut tea lights to really set the mood!

Scence’s collection of body and hand balms use wonderful mango butter, organic borage, jojoba and calendula oils for their healing and replenishing qualities. Essential oils offer protection and  aromatherapeutic benefits and rice bran wax gives their balms firmness and grip, sealing in the goodness and moisture-giving properties of the natural oils.

These plastic-free body moisturisers can be used daily, and are especially good after a shower or bath.

Softening and hydrating, the nourishing hand moisturiser is packed with moisture rich butters and oils. Leaving your hands and nails feeling soothed and cared for without leaving a greasy residue.

Variety of scents and balms available.

bath bomb

These mess-free essential oil bath bombs will help to create the ultimate relaxing experience. These bath bombs are packed full of Epsom salts, essential oils and clay to help them enjoy their bath to the fullest.

Each pack contains 3 individual hand-pressed bath bombs. These are packaged in a paper bag with a paper sticker, which can be recycled.

coffee body scrub

This scrub is hand blended in The Natural Spa’s Devon workshop, with moisturising Apricot oil and essential oils so you can gift a real spa at home experience.

The scrub gently buffs away and dry/rough skin and leave skin feeling moisturised and refreshed. Choice of scrubs available.

This zero-waste plastic-free, solid body lotion bar is made with pure cocoa butter to moisturise and regenerate tired or dry skin. This bar can be used anywhere you would normally use a liquid lotion – as a face cream, a stretch mark cream or even as a massage oil.

We hope we’ve given you some good ideas to get started on your Christmas shopping, and we’d love if you wanted to head over to our shop and give the planet some love when buying for your loved ones this year!

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Tips for a Plastic Free Children’s Party

The party bags, the food, the wrapping paper, the balloons, the decorations – children’s parties are full of plastic. Deflated balloons, plastic party favours, glitter, confetti, discarded party bags and throwaway tableware.

We decided that there had to be another way, we want to celebrate and mark our children’s birthdays with a really enjoyable day for them, but without compromising our principles of low waste living.

Making a children’s party plastic free may seem like the impossible, but once you have done one and have figured out what works for you, then next time you’ll have some things ready and know what to do. (For instance, if you make some decorative bunting, you can hang it up every year). So in the long run it will likely work out cheaper and easier, plus its more personal, and you’ll be helping the planet too!

It’s also an opportunity to educate your children – if they observe all the throwaway items at a party, they grow up with an expectation that this is what a party looks like, you can show them that there can be another way. Most guests will be supportive of your low-waste choices and many may not even notice the difference. After all the kids still get cake and treats, and they still get to do the activity – be it swimming, party games, picnic, bbq, etc.

Here’s some ideas and tips you can use to minimise the waste at your next children’s party.

Invitations

If you want to avoid paper completely, then you can use email, text, or messaging apps rather than sending hard copies (to the parents not the children themselves, depending on the age of your child).

Instead of opting for plastic wrapped mass produced invites, why not try making your own, you can choose recycled paper, Kraft paper, print them, handwrite them, get the kids to decorate them, paint them, whatever you want.

P.S If you wish you could include a note on the invitation that this will be a low-waste party and why, so everyone’s onboard from the outset.

Plastic-free decorations

  • Bubbles: stretch a coat-hanger into a circular wand, dip it in a tray of detergent and water and wave through the air for giant bubbles
  • Hang large sheets of paper/ an old bed sheet for a finger painting wall
  • Bring colourful rugs and cushions
  • Fresh flowers in old jars
  • make your own bunting, from fabric or paper.
  • And if your party is outside, perhaps you don’t need decorations at all.

Plates, cups and cutlery

One of the changes a lot of people make is to switch from plastic to paper tableware, but dirty paper plates can’t go in the recycling bin. A better option would be to invest in a set of bamboo or stainless steel crockery that can be reused each year.

If building your own kit is out of your budget, there are options to rent party kits or you could ask family/friends or even the guests to bring plates and drink bottles.

Say no to straws or use reusable straws that you can wash up afterwards, and your own children (and you) can use throughout the year. Our Kids love their silicone and bamboo straws.

Table cloth and napkins

Bring a fabric tablecloth and napkins — if you don’t have any, try repurposing old sheets and towels.

If you have to use a disposable cloth, look for some butchers’ paper which can double as a canvas with a few art supplies thrown on the table.

Food

  • some plastic free snacks could include: Melon slices, fruit platters, baked goods from the bakery (these usually come in paper bags, or you can use your own containers), chopped fruit and nuts from wholefood store/ refill shop
  • serve finger food
  • bring food from home to the party or store in reusable containers until the party – no clingfilm needed!.
  • try and make as much as you can yourself, using raw ingredients you can purchase plastic free and turn them in to yummy home made cakes/treats, breads and desserts.
Home made cakes in silicone cases so no waste!

The Party Bags

Let’s be honest, it’s usually a bag of plastic tat that is lovingly played with for each of the nine minutes of its lifespan. An additional source of stress and expense for parents, but a firm favourite with most children.

One option is to simply not do them, but if your children cannot compute having a party, and not having party bags, then here are some ways to avoid buying and giving out plastic bags of plastic bits.

