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The Cambridge dictionary defines sustainability as the quality of causing little or no damage to the environment and therefore able to continue for a long time. Likewise, throughout the years, we have all been taught the three main Rs sustainability; reduce, reuse and recycle. However, in the most recent years, environmentalists have campaigned for the addition of a few other significant Rs including refuse, repair and rot.  

So, while the 3 Rs have been a valuable motto for consuming in a more environmentally conscious way, the 6 Rs go a step further towards living zero-waste to limit our impact on planet earth and its resources.  Now, let’s go through each R one by one to understand why it is important to RE-think sustainability.  

 

6 R's of sustainability  upside down pyramid graph

  1. Refuse
    The first step is to Rethink and Refuse from purchasing things you do not need or single-use products.
  2. Reduce
    The Second step is to Reduce your use of the things you do need. and/or find a product with a lower carbon footprint
  3. Reuse 
    The Third step is to Reuse. Similar to the next step, reusing is often the easiest and most efficient way to reduce your carbon footprint
  4. Repurpose
    The Fourth step is Repurposing what you already own is also likely to save you money in the long term, as well as doing your bit for the environment.
  5. Recycle
    The Fith step is probably the most well-known, Recycling means an item can be reused or reconstructed into something else.
  6. Rot
    The last step Rot which is more commonly known as composting, utilising nature's ability to brake things down is the oldest form of recycling, turning food and off-cutting (and now biodegradable products) into fertile soil.

Now we have the basics let's take a deeper dive into each step

  1. Refuce

 Say no to single-use bags, packaging, cups, straws and so on, and get into the habit of bringing along your own reusable replacements. In addition, refusing products such as straws or single-use plastic bags sends a message to shops, restaurants and businesses that fewer of these items need to manufacture altogether. By refusing items, the demand for certain material goods will decrease. Moreover, it is vital to establish some key considerations before purchasing a product such as the quality, the packing, the company’s ethics, environmental and social effects etc. 
 

Another big issue is impulse buying. Putting an end to impulse buying is very difficult and requires a lot of self-discipline and self-control. Nevertheless, a good tactic is to ask yourself “Do I really need this?”. This tactic usually helps consumers to stop buying things they don’t need. Basically, refuse to pay money for something that would end up generating more waste. 

 

  1. Reduce

The next step is to reduce your consumption! From fashion to food, slowing down our pace of consumption, and buying and using only what we need to reduce our carbon footprint. Plastic is a material that is difficult to recycle and for that reason, consumers are switching to a low waste lifestyle. Your carbon footprint is measured by your lifestyle and regular activities that result in greenhouse gas emissions. Some of the most common examples of these lifestyle factors and activities include: 

The idea is simple: consume less, waste less. 

scrabble blocks spelling out "consume less image"

  1. Reuse

The third step of the 6Rs is about reusing what you’ve already got rather than buying new items straightaway. This R is coined with another sustainability term defined as upcycling.  

Upcycling essentially means recycling (something) in such a way that the resulting product is of a higher value than the original item. Thus, any product you purchase should be reused as much as possible, even after its intended life. Ask yourself if the item can be reused in a new way. Instead of buying a replacement, reinvent it and find an alternative use.  For example, you can Use washed-out glass jars for a pen pot or to store dry food in your kitchen cupboards or wash old clothes and sheets, then cut them up and use them as cleaning rags or dusters. 

Here’s a comprehensive list of upcycling ideas to get you started.  

upcycled pots hanging on a wall

  1. Repurpose

 The next step requires putting on your handyman hat and repairing any broken items. Repairing what you already own is also likely to save you money in the long term, as well as doing your bit for the environment. Things like clothes are easily mended and repaired as well as everyday items around the house so you can help extend their lifespan.  

Here are five easy mending tips to help you kickstart your mending journey!  

 

  1. Recycle

Recycling means an item can be reused or reconstructed into something else. When an item can no longer be used and needs to be disposed of, always consider if the item can be recycled first. But before throwing anything away to the landfill, check this handy list to see if an item can be recycled, and where.  

Furthermore, If the item can only be recycled at the tip or a recycling bank, put it to one side and then when you have a few items ready to be recycled, take them all at once. Since recycling is a process that consumes energy, it’s further down the list of the 6Rs but is still preferable to sending items directly to landfills.   

  recycle bins for compost, recycling, and general waste

  1. Rot 

The final stage of the 6Rs to prevent is composting. You may have heard of the term ‘biodegradable’ which means being able to decay naturally and in a way that is not harmful to the environment. The easiest thing that can be composed is food and to some extent food waste. However, nowadays more and more packaging and some products are becoming biodegradable in order to minimise the negative impact on the environment. Interestingly, composting food scraps turns them into nutrient-rich soil which you can use in your garden to make your plants thrive. 

If you have a garden, setting up a compost heap is easy enough – follow this guide to find out how.  

If you don’t have a garden, check here to see if your local council collects food waste from your area. 

 man holding compost

And that’s a wRap! The 6 Rs of sustainability! Which R's are you going to incorporate into your lifestyle this year? We would love to hear your thoughts below.  

Even reusing your cotton tote bag from Doodle Bag is a great way to start your sustainability journey!

