You can’t help but feel worried about the heatwaves we are undergoing this summer, not the mention the week ahead. In the long term, we need to put pressure on our leaders to stick to their promises on climate change, alongside huge corporations who also need to DO BETTER. If you’re wondering what links single-use plastic to climate change here’s one example:

“Plastic production is expanding worldwide…plastic contributes to greenhouse gas emissions at every stage of its lifecycle, from its production to its refining and the way it is managed as a waste product.

This plastic binge threatens attempts to meet the Paris climate agreement…by 2050 plastic will be responsible for up to 13% of the total “carbon budget” – equivalent to 615 coal-fired power plants.” (Source: The Guardian)

See the source image

What Can You Do?

Below I’ll offer a range of eco-friendly summer tips which help you avoid single-use plastic and reduce waste.

Tip 1: Insulated reusable water bottle

If you haven’t already got one, it’s a must. Not only will you cut out plastic (which isn’t nice to drink out of, let’s face it) but you can have a drink that stays cold all day. Simple but effective!

Tip 2: Never run out of ice cubes

You’ve probably got an ice cube tray, right? But once those cubes are used you’re left waiting for another batch to be frozen. Not anymore! Take an old freezer bag of some description and fill with ice cubes once they’re ready. Repeat a few times until you have a good amount of ‘back up’ ice without needing to buy any in plastic bags. If it gets a little stuck together give it a gentle bash on worktop or floor to separate. Top tip: If you squeeze lemons or limes, keep the skins/flesh and freeze this too, to add to drinks. You’re welcome!

eco-friendly summer tips

Tip 3: Use your fan less

How? Keep your house a little cooler by keeping all windows and curtains closed in the heat of the day. Once the sun goes down you can open the windows up, and use a fan in front of the window to either blow cooler air in or suck hotter air out. This will cool bedrooms down reducing the need to run electric fans all night long.

Tip 4: Tiles are your friend!

It’s not the most comfortable, but tiles in the shade stay remarkably cool in hot weather. Try parking yourself on them for 10-15 mins (if you can!) to cool yourself off a bit. You could also try a wet flannel that’s been soaked in a shallow bowl of colder water too.

Tip 5: Plastic free sunscreen

Sunscreen is a must! We currently stock the excellent Shade (100ml is the best value) but will be adding a vegan option in Spring 2023.

plastic free sunscreen

Tip 6: Don’t forget your plants!

Plants indoor or out need a drink, but you don’t need to reach for the hose. Place a bucket or some tubs in your shower to catch water run off, and use this instead. It’s also a good idea to leave a bowl of water out for wildlife too. Nature will thank you!

Hopefully at least one of these tips has inspired you. Until next time, stay cool!

Keeping Cool Without Waste

reusable bottle

You can’t help but feel worried about the heatwaves we are undergoing this summer, not the mention the week ahead. In the long term, we need to put pressure on our leaders to stick to their promises on climate change, alongside huge corporations who also need to DO BETTER. If you’re wondering what links single-use plastic to climate change here’s one example:

“Plastic production is expanding worldwide…plastic contributes to greenhouse gas emissions at every stage of its lifecycle, from its production to its refining and the way it is managed as a waste product.

This plastic binge threatens attempts to meet the Paris climate agreement…by 2050 plastic will be responsible for up to 13% of the total “carbon budget” – equivalent to 615 coal-fired power plants.” (Source: The Guardian)

See the source image

What Can You Do?

Below I’ll offer a range of eco-friendly summer tips which help you avoid single-use plastic and reduce waste.

Tip 1: Insulated reusable water bottle

If you haven’t already got one, it’s a must. Not only will you cut out plastic (which isn’t nice to drink out of, let’s face it) but you can have a drink that stays cold all day. Simple but effective!

Tip 2: Never run out of ice cubes

You’ve probably got an ice cube tray, right? But once those cubes are used you’re left waiting for another batch to be frozen. Not anymore! Take an old freezer bag of some description and fill with ice cubes once they’re ready. Repeat a few times until you have a good amount of ‘back up’ ice without needing to buy any in plastic bags. If it gets a little stuck together give it a gentle bash on worktop or floor to separate. Top tip: If you squeeze lemons or limes, keep the skins/flesh and freeze this too, to add to drinks. You’re welcome!

eco-friendly summer tips

Tip 3: Use your fan less

How? Keep your house a little cooler by keeping all windows and curtains closed in the heat of the day. Once the sun goes down you can open the windows up, and use a fan in front of the window to either blow cooler air in or suck hotter air out. This will cool bedrooms down reducing the need to run electric fans all night long.

Tip 4: Tiles are your friend!

It’s not the most comfortable, but tiles in the shade stay remarkably cool in hot weather. Try parking yourself on them for 10-15 mins (if you can!) to cool yourself off a bit. You could also try a wet flannel that’s been soaked in a shallow bowl of colder water too.

