Ethical Christmas Gift Tips 2018

It’s that time of the year again when we get frantic about finishing all the work, preparing for relaxation time and trying to find everybody some presents. My best tip is to check a couple of tip posts or articles out, for some inspiration, and especially the ones for ethical and sustainable presents, there are many of them this year! And then listen to your friends and family and what are they looking for. I think often the best presents are time and being together with somebody, or giving them an unforgettable experience, and that post I will be posting up soon, however, for those who want to give products I am sharing some great brands here where you can find absolutely amazing products that are ethical and/or sustainable, and there are options for different price points as well! Do remember that the most ethical present (in items) is something that the person wants and will use years to come.

You can check an alternative Sustainable Gift Guide that I wrote last year from here and the post about gifting experiences can be found here. The decorations and seeds seen in this posts are from LA Juniper online store and part of the presents I am giving.

Ethical Christmas Gift Tips 2018 - byLiiL

Fashion and Homeware Gifts

Mavolu – An online shop based in Germany selling fashion, accessories and home products made with sustainable textiles.

Gaia & Dubos – A Canadian sustainable fashion company selling beautiful products, teaching how to care for them. In addition, they offer a bunch of tutorials for caring for your clothes.

La Juniper – A beautiful online store for homeware, stationery and gift products all ethically made.

Alicas – This is a Scottish brand working on providing women in crisis new clothes by repurposing surplus stock from retailers. They are selling ethical items with beautiful illustrations, right now to fund their amazing project.

Elvis and Kresse – Make amazing accessories from repurposed fire hydrants and off-cut leather. In addition, they give 50% of their profits to charity. This is one of my favourite brands at the moment and their accessories are on my Christmas wishlist!

Ethical Christmas Gift Tips 2018 - byLiiL

Wild Tussah – Ethical accessory brand made by artisans.

Nandi Berlin – Ethical homeware store with items made by artisans.

Buy Me Once – Fashion,  homeware and gift that will last a long time, are high quality and look great.

Gather and See – Sustainable and ethical fashion from around the world.

LiiL – British made Giclee prints and ethically made sleep masks and homeware.

Primrose and Pixie – Ethical and sustainable lingerie from Scotland.

Studio Emma – Beautiful and colourful homewares made out of concrete.

Maik London – Homewares that are sustainably sourced and ethically made in beautiful prints. I especially like their socks!

Ethical Christmas Gift Tips 2018 - byLiiL

Beauty Gifts

Acala – Zero waste beauty shop selling everything to women and men.

MyPure – Natural beauty shop for women, men and children.

Evolve – Natural and organic beauty brand, which is one of my favourites.

 

Zero Waste Supplies

White Spring – Sell high-quality bamboo straws, which are a great present for anybody who likes to drink with straws.

Ethical Christmas Gift Tips 2018 - byLiiL

Better Subscription Gifts

Green EcoBox – They have a natural beauty and gourmet food-related subscription boxes which give back. These boxes are amazing for somebody who likes to try new products which are of high quality and from small brands. If you don’t want to get the whole box or a subscription then you can check just the products on their websites. They are amazing!

Sourced Box – A subscription box full of healthy treats and for Christmas, they bring in a healthy chocolate box which looks so delicious I might just have to order one for myself!

Ethical Consumer – A subscription to this magazine will support ethical consumer magazine and bringing information about ethical businesses. It is a great magazine which I like to support.

Willoughby Book Club – or any other book subscription. At Willoughby, you can choose how long subscription and what type you want to order.

Spotify – or any other music service. Having the premium service can be a nice difference when you don’t have to listen to the constant advertising.

Netflix – or any other video service. There are so many options and so many of us watch tv on a daily basis.

Who Gives A Crap – Why not gift somebody, especially those who might need it, a subscription of toilet paper which is better for the environment as well. I know this might be a controversial present, but I also know that some people would love this present!

Ethical Christmas Gift Tips 2018 - byLiiL

Let me know if you have any other great shops or tips for Christmas!

