Organic Beauty and Wellbeing Week

This week 7th to 13th of May was an Organic Beauty and Wellbeing week. Unfortunately, I stumbled upon this information too late and therefore am only posting about it now, however, I think the point of any such week is to raise awareness and educate people rather than only to make changes that week. So for everybody who might’ve missed this week and it’s message keep reading.

Organic Beauty and Wellbeing Week

WHY SHOULD WE USE ORGANIC BEAUTY PRODUCT?

What we put on our skin is as important as what we eat; it can nourish our bodies or it can harm it. Skin is the biggest organ in our body and absorbs everything we put on it or it gets in touch with and it is why we should be quite considered of what we put on our skin, especially as we use various cosmetics daily. Do you know what is in your cosmetics and how it affects you?

The mainstream cosmetics are often advertised as containing good for us ingredients or have attractive qualities, but what they don’t say is how they achieve these qualities.  Many cosmetics products contain harmful chemicals; such as parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, fragrances, not even talking about pesticides used in farming some of the ingredients, that are then absorbed by our skin and end up in our bloodstream or get stuck inside our bodies causing irritation, allergies, cancer and other health problems. According to Soil Association from the 10,000 chemicals commonly used in our cosmetics, only 10% have safety data. Research shows that organic ingredients have higher levels of antioxidants than mainstream cosmetic products that lack the nourishment we require.

When thinking about environmental sustainability organic beauty is better as well. The production of our beauty products that can harm the environment with chemicals flushed in the waterways or in the local environment. However, what harms the environment more is when we wash the product of our skin it flushed into our waterways. Many chemical components used in the mainstream cosmetics doesn’t break in nature but rather accumulates and harms the ecosystem.

Organic Beauty and Wellbeing Week

COSMOS

The big problem with beauty industry is that it is not regulated. When a company wants to hop along the natural and organic marketing train it can do that without actually proving it to anyone. The only way to make sure something really is organic is if they have independently certified organic certification. That is where few independent organic and natural certification bodies came into play. The few that I know of are Soil Association from the UK and Ecocert from France. To combat the problem with regulations in the beauty industry several European independent beauty certification organisations (Soil Association, Ecocert, ICEA, BDIH and Cosmebio) have come together to create a harmonised standardisation COSMOS which is a European wide cosmetic organic standard. It is owned and managed by a non-for profit international organisation. Since it’s founding in 2017 other certification bodies, including some out of EU, have joined to certify to the harmonised standard.

Each company that wished to have a COSMOS Organic or COSMOS Natural certification must be certified by an independent certification body, meaning one of the certification bodies following COSMOS standard. Each of these companies will be checked on their natural ingredients, no ingredients can be from endangered species, no GMO products and any chemicals must respect the principles of Green Chemistry. In addition, all ingredients should be biodegradable, water usage should comply with hygiene standards and they should report with their water and energy usage, as well as environmental waste management plans. All companies wishing to get the certification need to minimise their packaging and ensure it is environmentally friendly. Soil Association also reviews marketing messages to ensure there is no greenwashing.

Organic Beauty and Wellbeing Week - byLiiL

#WHATIMMADEOF

This week beauty certification bodies want you to ask what your beauty products are made of for wider awareness of what is in your beauty products. I think it is an excellent campaign, similarly to “who made my clothes” and I encourage everybody to check their cosmetics box and review how many ingredients they can recognise. When I found this campaign I instantly started wondering whether the BIOselect eye cream I got from Crete was really certified organic, as it was a new brand for me, and had to go and check. To my happiness, it is certified by ICEA, which is one of the founding companies of COSMOS. That made me very happy and I liked using the cream even more since then, but more about the cream in another post.

You can find more about the campaign, about organic certifications and about organic beauty on Soil Association website, which I really recommend checking out! Also, check out the COSMOS website.

Organic Beauty and Wellbeing Week - byLiiL

Do you use organic beauty products? If not are you interested what ingredients are in your beauty products? Let me know in the comment box below.

With love,

Lii

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Sustainable News of the April 2018

PEOPLE

160 Babies, Children Rescued In Latest Nigerian ‘Baby Factory’ Raid – This article made me cry even before I read it, but still it is an important issue that we should know about!

