The very inspiring Roxy Hempel from the Eco Edit tells us 5 ways to be more eco conscious. The Eco Edit is a lifestyle platform for the eco conscious, exploring brands that have a positive impact. This includes eco and socially conscious fashion brands, green beauty products and philanthropic lifestyle brands.
1. Give up or cut down on animal products
Cutting down or avoiding meat altogether is the most effective way you can be more eco conscious, and the great news is, it has an immediate impact!
Following a plant based diet is healthy, budget friendly, and limitless – all of your favourite meals can be veganised, its easy once you know how!
If you are giving it a go there are lots of resources available online, try the #veganuary hashtag on Instagram, of search for your local vegan group on Facebook for support and tips on eating near you.
Still not sure sure of the reasons why? The movie, Cowspiracy is a good place to start, or Earthlings and Forks over knives.
2. Plant trees for free everytime you use the internet.
Ecosia is a free browser and app you can download for your computer and devices, that plants trees on your behalf every time you use it. So far this initiative has planted over 18 million trees in developing and rural communities! It is completely free for you and works just the same as your current browser (Google, safari, etc). You can find out more and get the links to download the browser for your computer and the app by visiting the website.
3. Choose sustainable fashion brands
Fashion is a hugely polluting industry. From the textile production to the dyeing process, to the overwhelming amount of wastage, there are huge enviromental issues which we don’t even know the full extent of yet. The good news is there are tons of great sustainable fashion brand out there that do things differently. Brands that use eco friendly fibers and dyes, recycled textiles and support fair trade principles. Follow me over on Instagram, and sign up to the newsletter of my lifestyle platform Eco Edit, and receive weekly edits of the best sustainable fashion brands.
4. Say not to plastic
There is no doubt about it, our plastic consumption is out of a control and is having a devastating effect on the enviroment. There is more than 8 BILLION tons of plastic on this planet, and the majority of that is waste that will take around 450 years to decompose. If laid out flat, 10 inches deep, it would be enough to cover the whole of Argentina, the 8th largest country in the world. Join our Facebook group ‘Less plastic is fantastic’ which we update with tips and ideas for reducing single use plastic consumption.
An easy one you can utilise right away – when choosing drinks, if you’re not using your own reusable cup, opt for aluminium or glass – either of these can be recycled an infinite number of times without losing their quality, unlike plastic which can only be recycled once.
5. Go green on your energy source
Check out Bulb – they offer 100% renewable energy, they pay your exit fees from your current energy supplier AND they save you on average 20% on your energy bills a year, they will also switch everything over for you, making it completely hassle free!
Saving the planet and saving money – what’s not to like?!
Agne Nazebetauskaite is a luxury knitwear and homeware designer. We totally loveeee her gorgeous knitting and handmade garments, which is mostly created with very cool chunky merino wool and makes for the perfect, snuggly, human cocoon!
Agne very kindly took the time to write us a piece about her fabulous knitting, keep reading, you’ll be ready to pick up those knitting needles in no time (we’ve got ours at the ready!)
ONA by Agne
I am a textiles and fashion designer and maker, currently residing in Northern Ireland.
I have been passionate about textiles all my life and specialise in knitting. I create knitwear and homeware collections, as well as teaching others to knit. My latest work involves arm knitting with various chunky fibres, merino and man made synthetics.
I am a big believer in slow fashion- shopping less, but buying high quality items. My work celebrates quality garments and home-ware accessories that will last you a long time, can be passed on or up-cycled into something new. I source only natural and sustainable materials, while incorporating better practices throughout the supply chain. My aim is to reduce the environmental impact of fast fashion.
I am originally from Lithunia, but have been living in UK for almost 13 years
I graduated from The University of Ulster in 2012 with a Degree in Business
I have been knitting since I was 6 years old. My grandmother taught me a lot of the techniques and styles that I often use – knitting, crochet, sewing.
Passionate about textiles, I love creating my own patters and designs, mixing techniques and teaching others.
Knitting is a great form of relaxation for me. Knitting is my happy place.
My Brand – ONA by Agne
Ona is my grandmother’s name. I thought it would be a nice way to honour her memory, as she was the one who inspired me the most, from her I truly learned to create. She introduced me to knitting, she used to let me wreck her sewing machine, I would sit for hours and sew, asking her over and over to thread the needles, and it felt like magic.
I discovered chunky merino wool over 2 years ago and fell in love with it. I have been specialising in chunky knits ever since. I love to use traditional techniques and crafts to create modern designs and the chunky merino wool is perfect for this!
In 2016, my first autumn/winter collection “Kilpos and poms” was showed in Belfast Fashion week (Oct 2016).
‘Where does your corn come from?’ We hear you wonder… Nataïs!