The bag itself – instead of plastic bags, opt for paper bags – you could decorate and customize these to the theme of the party, or for each child. You could select fabric wraps and give Furoshiki a try, or if you want a simpler option use recyclable cardboard boxes.

If you’re feeling crafty you can make bags from newspapers or magazines. (This is something my mum used to do if we didn’t have gift bags for someone’s birthday.) And if you’re a whiz with the sewing machine, then making your own your own fabric bags from old t-shirts or pillowcases could be an option.

gifts – this is not an exhaustive list but you could include any of the following;

  • mini pencil or chalk packs in carboard packets,
  • dice
  • wooden pencil boxes (customised for each child)
  • mini jigsaws
  • washi tape
  • silicone straws
  • fabric finger puppets
  • activity books
  • seeds (add a mini terracotta plant pot they can decorate)
  • playing cards
  • fabric pencil cases/purses
  • second hand books or small reading books
  • jars of homemade playdough
  • melt down old broken crayons and use silicone moulds to reshape them in to animals or initial letters

food gifts – usually a slice of the birthday cake and a selection of sweet packets, with the plastic count even higher than the sugar content. Some alternatives or some more sustainable ways to buy can be:

  • wrap the cake in a paper bag instead of plastic wrap
  • you could also include homemade treats to avoid plastic packaging
  • If purchasing edible goodies from a shop, you could try your local refill shop and put them in separate paper bags or celllose food bags (which are biodegradable) mini jars or tin foil, which is at least recyclable (basically anything but clingfilm or plastic food bags!). Our local refill shop has vegan fizzy sweets,.
  • If your shopping in a super market or want something a bit healthier, look for snacks without plastic packaging, such as Bear YoYos (which come in paper packets in a cardboard box) raisins are also almost always available in cardboard boxes too.

Presents

Gifts might be the hardest part of a plastic-free party. If you do want to reduce waste with gift you could:

  • ask for money instead, or get guests to contribute towards one substantial present for the child (eg. bike or climbing frame), or ask for donations to a charity instead
  • suggest some more sustainable toys – such as wooden or bamboo, and ethical/sustainable toy brands.
  • suggest preloved gifts, or a toy/gift swap
  • ask for experience-based gifts, like a trip to the zoo or ferry tickets, or a contribution to one substantial present.
  • let guest know that no wrapping is necessary, or suggest fabric or recyclable paper wrap.
My toddler helped wrap and decorate the paper wrap for her brothers presents. We used washi paper tape so it is fully recyclable.

Avoid…

Balloons – Sorry to be the fun police but balloons are a no-no, whether they’re ‘biodegradable’ or not.
If they break free and fly off when they come down they are a risk to wildlife, as birds or marine animals can eat them. And even if they don’t, they will spend years sitting in landfill.

Instant landfill– Please think twice before doing a sweep of your local Pound Shop or the ‘tat’ section of a toy shop. These toys break within minutes and there is nothing that can be done with them other than put them in the bin.

Slime – This is such a ‘thing’ right now and I know kids love a pot of slime, but most commercially available pots are just stretchy slimy blobs of plastic. If you have to have it, then have a go at making your own (recipes can be found online – pinterest is your friend!)

Glitter – Glitter is essentially a micro-plastic and when you can finally get it off your hands/face/every conceivable surface of your home and even some inconceivable places, it gets washed down the sink and passes straight though the filtration systems and on out into our waterways. If glitter is a must, then there are eco-friendly glitters available.

Remember, going zero waste might take a few attempts, but the key is to do what you can in the time you have, then refine your approach next time.

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25 Ways To Reduce Waste Through The Food You Eat

Ways to Reduce Food Waste… With The Food You Have:

Buy less than you think that you need. We tend to over buy on food so remove one meal from your meal plan because you’ll most likely have an unexpected dinner out or leftovers! 

Measure ingredients carefully! Follow recipes and adjust the amount of ingredients to the number of people eating. This will stop you ending up with too many leftovers, that won’t get eaten.

Chop and store the produce when you get home from the shop so creating meals is easy during the week. 

Store your food properly so it doesn’t go bad! Look for storage tips on how to store your produce plastic-free, and how to maximise it’s shelf life. 

Ignore the dates. Best-by, sell-by, and use-by are NOT expiration dates. There’s no scientific way to predict the exact day something is going to expire so use your best judgement with smell and taste. If it tastes fine – it’s probably fine to eat. 

Eat your ends and stems – broccoli stalks are great for making soup.

Save the peels of your onions, carrots and garlic to make a delicious vegetable stock that you can use to infuse more flavour into rice, quinoa, etc. 

Use your freezer to freeze fruits and veggies you might not have time to get to before they turn. 

Use slightly mushy fruits in smoothies or breakfast breads. After all overripe bananas make the best banana loaf!

Make crisps from your potato peelings. Carrots, parsnips etc also work well.

Keep a stocked pantry so you can make all of your favourite meals quickly

Opt for smaller plates of food and go back for seconds if you’re still hungry. 

Use your freezer for leftovers! Almost anything can be frozen to prolong its shelf life including bread, soup and pasta sauce.

Make sure you actually eat your leftovers! My husband will also make extra for dinner, which I can then heat up the next day for my lunch.

