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Who Gives A Crap?

When you are invested in leading as low to zero waste life as is possible, it’s impossible for everyday waste to go unnoticed anymore, and this goes for essentials* like toilet roll. Up until fairly recently, I was buying Ecoleaf toilet paper who use a biodegradable wrap. In recent weeks though I have been presented with so much negative press and doubt cast over bio-plastic’s true sustainability, I am unsure if we should have so much faith in it. With this in mind,  I decided to invest in the only loo roll company I know to deliver to your door and without any plastic! They also have a moral center, I am talking about, Who Gives  Crap.

Who Gives a Crap produce forest friendly loo roll because it’s all recycled, unlike most toilet paper sold, which comes from trees grown for the very purpose of becoming loo roll- bonkers!

Who Gives a Crap started life in Australia in 2012 by friends Simon, Jehan and Danny who recongnised that in addition to all the toilet jokes and banter that would inevitably ensue, they felt that their idea could make a real positive impact to the  2.3 billion people, (that’s 40% of the global population) who do not have access to a toilet. This also means around 289,000 children under 5 die every year from diarrheaol disease caused by poor water and sanitation.

That’s almost 800 children per day, or one child every two minutes.

When you put it like that, jokes about owning a toilet paper company don’t sounds quite as funny. It was shocking to read such stats in 2017. We really are so insanely privileged in this country to have clean water and public toilets, toilets on trains, in parks and in bus and train stations, in a generally acceptable condition and often free. It’s a convenience we absolutely expect and have probably found ourselves aghast when such isn’t to be found, although this is definitely a rare thing.

To live in world that has such disparity is really unfair and to find a company actively challenging this means that you can buy plastic free loo roll whole actively supporting a great cause.

That’s because Who Gives  a Crap donate 50% of their profits to Wateraid.

WE’RE DETERMINED TO PROVE THAT TOILET PAPER IS ABOUT MORE THAN JUST WIPING BUMS. WE MAKE ALL OF OUR PRODUCTS WITH ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY MATERIALS, AND WE DONATE 50% OF OUR PROFITS TO HELP BUILD TOILETS FOR THOSE IN NEED.

Their impact to date:

$1,175,000

Total amount we’ve donated to date to help fund hygiene and sanitation projects.

50,586 TREES

We’ve saved a load of trees by making our products from bamboo and recycled paper.

98 MILLION LITRES

That’s the water we’ve saved by making our products with eco friendly materials.

5,922 TONNES

These are the greenhouse gas emissions avoided by making our products with more sustainable materials

It’s shit that children in this day and age are still dying from a lack of basic hygiene. But it’s good that Who Gives a Crap are addressing this. I received a bit a criticisms that it;s shipped from China and not a British company. I hear you. Yet, there doesn’t seem to be a loo roll company that does such immensely good work addressing a very pressing issue. Eco Leaf are fine, and possibly cheaper (although WGAC rolls are HUGE!) but Who Gives a Crap support a great cause, WaterAid, uses recycled paper and packaging and it’s looks so pretty to. And there’s not a whiff of plastic in sight.

 

 

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Save the planet one safety razor at a time

The other day someon asked me about my razor. They assumed that safety razors where more dangerous than the plastic disposable kind we have grown accustomed to, the PLASTIC kind. I said it wasn’t, that they’re simple to assemble and showed her. Then I decided that perhaps others were on the fence, unsure whether to #DITCHTHEIRDISPOSABLES and reach for the reusable. This video above demonstrates just how SIMPLE it is. Plus don’t you think they’re just so gorgeous?

Five reasons you need to switch to a reusable razor: 

  1. They’re reusable-it’s a no brainer #reuserevolution
  2. A safety razor will save you money in the long run
  3. They’re completely recyclable
  4. They’re very stylish
  5. It is estimated that in the US alone, 2Billion disposable razors are thrown away every year- which is a lot of plastic in landfill or our waterway

 

 

 

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Holiday Cottages

Life can go on standstill when we go on holiday. You might be inclined to switch off the wifi, disconnect yourself from everyday life and retreat into the simple things life has to offer for the duration, especially if you’re immersed in the countryside. And this much I get and wholeheartedly encourage as surely holidays are all about switching off…but: that doesn’t mean we should forget about the environment in the process!

This year I have stayed in three rural cottages and NONE have provided the facilities to recycle our packaging or food waste- the latter I found  especially shocking as all three holiday cottages had large gardens, which would have made composting food waste really simple.

I am currently in another such cottage where there is only a general waste bin. We live in an age that has surely taught us that there isn’t anything such as general waste anymore. Waste is categorized and disposed of responsibly these days, and while I am not trying to shift the burden of responsibility to the rural folk, I would have expected those living in the rural areas would have EVEN more inclination to protect our beautiful green spaces that those of us who might be more inclined to live in denial in the concrete jungles.

Either way, the principles of recycling cannot be denied by or to holidaymakers and therefore, the facilities need to be extended to holidaymakers so they can practically dispose of waste.

