Category Archives: Sustainable & Green

Sustainable & Green

Slow Fashion Season 2020 + Sustainable UK Webshops You Can Support

Slow Fashion Season 2020 is kicking off from 21 June – 21 September. This initiative aims to raise awareness about the (fast) fashion industry and how consumers can respond to it. They’re challenging you to make conscious clothing purchases for three whole months. You might have already done that given recent events, but now things are slowly opening again it might be tempted to fall back into your old habits. So having a three month goal to aim for might be just what we need.

Once you sign up, you’ll receive newsletters with tips and words of encouragement, or you can follow the community on Instagram for even more inspiration. To give you an idea about some of the topics and themes: what I really liked last year was calculating my Closet Mass Index, where you count all the clothes you bought new, items you were gifted and all the unworn ones. You can also split those into green or second-hand purchases. And from there, you can take it further and figure out why you don’t wear certain items in your collection, which can help you avoid making those purchase mistakes in the future.

The Slow Fashion Season choices are:

  • Avoid buying from fast fashion brands
  • Trade, upcycle or DIY clothing
  • Buy second-hand and vintage

And in light of COVID-19 they’ve added a new one:

  • Support sustainable, local, small fashion businesses

I’ve mentioned some of my favourite UK brands that I can highly recommend here. Today, I want to highlight some small UK webshops that sell international brands I’m a fan of. I feel the Dutch are way ahead when it comes to sustainable denim, while the Germans have next level essentials with more style than you can imagine, and the Spanish are acing it with ethical footwear. I personally try not to import items, that’s why I’m happy with webshops that curate and sell different brands making it easier for me to buy them. So, if you’re taking part in SFS and don’t have a local shop near you, here are the shops across the UK you can support while getting your hands green.

The Keep Boutique – London

The Keep Boutique is my local go-to boutique and I love that I can just pick up anything there and don’t feel bad about it.

Brands include Pala Eyewear, COR and Lowie

You can find their shop here – Give them a follow here

Mi Appeal – Liverpool

Sustainable fashion, natural organic beauty and ethical homeware – you can have it all when shopping at Mi Appeal!

Brands include Jan ‘n June, Swedish Stockings and Zola Amour

You can find their shop here – Give them a follow here

Found Hea – Bristol

Found Hea sells a variety of clothing, outerwear and accessories from ethical labels. They also have a huge selection of menswear.

Brands include the Girlfriend Collective, Mud Jeans and ARMEDANGELS

You can find their shop here – Give them a follow here.

treen – Edinburgh

treen is a vegan-friendly store that doesn’t sell any products made with animal skins or by-products.

Brands include Thinking Mu, KowTow and NudieJeans

You can find their shop here – Give them a follow here

If you don’t know where to start, why not check out: Slow, Ethical and Sustainable Fashion: A Quick Guide When You Don’t Know Where To Start + Affordable Sustainable & Ethical Clothing Brands

Want to know or need a reminder on what’s messed up in the fashion industry? Check out these documentaries and renounce your old ways.

Sustainable & Green

How I saved £1300 in 45 minutes to invest in greener travel

Following up on my greener travel fails I started reading more on the topic and quickly learned I need more money and time if I actually wanted to travel greener. One of the main reasons people choose to take the plane over the train is because it’s cheaper, and it’s something I have done in the past, but now it’s time for a change. I also don’t want to drastically mess around with my main saving budgets too much and like mentioned in this I don’t really want to limit myself too much with activities and eating out, yet that money to go greener has to come from somewhere.

So, I went through all of my expenses with a critical eye and cancelled or adjusted where needed to free up some budget. This took me a total of 45 minutes as it all can be done easily online. I was so happy this meant I could also change my insurances quickly online – something I’ve been putting off because I didn’t want to talk to someone on the phone and have them persuade me to stay on.

All in all, I freed up almost £1300+ that I’m going to put this towards a greener travel savings pot and use it for greener transportation options and potentially eco friendly accommodation.