If you do have any food waste, make sure you compost it! 

Ways To Reduce Waste… Through How You Buy Food

Write down what is inside of your fridge before you go grocery shopping! This allows you to plan meals around the food you already have, especially what needs to be eaten first. It will also stop you buying duplicates.

Opt for looseleaf tea (a lot of tea bags are made with plastic!) 

Choose plastic-free produce and food. Look for items in recyclable packaging, like paper or card, or food that comes in tins, which are easily recycled.

Buy your dry goods in refill shops. We love refill shopping! Our toddler loves to weigh the jars and attach the labels for the till. It’s a great way to cut plastic out of your shopping, you take your own containers (we use glass jars, some new and some reused jam jars, but it could be any kind of container) and fill up with rice, flour, beans, cereal, all sorts!

Don’t buy individual servings of food. Buy larger servings and portion them out at home. Buying in bulk and avoiding individual portions in plastic packaging, can save you money as well as reducing your plastic waste.

Head to your local farmer’s market or greengrocer to stock up on loose veg. Our local grocer even delivers!

Start a small garden. If you can’t quite manage a vegetable plot, try a herb garden in your windowsill. No garden – then join a local community garden where you can compost and even have a hand in growing your own food.

Try to regrow your food from scraps like green onions or celery. 

Ways To Reduce Waste… Through What Food You Eat

Eat with the seasons and enjoy the bounty of your region. Maybe even try your hand at preserving foods or give foraging a go (Please do check identifications and make sure you are 100% confident in your identification of wild plants. Know which parts are safe to eat and how to process them)

Go heavy on the plants, and reduce your consumption of animal products. The University of Oxford found that eating a vegan diet could be the “single biggest way” to reduce your environmental impact on earth. Researchers found that cutting meat and dairy products from your diet could reduce an individual’s carbon footprint from food by up to 73 per cent.

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10 Tips for a Plastic-Free Kitchen

You’re in your kitchen. What’s one thing you find almost every place you look? Plastic.

Clingfilm, cheap sponges, plastic wrapping, plastic bottles of cleaning sprays, plastic bristled dish brushes, nail brushes, plastic bottles of hand soap, plastic wrapped dishwasher tablets, bottles of washing up liquid, plastic tupperware, plastic spatulas, the list really is endless…

Dealing with all that plastic may seem overwhelming, but don’t panic! The kitchen is actually one of the easiest places to get started on your plastic-free and zero-waste journey.

Why Make Your Kitchen Plastic-Free?

Whether you have been living the zero waste life for some time, or are new to the journey, let’s have a quick refresh on why you should care about reducing your use of plastic and aiming for a plastic-free kitchen. 

  • Plastics are made from non-renewable fossil fuels and creates a lot of pollution when produced.  
  • Chemicals can leach from plastics into food, especially when heated, when plastic is old or in contact with oily foods.
  • Many single-use plastic items are used in the kitchen – like plastic wrap, plastic bags, plastic containers for food and cleaning products.
  • Recycling is not the solution (only about 9% of plastics are recycled).

So here’s my Top Ten Tips to get you started…

  1. Choose environmentally friendly cleaning products, like these plastic free cleaning sachets. You can also have glass spray bottles for your cleaning products.

2. Avoid cling film by switching to wax wraps.  And swap plastic baggies for reusable silicone bags, or store your food in glass containers like tupperware or jars. You can also use silicone lids or fabric bowl cover.

food wrap

3. If you’re a baker – invest in silicone cup cake cases which a reusable. You can also purchase silicone sheets to replace greaseproof baking paper.

4. When you need new utensils, pick a bamboo, stainless steel or wooden replacement. Remember – anything that is now plastic, used to be made from some other material. As you get rid of plastic plates, cups and stirring spoons, return to items made of wood and metal. This gorgeous set from Huski Home are made of sustainable coconut wood.

5. Use washable or compostable cloths or reusable fabric kitchen roll instead of paper towels. If you do want to stick to disposable kitchen roll, opt for a plastic free packaging, like paper or biodegradable materials and choose a bamboo kitchen roll, which is much more sustainable than paper.

6. Plastic dishes and cups are a staple in some kitchens – especially when kids are around. But plastic is linked with hormone disruption and that’s something you want to avoid, especially with kids. Instead of plastic for your children, opt for inexpensive ceramic dishes or a set of wooden or bamboo table ware. My two love their shaped bamboo tableware!

7.Swap plastic sponges for compostable bamboo dish scrubs, fabric unsponges or biodegradable varieties, that won’t shed microplastic in to the water system and ultimately our oceans.

grey dishbrush

8. Between cooking, cleaning, emptying bins etc, your hands need a lot of washing when you’re in the kitchen. Cut down on plastic bottles of hand soap by choosing either soap bars or refill your liquid soap at a zero-waste shop.

9. For cleaning the dishes, choose a dish soap bar – this eliminates plastic bottles of washing up liquid, and is also much better for the environment and water ways. This bar is so mild you can even reuse the water for your plants!

dish washing soap bar on worktop

10. Plastic-free your laundry routine – even stain removers are available as bars. You also have the Eco Egg as an option, both for washing and drying.

A plastic-free kitchen is neither a hard, complicated nor an expensive goal to achieve.

