What do you know about your clothes?

Fast fashion. One of the hottest topics at the minute. It seems to encompass some of the most detrimental systems in our world surrounding social, economic and environmental issues, but what do we do about it? Is there really a way to look good without costing the earth?

The 2013 collapse of the Rana Plaza in Bangladesh probably rings a few bells, and rightly so. This was one of the largest contributors to exposing just one angle of the fast fashion crisis. Inadequate working conditions and little regard for the well-being of employees was just the tip of the iceberg. What was to follow was an in-depth reflection into our modern day consumerism lifestyles, and the impact they are having across the globe.

When we talk about fast fashion we mean the emphasis on rapid supply chain production and sales of clothing ‘trends’. We have moved away from spring, summer, autumn, and winter collections, having continual new design and production of clothes all year round. When I was attending an event about ‘ethical fashion’, I heard that it takes an average of 16 days for a garment to be designed, manufactured and made available in our high street shops. This is absurd. We have engineered a system which is flushing cheap clothing into our stores and into our wardrobes. This is an unsustainable practice. We are producing more than our world can cope with, both in terms of natural resources and waste disposal.

Stacey Dooley presented an amazing documentary on the BBC all about the true cost of our fast fashion industry, focusing on the example of the Aral sea almost completely disappearing due to the production of cotton in Kazakstan. This sea was originally 26,000 miles squared which is roughly the size of Scotland. This used to be the fourth largest lake in the world, but as you can see from the photo below, at one point in time it almost disappeared. It shrank to around 10% of its original size. This is because farmers were diverting the rivers which fed into it in order to water their cotton crops.

AralSea1989 2014.jpg

The Aral Sea; a comparison between 1989 (left) and 2014 (right).

Cotton is a highly water intensive crop. In the life cycle of one cotton t-shirt, it takes about 2,700 litres of water from start to finish to grow, manufacture and sell. That is over two months worth of showers. The high demand for cotton and new clothes is driving the environmental crisis across our world. It is crazy to think that human actions almost resulted in the complete loss of a sea.

Fast fashion is also associated with large chemical pollution into the environment. The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world, after the oil industry. Shifting from these practices not only supports fair wages and good working conditions, it also fights for a cleaner earth!

It has recently emerged that tiny micro plastics are being washed into our water courses every time we do a load of laundry – about 7000 to be exact! One interesting fact I learned about this is that older clothes actually shed less! This means that the more we wear our clothes and the longer we keep them, the less micro plastics we are washing into our environment. One other solution which is on the market right now is a Guppy Bag! This is something you put your washing in to catch those nasty plastics! Wearing clothes with more natural fibres also avoids this pollution.

So what can we do about it?

There are so many options for clothing yourself more sustainably:

  • Buy second hand; whether thats from a charity shop, thrift shop, or swap with family or friends
    • looking through the #thriftstorefind will get you excited about how good you can look in something second hand!
  • Buy sustainably; finding organic certified clothing reduces the amount of harmful chemicals released and ensures sensible farming practices to mitigate against another extremely detrimental environmental event happening!
    • Three great brands you should check out are @lucyandyak , @monkeegenes and @boodywearuk – they are tackling sustainable fashion in different ways, but all working towards more ethical choices
  • Make do and mend; keeping our clothes for longer and mending them when they need fixed!
    • a great account to follow for inspiration is @serenasews_ showing exactly what you can make from slightly outdated or odd charity shop finds, and some great homemade outfits!

Hopefully these have given you a good idea of the way you can make a change to your lifestyle! Do one, or do them all…but every swap makes a difference!

E29F10C8-81D9-4521-BA34-54074C6759ED

Just a little red number from Lucy and Yak, with my BoodywearUK bamboo top underneath – and the charity shop converse of course! 

A little bit more about Lucy and Yak. They are an ethical and sustainable fashion brand making the cutest dungarees I’ve ever seen. What’s even better is their transparency and ethics surrounding where and how their clothes are made. The employees in their factory in India are paid 4 times the state minimum wage, in high standard working conditions with the flexibility to work part time. They use biodegradable packaging, organic cotton and pay their workers in the UK above the living wage! YES!

https://lucyandyak.com

92ED3D84-928E-436F-B6FF-D989A7DD79FD

My usual look; charity shop shoes and trousers, with my flatmate’s hand-me-down jumper and jacket!