The 5th of November marks ‘Bonfire Night’ also known as ‘Guy Fawkes night. On this night, people across the nation celebrate the foiled Gunpowder plot in 1605 where Guy Fawkes and his group of provincial English Catholics attempted to assassinate King James I, by blowing up the Houses of Parliament using 36 barrels of gunpowder.

This event is celebrated by lighting bonfires, letting off fireworks, and burning the effigies of Guy Fawkes. It’s one of the most exciting times of the year when family and friends get together to enjoy the crackling bonfires and firework exhibitions whilst enjoying some traditional bonfire sweets such as caramel apples.  

Unfortunately, Bonfire night has been criticised on countless occasions due to its detrimental impact on the environment. Even the big UK supermarket, Sainsbury’s has stopped selling fireworks due to the negative effect on the environment.

One thing to keep in mind this bonfire night is how can you make it more environmentally friendly. In this blog, we’ve put together some tips for a more sustainable Bonfire Night.  

pexels peter fazekas bonfire
Photo by Peter Fazekas:

How to have a greener bonfire night  

1) Try eco-fireworks or eco-sparklers

Traditional fireworks are not eco-friendly as they are made up of charcoal and sulphur fuel, a perchlorate oxidiser to help with burning, with additions of binders, colourants and propellants. Fireworks, especially on bonfire night can cause extensive air pollution in a short amount of time, leaving metal particles, dangerous toxins, harmful chemicals and smoke in the air for hours and days. Some of the toxins never fully biodegrade or disintegrate.

Eco-friendly fireworks are readily available on the market and are perfect for bonfire night. Using nitrogen-based fuel they produce less pollution in the atmosphere, whilst ensuring your display goes off with a traditional bang! Although, please keep in mind that eco-friendly fireworks can be hard to find and can be expensive due to the lack of technology.

More sustainable alternatives include:

You could even opt for sparklers instead, so long as you handle and dispose of them safely. Dunk the finished sparklers in a bucket of cold water or sand, then pop them in general waste when completely cool.

pexels jonas von werne fireworks
Photo by Jonas Von Werne from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/people-watching-fireworks-display-during-nighttime-2893330/

2) Use only clean, dry and natural materials for your bonfire   

When lighting a Bonfire in your garden, it is easy to be unaware of what material you burn.

Many use Bonfire night as an opportunity for disposing of household waste, unaware of the toxic fumes it emits which can pollute our environment and can be hazardous to our health. For this reason, it is illegal in the UK to burn most types of waste, especially things like plastic, rubber, accelerants and aerosols. You could potentially face a fine of up to £50,000 for illegally managing waste.

If you do plan on burning a bonfire this year, be sure to select clean items, non-commercial waste, and only small amounts of untreated wood, paper, leaves, and cardboard. To reduce the amount of smoke the bonfire creates, try burning only clean, dry and natural materials. Likewise, you can use dry waste and garden waste you can also try to make small changes by using leaves instead of fire starters.

Furthermore, avoid buying any man-made wood as they generally contain plastics, oils or chemicals to keep them looking nice. Hence, burning these plastics and chemicals is not great for the environment. Don’t forget at the end of the night, to douse the fire with water or soil instead of leaving it to switch off on its own, as this allows smoke and chemicals to hang in the air.

3) Avoid lanterns, as their wireframes can harm wildlife and livestock 

It is generally believed that paper lanterns are a great green alternative to fireworks. In reality, paper lanterns use heat like a hot air balloon to stay in the sky consisting of a paper-covered wire or bamboo frame. Even though these do not produce a lot of toxic chemicals in our atmosphere, they do cause an abundance of litter. To be more specific, lanterns are rarely picked up when they hit the ground, they are usually just left to be admired in the staring skies. Therefore, the wires found in the lanterns can trap and harm animals.

The RSPCA states even ‘biodegradable’ paper lanterns are not safe to use because materials like bamboo are used instead of wire but can take decades to degrade, and there’s still a fire risk.

pexels lacey day 625789
Photo by Lacey Day: https://www.pexels.com/photo/sky-lanterns-on-mid-air-625789/

4) Animal Awareness  

Bonfire Night may provide fun for millions across the nation, but the animal community tends to be less than thrilled. Each year, countless numbers of small mammals like hedgehogs and even pets take shelter in pyres (mistaking them for nests), only to be trapped when the flames rise. 

This can be avoided by thoroughly checking your bonfire location and fireworks before you light them up. Moreover, it is prudent to create a barrier around the site with harmless wire to make it harder for them to access the area.  

5) Attend a public firework display or bonfire

Speaking previously of animal welfare, fireworks on bonfire night UK can be particularly stressful for pets and livestock, who become frightened and upset by the unfamiliar disturbances. Attending organised displays will consolidate the disturbances to fewer areas.

Furthermore, to minimize the community's negative impact on the environment on bonfire night it is suggested to attend communal bonfires or public firework displays. Ask Alexa “Where is the nearest bonfire to me? “.

pexels rachel claire 4997798
Photo by Rachel Claire from Pexels

Conclusion

So there you have it, Doodle Bag’s top tips for enjoying a more sustainable Bonfire Night. It may not be the most environmentally-friendly celebration on the calendar, but by paying a little closer attention and making some smarter choices, you can minimise your impact on the planet. Don’t forget to stay safe and have fun!