Nataïs, are our corn suppliers. They farm the wonderful corn that is then popped and seasoned into our Portlebay Popcorn. Based in Southern France, Nataïs specialise in growing popping corn from the butterfly family (like ours) and the mushroom family! The company cherish the land in which the crops grow from and are firm believers of sustainable farming, YAY!
But why all the way from France?
In order to grow popping corn a climate of plentiful sunshine is required. As this isn’t something that is common in the UK, growing corn in the South of France is a much better idea! The terrain in the South of France is also an ideal match for growing corn and along with the sunshine ensures that there is a constant supply of popping corn being produced.
The Farmers’ Partnership
As Nataïs believe that sustainable farming is essential, the company focus on using local resources and expertise. A major part of utilising local resources is the partnership that Nataïs have with their farmers. Today there are a total of 200 farmers partnered with the company, all of which are very highly valued.
The company has established a tailored procedure to ensure all the Nataïs farmers consistently grow and carry out the same practices. This procedure includes meeting with all farmers on a regular basis and matching their soil and climate conditions. They also frequently exchange ideas regarding improvement techniques, seed selection and best growing practices – especially regarding innovation and sustainability.
The Story of Nataïs…
Founder and president of Nataïs, Michael Ehmann grew up on a farm in Germany with his family, which inspired him to become a farmer and discover new practices with the land. At the age of 24 Michael took a trip to America where he met a popcorn farmer. This encounter sparked the idea that he could grow popcorn at his family farm in France. With this new and exciting idea he purchased 2kg of seeds, popped them in his suitcase and whisked them home to France.
Over the first few years Michael experimented a lot and spent time testing out all kinds of techniques, until he finally produced the desired outcome, which was specifically created for the soil and climate in the South of France. After eventually perfecting farming the corn, he was then faced with a whole new challenge, getting his product into the market. Those that he approached with his corn were suspicious of a French man growing popping corn. Facing this difficult situation Michael took to visiting a wide range of plants and customers to gain a further understanding into the industry.
After gaining this new insight into the farming of popping corn, Michael then met Jérôme Réthoré (now General Manager of Nataïs). Jérôme shared his expert knowledge of the popping corn industrial process and together they took the business further.
We love the passion and values that drive Nataïs and truly think they are a super cool company! Three cheers for our wonderful popping corn supplier! HIP-HIP HOORAY, HIP-HIP HOORAY, HIP-HIP HOORAAAAY!
Our small Portlebay team are proud of our all natural popcorn that we hand pop ourselves. Our range has been carefully crafted to reduce any allergens, to cater for those that are vegetarian and vegan, and to offer a healthier snack alternative to crisps and other popular snacks. Along our quest to create tasty treats, we also endeavour to be conscious and thoughtful with our actions, in order to conserve and safeguard our beautiful home and those that inhabit it. For these reasons palm oil is a big no no and we strongly dislike the stuff!
What is Palm Oil?
Palm oil is type of vegetable oil, that is traded globally and is present in many of the products we see on the supermarket shelves. The oil is derived from the palm fruit, which grows on the African Oil Palm Tree. Today palm oil is grown throughout Africa, Asia, North America, and South America. Currently, the majority of palm oil is produced and exported from Indonesia and Malaysia. As noted by the activist group of Say No To Palm Oil, the demand for the oil has very rapidly increased in recent decades, as it has been made widely available, is inexspensive (due to small production costs) and is a diverse product with regards to its uses. The group also highlighted, that the oil is found in a huge amount of household products including baked goods, confectionery, shampoo, cosmetics, cleaning products, washing detergents and toothpaste, leaving the average Western citizen consuming more than 10kg of palm oil annually.
What are the issues with palm oil?
A great proportion of palm oil development occurs at the expense of the environments in which the palm oil is sourced. As identified by the WWF, palm oil plantations have a number of environmental impacts including:
large scale forest conversion
soil and water pollution
The most significant issue of these is the large scale forest conversion. In Indonesia and Malaysia there is a direct relationship between the growth of palm oil plantations and deforestation. In 2007 the United Nations Environment Programme published a report which professes that oil palm plantations are the leading cause of rainforest devastation in the two countries. The extensive forest devastation of palm oil plantations is resulting in calamitous effects for a large number of plant and animal species.
Palm Oil Investigations, a non profit organisation which focuses on educating and raising awareness about the hazards of palm oil, passionately talk about the species which are edging towards extinction, as a result of the habitat destruction that is taking place during the production of palm oil.
Both the Bornean and Sumatran orangutans are critically endangered due to palm oil plantations. Orangutans create nests to sleep in during the night, and reside in smaller nests during the day time. In order to survive orangutans need trees and forestry, however the higher the demand for palm oil the less forestry there is for the orangutan.