A little bit more about BoodywearUK. They were born in Sydney, Australia as a challenge to design simple, comfortable and attractive apparel with earth-friendly materials. While  searching for years for the most comfortable underwear and base layers, they discovered the viscose made from bamboo and never looked back!  Bamboo is actually one of the fastest growing trees globally. Bamboo is essentially a grass, growing considerably faster than trees, and some varieties can grow four feet in one day! In terms of harvesting, the yield can be 25 times that from regular tree species. Bamboo is also sustainable; unlike a tree you can harvest it without damaging the original plant, and it regenerates in 3-5 years! It is also a plentiful plant, generating around 200 poles in five years and doesn’t need pesticides or herbicides to grow, it doesn’t need irrigation (watering), it captures carbon from the atmosphere, it produces more oxygen than an equivalent stand of trees, it is excellent at binding soils to create more stability and it can be produced into fibres for things like clothing, and this means it has a lower impact than synthetic comparative fibres! There are chemicals involved in the process of making fibres (rayon) which need to be taken into account, however you must remember that these are used in replace of plastic and other non-renewable resources! So…we love bamboo!

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Event for a wedding there are sustainable choices; charity shop dress, borrowed the shoes from my flatmate and scarf from my mum, and using an old bag!

IMG_0508

A little bit of DIY to fix my bag, no need for a new purchase!

Why not start to explore the world of sustainable, slow fashion! You’ll be amazing how good you look and feel!

cropped-img_5171.jpg

Advertisements

HAVE YOURSELF A VERY ECO, PLASTIC FREE CHRISTMAS

An interview from Christmas with Society Zero – a Glasgow based environmental and zero waste business.

…WITH NO PLASTIC OR JUNK IN SIGHT… IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR WHERE WE JUST WANT TO CURL UP IN FRONT OF FIREPLACES, DRINK MULLED CIDER AND OVERINDULGE IN EVERYTHING WE CAN FIND.

To save the day and ourselves from carrying on our previous waste-filled indulgences from Christmas’ gone by, the amazing Laura aka Less Waste Laura has joined up with Society Zero, just in time to write a guide Santa better take heed of.

 

THE TIME FOR A SUSTAINABLE CHRISTMAS HAS ARRIVED

Christmas is the most celebrated holiday in our calendar year in the UK. However, with black Friday, the boxing day sales and season of indulgence, it is hard to see past the consumer madness to the festivities. Hopefully this blog will give you an idea of the many ways you can cut your waste and have a sustainable Christmas.

When I think of Christmas waste, I think of getting a rubbish cracker prize, multiple bin bags of wrapping paper, and of course the ridiculous amounts of plastic packaging everything seems to come in (and is indestructible!).

This year I’ve made it my mission to limit this waste but sacrifice nothing about this magical day. I started thinking chronologically, what you do in order on the run up to the big day, and then went through a classic Christmas day itinerary. So, here we go…my top tips for a plastic free, sustainable Christmas.

GIFT GIVING – THE ZERO WASTE WAY

Firstly, buying your gifts. In the UK we spend approximately £700 million on unwanted presents – what a waste! Hopefully my list will show you the different ideas to get people what they really want, keep it sustainable, and even give back to some great charities!

Probably the thing you do first, and those of us who are prepared may have been stocking up on things for our loved ones throughout the year. The underlying point,  isn’t just limiting waste at Christmas, but primarily thinking about what is really necessary.

When is enough, enough? Especially buying gifts for our closest family we can often over buy! The youngest in our families are happy playing with the wrapping and don’t notice the pile of presents they get, and the oldest are more interested in the quality time this day brings. I want you to get thinking about what people value, and what the perfect gift might be.

This year, I’ve been looking for experiences and gifts which allow me more quality time with my friends and families, or things they can use over and over again. Ideas might be experiences or memberships to things. One of the best gifts I received for a birthday was a membership to the National Trust. It’s been so useful and I’ve used it loads, it just keeps going – and it was a very reasonable price! Think about Netflix, Spotify, Gym Memberships, Sky Movies, cinema passes and so many more! These are great for older kids and teens too!

SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL ECONOMY AND MAKERS

Second to buying experiences/activities, try and think about buying plastic free local gifts. Instead of going to a big brand beauty shop and getting a pre-made gift set, can you find a local business? Is there a local soap maker, beauty shop or brand which you can find? Walking the streets of my new city I found the most gorgeous little natural plastic free beauty shop which just shows that these places exist!

SUSTAINABLE WRAPPING

We need to also think about the wrapping. Some great alternatives are using recyclable brown paper or newspaper and sprucing up with your own designs! Get kids involved doodling on the paper too! Think about using string and natural twine for holding it all together. One of the other alternatives is reusable options, big sacks which could be personalised and used every year (saves individually wrapping everything) or going along the lines of the Japanese style using fabric (furoshiki) to wrap and this can be used again and again.

ECO DECORATIONS

Almost every year you’ll pull out your old decorations and something will have broken or needs replaced, or even you just get tired of the design. Why not look for plastic free sustainable alternatives? Some of the things I’ve been exploring, have involved natural alternatives which will make durable and sustainable decorations.

Simple things like taking citrus fruits and drying them, adding spices and sprigs of trees to make the festive looking make great baubles. Just like pine cones with some eco glitter and a little tealight on the top make great candle holders, or also baubles. Think about making a wreath out of all-natural things you find out and about, or go look in a local garden centre.