ONLINE SUBSCRIPTIONS
First thing were all the online streaming subscriptions. I’ve been on Spotify and Netflix since they first launched, but I’m just not getting everything out of it. I’ve cancelled Spotify and Netflix subscriptions for now and will be watch shows on Prime – which I have until April. After that I might get a Disney+ trial or find someone to share and split passwords with. I also cancelled my live television, you can find my reasoning for that here.

Total savings of £35 a month = £420 a year

INSURANCE
I feel like it’s very Dutch of me to have insurance for everything. Insurance is and always will be important, but there are ways to save on it. I had a look at my phone, my contents and travel insurance and have cancelled where needed or amended to my current lifestyle.

Total savings of £45 a month = £539 a year

BLOGGING
I have a love hate thing with good old Pinterest and started using Tailwind to schedule in posts, but I feel like I’m not getting my money’s worth out of it and decided to put the those funds to a better use.

Total savings of  £11.25 a month = £135 a year

FOOD SHOPPING
Next up was the foods and drinks. Cutting out that coffee I have once in a while is not going to change much in my case. But my bi-weekly Oddbox definitely will. No matter much I love the idea behind Oddbox (rescued vegetables that would have gone to waste), it’s cheaper to get veg at my local market or Lidl.

Total savings of £16 a month = £200 a year

With this I look ahead with a much more positive outlook into investing the money into greener travel and am eager to start looking into the possibilities. I’ll do a check-in in a few months to report back on how it worked out in real life.

Sustainable & Green

Train Bragging and 5 Other Reasons to Take the Train on Your Next Holiday + Route Recommendations

The Swedish have introduced us to some great things: ABBA, Meatballs and the Billy bookcase. Last year it was ”Flygskam” (flight shame) that spread across the globe, and now it’s the 2020 buzzword “Tagskryt” (train bragging) which has just started to hit off.

Travelling by train is my favourite mode of transport – I took my first long distance train trip when I was 12 and have since done more rail journeys that I can count throughout Europe. I’ll keep some of my favourite train bragging stories for another time and focus on why you should consider taking the train.

GREEN WAY TO TRAVEL

Depending on the type of train and length of the journey, it’s one of the greenest ways to travel. We’re very lucky that trains in Europe have started using renewable energy: Dutch trains are powered by wind energy, some trains in Belgium run on solar power and German long distance trains are using green renewable energy.

CONVENIENCE

One of my favourite things is that most stations are located in the city centre, so when you reach your destination you’re pretty much where you need to be, and there are no extra costs, time or stress for airport transfers.

OFF THE BEATEN PATH

Thanks to Europe’s wide-reaching rail network you can go off the beaten path and take the train to smaller and lesser known destinations.

THE EVER CHANGING SCENERY

For me it’s not just getting from A to B. No, it’s the journey and the ever-changing scenery that are a treat and give you a better insight in everyday life. But if we are talking about the destination, then thinking about how the train station is going to look like is something I can always look forward to: Antwerpen-Centraal Station in Belgium to St. Pancras Train Station in England and Trier in Germany are some of my favourites.

LUGGAGE

You can take more luggage with you! I usually travel with my small backpack, but I love to bring things back. Think wine, cheese and – my personal favourite: jars of peanut butter. Also…you are not giving your luggage away so there is almost no chance of losing it.

TRAIN ROUTES & DESTINATIONS

I feel like most people think they’re only limited to taking the train from London to Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris, but there are so many more destinations to consider. Some routes that I have been looking into are:

I was very excited to read that there is going to be a night train between Brussels and Vienna/Innsbruck from January 2020, which makes taking the train to East Europe so much more attractive. How about the below trip for Summer 2020? I’m thinking:

LONDON = BRUSSELS = VIENNA = LJUBLJANA = ZAGREB = BELGRADE = BUDAPEST = VIENNA = BRUSSELS = LONDON

Soak up some sun in the south of France, make one of the bigger towns your base and visit the smaller villages from there on. Throw in a French baguette and cheese for lunch, and I am sold.

