Environmentally friendly cleaning brands | Simply Marcia


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Environmentally friendly cleaning brands

Inspired by many recent campaigns and programmes highlighting environmental and ecological issues, it’s time for me to properly ditch all harmful cleaning products in our home. Instead, I’m now switching to natural and environmentally friendly ones. However (ashamedly), I’m a bit new to this world so I’ve done a little research to find brands that have no impact on aquatic life, are chemical free, cruelty free and are plant based (perfect for vegans). The good news, is that there are actually loads of brilliant, environmentally-friendly brands available (some of which are stocked in major supermarkets), but these are the ones I’ve personally come across and like:

Method offer a massive range of vegan and cruelty free cleaning products for cleaning your home, doing the laundry and washing up! Think antibacterial bathroom, floor and kitchen cleaners as well as gorgeous smelling hand washes. Basically, the entire range smells as though you should be bathing or showering in it! And the great thing, is that you can buy Method products in a huge range of places: all the major supermarkets as well as stores like B&Q, John Lewis and Boots.

Faith in Nature pretty much says it all really. Have faith in nature – this range of cleaning products covers everything from household cleaners, to laundry to washing up and their refills come in 5L sizes (and are brilliantly wallet-friendly!). They also offer environmentally friendly beauty, skincare, baby and pet product ranges.

Humblestuff is a range of environmentally friendly cleaning products I found on Twitter. This is a small business, based in Scotland, creating hand-made and amazingly-scented products (thanks to the addition of essential oils). At the moment they only offer 3 products in their range – but that’s all you need right?: a multi-surface spray, a toilet freshener and a soft-cleaning paste. All their products are vegan, paraben and cruelty free.

Holland and Barrett‘s ‘Earth Friendly’ washing and laundry cleaning products range is perfect to get hold of if you’re out and about as there’s a store in most high streets – think washing up liquid, laundry tablets and eco eggs.

If you like to mix and match your cleaning products, one of the best UK sites that stocks almost every environmentally friendly cleaning brand you can think of, is Ethical Superstore. They also sell groceries, vegan skincare and other ethically sourced and fair trade products for your home and family.

Finally, there’s also the option to do-it-yourself and have a go at making some of your own cleaning products. Ok, I haven’t actually done this myself (yet!) but maybe one day! In the meantime, The Green Parent and Vegan Food and Living offers some brilliant DIY tips as well as guidelines on what to look out for if you’re more interested in ethical cleaning products.

Is there an environmentally friendly cleaning brand you use and would recommend?

Happy, ethical cleaning!


Plastic free campaigns you need to know about

Sometimes it can actually be quite hard to know where to start when you want to begin something new; a new habit, a new journey, a new way of doing things, a new project … For me, this year, a new thing I want to start is to become much more proactive in supporting organisations who are doing great things to help our environment, the oceans, our planet – specifically plastic free campaigns.

My motivation has come from watching Blue Planet 2 and the environmental awareness the programme has raised. Here in Devon and Cornwall, there are so many passionate campaigners, who’ve started something new themselves, doing practical things and leading by example – showing us how we can all help in practical ways and by sharing awareness of the environmental damage being inflicted on our oceans and the precious creatures who live in and rely on them.

I thought it might be helpful to share the details of some of the individuals and organisations I follow and support on social media (and who offer brilliant advice and practical tips on environmental issues including going plastic free):

Surfers Against Sewage

If you love the ocean, going to the beach, surfing, swimming, walking the dog along the coastline … this group of like-minded individuals is determined to fight the plastic pollution that blights our beautiful beaches. You can offer support by signing their petition Message in a Bottle (calling for a deposit return system on plastic bottles and other single use drinks containers), or join an organised beach clean.

Less Plastic

If you feel inspired to reduce your plastic consumption, this site is a great starting point, offering advice for both individuals and businesses alike, as well as brilliant plastic free products and informative, educational postcards and posters.

A Plastic Planet

A Plastic Planet is behind the Plastic Free Aisle campaign – its aim is for a Plastic Free Aisle in supermarkets, offering consumers the choice to buy food not wrapped in plastic and ultimately a reduction in the amount of single-use plastics in our supermarkets. You can join their campaign here.

Change.org

This current petition is calling on Michael Gove to ban retailers from using plastic and other packaging which is not biodegradable or recyclable. The petition asks that the Top 10 UK retailers switch to biodegradable packaging materials, You can sign and share this petition here.

The Final Straw

This is a campaign to rid Cornwall of single use plastic straws and raise awareness of the damage single use plastics are causing to our environment. The site offers advice, plastic-free tips and ways you can help share the campaign with friends, family and colleagues.

2 minute beach clean

The #2minutebeachclean campaign is focused on doing practical things to help clear up plastics and rubbish washed up on our beaches, via 2 minute beach cleans. The campaign is growing in momentum and quite simply, involves individuals or families helping to rid the world’s beaches of marine litter and plastic pollution, by picking up plastics and litter at their local beach, 2 minutes at a time. There’s also a fab online shop where you can buy plastic free products (cups, straws, bags), as well as beach clean up equipment.