 

 

There are endless possibilities for sprucing up your home this Christmas! This year I found Danisa Designs on Instagram who makes beautiful handmade home decorations and cards. This has opened me up to all the possibilities out there to avoid plastic when making my little flat festive! Etsy is a great resource if you’re avoiding the DIY look and want some beautiful handcrafted goods and to support small businesses.

CHRISTMAS TREES

If you are getting a real Christmas tree, make sure it is one approved by the FCS Commission or the Soil Association – this ensures its sustainability. Sometimes you can get a tree with potted roots which means that year on year you can plant it back into your garden until you need it next. If you don’t have this option make sure you recycle your tree afterwards for composting or paving – there are 8 million trees sold every year in the UK so it is important we dispose of these responsibly.

SMALL CHANGES MAKING AN EFFECTIVE ECO CHRISTMAS

When you’re looking at the smaller changes which will still make a difference. Getting or making a reusable advent calendar. There are lots of wooden or fabric options out there, and it means you can fill it with whatever you like and personalise to your family. You can often pick one up from charity shops or use up the odd socks in the house to make your own and hang them from pegs.

Make your own crackers from old toilet roll holders, some brown paper, a snapper and adding in whatever gift you think! Again, you can design the outside however you like, and you can personalise the gift. No more rubbish small combs or packs of cards. Invest in some reusable batteries to avoid the disappointment when a new present can’t be used yet.

FEED ME SUSTAINABLE THIS CHRISTMAS

Moving onto the food. Preparation is key.

80% more food is purchased at this time of year, and that also leads to a lot of waste – so it’s important to make sure you’re buying exactly what you need and not wasting anything. Over 230,000 tonnes of food is wasted every year in the UK alone…this is shocking!

If you’re cooking, think about what you actually need, and how can you get it packaging free? The potato and vegetable part should be easy enough with a planned trip to your local green grocer, farmers market or even supermarket. Then thinking about the pièce de résistance…your roast. So, for the meat lovers, try and organise with a local butcher to go pick it up in the biggest container you have, plastic free. For the nut lovers, think about making your own from scratch – avoiding pre-made ones which come in excess packaging. Many bulk stores have all the nuts and ingredients you need to make it up – so go for it.

Then all your little accompaniments need to be planned – This is probably the most annoying part. All those mince pies, pigs in blankets and sauces and dips. Just think – any rainy day between now and the 25th is a perfect opportunity to roll up your sleeves and do some Christmas prep.

Lots of the accompaniments can be made in advance and frozen, which means when the Christmas rush starts – you’ve got a freezer of hidden gems. One of my family’s flaws (sorry guys) is having a late Christmas day party involving multiple trays of Marks and Spencer’s pre-made nibbles…all in those nasty plastic trays. But, what can we make and change this tradition? This is something I will be focusing on hard this year, I want to make the meal as plastic free as possible.

The drinks are easy, swap your plastic bottles for glass and cans. Easy swaps like-for-like to more recyclable materials. Plus, who doesn’t love glass bottles of Shloer? At the end of everything, if you do have food scraps make sure to compost them, or save some vegetable scraps for making your own stock. 

NO MORE NIGHTMARE BEFORE, DURING OR AFTER CHRISTMAS

Making your Christmas plastic free really is just about preparation and a little more consideration for what it’s all about. Christmas has become a consumer nightmare, but we know how hard it is to break this cycle. This year just think less is more. More things to consider:

  • Think of special gifts which not only mean something to the recipient but maybe support local businesses or charities which keep giving
  • The volume of stuff which is only going to fill a space for the next year
  • Seek out experience gifts which can be used over and over again
  • Think about memories over possessions

Then think about the waste you create on the day and the lead up, how can you change this?

A little preparation is all that is needed. Everyone is busy, but really we want to move away from convenience at the expense of our planet. Getting friends and family involved in the food prep, making it more homemade, thinking about what can be done in advance and what can be left till the last minute. Explore your local options for plastic free purchases.

In case anyone is totally struggling for present ideas here are a few:

  • Memberships and subscriptions
  • Experiences (outdoor activities, arts and crafts, exercise, trips away)
  • Charity donations (Toilet Twinning, sponsor an animal)
  • Plastic free toiletries (soaps, shampoo bars, conditioner bars, hand cream bars, bath bombs, refillable makeup, biodegradable glitter, bamboo toothbrush, safety razors)
  • House plants
  • Kitchen stuff (beeswax wraps, coconut utensils, reusable straws)
  • Gardening (seeds for them to grow in the new year)
  • Charity shops (loads of kid’s toys, DVDs, board games, household appliances, kitchen utensils, clothes)
  • Homemade baked goods
  • Gift cards for their favourite shop

Lastly some top tips if you’re going away to visit friends or family this festive season.Remember to turn off any lights and switches, close your windows, turn off your heating and save that electricity. If you are travelling around can you make most of it by public transport? Christmas involves lots of functions, parties and visiting friends and family, so try and make that as low impact in terms of CO2 as possible.

