Nominate your Eco Champions for Observer Ethical Awards 2015

Observer Ethical Awards 2015 - nominate image

I’ve taken an interest in the Observer Ethical Awards for years, but I don’t think I’ve ever submitted a nomination. Which is terrible considering a) how easy it is to nominate online and b) how many brilliant people and projects I know deserve recognition. Perhaps that’s why I never nominated, because I simply couldn’t choose one over others, but then that’s an awful excuse too considering you can submit multiple different nominations for each category. With this in mind, I don’t feel entirely comfortable sitting here and telling you to vote, but, you really should vote.

For a start, it’s the tenth anniversary year of the awards. And secondly, Ethical High Street (my ‘baby’) was asked to be an official supporter for 2015. Ten years ago the Observer Ethical Awards launched with the idea that a lot of good people were doing brilliant things for environmental and social justice in the UK and that such acts should be celebrated. Despite national policies to cut carbon emissions and support the vulnerable, it is often up to pioneering individuals and small enterprises to make a real difference to local communities and the environment.

The Observer Ethical Awards celebrate individuals, businesses and groups. You can check out all of the categories below. Nominations have been open since the end of January and are only open for another month, but who has the tricky task of picking the winners? Well, in part you do. Three of the awards will be voted for by the public, that’s,

Best Ethical Product of the Decade
Campaigner of the Year
Green Briton of the Year

The responsibility of awarding the other categories falls on the shoulders of an exceptionally strong team of judges, including:

Stuart Bailey, head of sustainability and climate change, National Grid plc
Dr Damian Carrington, head of environment, the Guardian
Camila Batmanghelidjh, founder and chief executive, Kids Company
Liz Earle MBE, founder, Liz Earle Wellbeing
Ben Fogle, TV presenter, writer and adventurer
Livia Firth, creative director of Eco-Age Limited, founder of the Green Carpet Challenge®
Jane Goodall, primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist, and UN Messenger of Peace
And more!

They will be wading through the nominations for the ethical wildlife award, sustainable style award, community energy project, and categories for arts and culture, film and television and the Ecover Young Green Champion.

The results will be announced at a packed awards ceremony in July. Stay tuned for more updates and get online to vote for your favourites.

Find out more: ethicalhighstreet.co.uk/observer-ethical-awards-2015/

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A Week in the Life of Ethical Dressing

Dear people who ask me what ethical fashion is,

To coincide with London Fashion Week I decided to do a week in the life of ethical dressing to show that there are many ways to take part in ethical fashion. It doesn’t have to be expensive, and it can be fashionable (even if you might not approve of my personal style). London Fashion Week showcases the next season trends but the most sustainable thing to do is dress true to yourself. Buy things that you love and will wear again and again. There are lots of ways to dress ethically, for example:

• Buying second-hand or vintage clothes
• Buying fair trade, ethically made clothes from ethical brands
• Buying organic cotton clothing
• Buying locally produced clothing
• Making your own clothes
• Upcycling/recycling
• You can still shop on the high street, but buy good quality that you will keep for years.

AVOID CHEAP, FAST FASHION.

I signed up to What I Wore Today to post my outfits last week and will continue to do so! Here’s the round-up. There’s no fancy photography here, I do apologise.

The particularly observant amongst you will notice I got my hair cut 🙂

Day 1: No Nasties organic cotton tee and upcycled denim shorts (jeans given to me by my sister which were too tight so I chopped the legs off)
Day 1

Day 2: Vintage M&S dress bought from Oxfam, Urban Outfitters Urban Renewal upcycled man’s shirt (taken from other sister who didn’t wear it), charity shop belt
day 2 eco outfit
m&s vintage label

Day 3: Organic cotton Edun dress. Had it for years and just keep wearing it.
Edun dress

Day 4: John Smedley organic cotton, undyed, made in England sweater, charity shop Topshop trouser
ecooutfit4

Day 5: Vintage Chelsea Girl dress (altered to fit), Banana Republic charity shop wool cardigan (had a small hole in it I stitched up, make-do-and-mend!)
eco outfit 5

Day 6: People Tree fair trade, organic cotton Peter Jensen Bear Sweatshirt, Monkee Genes organic cotton, fair trade skinny jeans
ecooutfit6label
ecooutfit6

I wore these for a couple of days too. Shoes in the pictures are Clarks and Barratts – buy quality shoes which last. iPhone – yeah that’s not so ethical, but allows me to work!

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Ecozone Ecoballs a Laundry Revolution!

Ecoballs

If you follow my tweets you might have seen me proclaim how I went around the Lanes in Brighton a few weeks ago and all I bought were a couple of cards and these Ecoballs. I went to Portobello Road Market last weekend and bought nothing – what is happening to me? Years of studying shopping has really taken the fun right out of it. Anyway, it was Ecozone not me who called these balls a laundry revolution but they do have a point. Ecoballs replace regular laundry detergents as an eco-friendly way to do your clothes wash and save money at the same time.

Every time you wash your clothes with normal chemical detergents, the waste water enters the environment. Ecoballs are a natural alternative to detergents, they go straight into your wash drum and their ‘scientifically formulated ingredients work hard to wash dirt clean away’. They don’t contain soap, and are hypoallergenic and anti-bacterial. So far I have found them to be great. I always limited the amount of detergent I used anyway, so my clothes never smelt particularly fragranced post-wash but I know some people would miss the fragranced ‘fresh’ laundry smell you get from chemical detergents. In that instance you can still use fabric softener with the Ecoballs.

The Ecoballs aren’t cheap to buy but once you have them they can do 150 washes if you follow the recommended wash cycle, costing out to around 8p per wash. They also claim to help you save water, but standing in the shop I couldn’t work out why that might be the case. When I asked the shop assistant he explained that it is because as they contain no soap, you do not need to rinse clothes and hence only need a shorter wash. I’ve scanned my washing machine manual though, and can’t find a setting which doesn’t rinse. This means that not only am I not saving water, but my Ecoballs probably won’t last the promised 150 washes which as this promise is based on using their optimum 30 minute wash.

When the pellets inside the casing of the Ecoballs decrease in size significantly, and the balls themselves feel much lighter, I will need to but refill the pellets. I haven’t tried, but I imagine this might be quite tricky because the casing of the balls, by their very nature to withstand the washing drum, has to be tight. I haven’t used them to wash anything well soiled, but they did come with a stain remover just in case. All in all, I’m pretty smug about my Ecoballs.

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