Need personalised goody bags for your Bonfire night celebrations? Then, look no further. Doodle Bag explore our large range of eco-friendly textile products including tote bags, drawstring bags, aprons and many more which can be personalised with your logo or design.

This article will go through Biodegradable products, innovations and you can minimise your waste.

What does biodegradability mean?

Biodegradable means: Decomposition by bacteria, living organisms and microbes thereby avoiding pollution. No ecological harm was caused during the process.

Plastic Trail

Plastic first starts as crude oil,(fossil fuel), Which is then processed and heated into what we use every day, plastic. Plastics have been an integrated part of human consumption. Which in turn impacts the environment – including marine life, animals, the ocean and the land.

When we say biodegradable we want an eco-friendly solution to unsustainable products. We want to know that we are not leaving a plastic trail behind us.

What role do you play as a consumer?

Consumers and the products we buy

As a consumer when purchasing products we don’t think about the packaging or bag but rather the product itself, leaving a wasteful outlook. Once we have the product the packaging, bag is disregarded until the next time when the plastic bag has been bought again.

Have you thought about what you are buying? Are the packaging and products biodegradable?

Once single-use plastics start to decompose they leave microplastics in their trail. Which then enters the oceans, lands, food chain and water supply. Which in the end affects us as we are eating and drinking plastic contaminated products.

Have you thought about your plastic consumption?

It takes 1,000 years for a plastic bag to degrade in a landfill. Plastic bags do not break down completely but they instead become microplastic that absorb toxins and continue to pollute the environment. Most of us count it lucky to live to 100 but yet we are leaving a carbon footprint behind that will be here for future generations, 10x longer than we will live for.

If you look in your kitchen, could you count more than 10 items that have biodegradable packaging on them? This is pure proof that plastic has become an integrated part of human consumption.scrabble block spelling out "consume less image"

Products and innovations you can use that are biodegradable

From household items to Sanitary products, these products are ‘biodegradable’.

Source

To conclude, as you can see, the article states new and innovative products that are biodegradable. You can live in a more eco-friendly way without the cost to the earth. Now, what product are you going to swap? Toothbrush? Toilet roll? For me, it has to be a plastic bag for a cotton tote bag.

There’s a general misconception that recycling is complicated and very time-consuming. This False! Recycling is an easy practice that can be incorporated into your daily routine. It’s the least we could do to protect the environment. This practice can become even easier when you familiarize yourself with the official recycling symbols that can be found on products. Therefore, we created this guide that explains all the major recycling symbols, including the plastic recycling symbols so you can become a recycling superhero!  

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The on-pack recycling label (or OPRL) 

These labels will tell you whether the packaging is likely to be collected for recycling or if you can take it to your local recycling centre. You can find these labels on all sorts of packaging - from soft drink cans to bread bags, fruit packages and plastic toiletry bottles. If you are not sure about an item, then enter your postcode into the Recycling Locator to find out what you can put in your recycling bin at home, where your nearest recycling locations are and how to recycle specific items such as mobile phones and textiles. It is vital to note that not all packaging will have a recycling label, but this doesn't mean you can't recycle it.  

Recycle 

This label indicates that the packaging is collected by 75% or more of local authorities across the UK. The most common item with this label is plastic bottles. 

Recycle | Rinse 

Rinsing packaging, for example, food trays, ensure that any food doesn’t contaminate other materials, particularly if they are collected together with paper.  

Recycle | Rinse | Lid/Cap on 

Caps and lids under 40mm in diameter are too small to be captured for recycling. If you see this label, replacing the lid on the bottle ensures that it is recycled with the main packaging component. 

Don't Recycle | Remove Sleeve/Film  

You may see this label on packaging where film or liners can be easily removed via a strip without the usage of tools such as knives, pair of scissors etc. Most commonly, there are clear instructions on how to do so, e.g. “Peel here”. 

Plastic Resin Recycled Codes 

There are several types of plastic, and some facilities in the UK require the plastic to be separated before collection since each type of plastic needs to be disposed of in a slightly different way. 

A shaded Mobius loop, with a number inside ranging from 1 to 7 and a letter code, indicates the type of plastic the packaging is made from. The kind of plastic available are; 

  1. PET or PETE (Polyethylene Terephthalate): Tubs and drink bottles are made from this plastic. It is the most widely used form of plastic. In fact, around 70% of all plastic bottles and containers in the United Kingdom are made from PETE and are recycled. 220422f
  2. HDPE (High-density polyethene): Shampoo, Detergents, milk/juice bottles, cable insulation and toys. They are widely recycled. 220422c
  3. PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride): Commonly found in clear food wraps (Clingfilm), toys, lining. Its logo usually has a V below the symbol. PVC is not recyclable in normal collections.
  4. 220422dLDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene): It is used in carrier/bin bags, toys and general packaging. it is evident in plastic wrap and bags, and six-pack rings. These can now be recycled at local supermarkets or recycling facilities. 
  5. 220422e
    PP (Polypropylene): It is found in toys, automobile products, and lab equipment. PP plastics are often used to create packagings, such as plastic tubs and containers, or drinks cartons. It can also be used to create furniture. This type of plastic can be recycled. 