Less Waste Laura

FROM LAURA, SOPHIE, KATE AND ANNA:

We want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and look forward to seeing what everyone gets up to in the lead up to the big day! We hope you all have a day filled with laughter and joy, which will continue into the new year.

Original blog post:

https://societyzero.co.uk/have-yourself-a-very-eco-plastic-free-christmas/

Baptist Union for Scotland Blog

Laura Young, aka LessWasteLaura, is a 22-year old student currently studying for her masters in Environmental Protection and Management at the University of Edinburgh joint with the SRUC. Laura has a passion for the care of the environment and has used that passion to start her own Instagram page, influence her church, Newton Mearns Baptist Church (NMBC), to become more eco-friendly and has even created her own week-long resource which her church is about to start using.

Laura was born and raised in Newton Mearns, with a strong Christian influence in her household which helped her develop a lasting faith in Christ and a passion for “the holy resource” that is the earth. She was still at NMBC until she moved to the University of Dundee to study an Undergraduate Degree in Geography and Environmental Science. Laura herself stated that “moving away to Uni – that’s when it started to become a lot more personal”. As her knowledge of the environment and our impact on it grew, her passion for changing that impact grew as well. Laura found that people would respond to this passion and start asking questions. At the beginning of the year, she decided that an online platform was needed to reach as many people as she could with her positive messages of how to live sustainable lifestyles. That online platform “LessWasteLaura”, also keeps people informed on environmental news and organise/participate in ongoing community efforts.

Since Laura started this project in January 2018 she has gain almost 3,000 followers and has managed to expand LessWasteLaura outwith the Internet and into the real world. We heard about this and decided to meet up with her and talk to her about the unique situation she is in as a young Christian Leader. During our interview, she shared with us the kind of message she wants to send out and, importantly, how she wants to send that message out:

“A lot about being environmental is actually just about taking the time out and thinking, being a bit more prepared and actually once you’ve got the resources and once you’ve figured it out it is super easy.”

At first Laura saw this project as separate from her faith and didn’t connect the two, but she has since studied Scriptures which relate to the environment and now sees that faith is linked to our care of creation. This has led to relationships forming between various organisations, with multiple opportunities opening up for her, giving her the chance to expand on this journey. Notable moments have been the work and collaboration with Tearfund looking at how climate change impacts those most vulnerable; how the work she is doing contributes to and highlights the work against this environmental degradation, and having her work highlighted through the BBC Radio 2 Pause for Thought Wisdom of Youth segment looking at her environmental contribution. When we talked to Laura she highlighted  Genesis 1 vs 28 and how we are called to do many things, including being good stewards of the great creation that God had made. Laura feels that we have failed at this, she believes that as Christians we have a duty to shepherd and protect this Earth and she calls all churches to be at the leading edge of this, to be the forerunners and leaders in a global revolution.

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Genesis 1 v 28.

Laura has commented that young children and youth are incredibly enthusiastic about helping the environment, and that the best way to get any parent do anything is to get their kids excited about it. As part of this, she has made a move towards giving talks in schools around the subjects of environmentalism and recently gave her first talk to the next generation of eco warriors at Mearns Primary School.

Laura has also been influencing her home church of NMBC by putting an ecological spin on their yearly harvest service. Laura was approached by her mother, who is an Elder at NMBC, and their Minister Brian More to create a different kind of service. Laura then came up with the idea of Eco Harvest and set about working with her friend and illustrator Nicola on the idea she had.

What Laura created is a 7-day challenge which encourages the congregation to do something environmental each day, such as walking instead of taking the car, buying products with plastic free packaging, etc. Laura has made these into small cards which also give a small blurb relating to how saving the environment links to our faith and to the Word of God. This then culminates in a big service on Harvest Sunday where they discuss the environmental tasks and what we as Christians should be doing to save the earth. This isn’t just a thing Laura wants to happen in NMBC she wants to see every church in Scotland running an Eco Harvest or something similar throughout the year. She  would love churches to contact her about it.

Laura’s ultimate goal is for the church to rise up and lead the world in environmental living, She wants to see every church be sustainable and every church consider solar panels. She would like every Christian to think about this quote by Anna Lappe when they are going to buy something:  “Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” In other words, any time you buy sustainably and with the environment in mind, you are making the choice to help save God’s Green Planet.

If you would like to see more of Laura please check out her Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Or Blog which are all linked below.

Laura is happy for any church or individual to contact her if they want to learn more about the Eco Harvest or more information about what they can do to help the environment.

