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Ways to do good
10 POSITIVE HOUSEHOLD ECO-SWAPS YOU CAN MAKE
Can I be honest with you? In the past I think I haven’t made eco-swaps because I’ve been so paralysed by the magnitude of everything that needs to be done to stop the climate crisis. I kind of felt that whatever I did wouldn’t be enough: if I committed to going vegetarian once a week would I be told why I need to be a 100% vegan? Should I only be taking my tupperware to fill up with grains? Or only eating food from within a five mile radius? I’m sure you all know that nagging feeling of perfectionism where you want to nail absolutely everything you do — but then I was reminded of something Anne Marie Bonneau, a Zero Waste Chef said, “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” And so, rather than striving to be an eco-warrior and constantly feeling inadequate (I think us women do that enough thank you very much), I’m embracing being ‘Eco-ish’.
What does that mean? It doesn’t mean not trying. It means not berating yourself for not doing absolutely everything you possibly could to make a difference but at least giving it a bloody good go. So in the spirit of playing my part, I’ve made 10 everyday household swaps that I hope will spur you on to do the same. I’d love to know any eco-improvements or steps you’ve taken to help our planet too, to inspire us all to try them. Might you share them in the comments? Together, we can use our collective power for good.
1. Cleaning products, by MadeKind
Caroline and Anita founded MadeKind – the small business that creates natural, eco-friendly, non-toxic cleaning products in beautiful, refillable, amber glass bottles. After working in the fashion industry and realising the impact fast fashion was having on the environment, they wanted to make a difference. So now they’ve switched industries and manufacture everything from multi-surface, floor and bathroom cleaner, to really good quality dishwasher liquid – and the best bit is the scents they use. Ok and the beautiful packaging. The point is that they look and smell amazing whilst keeping your home clean AND they’re better for the environment. No wonder I’ve got my eye on the bath salts too…
2. Tea, by Pukka Tea
If you ever come round to my house for a cuppa you’ll be presented with a menu of Pukka Teas to choose from: Supreme Matcha Green to Three Ginger and not to forget one of my personal favourites, Peppermint & Licorice. In fact, I have so many that it often causes a morning argument with Frank and Harry as there’s usually an avalanche of teabags. They’re all naturally caffeine-free (the teabags not Frank and Harry!), and only contain ethically sourced, organically grown ingredients. They‘re even wrapped in recyclable paper sachets, so as well as keeping the leaves nice and fresh, you know they’ll be reused too. Do listen to their co-founder, Sebastian Pole on my podcast Conversations of Inspiration, to discover how he turned his passion for herbs into a business for good.
3. Toilet roll, by Who Gives a Crap
I think Who Gives a Crap is one of the most brilliant brands out there – are there any other toilet rolls you’d passionately tell your friends, family and passers by about?! Their packaging and tone of voice are superb, and from the outset of building his business, social entrepreneur Simon Griffiths knew he wanted to make a real difference to the lives of people living in poverty and without sanitation, and not be just another toilet paper company – and my goodness has he managed it. To date, they have donated over 10 million Australian dollars to help tackle the issue of sanitation in 40% of the world’s population. One of the other key benefits is that Who Gives a Crap is a subscription service so no matter what life throws at us (pandemic, I’m looking at you), you need never be caught short again. Plus we love to reuse the colourful tissue and even have a bouquet of paper flowers in our Holly & Co bathroom!
4. Compost, by For Peat’s Sake
Did you know that healthy peat bogs are a vital tool in our fight against the climate crisis? No I didn’t either. Why on earth would we, but they are. They store precious carbon dioxide, help filter the water and even reduce the risk of floods, yet they’re unable to do this if they’re constantly being destroyed for compost, which is why I’ve switched to For Peat’s Sake. It’s an affordable, eco-friendly alternative to peat-based composts. Oh, and it gets better. This business was founded by George, a recent graduate who’s busy making the world a healthier place and was a Finalist for our Business for Good Award in 2021. Some of my favourite eco-swaps so far have been for products like these that I didn’t know eco-friendlier versions of existed. It makes me realise the potential I have to do even better with my shopping but in an exciting rather than overwhelming way.