Africa’s First Female President Won A $5 Million Price And She’ll Use It To Empower Women – She might be the former president of Libya, but after winning her price she is dedicating to help other women and hopes to see more female presidents.

Morocco Has Built A Solar Farm As Big As Paris – This wasn’t the only article that I saw about different countries concentrating on renewable energy and I am absolutely delighted about it!

Sustainable New of the Month - January 2018 - byLiiL

FASHION AND BEAUTY

The Hidden Dangers of Vegan Beauty Products – Vegan doesn’t always mean it’s healthier and better option and we need to know all the facts to be able to make the best decision.

T-Shirt That Clean The Air – This truly sounds like quite an amazing innovation!

The Chinese Workers Who Assemble Designer Bags In Tuscany – Even that sentence made me go “what?” but then again why should it surprise me in today’s world? It just proves how we really don’t know what happens in companies supply chains, even when they say “Made In Europe”.

Are Lab Grown Diamonds Ethical? – We know that most mined diamonds are unethical, but how about lab-grown ones?

IBM Trust Chain Tracks Diamonds From Mine to Finger – Yet another way to make sure your diamonds are conflict-free.

Sustainable New of the Month - January 2018 - byLiiL

BIODIVERSITY

Small Changes In Rainforests Cause Big Damage To Fish Ecosystem –  Scientists believed there was some damage but were surprised to find out how much damage would come from only small changes.

EU Votes To Extend Their Ban On Neonicotinoid Pesticides – Great news!

Australia Pledges $379 Million In Last-Ditch Effort To Save Great Barrier Reef – I hope they also realise to have pre-emptive measures to reduce their footprint.

Sustainable New of the Month - January 2018 - byLiiL

PLASTIC

Swiss Mountains Are Covered In Microplastics, Scientists Say – Swiss recycle or incinerate nearly 100% of their plastics and believe the microplastics in their mountains have come with the winds. This could be a new threat to our environment as microplastics can harm the bio-diversity in the soil.

Australia Commits To 100% Sustainable Packaging By 2025 – “Following a Chinese ban on imported plastic waste, Australia has committed to creating 100% reusable, compostable or recyclable packaging by 2025.”

Food Giants Unilever, Nestle And PepsiCo Will Get Together On Single Use Plastic – And hopefully will keep their word and get rid of single-use plastics by 2025 or hopefully earlier.

Kelheim Fibres Presents New Fibre For Disinfectant Wipes – I am excited to hear and see more about this.

Sustainable New of the Month - January 2018 - byLiiL

OTHER

Greener and Cheaper Technique For Biofuel Production – Hurray!

 

7 Alternative Social Media Sites We Hope Will Crush Facebook – I am sure I am not the only one who uses Facebook just because everybody is there and therefore it is convenient. But I have been quite annoyed at how it keeps its monopoly over the market, so let’s hope there will be some competition from these.

 

If you have any additional news from last month that you would like to share please let me know in the comment box below!

With love

Lii

What Was I Up To In April 2018

April seemed to run by in a second, does anybody else feel like it? I seemed to have more work again and was just trying to keep on top of work before my holiday and suddenly it was May. It feels like I don’t have much to show for April, but I worked a lot and when it is items that I send over to my clients, of course, I don’t see much, but my diary looks full. Then again there was my holiday that helped me to relax, rejuvenate and enjoy myself. It was difficult to get back to work after it and motivate myself so that is what I am doing now in May. At least spring has been showing up a little bit at a time!

Happy Favourites of the Week - Spring Time - byLiiL

April also saw the Earth Day and the Fashion Revolution Week.  I enjoyed to see so many people rallying behind ethical fashion and questioning fashion brands on who made their clothes, even if there weren’t many answers, and I hope this will continue! I also questioned whether recycling is really sustainable, especially as we’ve learned about our recyclables travelling to China and African countries.

Happy Favourites of the Week - Spring Vacation - byLiiL

I hope I have more time for work and my life in May and more lovely sunny days! But let me know how was your April, in the comment box below!

