#ecosparkles : Week 2


Whilst I wrote earlier this week of my attempt at a green shopping trip, I have had some little green successes this week.

  1.  No disposable cups! Not only did I take a cup on my shopping trip, I also took it on my weekly lunch treat. Once a week, my colleague and I head to the gorgeous little café in town for a takeaway homemade soup and bread.  Today we both took our reusable mugs and the owner was more than happy to fill them up with the tastiest lentil, coconut and sweet potato soup!
  2. Decluttering. Yep its that time of the year when I am working my way, room by room through the house to tidy and sort each area. I did the children’s bedrooms this week and sent some clothes, clean and in good condition to the charity shop.  There were some stained and damaged clothes and rather than throw these away I cut the t shirts up to make some rag cloths.  The jeans which were worn through at the knees have become a pair of denim shorts to wear whilst mucking around in the garden.  As well as the clothes, I sent some games and books to the charity shop and recycled paper. There was very little thrown away, apart from used pens for which I need some ideas.
  3. No plastic bags.  Whilst I haven’t bought a plastic bag Mr S insisted on buying one despite my alternative offers when he bought some trousers in Next.  I was really annoyed with him, it felt like he was ruining my little project, something he is a bit bemused about at present.  I just hope that my positive action will rub off on him soon.

    I have a few little ideas for next week’s ecosparkles I’m going to see exactly what I can recycle at my local tip and see if I can reduce our landfill.


Trying to be green


My resolution this year is to try and be more environmentally friendly and I have created a little hashtag #ecosparkles2018 to illustrate my efforts over the year. I want to see how easy it is to be more ecologically aware by adopting very simple habits, for example I’m hoping not to buy any plastic bags this year or use any disposable cups.  Today was my first big test with a trip to big town.  I was prepared, I had several bags for my shopping, a reusable coffee cup and I even cheekily took some spare coat hangers I had from my decluttering yesterday to see if I could recycle them in a shop.  There were some successes today, I used all the bags and didn’t need any additional and the Sainsbury’s cashier happily agreed to recycle my hangers.

However there were some little things I hadn’t prepared for, the trip took longer than anticipated and Little Miss and I needed a quick bite to eat.  The green and more comfortable option would have been to pop into a café but I was on a tight timescale so we ended up with a takeaway, my daughter’s lunch was served simply in a paper bag, a pretty good packaging option and I had a takeaway salad in a plastic box with a plastic fork, not great eco packaging.  However to try and make the best of the situation,  I took our used packaging to the recycling area of a supermarket as there were no recycling bins in the shopping precinct.  Unfortunately the area was only for recycling clothes, paper, books and silver foil.  I couldn’t take the used tub home as it had dressing in it which might spill onto my other shopping, so despite my best intentions and search for a green option I ended up throwing it away and feeling guilty.  That was frustrating as I had looked hard for a recycling option and it wasn’t there.  This was in a busy town centre and I would have expected some recycling bins around the shops, takeaways etc.. to help people make little green gestures.

My other observation from today was around cruelty free make up.  I went to Superdrug today which has a good reputation for cruelty free products.  I found some of the brands I was looking for and bought a new foundation and mascara which I needed.  What surprised me was the air miles involved in these products as some were made in China.  To me this also raises the ethical argument of China being the country which is insisting on testing on animals, producing cruelty free make up which I presume cannot be sold in the state.  It just doesn’t sit right with me on a number of levels so as well as cruelty free, I’m now looking for make up not made in China and with as few air miles as possible.

Today’s trip has shown the need to be prepared, that you can ask shops to help you be more eco friendly, eg the recycled coat hangers but that there is much more to be done by councils to encourage recycling in busy town centres.

#ecosparkles2018 : Week 1




Whilst my focus in #ecosparkles2018 is to try to do more little things to help our environment, I hope that I have always tried to be considerate of our planet.  I recycle as much as I can, rubbish, clothes and household goods and try to think of the environment in my actions. However there is always more that we can do, so this project is of new, little extra things that I’m doing this year to improve our environment.

  1. Whilst I normally recycle our Christmas cards, this week I responded to a Twitter request to send the picture half of the card to a women’s prison so they can do Christmas crafts next year.  The cards will be used for a new purpose and the discarded part has been recycled.  image
  2. I ordered eco cleaning materials to replace the usual products.  I will develop my collection as the remaining products are used up.image
  3. At work, I have avoided using the disposable plastic cups at the side of our water cooler and brought a glass to the machine each time.  Sometimes it has meant a walk back to my office to collect a glass but I reckon I have saved 2 or 3 plastic cups every work day so far.cup


New Year’s Resolutions 2018 – #ecosparkles2018


Firstly a confession, I never make new year’s resolutions, but this year I am because something has turned in me and I need to do something.  When I was younger I was proud of my ethics and teenage girl protests, I discussed  nagged my parents not to buy goods from South Africa in the apartheid era, poor Dad was never allowed to buy Gillette razors for their refusal to stop testing on animals and the Body Shop was the shop of my dreams.  Through to adulthood, I kept my values, carefully recycling, writing to my favourite clothes shops to ask of their working practices to ensure that my clothes were being made for a fair wage etc..  And then I became complacent, I thought the battle to ensure that products were not tested on animals had been won with legislation in the UK, I presumed that the kerbside recycling meant that we were becoming greener as a country and simply pottered along.  However I have read a number of articles recently and watched some video footage and have had that sad realisation that things aren’t as rosy as I had hoped.  If companies wish to sell their beauty and skincare products in China, they must be tested on animals before they are allowed to sell in the country, so some companies who have maintained a cruelty free product in the UK are rejecting this to sell to the large Chinese market.  Suddenly products which I believed to be cruelty free are no longer, my ‘I finally found the perfect’ foundation is no longer perfect, my beloved Essie nail varnishes have lost their gloss.  I’ve also watched videos of the damage being done by our obsession with plastic and our throw away attitude and how we need to act to protect our planet.  I am not an eco warrior, I’m simply someone trying to do little things to help our eco system so that we have a healthy world to live on and to be proud to pass it on to future generations.

As a new year’s resolution it has a pretty big remit, so I thought I would use my blog to post some updates on what I’m doing and why I’m doing it, using the hashtag #ecosparkles2018.  I’m not sure how this will look, but we’ll let it develop organically as time progresses.  However I know that the first thing I am doing is compiling a list of cruelty free brands which do not trade in China and to use this list to replace the unacceptable items in my make up bag as they are finished.  My other quick fix resolution is not to use any new plastic bags next year or take away coffee cups.

There will be other actions as I research more and try to take positive steps towards improving my environment and I hope to include many links too for others to look at the arguments.  Here’s to a greener 2018.


Resources I’ve used so far …

Make up and Toiletries 


Whilst this is an American website, it has lots of useful information on multi national companies and their policies.  It also helps you to work out who owns which brands.



This is a really useful introduction to some cruelty free brands.


This website has an excellent database of manufacturers for inspiration.


The same website has this page of companies who sell in China and therefore accept testing on animals.  To me this was difficult reading when many favourites are on it.

Environmental Pollution / The use of plastics 


Some worrying graphics about plastic in our environment


A pledge to help reduce your plastic use.


This article looks at different types of plastic packaging.


More ideas here, some so simple, stop chewing gum and using straws.