Simple swaps will be easy on your budget, as well as the planet.

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Plastic-Free Picnics

Now that the summer weather has officially arrived and restrictions are easing, we’ve started thinking about going out more, or you know, going out at all! (I think my son was surprised that there are more than 5 people in the world!) After over a year in shielding we had to have a good think what we would need to go out and about now we have two small people in tow, if we wanted to go to the beach or for a picnic.

So here’s our tips & ideas for a sustainable summer, including my Top 10 Sustainable Swaps & Product Recommendations.

Tips & Ideas for Plastic Free Picnicking

  • Make your own dips & salads, rather than buying pre-prepared ones in plastic packaging from the supermarket. A great homemade hummus recipe is this one from The Pesky Vegan. You could even have a go at making your own crackers or pittas to dip in your homemade sides.
  • If you’re having soft drinks, choose options from cans or glass bottles, rather than plastic bottles, we love cordials as you can stretch them so much further by diluting with water. If you want to you could give making your own cordial a go (extra hippie points if you forage your own elderflowers 😉 – seriously though foraging is great fun, but only forage for small amounts from areas with plentiful supply and only if you are 100% certain of what the item is and that it’s edible. Here’s two great articles on foraging for beginners from National Geographic and BBC Good Food.)
  • You can get some great snacks for on the go from your local zero waste shop or refill store, popping kernels for making your own popcorn, or choose from a selection of nuts and snacks like spiced chickpeas, banana chips, etc. You could also use their assortments of nuts and dried fruits to make your own custom trail mix.
  • Avoid ice in bags from the supermarket, by making your own at home in silicone ice cube trays (we have tons of these from making and freezing portions of baby food for when our daughter was weaning), or freeze bottles of water use a coolers in your picnic bag, they’ll keep your picnic nice and chilled and your drink will have melted en route and be lovely and cool. You could also try frozen grapes which will cool drinks and make a great snack when you’ve finished.

Top 10 Sustainable Summer Ready Swaps

1.Reusable Straws:

Plastic straws generally can’t be recycled, so straws have to be sent to landfill, where they take a long time to degrade, can leach chemicals like BPA, break down into microplastics, and can be ingested by wildlife. There are however several alternatives:

Stainless Steel Straws are washable, and much more durable. They are BPA free and unlike plastic will not interact with and leak chemicals into the drink you are consuming.

Bamboo Drinking Straws can be reused hundreds of times and can be composted at the end of their life cycle. Our bamboo straws are an eco-friendly and sustainable solution to plastic, made without the need for any harmful pesticides or chemicals.

Silicone Straws tend to be light and durable, these ones are made from 100% Pure Food-Grade FDA/LFGB certified Silicone, they come with a lifetime guarantee from ecoLiving!

2. Travel Cutlery Set:

Avoid the traditional plastic cutlery of picnics past and invest in a reusable travel cutlery set, made from bamboo or metal which you can carry on you for takeaways, work lunches, food on the go etc. They’re stylish as well as sustainable and it stops all that waste of single use plastic going to landfill.

bamboo travel cutlery

3. Reusable Water Bottle:

Instead of endless plastic bottles, opt for a reusable stainless steel or glass bottle. They are durable, and you can find ones that maintain the temperature of the drink inside, so you can have a refreshing drink throughout the day. They’re great for around the house as well as out and about, where you can refill them with water – look out for councils or shops that are part of the refill scheme.

Our Reusable Glass Bottles are made from BPA free and fully recyclable materials and provide a clean and pure drinking experience.

4. Lunch boxes

Picnics and packed lunches are massive sources of plastic waste – from the plastic lunchboxes themselves, to plastic tupperware, ziplock pouches, clingfilm, snack packs and individually wrapped plastic food packaging.

Avoid the plastic lunchboxes and opt for a stainless steel version, or one of our Huski Home rice husk lunchboxes, made using the by-products of the rice industry. Many lunchboxes have sections, so you can do away with the individual tupperware and snack packs and put your own products in loose. If you do want Tupperware you can opt for glass or glass/bamboo combo versions. Or why not store snacks in reused jars, we have snacks in old curry sauce jars that we’ve cleaned and relabelled.

5. Wax Wraps

Similarly you can avoid the clingfilm and plastic packaging by choosing wax wraps for your sandwiches and other homemade goodies.

food wrap

6. Takeaway Cup

Whether you want a hot drink or an iced coffee, a fruity tea or just juice, taking a reusable travel cup with you let’s you ditch the disposable and many have the benefits of being insulated or double walled to keep your drink at the right temperature for longer.

7. Travel Wash Set

A great choice for the holidays we are now allowed on, whether you’re desperate to jet off or you’re choosing a Great British Staycation, maybe even just for long awaited visits to far away friends and family – a travel set is a great option for you to be low waste and avoid all those plastic travel miniatures, without having to take your full bars from home in individual tins.

safety razor

8. Sun Cream in Tins/Refills

Yes this is now an option, some zero waste shops are now able to offer sun cream refills and the majority will likely have aluminium tins of sun cream available. I find the tins are easier to get the sun cream out of rather than faffing with the spray bottles that don’t work unless they’re completely upright.