With love,

Lii

Advertisements

Want An Ethical Advent Calendar?

Everybody loves Advent Calendars, from the basic picture ones to the chocolate ones and now we have different beauty, alcohol, tea, you name it. However, they are not always the most ethical or sustainable options. If you want to be surprised you don’t check what’s in them and can end up getting products that don’t match your values, and this is before all the packaging involved with the calendars and how expensive they can get. There are many great alternatives though and some that don’t have to cost you a fortune.

Want An Ethical Advent Calendar? - byLiiL

Buy an Ethical Advent Calendar

This Natural Bee shares 3 natural and organic beauty calendars which do sound beautiful and great for trying out new products.

Ecco Verde has great options for natural and organic beauty, chocolate and tea calendars.

Want An Ethical Advent Calendar? - byLiiL

Make Your Own Advent Calendar

Mindful Mom Blographer shares excellent options and ideas for making your own that also gives back and is activity based. It is a great option for families with younger children, but why not to couples and friend groups as well as it encourages spending time together!

Lego Calendar doesn’t have to be bought as the calendar lego has created. Those calendars don’t offer much to build and have excessive packaging. What you can do is get an old advent calendar with drawers or pouches, get a full lego set, spread it into 24 or 25 days so that each day there is a little bit of building to do. Take pictures of the instructions and add them to appropriate days into the advent calendar or send the pictures on the day. Now you have yourself (or for somebody else) a bit more affordable but fun lego calendar which will definitely be liked.

Want An Ethical Advent Calendar? - byLiiL

Story calendar is one I have been doing for a couple of years already for my friends and family who live a bit further away from me, but who I want to cheer up before Christmas. I write up a short story with 24/25 “chapters” in it. Each chapter is short enough that they have the time to read it during the busy period, but still has enough story to them to keep the readers interested. This also makes me practice my English writing, storytelling and research for the stories. And I’ve learned that this is something my friends and family love each December and can’t wait for. It doesn’t cost much but your time.

Alternatively, you can either fill each day with different ethical or sustainable treats such as chocolates, zero waste products, mindfulness quotes, little beautiful loving notes, poems, send a great song per day, you can fill it with anything that you or a person you are making it for likes. To make it sustainable make sure you can reuse the packaging for next year or for something else, or even better do it from recycled materials such as toilet paper rolls. I compiled some good examples on a Pinterest board here.

Want An Ethical Advent Calendar? - byLiiL

After all, Christmas is not about spending lots of money, but rather about sharing love and kindness, forgiving people and yourselves. The advent calendars should mirror exactly that! I hope you found some inspiration from here, but I would also love to hear about your tips.

What kind of ethical advent calendar do you like?

Want An Ethical Advent Calendar? - byLiiL

With love,

Lii

Bamboo Straw Review And A Discount Code

[I was kindly gifted with these bamboo straws in exchange for my honest review.]

After attending the Circular Economy conference I got a better understanding of how recycling and especially plastic recycling works, and why it doesn’t often work, and it has provided me with a better picture of what plastic should or shouldn’t be used for.

Plastic can be a wonderful material for certain uses, but there are many uses for which there are more cons than pros and such is plastic used in food packaging or as utensils. Food contaminates plastic which makes it more difficult to recycle, as the food contamination lowers the quality of plastic that it can be recycled into and therefore single-use plastic often end up on the landfills or being incinerated. How plastic contaminates food is another matter as plastic can’t be tested for everything at the same time, but rather it can be tested for certain “leaks”. Therefore you might want to use compostable or reusable packaging and utensils when possible. One of the great materials used in reusable utensils is bamboo. It provides some wonderful benefits whilst not costing too much to the planet.

Bamboo Straw Review And A Discount Code - byLiiL

Bamboo

Bamboo grows quickly without pesticides and when grown with responsible forestry it can be a fairly sustainable material. Bamboo is free of all the chemicals used in plastic straws and is naturally anti-bacterial. At the end of use, bamboo is biodegradable and can be composted in industrial compost. For straws bamboo is an excellent material, although it often varies in shape, it is durable when properly cared for.