With love,

Lii

Happy Favourites of the Week – Spring Vacation

A vacation – I went for a vacation to Crete for a week, which was very much needed although confusing. I am not used to taking it easy during the day, so when all we could do was stroll slowly through the city, sitting on the beach, staring at the ocean and enjoying our time together. It was wonderful and it was so difficult to get back to a routine once I was home.

Happy Favourites of the Week - Spring Vacation - byLiiL

Gelato – During my holiday not a day went by without some gelato. I was sad that I couldn’t find any kiwi gelato, but pistachio and coconut were good second options! Gelato was also a saviour on those truly hot days when you felt like you were just overheating.

Chania – Chania is a beautiful little city with great restaurants and cafes to enjoy the delicious Greek food. I tried so many new things and was surprised how I enjoyed everything. In addition, we visited archaeological museum and 3 different beaches during our stay. The most beautiful part is, of course, the Venetian harbour and the Lighthouse, although I felt all the touristy restaurants along the harbour did cheapen the experience a little bit. Crete has a deep history and anybody interested in history can definitely find lots to do there!

Happy Favourites of the Week - Spring Vacation - byLiiL

Fashion Revolution Week – Although I was away for half of the week from my usual routine and I couldn’t find any events in Chania, I ended up just following what is happening on Instagram and was so impressed and inspired by all the people who were posting about this great movement! Now I think we should be continuing on demanding more sustainable and transparent supply chains from all fashion brands and not just during the Fashion Revolution week!

Swim in the Sea – I haven’t swum in the sea or a lake in a few years. Growing up in Finland we spent our summers swimming mostly, so now that I finally had a chance to go swimming I took it, even though the sea wasn’t quite warm enough. Actually, the sea was freezing cold, but spending some time in it made it feel warmer, and it was such an enjoyment and so refreshing!

Happy Favourites of the Week - Spring Vacation - byLiiL

Eugene Onegin – Yesterday I went to see an opera Eugene Onegin. I love mixing some culture into my everyday life and this tragic love story was quite a delight. For such a small theatre it was very well made and the singers and the ballet dancer were great!

Cherry Blossoms – I was afraid that I would miss the cherry blossoms while I was away and it is my favourite thing during the spring in Scotland. So I was over the moon to see that they are only starting to bloom around the city and I can enjoy their full blooming period now! They are so beautiful!!

Happy Favourites of the Week - Spring Vacation - byLiiL

The Alps – While on the plain to Crete I saw the Alps, and I couldn’t take my eyes of the magnificent beauty of them! Definitely my favourite thing on an otherwise boring flight!

Magnificent sunset – I love sunsets and often watch them, when possible, from my window. So seeing one in Crete whilst having a long and quiet dinner was such a delight. That was definitely slowing down and enjoying the moment. The sounds of the sea and birds and the colourful sunset with a glass of wine, what more could you want!

Happy Favourites of the Week - Spring Vacation - byLiiL

 

How was your week? Let me know in the comment box below!

With love,

Lii

Let’s Keep Fashion Revolution Week Going

As I’ve been away for half of the Fashion Revolution week I’ve unfortunately missed most of the events going on around the event. If somebody doesn’t know what it is about the best place to learn about it is the Fashion Revolution website, in short, though it is an organisation rallying behind a change we need to make in the fashion industry, especially after the Rana Plaza accident which killed over 1000 fashion workers. The aim of the movement is to make consumers aware, companies responsible and governments to make legislations so that we wouldn’t have to see another disaster, ultimately gaining a greater transparency in the fashion supply chains.

Let's Keep Fashion Revolution Week Going - byLiiL

I’ve been trying to catch up online with whatever I could. I’ve seen some inspiring articles published, screenings of important documentaries and talks about ethical fashion. Following all the events has made me hopeful that the noise we are making amounts to something, even though there is a lot to do about it. Fashion Revolution week has strongly questioned from all the brands “Who Made My Clothes?” and many brands answered, but I’ve also noticed that most (if none) of the fast fashion brands didn’t answer. To me, it tells a lot when a company doesn’t want to answer to who made their clothes.