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  1. PS (Polystyrene), is used to create plastic utensils, CD jewel cases, and foam. Polystyrene is sometimes referred to as Styrofoam and is used for packaging, to protect fragile items from getting damaged. Due to the mixture of compounds, these plastic types are not generally recycled in the UK.

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  1. Other (O) means everything else, like nylon, acrylic, or fibreglass. This category includes items such as fibreglass and acrylic plastic. Similar to number 6, these plastics are also difficult to recycle. 

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Other symbols 

The following symbols can be found on a variety of packaging and explain whether or not an item can be recycled, how to dispose of the item, or if it's made of recycled material. 

The Green Dot 

The green dot is a symbol that indicates that the producer has contributed to the recycling and recovery of the packaging material. It does not necessarily mean the material has been recycled or is recyclable. 

Tidyman 

The Tidyman symbol was introduced as part of a UK initiative ‘Keep Britain Tidy’ which aimed to remove waste from the streets. It doesn't relate to recycling but is a reminder to be a good citizen, disposing of the item most appropriately.  

Compostable 

The products or packaging with this symbol indicate that they can be composted. This could include food or garden waste as well as certain types of packaging – which you can dispose of via composting. On some occasions, a slight variation of this logo will inform you whether this can be composted at home or a specialist facility 

Paper, card and wood 

This symbol signifies that the product has been approved by the Forest Stewardship Council (FCS), meaning that it is produced in a way that is deemed environmentally friendly. It typically features products made from paper, cardboard and wood. 

Waste Electricals 

Waste electrical items, such as household appliances, mobile phones and IT equipment, bearing this symbol indicate that they can be recycled. 

 

Did you know that at Doodle Bag we also offer lovely Recycled Tote Bags - have a look at them here 

Recycling is essential for a clean, healthy environment; that's why it is vital to have a good understanding of the recycling symbols and what each one represents. We hope this blog helps you master your recycling skills!  

Don’t forget that your local council site has information on what can and can’t be recycled locally. They may also have other materials, like calendars, that contains this information, so make sure to check it out. 220422i

With ongoing uncertainty around holidays abroad, 2021 is a great year for a staycation and now is the perfect time to plan a visit to the best UK holiday destinations. Both the environment and your wallet will thank you. It is the perfect opportunity to leave the city routine life and escape to nature, where you can go for hikes, explore rocky trails and caves and take a dip in the refreshing waterfalls and lakes. In this article, we’ve listed the best green staycation destinations in the UK for 2021 and thereafter.  

Inverness, Scotland 

As the capital of the Highlands, Inverness is a very convenient location for a staycation as it includes some of Scotland’s most sublime scenery. Loch Ness is perhaps the most famous Scottish lochs is located just a short drive away. Furthermore, the UK’s largest national park, the Cairngorms, is also close by, which contains a quarter of Scotland’s forests, five of the UK’s highest mountains, 55 fantastic munros (mountains over 3,000ft), heather moorlands, lochs, castles and waterfalls. In addition to this, you can take the Jacobite steam train, aka the Hogwarts Express. The Highlands truly have it all and are full of real natural treasures. There are many accommodation options when it comes to Inverness ranging from lovely hotels to peaceful remote eco cottages

Inverness Instagram

Keswick, Cumbria 

The medieval market town of Keswick is perfect for a blissful staycation spent exploring the Lake District. Keswick was founded in the 18th century. Hence, one of Kseswick’s most famous attractions, the Castlerigg Stone Circle is up to 5,000 years old and the town’s market has been trading since the 1200s. The region’s must-see location is Derwentwater lake. From here you can hire a rowboat or take a cruise on a steamer. In this gorgeous natural area, you can spend the day hiking the eight-mile perimeter path or climb up the slopes of the nearby Skiddaw. For rainy days, there is the Pencil Museum, home to the largest colouring pencil in the world, and the Puzzling Place, filled with interactive optical illusions.  Regarding accommodation, there is a handful of lovely environmental-friendly cottages in the area you can choose from! 

Keswick Instagram

Peak District  

The Peak District is England’s first National Parks, spreading out over five counties in the North of England. The Peaks offer some of the most varied landscapes in England and includes everything from rolling hills and caves to striking rock formations as well as the best areas to hike. Moreover,  Winnat’s Pass, Chrome Hill or Derwent Edge have the most breathtaking views. Over a third of the area is protected for nature conservation as it is home to rich biodiversity, social and cultural history. Interestingly, in the Peaks you can come across red deers in the autumn, white mountain hares in winter, and the rare and enigmatic ‘mountain blackbird’ (the ring ouzel). In the heart of Peak District is located the Chatsworth House, the country house used to represent Mr Darcy’s home in the 2005 film adaptation of Pride & Prejudice. Additionally, the Peaks include the most beautiful villages with traditional pubs where you can enjoy a pint of Yorkshires finest and some great food.  Around the area, there are plentiful eco options for accommodation. 

