Top Tips!

5 top tips for less waste festivals

Can we have less waste festivals? We’re in the middle of festival season, with so many happening up and down the country, we’ve been thinking about how to cut down the waste. With the pictures from Glastonbury festival this year somewhat disappointing in terms of the waste left behind, I wanted to share some thoughts! Here are my top 5 tips for less waste festivals! What would you add to this list to create less waste festivals? 

1 Borrow

Borrow or rent camping equipment, from tents to chairs and sleeping bags, most of us have them lurking. If you borrow, you’re less likely to leave items behind, as you’ll want to return them safely to their owners!

2 Invest in a trolley

If you go camping or to festivals regularly, a trolley is a great way to transport items, especially a foldable one. We all know that a few days of partying can be exhausting, so make it easy for pack up and you won’t be tempted to leave things at the site! Plus if you have kids, it can double up as a seat or bed for tired little legs.

3 Reusables for the win

Invest in reusables. A good water bottle, reusable cup and some food bags can be a really easy way to cut down on throw away items.

Add a tub and some cutlery, you can still get take away, but ask for it in your own tub and save on the throwaway options. Rinse out with water after use and you’re good to go again the next day.

4 Pack smart

Think about what’s useful and pack accordingly, reusable wipes are just as good as single use, if not better, and you can simply cut up old towels to make them. Take a sealable, reusable bag to store and then add water when you need to use them. Things like inflatable chairs can be a great way to save space when packing too. Plus you can get collapsable washing up bowls, which makes packing even easier!

5 Take it home

Making your festival a waste free one doesn’t need to be stressful, just a little bit of planning ahead will help. And if you do generate waste, the best advice is, take it home with you and recycle what you can. Don’t leave it for someone else to clean up.

And if you’re interested in a festival which has sustainability at its heart, then check out @treehouse.af a festival aiming to be the UK’s first BCorp festival! Powered by a bio-diesel generator and much of the festival site itself hand-built with sustainable materials, it’s one to support if you love festivals and are looking to be more sustainable. 

They also encourage travelling sustainably by organising group cycles from Oxford train station 🚲 and have other initiatives including encouraging rewilding. 

Festivals needn’t be full of waste, especially if we all take steps to be responsible for what we take and use whilst we’re there. 

How to make elderflower cordial

We know you love a recipe, especially when it’s for something you can pick out in the wild, so here’s how to make elderflower cordial. This is a lovely recipe to share with you from The Old Bakehouse Cookery

Tips: Rather than wash your elderflower, just give them a gentle shake and check for insects.

Ingredients:

  • 15 elderflower heads in bloom (not those growing near
    roads, try to find some pollution free trees!)
  • 2 lemons, sliced
  • 4 tbsp citric acid (can be bought on the internet; get
    ‘food grade’ quality)
  • 2.5L water
  • 1kg sugar (6) – it does make 3 litres of cordial

Directions:

  • Put the flower heads, sugar, lemon slices, citric acid &
    water into a large pan & bring to the boil.
  • Cover & leave to steep overnight (or at least a few
    hours).
  • Strain the liquid through a muslin cloth & squeeze
  • Return the liquid to the large pan and add the sugar.
  • Bring to the boil again, stirring until the sugar
    dissolves. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  • In the meantime, sterilise some glass bottles (3x1L
    bottles), lids and all the utensils you’ll need to transfer
    the cordial into the bottles.
  • Bottle up the cordial while still hot.
  • Store in a cool, dark place and refrigerate once
    opened.
  • Best enjoyed with the sparkling water (or Prosecco!)
  • Add extra lemon if you like.

I’ve also found an alternative recipe which you can find over at Alice Through the Year. Alice is a wonderful teacher and has some great recipes to share, plus she offers in person courses, and these aren’t just any courses, they’re personal and truly unique. Go and take a look.

Wild garlic and cheese scones

It’s wild garlic season and we wanted to celebrate the amazing gifts that nature brings us each and every season, by sharing this amazing wild garlic and cheese scones recipe!

We’ve been given a gorgeous wild garlic and cheese scone recipe to share from the fabulous @thegingernut_1 (our chief taste tester ie me, can confirm that these are delicious!)