9. Toothbrush Case

Great for when you’re away from home, bamboo toothbrush cases keep your brush clean and hygienic. We have both adults and children’s toothbrush travel cases in the shop.

10. Reusable Bag

Keep your picnic out of plastic and opt for reusable bags to carry your stuff on trips out or for shopping. Fold up, cotton or net bags are brilliant for stashing on you so you don’t have to pay for plastic bags if you do any impromptu shopping.

This organic cotton bag is a great choice as it folds up small but is spacious and stylish.

Be sure to check out the shop for our featured products that can help with your zero waste needs.

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Living more Sustainably with Kids

With the magnitude of stuff that comes with babies and children you might think that living more sustainably with kids is impossible. All that stuff comes with a lot of waste – and many children’s products are typically plastic based or disposable.

Here are a selection of swaps you can make to start reducing waste! Be sure to check out the shop for our featured products that can help with your sustainable living needs.

1.Reusable drinks bottles:

Instead of endless plastic bottles or cups, opt for a reusable stainless steel bottle. They are durable, and you can find ones that maintain the temperature of the drink inside, so your little ones can have a refreshing drink throughout the day. They’re great for around the house as well as out and about, where you can refill them with water, same as you would your own bottle.

2. Bamboo toothbrushes:

Every year over a billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away worldwide, ending up in landfill, in the sea or washed up on a beach. Using a bamboo toothbrush with a biodegradable handle is a small change but together we can make a big difference. Toothbrushes are not recyclable and their packaging may not be in your area either. With how frequently we switch them out, a sustainable option is necessary and it’s one of the easiest swaps. And they’re not just for adults too, we stock both baby and child sizes as well as our adult brushes. My eldest loves brushing with her “dee-eth” with her bamboo toothbrush. We also have a selection from FETE in a variety of colours to pique little ones interests- mine love picking out a different colour to last time, when it comes to replacing them.

toothbrush

3. Plastic Free Lunches

Children’s lunches are massive sources of plastic waste – from the plastic lunchboxes themselves, to plastic tupperware, ziplock pouches, clingfilm, snack packs and individually wrapped plastic food packaging.

Several alternatives include:

  • Silicone reusable food pouches, we make our own smoothies and then refill the pouches, so we can take them out and about with us, or as a quick and easy snack for our toddler to grab from the fridge. When you’re finished, wash them out (ours are even dishwashable) then they’re ready to use again. You could also try our reusable snack bags.
  • Wax Wraps to replace cling film or foil, to wrap sandwiches and the like. Seal in freshness without the unrecyclable plastic.
  • You can buy larger quantities , bulk buy, or visit a refill shop to obtain snack items with less or no plastic. Then divide these up in to portions yourself instead of purchasing individually wrapped varieties.
  • Avoid the plastic lunchboxes and opt for a stainless steel version, or one of our Huski Home rice husk lunchboxes, made using the by-products of the rice industry.

4. Bamboo Tableware:

When it comes to feeding our small ones, many of us ask ourselves “what is on my child’s plate?” – Is it nutritious? Is it a choking hazard? etc. But many of us rarely ask “what is my child’s plate made of?”. The majority of kids’ tableware products are made from various forms of plastic that can contain BPAs and other potentially toxic chemicals. BPA has been known to leach into foods and liquids it comes in contact with, especially when these plastic products are heated.

Bamboo is a great alternative to plastic kids’ tableware because of the non-toxic factor. Since bamboo is grown without using pesticides or chemical fertilizers, bamboo plates are non-toxic from the get go.

Additionally, the inherent strength of bamboo makes bamboo plates durable without risking bending or cracking, while also being lightweight. Bamboo kids’ plates are also non-stick as well as heat, stain, odour, and water-resistant – all important factors during mealtime!

5. Wooden Toys

Having more durable wooden toys, which are better for the environment, and can be beautiful additions to the home, is a more sustainable choice then their weaker, more easily broken, plastic counterparts. Also, if you opt for open-ended toys, like wooden rainbows, stacking blocks and ‘loose parts’, there are lots of different ways a child can play with them, hence they get bored less easily. We also have some beautiful wooden Montessori learning resources.

6. Reusable Straws:

With children, especially small ones still learning to use cups or being given glasses while eating out, straws are often necessary. However, plastic straws generally can’t be recycled, so straws have to be sent to landfill, where they take a long time to degrade, can leach chemicals like BPA, break down into microplastics, and can be ingested by wildlife. There are however alternatives( which can be easily taken out and about to be used on the go):

Bamboo Drinking Straws can be reused hundreds of times and can be composted at the end of their life cycle. Our bamboo straws are an eco-friendly and sustainable solution to plastic, made without the need for any harmful pesticides or chemicals. The entire process is safe, non-toxic and completely organic. Each straw is 100% organic, handmade and biodegradable. Our toddler gets on with them just fine.

Silicone Straws tend to be light and durable, made from 100% Pure Food-Grade FDA/LFGB certified Silicone, they come with a lifetime guarantee from ecoLiving! They are also a great option for children who love to chew straws, as they are chew-proof, so no more cracked, flattened and ruined plastic straws.

colourful smoothie straws close up

7. Shampoo/Conditioner/Soap bars

Let’s face it kids get dirty a lot, there’s painting, splashing in muddy puddles, playing in the garden, baking, sensory play and just plain life, like food or drink spills. That’s a lot of reasons to need a bath or a hair wash, and that means you get through a lot of bubble bath, soap and shampoo etc. All of which you can purchase in bars instead, drastically cutting down your plastic usage. With the added benefit of less chemicals and harsh ingredients on your children’s skin.

