My most recent favourite ethical purchases.

As consumers we hold so much power and our buying decisions matter. Simply put, demand drives offer and companies follow consumer choices. This is a basic market principle that we all understand but often forget when making our purchases.

At the end of the day, what we buy is what we believe in, what we choose to support and, ultimately, what we want to see more in the world of. Thus, it is important to be mindful not only about what and how much we buy but also why we buy it and from where. Rather than buying by impulse, we should be striving to make informed and conscious purchasing decisions. By investing into sustainable, eco-friendly and fair trade products we are collectively effecting change. We are also supporting companies whose work is focused on making our planet a better place for all living things. Throughout the past years, I have definitely become more aware of what I consume and of where I choose to spend my money. I take pleasure in doing my own research about cruelty free, socially and environmental conscious brands/products before making some of my purchases. This way I can make sure that they are aligned with my ethics and personal values.

In today’s post I would like to share with you my most recent favourite ethical purchases! This is not a sponsored post. As I have said before, I like to use this platform to share with you what brings me joy and that is what I am just about to do now. So let’s jump right into it! 🙂

  • Solid shampoo bar from Living Naturally

I have been wanting to buy a vegan soap bar for ages and I finally got around it! I went to London last month for my sis’ graduation, who is as passionate about environmental sustainability and plant-based food as I am. She took me to a vegan supermarket called Green Bay, located in Hammersmith. Despite its relatively small size, it had a wide selection of products, ranging from food to healthy and beauty items. I was very happy to see that they had shampoo bars from @livingnaturally. This is a sustainable and certified vegan brand that only uses plant-based, organic and ethically-sourced ingredients. It is also a family-run business, whose products are produced in the UK and free from parabens, palm oil and artificial additives or fragrances. Just the kind of company I am more than happy to support.

I bought the “coconuttey” shampoo bar, which contains natural ingredients like coconut milk, avocado and coconut oil. It came in a cute cotton bag, meaning that no plastic was used in its packaging whatsoever. I find that plastic is still a recurring problem when buying sustainable products. It upsets me because I think it sorts of defeats the purpose if you know what I mean. Anyway, as I have only used this shampoo bar twice so far, it is still quite early to share my feedback on it. I am planning to do a proper review in due time (once I have used it for a considerable period of time).

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(retail price:£5.99)
  • Insulated tumbler from Klean Kanteen

I have been on a quest to find that perfect eco-friendly travel cup that is leak proof and that actually keeps beverages warm. Two important criteria that my two previous travel cups were not able to meet. I also wanted a tumbler that was small enough to carry around but big enough to fill with a regular size cappuccino. So now that I have finally found it, I could not be happier! #win The one I bought is from Klean Kanteen and it  is made of stainless steel and BPA free. In fact, Klean Kanteen was actually the first company that publicly addressed the dangerous effects of BPA to human health. It is a family-run business and B-corporation*, based in California, that likes to give back to the community. The company is involved in various projects and initiatives related to public health, sustainability and environmental responsibility. In order to reduce single use waste they sponsor local events and festivals. They also partner with organisations that work to reduce plastic water pollution as well as to preserve water and land. All in all, a real great company that cares about the people and the planet.

*a title acquired when certain social and environmental standards are met.

 

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(retail price: 19.95€)
  • T-shirt from ARMEDANGLES:

Ever since I heard about the Rana plaza disaster and attended a Fair Fashion festival, I have become more ethically aware when it comes to clothing. As my concern about about where, how and who made my clothes increased over time, I started to read more and more about fair trade fashion. That is how I come across with ARMEDANGLES, a German fair trade and organic clothing brand.

This t-shirt is actually the very first piece of clothing from them that I own but, now that I value quantity over quantity, it will not surely be the last one.

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(retail price: 32.90€)

I bought this t-shirt a few weeks ago and I am so pleased about it. First of all, it is very reassuring to know that it was produced in a sustainable way that is neither harmful for the planet nor for the people. Secondly, it is made of 100% organic cotton, which makes it a super comfy tee to wear. Thirdly, I love the empowering sentences printed on it:

“We all play a part. We are game changers. We are an inner winner.Nothing to lose.”

While it is true that not every piece of clothing that I own has been ethically made, it is also true that I am now certainly more committed to not only buy less but buy well. This is because I want my clothes to last longer and I want my purchases to benefit the planet as well as the people sourcing/producing them.

