My top 5 Amazon Ethical Buys

… And no that’s not an oxymoron. I know a lot of you will think Amazon’s ethical credentials are pretty low, what with all the monopolising practically every industry and controversies over the treatment of its workforce, but unfortunately Amazon is a fact of modern life and it would be difficult not to shop there. I’d love to know your thoughts on this – have you boycotted or do you avoid shopping from Amazon?

In the meantime, since I do use Amazon every now and again, it’s good to know what sort of ethical products you can buy there and of course there’s a lot as practically every company wants to sell through them. I’m looking mainly at the ethics of reducing plastic, reducing waste, and finding sustainable alternatives to lessen the environmental impact. I hope this guide is helpful!

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Ecoegg Laundry Egg: the ethical way to wash your clothes

So this is a pretty cool find. You can use it in your wash for all types of fabric and it completely replaces the need for washing powder. It uses natural cleaning pellets which don’t contain the harsh chemicals you find in normal detergents. Better still, it lasts 720 washes which is the equivalent of 3 years’ washing for the average family of four!

Bamboo Toothbrushes: reduce plastic with these bamboo toothbrushes

Plastic toothbrushes are one of the worst marine pollutants and are always being found washed up on beaches or in smaller pieces in the stomachs of marine life. There is an easy solution – replace your normal toothbrush with a bamboo one, which is 100% biodegradeable! This particular set contains 4 so one for each of the average family, and they are all different colours so you don’t confuse your toothbrush with anyone else’s. The bristles are BPA free and the packaging is made from biodegradeable recycled materials.

KeepCup: get your morning coffee in this re-useable cup

I’ve had my KeepCup for about 5 years now and it’s still going strong. Initially I used to get annoyed looks for baristas when I presented it and gave my coffee order but now they’re a bit more used to it. I take it all over with me and it fits in my handbags after use (do carry tissues so you can dry it out if you don’t have anywhere to wash it.) The UK gets through 7 million coffee cups per day and we throw away around 2.5 billion per year but less than 1% are actually recycled. The plastic polythylene used to make paper coffee cups waterproof breaks down into micro plastics, which end up in the stomachs of marine life. And let’s not forget that disposable cups are made from virgin paper pulp so trees are felled to produce a piece of pointless plastic-paper that is used to drink a single latte. If you do one thing to reduce your environmental impact, let it be buying and using a re-useable coffee cup!

Cheeky Panda Bamboo Toilet Roll: toilet roll made from sustainable material

One thing we can forget about when trying to be more ethical consumers is toilet roll; paper made to be wasted. The Cheeky Panda style of toilet roll uses 100% bamboo, which is natural, biodegrdeable and sustainable. I’ve noticed no difference in quality in using bamboo bog roll. Cheeky Panda also do bamboo tissues. Why is bamboo more sustainable? It grows faster than trees, produces more oxygen and absorbs more carbon. It regrows when cut and requires no fertilisers. (Psst: also, it’s vegan as there’s no gelatin-glue for the cardboard inner tube.)

Pilot B2P – pens made from plastic bottles: don’t just recycle your plastic bottles, buy everyday items made from those recycled bottles!

The UK consumes around 13 billion plastic bottles per year and more than 3 billion are not recycled. Obviously I would encourage you to invest in your own drinks bottle, which are all quite cheap, but on top of that it’s good to buy things made from recycled plastic as it puts to good use the plastic waste we’re still disposing of. Greenpeace suggest 9 ways to reduce you household plastic use. 

 

What are your top ethical buys?

 

 

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Lush shampoo bars – first impressions

Like practically everyone, I’ve been trying to reduce my plastic usage. Although I’ve always recycled since I was responsible for my own waste disposal, there’s a lot of stuff I never considered, and whilst being so concerned with finding vegan, cruelty-free shampoo brands I completely disregarded the fact that they come in plastic packaging.

Shampoo bars seem like the perfect solution but I’ve been reluctant to invest because it seems messy and ineffective. But I’m giving it a go now! I’ve bought a shampoo and conditioning bar from Lush to try over the next few months to see how I get on. I also bought one of little silver tins to keep it in to manage that worrisome mess.

Godiva shampoo & conditioning bar

A visit to Lush is a very sensory experience – there are so many interesting smells and pretty sights. I always want to try everything or at least sniff it all. I went into the shop specifically for a shampoo bar so I tried not to tempt myself with anything else. There is an impressive selection of shampoo bars, which are all around £6-8; this does sound pricey but when you consider it’s going to last you months and months it’s a good investment.