8. Ethical Clothes/Preloved Clothes

Opting for second-hand clothes is both financially beneficial and eco-friendly. Charity shops, facebook selling groups, local swap meets, nearly new sales, and hand me downs from friends and family are great options to get ‘new’ clothes for your little people – who we all know are constantly in need of clothes as they grow so fast. Most of our children’s wardrobes are second hand – purchased from local selling sites and gifted from family (some of our daughters clothes have been worn by 3 or even 4 of her cousins first – now that’s getting the full use out of an item) Then when she outgrows them, what we don’t keep for her baby brother to wear later, we sell on local groups or donate to charity. And only when a garment can truly not be reused in anyway, either worn or repurposed, then it is sent to textile recycling at The Tip.

Those clothes that we do purchase new for our children are made of sustainable materials, so they have less impact on the planet, and also usually last longer as well. This includes bamboo, hemp and organic cotton. Babies skin is thinner than adults skin so GOTS certified organic clothing and bedding is very important, especially for newborns. Because they are very durable and quality garments, there is usually plenty of life left in them once our children outgrow them so we can sell them on or donate them for another child to wear. This keeps items away from landfill and extends their life – it also means one less garment being made and the impact of the production that goes with that.

9. Cloth Wipes

Most baby wipes are made of non-biodegradable materials and obviously can only be used once. They are a massive source of waste at landfill and also despite not being flushable (even the “flushable” and “biodegradable” varieties are not truly suitable to be flushed) they often end up clogging up our sewers and waterways.

Cloth wipes are more cost-effective, create less waste in the landfill, and help you avoid the use of irritating soaps and chemicals on your baby’s delicate bottom.

Cleaning up with cloth is as simple as just add water and wipe, though many people use homemade wipe solutions and you can purchase store-bought solutions if you prefer. You can keep them in special wipe boxes, or just use wet bags for on the go. They are available in a variety of materials, cotton is the usual go to or for luxury feels, you can buy ultra soft minky, velour, or bamboo cloths.

10. Cloth Nappies

Get eco-friendly by opting for washable cloth nappies instead of disposable nappies. Disposable nappies are made of synthetic materials, filled with chemicals, so besides being non-biodegradable, they can be harmful to your child’s tender skin. And obviously, you can only use them once.

A cloth nappy is a reusable nappy, usually made from cotton or other natural materials. The picture that might come to your mind when we hear the term are those squares of cotton that our mothers used. Now I’m not talking about terries or the endless soaking and boiling of previous years. Modern cloth nappies are easy to clean, dry pretty fast, have poppers or velcro (no fiddly or sticky pins) and come in a multitude of prints and designs. As far as cleaning goes, nappies and many wraps just go in the wash at 40 or 60. No need to soak or to boil wash.

It can sound surprising that cloth nappies are more cost effective than disposables because they can call for a hefty initial investment (though you could always purchase preloved from selling sites to save money). But in the longer run, they turn out to be less expensive than disposables, even better if you can reuse for more than one child, and you can always sell on afterwards.

Most estimates of how much you will spend on disposable nappies are around £850-£1,100 per child. If you choose to use a nappy disposal system, it adds in the region of £200; otherwise you’ll need to add the cost of nappy bags.

However, we paid just shy of £300 for our daughters nappies, they were brand new and are a popular and fairly top end quality brand, we also bought additional spare inserts. She has been using them for 2.5 years and our son has been sharing for the last 6 months. If they were in disposables that could have been up to 7,200 nappies between them so far. That’s a lot of plastic off to landfill, not to mention a lot of money. And while our daughter has started potty training and wont be using nappies much longer, our son will be wearing them for around another 2 years, after which we can sell them on and get some money back. Yes you have the costs of washing but if you wash your nappies two or three times a week at 60 degrees, and take into account the cost of electricity, water and detergent, then the grand total is about £1 a week, or about £130 over two and a half years.

So disposables could’ve cost us £2000 for our 2 children, instead of the £300 we spent on cloth nappies and maybe £260 on washing, as we do wash ours more than twice a week as we have two in cloth. That’s a saving of up to £1440, and we still have the potential to make some money back when they sell on.

According to WRAP, the UK adds 3 billion disposable nappies to landfill every year, so making the switch to reusables can really make a difference. They are not as hard as you think and most local councils offer a nappy voucher incentive when you buy your first set of nappies. I would highly recommend ‘The Nappy Lady‘ she has all the advice you need and offers a great support service too.

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Simple swaps for a more sustainable 2021

If you’re trying to be a bit greener in 2021, then here’s our top 10 simple swaps to help you live more sustainably:

1. Reusable coffee cups vs Takeaway cups

In the UK we use 7 million disposable coffee cups every day – that’s 2.5 billion every year. And less than 1per cent of these end up being recycled. This is due to the thin plastic lining which makes them difficult to process for recycling. Reusable cups on the other hand, are designed to last for years if cared for properly. Having a reusable coffee cup in your bag or at the office gives quick access to an alternative to the single use cup, our Double Walled Coffee Cups are lightweight and durable.

