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Living Zero Waste

September 23rd, 2020

#zerowaste #livingwastefree are hashtags we have seen grow over the past few years. This past zero waste week we have seen our feeds full of people trialling this way of living. However, living ‘zero-waste’ isn’t a new idea. Social media didn’t create this, people have lived this way for centuries. Even as recently as my grandparent’s generation people threw less out, were more resourceful, repaired more etc.

One of the reasons society creates more waste is because of planned obsolescence. The economics and industrial industries coined this term in the 1920s. It means to produce products with a limited use life. Either literally becoming unfunctional or just unfashionable over time. Phones are an example of this when new updates don’t work on older models. Apple had a lawsuit filed against them over this issue in 2017.

Because of the above and the excessive consumer marketing that surrounds us all the time, zero waste living is near impossible in our society. The issue is often discussed on a personal level, but the problem is bigger than us as individuals. So, with no guilt, let’s just continue to try our best.

Food Waste

One way that we personally have been reducing waste is with our food habits. Food obviously has a limited use life. Roughly a third of food produced for humans never gets consumed(1). If food is not composted or donated it ends up in landfill releasing methane gasses into our atmosphere. Meaning that if food was a country it would be the third largest producer of carbon dioxide in the world, after the US and china(2). This is shocking not only for the environment but for the 8.4 million people in the UK who struggle to afford a meal(3).

Top Tips

Use vegetable stalks in cooking. Broccoli stalks, cauliflower leaves etc are often thrown out when they are completely edible and if cooked correctly taste delicious. @MaxLaManna’s Instagram account is full of recipe videos using food scraps that might have otherwise ended up in the bin. He creates pesto, hummus, soups and more using ingredients that in majority of households gets thrown away.

Freezers are such a blessing. Throughout history there has been much less food waste, yet we don’t have an excuse now because there is an easy option to preserve food. Did you know bananas are the most wasted fruit around the world? Freeze them to use in banana bread and smoothies. My grandparents used to fill ice-cube trays with herbs and water to use into curries and stews. Meaning there was no pressure to use fresh herbs immediately before they went off.

Compost, compost, compost – Food waste composting at home significantly reduces the methane emissions. For a guide on how to compost check this page out(6). Not everyone has the luxury of a garden, but composting can still happen in an apartment / flat. You can drop compost off at most allotments / community gardens.

Re-growing food such as carrot tops, celery, spring onion, herbs etc(4). This lockdown with slightly more time on our hands we have been re-growing vegetables from the scraps that normally get chucked in the bin / compost.

Once these habits are engrained into your routine it can save you pennies.

Throwing away less = purchasing less.

Obviously, the above options aren’t viable and accessible to everyone. Sustainable habits can be time consuming, expenisve and not everyone has access to fresh food. We only encourage people to do the best they can as individuals.

Top off zero waste eating habits with a zerowaste cleaning routine. Find our refill cleaners here.

1) http://www.fao.org/3/a-i2697e.pdf

2) https://ourworldindata.org/food-waste-emissions

3) https://enuf.org.uk/sites/default/files/resources/foodinsecuritybriefing-may-2016-final.pdf

4) https://gardeningmentor.com/make-your-own-compost/

5) https://foodrevolution.org/blog/reduce-food-waste-regrow-from-scraps/

(6) https://gardeningmentor.com/make-your-own-compost/






Recycling 101

September 9th, 2020

RUMOURS AND RULES

The reminder you (probably) don't need on why we should recycle...

Landfill rubbish when decomposing produces methane, which has a 21 times greater global warming potential than carbon dioxide(1). If that wasn’t bad enough when it rains the water that runs off the rubbish is then polluted. The toxic compounds can kill aquatic life when said water reaches streams. People who live near landfills can have higher risks of birth defects, cancer etc…we are pretty much living the nightmare that Erin Brockovich the film depicts.

We desperately need systematic change to tackle these issues, household waste is only 12%(2) of all landfill so as individuals we really aren’t the problem. Seeing as that 12% is all that most of us can control we of course should recycle whenever we can. But with no guilt if we don’t always have time / get it correct. It’s a privilege to have the time and brain space to worry about recycling.