Let's Keep Fashion Revolution Week Going - byLiiL

To help you be part of Fashion Revolution week and help make a change you can:

  • Ask a fashion brand who made your clothes either by sending a picture on Instagram, sending a tweet or even sending them an email. Remember to add #whomademyclothes when using social media.
  • Try a #haulternative instead of buying new clothes by shopping second hand, swapping with friends or refashioning garments in your wardrobe that you don’t wear. This article showed some great simple ways how to refashion your clothes.
  • Share a love story of a garment that you love or you are falling back in love with.
  • Donate to a sustainable fashion organisation that helps to make a difference.
  • Write to a policymaker.
  • Spread the word.

Let's Keep Fashion Revolution Week Going - byLiiL

To learn more about the problems we face in the fashion industry and how we are combatting them or how you can combat them check these articles from the past week as well, I found them really interesting:

Let's Keep Fashion Revolution Week Going - byLiiL

I am happy that this movement has gained such a response and hope in the future they will also question “How were our clothes made?” meaning that we need to know if pesticides or toxic chemicals were used in the process, how did the company get rid of waste and what different stages made that garment. I know it is a long way for companies to start revealing this information, mostly because they want to keep trade secrets and it is easier to hide behind something that isn’t told, but that is a topic for another discussion. The way fashion is made and consumed now needs to be changed and therefore I hope everybody pays a visit to Fashion Revolution website as the steps you need to take won’t cost you anything but can make a big difference!

The Fashion Revolution week might be drawing to a close when this post comes up, however, we shouldn’t stop questioning brands who made our clothes or how they were made. I think this week should be just a reminder to keep fighting for a better fashion industry!

Let's Keep Fashion Revolution Week Going - byLiiL

 

How have you contributed to the Fashion Revolution Week?

With love,

Lii

Is Recycling Sustainable?

During my visit to the Greenshowroom in Berlin in January, I was very impressed by the event and so inspired to see so many involved and interested in the movement. In our daily lives, we rarely see so many people being so passionate about a cause. The event was full of interesting new fibre innovations, collaborations and technological advances, however, there was one thing that I was missing throughout the event, but especially when companies were talking about their circular design plans: the infrastructure for collecting the garments they’ve made. To many this might seem to be a secondary consideration, as it is not a very sexy topic – it is essentially waste, an afterlife of the garment. However, it is one of the most important topics we should be discussing now and we should pay more attention to it, not only considering fashion but any other consumables as well.

Is Recycling Sustainable? - byLiiL

RECYCLING INFRASTRUCTURE

Recycling is great, isn’t it? It makes us feel that we are on top of our contribution to reduce waste at the landfills and keep our consumption more sustainable. We separate bio-recycling from the plastic and paper and religiously empty them in their allotted bins, and we take our old clothes and other items to the charity shops to deal with our unwanted or worn items. But do we actually know where all of this ends up? Growing in Finland with its strict recycling rules, I always thought it is the responsibility of the country or the city to recycle those items. But it wasn’t until the recent upheaval of China not taking our recycled waste any longer that I saw the full picture.

Although, we might think that we recycle everything from food and plastic to clothes and electronics, the actual amount of produce that gets recycled is relatively small and most of it is shipped to countries such as China, India, Kenya and Niger to be recycled or disposed of. Globally only 20% of the end-of-use clothing is collected for recycling out of which around 70% is sent to African countries where they are sold to poor locals, the rest is turned into rags, insulations or furniture stuffing and will not be recyclable again (Fashion Revolution). Western countries, mostly the UK and the US, keep our western economies and consumerism up, by offering us the outlet of recycling, without really explaining what happens to our recyclables. When the recyclables are shipped to China we don’t have to think about it, and now we are in the mids of panic when all the recycling is stuck in our countries and we don’t have the infrastructure to handle it. There is so much recycled clothing that goes into African countries that they don’t want them any longer, in addition, it disrupts their economic growth. The technology we send to be recycled, on the other hand, is often sent to countries such as China, India, Nigeria or Ghana to be disassembled in hazardous conditions to retrieve any precious metals and then dumped on landfills that pollute the surrounding areas. (BBC & Techland Time)