Peak District Instagram

North Wales  

North Wales is where you'll find some of the most attractive UK holiday destinations. The Snowdonia National Park is the most popular sight in the area and offers amazing views from Mount Snowdon. You can take a ride up on the Snowdon Mountain Railway, (1,085 metres) which provides you with a panoramic view, and was voted the best in Britain. Betws-y-coed is a magnificent area that showcases Britain’s natural beauty, as it includes the scenic Gwydyr Forest and Swallow Falls. One of the most captivating local treasures is Fairy Glen (Ffos Anoddun in Welsh) which is a serene forest area featuring hiking trails and a stream with picture-perfect cascades. North Wales is the perfect location to book an eco-friendly cottage to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of North Wales. Another great attraction is the Portmeirion, the Italian-style village with colourful buildings. However, there is a fee for entering this village. 

North Wales Instagram

Cotswolds

The Cotswolds are famous for some of the most picturesque villages that you will find! Villages such as: Burford, Bourton-on-the-Water, Stow-on-the-Wold and Bibury, are one of the most photographed villages in the country. Covering 800 square miles of Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire, you can only imagine how much there is to explore - from 'England's prettiest village' Castle Combe to the gardens of Prince Charles' private residence Highgrove House. You could never run out of things to do in the Cotswolds! The Cotswold hills cover a vast area of natural beauty, historic sites, and family-friendly attractions, which makes it perfect for a memorable holiday. Some of the regions top attractions include: St James’ Church, Rollright Stones Monuments, Cotswold Water Park and Cotswold Wildlife Park. Additionally, when visiting the Cotswold you must pay a visit to the magnificent Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is Sir Winton Churchill birthplace as well as visiting the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’, Bourton-on-the-Water located next to the River Windrush. 

Cotswolds Instagram

We hope this article inspired you to book a lovely green staycation this summer. Don’t forget to take your Doodle Bag with you on holiday and take a picture & tags us on Instagram with the hashtag #DoodleYourWay  

  

You can also sign up for our newsletter to find out about all our new offers and blogs.  And if you need any help just contact us here. 

Doodle Bag has a large range of GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified organic bags, which is great.

Organic cotton, sounds fab doesn’t it?

But what does it really mean?

What does it mean to the cotton growing and bag producing process? Here is a blog explaining what organic means, and some benefits to buying organic cotton.

So, what is organic cotton? Organic cotton is cotton plant that has been grown using no pesticides, insecticides, or any chemical fertilisers. That’s it. That’s organic cotton. However, for the end product to be truly organic and meet the GOTS standard, the whole process must also be organic. So, the washing process, dying process, printing process, all of those steps are organic too.

So, no chemicals are used at all to produce one of Doodle Bag’s organic cotton bags. If any of those steps used man-made chemicals or non-organic processes, then the bag could not be called organic, even if the cotton itself was grown organically.

a woman holding a irrigation pipe smiling

  1. It’s better for water

    Yes, organic cotton, is better for water, in a few ways. One, because organic cotton consumes less water while it is growing, and is often just water through rainfall, meaning that water doesn’t have to be extracted for watering cotton crops. And two, the fertilisers used in cultivating non-organic cotton will become absorbed into the ground and into water systems, polluting water streams of countries where cotton is grown.

    various foods spelling out the word "vegan"

  2. It’s vegan

    Yes you read that right, organic cotton is vegan cotton. Because no pesticides or insecticides are used in growing the cotton, so no little creatures are harmed in the growing process, and the later effects of toxic residue in the soil and water systems does not harm animals. All fertilisers are plant based, and are solely designed to help cotton grow, not to damage anything else. So vegan cotton, and organic cotton, win win!

    a group of kids sitting around some pots smiling and laughing in what seams to be a poorer country

  3. It’s socially responsible

    Under the GOTS code of ethics, which are required for a company or supplier to gain the certification certain criteria must be complied with, such as: prohibition of child labour, forced labour, and abuse; proper wages; limited working hours; and health and safety guidelines. By having this level of protection for workers, GOTS organic cotton products are both socially and environmentally ethical.

    a red man holding two chain links together

  4. Beneficial to the whole supply chain

    Organic cotton is beneficial for the whole supply chain! Because truly organic cotton products have a completely organic supply chain. This means that there are no synthetic or harsh chemicals used from crop to completion of the organic cotton product. This benefits the environment, and also the people involved in manufacturing your cotton bag!

    woman with a handfull of soil

  5. It’s better for the soil

    By using too many chemicals, too frequently (growing non-organic cotton), soil can become permanently damaged. This is due to the high levels of salt in fertilisers not being properly absorbed into the ground, these high salt levels overtime alter the chemistry of the soil, and it becomes irreversible, so the soil cannot continue to be used for growing cotton, and species, bacteria and other microorganisms that once lived there will find the soil inhabitable. By leaving the soil, to just do its thing naturally all these long-term issues can be avoided.

    a smiling woman

  6. Better for people

    Organic cotton is better for the people involved in the process, both physically and financially. Physically, there are no toxic chemicals in the process, so, farmers, processors, and manufacturers will not be negatively impacted by the presence of harsh chemicals. Financially, because organic cultivation lends itself to crop rotation, allowing farmers to diversify their crop output year on year. By rotating crops, the soil has the opportunity to replenish its nutrients, meaning it is cheaper to maintain a good soil for growing organic cotton.