LONDON = PARIS = AVIGNON = MONTPELLIER = PARIS = LONDON

The train in Switzerland must have the most gorgeous views in Europe! I’ve been wanting to see more of Switzerland for forever and the below itinerary has a high priority.

LONDON = PARIS = LYON = GENEVE = BERN = BASEL = ZURICH = INNSBRUCK = BRUSSELS = LONDON

The Mosel wine region is a destination that I really want to re-visit and – and try out all the Riesling. The best thing? It’s doable by train – even to some the wine tasting spots in the smaller towns

BRUSSELS = COLOGNE = COCHEM = TRIER = SAARBURG = COLOGNE = BRUSSELS

Do you have any train route recommendations worth shouting about?

Sustainable & Green

2020 Travel Eco-Announcements

I’ve already written about my successes and failures with trying to be more green, eco and sustainable during my travels. Look, I know I won’t save the world by bringing my reusable cup, but the more people do it the sooner it becomes the norm. Thank God sustainable tourism is now one of the fastest-growing travel industry trends, and with more and more companies starting to realise that here are some of their 2020 resolutions. Keeping in mind that some things can be considered greenwashing, or just marketing spin, here’s my honest take on what they are promising!

EasyJet have just announced that they are going to offset the carbon emissions for all the fuel used for all their flights. They claim that the cost of flights won’t be impacted by ‘their’ efforts to reduce carbon emissions, but this is marketing after all, so I’m pretty sure the costs will be included some way or another. Though they are the first major airline to do this, a lot of operators have already been offering to offset carbon emissions on behalf of tourists for some time, and in the grand scheme of things, it’s not going to the have impact some people might believe. What will have more impact and is way more meaningful, is their partnership with Airbus to develop hybrid/electric planes – how surreal is the idea of emission-free flying in our lifetime? I don’t know if I’m ready for it. Another thing I can get behind is their aim to reduce single use plastic with discounts for customers who bring their own reusable cup (here’s hoping alcohol’s included!). Considering they wouldn’t take my KeepCup on my last journey, this is VERY WELCOME!

Choosing to take the train is already a win in terms of direct emissions, but when you know that Eurostar is pledging to plant a tree for every journey from January 2020, and will run its first ever plastic-free service from London to Paris at the start of the year, it’s a no brainer. I also like the idea that they’re going to donate blankets from their sleeper ski trains to the Red Cross in France, and to animal sanctuaries in London and Kent in the UK. Teruffic!

On local level, the public transport system in Luxembourg is set to become free for all from March 2020! This great idea is aimed at encouraging car users onto public transport, and through greater investment they’re also improving the quality and level of service, which is great for the people who work there, but it also means it will be more convenient for visitors to consider as a new long weekend destination. On top of this, the free service will hopefully get people exploring the country in the best way for the environment. I know I will.

I’m curious to see what certain destinations, like Amsterdam, Barcelona, Milan, are going to do about the ever-growing threat of ‘over tourism’. Netherlands’ idea has been to ditch Holland as their main advertising focus abroad, with a new angle targetting the whole country. A good example of this is when NL won the Eurovision in 2019, Amsterdam didn’t even put itself forward to host the next event. All this will hopefully open up the promotion of destinations across the country and possibly encourage new eco developments to boot.

So keep your eyes peeled for more travel eco-announcements and let’s hope they’re not all just talking the talk.

Sustainable & Green

Thoughts On Green/Eco Travelling Tips From Someone Who Actually Tried

 

Soooo much buzz is happening around greener, more sustainable and eco friendlier travel this year. I could write another generic green travel tips post, but since there are over 1.7 million of those on Google and barely anyone talking about how they struggle to do any of them right I thought I’d share some insights on how I’ve handled it this year…spoiler alert: I failed, like a lot.

PICK THE RIGHT DESTINATIONS

Everyone preaches to choose alternative destinations over places that are suffering from overtourism and focus on places that prioritise sustainability. I didn’t. This year I went to Amsterdam and Barcelona among other destinations … two cities that are victims to over tourism. Me visiting my friends in Amsterdam, did not have the same effect as me visiting going to Barcelona for a quick city trip.