Bamboo Straw Review And A Discount Code - byLiiL

Alternative to Bamboo Straws
  • Plastic – We are used to the feel of plastic straws in our mouths and therefore prefer them, however, this perception can be changed. Nevertheless, plastic straws can be useful for when other alternatives are not suitable.
  • Silicon – Is a great alternative and can be recycled, but is not biodegradable.
  • Stainless steel – It requires quite a lot of energy to produce and can leave a metallic aftertaste, although it could be recycled.
  • Paper – Is a single-use alternative, which could potentially be recycled, however, it faces a similar problem with plastic and food contamination and therefore many councils do not accept them into their recycling.
  • Glass – It again requires quite a lot of energy to produce and it can be very fragile.

Bamboo Straw Review And A Discount Code - byLiiL

White Springs Bamboo Straws

White Springs want to use bamboo as an alternative to single-use plastic. They pride in creating straws which are compostable whilst still being high-quality compared to many others on the market and truly they are durable, do not crack and feel nice and smooth in your mouth. In addition, they strive to pick bamboo with fairly similar internal diameter. With your bamboo straws, you get two cleaning brushes and an organic cotton bag where you can store them, or carry them with you. You get 8 straws and two cleaning brushes in the pack.

 

My Review
  • I like them, but the thickness is something I have to get used to, it isn’t unpleasant though. I love that they are reusable, organic, made out of natural materials and that they are compostable though!
  • My partner said he felt they brought the taste of wood to his drink, but I found it didn’t affect the taste of my drink in any way, I rather liked it.
  • Cleaning them the brush goes nicely all the way through, however, feels a bit tight. It still cleans the straws very well and airdrying them is fairly quick. They are dishwasher safe as well! From previous experience with bamboo products, I wouldn’t leave the straws soaking in water, as long periods of moisture can create mould. I didn’t experience it with these straws but I am mindful of it.
  • They feel really durable, smooth and nice to use.
  • The bag fits the straws well but doesn’t feel cramped, and I love that I have something to carry them with me if I need to.
  • There is no plastic when you receive your straws. Straws and brushes are in the carry bag and the carry bag is in a neat cardboard box.
  • The straws work very well for most cold drinks, however, for some reason with carbonated drinks they float a little bit and it pushes the bubbles up, although it doesn’t much affect drinking them either.
  • The straws vary in size, but it doesn’t matter to me. Different sizes can be pleasing to different people or different drinks.
  • My kitten was really excited about them as well. Compared to plastic I am not afraid if he plays around a bit with the bamboo as then he won’t be swallowing pieces of plastic. The bamboo is durable enough so he shouldn’t be able to break and eat pieces of it.

Bamboo Straw Review And A Discount Code - byLiiL

 

White Springs has kindly offered a discount code for my byLiiL readers, for UK customers only. You can use the code: WS324977 for a single purchase (it is valid until the 31st of December), which you can apply at checkout, and you can order your very own White Springs bamboo straws here. Do check their website out for more information! You can also find them on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

 

White Spring Add

Have you tried bamboo straws before?

With love,

Lii

Sustainable News Nr.3

Climate Change

Global Warming of 1.5°C – The already famous report about the future of our planet in 12 years if nothing is changed at the moment.

UN Says Climate Genocide Is Coming. It’s Actually Worse Than That – And this article explains the report in a clearer language, albeit in a bit on the side of fright tactic, however, at this point that might be needed to put pressure on decision-makers to reinforce new laws to protect the environment and reverse climate change.

6 Selfish Reasons You Should Care About The Rainforest and 10 Easy Ways You Can Protect It – Holly writes very comprehensively about the issues we face from deforestation of the rainforest and provides very easy solutions that each of us can do.