Let’s all do our bit: ditch the plastic as much as we can and pick it up when we find it littering our beaches, waterways and countryside.


5 easy ways to go plastic free today!

The screening of Blue Planet 2 has been such an eye opener in so many ways; not only have we been introduced to beautiful, amazing creatures and their habitats, but sadly, we’ve also become blatantly aware of the devastating impact plastics are having on our seas, oceans and the creatures who call it home. Watching the show left me feeling both in awe of the natural world but equally ashamed as a human being of the devastation we inflict on it. It’s absolutely time for action.

I’ve spent the weeks since the show finished:
– finding out as much as I can about the impact plastics have had and are still having every day, on our planet
– researching how we recycle, what we recycle and what the issues with recycling are
– discovering some amazing people and campaigns working incredibly hard to help create change
– understanding that if we all made some easy and little changes to our daily lives we can have a positive impact on our environment.

You have to start somewhere. So following all the advice about going plastic free, these 5 tips are easy ways you can go plastic free today:

1. Say a big, fat NO to plastic straws, cocktail stirrers and disposable cutlery. Instead, either sip your drinks (a novel idea ha!) and use proper cutlery. If you (or the kids) like to use a straw sometimes, consider buying environmental friendly straws from a company such as ecostrawz – they have a great array of stainless steel, glass, bamboo and titanium straws – perfect to reuse time and again. These range in price from £2.49 – £5.99.

2. Plastic water, fruit juice and fizzy drink bottles are another NO. Instead, get yourself and the family reusable water bottles. When my kids were at primary school they always took a reusable water bottle to school – we’ve got out of this habit – but no excuses now. I’ve had a look around and for me, one green bottle is the perfect solution. They offer a brilliant range of durable, stainless steel and environmentally friendly products – including water bottles, lunchboxes and reusable coffee cups (see tip 3 below!). Prices for water bottles start at £10.

3. As a non-coffee drinker, the whole take-out coffee thing has kind of passed me by however, I have been known to grab the odd take-out tea at the train station so in at number 3) it’s a NO to take out coffee cups (actually, this also applies to fizzy drink take outs you get in places like McDonalds – they may look like cardboard but they’re coated with plastic). Instead, it’s back to one green bottle again – they have a brilliant range of reusable coffee/tea takeout cups. Simply take with you and ask the barista to use your reusable take out cup instead of an own-brand.

4. We all know the drill by now when it comes to plastic bags so these being on the list can come as no surprise. I thought I’d include these though, as I have many times either a) rocked up at the supermarket without my reusable bags (and cursed myself) or b) underestimated how much shopping I’d buy and therefore not have enough reusable bags. This is more about getting in to a good habit when it comes to shopping and bags. I now keep a load of cotton reusable (and washable) bags in the boot of the car and for my handbag (I’m a bit of an impulse shopper) I’ve just ordered a couple of string bags from Green Fibres. These are cheap as you like (they start from £5.00) can carry a heavy load but are lightweight and squish up teeny, tiny to fit in to your bag. Most of the supermarkets also offer reusable jute or cotton-based bags too – and absolutely preferable over the plastic bags-for-life.

5. If you’re headed to the supermarket today or local green grocers, as much as is possible, try to say NO to buying your fruit and veg in pre-wrapped plastic. Try to buy it loose if you can – but don’t then add it to one of these little plastic bags the supermarkets have on stand by for our convenience! Small, local green grocers or farm shops tend to be better at stocking paper bags so are worth a try if it works for you. If not, when you’re at the supermarket either add your fruit and veg loose (this may not work for things like brussel sprouts!) to your basket or place it in one of your reusable bags for sorting at the checkout (they’ll love you ha!). The other alternative, of course, is to join a local, farm shop vegetable box delivery service such as Riverford Organic Farmers or here, in south-east Cornwall, Tamar Grow Local Food Hubs – that way, you’ll be supporting a local business, eating fresh fruit and veg delivered directly from the farm, cutting out the middleman and the plastic.

Go forth and start your plastic free journey … and let me know if you have any other easy tips to help us all go plastic free x


My 2017 round up – some of what I’ve learnt!

As 2017 draws to a close, I find myself making final Christmassy plans, catching up with family and friends, and pondering a little on what this last year as brought me. So I thought a little round up to remind myself of some of the positive things that have made 2017, for me:

Moving to Cornwall

The biggest decision made this year. My partner and I have five children between us: he has two older boys, I have three younger ones who live with us. Uprooting my three and moving us all 2 1/2 hours drive from Bath to south-east Cornwall might have seemed a little crazy but you know, sometimes, when the opportunity strikes, you have to grab it and just do it. There was a lot of soul-searching, head-scratching, umm-ing and ahh-ing of course – the biggest worry I had was how this move would affect my children. But kids are resilient; there have been tough times of course, but, they’ve started new schools and made new friends. They still see and stay with their dad once a fortnight in Bath so those ties are still strong – and thanks to social media, they now have the best of both worlds with friends both here in Cornwall and back in Bath.