Email – lesswastelaura@outlook.com
Instagram – www.instagram.com/lesswastelaura
Facebook – www.facebook.com/lesswastelaura/
Twitter – twitter.com/LessWasteLaura
Blog – lesswastelaura.wordpress.com

 

Find the original at:

https://www.scottishbaptist.com/younger/leading-for-life/?fbclid=IwAR0Y_BB51dF0cNf1s-85VK8V_ddgUPtyxvWyP51kyU-8u5s9Tck7UPjcU8Q

 

Society Zero Interview

An interview from last month with Society Zero – a Glasgow based environmental and zero waste business.

“I WOULD BE LYING IF I DIDN’T SAY IT MOVED ME TO TEARS…”

With the masses of people we speak to on a daily basis about zero waste, it’s lovely to know that young people in Glasgow are making a conscious effort for…

zero waste shop glasgow social enterprise

WITH THE MASSES OF PEOPLE WE SPEAK TO ON A DAILY BASIS ABOUT ZERO WASTE, IT’S LOVELY TO KNOW THAT YOUNG PEOPLE IN GLASGOW ARE MAKING A CONSCIOUS EFFORT FOR LOCALISED CHANGE, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOUNG PEOPLE APPEAR TO GET THE BLAME A LOT OF THE TIME

We interviewed Laura, one of our amazing sponsors for our crowdfunder a few weeks ago, you’ll probably know her as @lesswastelaura on Instagram. Being a 21 year old and living more zero waste doesn’t have to stop you from living your best life, as Laura evidently shows, it just takes preparation as she rightly puts it.

Like Sophie, Laura also studied Environmental Science and Geography and it opened her eyes to the magnitude of the issues we face as a planet and society. It’s a really gruelling subject that can either depress you thinking there’s nothing we can do, or it can have the effect of making you want to do everything you can to change the status quo, we’re glad she’s chosen the latter.

zero waste glasgow social enterprise
Laura – another of our zero waste heroes

LAURA, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE INTERVIEW, IT’S GREAT TO HAVE ANOTHER GLASGOW GIRL TO TALK ALL THINGS ZERO WASTE WITH US! SO WHEN DID THIS ALL COME ABOUT FOR YOU? HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN ENVIRONMENTALLY MINDED OR WAS THERE A CATALYST MOMENT FOR YOU?

Laura –

Throughout my childhood I was always aware of excess waste and junk in my day-to-day life, but it wasn’t until the beginning of 2018 when I realised I had to make the decision to radically remove waste, plastic and unnecessary products from my life.

This time coincides with finishing my undergraduate degree in Geography and Environmental Science from the University of Dundee, where studying and seeing the physical impacts of human actions on both the physical and social aspects of our Earth drove me to accelerate living a more environmentally conscious lifestyle.

AHH ANOTHER ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE STUDENT! IT’S HARD GOING ISN’T IT? BUT SO WORTH IT. WAS THERE ANYTHING SPECIFIC TO THE START OF 2018 THAT MADE YOU WANT TO DO MORE? LIKE A RESOLUTION OR WAS IT SOMETHING ELSE THAT JUST REALLY HIT HOME?

Laura –

This all started because I realised that our Earth is a holy resource which was gifted to us, which we were entrusted with to care for and thrive in, however our actions do the complete opposite, exploiting and degrading so many aspects of this planet – something had to change, and change starts with yourself.

The phrase ‘be the change you want to see in the world’ is a daily motivation, reminding me that, simply put, if you want something done right you’ve got to do it yourself…and encourage people along the way.

I think I would be lying if I didn’t say that the final episode of the Blue Planet II documentariesdidn’t move me completely to tears in seeing what degradation of the Earth’s landscapes, resources and living creatures has occurred from our pollution. This series put the images of our Earth’s pollution right on the big screen for everyone to see – and this really got me rattled up to stand up and make a change for our environment, and make it a public one!

This is the reason I started my social media pages for Less Waste Laura, to show others the changes I have made and to inspire other to cut out their waste and be more environmentally aware. It also gave me the opportunity to trial and error a lot of lifestyle changes and products to try to make swaps and sacrifices easier for anyone listening.

zero waste shop glasgow
@lesswastelaura – big beach clean up

WE’VE LOVED FOLLOWING YOUR PAGE, IT’S GREAT TO SEE SUCH POSITIVITY BEHIND YOUR CHANGES THAT YOU’VE BEEN MAKING AND WITH SUCH A GREAT FOLLOWING, THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE WE’RE SURE YOU’VE OPENED THE EYES OF MANY TO LIVING ZERO WASTE. WHAT DOES LIVING ZERO WASTE MEAN TO YOU SPECIFICALLY?

Laura –

Being zero waste to me means being entirely conscious of the waste produced by an individual’s lifestyle and taking substantial steps to mitigate against producing this, avoiding some of the biggest environmental polluters and harmful materials.

Personally this looks like cutting out unnecessary clutter from my life, finding alternatives to excess packaging, plastic and tackling a consumerism culture.