Frustratingly, recycling is not always straight forward. Different counties have different types of recycling they accept. Just because a product has a recycle logo on it doesn’t always mean it can be recycled in your area. Find out what your local authority recycles using this website. We were surprised to see the variety of different recycling practises just from the different postcodes in our office. Some colleagues needing to split up all their recycling into paper / metal / plastic and others found out they can recycle plastic carrier bags! To find out if your area recycles cartons use this Tetra Pak website.

Recycling Symbols


Mobius Loop(3)
Indicates the item can be recycled. If this symbol contains a percentage this means that not only is the item recyclable, but it has been made from a recycled material.

Widely Recycled / Not Yet Recycled
75% of councils recycle this / 20% of local councils will recycle this.

Compostable
The best kind of products are compostable

The Green Dot
This symbol signifies the company / brand financially contributed toward recycling in Europe. Confusingly it has nothing to do with whether the product it is printed on can be recycled. 

Electrical Waste
The best kind of products are compostable.

Recycle In Store(4)
Morrisons started a ‘Recycle me in store’ logo where once finished with you can bring back food packaging bags / wraps such as the plastic inside cereal and wrapping bread. These often cannot be recycled in household waste bins.

Forest Stewardship Council
Paper based products from sustainable and well managed forests. We are proud to announce that in 2020 we changed all our packaging to FSC certified material.

Glass
This symbol appears on glass objects as reminders to use a bottle bank / recycling as opposed to landfill.

Top tip about tips : Often tips are seen as the last stop and any recycling happens before you get there. However some tips have great recycling facilities. Such as collecting fabric to be recycled into the stuffing that goes inside cushions and sofas. This way old sheets, clothing and clothes can be reused. They also collect old shoes to recycle and be made into AstroTurf and tennis courts.

After all that we would encourage you to recycle less. Unlike metal and glass which can be recycled forever plastic loses its quality after 2/3 times of being recycled. Reusing is the way forward.

Our 100% plastic free refill cleaning products make reusing an easy and accessible option.

We are by no means experts and are always still keen to learn and keep doing better. Let us know how you find recycling in your area / county ? 

1) https://theconversation.com/our-love-of-coconut-oil-may-have-forced-some-species-to-extinction-141454

2) https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/874265/UK_Statistics_on_Waste_statistical_notice_March_2020_accessible_FINAL_rev_v0.5.pdf

3) https://www.gwp.co.uk/guides/recycling-symbols-on-packaging/

4) https://www.morrisons-corporate.com/cr/corporate-responsibility/front-of-pack-recycling-logos/






What we have been doing to reduce plastic this summer

August 24th, 2020

As a team at Iron & Velvet we are always trying to reduce plastic in our everyday routines. Here are some easy changes we made this summer to live more sustainably.

What plastic free swaps have you made recently?

Veg Box

When supermarkets became less accessible and more unsafe during lockdown, we switched to purchasing Veg boxes from local farms instead. Not only does the produce come plastic free in an aesthetic wooden box but it’s delivered straight to your door, mostly organic and supports local businesses.

Chewing Gum

I’m afraid I am about to break some hearts. Chewing Gum contains polymers and take hundreds of years to break down. Yes you read that correctly every piece of chewing gum we have ever chewed is still on this planet and will be long after we leave. Safe to say since learning this we swapped to soft mints.

Beach Cleans

As more of us will be holidaying in the UK as opposed to abroad, our beautiful coastal locations are in danger of being left worse than we found them. The amount of litter left on beaches is heart-breaking. This year we have taken part in a few organised beaches cleans. However, it would be just as easy to do it independently. Grab some gloves and a biodegradble bag to get cleaning.

Make Up Remover

Potentially the easiest change we made is to swap out single use make up remover pads to a reusable one. There are so many options on the market. I purchased this microfibre face cloth made from recyclable materials. It removes your makeup with just water so easy to use anywhere. Retailing at £5 it works out much cheaper than the single use.

Plastic Free Cleaning

Of course we couldn’t make this list and not include cleaning products. Seeing as you are reading this you may as well check out our 100% plastic free cleaners – we can’t help but hype up our products as we use them every day.

The society we live in makes zero-waste living pretty much impossible. There are many times we have felt discouraged, but we cannot entertain these feelings.

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