Paper takeaway cups don’t offer much in the way of insulation, so your drink wont stay hot for long, a reusable cup can keep your drink hotter for longer, and offer some protection to your fingers too! Our Reusable Insulated Coffee Cups have high quality double-walled stainless steel construction to keep your drink the perfect temperature. We also have Glass Coffee Cups, which are designed to replicate your coffee shop drinking experience and unlike plastic or bamboo will not taint the flavour of your drink.

And as well as helping the planet by cutting your plastic usage, there are additional benefits for your wallet too. Many coffee shop chains offer discounts to customers who bring their own cup. If you’re a regular coffee drinker, you could save more than £100 a year. Or if you can make your own at home and take it out with you, you’ll save even more!

2. Reusable water bottle vs Plastic bottles

In 2018, UK use of plastic water bottles increased by more than 7 per cent, according to market research company Zenith. The industry is worth £3.3bn. And this isn’t just bad for the planet and the ocean, where many of these plastic bottles ultimately end up. It’s also bad for us. Plastic bottles contain Bisphenol A (BPA), an endocrine disruptor which has been strongly linked to a host of health problems. BPA enters the human body through exposure to plastics such as bottled drinks. Our Reusable Glass Bottles are made from BPA free and fully recyclable materials and provide a clean and pure drinking experience.

3. Bamboo toothbrush vs Plastic toothbrush

What with the vast majority of toothbrushes being plastic, you’ll end up throwing away a lot of them if you adhere to most manufacturers’ recommendations to replace your toothbrush every three months. In fact, every year over a billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away worldwide, ending up in landfill, in the sea or washed up on a beach.

Thankfully, there is an alternative available. Bamboo toothbrushes, which are made from more sustainable materials. Once you’re finished with one, you can compost the handle and recycle the bristles.

4. Toothpaste tablets vs Plastic toothpaste tubes

Toothpaste tubes are typically made of non-recyclable plastic and can take around 450 years to decompose. The tubes are made of multiple layers of materials fused together, so breaking them down for recycling is much more complex than for other household items. One alternative is Truthtabs: these tablets are easy to use, simply pop one into your mouth, bite and brush. They foam and clean just like toothpaste but come in fully biodegradable and recyclable packaging.

5. Wax wraps vs Clingfilm

More than 1.2 billion metres, equating to 745,000 miles of cling film is used by households across Britain every year – enough to go around the circumference of the world 30 times over!

Cling film is difficult to recycle, meaning the majority of it ends up in landfill where it takes hundreds of years to degrade and risks leaching chemicals into groundwater. Like plastic bags, cling film that ends up in the sea is easily confused for jellyfish by marine animals and chokes turtles and other creatures that feed on them.

Reusable Vegan Wax Wraps are a plastic-free alternative way of wrapping sandwiches, leftovers, cheese and cakes to keep them fresh. If cared for, the wraps will last a year and are fully compostable. They look much prettier than clingfilm too.

6. Shampoo/conditioner bars vs Plastic shampoo bottles

These solid bars are more lightweight and compact than their bottled counterparts, so they require less space during transport relative to the same amount of washes with liquid shampoo. Roughly ten to fifteen transport trucks of liquid shampoo would be needed for one transport truck of solid shampoo bars to get the same number of washes! This is because the main ingredient in liquid shampoo is water.

Most shampoo bars have a far higher concentration of ingredients than their shampoo counterparts. This means that you need to use less of a shampoo bar to get the same results. So, even though a shampoo bar looks small, it lasts a very long time. And a solid bar of shampoo doesn’t need to come in a plastic container. In fact, most shampoo bars don’t come with any packaging at all. So, by using shampoo bars, you can cut down on your plastic usage and help the environment .

An additional benefit if you like to travel is that as shampoo bars are solid, they can go in your hand luggage without any arguments from border security. Carrying a shampoo bar in your luggage also means that you can save space, travel lighter, and you won’t get to your hotel and find all your clothes soaking wet because your shampoo has leaked all over them!

We are currently eagerly awaiting a delivery of shampoo, conditioner and soap bars, which will be added to the shop as soon as they arrive!

7. Dish wash bars vs Plastic washing up liquid bottles

Back in the day one bar of soap was enough to do everything, from dishwashing, laundry and even cleaning your bathroom. 

Unlike ordinary dishwashing detergent and other cleaners that are packaged in big plastic bottles, most soap bars come in recycled or recyclable paper packaging. Like most soaps, they have a great shelf life, so if they are stored properly they will last you a very long time. A single soap bar can also last for more washes than liquid soap, as you can easily pour out too much every time you do the dishes.

Our Washing-up Soap Bars are powered by organic plant-based ingredients that are tough on grease yet gentle to your hands. So mild the rinse water can be used on your plants!

8. Safety Razor vs Disposable razor

Unfortunately as the metal blades are embedded in plastic, billions of plastic razors and cartridges are thrown away every year. Switching to safety razors are a great way for plastic-free shaving. Safety razors use one single blade made from stainless steel, which is easy recyclable. You’ll likely also find that you’re able to achieve a closer, smoother shave without the razor burn and irritation that modern razors can cause.