5. Wooden children’s plates, by Woodlife Project
You all know how much I love a fancy plate but I also want all of my guests to feel at home. That’s why I like to keep a pile of extra special wooden ones made by the social enterprise company, Woodlife Project, for my niece and other minis to use when they visit. Not only do the plates look brilliant, but they’re also an investment in their future because they’re designed to end the plastic revolution and throw-away mindset of our time. Each one is finished by Norfolk prison inmates to help with rehabilitation and teamwork. Plus on a practical level, the animal designs have separate sections in the ears which make them ideal for even the fussiest of eaters and perfect for picnics in the park, too.
6. Beeswax wraps, by The Beeswax Company
I got to know The Beeswax Company in 2020 and have been using their brilliant products ever since (well, getting Frank to use them actually as he’s the Head Chef in our household). They were first created in founder Fran’s kitchen when she realised that there were no alternatives to cling film on the market. We’re a huge fan of their Beeswax Wrap One Metre Roll as it’s larger than other wraps on the market, lasts for up to a year and can be rewaxed to last even longer (who knew?!), saving up to 500 metres of cling film from landfill every year. It helps that it looks better than that stuff too and now even comes in a vegan option. Thanks bees!
7. Candles, by Good Candles
I recently discovered that the UK candle industry is worth nearly £2 billion a year. That’s A LOT of money. During lockdown, Olly founded Good Candles with the aim of donating meaningful amounts from each sale to charities that support change and specifically second chances in life, which is why 10% of profits go towards causes such as The Trussell Trust, National Literacy Trust, Ecologi and CALM. But as well as money they’re also starting conversations about tricky subjects that aren’t being talked about enough. These are products with meaning that are also really quite cool.
8. Coffee pods, by Grind
In 2021, an estimated 1.2 billion coffee pods were bought in the UK alone and most of those aren’t recyclable which is why I’ve swapped our usual pods for Grind Coffee’s compostable ones. Filled with Grind organic coffee that’s ethically sourced from sustainable farms around the world, they really do taste delicious, are around the same price as regular pods and fit the original style Nespresso® machine. The packaging is also well designed and they’re available on subscription so you can organise them to be delivered regularly, which is one more thing off the to-do list. I mean for alllllll those reasons, why wouldn’t you?!
9. Plastic-free reusable storage bags, by Stasher
I’m on a quest to use less plastic but I also need to be able to store food so that we don’t waste it. Why? Because according to businesswaste.co.uk the UK throws away a heartbreaking 9.5 million tonnes of food in a single year and yet our food banks are reporting critical shortages, hence me being an absolute convert to Stasher’s plastic-free reusable storage bags. They are genuinely useful which is what I know we all need and are pretty much everything-safe — dishwasher safe, microwave safe, freezer safe, oven safe and probably even Holly safe which takes some doing. Stasher is a certified B Corp business too which means it’s officially a business for good and that’s a big tick from me.
10. Reusable water bottle, by Ocean Bottle Store
Now another positive way to save on plastic is this. I’m always trying to drink more water but don’t want to buy endless bottles whilst I’m out and about so I’ve invested in an Ocean reusable one to keep me hydrated on the go and help the environment, and it’s such a great conversation starter, too. You see, when you buy one of these bottles you’re funding the collection of a thousand, ocean-bound plastic bottles before they even reach the water. Plus, the company works with locals in coastal communities who exchange the plastic for money so that they can get access to microfinance, tuition, healthcare and other things they need — saving the ocean 10,001 bottles a time and helping communities benefit. Isn’t that worth a bit of pre-planning? I thought so. That’s why I’ve switched.
I hope this has inspired you to make some simple swaps this month and I would love for you to tag me on Instagram so I can see any changes you make. It’s so much more impactful when we do it together and a great way to discover other small businesses.
If you’re looking for more inspiration read my how your shopping can change the world article and listen to my Business for Good podcast collection. Will you join me in my mission to become more Eco-ish?