The Bornean orangutan is a Borneo native, which today is a protected specie, with specific ares of Borneo specially protected, however it has become apparent that a large majority of these orangutans currently
are living outside of these protected areas. The distribution of the Bornean organutan is extremely patchy throughout the island, with fewer than an estimated 60,000 left in the wild. This figure is significantly declining, with the rapid expansion of palm oil plantations in Borneo, as the lack of forestry leaves the orangutans vulnerable to poachers. The demolition of forestry is forcing the orangutan populations to shrink and making the creatures more prone to genetic drift and inbreeding.
The Sumatran Orangutan are being threatened by both illegal and legal logging, the conversion of forest land to agricultural land and palm oil plantations. Sumatran orangutans are currently forecasted to be one of the first Great Apes to become extinct, with there being less than 6,000 remaining in the wild.
The Sumatran elephant is native to the Indonesia island of Sumatra and are smaller than African elephants. These elephants are being threaten by habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation, and poaching. Subsequently, there less than 2,500 Sumatran elephants remaining in the wild. In the last 25 years 69% of potential elephant habitat has been lost, leaving much of the remaining forest in limited sections which are too small for elephant populations to live in.
Due to habitat loss and a lack of food, elephants are frequently being poisoned as they are forced to stray into plantations and villages which have strategies to prevent elephants impeding on the areas. This conflict between humans and elephants is becoming more frequent as habitats are cleared for palm oil, putting the Sumatran elephants at even more risk.
Sumatran tigers are the smallest of all tigers and have more of beard and mane than most. The Sumatran tiger resides in the forest of the Sumatran Island where they are fighting for survival.
Currently there are approximately 300 Sumatran tigers existing in the wild. With the acceleration of deforestation for palm oil and poaching, the tigers could in time be extinct. The deforestation is not only depriving the tigers of a habitat but also of food. With both poaching and deforestation showing no sign of slowing the tigers are increasingly at threat. Other Animals
There are even more animals which are being threatened by the palm oil plantations, including:
Sunda Clouded Leopard
Crested Black Macaque
None of these creatures should be disregarded and certainly not pushed to extinction as a consequent of our own actions.
Survival, a global group devoted to fighting for tribal people’s rights, passionately notes that many indigenous tribes are under great threat from palm oil plantations. One woman from the Penan tribe (a group of hunter-gathers) from Malaysia told Survival, ‘The forest is my roof and my shelter and the forest is also where I can find food to eat. But when the oil palm comes in, everything will be gone.’
Although palm oil plantations frequently promote bringing development to rural areas and providing employment for some locals, the impact of the plantations have also had devastating effects on locals living around the affected areas.
As the plantations are destroying the rainforest, the local people are having no other choice but to work for and depend on the income from the plantations. These working conditions are of a poor standard and many of the workers do not earn enough to support their families. Furthering this, child labour has also become an issue in some areas, with children suffering from heat exhaustion and gaining injuries from climbing thorny oil palms.
Although it has been evident that indigenous people have in some cases benefited from the palm oil industry in Indonesia, these situations are particularly rare. Palm oil has on frequent occasions had a long lasting negative effects, which has subsequently altered the lifestyle of many. More often than not indigenous people have become subject to cruel and greedy palm oil labour, with little choice in the matter.
Is palm oil bad for your health too?
A Common Ingredient
As mentioned by the organisation Live Strong, which provides expert information on all topics that contribute towards a healthy lifestyle, palm oil is less expensive than many other oils and can be utilised to extend the shelf life of processed foods, as a result of this it is often found in our supermarkets and often a substance that we consume.
The organisation further this stating that palm oil in an oxidised state can be a danger to our physiological and biochemical functions. Manufacturers of processed goods do often oxidise palm oil found in these products for culinary reasons, which consequently means a great deal of the palm oil consumed by shoppers is in this oxidised state. The threats of oxidized palm oil include organotoxicity of the heart, kidney, liver and lungs and reproductive toxicity. Not nice.
Erica Kannall, a registered dietitian and certified health/fitness specialist, emphasised that palm oil is notably high in saturated fat. Diets which are high in this saturated fat can contribute to high levels of cholesterol and also a build up of plaque in the arteries. If the consumption of saturated fat is continued for a long duration it could lead to a heart attack or stroke. The NHS recommend that the average man should not eat any more than 30g of saturated fat per day and no more than 20g of saturated fat per day for the average woman. One tablespoon of palm oil contains 7g of saturated fat. This means, a person consuming products containing palm oil could easily reach their recommended limit, without even considering products with no palm oil but still high in saturated fat.
What do we use instead of Palm Oil then?