Biodynamic Farming – What Is It? – Interesting different type of farming. Can it reverse the climate change or reduce our emissions?

Sustainable News Nr.3 - byLiiL

Europe’s Meat and Dairy Production Must Half By 2050, Expert Warns – Even if we won’t all become vegetarians or vegans we should be consuming meat and dairy at a more conscious level. Do we all really need meat at every meal?

Capitalism and Climate Change – Interesting read into the economics of the future with climate change and sustainability.

A New Frontier In Wind Energy On Native American Land, Cultivated By Six Sioux Tribes – Amazing to read about!

Bill Gates Backs Innovative New Carbon Fee In Washington – “Companies openly opposed to the bill include oil companies, such as BP, Chevron, Phillips, and Andeavor, have raised $22.45 million to challenge it”. It is quite clear who would benefit from this not going forward and it is appaling to see that they are the ones who can put a lot of money to it, money that they could spend on innovating themselves! I wish the bill will pass and many others appear around the US and the rest of the world, we need it!

Confused By Climate Change, Japan’s Famous Cherry Blossoms Bloom Six Months Early – climate change affects more than people and animals, nature as well!

Sustainable News Nr.3 - byLiiL

Social

The True Story Of Fatima Al-Fihri , the Founder of the Worlds First Known University – It is quite incredible to think that the first known university is founded by a woman and not in Europe as well. Women have always been able to do anything they wish!

The Female Price Of Male Pleasure – Great insight into why we shouldn’t always question why did the woman not get out of the uncomfortable situation.

India’s Unplanned Pregnancies Are Down Thanks To Better Health And Education: UN – An example of how caring for women and education can be good for climate change and the economy as well.

Sustainable News Nr.3 - byLiiL

Fashion

The Environment’s New Clothes: Biodegradable Textiles Grown From Live Organisms – This is not new, but I am happy to see this being talked more and more about, maybe someday in the future, it will become more mainstream?

Dirty Fashion – Reports discussing the toxicity of fibres in the fashion supply chain and what is being done about them.

Inside Italy’s Shadow Economy – The hidden labour that is hard to uncover and although this article only dives into the problem in Italy, this is the way many it happens in many other countries as well. It is how employees can go underpaid in the UK where a minimum wage has been set.

Study Calls For Microplastic Weighting In Fibre Scoring Tools – This definitely should be done and I am surprised it is already weighted.

Albini Group Collaborates With Oritane For 100% Traceable Cotton Production – And they collaborate with Kering group to show an example of how textile manufacturing can be traceable.

Sustainable News Nr.3 - byLiiL

Other

A Third Of EU Chemical Imports Break REACH Laws, Claims Study – Study conducted by German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment found that many companies fail to inform of risky chemicals found in the products Europeans consume. This again is one of the reasons we need to make sure companies are transparent and we should be able to know what our products contain always!

When It Comes To Smartphone Lifespan, Brand Name Matters More Than Hardware – A study found that Apple phones are more likely to be bought second hand than any other brands of phones. The thing they do not talk about in the article is the price of Apple phones, which is the reason why they are often bought second hand. Nevertheless, it brings up an interesting point of view in the sustainability of mobile phones.

 

With love,

Lii

Cork by Grow From Nature

*This post contains affiliate links and if you buy an item using them I will get a small percentage from the sale. I only work with carefully selected partners who I genuinely like.

When thinking about vegan leather alternatives I often think of polyurethane based fabrics which are not great for our environment and in long-term not great for animals either. However, there are other great alternatives such as Pinatex (made out of pineapple waste) and cork, which is personally my favourite alternative.

Cork by Grow From Nature - byLiiL

Cork is a great sustainable fibre which has an interesting story. Cork oak trees grow in Portugal and unlike other trees, they thrive when their bark is peeled off them every few years, whereas other trees die if their bark is peeled off. They grew a different type of bark to protect them from forest fires and they regrow the bark when it’s burned or peeled off making it a renewable resource. It’s also waterproof, fire resistant and can be modified in many ways. To me, it reminds of all the corks used in wine bottles and cork tiles used for some interior design (a look that I’ve really liked), but now also, apparently, as a leather substitute in the fashion industry and quite frankly I really like the look of it!