IT’S SUCH A FREEING EXPERIENCE FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE AND THERE SEEMS TO BE A THEME – LESS CLUTTER = LESS STRESS = LESS IMPACT ON THE EARTH. WAS IT DIFFICULT TO CHANGE YOUR LIFESTYLE AND HABITS?

Laura –

For me, no. Living a zero waste lifestyle can be so easy – with preparation really all waste, plastic and excess waste is totally avoidable. However, amenities, accessibility and availability are key in delivering this.

Of course it is easy to be zero waste when you live in a city with bulk packaging free shops to get groceries, or have enough spare time to explore the options for preparing your daily life to avoid mainly food and beverage packaging – however for many people living zero waste could be near impossible.

I am a 21-year-old individual with no dependants and plenty of spare time to explore independent zero waste shops and all the time in the world to prepare meals and snacks for on the go to avoid daily waste.

zero waste travelling
Laura prepared wherever she goes, including on holiday!

WITH DEPENDANTS, IT’S A LOT MORE WORK AT TIMES, BUT YOU GET USED TO IT – JUST READJUSTING HABITS AND PREPARING AHEAD FOR MORE THAN ONE PERSON REALLY. ACCESS TO PACKAGE FREE / BULK SHOPS IS KEY THOUGH FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE AND NOT ALWAYS THERE UNFORTUNATELY, THANKFULLY MORE AND MORE ARE POPPING UP THOUGH. WHAT CHANGES DO YOU STILL FIND DIFFICULT TO MAKE, IF ANY?

Laura –

There are still many aspects of living zero waste which I find difficult to change – snack items in non-recyclable packaging and make up products are two things which jump to mind.

Craving a sweet treat when out and about is difficult – sometimes jumping into a news agent to get a bar of chocolate is easier and cheaper than making your way to a shop which sells loose baked goods or something similar.

zero waste sweets glasgow shop social enterprise
@lesswastelaura – finding sweets in compostable packaging!

The other – make up products – is difficult because there is such a limited choice (almost none) of plastic free make up products which makes it feel like a massive sacrifice. I have ended up almost never wearing make-up because of this – which is not a solution just avoiding the problem

TRUE, SOMETIMES I’VE FOUND MYSELF GIVING IN TO THE ODD CHOCOLATE SNACK BECAUSE OF CRAVINGS BUT FELT SO GUILTY AFTERWARDS. THE MAKE-UP SITUATION IS SOMETHING NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE MENTION THOUGH, SO VERY GOOD POINT THERE. HOW DO YOU FEEL IT’S AFFECTED YOU FINANCIALLY?

Laura –

In short, not really.

The majority of the lifestyle or product swaps I have made have saved me money and will continue to for a long time. However, in saying that, many of these swaps have required a small investment into my future which many people may see as an initial financial burden.

Key examples are products such as reusable cotton pads, a menstrual cup, beeswax wraps, your own reusable bags and a good quality water bottle – all of which are much more expensive than the single use disposable alternatives, however when you weigh up the longevity of these products it’s a simple decision to invest.

zero waste shop glasgow social enterprise
Laura supporting Society Zero at our first market stall, even bringing friends to buy reusables!

One thing to note is that being zero waste, for me, also includes battling consumerism, and going zero waste means not buying the ‘kit’ to have – but looking at what you already have and using these resources fully.

WE COMPLETELY AGREE! IT’S A LONG TERM INVESTMENT THAT GENERALLY PEOPLE APPEAR TO FORGET, YET WHEN IT ALL ADDS UP, THERE IS A LOT MORE SPENT. THE MINDSET OF GRABBING A BARGAIN APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN INGRAINED IN OUR MINDS AS THE BEST OPTION, WHEN REALLY IT’S NOT A BARGAIN FOR ANYONE. SO, WHAT WERE THE EASIEST CHANGES TO MAKE CONVENIENCE AND COST WISE?

Laura –

The easiest swaps, and the ones that have brought me the most convenience and saved me the most money, would be:

  • a menstrual cup
  • bamboo toothbrush
  • bars of deodorant, shampoo, conditioner and soap
  • carrying a food ‘kit’ of reusable water bottle, bamboo cutlery, metal reusable straws and an elephant box lunch tin
  • cotton produce bags to buy loose fruit, veg and pantry items.
zero waste shop glasgow
@lesswastelaura – always prepared, even for travelling with her beeswax wraps, cups, lunchbox tin and cutlery with straws

These swaps have made sure that I am always prepared for any situation to avoid the most common disposable waste.