Is Recycling Sustainable? - byLiiL

To battle the problem that the US and the UK especially face when other countries are not taking in their waste anymore, the US is planning to reduce support to those countries whereas the UK is trying to ban single-use plastic. For the UK it is a great start, however, there are many implications that they are not considering! Charging 5p for plastic bags and a push to use more canvas bags was a great start, but if the canvas bags are disposed of at the same speed as plastic bags were it is not solving the problem (The Atlantic). Now, in the UK they are planning on charging people for getting a takeaway cup from coffee shops. Again, a great idea, maybe it will force people to use reusable coffee cups. However, an increase in reusable coffee cups would most likely see an increase in them ending up on the landfill as well. I have 4 reusable coffee cups because most of them started leaking or broke and now I don’t know what to do with them! How recyclable are our reusable coffee cups? And where is the information what we should be doing with them after their end-of-life?

I was actually quite excited about recycled coffee cups that many independent coffee shops are using to serve their coffees in until I realised I don’t know where I can compost it or recycle it. We lack in proper infrastructures to recycle our waste efficiently and economically. Recycling is not made easy for consumers. With many types of plastics, it is difficult to understand what can be recycled and where, or how it should be treated before recycling. We have recycling bins at home, at Universities and in the lobbies of some bigger corporations, but what about the rest of the city where there are only regular bins? And who’s responsibility is it to make it all work? Recycling is expensive, it’s a business. It requires funds and resources to sort through the waste and send it forward to be reused in a new material if it is still possible to reuse it. Many of our products are not designed to be recycled, most companies don’t think the afterlife of the product, so they are made out of a combination of chemicals and materials, which are nearly impossible to separate. And many products such as paper have toxic colourings which will be recycled alongside the paper and therefore stay in the recycling loop.

Is Recycling Sustainable? - byLiiL

There used to be many UK companies that handled recycled clothing, however, most have either reduced in size or seized to exist, because it is cheaper to send it away than sort through it (BBC). When it comes to fashion, only pure natural fibres are compostable, and that is if all the metallic or plastic parts are taken off it and it is not dyed with toxic dyes, and when it is composted in the right conditions. However, in most cases, clothing is created by combining cotton and polyester for comfort and durability (some just because it is cheaper to produce it this way), which until recently were almost impossible to separate. There are some technological advances to this, but it is still in its early stages. (Recycling International) .

Whilst visiting the Greenshowroom I noticed how many companies were designing circular loops into their production. Ecoalf collects marine waste to recycle it into polyester, QMilk collects milk waste to recycle it into a fibre and there are many other examples from Econyl’s recycled nylon to Revive collecting waste coffee. That is absolutely amazing, we are getting rid of ocean waste (this might take a while) and innovating with other waste materials to reuse them, but what about those products and their end-of-life, will they be collected from the ocean as well? We can’t endlessly collect waste from the oceans, it is not economic or good for the environment. Instead, we should collect everything there is now and stop other waste ending up in the ocean. Some companies, such as H&M, are accepting used clothes, however, most of them are not making it easy for the customers.

Is Recycling Sustainable? - byLiiL

ALL IS NOT LOST

  • There is a new proposal in the UK to have a bottles and cans deposit that consumers will pay when buying drinks and will get back when bringing these for recycling. This is not a new idea as many countries are already using this system successfully. (BBC).
  • I read recently about a Cupclub, which is a service of reusable coffee cups for those who do not like to carry their reusable cups with them. Those coffee shops that take part in the Cupclub will have collection points for the cups after a customer has used them. I thought it is a great idea if many enough branches will take part. Similar type coffee shop wide scheme of reusable coffee cups is being used in Freiburg Germany.
  • The UK government has a scheme of a tax levy for businesses that do research and development into waste reduction and to tackle pollution. (Ethical Hour)

Is Recycling Sustainable? - byLiiL

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE

The never-ending question is who is responsible for creating the infrastructure and making it work. Is it every consumer’s responsibility to make sure every product and item they buy is recyclable or compostable and is being disposed of in the right way, or hoard the waste that they can’t recycle? Is it companies responsibility to produce products that are recyclable in an easy way, that do not pollute and are not wrapped in millions of layers of plastic, and come up with innovative ways to make it easier for the customer to dispose of their items? Or is it the government’s responsibility to reinforce the laws against pollution and create the infrastructure that will serve all the different requirements from regular waste to clothing and technology?