RESPONSIBLE TRANSPORTATION

One of THE tips to decrease your carbon footprint is to avoid the plain and travel by train or even bus. I did a train trip from London to the Basque Country and I take the train within the UK. But the rest of my international trips this year were all flights because that was the easier choice. And I only set off my carbon emission for one of them, I can try to make it up a bit and mention that least they were all direct flights so that’s my footprint slightly reduced (ahem). At the destinations themselves I kept it to local transport to get around and didn’t use any cheeky Uber rides.

THINK ABOUT ACCOMMODATION

Booking eco-conscious accommodations hasn’t been a high priority. Sure, I stayed at a self-sufficient green camping site on Ameland, with friends or family in others’ places and hotels in New York and Bilbao. But I failed when it comes to Airbnb and booked a place in Barcelona that was solely there for tourists and therefore adding on to the making housing unaffordable issue for locals. My only excuse is that it’s more convenient when going with a group.

PLASTIC AND BYO

Refillable water bottle. Check! KeepCup? Check? Shopping bags? Check. Since it’s something I do at home it was a bit easier to do than some of the other things.

When I wrote my last post about greener travel fails I complained how I had to buy water bottles in Georgia because it was too hot, after that I bought an isolation bottle – the Dopper is my go to – and it works perfect. Thank God a lot of destinations now offer water fountains to refill your bottle. For one flight to Lanzarote I did buy a bottle, because I wasn’t sure I would have enough for the 4-hour flight. Also, on Lanzarote they recommended not to drink the tap water, so we bought a 5 litre bottle and used that to refill our own.

My KeepCup is everything! And I thought they were a thing all over the world as they are designed as per coffee shop sizes, but turns out in America they don’t do 8 OZ everywhere and I had to give in at a place because their small is European medium, so the barista didn’t know the measurements. I’m used to geting discount when bringing my own cup but that wasn’t a thing in New York either.

In Lanzarote and New York I got plastic bags, sometimes because my totebag wasn’t enough and sometimes because they pack it up your goods before you realise it. Some of those bags I’ve reused during my stay and some of them I’ve brought back to recycle.

I’m reading how everyone should find restaurants that use local ingredients and avoid foods that have to be flown or shipped in, but I found it more shocking how getting a plastic free lunch on the go is hard as everything is wrapped! The best chance is to sit down at a restaurant or go to a food market and hope they will put it in the lunch box that you brought.

PACK RIGHT

I didn’t know people cut back on the weight they might be adding to the car or plane and only pack the essential items. True, my packing was kept to a minimal and I even kept it to hand luggage only for my 6-day trip to New York. But if I’m being honest, this was not necessarily for green reasons. No way am I paying that rip-off fee to check in a suitcase, I’m Dutch after all, so I rather re-wear.

While we are on the clothes topic I also read a report from Bernardos saying that Brits were expected to purchase over 50 million (million!) outfits that will only be worn once, just over the Summer! I’m the opposite and tend to pack my standard holiday abroad items for almost all of my trips.

I haven’t found a low waste toothpaste that has fluoride, I also don’t have a bamboo brush anymore because it just doesn’t work for me. I have found recyclable brushes for my electric toothbrush. They are on my list to buy for when I have gone through the plastic ones I bought in bulk. I use solid shampoo and soap bars, so that’s a little win. Though the shampoo bars have been a hit and miss so far, they usually work in the beginning but the dry my hair out so I go back and forth between that and bottles.

CONCLUSION
I only seem to do the things that will save me money or things I already do when I’m home. But when it comes to travel I don’t know yet if I’m a green, eco or sustainable traveller and that might be the main issue for me. For 2020 I’m going to read beyond the usual travel tips and educate myself on how what I do affects the local environment, the economy amd the people, and based on that make my ways and tips more practical. And who knows I might become the leave-nothing-but-footprints and take-nothing-but-pictures kind of person.

What were your 2019 green wins?