We are holidaymakers relaxing, disconnecting etc etc, but we aren’t disconnecting from our determination to keep our planet in good nick, and do our level best. As a result, we’ve had to find local recycle bins a short walk down the road, and this is great that it’s there, but I do wonder:

  1. how many other holidaymakers staying in this cottage would do this?
  2. Why the holiday cottage industry cannot create a mandate to follow that requires all holiday makers to holiday responsibly?

Just because w’re on holiday doesn’t mean we enter a state of denial- we are relaxing while recycling! IN fact, recycling makes me feel better- not being able to would really interrupt my holiday!!

 

I wrote to Organic Cottages UK to see what their stance was on this matter, here’s what they replied:

Linda Moss response:-

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Compostable picnic sets

These days, there’s no shortage of ‘eco-friendly’ alternatives to plastic, and I truly believe that in time this will become the new normal. Just consider how commonplace plastic is at the moment (although thankfully it is very fast becoming the most demonised material in use today) I hold out hope for plastic alternatives to become the new go-to. And rightly so.

You may have noticed an increasing number of products entering the market that are made from a waste products such as sugarcane bagasse, rice husk, wheat straw and so on, all of which  are being turned into single-use or reusable ecological alternatives to plastic. All have required human ingenuity and passion to produce. Yet, what if there’s an even less interventionist solution out there that requires just some really strong palm leaves, a mould and a pair of scissors?

Well, this product already exists, and it really is the most natural approach to single-use; it’s eating from or drink from a leaf after all.

Areca leaves are huge and very strong. They fall naturally to the ground where they are then collected by the employees of the areca dinnerware factory. In the factory they’re moulded into cups, dipping pots, plates and bowls, to become a thing of use and beauty, before they can be returned back into the ground to be devoured by microbes only too happy to help it biodegrade.

Additionally, you can compliment the dinnerware set with bamboo straws (see above) or rye or wheat straws. I will be socking these in my shop ingreens.co.uk but in the meantime, they’ll be available from  my etsy shop.

 

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Solid soaps and dishes

I think refills are brilliant. In fact, I actually get a little bit excited when my Eco Leaf washing up liquid is running low because it means I can take my bottle and meander down to my local Better Foods to refill it. When I am there I generally get some treats too :). It’s a good opportunity to check out any interesting new lines and the seasonal local produce as well.

That said, and as much as I love Eco Leaf washing up liquids, if my search for a solid dish soap finally returned fruitful (I’ve tried to find a natural one) I would definitely switch to a solid one, no questions asked, as long as it worked effectively, I’d make the switch because it’d require less packaging = better for our waste foot print.

A bar or a rope of soap 

I have been using solid soap instead of liquid for sometime. I felt like a teenager on discovering LUSH, exploring the different options for solid soaps. I love essential oils and those that have strong citrus or warming aromas generally get my vote. Although, unlike my teenage self, my objective isn’t to buy bright or neon coloured, glittery soaps; instead this time around I’m seeking out natural, handmade, colour-free, organic and above all package free solid soaps. And luckily, within one mile radius of my front door I have about several options to choose from.

…Don’t forget that solid soaps need a home

If you have or are planning to switch from liquid to solid soap you’ll also need a soap dish or three to house your soap. I didn’t carry out any research before buying mine, the ones I now own and use came about through spontaneous purchases. But through observations I can include how effectively the soaps each fair in their own dishes. For example, I have considered how effective they are at keeping their  soap free from excess moisture and water to avoid squidgy soap scenarios. Below you will find my reviews.

Kitchen:
SOAP: Faith in nature solid grapefruit unpackaged soap from La Lune, Gloucester Road

DISH: Hemu soap dish with narrow grooves from Living Naturally

I really like Faith in Nature products but decided to stop refilling our hand soaps with their lavender hand soap as I felt the bulk quality wasn’t ask good, and the scent not as strong. But their solid grapefruit and aloe-vera soap has a great smell, and was  purchased loose from a local shop.

The hemu soap dish with narrow grooves retains a lot of soap residue which then keeps that side of the soap soggy. I do rinse and dry the dish as often as I can throughout the day, which doesn’t take very long. Possibly because it’s in constant use, this isn’t the best option. We benefit from direct sunlight in the kitchen through out the day as it’s an attic flat, which does help the soap dry out, though. I wonder it it didn’t get the opportunity to dry out, then perhaps it would be even less effective.

Bathroom x 2:

1. Sink-

SOAP: Suma coop Tea Tree and Eucapluptus

I LOVE this soap! It has made the bathroom smell fresh and energised. It was perfectly formed (I just love a well-formed soap) and it has managed to stay really dry?! But perhaps this is also due to the magical soap dish we have it in.

DISH:  Platanesoap dish ladder from Living Naturally

The soap dish is as describe, just like a ladder, meaning the gaps allow the water and soap residue to slip out,  and the soap has he opportunity to dry. This is why  I think I will opt for this design in the future. And it looks pretty snazzy as well.

