SHOP: Time For A Change

It’s been a while since I last posted. This is down to two things: working on new personal projects that will launch in the New Year and managing my freelance clients. Working as a copywriter, social media manager, blogger and project manager takes up most of my time, so Brighton Starling has to take a back seat. However, I’m resurrecting it to bring some new content that readers will hopefully find inspiring and informative.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how I can change the way I shop, whilst still supporting all the brilliant Brighton businesses out there. At the beginning of the year I set myself a personal goal of trying to cut down on waste, food miles and plastic in our house. I’ve had varying success with this.

   

I bought myself a lovely Built water bottle from Steamer Trading, which I now take everywhere with me, and a reusable bamboo coffee cup, which I try to remember to shove in my bag as I’m rushing out the door. I’ve also been using the same washing up liquid and fabric softener bottle since January, getting refills at Wastenot at The Open Market and Infinity Foods. However, when shopping, I still find it difficult to go completely plastic-free. With an unlimited budget and loads of spare time I’d be able to pull it off no problem. But the pressures of work, kids, running a home and limited funds do make it more difficult.

Whether it’s plastics or palm oil, I’m trying to make a conscious change. But with all the emphasis currently on the supermarkets, we often forget that other retailers are just as bad. Walking into Boots last week I was struck at how much plastic there was in the aisles. I only went in to look for a bamboo toothbrush. Of course, I couldn’t find one. An online delivery from Jack Wills and Marks & Spencer left me deflated – every single item of clothing was individually wrapped in plastic, some of them also had plastic hangers, which made me despair. Is so much packaging really necessary? Zara, on the other hand, now sends online deliveries in paper packaging, which is a good start. Whether the fast fashion High Street retailers promote is ethical or not is another matter entirely.

You hear consumers talking about leaving plastic packaging at the supermarket tills to make a stand, but who ever actually does this? Surely it’s better to shop somewhere like Hisbe, Infinity Foods or our brilliant local greengrocers and butchers (budget and time allowing). The carrier bag levy was meant to cut plastic bag usage but I find myself asking: 1. Where does all that money go? (Clue: they say it goes to support charities but an online search didn’t uncover any clear evidence of this) 2: Why don’t they just get rid of plastic bags all together 3: Why don’t they offer biodegrade bags like they do in many places in Europe? So many questions.

     

All of this leads me to the main purpose of this post. To find Brighton businesses who are cutting down their eco footprint. Have you ditched plastic packing in your business? Are you a Brighton restaurant that’s doing their bit to keep it local and cut down on food miles? Have you got rid of plastic straws and plastic cups at your venue? Do you offer free water refills to people? Are you a clothes shop thinking about where your fashion comes from, using small scale producers and ethical means of sourcing clothes? Have you said yes to only stocking Palm Oil-free products? Are you a beauty company using cruelty-free products and cosmetics? If you’re making eco moves – big or small – we want to hear from you.

The aim isn’t to be preachy or make out that I’m a trail blazing eco warrior wearing hemp knickers, living off the land. It’s to inform readers and celebrate the places that are thinking about making small changes that can then be passed on to consumers. I still enjoy shopping at Zara and ordering the odd takeaway and that won’t change. But I do want to be more mindful about the choices my family and I make – and I think Brighton’s the perfect place to do this.

Get in touch with us now if you’re business going green. The best ones will be featured in a Christmas shopping feature coming up soon.

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