Monthly Archives: June 2016

FASHION WITH A CONSCIENCE

Vegan shoes, organic men styles and bamboo-framed sunglasses… LOL. Sounds hilarious, doesn’t it? But this a great concept and is in fact fashion with a conscience. In my quest for summer shoes that are made and packaged without plastic, I came across komodo.co.uk, a UK based company who have made sustainable fashion since 1988. Most of it is made with sustainable materials like organic cotton and with solid ethical values for both the production workers and the environment as far as I can tell. I bought the shoes in Stroud’s Brilliant Disguise shoe shop and it had a little label, tied on with a piece of hemp string, saying: for every pair of shoes sold we plant a bamboo shoot. How nice is that? The shoes are great – comfortable, hard wearing and funky. The soles are made from used car tyres. I will come back to this company for clothes and gifts. And definitely for a pair of bamboo sunglasses!

REDUCING OUR RUBBISH

Look at these pictures! In the metal bin is one week’s worth of rubbish for landfill in a black bag – a fraction of the amount we usually collect over the space of one week. In the green bag are two week’s worth of plastic, tin and foil for recycling (sporting our last two bottles of shampoo… bye bye liquid shampoo and hello shampoo soap bars). We literally stood staring into the bin when it dawned on us that the landfill rubbish we collect is dramatically shrinking. It was the most gratifying feeling and has really boosted our motivation.

It’s no wonder really when you consider that most of our family shopping is now wrapped in paper bags, or in glass jars, bottles, tins and in our own containers that we take to shops. Our grocery shopping looks quite pretty now I think. Not surprisingly it is also cheaper than buying pre-packed items and there is less food wasted as we only buy small amounts at a time. Gone are the days of bags of pre-washed salad turning to slime in our fridge. I read that 30% of Tesco lettuce is discarded in the process of producing the bagged kind and that the majority of bought lettuce bags are thrown away before they’ve been used up because they sit in our fridges for too long. That is a lot of wasted food and packaging going straight into landfill.

I can’t wait for November when Stroud Council is introducing cooked food waste collection. We put our kitchen scraps on the compost heap but I don’t like putting cooked food on there. Next step: finding an alternative to black bin bags. We thought we might ask the farmer next door if they would let us have the paper bags of animal feed when they are done with them. I wonder whether we can persuade the rubbish collectors to stop throwing black plastic bags on the drive with each collection?

THE THING ABOUT TOOTHBRUSHES

I adore this video by Brush With Bamboo – a family who converted their typical American suburban home and garden into a lush self-sufficient paradise and started a bamboo toothbrush company. I want to be adopted by this family!  Their toothbrushes are entirely vegetable-based unlike the bamboo toothbrushes you typically see on Amazon or in health food shops in the UK which have Nylon bristles.

The thing about toothbrushes is that every single plastic toothbrush that has ever been made is still intact. I don’t even want to do the maths on that. I ordered two types of toothbrushes from the UK seller ecco-verde.co.uk. ‘Ecobamboo’ come with soft or hard Nylon4 bristles that are BPA free. ‘TEA Natura’ brushes are entirely made from bamboo, including the bristles. Both are packaged in plant-based material. Brilliant! You could also go for German engineering with beech wood and natural boar bristles from naturalspasupplies.co.uk which allegedly “make tooth brushing truly pleasant” (hmm…. boar bristles). There are many other types on the market to try. I have used my bamboo toothbrush for many weeks now and I really like it. I don’t know about the eco-credentials of bamboo or Nylon. I believe that Nylon takes between 30 and 40 years to break down and wood and bamboo will of course compost quite naturally.