2. Shower-

SOAP: Charcoal soap from Living Naturally

I really enjoy washing with this soap and although I am planning to try out a different body soaps  once this one is finished, I will be ordering more of this in the future. It’s detoxifying with a great smell. If like me, you’ll wear face masks, exfoliate your face etc but forget about the rest of you, then this soap ensures your whole body can get a bit of detoxifying lathering!This soap is basically a good all rounder- it’s warming and lasts ages!

DISH: Ceramic soap dish from Seven Seas, Cheltenham Road

I love the aesthetics of this dish. It’s from a local independent shop that stocks products made by local artists.  The soap dish has 3 holes in the center where the excess water and soap residue is meant to drain through, but I feel it isn’t doing the  job effectively.

I switched it to look after my charcoal body soap instead, meaning it will only be used once/twice per day max. Of course now it’s fine and the charcoal soap is another that seems self-drying! is this a thing with good soaps? As for constant use, this soap dish doesn’t cut it

Overall favourites:

Bathroom SINK! The Suma and the ladder combo- it just works: it’s look stylish, smells amazing, works effectively and it’s super anti-bacterial. Only downside it, this Suma soap came in a paper box. Apart from that I’m really in love with this combo and it might just become a staple…

 

To end I’ll proffer this top top: drying your soap on its side a few times seems to extend its life and last longer which is what we want right?

 

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Produce bags and scoop shops

Shopping with produce bags is actually really satisfying and it gives one a sense of being proactive and making their own tiny but highly valued contribution to combat plastic pollution and the negative impact it is having on our planet, specifically but not limited to by any means, marine life and marine birds.

It’s also pretty fun if you’ve made the bags yourself or managed to pick some funky designs up on etsy -the cheerful and bright patterns beats brown paper any day.

Furthermore, produce bags are practical, and fundamentally avoid the need for single use packaging. If you are finding it difficult to remember to take yours along, hang in there and set yourself little reminders and you’ll eventually get into the swing of having them ready for any given shopping opportunity that might arise, even the spontaneous ones.

Plus, you might, like myself, fall in love with scoop shops and actively shop in these more than mainstream supermarkets that fail to offer scoop option. In doing so you’ll be supporting your local independent shops and the local economy so it’s a win for localism and a win for plastic reduction.

What is a scoop shop?

Scoop or bulk shops are shops that provide loose unpackaged produce allowing the customer to take as much or as little as they need and want.

I discovered the concept of scoop shops when I moved to Bristol nearly 4-years ago. As a customer you have the option to try an abundance of food options from seeds, lentils, grains, dried fruits, teas, coffees, sweets, flours and cereals.  It can feel like a tempting invitation to get excited by the prospect of experimenting with foods we seldom or have yet to taste! It also offers you the option to buy healthy produce while sticking to a fixed budget. 

This morning I paid a visit to my closest and favourite scoop shop, the aptly named , Scoop Away on the Gloucester road, Bristol.

At the time of my visit I seemed to be the only customer with produce bags. The other shoppers were making use of the abundance  of plastic bags available.

Granted there are paper ones too, but these are small and if shoppers intend to stock up then they’ll have to opt for the plastic ones as they’re much bigger.

What amazes me is that scoop away don’t sell produce bags. This makes me think that unlike Unpackaged or other package-free stores we are still patronising scoop and bulk shops for primarily economic and health reasons rather than an opportunity to avoid packaging. Yet I think it’s high time we marry these elements together to enable us to tick all the boxes that means we eat well, manage our budget while refusing destructive plastic. 

Health+economics+package free= happy earth

Instagram photos:-

By simply documenting your scoop shop visit you are actively alerting others to the importance of refusing single-use packaging while demonstrating others forms of packaging are available.  With this in mind I have included a few tips for shoppers on how to shop in bulk shops without relying on plastic or paper bags.  

TOP TIPS to avoid single-use packaging when shopping at scoop shops (and loose products in mainstream shops):

  • Take your own jars but weigh them empty before you go and write the weight down on the jar
  • Take tupperware or take-away pots that have been gathering dust, these are  light and easy to carry
  • Make or buy about 10-20 produce bags. Why so many? I think if you commit to owning a lot of produce bags you are more likely to use them, and also you will have surplus when the others are in the wash.  Etsy is a good place for this. I made mine and it took me about 30 minutes.

How to take care of your produce bags:

Produce bags need to be clean to store and transport your produce. I keep mine clen by generally ashing about once per week.

  1. Turn your produce bag inside out and soak in warm water with 1 part vinegar to 5 parts water, a sprinkle of salt, sodium bicarb and just a few drops of essential oils.
  2. You can add a couple of soap nuts too. I leave mine soak for about 20minutes and then give them a really good rinse.
  3. Dry in the sun if this is possible or air until completely dry before using.

Go forth and shop happily without single-use packaging!