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Ethical Beauty: My Vegan & Cruelty-Free Favourites

Ethical Beauty: My Vegan & Cruelty-Free Favourites

It’s been a hot minute since I chatted about ethical beauty. But it’s honestly one of my favourite topics and one I am learning about CONSTANTLY. I’ve mentioned before how tricky I’ve found ‘greening’ my beauty faves but I’ll say it again, shall I?! 

It’s difficult to green my beauty faves. 

Why, you ask? Hmmm mostly because I’ve had acne (Dermatologist diagnosed) since my late twenties which GOT WORSE during pregnancy before promptly clearing up. 

This, plus my beauty knowledge (I worked in retail for years, including in premium beauty) means I’ve become pretty clued up (read: addicted) to products. Travelling for such a long time quelled that, for sure but I have to tell you my truth: 

I don’t do DIY beauty. 

And, to be totally honest, I don’t have an all-natural beauty regime either. And my reliance on certain products means I’m not sans plastique either, (yes, I have tried all the essential oils thank-you).

So, as is my way, instead of beating myself up about it and feeling ashamed of my less than eco ways I’ve decided to share what I do, and how I compensate by balancing the rest my skincare.

These are the ethical beauty brands I love to use. (None are affiliate links, some are gifted, I use them all!)

** A word on what constitutes cruelty-free. Animal testing has been banned in the EU since 2013, meaning that any product bought here in the UK is, technically, cruelty-free. HOWEVER. Brands who sell/manufacture their products in China are NEVER cruelty-free as China requires animal-testing by law. It’s also worth noting that animal-testing is not illegal in the US and Australia either so please check products made there. **

Zero waste, ethical and vegan beauty brands-1

MYROO

I was kindly gifted some beautiful Myroo products a few months ago and I’ve been HOOKED on them ever since. 

The products

I LOVE oils, and use them with abandon (yep, acne sufferers don’t always have oily skin!) so I’ve been using the Skinboost facial serum , which is incredible. It smells amazing and I like to layer it under the Novage overnight moisturiser (below).

I also cleanse with the Gentle Cleansing oil using a bog-standard flannel soaked in hot water, (although it comes with a jazzy muslin cloth, which is soft on one side, exfoliating on t’other). I do NOT double cleanse by the way; which is a big no-no in skincare circles, but hey ho. I don’t. 

They also sent me their Superfood balm, which I haven’t yet because I’m finishing another balm (the Pure Potions one below!) but it smells DELICIOUS. 

Why I like them

The brand is ‘small’ and founders Rachel and Phil run it while looking after their little ones, and it grew from a need to find products that worked for the family’s sensitive skin. I LOVE the fact Rachel taught herself to make products at her kitchen table and that she’s retained the brand ethos as it’s grown.

How they tick my ethical boxes

All the products are cruelty-free, GMO and palm oil free, and TOTALLY free from known allergens (aka nuts etc) and you can make all of the products fragrance-free if you want. 

They are UK based and everything is made in Yorkshire.

Listen to founder Rachel Dunseath chat to Amy on her podcast Work Like a Mother.

LIME CRIME

This one snuck in after I read about them in Marie Claire. Branded, “Vegan & cruelty-free makeup for unicorns.”, Lime Crime are a US brand doing things a little differently.

They ship to the UK but I’m hoping to peruse their products when I next make it to London as they have a. spot in Selfridges. Top of my list is a delicious looking matte-red liquid lipstick.

WEST BARN CO

The products

OBVIOUSLY, I use Soap Brows. Which is THE S@*T. Soap brows looks like solid soap in a tin, and you spritz a spoolie with some water, or the coconut mist (the latter is delicious-smelling) and set your brows as per usual. 

Like ALL good makeup techniques (baking, contouring…….), the idea came from Drag Queens who discovered that using soap to set their brows was a brilliant plan.

Why I like them

Mother and daughter team Donna and Kim founded the company, testing products in their kitchen and using their formidable skills (Donna an eco warrior, Kim a make-up artist/nurse.) to create beautiful products with a low-impact on the planet.

How they tick my ethical boxes

My products arrived in totally recyclable and. biodegradable packaging and, like Myroo, they are cruelty-free and UK based. 

Also, Donna and Kim are just really nice people. And it’s nice to be nice, you know?

PURE POTIONS

The products

I use their scalp oil, which sorta makes you smell like a delicious roast dinner as it has rosemary in it. I actually use it on the ends of my hair as well, typically a few times a month and ALWAYS the night before I wash it (which happens monthly at the moment).