THERE ARE SUCH EASY SWAPS FOR PEOPLE TO MAKE, JUST PACKING A ‘ZERO WASTE KIT’ OF WHAT YOU NEED AS YOU SAID, CAN ELIMINATE SO MUCH UNNECESSARY WASTE. WHEN YOU BROUGHT YOUR FRIENDS TO THE STALL IT WAS GREAT TO FIRSTLY MEET YOU IN PERSON BUT SO INSPIRING TO SEE HOW ENTHUSIASTIC YOUR FRIENDS WERE ABOUT IT AS WELL – IS THERE ANYTHING YOU’VE GOTTEN INVOLVED WITH OR STARTED ON THE BACK OF BECOMING MORE ZERO WASTE?

Laura –

I have organised litter pick events at the University of Dundee and with Newton Mearns Baptist Church alongside consulting with the Catalyst Conferences to implement more eco-friendly practices.

zero waste shop glasgow social enterprise
@lesswastelaura – litter pick organising at university

I organised a week-long Eco Harvest challenge for Newton Mearns Baptist Church which will be running in October and have been working closely with Tearfund discussing zero waste and my personal lifestyle with regards to that.

Being featured on the Wisdom of Youth segment on BBC Radio 2’s Pause For Thought show was another great thing to be a part of too.

WOW, SO YOU’VE BEEN SO INVOLVED WITH A LOT OF THINGS TO SAY THE LEAST, THE RADIO SEGMENT WAS EXCELLENT WE MUST SAY AND WE SAW YOU WERE RECENTLY PART OF THE BIG BRITISH BEACH CLEAN UP EVENT TOO, SO INSPIRING TO SEE AND HEAR! WITH EVERYTHING YOU GET INVOLVED WITH, WHAT BENEFITS DO YOU FEEL FROM LIVING MORE SUSTAINABLY AND ZERO WASTE?

Laura –

Specifically from the social media community I have found so many like-minded people and met shop and business owners through this who bring joy to my life seeing the work they do and give me so much inspiration to continue living this way and advocate as much as I can.

(Thank you again Laura for your continued support of Society Zero, including your crowdfunder shares and pledge)

Then there are the practical benefits from saving money, increasing my preparedness, and generally slowing down my life – giving me more chance to step back and enjoy our wonderful world.

zero waste education glasgow
Laura has also presented talks in local schools on waste and litter problems – @lesswastelaura

IT’S BEEN A GREAT COMMUNITY TO BE A PART OF, INCLUDING MEETING YOU, AS SUCH A GREAT ADVOCATE FOR LIVING MORE ZERO WASTE AND ALSO ANOTHER LOCAL FOR GLASGOW (ALTHOUGH YOU’VE NOW SADLY LEFT US FOR EDINBURGH – EXCUSE US WHILE WE CRY IN SADNESS BUT EXCITEMENT FOR YOUR NEW VENTURES) WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO KEEP GOING AND WHAT TIPS WOULD YOU GIVE TO NEW PEOPLE WANTING TO CHANGE HABITS AND REDUCE THEIR IMPACT?

Laura –

My daily motivation comes from seeing all of the good work that is done and shown through social media platforms. Seeing the conservation, litter picks and environmental advocacy work being pushed daily keeps my mind focused on why this is important.

It is entirely personal too – seeing how much waste I can save and how easy it now is that I’m in a routine – I imagine others doing the same and seeing the big picture – hence why I started to post on social media to hopefully promote and influence this lifestyle.

The biggest tip is trial and error – and don’t give up! So many swaps take a little time to adjust but once you’ve got the hang of it – it’s so much better!

zero waste glasgow being prepared social enterprise
@lesswastelaura – her reusable water bottle going everywhere with her, reducing so many disposables being needed, no matter where she is

MAKING THE TIME TO TACKLE ONE SWAP AT A TIME IS A RECURRING PIECE OF ADVICE FROM OUR INTERVIEWEES AND ZERO WASTE HEROES WE WILL ALWAYS REITERATE – TACKLE ONE THING, THEN MOVE ONTO THE NEXT CHANGE YOU CAN MAKE.

Good luck Laura in all of your new ventures, you’re not so far away so we hope to see you again soon! Thank you so much again for all of your previous and continued support.

If you don’t already follow Laura but would like to find out more and follow her journey follow her on Instagram here, Facebook here and Twitter here.

Laura has recently moved to Edinburgh and will be kitting out her new flat with as many second hand items to reduce waste, so keep an eye out on her social media to see what she comes up with! She has already begun shopping at local bulk stores such as at our friends at the New Leaf Co-op.

zero waste shop glasgow
Bulk shopping at the New Leaf Co-op in Edinburgh

Original blog post:

https://societyzero.co.uk/2018/09/18/i-would-be-lying-if-i-didnt-say-it-moved-me-to-tears/

Tearfund Blog: MEET THE ZERO WASTER: CHANGING THE WORLD ONE LESS PLASTIC BOTTLE AT A TIME

A blog written in July 2018 from Tearfund.

Introducing Laura Young (aka Less Waste Laura). Laura, 21, is one true environmental advocate – believing that living more sustainably is essential to the future of our planet and the survival of all living beings within it.