During the process of hand popping our delicious popcorn we use rapeseed oil instead of palm oil. Our rapeseed oil is both grown and produced in the UK and so doesn’t travel far before arriving at our little Poppery! At all stages of the rapeseed oil creation process no people or animals are threatened or harmed.
Rapeseed oil is also low in saturated fat and so is far less likely to cause a build up of plaque in the arteries. Not only is rapeseed oil
low in saturated fat but, as stated by BBC Good Food, it has been acknowledge for having a range of health and nutritional benefits. This includes the oil containing omega 3, 6 and 9, which helps to reduce cholesterol and also maintain healthy joints, brain and heart functions.
We believe that our popcorn should be created with the best natural ingredients, that can be enjoyed and consumed without contributing to any health issues. We also aim to be conscious and thoughtful with our decisions throughout the popcorn process, as we live in a beautiful world, with many beautiful creatures which we would hate to harm or deprive in any way.
Day 15 of the advent competition welcomes our partner Rubies in the Rubble! Rubies in the Rubble is a sustainable food brand committed to fighting food waste. They create award-winning products from fruit and veg that would otherwise be wasted due to shape, size and colour. In other words, condiments with a conscience…Their ingredients have to pass a taste test, not a beauty contest. It doesn’t matter if it’s too big, too ripe or just plain pear-shaped. What matters to them is making the best condiments around! Check them out here!
Rubies in the Rubble founder, Jenny, started reading about the problem of food waste after seeing the amount of discarded produce at fruit & veg markets across London.
Beautiful mangoes, cranberries & tomatoes all headed for landfill, often because
they simply didn’t look right.
Although much of the discarded produce is perfectly edible, much is
thrown away due to aesthetic imperfections, over-forecasted demand or
inefficiency in storing & distributing.
The scale of the problem of food waste got Jenny thinking about what
could be done with all this surplus produce. Surely there was a way of
creating a delicious, first-class product using excess produce?
Armed with some family recipes and a car-bootful of rescued fruit & veg
from the New Covent Garden market, the experimentation in the kitchen
We absolutely adore Rubies in the Rubble’s ethos and are very delighted that they are a part of our competition. To be in with a chance of winning some of these scrumptious condiments and a box of our Portlebay Popcorn, head over to our social media pages (Facebook, Instagram or Twitter) and follow the instructions! (The competition launches at 5pm!)
It’s Day 5 of our advent competition and today we are introducing Catherine and Emma, two Berkshire based mums, and the masterminds behind Meco! These two lovely ladies together created the perfect handbag, which is not only super practical but also very gorgeous too! This fabulous creation is called a Meco tote.
The Meco tote is a new concept in handbag simplicity. Made from silicone, each one of the six sumptuous colours looks fabulous carried by the hand or over the shoulder, and contrasts perfectly with the understated handles. It also has a hidden magnetic clasp which is an essential security feature. The tote measures 36 centimetres high x 30 centimetres wide x 11 centimetres deep, (excluding handles), making it the perfect size for every day use!
This enchanting tote wears unbelievably well; you can throw mud at it, pour coffee on it or even colour it in with felt tips and it will wipe clean with a little soap and water! It doesn’t scratch, fade or stretch and is harder wearing than leather. What a dream come true!
Oh wait, there’s even more glorious news! The bag is 100% vegan and cruelty free, and the silicone used to create the tote is a natural, sand based material which is recyclable. The PU handles are also less harmful to the environment and more durable than PVC – AMAZING!
We are in love. To be in with a chance of winning a Meco tote, pop over to one of our social media pages (Instagram, Facebook or Twitter) and follow the competition directions! BEST OF LUCK! (This competition launches at 5pm tonight)
It’s December 1st, which means that it’s Day 1 of our Christmas Advent Competition! EXCITING! Our first wonderful partner is Atlantic Surf Company. We love that they are from Devon, just like us, and we love all their clothing too!
Atlantic Surf Company makes cool, funky, eco conscious clothing in deepest Devon. They hand screen print their surf inspired clothing and have created a fresh new look and style which we just can’t get enough of!
Atlantic Surf Company have also teamed up with The Wave Project, a charity that changes the lives of young people through the magic of surfing! The Wave Project began in 2010, when the local NHS Trust in Cornwall funded The Wave Project to run a six-week pilot scheme, to examine the benefits of surfing on the emotional health of young people working with professional services. The pilot project used a psychological evaluation to assess whether six weeks of surfing helped the group, who were referred by a range of services such as CAMHS, social services and mental health charities.
The results of the pilot showed that going surfing once a week helped people feel more confident, improved their outlook and gave them a sense of fun. Encouraged by the results, The Wave Project was established as a not for profit company. Atlantic Surf Company give 10% of all profits to this charity to keep this amazing project running!
For a chance to win so cool clothing that also does some good in the world, enter our competition on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, launching at 5pm tonight!