Armedangels really strikes me as a business driven by the genuine desire to create positive change; not only when it comes to social but also when it comes to environmental sustainability. I was positively surprised by their packaging. Just have a look at it:

 

 The t-shirt came in a box made of grass paper that is grown in a sustainable way. If you are interested in reading more about the entire production process, please click here 

 

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I hope you liked to read about these products. Please let me know if you have heard about any of these brands before and/or if you own something from them. Also, I’d love to know about some of your most recent (or not) ethical purchases! 🙂

To wrap it up, the power of our choices as consumers makes us agents of change. Our choice of buying from sustainable and ethical companies tells others to stop treating clothes and animals like they are disposable, cut down on pollution and treat their workers right. As consumers we are in a privileged place to demand transparency from companies and together we can push towards a circular economy. Together we can reduce our environmental footprint and create real and long-lasting social sustainability. Plus, is it not so reassuring every time we buy an item that somehow contributes for the sustainable future of us all? Is it not beautiful to respect and value the planet that we have? ♥

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

 

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Silicone freezer bags – an easy and convenient swap

It is not news that pretty much everything we do has an impact on the environment, e.g. the food we eat, the things we buy, the transports we use (private or public), and the list goes on. Thus, I think that it goes without saying that one of the best ways to treasure our planet – the only home we have – is to be mindful about our day-to-day purchases and actions. If you are one of my regular readers, you would know that environmental sustainability is something I personally care about. A lot. And if I want to be overall more eco-friendly and do more for the planet, then reducing my waste load (in particular plastic waste) seems like the first and most logical step to take. That being said, as an attempt to lighten my ecological footprint and avoid single use plastic, I have been trying to find plastic-free alternatives to my everyday products. And that is the main reason why I am writing this post today.

I would like to tell you about the current undisputed star in my kitchen. I am so satisfied and pleased about this eco-friendly purchase that I just could not keep it to myself.

Sooo, I have been using glass and plastic food storage containers for most of my life. I find them to be very convenient to store leftovers ingredients/foods as well as fresh produce like cut-up fruits and veggies. As someone who cooks nearly everyday and likes to use the weekend for some meal prepping, I find freezers to be one of the greatest man inventions ever. However, given the small size of my freezer, I struggle to find enough space to fit it all. The problem of food storage containers is that they just take up too much space, which forces me to limit how much meals and foods I can prep for the week. Of course that I could use regular plastic bags but that would just go against what I strive for: a low impact lifestyle. Thus, the limited storage of my freezer led me on a quest for a better, more practical but still environmentally-friendly alternative to regular food storage containers and plastic bags. I am so happy to have “stumbled upon” on food storage bags made of silicone! This turned to be such an easy and convenient swaps guys and you can find below in detail all the reasons why.

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Advantages of silicone food storage bags:

  • The bags are made of food grade silicone, which is a non-toxic material free of BPA, latex, lead and phthalates. Thus, a safer plastic alternative for our health
  • Since this material is also an abundant natural resource, they are a more ecologic and sustainable plastic alternative for the planet
  • Silicone is sturdy and resistant to extreme temperatures, making it a long lasting alternative to plastic. These bags can be reused over and over again without really  cracking, peeling, drying out or becoming brittle.
  • Self-sealing convenience, which makes them leakproof (great for clumsy and accident-prone people like me haha)
  • Semi transparency of the material, making it possible to see what is stored in the bags
  • Light weight, which makes them super convenient to transport and have on the go
  • They do not take much space due to the material malleability and being airtight
  • Very easy to clean
  • They are odourless (a feature for those who are quite sensitive to smells would be happy to know I guess? haha)
  • Pretty affordable price. I got these 4 bags for 7 pounds on Amazon, which I find it to be a pretty good deal. I mean, is it not great when you can help save the planet without having to go broke while doing it so?

Changes of habits can be challenging at first but they get easier over time. However, I think that once we start to open our eyes to the great impact that our lifestyle choices may have on our planet and all living things, we begin to choose differently. I have embarked on this journey towards living a more sustainable and eco lifestyle about two years ago and I feel like this is a lifetime commitment. There is a lot of learning, exploring, experimenting and trial and error involved but it does give me a sense of purpose, you know? I am not sure how to put it into words but I just find it rewarding to implement certain changes in my life when I know that they are the right thing to do for the planet and generations to come.

I hope you have found this post somewhat informative and useful. Do you have Were you aware of their existence? As always, I would love to hear from you. What are your thoughts about these eco-friendly freezer bags? Were you already aware of their existence? Do you have them already or are they in your wish list? What are other sustainable items you have bought and recommend? Let me know in the comment section below! 🙂
Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

3 reasons to choose soy candles over regular ones

I love lighting up candles, especially when Fall and Winter roll around. There is just something so special and relaxing about a soft, flickering light. Plus, they just make any room feel homey and cozy. However, as I have been becoming more and more environmentally-conscious when it comes to my purchases, I could not help but wonder how eco-friendly were the regular paraffin-based candles I was buying. When I started looking and reading into it..well, let’s just say I was not impressed. This meant that with little deliberation, I went ahead and bought myself a selection of soy candles for the first time.

I was so pleased to find soya candles at Søstrene Grene , which is a Danish retail chain and one of my favourite lifestyle stores (especially for home decor).