Tip 5: Plastic free sunscreen

Sunscreen is a must! We currently stock the excellent Shade (100ml is the best value) but will be adding a vegan option in Spring 2023.

plastic free sunscreen

Tip 6: Don’t forget your plants!

Plants indoor or out need a drink, but you don’t need to reach for the hose. Place a bucket or some tubs in your shower to catch water run off, and use this instead. It’s also a good idea to leave a bowl of water out for wildlife too. Nature will thank you!

Hopefully at least one of these tips has inspired you. Until next time, stay cool!

Recipe: Vegan Sticky Noodles

You’ll love this easy noodle recipe. It’s quick, easy, vegan and keeps really well for leftovers the next day. Serves 2.
Ingredients: (items marked * can be bought from us)
Method:
  1. Add some oil to a large pan on medium high heat and fry off the vegetables. After 3 minutes add the 5 Spice, and another minute later the garlic granules. Turn the heat down to medium.

2. Pop the noodles in a pan of boiling water. Tip: For extra flavour add a tsp of our Vegan Bouillon.

3. When the vegetables are cooked, add in the soy and BBQ sauces and your cashews.

4. Drain the noodles after 4-5 minutes when they are fully cooked.

5. Serve your noodles with the vegetables in sauce on top; and a sprinkling of linseed.

We hope you loved this recipe- there will be more to come!

Eco-Friendly Mattress Cleaning: A Step By Step Guide Using Natural Ingredients

eco-friendly mattress cleaning
A few weeks ago I realised that aside from changing the bed sheets I hadn’t done much in the way of spring cleaning our mattresses. A little bit of research later and I gave it eco-friendly mattress cleaning a go, using only products from in store.
What You Will Need:
  • Spray Bottle
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Steam cleaner/mop (if you have one)

 

Method:
  1. Remove all bedding and thoroughly vacuum the mattress.
  2. Mix together a couple pumps of wash up liquid, a splash of laundry liquid, and half cup of water in the spray bottle. Swirl to mix rather than shaking.
  3. Spray this mixture lightly, focusing on any stained areas. No need to get completely soaking.
  4. Using a loofah or cotton cloth, lightly scrub any areas in need of it.
  5. Sprinkle a thin layer of bicarb all over the mattress, adding a little more in the areas which have been scrubbed.
  6. Leave for approx. one hour, with the bedroom window open if desired.
  7. (Optional) If you have a steam cleaner/steam mop, you can wrap a cotton cloth around the end of it and use this on a medium setting (too hot will damage any memory foam in the mattress) on the stained areas. Work each area carefully.
  8. Leave for another hour to dry off.
  9. If a large amount of bicarb is on the stained areas, you can brush it off into a dustpan before vacuuming.
  10. If not, vacuum entire mattress and leave bedding off until completely dry.

 

A note about bicarb and vacuum cleaners.

Due to how fine it is, in copious amounts bicarb can damage some bag-less vacuum cleaners. If you have a machine like this, it might be worth cleaning the filters afterwards.

I hope you’ve found this eco-friendly mattress cleaning guide useful! I’d advise following this twice a year if possible, but even vacuuming your mattress every month or two will help keep it fresh and extend its lifespan. Any questions just pop them in the comments, or send them via email to [email protected].

Blooming Sustainable: A Catch Up With Little Garden Flowers

plastic free flowers

Amongst the madness of Festive Prep, I managed to grab 10 minutes with Lois A.K.A. Little Garden Flowers, our wonderful floral supplier.

Read on to find out about her inspirations, plus tons of interesting info about sustainability in the floral world.
plastic free flowers
british blooms

Q. Tell us a little bit about yourself…

A. I’m Lois and I run the floristry studio Little Garden in Gaydon. Environmentalism is at the heart of what I do, and I’ve totally built my business around that being our main priority. I’ve always been passionate about the environment, ever since a Science teacher played us the Al Gore film ‘Inconvenient Truth’ at school when I was 13. I think I can safely say it changed my life! That in combination with my love for the outdoors and natural world made floristry a perfect combination for me. I love a good old adventure, lots of travelling, and working in the garden – all of which helps to inform my work as well as keeping my soul well-fed! 

Q. When did you first become interested in floristry? Is it something you always wanted to do?

A. It was probably about half way through studying for my degree in photography at Falmouth University when my mind started to wonder. I love photography, especially with analogue film, but I wasn’t liking the direction the commercial work would have taken me (lots of computer/desk work). Living in Cornwall was just as much of an inspiration as the degree itself, so I started to consider careers that would incorporate my creative thinking with the natural world. Floristry seemed like a good starting point, and it… stuck!