We also use the lavender nappy balm and I’ve found their Skin Salvation ointment a life-saver in winter. I use it on my hands, cuticles, ends of my hair, brows, and on my nose after colds. 

Why I like them

If you aren’t sensing a theme here, you should. OBVS it’s cruelty-free and made here in the UK. And the company began when founder Natalie Balmond needed to create products for her eczema prone daughter.

How they tick my ethical boxes

See above! 

ORIFLAME

The products

I was gifted a whole heap of Oriflame products fairly recently and I have to admit I was sceptical. The Swedish company uses plant-based ingredients (100% of their extracts are plant-based….whatever that means) and there’s a baffling array of brands underneath the Oriflame umbrella to choose from.

It reminds me of a Swedish Avon, so I wasn’t bowled over at first sight by the look of it all. It came packaged in plastic and isn’t the most beautiful to look at; the NoVage range, in particular, looks a little old-fashioned . 

BUT then I tried a few products. The NoVage Intense overnight mask is now one of my most favourite moisturisers ever. I basically use it as a night cream and it is incredible…..I’m not a beauty writer so I can’t properly describe the wonder of this stuff; just trust me that it will make your skin plump and delicious. 

Why I like them

I’ll be honest here and say I would buy the NovAge mask again but I wouldn’t delve into any of the other products. The Oriflame brand I’m keen to explore is EcoBeauty; which is certified Fairtrade and all came packaged in glass bottles with paper boxes. 

How they tick my ethical boxes

Oriflame products are all vegan, made with plant-based ingredients and they have a strong focus on giving back, with countless environmental initiatives abroad as well as within their company. While I found their products to be annoyingly over-packaged with a reliance on plastic I have included them in this list because they’re an example of a Global company striving to do better, putting their money where their mouth is:

“We stopped more than 96% of our manufacturing waste from going to landfills.” 

THE ORDINARY

Okay, The Ordinary is problematic. Shall we talk about that for a second? The founder (and owner of Deciem) Brandon Truaxe is nuts. Also Esteé Lauder own 28% of Deciem and…..well, those guys are NOT ethical in any way, shape or form. 

So I’m gonna struggle to share how they tick my ethical boxes because, even though they’re cruelty-free, and I’m able to either reuse or recycle the packaging the truth is that I like them because the products work and are great value.

The products

That bit over, let me tell you about the products I love: 

I use Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% which has a serum-like texture daily, normally first thing before I slather my Myroo oil on top.  I don’t know what it does, but my skin has never looked better. 

I also J’ADORE my big vat of Glycolic Acid which I use after cleansing at night. It’s a 7% strength so occasionally it stings. When that happens I spritz some of my West Barn Co spritz or slap some cruelty-free water on my face 😉 

LUSH

I hasten to add Lush to the mix as I don’t use any of their skincare at all because of their love for cocoa and shea butters (which makes my skin breakout!) 

However they are a GREAT company and I couldn’t leave them out. It’s one of the only places where you can get a naked (aka no packaging) cleanser, serum and you are incentivised to bring back your old face masks (5 pots = one free face mask).

The products

I’ve used and loved Fresh Farmacy cleanser before, and would recommend it, especially for travel.

And I’m hopelessly devoted to the Soak and Float shampoo bar. YES, I know …SLS. But it’s the only thing that stops the hard water from attacking my scalp, so I love it.  

Why I like them

Let me count the ways! Lush not only adhere to the policies they preach but they fight for them. Of course they are 100% cruelty-free (although not all of their products are vegan) and all of their products are upcycled as opposed to being dumped on landfill.

They also take an active stance on paying taxes in every country they operate in, and refuse to use loopholes. This shouldn’t be revolutionary but…as a self-employed person, I’ve used loopholes, so I love how Lush shout about the fact they won’t.

In general though, I just love how transparent they are. They fight the good fight, and I love that about them 🙂 

How they tick my ethical boxes

See above!

Who did I miss off the list?

L x

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My ethical beauty faves: from Myroo to The Ordinary. Read more about ethically conscious living over at my blog lucylucraft.com

How to Have a Zero Waste Christmas

How to Have a Zero Waste Christmas

It’s been over a year since I started identifying as a ‘zero-waster’ but, in truth, I’m not at peak zero waste. Not even close.