Wild Garlic and Cheese scones 💚

500g Self raising flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tspsalt
200g butter*
190g extra mature cheddar*
60g red Leicester*
200 ml milk*
2 large handfuls chopped wild garlic leaves

Mix salt, flour and baking powder.
Rub the butter* in. Stir in garlic and cheese*. Add milk*. Knead to a dough. Roll. Use ridged scone cutter, Glaze with milk*. Bake at 200 for 10 mins.

*substitute vegan alternatives

Be mindful where you take your wild garlic from, get permission if appropriate, only take what you need and take just the leaves. Leave the plant to continue to grow 🌱

wild garlic and cheese scones
Photo credit @thegingernut_1

We love the way nature provides beautiful free produce, and would love to hear about your wild garlic recipes or other recipes using natural produce. If you have a go at making these then we’d love you to tag us in your pics over on instagram, you can find us there as @eco_able

Top Tips for switching to reusable nappies

It can be difficult working out how to make a change for the first time. There are lots of things to consider, cost, time and effort to name a few. So we’ve shared the top tips for switching to reusable nappies based on our blog post about this topic from our guest blogger Nicki Ryder.

  • Do some research – read about other people’s experiences about switching to reusable nappies, check out the nappy reviews, look at the various products available
  • Try out some products – buy a small amount of the nappies that you want to switch to, even just buying one and testing it out can be a massive change, you might also find some secondhand options
  • Take it slow – there is no rush, do it in a time frame that suits you and your lifestyle, especially if budget is a consideration
  • Be prepared – once you’ve made the decision and done some research you’ll know exactly what to expect and how you’ll manage it, so getting the equipment you’ll need will be the key to success
  • Get help – if you’re not sure where to start or how you’ll manage it, chat to friends and family and get them on board too, having support can be a game changer.
Reusable nappies

Our Top Tips for better sleep

We know sleep is important and it’s something we struggle with at times, so we wanted to share our top tips for better sleep, things that we’ve tried and tested, using our five senses.

Sight

How dark is your room? We find that light plays an important part in not only getting to sleep but also the quality and depth of the sleep we experience. We like to use a reusable eye mask if we find the room too light, but black out blinds are also meant to work really well at keeping the room dark.

Smell

Having a scent associated with going to sleep can be a great tool to help your body and mind know when to switch off. We love using a pillow spray or roll on at bedtime to help make that switch between relaxing and sleeping. There are some great essential oils on the market and some blends which work really well for us.

Touch

Feeling comfortable at night greatly aids the quality of sleep, including the temperature of the room you sleep in! This can be especially difficult to manage at certain times and especially for women during menopause. We’ve found looking at what we wear to bed and how comfortable this is when lying down, to be important; natural fibres such as organic cotton can often be the best for maintaining a consistent temperature and can feel soothing to the touch. Think about your bed and bedding too, some mattresses can retain heat and this can be unhelpful if you get too hot at night. Keeping a window open a small amount can often help with maintaining the room temperature too.

Taste

Similarly to smell, having a taste associated with bedtime is something that we have found to aid sleep. Drinking something herbal can work wonders in calming the mind and body, in our experience. Camomile before bed each night can be useful in reminding your body that it is time to sleep! Whatever you choose, having something that you use every night really helps with the nighttime routine.

Hearing

Sometimes we find ourselves unable to sleep due to racing thoughts, or perhaps thinking of all the things we need to do the next day. What we’ve found really helpful is choosing something to listen to when we go to sleep, such as a podcast, or audiobook or simply soothing noise such as a waterfall, ocean waves or rainfall. There are free sleep casts on audible and Headspace also do some incredible sleep casts and mindfulness audios to help with sleep.

We hope you’ve found our top tips for better sleep useful, we all know a good night of sleep is so important in keeping our minds and bodies healthy, yet it is often something that we struggle with from time to time and for some people, all the time. If you have any tips that you have found helpful, we’d love to hear from you.

You can find some of our useful products for aiding relaxation and sleep in our Eco well being section.

Tips for reusing Christmas cards

We’ve been considering some top tips for reusing Christmas cards! This year more than any year, we all want to keep in touch with our loved ones. Having not seen many of our friends, relatives and loved ones for most of the year, sending cards just feels right. It’s the perfect way to keep in touch and send some festive cheer.

Sending cards which are recyclable and made from sustainable sources is so important too. This is why we love the cards that we stock.