According to Fashion Revolution fanzine, France keeps the companies responsible for the products they make including the packaging. They ask the companies to pay an upfront fee for all their products and packaging that helps fund the collection and recycling infrastructure. I think it is a brilliant idea, but then again it is only one of the options. In the end, it should be all three that should be working to create the infrastructure and make sure that it is used. I often debate whether it is companies or the government that should create the infrastructure and would be interested in hearing your opinions about this as well! I often think it is the government responsibility, but then I see these beautiful minds creating business models to combat waste and I am amazed!

Is Recycling Sustainable? - byLiiL

WHAT YOU CAN DO

  • Buy less and buy smarter. Make sure what you are buying is what you need and will last you for years.
  • Keep recycling, we can’t have our waste in the landfills either.
  • Ask your local government representative to take action and check the 6 actions by Fashion Revolution that you can do.
  • Use your voice and be vocal about these issues and how they should be fixed.
  • I also recommend reading the Fashion Revolution fanzine and learning more about this topic!
  • If you are in Scotland check also the Zero Waste Scotland website, anywhere else, I am sure there are similar organisations in your area as well.

Pictures are from Usplash and Fashion Revolution.

Do you find it problematic to sustainably dispose of your waste? And who do you think should be responsible for making our recycling infrastructure work? Let me know in the comment box below, on Twitter or Instagram, I would really love to hear your opinions on the matter!

With love,

Lii

Happy Favourites of the Week – Spring Time

Visiting Friends – We had a fun night with friends playing Cards Against Humanity with visiting friends. We hadn’t had laughs quite as good in a long time! It was an absolutely fun night!

Happy Favourites of the Week - Spring Time - byLiiL

Easter Weekend – Although, I was working on a couple of the days during the Easter break it was still amazingly relaxing weekend full of delicious food and chocolate.

New Deodorant – I absolutely love my deodorant from Fine, but with its price tag I am happy that I’ve found another one, closer to home that has a much better price tag for my wallet! Evolve beauty have recently come out with a deodorant which is lovely! It is moisturising and doesn’t have a strong scent, in addition, it actually works and it’s made out of all natural ingredients. What more could you want! I do warn though, it has bicarbonate of soda. I wasn’t sure if my armpits could handle it and that is why I haven’t tried most natural deodorants in the UK, but Evolve also have small sample packs which helps you try whether it is suitable for you!

Happy Favourites of the Week - Spring Time - byLiiL

Spring Flowers – Spring brings spring flowers and oh how I love looking at them and smelling them, it is just such a delight! Having fresh tulips in the house lifts your mood like nothing else! I can’t wait until mongolia and cherry trees start to flower in front of our house. I’ve seen them flowering elsewhere, but I live slightly higher up and it comes later here.

A Lifecycle of a T-shirt – This little Ted-ed clip was great at explaining the process a garment goes through and how it pollutes the world. Although, I would’ve loved if they added how sustainable fashion is different to show a comparison! Still, the clip is very informative and interesting, especially for people who do not work in the fashion industry.

I finally finished Women Who Run With The Wolves – It felt like a process going through this book. It is not an easy read, but then again it is not supposed to be. It is a book full of ancient women’s wisdom for empowering women to be themselves and understand the psychological cycles they go through at different times of their life. It taught me a lot and I really recommend everybody to read it!

Cat’s New Scratching Post – Actually it is their first proper scratching post. I wanted them to stop scratching our couch! So I finally got a small scratching post with a little toy in it and two places to sit and it is slowly gaining acceptance with the cats. One of them loves to scratch it and the other one loves another spot for him to sit and stare at us from.

Happy Favourites of the Week - Spring Time - byLiiL

How was your week? I would love to hear!

With love,

Lii