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5 Tips for a More Sustainable Christmas

Ethical State Xmas Range

Introducing Ethical State’s five easy-to-follow tips for a sustainable Christmas!

Launched this year, our rapidly growing company hosts over 1,000 products from ethical, UK-based businesses, providing eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives to anything you might need. So, where better to start making more sustainable changes than the holy grail of all occasions: Christmas?!

Brits send 100 million bags of rubbish to landfill each Christmas – that’s three-and-a-half black bags full of festive packaging per household.

On top of this, a typical UK Christmas will see two million turkeys dumped, 17 million Brussel sprouts binned, and 74 million mince pies chucked.

This excessive waste isn’t necessary and it’s harming the planet. But an amazing Christmas doesn’t have to cost the Earth. Have a look at our 5 top tips:

1. Sustainable Wrapping


Steer clear of any metallic and glittery wrapping paper – if you can scrunch it, it’s probably recyclable.

Go for sustainable soured natural papers or recycled gift wrapping and use tape sparingly (if at all!). Try string or even reusable fabric wrapping paper – no tape or string required!

2. Reuse


Save your reusable wrapping paper – just shove it in the cupboard until next year.

There’s also no shame in regifting! If you don’t love something or aren’t going to get the most use out of it, why not give it someone who will?

3. Buy Local

Now’s a great time to get out to local markets and fairs and support retailers who’ve have a couple of tough years. Also try to buy local food to support local growers and reduce your carbon footprint.

4. Buy Sustainably

Like the convenience of online shopping? There are still great options to buy sustainably online.

Buy ethically and sustainably sourced products from small UK businesses at Ethical State. Your money flows right into the hands of real people with a charitable donation and trees planted with every order.

5. Reduce Food Waste

Really think about previous years and the amount of people you’re having over – how much food do you really need?

And remember, leftovers can be eaten for days after Christmas and turned into all sorts of delicious meals. Want to go super sustainable? Have a plant-based Christmas!

Follow these tips and your festive season will be great for you and your family – and the planet!

Psst: remember to follow us on Instagram, too!

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Why Is Supporting Sustainable Businesses So Important?

man packing product

Shopping from communities of ethical and sustainable sellers is one of the best ways to start living in a more sustainable way.

Amongst the countless complex issues that need to be solved in the face of the climate crisis, the nature of how we buy things is one of the most important. The wasteful and environmentally damaging practices of mass-manufactured, fast paced consumerism simply cannot be allowed to continue.

However, that doesn’t in any way mean that we have to do away with shopping entirely. Our creativity is one of our greatest traits, and we should be able to buy beautiful things to decorate our lives with, as it is both an expression of our own creativity and a celebration of other peoples’. 

However, the way that the biggest companies in commerce conduct themselves has cast a dark shadow over that fact, and needs to be put to rights. Luckily, there is an almost absurdly straightforward way to buy and sell in a more sustainable way – placing communities and small businesses back at the centre of shopping.

This is the key to nurturing a more sustainable form of world economy; downscaling, localising, and making consumerism more cyclical. Hugely destructive forms of commerce, such as fast fashion, are so devastating because of their gargantuan, open ended, top-down approach. Like a polluted river, products flow from sordid factories in the developing world, along lengthy supply chains to the shops where they’re sold for a low price, before they degrade and need to be thrown away, ad infinitum.

There is a better way, and it doesn’t mean giving up on all the luxuries of modern life and heading off into the woods to live off the land. All that we need to do is elevate community to play a bigger role in the process of buying and selling. This isn’t a novel idea at any rate; if you get things from places like Olio or Depop, or buy from the small businesses in your area then you’re already onto a winner, as these types of shopping centre around a community. Whether it’s buying and selling between people in an online community or purchasing things from people in your actual community, those items have likely travelled only a short distance, plus ethical and sustainable production is much more likely to be the standard.

Things tend to be handmade, are of a much higher quality, and, lets be honest, it’s unlikely that Sarah who runs the organic clothing shop is exploiting workers in Asia or decimating habitats. If you outgrow those clothes or fancy a change-up, don’t throw them away, but pass them on to someone else, either by selling them online or giving them away. By placing community, and particularly small businesses, at the centre of a model of consumerism, sustainability becomes an organic by-product.

Living smaller does not have mean reducing the quality of your way of life, but should instead be considered as choosing smaller; choosing smaller businesses to buy from, choosing smaller distances that your items need to travel, choosing items with a smaller environmental impact.

Choosing smaller puts the celebration of creativity back at the centre of the shopping experience, because who wants to feel guilty about the things that makes their life beautiful?

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Stating The Obvious: Fast Fashion & Throw Away Consumerism

clothes

The climate crisis is everyone’s problem, and everyone has the power to help solve it through their choices as a consumer.

As the realities of the climate crisis have become more prescient, a sharp light has been cast on the scale of wasteful and devastatingly harmful practices of our global economic practices.

Whilst much of the onus is on producers who exploit the workforces and lax environmental restrictions of developing nations, consumers’ habits are equally to blame. There cannot be a seller without a buyer, and the willingness for customers to embrace the fast-paced, throw-away consumerism that industries like fast fashion play upon gives these companies little motivation to change their ways.