Before jumping into the reasons why I think it is better to use soy candles over regular ones, I just want to make a brief remark. It is important to highlight that even though I believe they are a better option for the environment than paraffin-based ones, they are still not the most sustainable option out there. There are a few aspects to take into consideration when buying soy candles. As you probably have heard there are many concerns and issues related to the massive soybean industry, like deforestation (mainly in Brazil) and pollution caused by the heavy use of pesticides and fertilisers. Thus, I would advise you to try buying soy candles from companies that are able to ensure that the soy is domestically grown (which most of the times is), non-GMO and from traceable growers. If the soy candles are produced locally, you are actually supporting local businesses/farmers, whilst encouraging local agriculture, which is great. Now that this is out of the way, let’s jump right into the 3 major benefits of using soy candles as opposed to regular ones!

  • Soy candles are natural.

Contrary to paraffin, which is derived from petroleum, shale oil or coal (non-renewable resources), soy candles are made from soya beans, a natural ingredient that is biodegradable and a totally renewable resource. They, therefore, burn cleaner, create a negligible amount of soot and can actually release their fragrance easier and wider.

  • Better for your health and the environment

While burning petroleum-based candles toxins that are carcinogenic in nature may be released. Though, if the candle is 100% made of soy beans you can rest assured that, while burning, no harmful toxics are being released into the air you breathe or into the earth’s atmosphere.

  • Last for longer. Hence, more cost-effective 

Even though soy candles are generally more expensive when compared to regular ones, they last for a longer period of time making them a more cost-effective in the long-term.  Their burning rate is lower and up to 50% longer than regular candles.

These are the candles I bought at Søstrene Grene:

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I must say though that this was not my wisest purchase ever… As soon as I saw the candles for sale, I got so excited that bought them right away without properly reading the label. It was only when I got home that I noticed that they are actually made of 95% soya and 5% paraffin. So, I guess that this purchase ended up by not being exactly the  best purchase for the environment or health as I thought but.. lesson learned. Next time I will certainly be paying more attention and will not my excitement carry me away. Anyhoo, I am very happy with how good the scents I went for are – “twilight oak” and “sea salt rose”- and I am also very impressed with how slow they burn. Plus, each of them was just under 3 euros, which I find to be super affordable. All in all, I feel that this purchase was still a win when it comes price-quality and value. These soy candles are certainly a safer and overall better option than the regular candles I used to buy.

I hope you have found this post somehow informative and insightful. I believe that when you consider all of the positive attributes soy candles may possess (if sourced sustainably), you will not be giving up anything when you choose buying them over regular ones. You can find soya candles in all of the fragrances you’re accustomed to and they are just better for you and the environment.

Now tell me, have you ever bought soy candles? If so, how do you like them? Do you have a specific brand you like and would recommend? Let me know in the comment section below! 🙂

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

5 Reasons why you should STOP using plastic straws

As someone who has increasingly become more environmentally conscious over the past 2 years, I have been on a mission to incorporate certain habits into my lifestyle that have a low or no negative impact on the environment. If you were to ask me about a simple step that we could all take towards living a lower impact lifestyle, the first one that would immediately cross my mind is to stop using plastic straws. I personally think that these are a great example of plastic items with a global major environmental impact and that, honestly, anyone can easily give up. With this in mind, I have gathered in this blog post 5 reasons why you should say no plastic straws.

  1. For something that has an incredibly short lifespan (i.e. an average of 20 minutes to be precise), plastic straws have a shockingly big impact on the environment and last for a lifetime. They do not biodegrade and they can’t be actually recycled. Due to their small size and light weight, plastic straws end up by falling through the cracks of the conveyer belt of the recycling facilities. Thus, I find it such a waste to use a plastic item for a few minutes that takes hundreds of years to fully decompose.
  2. Plastic straws are made of a by-product of petroleum (i.e. polypropylene), whose processes of extraction and refining require a large amount of energy and natural resources.
  3. Plastic straws are one of the most insidious polluters. Since plastic is a material that does not decompose, straws made of it break down into tiny pieces polluting our oceans and littering our beaches and cities.
  4. Plastic straws also wind up harming marine wildlife. They can be life-threatening to animals, such as seabirds, fish, sea turtles (currently in extinction), because may entangle them or being accidentally ingested
  5. The use of plastic straws is absolutely unnecessary and therefore, I find it so shocking that an average of 5 million plastic straws are used every single day in the United States alone. I just can’t wrap my head around this when there are several sustainable alternatives (e.g. glass, metal, bamboo and recycled paper straws) that do the same, if not even a better, job.

 

If you are still using plastic straws please know that  you can start making a difference on the environment and beautiful Planet today. All you need to do is is to ditch them and swap to a greener straw alternative. As Ghandi once wisely said: You must be the change you wish to see in the world. So be it.

 

Much Love,

Blissfully grateful