 

There are not many brands that use cork to make their designs, but the few I’ve seen so far have been very promising. One of those brands I wrote about in the post about my favourite sustainable brands and now I would like to introduce you to Grow From Nature.

Grow From Nature drives their beautiful line of cork accessories by being sustainable, eco-friendly and vegan. They showcase the unique patterns of cork to their and the designs’ advantage in making each item special and in its own way beautiful.

 

They believe that sustainability isn’t the future but that it is the present. That is why they strive to be more sustainable in everything they do. They are very straightforward that there is still a lot of work to be done towards sustainability and explain what they are doing to achieve it. They use an eco-friendly cork from Portugal in all of their designs and actually tell an interesting story about their cork here. Their cork harvesters are paid well and they manufacture all of their designs in Portugal.

Now they are also expanding their range to cork shoes, how exciting!

 

You can check Grow From Nature through here*. Remember to check their Instagram as well!

 

With love,

Lii

Cork by Grow From Nature - byLiiL

Sustainable News Nr. 2

Plastic

Plastic Waste Set To Beat Price As UK Shoppers’ Top Concern – Study – It’s great to see how consumer mindset is changing and the price isn’t always the number 1 priority.

But What Happens If You Use Up All The Plastic? – The short answer is that’s not going to happen.

Even Insects Are Carrying Around Microplastics – It is not surprising how widespread it is, but it is still quite terrifying!

This Fungus Could Be The Answer To The Plastic Waste Crisis – Hurray! Why aren’t they researching it more?

Are Biodegradable Plastics The Solution To Our Plastic Obsession? – Muccycloud dives into this question and explains what biodegradable plastics actually are.

Sustainable News Nr. 2 - byLiiL

Groceries

Slavery In The Chocolate Industry – Explains what many big chocolate corporations don’t want to tell you and why we should check more strictly on what chocolate we buy.

FoodShot Global Looking To Fund Innovators Taking ‘Moonshot For Better Food’ – I wish this kind of collaboration at this level would be done across other industries as well.

Fashion

Leading Bangladeshi Textile Mill Regrets Going Green – Apparently, some customers are not prepared to pay even one cent more for buying green clothes.

Rethinking the Business of Fashion – 12 start-ups that are in an acceleration programme supported by the Fashion for Good-Plug.

Lenzing’s EUR 26 Million Sustainable Nonwovens Fibre Facility – Finally nonwoven that is not an oil-based fibre!!

New Plant-based Shoes From Vivobarefoot – Interesting innovation.

Francesco Carrozzini’s X-Ray Fashion: Seeing Through A Toxic Industry – What if all the consumers would be able to feel how people making our clothes feel, would they shop for fast fashion then?

Grow Your Own Vegan Handbag! The Marvel of Mushroom Leather – I can’t wait for this to become more mainstream, it sounds fantastic!

Sustainable News Nr. 2 - byLiiL

Recycling

How One E-Waste Recycler Uses Education To Incentivise The Right Behaviours – And more information on e-waste recycling.

Social

What Is Going On In Yemen – Fran writes about a crisis that is less talked on the news but which requires our attention.

50 Girls Hospitalised After FGM In Burkina Faso, Dozens Arrested In Crackdown – Even though Burkina Faso has illegalised FGM the culture is still so ingrained in the practice that the nation has difficulty ending it.

Gender Inequality Is Bad For Men’s Health – It does make sense.

This Incredible Former Child Bride Persuaded Her Country To Ban Child Marriage – So inspiring!

Sustainable News Nr. 2 - byLiiL

Other

California Mandates 2 Largest Pension Funds Factor Climate Risk Into Investment – Excellent, all the banks should be doing that though.