We love thinking of new ways to reuse cards and have come up with some ideas for reusing them each year, to minimise waste:

  • Make into gift tags the following year, by cutting out the desired shape, use a hole punch to make a hole and add string, then add to your parcels
  • Add a piece of paper inside each card, to write on, this can then be removed afterwards and the card reused, add a new piece of paper each time!
  • Use in Christmas crafts 
  • Make into Christmas bunting by cutting into triangles, make two holes at the top and add onto a long piece of string or ribbon
  • Make into table settings, cut into any shape you like, you can add a fold at the bottom so that it can stand up
  • Make into little gift boxes, simply by folding the card, you can stick it into place if needed.
Tips for reusing Christmas cards

When buying cards, it’s a good idea to check what they’re made from, make sure that you choose recycled card or FSC Certified card/paper. Plus avoid plastic covered cards, and glitter, as these can’t be recycled afterwards, as even if you reuse as much as possible there will always be a little that needs to go into the recycling. You can buy ‘naked’ cards as well which means they don’t come in a plastic sleeve, another great way to cut down on waste.

Plastic free wrapping tips

This Christmas we’re thinking about all of the ways we can be less wasteful and more eco friendly, with this in mind we’re sharing our top plastic free wrapping tips.

  • use reusable gift wrap, such as fabric wrapping, you can find ours here
  • if using paper wrapping, make sure it can be recycled and doesn’t contain glitter or plastic in the coating and make sure it goes in the recycling bin and not the normal rubbish bin!
  • use paper tape for wrapping as this can be recycled too with the paper
  • use ribbon or string instead wherever you can and reuse it
  • use reusable gift bags, fabric ones are great as they can be washed and reused, but any paper ones can be flattened and reused
  • get your family and friends onboard with plastic free gift wrap too, that way you can share the gift wrapping each year
  • upcycle any fabrics you have at home into gift wrap or gift bags
  • if posting parcels, use paper or cardboard to protect your packages and paper tape to seal the box.
Plastic free gift wrap
Upcycled tote bag

Feel free to tell us about your top plastic free wrapping tips too and other plastic free Christmas ideas.

Find us on Instagram too for our plastic free advent and stocking filler gift ideas in our IGTV video series.

Tips for a less wasteful Halloween

Halloween can be a lot of fun but it can also generate a whole lot of waste! We’ve had a think about how we can help to have a less wasteful Halloween this year and we thought you might find them useful too.

Tips for reducing waste from Halloween costumes:

  • Team up with a group of friends to share and swap Halloween costumes.
  • Have a go at making your own costumes with what you have around the house! A pillowcase can make a great base tunic for any costume.
  • Customise and repurpose old costumes, you can add a bit here and there to jazz it up and make it longer if it’s a little short!
  • If you have costumes you no longer need, you could donate them to your local school or drama groups for them to use.
  • Buy Halloween pyjamas, that way they can be worn more than once!
  • If you’re buying new consider buying something slightly larger so that it will still fit next year.
  • Children can make their own Halloween masks by painting or drawing, that way you also have a fun activity to entertain them during half term!
  • Have a look in the local charity shops as they often have clothes that you could put together to make a fab costume.

Things to do with a pumpkin!

  • Carve your pumpkin!
  • Make pumpkin soup – there are some great recipes here
  • Save the seeds to plant up for next year
  • Roast the seeds for a delicious snack
  • Make pumpkin pie
  • Roast your pumpkin pieces for a Halloween feast

We hope these ideas are useful for a less wasteful Halloween, if you have any top tips that you like to share, please feel free to get in touch with us and pop over to our social media pages where we regularly share ideas about eco friendly living. For other useful information, check out our blogs.

Top Tips for charity shopping

As we say goodbye to summer and autumn fast approaches, we want to share our top tips for shopping preloved and how to make the best of charity shop shopping. Here at Eco-Able we have been considering our clothing consumption more than ever and the difficulty many of us find when the seasons begin to change. Whether that’s feeling as though we don’t have the appropriate clothes for the changes in weather, we are tempted by new trends or maybe last year’s coat just doesn’t quite fit anymore. Whatever the reasons, the changing seasons can be some of the hardest times to avoid fast-fashion, however there can be some great alternatives to buying new clothes this coming autumn.

This month, Oxfam are encouraging people to take up the challenge of not buying any ‘new’ clothes for 30 days as part of their campaign Secondhand September, endorsed by Michaela Cole (I May Destroy You, 2020). As you know, wearing the clothes you already own is one of the best ways to curb our consumption of fast-fashion (many of which end up in landfill) but shopping secondhand is a great choice when we find ourselves in need of a wardrobe refresh, or as a little treat. So first of all, we would like to encourage you to consider what you want or need this autumn, and join us in taking part in the pledge to only shop secondhand this September! 

Recently, myself and my mum (Dani, our founder at Eco-Able) went charity shopping in the Mumbles, South Wales during our holiday there. We were delighted with our finds, so much so, that we wanted to share them here along with our tips for making the most out of your local charity shop, and how to find the best pieces for your wardrobe. 

Top Tips

  • Be prepared to shop around. Many people find charity shopping frustrating but the payoff is incredibly satisfying when you find what you’re looking for!
  • Visit often. Charity shops get new donations every week, so be sure to go back regularly if there’s something specific you’re after.
  • Another great tip is to ask if they have recent donations in the back of the shop, as there may be a rail of clothes that haven’t made it to the shop floor yet. Be aware that with under Covid regulations they aren’t able to open new donations immediately.
  • Look for versatile, transitional pieces that are suitable for multiple seasons, as this will help you to shop less in the future.
  • It’s also good to have a look in the locked and jewellery cabinets, as you may be able to find accessories to elevate clothes you already own!
  • Support a variety of causes by visiting different charity shops, perhaps consider what causes are important to you and see if they have a shop nearby.
  • Remember you can try on clothes at home as fitting rooms are currently closed and some shops accept returns, however redonating these items if they don’t fit means the charity is able to make more for the cause.
  • Sort through your clothes regularly and donate what you no longer wear- the more people donate the more choice there is for others!
  • Check the fabric of the clothes you like to look for materials that last. Polyester notoriously won’t stand the test of time, so consider opting for cotton where you can.
  • Additionally, look out for brands you’d normally shop with on the highstreet as you can find some great quality pieces at bargain prices.
  • Finally, many charities have online charity shops such as Oxfam, or Refashion which supports a variety of causes, and many have ebay shops where they sell stock they don’t have space for in stores. 

What are your top tips for charity shopping? We’d love to hear your thoughts and hope you found this post helpful for your next charity shopping adventure! Here are some of our charity shop finds, knitted dress 50p, Laura Ashley Dress £5.00 and coat 50p, as the coat fits us both, we can share this and style it in different ways.

Top Tips for Plastic Free July

Plastic Free July is an amazing time to make some sustainable swaps. If you’re anything like me you’ll need time to turn your swaps into habits so my suggestion to you is to pick one or two of these top tips for plastic reduction each month and just see what a difference that makes by the end of the year. 

 Here’s my top tips for plastic free living.

  • Don’t aim to eradicate all plastic from your life. Simply aim to reduce it. Maybe focus on one area of your home.
  • Focus on one key area, such as, shopping, lunch on the go, cleaning or bathroom.
  • Replace finished products, don’t throw away items which you can still use.
  • Think about how you can build things into your daily routine, such as using a reusable coffee cup.
  • Test things out, switching to plastic free can be trial and error. You haven’t failed if you don’t like a particular product, keep trying until you find the one for you.
  • Make sure the plastic free option works for you. If it doesn’t you’re less likely to stick with it.
  • Don’t feel bad if you forget your reusables! We all do it! Just make a plan for reminding yourself the next time.
  • Some reusables can seem pricey compared to their single use counterparts. So take some time to work out the costs over a longer period of time.
  • Don’t judge yourself or others. We’re all at different stages of our journey.
  • Take time to consider the alternatives to single use plastic. Find the best swap for you.

 

 We hope you’ve all found our tips for plastic free living helpful. We’d love to hear about how you’re getting on. Make sure you tag us in any plastic swaps you make in July on your social media.

 

Also take a look at our Boxes of Swaps here to give you even more tips for Plastic Free July inspiration.

 

 

For hints and tips on eco friendly living subscribe to our newsletter

We keep your data safe in line with our privacy policy and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Thank you for signing up. I look forward to sharing my tips with you.