Living, working and studying in Scotland, Laura poured her passion for the outdoors and nature into her studies at the University of Dundee for Geography and Environmental Science. These factors combined gave her a deeper understanding of the planet’s inner workings, and most importantly how human activity impacts on this. Alongside her personal first-hand experience of the natural degradation of natural ecosystems and all she learned through university, it was clear that a personal choice had to be made to tackle this issue head on… making the radical choice to live zero-waste.

Laura decided to live whole-heartedly for the protection and conservation of the environment, avoiding (where possible) actions and products which degrade or pollute the planet. The first steps were easy enough; cutting out single-use plastic (water bottles, plastic toiletries, buying loose fruit and veg etc), reducing her carbon footprint, and switching to lower impact activities in her spare time. However, some aspects are harder than others, and it’s a daily struggle to find balance and motivation when extra effort is required. Laura is determined though.

‘THIS ALL STARTED BECAUSE I REALISED OUR EARTH IS A HOLY RESOURCE, GIFTED TO US, WHICH WE HAVE BEEN ENTRUSTED TO CARE FOR AND THRIVE IN’.

Laura believes that human activity has done the very opposite to protecting the earth: exploiting and degrading so many aspects of it. She says, ‘Something has to change, and change starts with yourself. ‘

The Gandhi phrase, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ is a daily motivation and inspiration. She says that this a reminder that if you want something done right you need to start doing it and encourage as many other people along the way as you can.

This was how Less Waste Laura was born. A social media platform to advocate, encourage and educate about living environmentally. Laura is particularly talented at sharing her journey in a fun, appealing and uplifting way. She shares about reducing your waste and carbon footprint, what’s in different products that could be harmful and what actions are the most detrimental to the environment. Her Instagram account also features lots of amazing charities and organisations working to help reverse the human impact on our land and oceans.

Alongside personal change and online influencing, Laura has made an impact within her church and local community, organising litter picking events and pushing for large events to become more sustainable.

At the recent Catalyst conference in Glasgow, Laura used her influencing skills to give the day an environmental twist. Normally at an event of this size, happening a handful of times a year, plastic bottled water would have been supplied to all guests throughout the day. Switching to VegWare cups (plant-based compostable cups) and good old fashioned fresh tap water, some 200 bottles of water were saved when Laura pushed for the change!

Laura continues daily to find new ways to continually reduce her personal impact upon this planet, inspiring others to join her on this journey. She believes that caring for the environment is a form of worship and that keeping creation safe and flourishing is a way to glorify God.

Laura is just one of many young people across the world joining in with this new, environmental movement; the momentum is growing and this is the perfect time to join in the adventure. Find out more by following Laura on Instagram – and letting us know what part you are playing @WeAreTearfund.

Original blog:

https://weare.tearfund.org/meet-the-zero-waster-changing-the-world-one-less-plastic-bottle-at-a-time/

 

Top 10 tips for living environmentally

Before I attempt to ‘blog’ I thought it I should ease myself into this new world through a nice short and concise bullet point list. Here are my top ten tips for beginning to live an environmentally conscious life!

  1. No single use plastic– invest in your lifestyle, get a reusable coffee cup, some bamboo cutlery, and go back to old fashioned handkerchiefs and packed lunches!
  2. Plan your meals– not only does this help when going to the supermarket combatting food waste, but it reduces food packaging if you take some time to pack a lunch instead of buying on the go!
  3. Walk– got somewhere to be and its close enough to walk…then walk! Enjoy strolling your local area and contemplate using more public transport or cycling to reduce your carbon footprint!
  4. The Buyerarchy– ask yourself; do you need it? do you already have something nice? borrow from a friend? swap? charity shop? make? All of these steps show that there is a world of fashion and clothing to explore before hitting the high street or online!
  5. Cook from fresh– get your ingredients plastic free at the shops and cook from fresh; avoid packaging and non-recyclable materials!
  6. Sorting out your toiletries– recycled toilet paper, bamboo toothbrush, shampoo and conditioner bars, glass jar moisturisers…and many many more options to get that plastic out of your bathroom!
  7. CO2 matching– going on a holiday? Have you matched the CO2 on your flight? Many airlines now offer this at the checkout!
  8. Social media– find some amazing zero waste, environmental and eco-conscious social media pages to follow…get ideas and inspiration and stay on track!
  9. Shopping kit– get some produce bags for buying loose fruit and veg, take in your own tub for meat, fish and dairy, find a local vegetable box service, see if your local area offers milk in glass jars, find a bulk store near you!
  10. Slow down!– most importantly to reduce your impact and waste is to slow down, plan a little more, and prep your week! It is easier than you think to cut out the most common types of waste and single use plastic with a little investment into everyday reusable items, and planning your meals and outings!

LWL x

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset