Sustainable Shaving for Mother Nature’s Son

The band the beatles shaving

In recognition of the impending celebration of Fathers Day this weekend I’ve roped my husband into writing this week’s post. I hope you’re a Beatles fan because, inspired by a recent trip to Abbey Road, he’s peppered his post with song titles by the fab four! See how many you can spot. (Tip: there are 23 in the entire post!)

Hello, Goodbye

When I was younger, so much younger than today my dad told this boy that I might as well use a butter knife or a cat’s tongue to shave.  Suffice to say, ‘I’m am the walrus’ does not apply to me and I don’t need to shave eight days a week. Nevertheless in my 20 odd years of shaving I have tested 2, 3 and 4 blade shavers, and all types of shaving gels and creams with varying results. My most recent experiment has involved trialling low-package, naturally derived shaving soap bars as an alternative to shop bought cans of big-brand shaving foam or gels. 

After a few tries I now have a shaving soap bar that’s works just as well, if not better, than any celebrity sponsored shaving foam/gel. Elaine asked me to share what I learned, in case it might be of some help to you. Like a madman I agreed so here some info on planet positive shaving.  

Shaving Soap Brands
Even though the brands of shaving soap that I tried lasted a varying amount of time they still lasted approximately 3 times longer than a can of shaving foam or gel, making them an even more sustainable option. Here are the three brands I tried, plus some other ones on the market.

Sally Miller Shaving Soap – approx €7.00 (can’t remember exact price)
This shaving soap created an excellent foam and came in a reusable / recyclable aluminium tin, which helps prevent getting foam all over the floor when lathering. On the downside it left quite an unpleasant after taste in my mouth. I’m not sure if this company is still going as I can’t find a website for them or any information on the shaving soap. I bought mine in Bomar in Kilcoole in Co Wicklow, who also sell a base for making your own shaving soap.

Clarkes Cedarwood & Seaweed Shaving Soap – €8.50 / €9.50
Clarkes is a brand that has become readily available in Ireland. Their shaving soap is made by hand in Ireland from ethical sourced ingredients and is free from Parabens, free from SLS and SLES and contain no Artificial Fragrances. I happened to buy mine in the Irish Design Shop on Drury St, D2 but you can buy from their own website or the many stockists around the country. This product came wrapped in some waxed paper, held closed by a paper band. I’m in love with this shaving soap as it lathers up really well, has no aftertaste and leaves your skin felling very smooth. 

Lush’s ‘Dirty’ Shaving Soap – €7.50
Although this didn’t last as long as the other shaving soap bars this was my second favourite as tt gives a really smooth shave. This product is made from cruelty-free, vegetarian, natural and synthetic ingredients and comes in a plastic pot, which Lush take back to recycle in store. Unlike the other products it doesn’t need to be lathered, acting more like a moisturiser. Because it’s akin to a moisturiser it takes a while to work out just how much to use and it clogged up my razor blades. I’d suggest using less of this than you’d think and putting a drop of shampoo into your shaving cup to prevent the clogging issue.

Other Irish based shaving soap suppliers that I want to give a shout out to include;

 

Btw I once tried using a shampoo bar but this didn’t work a creamy lather, the foam just ended up going everywhere and the shave was just terrible. I should have know better!

An alternative to shaving soap is cruelty-free Total Shaving Oil , which is a blend of 100% natural oils and contains no dyes, salts, alcohols, perfumes, soaps, or chemicals. It costs €10 for 25 ml and comes in a plastic bottle, but it last for very long time (at least 90 shaves I’m told) leading to less waste in the long run. Personally I didn’t find it as good as the shaving soap so I ended up using it as an aftershave balm and found it great for that.

Sustainable Shaving Equipment
Razors – With the widespread backlash against plastic we’re seeing a revolution in shaving, away from disposables and towards long-lasting safety razorsAt the moment I’m using a Gillette razor with disposable heads because I bought a pack of heads a long, long, long time ago and I’m still trying to get through them. Once the pack is empty I will get back to basics with a metal safety razor that uses disposable stainless steel blades. Although disposable these blades are entirely made of metal and so fully recyclable. It is too dangerous to put loose blades directly into the recycling bin so I’ve been advised to put the old blades into stainless steel container and then putting the tin into the recycling bin. Knights Barbers have outlined the benefits of using a safety razor on their blog. You can buy safety razors on their own or they come together with a shaving brush and shaving stand, as part of a set.

Shaving Brushes – When using a shaving soap you need to whip it up into a lather before applying it to your face. The traditional way to do this is with a shaving brush made from badger hair (no messing). The price of these range from €25 to €90. If you’re not keen on the idea of using animal derived products you can buy brushes with plastic bristles instead and these are available to buy for less that €10. Unfortunately I can’t testify to their quality of any shaving brush brands because in an effort to avoid buying another something I trialled a wooden dish brush head that we already had – a clean one of course. Yes it is a bit rough at the start but for €1.40 its works very well. I might graduate to a proper shaving brush but for the moment I’m happy with it.

Razor Blades – These tend to be made from stainless steel and in a generic size so as to fit all safety razors, so the only real difference between them is their sharpness. Very sharp blades will give a closer shave but dull quicker, while less sharp blades last longer and give a medium-close shave. Some blades are coated with things like Teflon, which may or may not be to your liking. Personally the less chemicals the better so I’ll be opting just for pure stainless steel ones.

Or course you can order shaving equipment from the ubiquitous Amazon, Ebay, etcetera, but if you’d like to support some Irish retailers, here are a few that sell shaving equipment

 

General Tips for Shaving
Do you want to know a secret? Getting a good shave isn’t straightforward. There’s a real skill to it. In my life I’ve come across a few tips to make the whole process relatively painless.

Time your Shave Well – Aim to shave after a shower or bath, when the bristles are softer.

Sterilise your razor – This tip isn’t specific to shaving soap shaving but it really helps reduce the risk of infection so worth doing. I achieve this by sticking my razor in a cup of boiled water for a minute. Just be careful not to burn your self with the hot blade. 

Keep your Blade Clean – I found that my blade clogged during the shave with some shaving soap products but that this could be easily remedied by putting a drop of shampoo into the cup of boiled water holding your razor.  

Keep your Blade Sharp – To increase the longevity of all blades it is best to allow them to dry out thoroughly between uses.

Avoid aftershave on your face – Putting alcohol on your face after a shave can sting so I prefer to use the Total Shaving Oil mentioned above or, the homemade moisturiser that the wife makes.

I’ve got a feeling there’s going to be lots of shaving related items bought this weekend, let it be sustainable ones!

The end

Paul

Advertisements

Sustainable Ethical Menswear

Prior to this post I’ve included a list of menswear brands in a previous post on Father’s Day crafts which I’ve been updating as I go but thought it was about time that I gave it a dedicated post, and here it is. You might notice that this blog post is being published a few hours later than my normal publishing time. That’s because it took me forever to source nice images to go in the post. I always aim to source images that best reflect the style of the brand but my god trying to find a photo of something other than a t-shirt was crazy hard. It seems that jeans, t-shirts and hoodies make up for 99% of mens clothing!

Recent research at Utah State University indicates that American and Chinese men resist ‘green’ behaviour because they see it as unmanly. As if caring for our home and wanting it to exist for our children and our children’s children is wimpish! Well I think men in Ireland are more enlightened and more comfortable in their sexuality than this research would suggest, but I do think that they tend to be – what would I call it? – energy-efficient. Now i know this is a huge generalisation but I’m going to say it anyway, in my experience men tend to prioritise convenience over most other considerations. If something is too much hassle it just doesn’t happen. So please do me a favour; forward this post onto all the men in your life, and ask them to forward it onto their friends. The aim of this blog is to make it easier to live sustainably in Ireland. Lets spread the word.

Eco Clothing Brands
There are tons of eco clothing brands around the world so I’ve decided to focus on Irish or European companies or brands that can be bought in Ireland or Europe.  As always the definition of ‘sustainable’ and ‘ethical’ is open to interpretation so I’m listing all relevant information so you can make the choice that suits your values best. I’ve also compiled a separate post on the sustainability / ethics of the most popular fibre types.

Navy top with embroidery detail

Grown, an Irish company that make t-shirts from Tencel and organic cotton, and plant a native Irish tree for every t-shirt that they sell.

Fresh Cuts Clothing

Fresh Cuts is another Irish owned ethical clothing brand offering garments for men and women in cotton, organic cotton, bamboo, recycled cotton and recycled polyester and rayon. They claim that all of their suppliers are focused on socially responsibility with a zero tolerance policy with regard to child labour, forced labour and excessive working hours, and some of their suppliers of Fair Wear Foundation, an organisation set up to uphold these policies. They also have the GOTS logo for organic cotton and the Soil Association’s Organic logo on their website. You can buy their clothing online or in their store in Dublin 2. They also sells clothing from other ethical brands including Armed Angels, Dedicated, Mud Jeans, Monkee Jeans.

Due South are a new eco clothing brand on the Irish scene – spotted by me at Bloom 2018. They make t-shirts, hoodies and sweaters from organic cotton, recycled cotton and recycled post-consumer (very important) PET. The garments made from recycled PET are blended with offcuts from organic cotton. This is a great use of the organic off cuts but blending fibres currently makes the final fabric un-recyclable, which is a pity. Their t-shirts are printed by hand in Ireland.

Blue shirt worn by bearded man

Thought (formerly Braintree), UK-based clothing brand that aims to ensure that their fabrics and how our garments are designed, made and delivered is carefully considered and done so ethically, with the greater aim of minimising their environmental footprint.

UK-based Komodo make garments in GOTS certified hemp, meusling-free wool, bamboo, rayon, Tencel, linen, soya and GOTS certified organic cotton. They also use recycled rubber in their shoes.

Living Crafts is a German fair and certified organic clothing brand. Their organic textiles are certified according to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) along the whole value creation chain. They say that they also pay attention to the working conditions of the producers and to fair trade and the company is an official member of the Fair Wear Foundation . They offer a range of clothing for men, women and children, including underwear and some homeware made from organic cotton, organic wool, organic linen or silk.

Patagonia jacket

Patagonia is a high-street and online outdoor clothing company that sell clothing and accessories made from recycled soda bottles and organic cotton printed with PVC- and phthalate-free inks.

On their website they give details on how they work with factories and mills to ensure ethical work-practices, good working conditions and processes that are less harmful to the environment. They say they are particularly invested in protecting migrant workings and guarding against child labour and human trafficking. The company also gives 1% of their sales to support environmental organizations around the world.

In an effort to help people move away from the idea of disposal fashion Patagonia launched their ‘Worn Wear’ campaign. They believe that one of the most responsible things that a company can do, is  make high-quality stuff that lasts for years and can be repaired, so you don’t have to buy more of it. The ‘Worn Wear’ program celebrates the stories behind clothes, keeps gear in action longer and provides an easy way to recycle Patagonia garments when they’re beyond repair. Patagonia employs 45 full-time repair technicians at our service center in Reno, Nevada, which completes about 30,000 repairs per year. They’ve also teamed up with iFixit to create care and repair guides so customers can repair themselves.

There is tons of information on the Patagonia website about the ethical and sustainable way they do business. I found the Environmental Assessment of Materials in Clothing particularly interesting. It talks about the reality behind some fabrics that are being sold as green.

Plaid Shirt and Jacket worn by bearded man

Finisterre is a UK-based company that promises innovation built to last from responsibly sourced fabrics and factories while developing relationships with people they believe in. In 2005 the company decided to place wool at the centre of Finisterre’s fabric development. They forged a relationship with Lesley Prior, a small UK-based farmer of Bowmont Merino sheep. Once the sheep are sheared, they transport and hand deliver the bales of fleece to the spinners in Yorkshire, where it is scoured, combed and spun into yarn. It is then dyed and knitted into jumpers and beanies in Scotland. True to their philosophy of building things to last the company offers a repair service on their jackets. They also offer swimwear made from ECONYL®, a nylon yarn recycled from old fishing nets and other waste material and they donate 10% of profits from the sale of ECONYL® swimwear to Surfers Against Sewage, an environmental charity protecting UK waves, oceans and beaches.

Tshirt with shark motif on it

Rapanui was started in a shed on the Isle of Wight with £200 by brothers Rob & Mart. The products they design and produce are made from organic cotton, recycled PET bottles or British Wool, using low waste printing technology in an ethically accredited, wind powered factory. Their products can be traced from seed to shop and they give credit notes to anyone who freeposts one of their garments back to them at the end of its life. The also support employement for residents of the Isle of Wight and have made their supply chain open-access so that anyone can build a businesses using their tech and supply chain, for free.

THTC is a UK clothing label that produces eco-friendly, politically conscious street wear from hemp, carbon-neutral organic cotton, and recycled salvage plastic fibres. They also resell organic cotton from Stanley & Stella, who are members of the Fair Wear Foundation – an organisation that helps ensure that garment workers are paid a fair wage. All of their cotton garments are GOTS certified, and their  company is ranked in the Responsible 100; an index of socially and environmentally responsible companies in the UK.

Most of Lost Shapes t-shirts and sweatshirts are from the EarthPositive range by Continental Clothing. EarthPositive Apparel is 100% organic with 90% Reduced CO2, and Fair war Foundation approved. The company also prints on Continental Clothing’s Salvage range – sweatshirts and t-shirts made from recycled organic cotton and recycled polyester. Some of their tops are made from Tencel fibre made from eucalyptus fibre, while others are produced by the trade company Stanley and Stella clothing, who use only Fair Wear certified organic cotton, or other sustainable fabrics such as tencel or recycled polyester. They ink used by Lost Shapes does not contain CFC’s, HCFC’s, aromatic hydrocarbons, volatile solvents, lead, heavy metals or any toxic chemicals , and is suitable for vegans. And as they do not use photo emulsions for their screens they are also able to do away with the need for solvents in the cleaning process. They also provide plastic free packaging, all of which is recyclable, and most recycled.

Kuyichi make garments from GOTS certified organic cotton, recycled cotton and recycled polyester. Kuyichi has joined Fair Wear Foundation (FWF), an independent, non-profit organisation dedicated to improving labour conditions for garment workers around the world.

Man in pale green hoodie with surf board

Silverstick make long-lasting adventure clothing from GOTS certified organic fabric dyed with azo and chlorine free clothing dyes and made in an accredited factory in Portugal.

Wales based Howies offer casual clothing made from organic cotton and recycled polyethylene.

UK based Earthmonk make and print built-to-last organic cotton t-shirts in Portugal and fairly-made mulesing-free benies by women in Nepal. They used water based dyes and biodegradable mail bags. They also donate 10% of profits to the Chaikuni Institute, a non-profit, grass roots organisation which works to preserve the Peruvian Amazon rainforest, its biodiversity, indigenous people and their culture.

The Green Wave is a sustainable UK surfing brand offering clothing made from GM free, certified organic cotton, made in an ethically accredited, wind-powered factory and hand finished in the UK. They only work with companies that are working towards creating an environmentally friendly industry. Endeavour to reuse or up-cycle any disposal materials they encounter as part of their business and all orders are dispatched using bio-degradable and/or recycled packaging. They also sell flip flops / sliders by Reef that are made with water-based glues and are free of PVC.

Visible Clothing make all their garments under the 10 principles of Fair Trade. They also turn their paper and fabric refuse into handmade paper, books, and boxes made by Tibetan refugees.

Cock and Bull Menswear make all of their garments in the UK from animal-free materials that are substantially (70%) organic when natural and substantially (70%) recycled when synthetic. They are committed to fair practices in manufacturing and donate a percentage of their profits to charity.

Monkee Genes offer organic jeans from Indonesia, ethically produced jeans from Turkey and grassroots jeans made in England. You can buy some of their garments in Fresh Cuts in Dublin 2 (see above)

Hiut Denim makes it’s jean in Wales, some of which are made with organic cotton.

Seasalt Cornwall were the first fashion company to have garments certified by the Soil Association and have a few garments in natural fibres in their Unisex section, but nothing organic.

All Riot  (see top photo) make political statement t-shirts that are Wrap certified and made from textiles that comply with the Oeko-Tex Standard 100, which certifies that the textiles were tested for harmful substances and were found to be made in environmentally friendly conditions. They do not however offer organic cotton. In addition to OEKO-TEX standards, they also use environmentally friendly inks in our London brand HQ.

 

Thokk Thokk is a German brand offering menswear made from organic cotton, sometimes blended with synthetic fibres. They have a Fairtrade Licence for its basic shirts and is certified as being organic by GOTS. They also offer free shipping.

Armed Angels is a German brand making ethical fairtrade clothing for men, women and children using only sustainable materials such as organic cotton, organic linen, organic wool, recycled polyester, Lenzing Modal® and Tencel®. They have been GOTS certified since 2011 and work with Fairtrade and Fair Wear Foundation to ensure they are working to ethical standards.

Mud Jeans don’t sell jeans, they rent them! And when the jeans have reached the end of their life they recycle them in factories in Spain or Italy. You can watch how they recycle the old jeans here. They’ve also managed to remove the need for damaging chemicals (potassium permanganate) in the treatment of jean fabric. Instead they use a laser and ozone, which is converted back to ordinary oxygen before being released back into the environment. Also the companies claim that using Ozone over chemical bleaching or stonewashing reduces the number of washes and rinses down from the standard 6-7 to 2-3, and that  this new techniques results in stronger jeans because the yarns are damaged less than it would be by the manual brushing employed with the traditional sandpaper and potassium permanganate technique. The fabrics they use contain at least 98% of cotton, they only use printed logo’s, use hangtags made out of recycled paper and buttons made out of recycled cotton on their knits. The company also avoid polybags in their packing and only use send out its products with RePack, a returnable and reusable packaging. The company doesn’t appear to be certified as Fair Trade but there is an audit report of one of it’s factories in Tunisia available on its website. You can get some of their jeans from Fresh Cuts in Dublin 2.

Kings of Indigo are a Dutch brand making long-lasting, fairtrade jeans, and other clothing for men and women with a high percentage of sustainable fabrics.  They are members of the Fair Wear Foundation and BSCI and they state that their products are made from materials consisting of (at least) 90% sustainable fibres such as organic cotton, recycled cotton, recycled wool, organic wool, TENCEL®, MODAL ®,hemp and linen. They use laser and ice blast for abrasion, rather than water, ozone for a washed effect and eco chemicals instead of chemical sprays. As water waste is huge in denim production, all of the water used in their laundries is intensively cleaned and recycled where possible.  All of their paper tags and packaging are made from recycled paper and they use recycled boxes for shipping their bulk goods. The company also repairs and recycles garments.

Thinking Mu is a Spanish brand offering fairtrade certified clothing, some made from organic cotton or organic merino for men and women. Unfortunately their website doesn’t list the fabric used to make each garment.

Wunderwerk is a German men and women’s clothing brand using only certified fabrics such as organic cotton and low-carbon fabric like beech wood and eucalyptus. They avoid using plastic in all of their accessories such as zips, tags and packaging. More than 90% of their production and finishing takes place in Italy and Portugal or other European manufacturing facilities and using innovative and environmentally friendly denim-washings methods they have reduced water consumption per jeans from 90 to 160 litres down to 3 to 9 litres. They also use less damaging dye techniques and restrict the usage of polluting chemicals like chlorine and potassium permanganate in their manufacturing processes.

Dutch brand Hood Lamb make vegan clothing for men and women from GOTS certified organic hemp and recycled materials. They are a PETA approved brand and support Sea Shepherd in their defence of marine wildlife worldwide. They also donate at least one percent of annual revenue ‘to help create a more healthy planet’.

Insane in the Rain Clothing

Insane in the Rain makes rain resistant jackets from recycled plastic for men, women and children. The recycled plastic fabric they use is called RPET, which stands for recycled polyethylene terephthalate, or recycled PET.

Two Thirds is a Spanish brand offering clothing from men and women, some of which are made from organic or recycled fabric. Their buttons are made from vegetable ivory (corozo), their zippers come from a company that only manufactures in Europe (YKK) and the padding in their jackets is raw cotton and therefore 100% biodegradable. They also avoid using leather on their clothing and have vegan backpacks made from canvas.

Knowledge Cotton Apparel is a Danish men’s clothing brand making fair, ethical fashion from organic and recycled fabrics. Their garments are independently certified by Ecocert.

Ecolaf Jacket

Ecoalf is a Spanish clothing brand for men and women that uses recycled wool, recycled cotton,  recycled polyester (from plastic bottles) and recycled nylon (from fishing nets) to make clothing. They even combine used coffee grounds with recycled polyester to make yarn and make flip flops from Recycled Tyres. Through it’s foundation Ecoalf are involved in a project to clean our oceans of waste called Upcycling the Oceans

Dedicated make clothing and headwear for men and women from organic and certified Fairtrade cotton and recycled polyester from plastic bottles. On their website they provide information on the certificates each of the factories they use have, some of which don’t appear to have independent certification for fair working conditions. Also although their cotton is organic it isn’t certified as such, it’s only certified as Fairtrade.

Marzipants is a UK based company that specialises in Thai fishing pants which are made in India in accordance with fair trade principles in a 400 year old family-run workshop using traditional methods to hand dye, cut, sew and block print many of their garments.  Unfortunately the company doesn’t appear to offer organic cotton and or any external accreditation or certification.

Engel Sportswear

UK based Hejhog and Cambridge baby sell German sportswear brand Engel, which is made from organic wool and silk.

Bam Bamboo Leisurewear

Bamboo Bamboo Clothing is a UK based company offering knickers, socks and leisure wear made from bamboo for men and women. The company say that they are committed to everyone being treated fairly and responsibly, from garment maker to customer but there they don’t appear to have any independent accreditation or certification. UK based By Nature is an online department store yoga wear by Bamboo Bamboo Clothing.

Launched in London in 2014 Starseeds are committed to creating designs using sustainable natural fabrics crafted fairly in Europe.Their garments are made from Oeko-Tex 100 certified bamboo, organic cotton, linen, Ramie, hemp and recycled polyester. They also claim to use all-natural, non-toxic dyes and a ‘Cold Bath Patch’ dyeing technique, which is less damaging to fibres. There was very little mention of independent certification on the website, except for the Oeko-Tex 100 certified bamboo.

Picture Clothing

Picture Clothing is a French brand of clothing offering organic, recycled & bio-sourced products for snowboarding, skiing, surfing and the outdoors. They recover and re-use all production scraps and raw materials during manufacturing  and integrate them into the linings of their jackets. 95% of the cotton they use is certified either GOTS or Organic Content Standard certified. The remaining 5% are made in India with recycled cotton. All of their technical products are made from a minimum average of 50% recycled polyester from plastic bottles and they use the Greenplus Taiwann certification to guarantee recycled rates of each product and Bluesign Approved Fabric to guarantee that they do not contain harmful chemicals. They state that their garments are PFC free and that the factories they work with have all signed the Picture RSL (Restricted Substances List), a list of chemicals that they have banned in their products. They also state that they carry out random tests to make sure the RSL is fully respected. The company also states that the factories they use are all engaged in an improvement process with Fair Wear Foundation and that they visit them 2-3 times a year. The company works to repair garments instead of replacing them and they work with several repair stations throughout the world to deliver that service. You can’t buy from the company directly but I’ve listed them because they are stocked by quite a few online retailers. including Surfdome.ie in Ireland.

UK Based Green Fibres sell a few pieces of clothing in organic cotton. Organizations that supply Greenfibres must comply with the Code of Conduct as contained in the Global Organic Textile Standards, and the company make every effort to use local and small-scale labour as much as possible. Furthermore they are against increasing disparities of incomes and undertake to never have the highest earner in the company making more than 5 times the wage of the lowest earner. They also use banks and phone companies that are ethical, renewal electricity companies and use a high post-consumer content recycled paper in all their stationary and catalogues. They also participate in the following forums: the Soil Association, the Fair Trade Foundation, Pesticide Action Network UK, Environmental Justice Foundation, Global Organic Textiles Standards, Labour Behind the Label, and the Organic Trade Board.

Epona make leisure wear using Fairtrade certified cotton.

The White T-shirt company offers plain t-shirts – ironically in lots of colours – made from GOTS certified organic cotton.

The Hemp Store offer a range of clothing made from hemp, organic cotton, Tencel, rayon and bamboo.

The Hemp Shop also offer clothing made from 100% hemp or hemp blended with other fabrics.

Namaste Clothing offers a few bohemian-styled cotton shirts. They claim to only sell clothes that have been made fairly but it doesn’t appear to be accredited as such by any independant organisation, although it says it is recognised by BAFTS, the British Association for Fair Trade Shops as a fair trade importer. Their products are printed with azo-free dyes and they say that many of their products are made entirely from recycled materials.

Online Department Stores
Sometimes it makes sense to buy directly from the brand, but check out these online retailer before clicking the buy bottom. I’ve sometimes spotted items at lower prices on this online department stores than you get directly from the supplier.

  • Spirit of Nature who stock Thought, Patagonia and Komodo
  • Natural Collection stocks Thought and Patagonia
  • The Natural Store stocks Kommet, Fabryan, Kiab, The White T-shirt Co, Environmental Justice Foundation, Edun, No Balls, Bam Bamboo and Silverstick
  • Frank and Faith stock Patagonia, Thought and Komodo.
  • The Ethical Superstore stocks All riot, Komodo, Matt & nat, Natural collection select, Onyx & green, Pachamama, Patagonia, Silverstick and Thought,
  • Fab Organics sells men’s underwear from the German brand Living Crafts (see above).
  • Ethical Market is an online marketplace for small makers of ethical goods, including clothing, footwear and accessories for men, women and children.
  • Green UK are an online retailer offering a few pieces of  bamboo and organic cotton yoga clothing plus garments from Silverstick, Fair T and Patagonia

 

Swimwear
The following brands offer swimwear / boardshorts

 

Underwear
And sure where would you be without some organic cotton undies? I’m not including photos with this section because my ads in Facebook are odd enough following research for my lingerie and swimwear posts. Plus i’m not sure my 44 year old constitution could take it!

  • French brand Do You Green offers a few items made from pinewood fibres from sustainable forests, which the company says absorbs perspiration twice as much as cotton and is softer than any other cloth. They don’t give any information on how they make their fibre, they simply state that all of their materials are made in France, as is the dying, and both are is done to the Oekotex standard. Their packaging is also plastic free. I emailed the company to see if the fabric they use is actually Rayon, a very popular cellulose based fibre but didn’t receive a response.
  • UK based By Nature is an online department store selling organic cotton underwear German company Living Crafts (see above) and bamboo underwear by Bam Bamboo.
  • German Company Living Crafts offer reasonably priced organic cotton bras, knickers, vests, t-shirts, long pants and pyjamas.
  • UK Based Green Fibres (see clothing section above)
  • All Swedish Eco products are made from the GOTS certified organic cotton grown in Turkey. They also only use Oeko-tex 100 standard colouring which excludes any harmful substances.
  • Finisterre (see clothing section above)
  • Underwear Concept is an online underwear retailer that offers organic cotton from Nukleus at very reasonable prices. Maylasian based Nukleus make underwear and basics from eco-friendly materials such as GOTS certified organic cotton, Lenzing Tencel and bamboo and all Nukleus core components are certified Oeko-Tex Standard 100. The boxes used by Nukleus are made from FSC-certified paper and printed with vegetable-based ink and have a fully recyclable PETE 1 plastic for its box ‘window’.
  • Patagonia (see clothing section above)
  • Thought (see clothing section above)
  • Thunderpants UK is a subsidery of Thunderpants New Zeland. Their undies are made from certified organic cotton, processed to strict SKAL standards (International Standards for Sustainable Textile Production), knitted into fabric in New Zealand, either printed in New Zealand or Australia with organic inks and dyes and finally sown in New Zealand.
  • Organic Basics in Copenhagen uses GOTS certified organic cotton grown in Turkey and recycled nylon from Italy. The company states that their factories are audited annually by a third party to ensure employees are treated fairly but they don’t say by who but on a webpage about their factories they list the certificates each factory hold. Package wise the company use a poly mailer made from 100% recycled plastic.  They say it’s 100% recyclable but that would depend on local recycling policies but it has a dual adhesive strip so can be used a second time.
  • The Hemp Shop offer boxers set made from organic hemp and organic cotton.
  • Pure Natural are on online department store offering organic cotton knickers, vests, t-shirts, long pants and pyjamas from the German brand Living Crafts (see above).
  • Fab Organics is an online department store that offers underwear made from organic cotton from German brand Living Crafts (see above).
  • Bamboo Bamboo Clothing is a UK-based company offering underwear made from bamboo. The company say that they are committed to everyone being treated fairly and responsibly, from garment maker to customer but there they don’t appear to have any independent accreditation or certification.
  • Hejhog sell knickers, bras, vests, t-shirts, long pants, nightwear and sportswear in organic cotton, organic wool or organic silk.
  • Howies (see clothing section above)
  • Cambridge baby sell underwear in organic cotton, organic wool and silk.
  • The Natural Store is an online department store selling women’s knickers in bamboo, fairtrade cotton and organic cotton including the brand Kerala crafts.
  • Green UK are an online retailer offering fairtrade and organic lingerie from Thought.
  • Uk-based Uorganic is an online department selling a range of products including organic bamboo underwear and socks by US company Boody. The underwear brand Boody says its organic bamboo is certified by Ecocert, that their clothing complies with the Oekotex standard for absence of harmful chemicals and that their factories are WRAP certified. Hopsack in Rathmines, Dublin 6 also sells the organic bamboo underwear range by Boody.
  • The Ethical Superstore and The Natural Collection are online retailers selling underwear and nightwear from the following brands; Thought, and Boody. These two websites seem to be run by the same company and I often find that you can pick up items cheaper here than on the home company’s website.

    You could also do a search for organic cotton, bamboo or ethical underwear on Etsy for Amazon.

 

Other Useful Resources
I also came across some useful additional resources in relation to this area, they include;

 

Finally buying sustainably is only part of the equation, making your clothes last as long as possible is another. Not only does the website Love your Clothes have guides on how to buy the best quality, they also have tips on how to care and repair your clothes. Alternatively find yourself good tailor or seamstress to take care of your mending needs. Repairmystuff.ie is a handy website for sourcing such things.

E

 

How to Avoid Buying a Car

Arial view of People in the Shape of a Car

The most sustainable car is the one doesn’t exist. Why? Well according to the author of the book ‘How Bad Are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Nearly Everything’ Berners-Lee estimates that more than making a new family car emits 40% more carbon dioxide than driving the same car for 5 years. The percentages may differ for electric cars but the principal stays the same, buying new is always less sustainable than doing without.

So if you’re someone who only needs a car on occasions why not save yourself a packet and a ton of hassle by not buying one in the first place. And even if you do need to own a car perhaps the option of hiring a car or van on occasion might dissuade you from buying second car. If that’s piqued your interest here’s are some options to consider.

Continue reading

Growing Fruit and Veg at Home – Feeding & Watering

Comfrey Flowers

Okay so I’ve posted about starting seedlings and how to plant, protect and support them so now I’m going to post about how to feed and water your plants as sustainably as possible. Before I do I have a confession to make; my seedling success this year has been abysmal. I don’t have a greenhouse so seedlings grown in my house tend to get very leggy so this year I decide to grow under a plastic cloche in my garden, with the hope of better results. Well, it was all for nout. The few that did germinate aren’t leggy but they’re not thriving at all.  There have been exceptions, most notably my peas, mangetout and onions which were planted directly into the ground. The only pot based seedlings that appear to be growing are gourd seeds, but last year these were munched by slugs as soon as they were transplanted out so I’m not holding out much hope for a harvest.

Continue reading

Sustainable Summer – Updated 17th June 2018

Newquay Beach in Cornwall

My daughter is constantly asking me how many days it is to summer so I have a daily reminder that it just around the corner and to be honest I’m counting down the days too. I have more free time when the kids are in school and the house stays cleaner for way longer! But sometimes the academic year feels like a treadmill of actions and obligations; sign this form, get this item, negotiate this playground fracas. The first week of July is like one long exhalation in our house. We made it! We survived another academic year! No grubby uniforms, no half-eaten packed lunches, no unending homework. Just us, together with 8 long weeks of pyjama-wearing lolling about on our to-do list. Of course we’ll end up killing each other by week 3 but for now we’re ignoring that reality and remaining firmly fixated on our rose-tinted imaginaries of summertime.

I hope your summer will too be full of rose-tinted imaginaries – to make them more sustainable read on.

Continue reading