What I’ve learnt: The move has highlighted the fact that I’m a hoarder- I had too much ‘stuff’. Thankfully, the move meant scaling back and giving back to charities. I’ve also learnt that I really, really like to be away from the crazy rat-race. And that this part of Cornwall is not that far from Bath (hooray!). The novelty of doing up a new (but very old) house wears off once the Cornish sun shines and the beach calls – it’s a tough call – beach or DIY? That kids are hard work no matter where you live. And that I really, really, really love living in Cornwall – but equally, being so close to Dartmoor (my spiritual home I think).

Freelancing

I wasn’t sure how the big move would affect my freelance marketing. All my strong, client links and networks were back in Bath and Bristol. This is where most of my freelance work came from until our move. Thankfully, proving true that location is (mostly!) irrelevant when it comes to working as a freelancer I’ve a) managed to keep hold of projects and clients I was working on back in Bath and b) I’ve built up some lovely, new contacts here in Cornwall and have new clients and exciting projects taking me in to 2018.

What I’ve learnt: Communication is key. Whether that’s keeping conversations running with existing clients or networking and meeting new potential ones. And that you can’t rush or force these things – I’m all for natural chemistry! Oh, and sometimes heading to the beach to clear the cobwebs away and work stuff out! Keeping my LinkedIn profile updated and fresh has helped too.

Health

I’m very lucky; I’m not someone who thankfully suffers from illness very often. However, this move has made me recognise that as I get older, I want to become stronger and do what I can to live a happy and healthy life for as long as possible – it must be the sea air! This year I’ve upped my exercise game. Not quite a runner, I would class myself as someone on the cusp of super-fast walking/jogging – is that a thing? Point is, come rain or shine, uphill and down dell, I’ve been out there – my heart rate has been seriously pumping and working hard this year, and as a result I’m more toned and without a shadow of a doubt, so much fitter. I’m also a fan of kayaking – it’s perfect for all the family, it brings you so much closer to nature, it’s great for your core muscles and it’s easy! It’s also been a year of ‘in with the veg’ and ‘out with the meat’. I’m not quite ready to go full vegetarian (pescatarian is more likely!) but we’ve certainly had far more meat-free days than carnivorous ones. If you fancy joining me, Meat Free Mondays have some brilliant advice and recipes.

What I’ve learnt:
I’m really, really not a naturally sporty kind of person and didn’t think I could move as fast as I can – but with support and encouragement (and gentle nagging from other half when all I really want to do is slouch on the sofa with a bar of galaxy and a good box set, rather than head out in the torrential rain and fast walk up that bloody hill again) – I’ve made massive progress . I’ve also discovered a genuine love of lentils and legumes – my meat free substitutes.

Environment

Coming from a family of small holders and grow-your-own’ers, nature and the environment is a massive part of my life. Living in this part of the world, close to both the glorious beaches and breathtaking moors has brought us even closer to nature. Being able to spend so much time this summer literally touring the Cornish coastline, swimming, rock pooling and kayaking has been wonderful. And which is why, watching the recent Blue Planet 2 series has had a massive impact on me. We’re a family of re-users and recycle’ers but had no idea the scale of the plastics pollution of our oceans. It’s such a huge and dreadful problem but there are loads of brilliant initiatives we can all be a part of such as Surfers Against Sewage and One Less Bottle. Also this year we acquired a new allotment which a) I love, b) don’t quite know where to start with, but c) am determined to fill with edible plants for us, a wildlife haven for insects and small creatures and a penned off space for our lovely rescue hens!

What I’ve learnt
Ok, this is blindingly obvious I know, but we really do only have one planet. One environment. If a species becomes extinct, that’s it – game over for that species. It’s surely our duty to look after all creatures and all environments on this amazing planet. More than anything, it’s left me feeling passionate about doing my bit. That means buying locally, massively reducing our plastic consumption in this family, joining petitions and lobby’s, joining in with local beach cleans. That also means looking after and nurturing our small patch of land to help preserve it and the insects and creatures that visit it for future generations.

Food (and more importantly, gin!)

I’ve always loved ‘growing my own’ and having grown up in the era of ‘The Good Life’ and with parents who ran a small holding, it can come as no surprise to learn that food is a genuine source of joy for me. From keeping bees and hens to growing window sill herbs or hours spent on my allotment, I’m still a massive fan of the GYO movement. Life though, has been pretty hectic since our move to Cornwall – so we’ve kid of cheated and our GYO produce has come in the guise of Tamar Valley Grow Local whose philosophy is ‘Grow, Share, Cook’- if you can’t grow your own then buy and support local businesses who do! We like think we’re also doing our bit for local gin distilleries here in Cornwall too! It’s my tipple of choice and thankfully we’re lucky that there are some brilliant independent distilleries here which we’re gradually working our way around …

What I’ve learnt
Beside the fact that gin is my thing (nothing new!), supporting local farmers, small holders and independent producers via local schemes such as Tamar Grow Local is the next best thing to growing your own. It’s also great for the local economy and the environment. My intention next year is to combine a bit of home growing with local produce purchasing … first things first though – I need to get my house (allotment!) in order …