I went for the Godiva because it’s smells great and conditions as well, which saves me buying an extra bar. Not only is everything in Lush cruelty free (and cute and amazing!), many of their products are vegan, and the Godiva bar is completely vegan. It has a jasmine scent and contains a variety of oils and butters to give a soft shine to the hair.

It lathers up really well and it’s actually really easy and convenient to use. It’s not messy like I expected and I was impressed with the amount of lather you get out of these shampoo bars, and how long they last – 80-100 washes, so I’m told. I’m not totally convinced it’s going to be provide sufficient conditioning to my hair though so I’ll probably use a leave-in conditioning spray or a bit of coconut oil as well (which I already do.)

This shampoo bar is going to be really handy for travelling and for taking to the swimming pool as it’s so small and fits snugly into its little tin.

I also bought a milk bottle shaped shower gel but more on that later!

Veganuary 2018

So this has been a long time coming. I’ve been meaning to take the plunge to quit eggs and dairy altogether but have so far not managed to commit. A month ‘trial’ is a perfect excuse and gives me a get out if it turns out I completely hate it (which I doubt – I’m practically there anyway.)

What’s Veganuary?

As the name suggests, the idea is to go vegan in January, the best time of year for making changes. The whole Veganuary campaign is hugely popular and successful and there are plenty of resources on the website to guide and encourage new vegans. They also have a very helpful myths section to debunk some of the strange ideas surrounding veganism and to explain in more detail why it’s a necessary change for the environment, for health, and for animals.


One of my main worries is eating out – will I be able to find a place that offers something for me? I’ve been a vegetarian for years and it has always been simple eating out as there are always some veggie options. In fact, it has been easier – while my friends spend ages trying to decide between the lamb and the salmon, I scan the menu and select the only veggie option available. So I’m glad to find that there’s another really helpful section on the Veganuary website that lists high streets restaurant chains and coffee shops and lists the vegan options available.

I’ve read some of the books, have some comprehension of a vegan philosophy but do not wish to watch any of those films or documentaries like Earthlings or Cowspiracy that turn a lot of people vegan – I already know, or at least, can guess.

So what I’d really like from you, Dear Reader, is some recommendations and advice – where to shop, what to watch out for, how to stock up on the essentials? Are you trying Veganuary this year or did you do it last year?

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Angry white men can make their own excuses for voting Trump in

“He says what he thinks, right or wrong”, said one Trump voter. I came across this ludicrous quote when despairingly googling “why did people vote for Trump”. Whoever said that – it’s just not good enough, nor is it even accurate. Such apparent honesty is not to be admired for its authenticity – we must be ready to condemn people who say distasteful and offensive things, regardless of whether or not they mean it. Is a racist or sexist opinion legitimized because the speaker actually means it?

Clearly Trump’s unexpected victory is an historic moment; a totally unqualified man has made it to the highest office on earth, despite his obvious flaws, because women are hated that much. We can look back at his various public gaffs and consider what they mean now that he is president: it is now OK to publicly mock disabled people, generalise an entire culture as rapists, grope women and brag about it, scapegoat muslims. Most public officials are usually sacked for these sorts of things but in Trump’s case they have not hindered his ascent to power. Not only are some Americans worried about their futures in a Trumpian vision of the world, but parents are wondering how they can tell their children that it’s wrong to lie, that it’s wrong to sexually harass women, when their leader has done these things and got away with it.

Perhaps we should be empathetic to those who voted for Trump because they are working class men who have suffered from globalisation. Don’t ask me to apologise for the decisions of angry white men; they can make their own excuses. I’m interested in why 53% of white female voters chose Trump. It is a depressing blow to see that so many women are not feminists. And they can’t be when they have voted for a man who is alleged to have sexually abused women, and who has definitely bragged about groping women and getting away with it because he’s a rich and famous white man. In my idea of feminism, it is not possible to vote for such a man and be a feminist because he is a cliched epitome of patriarchy. It’s not just that the female voters have sold out the rest of the sisterhood, but their decision shows that Trump’s attitude to women is normal in their every day lives. While many claim to be disgusted by his comments, they still voted for him because they don’t see his sexism as important. Women are so full of self-loathing that they prioritise a white male’s desires over their own right to bodily safety. They have acknowledged that they see their only value as sexual objects and they, too, will suffer for this under a Trump regime in which their abortion rights will be denied. They have internalized sexism and reject Clinton’s ambition and success, or can’t relate to it.

Hillary Clinton, for all her flaws, is a representative for white feminism yet still she failed to win the white female vote. But it’s not her fault that white women don’t want feminism, or at least, they prioritise white supremacy over gender equality.

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