To summarise, Organic cotton and organic products in general are a better deal for the environment and the individuals involved in production but care must be taken that you are purchasing items with the best certifications. The number of organic certifications is vast, and it can be a minefield understanding what they all mean. We put together a guide on the most common organic certifications that are out there.

Fast fashion is bad, end of. That could be the whole blog, but I guess I ought to give you some explanation as to why it is such a negative industry, for both people and planet. So here are 5 reasons to avoid fast fashion.

a chimney blowing pollution during sunset

  1. Emissions and consumption.

    The fast fashion industry contributes 10% of all emissions produced by humans. To put that into perspective, that is more than the famously high emitting international flights and cargo shipping combined!
    Not only is it a large emitter but the fast fashion industry is the 2nd largest consumer of water. Using water throughout the growing, washing and dying process. The water that is emitted after being used in clothing production, if not properly filtered, is toxic and will contain bleaching chemicals or dyes.

     a young man picking cotton

  2. Exploits people

    In 2000 the majority of fashion retailers would produce two collections a year, Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter. Now we see large online and high street fast fashion retailers producing anywhere from 12 up to 24 collections a year, yet still offering rock bottom prices.
    How can they afford to sell a dress for £5? Because savings go all the way down the supply chain to the workers who produce the garments. Workers produce thousands of garments for terrible pay, just so retailers can sell a pair of jeans for £10.

    a drop of water resting on pure polyester

  3. Made from plastic!

    Another way to keep costs down in clothing production is to use cheaper fabrics. In steps Polyester. Polyester is a plastic fibre made from crude oil, a non-renewable fuel source. Being made from plastic a piece of polyester clothing would take thousands of years to decompose, unlike its natural fibre counterparts.
    Plymouth University ran a study to see the amount of clothing micro fibres were shed during different washing machine cycles. An average wash could see just under 500,000 polyester micro-fibres shed and into the water waste system. These polyester fibres add to the ever-growing micro plastic problem in our waters.

    old tatty cloths

  4. Quality

    The quality is rubbish, the combination of making thousands of garments at a rapid speed, mixed with tight budgets and cheap material results in a low-quality garment. Like the saying goes, if you buy cheap you buy twice. And if does break then it’s more plastic back into the waste system. Sometimes it’s worth saving up a little longer for a clothing item that will last you a little longer.

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  5. It’s more fun to not wear fast fashion.

    Where’s the fun in looking like everyone else? Fast fashion perpetuates that idea that you must be wearing what everyone is wearing right now, and then 3 months down the line, there will be a new thing that everyone has to wear. You’ll be out of pocket and it leaves older clothes redundant because they’re not ‘in’. It’s much more worth while filling your wardrobe with classics styles that will never get dated. The beauty of classic styles is you will be easily able to find them in second-hand, vintage or charity shops. Not only filling your shelves with timeless pieces but also giving a new lease of life to other products.

Single use plastic, three words that should send a shiver down your spine and make you break out in a nervous sweat. But if they don’t, then here are 5 reasons why single use plastic is the worst.

a plastic bottle factory

  1. It uses precious non-renewable natural resources to produce.

    Plastic is produced from crude oil extracted from the earth, this crude oil is non-renewable meaning once it’s gone, it’s gone. By using this precious material that we also use for heating houses, producing non-single use plastics, and to power infrastructure we are taking it away from these other uses to be used only once.

    a chimney blowing pollution with long grass in the foreground

  2. Produces toxic fumes to produce.

    In order to become plastic the crude oil is extracted, heated multiple times, and processed to become the plastic pellets that businesses use to produce their single use plastic items. This process releases lots of Carbon Dioxide and other harmful gasses into the atmosphere. Again, just for one single use. We should be considering which products we are willing to use this process for and only use these when necessary. An item that will be used once surely is not a valid reason.

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  3. Despite being single use for us, it lasts for 1000s of years.

    Despite single use plastic being functional for one use it is reported that it may take up to 1000 years to decompose. To put that into perspective no piece of single use plastic made from crude oil that has been made has decomposed naturally.

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  4. It has a negative impact on wildlife and the sea.

    Over 1 million marine animals are killed each year due to plastic debris in the ocean.” It’s no secret that plastic has a massive negative impact on the sea and the creatures that call it home. Huge sea creatures such as sharks, whales, turtles, and more are dying because of plastic that injures them, is consumed by them, and blocks their airways. Why is this? It is because discarded single use plastic that is not recycled (and some that is) will end up in landfill. Weather such as wind, rain and flooding will cause these plastic items to end up in waterways and making their way to the ocean.

    a macro shot of a micro plastics resting on someone's finger or thumb

  5. Micro Plastics are bad for your body.

    Micro plastics are fragments of plastic that are 5mm or smaller, produced either through deliberate shredding by companies or recycling plants or through natural degradation through weathering. As these tiny pieces of plastic make their way through the water system they are eaten by fish and shellfish which we eat, also it comes out of our taps in tiny fibres. This means that we are consuming plastic without even knowing it. A study carried out by the University of Newcastle in Australia showed that we consume about a credit card’s worth of plastic each week! By throwing out single use plastic, we are not only having a negative impact on the planet and its creatures but also ourselves.

