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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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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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How to: Salt dough Decorations

One of the favourite craft projects in our house is homemade salt dough! My daughter loves making salt dough ornaments, and I love that I always have the supplies on hand to mix up this salt dough recipe.

This Christmas we’ve spent a day making salt dough ornaments for our tree. It’s a wonderful family activity that ends with us having beautiful ornaments that will last for decades!

Recipe

The recipe for these ornaments doesn’t get any easier. You need exactly three ingredients:

  • Plain/ All-purpose flour (4 cups)—I recommend sticking with all-purpose flour here because it’s affordable, it’s easy to work with, and it creates the most consistent color.
  • Table salt (1 cup)—Again, make sure to add the salt to preserve these ornaments! Just go with the generic brand table salt here.
  • Warm water (1 1/2 cups)—The warm water helps the dough come together a little bit easier. Plus, you’ll knead the dough with your hands, and warm dough is so much more comfortable to knead in the winter!

Chances are, you’ll have all the items you need to make these ornaments already in your house. Here’s a general list of what we used to make our ornaments:

  • Mixing bowl and large spoon
  • Parchment paper/silicone baking mat
  • Rolling pin
  • Biscuit cutter
  • Toothpick, straw or skewer—for poking a hole for the ornaments to hang from
  • Baking tray
  • Craft glue to make a varnish for the ornaments
  • Paints and paintbrushes
  • Ribbon/twine/wire for hanging the ornaments
  1. In your large mixing bowl, place the flour and salt. Stir until well combined. Then, slowly pour in the warm water while stirring. Keep stirring until you’ve added all the water.
  2. You’ll get to a point where it is too hard to stir with a spoon. Put it down and use your hands to mix it well, like you would any other dough.
  3. Once the dough starts to come together, keep kneading with your hands for a few minutes until the dough is smooth and pliable.

Now that your salt dough is made, you can use it just like you would modelling clay to make sculptures, or you can roll it and cut it out to make ornaments or salt dough handprints. This time we made Christmas ornaments:

If you’ve ever rolled and cut out sugar biscuit, you’ll be an expert at doing with the salt dough! (This is my daughters favourite part) Here’s the process:

  1. Sprinkle a little flour on your parchment paper or silicone baking mat and roll out the dough until 2-4mm thick. You want to err on the side of a thinner dough because if it is too thick, the ornaments tend to split or break easily because of air pockets that get trapped in the middle.
  2. Then cut out your shapes using cookie cutters, and put on your silicone baking sheet or you baking tray lined with parchment.
  3. Take a skewer, toothpick, stainless steel straw, or any other pointy/pokey object, and poke a hole in the top of each ornament for a ribbon to hang from.

Bake the ornaments in a 120°C oven for 1-2 hours depending on the siege and thickness of your decorations. This isn’t an exact science, because inevitably, your shapes won’t be 100% even in thickness. They are done when they feel hard. They are really done if they start to brown (don’t worry if they do go a bit brown, you can just paint over the brown bits!). Let the ornaments cool completely before decorating.

I used acrylic paints and gave my daughter her regular paints and brushes. I stuck with the colour scheme of the room the tree is in, and my daughter used the toddler method of all the colours at once – but it’s really up to you to get creative on how you want to decorate.

Once all your decorating is dry, you need to seal these ornaments so they last a good, long while. While the salt does an excellent job of preserving the salt dough itself, sealing the ornaments will help keep all the decorations you just lovingly decorated looking great for years to come.

Make the “varnish” with one part glue to two parts water. I just do one coat on each side and let it dry completely in between. We used our cake cooling racks for this.

String up the ornaments using pretty ribbon or twine, and then put those beautiful new ornaments on your Christmas tree! These could also be used to make wonderful, thoughtful gifts

Our tree this year with its lovely new salt dough ornaments
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Why Zero Waste?

zero waste bathroom

So why try zero waste? Maybe you’re an environmentalist, a nature or an animal lover, you might want to be more frugal or give self-sufficiency a go. You might have watched documentaries about climate change and rising temperatures, seen images of oceans full of plastic straws on the news or read articles about melting polar ice and turtles caught up in lost fishing nets. Whatever your reason for taking steps to a more sustainable way of living, any changes you make, however small can make a difference.

For us, the reason why my family and I began to make more eco friendly purchased and sustainable choices was that we felt that the fast-paced, throw-away society of over consumption was so far disconnected from the natural world and the way we wanted to live and the culture we wanted to raise our children in.

We started our journey in early summer 2019, when after attending several vegan food and craft fairs, and speaking to volunteers from a plastic free programme, our eyes were opened to the damage being done to the planet. We watched documentaries and read articles and we decided that we needed to play our part, however small, in helping our planet and making a brighter future for our daughter. We went vegan overnight and we made a plan to start phasing plastic out of our lives as soon as we could and to do the best we could to make ethical and sustainable choices so that our impact on the world around us was a small as we could possibly manage.

When we used up the last of the shampoo in the bottle, we bought a plastic free bar to replace it. Items we bought were transitioned to more ethical brands. As soon as we had the money, we invested in cloth nappies for our daughter and loved that not only were we helping reduce the plastic going to landfill but she also had natural chemical free materials on her skin, we wished we had done it sooner and when our son was born this year we were so pleased to be able to cloth him from birth.

We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.

– Howard Zinn

We aren’t perfect by any means and we could still do and have plans to do more, but we are on our own journey to zero waste and taking steps forward whenever we can.

We buy fruit and veg locally to avoid the plastic wrapped offerings of the supermarkets, we cook from scratch more, we’re growing some of our own food, and making our own cleaning products, disposables have been swapped for reusables, clothes are repaired or repurposed, and any new purchases are thought through and properly considered first, choosing ethical and sustainable options.

We aren’t at zero waste yet and would rather classify ourselves as ‘low waste’ but we are doing something to save our planet and fight climate change, we’re protecting the animals and the natural world affected and were helping to make a more sustainable world for our children to live in.

When trying to make zero waste living work for you, it’s important to keep your own personal ‘why’ in mind. If you don’t, it may be difficult to sustain or to keep moving forward. Any changes you set out to make might not stick unless you feel the motivation to do so, and the small changes you do make will give you confidence to keep going. So find your why, and start making small habit changes. Don’t know where to start? Follow our blog for inspiration and ideas.

“Going plastic free is a lifestyle change. Take your time and don’t beat yourself up if something goes a little wrong. Simply start again.”