Can China Become Powerhouse In Green Manufacturing? – A very interesting question that leaves us to wait for the future to see if it will.

What Are The Most Effective Water Pollution Solutions – an Excellent guide on what should be done about water pollution.

These Giant Towers Could Clean Toxic Smog In The Wolrd’s Most Polluted Megacity – Air cleaning towers that are self-sustaining, what a great idea, however, I hope they will also consider working on lowering the emission they are releasing in those megacities as well.

 

What news have you read recently?

With love,

Lii

Doing Small Changes Won’t Save The Planet – But It’s a Start

In the world of environmentalism and sustainability, I come across slightly contradictive articles all the time. Most of the articles, blog posts, podcasts etc. are about how we can make changes to be more sustainable, how little or big things we can do, some even guilting us into changing our behaviour. The slightly contradictive articles are a minority but they appear regularly and they question the little changes that we are making and criticise how those won’t save the Earth. I am sure you’ve all read those articles. One of the latest ones that I read was in the Guardian where Monbiot wrote that “We Won’t Save The Earth With a Better Kind Disposable Cup”. So who is right? Is it the articles who encourage people to consider the changes they are making or is it articles who question the better you are doing and rather pushes us to challenge the power or wants all of us to change how we live?

Doing Small Changes Won't Save The Planet - But It's a Start - byLiiL

In my opinion, both are correct. That is true if the only thing we are doing is changing to a better disposable cup, or just change worse material to a slightly better one it will not save the planet. However, not changing the bad materials at all is also not an option nor is stopping consumption altogether.

Changing the consumer behaviour doesn’t happen in an instant, it takes years if not decades and when the popular media continues to promote a certain lifestyle it gets more difficult to change that. Government legislations against harmful products to us and the environment would help, however, they do not move swiftly either and only seem to make legislations when there is a public outcry on a topic such as microplastics. However, the government seems to only put on a patch on the problem, rather than fix the underlying issue to quiet the population and to change this the population needs to be educated on the underlying issue. This all definitely needs to be done, but it sounds like a lot of work which will take a lot of time, doesn’t it?

Doing Small Changes Won't Save The Planet - But It's a Start

While we wait for it to happen if we do not make changes and innovate better materials we have not made the world any better, but have probably created a lot more waste. When I think about a disposable cup that is made out of plastic and ends up polluting our oceans I would much rather use a disposable cup that biodegrades, even if slowly, however as at the moment there are many innovations coming up to make our current system better and more environmentally friendly, we have the possibility to look into what would be the best option.

One great example of a better product is the Nespresso compatible coffee capsules by Percol. I’ve always felt any Nespresso machine represents the opposite of environmentalism because of the capsules it uses that are fairly wasteful, however, the Percol coffee capsules are compostable and the coffee is Soil Association organic. Also, although I think we should all carry a reusable cup with us, it is not always feasible and therefore The petition to change the disposable cups into better disposable cups is definitely worth signing for those moments that somebody just has to take the disposable cup, but I wish there was another petition to the government to set up waste systems to easier dispose of those biodegradable or compostable disposable cups and another that would start proper education systems to schools and to adults about the change that we need to make to save the Earth.

Doing Small Changes Won't Save The Planet - But It's a Start

Educating people rather than guilting them will help them make decisions on their own and will provide a more worthwhile movement with real change. Guilting people into changing their behaviour doesn’t help, and studies have shown that they can even harm the movement. Writing about consumers doing wrong when they want a better alternative only makes them confused if they are not already familiar with the topic and might make them give up on even trying to be more ethical or requesting change from brands or the government.

By doing small changes and noticing that it works can move people into making bigger changes and to changing attitudes. Let’s not scare them off that path and rather support them with the journey. Make the small changes, such as having a less bad material and promote education on environmental problems and challenging the power and the decision makers. That is how we are going to change the planet.

Doing Small Changes Won't Save The Planet - But It's a Start

What do you think about making small changes or challenging the power?

With love,

Lii