If you are on your journey to becoming more sustainable. Check out our blog: Small Steps to a more sustainable life.

Most people are doing their best to try and be more sustainable in one way or another, and there are lots of apps you can download onto your phone which can help you be more sustainable in your everyday life.

Here’s our list of the 5 best apps to guide you on your way to sustainable living.

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  1. Too Good To Go

    Too Good To Go, is an amazing cause that is helping in the fight against food waste. According to their website globally we waste 3.5 million tonnes of food which is about 1/3 of all food produced. It is a waste of food, but it is also a waste of resources used to grow and manufacture/produce that food. Too Good To Go aims to stop food waste from restaurants, delis, cafes, and other food outlets by allowing these businesses a platform to giveaway leftover food at the end of the day to avoid it going to waste. You cannot choose what you get but you will receive a free meal and businesses do not have to waste food that they have worked hard to produce to landfill. Win, win.

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  1. Forest

    When we think about sustainability, we often forget that something should be sustainable for ourselves, we need to do things to make ourselves happier and healthier. Forest is an app that actually keeps you off your phone! If you need an incentive to stay off your phone. Maybe you are at work, trying to study, or are out with friends and need to resist temptation, Forest is a great app. When you want to start your break from your phone, a tree will start to grow and will not finish growing until the time is up. If you look at your phone and close the app the tree will die. You can grow your own little forest with all the trees you have grown!
    On top of this Forest partners with Trees for the Future to help plant real trees which is an amazing cause for reforestation.

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  2. City Mapper

    City Mapper is a public travel app, showing live public transport updates, best routes, and helpful tips for getting around in some of the world’s biggest cities. Whilst not being a sustainably focused app necessarily, it does have some fun features that will encourage you to live a more sustainable life. Not only is City Mapper a public transport app but you can also add your walking route within your city as you would with any other map app. But what you might not get with other maps is a screen showing you how many trees you have saved, how many calories burnt (and their equivalent in food) and how much money you have saved by walking. By showing the difference you have made, and then adding them all up to show your total savings it is a great motivator to get your walking shoes on!

    Good on you

  3. Good On You

    Good On You is a great app to check the sustainability of the fashion brands you use. They have a unique rating system where they rate the sustainability of companies’ effect on people, the planet, and animals. They use the brands’ own reporting, independent assessments, certifications, and accreditations to find out this information. The app is great you search the brand you love, and you will find a rating system and information about brands you buy from. They also have access to special offers on high rated brands which is a nice little bonus too!

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  4. Bike sharing apps

    I’m not going to recommend a specific bike sharing app because most cities have their own bike sharing system, government run or privately owned. But regardless they are all great! Bike sharing apps are ideal when you are in the city because it means if you need to get somewhere slightly out of walking distance or in a hurry you can just grab a bike and leave it at a station close to where your destination, no need for a taxi or getting stuck in traffic. They mean you do not have to plan ahead, if you need to get somewhere you can, no pollution, no parking, just find a bike, and get some exercise in. Sustainable and healthy.

Summer may have been and gone although some of us are already planning our next voyage. But do we think about the environmental consequences of our weeks in the sun? And are there ways to lower our impact when we decide to go on our jollies? In this blog we will talk about these effects and how you can become pro at eco tourism.

What are negative effects of tourism?

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  1. The geographical concentration of tourists.

    Tourists naturally will venture to more desirable locations; normally somewhere hot and beachy or with famous landmarks. However, this has a negative impact on the resources of the town or city being visited. It causes more concentrated pollution from planes, taxis and other modes of transport for the tourists . But it also means there will be more pollution from the vans and lorries that have been used to transport goods to the area for tourists to eat, buy and use while on their holiday.

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  2. Waste and contamination.

    Going and staying in a massive luxurious hotel or all-inclusive resort is fabulous. But when it comes to their environmental impact it’s less than ideal. All you can eat buffets for breakfast and dinner means huge amounts of food waste twice a day every day. Chlorine filled pools, and industrial chemicals used for cleaning thousands of rooms all add up. They all result in massive amounts of waste and contamination of water and natural resources.

    800px Water Pollution with Trash Disposal of Waste at the Garbage Beach

  3. Degradation of natural infrastructures.

    Businesses expand where there is demand, it’s just how supply and demand works. In holiday resorts however this can lead to scenic and beautiful parts of natural and architectural infrastructure to be destroyed to make way for new hotel complexes or through the destruction through more people visiting and wearing it down. Countries where there is a shortage of water also struggle greatly where pools and water features are an integral part of the hotel experience.

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  4. It’s seasonal.

    The seasonality of holidays means that holiday resorts will often become ghost towns when the season is over. This means that businesses will have to close seasonally, and people will have less work for the rest of the year. Making this kind of business bad for people who work in the tourism industry. Countries like Spain, The Maldives, The Bahamas and Malta all rely heavily on tourism for their GDP meaning that during the “off” season many people will have less work. In 2018 12% of Spanish employment was in tourism or tourism related sectors.