If you’re a regular shaver, then this switch will save you money too! Disposable razors and blades can be incredibly pricey, while new and vintage safety razors are standardised and have used the same style of blades for years. You can get replacement blades which are high quality and inexpensive. With proper care, the blades can last a good while, while the handle should last a lifetime.

9. Reusable straws vs plastic straws

Plastic straws generally can’t be recycled, so straws have to be sent to landfill, where they take a long time to degrade, can leach chemicals like BPA, break down into microplastics, and can be ingested by wildlife. In addition, plastic straws tend to fall amongst the top littered items in the world. There are however several alternatives:

Stainless Steel Straws are washable, and much more durable. They are BPA free and unlike plastic will not interact with and leak chemicals into the drink you are consuming.

Bamboo Drinking Straws can be reused hundreds of times and can be composted at the end of their life cycle. Our bamboo straws are an eco-friendly and sustainable solution to plastic, made without the need for any harmful pesticides or chemicals. The entire process is safe, non-toxic and completely organic. Each straw is 100% organic, handmade and biodegradable.

Silicone Straws tend to be light and durable, made from 100% Pure Food-Grade FDA/LFGB certified Silicone, they come with a lifetime guarantee from ecoLiving!

10. Bamboo cotton buds vs Plastic cotton buds

If you are a plastic cotton bud user then why not switch to bamboo? Our Bamboo Cotton Buds are 100% biodegradable. Plastic cotton buds are often found on the beach or in our oceans, whereas bamboo an be disposed of by simply throwing them into your organic waste or compost. It is also a sustainable product, it needs no pesticides or fertiliser to grow and it’s a super fast growing grass that is more efficient at taking CO2 from the air and producing more oxygen than trees.

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Walking in a winter wonderland… (and other nature activities for kids)

winter activities

Most people don’t see winter as the ideal time for getting outdoors with our children; the days are shorter, being in the UK the weather is often less than inviting, and it’s hard to motivate ourselves to leave the comfort of our cosy houses. But children just don’t think this way. As far as my toddler is concerned, when it comes to getting outdoors the weather is pretty much irrelevant. As long as they’re dressed to suit the weather, children will happily romp around regardless. And in the world that our kids are going to grow up in, it is important that our children are eco-conscious and aware of the environment and natural world around them. The sustainable ideas for winter nature activities that are listed below can be a great way to instil the love for the environment and nature in your kids and have some great family time.

Make a birdfeeder

Winter is the perfect time to feed the birds in your garden and is a great opportunity to observe them. There are so many great ways to make simple bird feeders with kids (Pinterest is your friend here). Set the feeders up in your garden where you can easily observe them from a window.

Winter scavenger hunt

Scavenger hunts are fun outdoor activities for kids that can be enjoyed all year-round. Winter scavenger hunts can focus on items that can be found outside in the colder months, like pinecones, acorns, frozen puddles, evergreens, etc. You can find a lot of examples on Pinterest or make your own.

Make a winter mandala

Making a mandala, especially from natural items, is a wonderful activity to do any time of year. In its simplest form, a mandala is a circular structure with a design that radiates out symmetrically from the centre. You can find natural mandalas in flowers, tree rings, spider webs, seashells, and more. There is no right or wrong way to make one which is why it is such a wonderful way to engage children to make their own mandalas using items they find in nature.

Go for a walk to collect items to use in your winter mandala and let the children’s imaginations create something beautiful! This is a great time to discuss symmetry, shapes and colours, and just let their creativity roam.

Go on a Muddy Puddle Walk

On of my daughter’s favourite things to do outside is to jump in muddy puddles (Thank you, Peppa!) So pop on your waterproofs and head out to the park, the woods, wherever and have some fun splashing around in muddy puddles! 

Start Geocaching

Geocaching is a great way to explore outside and it’s a great outdoor nature activity for winter. It is free, easy, fun, appropriate for all ages, and it’s outdoors and amongst nature! People set up hidden treasure “caches” and then upload the coordinates so that other people can find them. You use an app on a smartphone to find them so it’s great way to lure techy kids outside!

Explore a beach (or other nature abundant area)

Obviously this depends if you live near a beach or not, if you don’t why not try a nature walk in a local woodland or nature reserve. You can look for minibeasts, birds, plants and other animals.

Living in Cornwall, we like to make the most of the fabulous coastline available to us, whatever the weather. So beach trips happen even in the winter, the wind, the chill and the rain included. We just wrap up warm and waterproof the toddler, as far as she’s concerned if she’s in her puddlesuit and wellies she’s unstoppable anyway.

Beaches in the wintertime are magical places. While the cooler temperature makes the water far too cold for swimming, there are still many activities the whole family can enjoy during the winter months. Take advantage of the lack of crowds and spend some time at your local beach, looking at shells, drawing in the sand, and observing birds and marine life. Look for a place where the sand is dotted with rocks so that the water get’s trapped when the tide is low; you will find many critters in these small rockpools. You can take magnifying glasses for identification and paper or journals to do some observation drawings.

Taken this week at Looe Beach