Fast fashion is one of the most environmentally devastating industries in the world, and the epitome of the consumerism practices that desperately need to change if we hope to build a better world for us all.

With the annual emissions almost equal to that of the whole of Europe, it pumps out more Co2 than global aviation and shipping combined. That’s without even mentioning the rampant poisoning of rivers across Asia, nor the atrocious working conditions in sweatshops that so many people are willing to ignore so that they can buy a terrible quality t-shirt for a fiver.

 All of this feeds an incomprehensibly damaging culture of throwaway consumerism, one that the U.K. invented and is the main proponent of; one in three young women consider clothes worn once or twice to be old, with the British population sending 350,000 tonnes to landfill and recycling enough wearable clothing each year to fill 459 Olympic-sized swimming pools

It’s not difficult to see how these two problems create a negative feedback loop, benefiting only the corporations that ascribe to it as they line their pockets at the expense of the environment and worker conditions across the globe.

However, it’s also an incredibly easy loop to break out of.

By supporting sustainable brands like those featured on Ethical State, the need to throw away clothing after only a couple of wears disappears, whilst also ensuring that neither the environment nor those making the clothes lose out.

It’s remarkably simple, and requires only the desire to have a positive impact on the world.

We can no longer afford to accept this sorry state of affairs as the status quo, and we must cultivate habits that begin the work of dismantling the system which is upheld by the abusive standards inherent in the modern consumer culture. The sad fact of the matter is that it doesn’t need to be like this, and all we need to do is take the power out of the hands of the abusers and put it back where it belongs – with the small, ethical businesses that are worthy of our support. Our planet deserves better, and so do we.

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Sustainability: What Is It & Why Is It Important?

Painting of the globe on a sign with caption ‘one world’

It’s likely you’ve heard the term ‘sustainability’ crop up more and more in recent years. 

And with the climate crisis only becoming a more pressing issue by the day, that’s little surprise. 

But what is sustainability? Why should you care? And how does it relate it to you and your choices? Let’s explore… 

What is sustainability?

Put simply, sustainability is the concept of utilising available resources to meet our own needs, without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same. 

Sounds simple, right? Well it’s a tad more complicated than that…

Sustainability can be better understood by being broken down into three fundamental pillars: 

  • Environmental sustainability – the environment and its eco-systems should be kept in balance by utilising natural resources at a rate in which they are given the appropriate time to replenish 
  • Economic sustainability – the guarantee thatcommunities always have access to the resource they need to survive 
  • Social sustainability – the acknowledgement and protection of basic universal human rights, in addition to personal, labour and cultural rights

More often than not, when you hear the word ‘sustainability’, it’s being used in its environmental context. But it’s easy to see how one play into the other. After all, they all follow one basic principal – act today in a way which ensures a tomorrow. 

Some everyday examples of environmental sustainability include: 

  • Recycling 
  • Bags for life
  • Organic diet / vegetarianism / veganism   

Why is sustainability important?

As we’ve laid out above, sustainability encompasses the very foundations of ethical living. So why is sustainability important? Because it acts in the interest of everybody – both today, and in the future. 

Recently, over 1 million young people around the world have urged governments to prioritise climate measures in Covid-19 recovery efforts. Why? Because they recognise the time to act is now. 

The reality of the situation is that we’ve been living in such drastic and selfish excess for so long, that it’s simply not – well, sustainable – any longer. We’ve drained the world of its natural resources, and adopted production and consumption habits that have further damaged anything remaining. Continuing at this rate would accumulate in the destruction of the environment and, ultimately, the destruction of us. 

The answer to why sustainability is important, then, becomes perfectly clear – it ensures the survival of both Mother Earth and the humanity that inhabits her. 

Why is sustainable living important?

“The climate crisis has been caused by governmental mismanagement and unethical large-scale corporations, right? It’s nothin’ to do with me…” 

Well, not exactly.

To understand why sustainable living is important, you must first understand that a blame game doesn’t help anyone. A ‘clean up your own mess’ mentality unfortunately doesn’t suffice – after all, it’s to the detriment of everyone. 

It’s key to understand too that, while the big boys rightly deserve most of the blame, that’s not to say you don’t play a part – from purchases with fast-fashion brands to a boot-full of plastic bags after every shop, none of us have lived a completely sustainable life. 

Instead, recognise that we all have a role to play, no matter how small. Sure, global companies and international governments can (and indeed should) make more of a difference than you – but that’s not to say you should’t look to make any at all.  

Sustainable living is important, then, because sustainability requires everyone to do their bit. Now we know what you’re thinking – “that sounds like a whole lotta effort”, right? 

But the truth is that even making the smallest of changes in the interest of sustainability can make a big difference in the wider picture. Sure, alone you’re not going to save the world – but the small changes you make today reduce the impact on tomorrow.  

And after all, that’s what it’s all about – acting today in a way which ensures a tomorrow. 

Ethical State are committed to making sustainable shopping easy and convenient, helping you to start making more of those little changes – so why not start today?