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  5. Too expensive for residents.

    With local space being bought up by rich investors to build resorts and more urbanisation of resort towns will raise prices of normal commodities. On top of the precarity of jobs linked to the seasonality of the sector, the local population can find themselves in a position where they cannot afford to live there anymore.

How to avoid this and become pro at eco tourism.

    1. Go on holiday at non-peak time.

      In order to sustain tourism within a town it will be beneficial to visit in an off-peak time of year. With children at an age where they’re at school, this can be difficult. But in many countries, you will get the “summer” sun in winter months so going during Christmas holidays is always good option, rather than during summer. More often than not flights and hotels will be cheaper too due to lower demand.

    2. Avoid large resorts.

      As we’ve discussed large resorts prove to be a big problem for sustainability. So, why not spend more time planning your trip and venture somewhere off the beaten track (providing the area is safe for travel). You will encounter a truer to life culture of the country you are visiting. There is more chance of seeing unruined and non-commercialised natural wonders and sights.

    3. Go somewhere closer to home.

      If you want to reduce the pollution emitted through holidaying abroad then just go closer to home. Be a tourist in your own country, visit a landmark you’ve never bothered to visit. Go to the seaside. Visit a local festival. Gone will be the days of airports and in will be a train journey to somewhere new in your country.

    4. Eat local food.

      How to avoid eating food that has been transported miles and miles just to be on your plate? Eat locally. Traditional food will be made using local ingredients, because that is what will have been eaten before efficient transport links. So, eating traditional local food means you will be eating local produce and helping local businesses.

    5. Help local businesses by buying from them rather than larger chains.

      Following on from eating locally, buying locally is also something that should be encouraged. Supporting local business is very important especially in a sector that is so seasonal. In order for these businesses to be sustainable long term they will need the sales during the high season so do your bit and support them.

Happy Holiday-ing!!

Changing Tides

There is a rise in the number of brands and retailers embracing a more sustainable approach to their business processes. The shift comes with policy makers and governments stepping up to improve environmental targets. Last year we saw talks from the government to ban on plastic straws and cotton buds, a fee on coffee cups. This adds to the bag tax which came into effect in October 2015.

American Express

Among the high street brands who are changing their products and business procedures is American Express. They have partnered with Parley to create the world’s first credit card made from upcycled marine plastic waste collected from our oceans. The aim of the collaboration is to raise awareness and offer a solution to the growing marine plastic problem. This is while strengthening Amex’s sustainable commitments as a wider company. Like the government, American Express are waging war on single-use plastics by committing to a number of waste-reduction strategies. Also, by reducing carbon emissions, switching to renewable energy, and aiming for zero-waste certification for its headquarters by 2025.

Asos

Asos is another retailer looking to change. As of January 2019, they no longer stocked products made from; silk, feathers and down, bone, teeth or shell, cashmere and mohair. This announcement came as part of a realignment in its animal welfare policy, which now ensures market suppliers are in line with the asos.com own-brand policy. Asos were also the first company in the UK to ban Angora, showing a willingness to react quickly to shifts in consumer perception and demand. In June of 2019 they also launched their responsible edit. Adding a responsible filter to their website allows customers to browse clothing made from recycled materials, organic materials and responsibly sourced fibres.

Lush

Not being content in producing hand and ethically made products with a low environmental impact, Lush launched it’s first ‘naked’ shop in Milan in 2018 followed by its second in Berlin later that year and a third in Manchester in early 2019. The shop sells lush products without packaging. Lush hopes the store will raise awareness of the effect of single-use plastic on ocean life and starting a discussion on how we can tackle this global issue as consumers. Over 40% of Lush's product range is already completely packaging-free. It is an industry leader in innovation around removing single-use plastic and packaging from cosmetics products.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Yes, we know it’s not really what would normally considered a business however the 2020 Olympic committee have really stepped up their game and made big changes to create a more sustainable event. Uniforms worn by torch bearers, volunteers and other staff will be made from recycled plastic Coca Cola bottles. Medals will be produced from precious metals from recycled technology, and materials to create infrastructure will be dismantled and returned or reused following the games. With this alongside renewable energy to power with the goal of a carbon neutral games and Toyota designing a range of zero-emission vehicles for transporting athletes and spectators around the Olympic parks. The Tokyo Olympic committee have set themselves as sustainability pioneers for future Olympic events.

It’s great that big name players and leading brands are changing their ways. However, is this greener way of thinking just for publicity? Maybe these brands do care about our planet and the people that live on it.

Or have they sensed the shift in consumers conscience and rather than risk irrelevance, are working to become more sustainable? A clever marketing ploy to dupe the consumer into buying their ‘ethically packaged products’. Despite having no evidence or audit to back up their claims. Greenwashing is term used to describe companies which grossly overstate the environmental or ethical benefits of their products and services. It has become more and more common for companies to do this as ethical and sustainable business demand has increased.

But do you as a consumer really mind? The focus should be on the environment and as long as it is being looked after, does it matter where the brands allegiance really lies?