Q. What can you tell us about the issues surrounding sustainability in the flower industry?

A. Unfortunately it’s a pretty long list of issues, most of which is unknown to the public. I didn’t know about any of these problems until I started my career in floristry so it’s no wonder is such an ongoing issue.

The most common misconception about flowers is that they probably come from Holland. Whilst technically this isn’t false, that doesn’t mean the flowers are necessarily grown here. Holland is known globally for being the largest fresh flower distributor in the world. Meaning flowers are often grown as far as South America, are then shipped to Holland to be sold on auction, and then can be distributed to the consumer (as far as in Japan) – all within 3 days. Flowers are mostly flown on huge refrigerated cargo ships which have a huge environmental cost.

Many of the flower farm workers are living in poverty and have little to no workers rights, care or fair wages. The flowers are often sprayed with fertilisers and preservatives which would otherwise be banned here in the UK – yet the flower harvesters are expected to pick the crops with no protection to some potentially life-altering chemicals.

Most of the time when buying flowers you are likely to be buying a plastic-wrapped bouquet – which will also have been re-wrapped once or twice in its distribution process. Sometimes to advertise the original nursery, then the distributing auction house, and finally the supermarket or florists brand name. It really is a continual cycle of waste and overproduction everywhere you look.

Lastly, the other main issue (although there really are more than I have time to list here!) is Floral Foam – or otherwise known as Oasis. This is the green foamy stuff which your flower-arranging-grandma probably once used! You can poke your finger in it and it goes all squishy. Basically this stuff is the cherry on the cake for floral environmental damage. Floral foam is made of a complex combination of microplastics which don’t biodegrade, poison marine life, and hold carcinogenic properties. It has been detected in the stomachs of almost all tested seabirds in the UK, and has been coined as the florists version of asbestos – leaving no living creature safe from the stuff!  Unfortunately there is still no off-the-shelf alternative to floral foam, as the properties it needs in floral design is very hard to replicate. Meaning it is still very much widely used, mostly in wedding floristry and funeral work.

pexels-photo-6022831

Q. What materials and sourcing principles do you use to provide a more eco-friendly alternative?

A. At Little Garden we strictly use British-grown blooms all year round. Through the Summer this means our flowers are mostly homegrown or sourced within 20 miles from our studio, and the rest of the year we support some larger British growers based in Cornwall and Lancashire. Most of our flowers are pesticide free, and we try to buy plastic free flowers for the large majority of the year. Our customers bouquets come wrapped in paper, with a compostable sticker and string.

We are constantly experimenting with new ideas, techniques and products in the battle against floral foam for wedding and funeral work – and strictly never use the stuff on any given occasion. Mostly we opt for sustainably-sourced moss with compostable bags and wooden bases – making all our designs fully compostable. But I am very much keeping at the forefront of foam-alternative discussions, and trying to help fellow florists in the industry adapt their businesses to use more eco-friendly methods.

Q. Do you think awareness is growing (lol) of these matters, and the industry is responding?

A. I have been running my business for 4.5 years now, and in the last 2 years I have seen a huge shift amongst florists. There is much more awareness on the harm caused by floral foam, and more florists are starting to supporting the British flower industry. Whether this is for environmental reasons or because of the recent Brexit price increases – who knows..! But it’s a step in the right direction.

Generally speaking most customers who come to us already have some awareness about the issues floristry faces (which is how they found us!). But I’m incredibly aware of the sheer volume of people who still have no idea how much harm is caused by something which otherwise seems so innocent. I often think that because it’s a natural product, there is an instant association that it must be harmless and eco-friendly.

Q. What was it like exhibiting at the Chelsea Flower Show and how did you get the gig?

A. It was mad! Haha! We submitted a design back in November 2019 and didn’t really expect much from it. I’d never applied for anything like it before so it was quite a affirming experience to have the privilege to exhibit there! We had a 3x3meter installation space (basically… huge!) and focused our story on the preservation of our natural spaces. The BBC picked up an interest in the piece and we were fortunate enough to be featured on the BBC Chelsea Coverage with a strong emphasis on our environmental message. This really was the whole purpose of applying in the first place, so it really couldn’t have felt like more of a success. You can catch the piece (10 mins long!) on iPlayer – Chelsea Flower Show coverage Episode 11.

Q. Tell us about the services you offer…

A. So we pretty much do anything any florist would do – but in a wilderness-inspired style and with eco-friendly methods. Bouquets for delivery, subscription flowers, weddings, workshops, funerals, house dressings and Christmas work… we do it all! As well as stocking lovely local shops like Zero with our flowers… and wreath kits, which are available to order via Zero!

Q. Where can people follow your social media or find out more?

A. We are @littlegardenflowers on both Instagram and Facebook. For more information on the services we offer or a chance to join our mailing list, please visit our website www.littlegardenflowers.co.uk

plastic free flowers