Plastic is Regina George: Being green starts at home

Today is Earth Day and in honour of this very important day we thought we'd share a few ways we are trying to be a little bit more sustainable at The Handmade Home HQ (aka my spare room, but HQ sounds much better!).

eco friendly bags on pink background

Our biggest nemesis is plastic... what a b*tch plastic is. Plastic is, Regina George from Mean Girls, no one WANTS to be friends with her, but just can't seem to get away from her. I think we are all aware of how damaging it is for the planet and also how flipping hard it is to avoid. I ask the shop not to pack my online delivery in plastic bags and it still arrives in plastic bags. I know that in the middle of a global pandemic that bringing my re-usable cup to the coffee shop isn't ideal, but if I ask for no plastic lid surely I shouldn't be given one. So whilst it seems plastic is unavoidable there are a few changes we've made at home to use less of the nasty stuff.

  1. We are massive fans of The Green Stores in Croxley Green. If you don't know about The Green Stores, they are a zero waste store whose aim is to enable you to live a more sustainable life with a full range of package-free products including pasta, rice, cereals, herbs, spices, pulses, nuts, baking supplies, snacks, household items and more. We have a nice collection of Kilner jars for most of the dry goods we use, get our spice jars refilled and they have the best chocolate buttons!

  2. No more cling film! Yes, it is like playing fridge Jenga most nights to put the leftovers away and opening the bottom cupboard is always risky depending on who emptied the dishwasher last. BUT it's all reusable containers for us and we use wax wraps from Mersey Wax Wraps. They aren't super local to us, but we came across her business on Instagram and love the food wax wraps which helps to eliminate the need to use cling film.

  3. Re-usable bags... We have such a lovely collection of these and I hate myself every time I buy a new one, but we are all human and do forget from time to time. More and more I find myself carrying a canvas bag with me everywhere I go, just in case. It makes a great handbag and it fits loads in it. I don't have a cute brand to tag here, but always open to recommendations and even better if it is another local business we can help support.

  4. Brown paper over fancy wrapping paper. When I discovered wrapping paper wasn't recyclable we made the switch to brown paper. Whilst it can appear dull I've discovered it really is just a blank canvas for wrapping presents. A bit of garden twine, a sprig of lavender and a hand written gift tag and you have a stunning present to give someone. You can also feel smug that you've made that swap for something you know can be recycled.

  5. Compostable coffee pods. To say I LOVE coffee is an understatement. One switch we've made is to use Grind compostable coffee pods. The first time you order you get a re-usable/refillable tin and then you can order refills or subscribe to get pods delivered before you even run out. You can thank me later for fuelling your coffee addiction! They come in recyclable packaging that are in a letterbox friendly size.

The Handmade Home is also trying to find ways to be more sustainable too, we aren't perfect, but we are actively trying. One of the criteria for our Makers is that they are trying to find ways to be more sustainable. All our marketing material is printed on recycled paper when we do need to print something and the stickers and tape we use have eco-friendly adhesives.

Here is just a glimpse at what our Makers are doing to be more sustainable in their businesses.

  1. Keep Them Green and This Girl Makes Studio both use Jesmonite to make their beautiful products. "Jesmonite is an eco-friendly safe alternative to resin, plaster or concrete. It is fun, easy to use, can be cast and worked in many ways to achieve stunning outcomes, in a multitude of projects (".

  2. For Joy's whole brand is focused on ethical and sustainable products. She ensures that she uses recycled paper or sustainable materials. On top of that when printing her gorgeous calligraphy prints she uses ethical printers who pay a living wage. And all her packaging is recyclable, compostable and sustainable.

  3. Finally, Mae.d, focuses on making eco-friendly homewares. Her felt coasters and banners are made with 100% wool felt which is a sustainable alternative to polyester felt and lasts for ages. All her candles are made with eco-friendly soy wax and offers a 15% discount on new candles when you return your old containers using the refill scheme. She also focuses on recyclable, plastic free packaging.

We'd love to hear how you are being more sustainable at home. Share your tips with us in the comments and on social!