But if you know me and my ethos around zero waste you’ll know I’m totally okay with that. I live low-impact and strive for achievable, sustainable results NOT perfection.

Most of the time, that’s no drama. It’s simple because I’ve created systems and processes that work for me and my family. There are things I don’t stress about and things I really, really do. The pressure points I have will, no doubt, be very different for you.

I’ve actively chosen not to be too prescriptive when I write about zero waste life; it’s all too easy to forget that what we find simple is insurmountable for someone else.

I digress. So, as I was saying, zero-waste life is easy peasy. Ahem….except when it’s not. And while, for me, that ain’t often there is a magical time we all become quietly and tenaciously obsessed with buying ALL THE THINGS, wrapping them and presenting them to our loved ones.

In the immortal words of Noddy Holder (who is mortal rendering this sentence ridiculous), IT’S CHRIIIIIIIISSSSSTMAS!

*Searches for perfect FGTH Gif. Loses 3 days.*

It’s probably my sixth Christmas living without STUFF. When my husband and I went travelling we were always home for Christmas, and not wanting to add bulk to our tiny 30 litre backpacks we got used to asking for practical things we needed and the odd bit of stuff we wanted, and had room for.

Sidenote: Travelling long-term quelled any shopaholic tendencies I had left, so I’d recommend it as a strategy…..albeit a really extreme one.

Anyway, you get the picture. I’m a pro. I’m also not about to enable you to buy a heap of jazzy, plastic-free things you simply don’t need under the guise of a ‘zero waste gift guide’ so instead here’s a simple guide to enjoying a zero-waste Christmas, whatever your budget.

FOOD & DRINK

As a vegan family it’s easy to fall back on the old nut-roast. Last year I made a mushroom wellington, which was quite nice but….mushrooms (gross,)

This year I’m planning to order a vegan box from Riverford who we get a weekly veg box from. Okay, OKAY, there’s a nut roast in it but, you know what? I won’t have to make it.

And I’ll be heading straight to Anna Jones for the vegan inspiration I’ll need to make the rest of our veg box a little jazzy.

As for drinks…..it’ll be a semi sober Christmas for me this year bar a little fizz on Christmas day 🙂

GIFTS

I really am of the opinion experiences over things are your best bet when it comes to gifts. But my husband is more about the stuff. And our toddler is really not arsed about much but will happily play with the box for hours.

As I get older (and poorer due to aforementioned child) I am more in need of things than before. But ensuring all my things are ethically made, sustainable, cruelty and plastic free leaves no room for Amazon orders, so if you need some gift ideas for the zero-waster in your life here’s what I’ll be wishing for:

EXPERIENCES

Audible: If you follow my rule of ‘Something they want, something you need, something to wear, something to read.’ you will be stuck on….well, books. I love books, and pick them up at the charity shop but I kinda love listening to books even more.

I consume way more books this way; listening while walking, running, or drowning a toddler tantrum out. So, personally, I’d LOVE a month subscription in my stocking 🙂

Readly: Along the same lines, I’ve recently signed up for Readly (99p for the first month) and I LOVE IT. Magazines are so expensive, and full of adverts and excess waste but I need to read them for work (and pleasure!) so this is a brilliant option and an awesome zero waste gift.

Classes: I like the idea of learning something, and last year I bought my mum a silversmith course, which she loved.

I know there are plenty of digital options but I like the idea of something local and a bit random. Wreath making in my local brewery or something…..

Tickets: I LOVE the cinema so much, so that would always be my top choice. Especially as Oli and I currently go to the cinema solo, or have to pay for a babysitter making it pretty costly.

STUFF

Ragtrade Clothing Co

I REALLY want the Jenna apron. To be honest, I’d happily also ask for the Roma dress and Denae jumpsuit too, they’re both dreamy. But I know I genuinely really need an apron on account of all the baking all the clumsy in my life.

UNWRPD plastic-free subscription box

UNWRPD are a really cool UK company making zero-waste, zero plastic subscription boxes you can tailor. You can buy a one-off box or sign up to a regular subscription.

They kindly sent me a tailored box for free so I could test it out and I was chuffed with the packaging (minimal, recycled and recyclable) and range of products; natural deodorant, toothbrush and mini toothpaste, yummy smelling soap and a soap bag,

I’m ordering one as a gift, and I think I’ll start sending these instead of flowers to people too. Great for new mums, birthdays and just becauses’ 😉

If you buy your UNWRPD box through this link you receive 25% off your first order!

I’m kinda obsessed with everything Mama Owl but I really love this baby all-in-one. 

I’m lucky to have the wonderful Waste Not store close to me in Brighton, but you can also shop their products online. My faves? The pretty Bamboo travel cutlery and the Coconut Coir dish brushes.

And what will I be wrapping things in? The awesome scarves from Lush made from upcycled plastic bottles returned to store, newspaper, or odds and sods I find around the house (I stash anything I think might come in handy later, like tissue paper)

I also requested no wrapping paper or cards from family. I got a stony silence, but I’m kinda happy to play Scrooge 😉

DECORATION

Honestly, when it comes to decor I am STUMPED. I’m not really one to go all out simply due to my styling ineptitude.

I *think* I’m gonna repurpose my fairy lights and go hard on stringing them all over the shop. And probably make a wreath for the door too….then I think it’s gonna be a case of old jam jars and tea lights!

How do you do Christmas? Let me know in the comments!

L x

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Living a zero waste life but dreading Christmas? I'll help you navigate it and have fun at the same time! 

Read more ethically conscious content at lucylucraft.com #zerowaste #sustainableliving
A Beginners Guide to Vegan Entertaining

A Beginners Guide to Vegan Entertaining

I recorded a solo Q&A episode for my podcast on Friday, and sitting down to answer the questions people had asked me on social media one made me pause a little. 

“Does being vegan ever affect your social life?” 

Hmmm. I caught my breath as I found a good answer to this. Yes? I guess it probably has to be totally honest. It totally has. But in a good way.

I’ve been veggie (on and off) since I was a teenager. And vegan (on and off!) for a few years. TOTALLY on for a year now. And in that time there’s been a heap of stumbling blocks, although when you know me you know I don’t consider these to be an issue anyway……

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Anyway, as I’ve become comfortable in my veganism and found regular places to eat, brilliant substitutes for old faves and well worn recipes I turn to again and again there’s one thing I’ve struggled with a little. Until now anyway.

flatlay image of ice water and vintage suitcases

Not a natural host 

I’ve always HATED entertaining. Playing host is literally my least favourite thing to do. The potential for a cooking related disaster is stressful, coupled with the etiquette: ‘How many bottles of wine should I provide?!” and: “Do crisps and dip count as a starter?” make me very sweaty palmed indeed. 

But with my endeavours to reduce my waste and the fact my entire family is now vegan, I’ve found a bit of a sweet spot in the kitchen. I have old classics I can cook easily, knowing they’ll turn out how they’re supposed to. 

Being vegan certainly adds an element of: ‘F@ck, this needs to be EXTRA yummy” when you’re cooking for carnivores but it also reduces the fear of food poisoning massively (except rice…..always be careful with rice!) 

Anyway. As we’ve moved to a new area, with a bigger space for entertaining and a bigger community of people we want to hang out with we’ve been bold and played host a fair few times now. 

shot of gallery picture wall through monochrome light pendant

Entertaining, vegan-style

Keeping it all simple is the aim of ALL my endeavours. Seriously. I can’t cope with too much faff so I pick a simple dish I’ve cooked (and loved) before. Save the jazzy showstoppers for bake-off. 

I LOVE the Hot for Food Vegan Comfort Classics cookbook by Lauren Toyota  cookbook, or Ainé Carlin’s Keep it Vegan one. Both well loved and very well used!

pretty autumnal wreath hung on white wall

Add some ambience with a Spotify playlist and make sure you and your guests are in a chilled, chat-friendly atmosphere.

I know that sounds silly, but our flat is very minimal so if we stuck to sitting on the bits of furniture officially designated for sitting we’d be uncomfortable and forced to talk across rooms (we have one sofa!)

So we always have a few floor cushions so people can sit and chat easily before we sit down to eat.

Add some pretty cutlery & crockery and some flowers too. I have a few in my garden and use the dried flower wreath I made at The Nature Sessions, plus some dreamy glasses

tiny baby lounging on chaise longue
Keeping it louche……

So, not a natural host but a reluctantly okay one nonetheless. Are you a natural host or, like me, do you prefer to be waited on?!

Share your top hosting tips in the comments!

L x

This is a sponsored post. All views are my own, please see my full disclaimer for more info.  


My Zero Waste Bathroom Swaps

My Zero Waste Bathroom Swaps

I’ve heard it said that toiletries are the last thing for a zero waster to swap out. Hmmmmm I think that’s partially true, certainly when it comes to makeup. I’m not a massive product junkie (anymore, thanks minimalism!) so I really only needed to swap out the basics when it comes to the bathroom. 

I’ve heard it said that toiletries are the last thing for a zero waster to swap out. Hmmmmm I think that’s partially true, certainly when it comes to makeup. I’m not a massive product junkie (anymore, thanks minimalism!) so I really only needed to swap out the basics when it comes to the bathroom. 

But makeup? Wow. What a shocker. I didn’t quite realise how much of a creature of habit I am when it comes to my beauty regimen (ahem, regimen?!) but I am. 

If you peruse this site you might find over 70 beauty posts in the depths……70!! That’s because I’ve been a beauty junkie for longer than I can remember. So, the fact I have very specific product loves (I rarely try anything new anymore) coupled with a face that stays mostly free from makeup means I have a HEAP of stuff in no danger of running out. 

I’ve written about the first few swaps I made and that still stands, but I’ve researched and added a few more since then too. And the bathroom swaps felt like they needed a lovely blog post home all of their own…..

So this list is by no means exhaustive, but I’m hoping it’ll help you on your way to low impact, zero waste, less plastic joy! (Catchy, I know.)

Zero Waste bathroom swaps  - image of vintage safety razor and  astra razor blades

Hair

Since I wrote my last post I’ve made a big decision and decided to start washing my hair again. Because I like washing my hair, and it’s really easy to get plastic-free, zero waste alternatives for my shampoo and conditioner. 

I currently use Lush Soak & Float shampoo bar and some lovely Veganese conditioner (this comes in a plastic bottle, which I can recycle in store.)

A note on Lush…..I’ve been using their products for YEARS and I have no issues with SLS but if you do, then their shampoo bars won’t be a good fit. You can try Beauty Kubes or Etsy alternatives instead.  

I don’t use any products on my hair, but I guess I could use some coconut oil if I needed a bit of smoothing/deep conditioning.

Skincare

I’m a BIG skincare junkie but three years of travelling sort of broke the spell a bit. So I now use Aesop Parsley Seed cleansing oil (which comes in a huge glass jar) and will switch to coconut/olive oil when it runs out. I double cleanse with Lush Angels on Bare Skin and moisturise with this Lush serum bar too.

I have a really nice hydrating spray from West Barn Co. that I love too. It’s been especially nice in the summer and has helped with the hydration I’m lacking.

Body

Honestly, I’ve never used body lotion or anything like that so I feel pretty lucky I don’t have to make that swap. Although if you do, coconut oil, Lush solid massage bars or good old olive oil in a glass jar would work. 

I use a safety razor to shave legs & underarms and this was probably the most transformative switch I’ve made so far. A safety razor is one of those amazing old-fashioned steel (some have wooden handles) razors you might see in a museum…..but they are AMAZING. You pop a razor blade in however often you need one (similarly to your Gilette Venus) but the blades are CHEAP. 

I paid £10 for a box of 100 blades, which come wrapped in plastic in a cardboard tube and I collect the used blades to take to the recycling centre. You can buy the blades here and safety razor here.

Makeup

This bit has been the toughest for me although, truth be told, I haven’t needed to switch much out at all as I wear little makeup and therefore still have stacks.

But I do need mascara and eyeliner…….I don’t know what I’ll do, as I have super oily eyelids and need something that’ll stay put. I might try something like this solid ‘ink’ style pot and use with a spoolie for mascara and a brush for liner

My biggest win has been my new brow gel. I used to pick up cheap tubes of eyebrow gel because easy and easy, you know? But the wonderful West Barn Co. sent me Soap Brows which comes with a couple of spoolies. It’s essentially a little tin of solid brow gel. You wet the spoolie  (I use my hydrating mist, but you can use water) and sorta scrub your spoolie back and forth to pick up product, swiping it over your brows as per usual. It’s SO good…..keeps my unruly eyebrows in check without that gross flakiness that makes you look like you have dandruff. 

I’ll keep updating y’all as and when I make my swaps, but for now – I feel like I’ve hit a zero waste bathroom sweet spot. Long may it continue! 

L x

Please note this post contains affiliate links. That means if you click through to buy something I get a small commission at no extra cost to you.

How to reduce your waste

(without getting totally overwhelmed)

Zero Waste - reusable diaper/nappy

There’s probably no getting around it, #ZeroWaste is err‘where. Well, in my echo chamber it is anyway…..and with any new trend comes marketing, and things to buy, activists and hella content telling you how to do it THE RIGHT WAY. When all people really want to know is how to actually reduce their waste.

It’s no wonder I get so many messages telling me how bloody overwhelmed people are. 

When I say ‘so many messages’ I mean two………….Maybe three 😉

Anyway, let’s all agree the idea of reducing your waste is now in the mainstream and talk about how to actually do it.

Getting started with Zero Waste

Because that’s what we wanna know, right? HOW to do it. WHAT to do first, and maybe why. 

WHY should we reduce our waste?

Because we have one planet that’s not equipped to cope with the sheer volume of waste we currently produce. It’s skewed, of course, towards humans who consume more than the average but it’s fair to see most of us use more than we need, creating unnecessary waste.

If we continue this way, we are simply condemning the planet to a shorter life. One our children, or other people’s children, will have to deal with.  

And a REALLY important point on this is that recycling more is NOT THE GOAL. Sure, it’s the lesser evil…..but still an evil. And plastic is basically the poster child of evil incarnate.

So not only should the goal be to reduce our landfill waste, but to reduce our recycling, reduce plastic AND eliminate all single-use disposables entirely. 

Bea Johnson explains it better here…….

HOW should we reduce our waste?

Getting started is probably the hardest bit. Once you start looking at everything in your home as different varieties of evil it’s a little stressful, to say the least. 

DON’T STRESS is my first tip, because let’s face it; life’s too short. There will always be someone telling you you could do more, believe me – every time I talk about Zero Waste online I encounter criticism or something I ‘should’ have said. 

flatlay image of granola in a jar and coffee cup.

I say, screw the perfectionists. It’s always better to do something good than nothing at all, despite what some might say. So here are my top tips to reduce your waste without become totally overwhelmed!

Start with your single-use, disposable plastics……what do you really need? Try to eliminate these first.

Then move onto your recyclables and landfill (trash/garbage bin) waste: What are the main culprits here? For me, it was nappies. They aren’t recyclable, and we were taking out a couple of bin bags each week – nappy/diapers sit in landfill for about 500 years so switching these out to reusable nappies was my first big switch.

But for you it might be shampoo bottles, takeaway coffee cups, snacks in unrecyclable plastic (all the yummy food seems to come in this!) and toilet roll. Focus on the biggies, researching zero waste/low impact  swaps that work for you.

Have fun! I loved making a tote bag full of little cotton produce bags, a bread bag I made from some scrap fabric and my Keepcup so whenever I go out I have it to hand. I also love trying new zero waste alternatives when I run out of stuff; making new cleaning products (ps this is EASY PEASY!) and trialling toothpastes in glass jars (so far, all are rank.)

Follow people who inspire you online. I love Bea Johnson, Sustainably Vegan (also Low Impact movement on Instagram), Eco Boost, Treading My Own Path. 

More than anything, be kind to yourself. This shit is hard. REALLY hard. And sometimes, I’m sure even the most hardcore of zero wasters ‘slips up’ but who cares – trying and failing sometimes is better than not trying at all. 

L x

 

A Beginners Guide to Making Zero Waste Swaps

Here we go again with another bloody thing to worry about! Yep, here I am again wanging on about yet another thing I’m endeavoring to achieve. This time it’s zero waste. 

I know, I know…..it’s actually not so easy to achieve waste nil pointe these days and, to be honest, I don’t strive for it. I actually don’t think that’s the point. It’s super easy to get sweapt up in yet another movement, buying a whole new kit and declaring: ‘no more shampoo!’ But the reality for me is that it’s a long, slow process I’ve been working towards for years. And my family have now joined me! 

So, I wanted to share my swaps and successes and tell you a bit about how I’ve been trying to reduce my waste. 

Why ZERO WASTE? 

Since exploring veganism, minimalism and capsule wardrobing over three years ago I’ve just become more……awake. And let me tell you, that’s super annoying! When we lived in Thailand we saw first hand the damage waste does to our planet with SO many straws, plastic cups,condom wrappers (I lived on a Thai island…..what do you expect?) and plastic bags washed up in the ocean every day. 

When we came home I read a little about the zero waste movement and, of course, watched Bea Johnson on YouTube but it felt so….hard. So inconvenient. I lived in a small flat with no garden at the time. Was going all Good Life realistic? I didn’t think so, so I did nothing at all. I didn’t really do much about it until my lovely friend Nicki Batchelor started her Zero Waste Kent account. 

I then began delving into loads of other accounts too. Mamalina, Eco Boost, Sustainably Vegan, Madeleine Olivia…….all varying in lifestyle and content but all giving me a whole heap of tips on how to make little swaps to my life. 

And swaps I MADE! Over the past year, I’ve been squirreling away, swapping plastic and making small tweaks here and there. 

Before I go into what I swapped out and by way of background my family consists of me, my husband and our little 14-month-old baby Anaïs. Oli and I are vegan and, at home, so is Anaïs (she has a banging social life and eats veggie when she’s out and about.)

Kitchen

The kitchen has been the simplest place to swap out bits and pieces for me. I think that might be due to the fact being vegan cuts out a whole heap of stuff anyway. Yay! BUT there are still some things lingering (leftover cleaning stuff etc) which I’ll use up before making my own.

I take old totes (we’ve all got stakcs of these right?) and little cotton bags to the supermarket and pop fruit, veg, bread and loose pastries in. It feels a bit like your stealing at first but don’t worry, nobody really notices! Top tip: the cotton drawstring bags I use have tare weights, which is really handy when you’re doing a zero waste shop as you can easily deduct the weight of the bag.

We don’t shop at the supermarket too much, as we get a weekly veg box from Abel & Cole and have been doing so for YEARS. Probably about 10 to be honest. We get the All-British veg box, not because we are Brexiteers but to reduce our carbon footprint a little.

Grains, pasta, rice etc are a bugger as they all come in non-recyclable plastic. In London I had a few zero waste stores where I could top up supplies with my own containers. But in Brighton……..holy crap there’s not much! Surprisingly so. There’s a small (semi) zero-waste store in Brighton called Hisbe I use and the wonderful Charlotte’s Cupboard is now delivering to me sans plastic to Hove too! Hallelujah.

We get loose ground coffee & recyclable pods from Pact and I have a mini tea strainer which I use with loose leaf Earl Grey (I know, faaaaancy.)

I make my own oat or almond milk too, which is surprisingly simple (one cup oats, four cups water, blend, sieve twice) so we’ve been saving money and those pesky tetrapaks too.

Oli lost all our Tupperware at work, a blessing as I replaced them with these glass Pyrex dishes with silicone lids. These are brilliant because you can pop them in the microwave AND oven (without the lid!)

I have some Zoflora disinfectant, which comes in a glass bottle but I’ll replace that with homemade cleaner when it runs out. And a couple of shops near me do Ecover refills so I’m using those to top up the washing-up liquid. Although to be honest, I’m sure I could switch to soap flakes?

When the plastic wrapped sponges and cleaning cloth ran out, I switched to wood-fibre cloths (and a scourer) I can chuck in the washing machine. They’re actually much better than the cheaper reusable ones so I’m not missing anything!

I think the first switch I made was to get myself a KeepCup. Oli has a couple too, and his are even more eco as they’re glass and cork. Mine is plastic, but I like the fact I can chuck it in the dishwasher. It’s great for my coffee addiction and most coffee shops give me some money off when I use it too. I also have an old plastic bottle I take out and about with me.

Bathroom

As a skincare product junkie, this is the area I’ve struggled with the most. Although I don’t use much anymore (I broke the addiction while travelling) I still like my skincare to be, ahem, toxic. I am 100% not on board for all-natural skincare just yet. I’m okay with that, for now.

We switched our electric toothbrush for bamboo toothbrushes when it ran out. I miss my electric toothbrush but hey, ho………..I just really can’t skimp on that three minutes now!

I don’t wash my hair very often anyway but I’m trying to wash it even less. Oli washes his every day which is tough……especially as shampoo bars are so expensive, so I’m trying to go no/low-poo (aka no shampoo, I’m not planning a life of constipation.) But…..I’m not looking forward to the ‘transition’ stage as after three weeks, it’s not greasy but…..it’s flaky.
YUK. I’m going to try a bicarbonate of soda scrub and an apple cider vinegar rinse. Wish me luck.

I use soap instead of bottles of shower gel, which is no drama and super cheap and I’ve never been one to use things like body scrubs, fake tan or shaving gel anyway so that’s not been an issue.

Deodorant has been crazy simple for me – I just bought a natural alum one (it’s a stick of mineral salt you use straight after showering.) It’s GREAT for travel (not liquid) and lasts for ages. It’s worked well for me, but annoyingly it’s in plastic…..

Another simple switch has been to my new safety razor, which is all vintage steel gorgeousness and a lot easier to use than I expected. The razor blade refillscome wrapped in paper and cost SO much less than the average plastic razor and refills (£23 for the razor, £10 for 100 refill blades vs. approx £13 for 8 basic Gillette refills.)

I’ve been using a menstrual cup for years now, but I recently switched from the Mooncup to the Organicup (gifted) and I LOVE IT. It’s just so much easier than tampons and I’d never switch back. It’s cheaper, better for the environment and better for you too. (PS you get free Organicup shipping when you use the code ‘wanderluce’.)

We’ve also ditched plastic wrapped loo roll for the super eco-friendly Who Gives a Crap loo roll which is 100% recycled, no inks/dyes and really ethical too; the brand donate 50% of profits to charities building toilets for those who need them. At $48 for $48 jumbo rolls, it’s cheaper than our usual brand too. Bonus.

Laundry! This has been so much fun since I switched to an EcoEgg which, while plastic…..lasts for 720 washes (three years!!!) for £28.

Baby

This one has been tricky, I’m not gonna lie. And I’m not totally winning because a lot of the time I choose convenience over zero waste/plastic.

But I’m making small changes here and there and trying to change mine and my family’s mindset when it comes to ‘stuff’ which, more often than not, we don’t need.

The first change has been to drop disposable nappies that sit on a landfill for 500 years for reusable cloth nappies. Oli was SO incredibly dubious about this it took me months to convince him. But convince him I did and he’s now sold….ish.

After reading this post by Rosie I tried out The Nappy Lady advisory service where she gives you recommendations based on your answers to a questionnaire about your nappy needs and lifestyle. We bought a couple of bits (although you’re under no obligation to do so) and tried three brands; Bambino Mio birth to potty all-in-one nappies, Little Lamb and Tots Bots plus Blueberry wrap.

I’m going to write a big reusable nappy review soon, but for now, I have to say the Bambino Mio nappies are my absolute faves. They’re as easy to use as disposable nappies, wash really well, come in cute prints and Anaïs loves them too. I loved them so much I bought a whole load used via Facebook and the lovely Sarah Starrs who was selling some of hers on Instagram. FYI this is NOT spon…..I paid for them all myself!

Anaïs doesn’t have so many toys, but those she does are gifted, hand-me-downs and mostly wooden. But we tend to go to the library for books and toys anyway, and I might pick up some bits and bobs at the charity shop too.

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simple zero waste swaps to make

Miscellaneous!

I don’t buy many clothes anyway but after doing Jessica Rose Williams capsule wardrobe guide I realised I had a couple of wardrobe gaps. So I picked up a vintage fur coat from my local thrift store Bobby & Dandy and a new bag from Mat & Nat, a vegan, ethical brand I love.

JUNK MAIL! This was the bane of my life when I moved to Brighton (Somehow I get so much more here) so I bought a ‘no junk mail’ sticker for the letterbox. I know you can recycle paper but saying no means you’re sending a message that one less person wants this marketing.

If you’re interested in making more ethical clothing choices I’d encourage you to check out my girl Elle Croft’s posts.

Because I’m vegan I save a whole heap of water and food waste by cutting out animal products. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of water waste, deforestation, and climate change so I’m happy to keep eating zero-meat! But if you don’t wanna go vegan full-time, even a couple of days a week will make a difference.

ps here’s why I’m vegan…..

I have a wee Kilner composter for our food waste, but Brighton & Hove is a particularly un-green council (I know, shocker!) and all communal composting schemes are full (which cuts out a LOT of the area as we all have notoriously teeny gardens) so I’ve been at a loss as to what to do. I’m thinking either a wormery or trying the Bokashi Japanese method where you pickle your food waste (cooked and uncooked, so great if you aren’t vegan.)

But for now, I’m just trying to use as much as I can (hello veggie stock, carrot cake made from peel and veggie peel crisps!) and composting the rest.

Phew, mammoth post! What do you think? Are you keen to reduce your waste? Any top tips for a total div like me?! You know the score, answers in the comments 😉

L x

Helpful resources

Mamalina & Plastic Free Me’s #plasticfreeparent campaign

Zero Waste Kent

Charlotte’s Cupboard (Brighton & Hove zero waste delivery)

Eco-Boost

The Mylk Man (plant-based milk bottle delivery service in London)