How To Make Your Home More Sustainable
A Guide By Mother of Pearl's Creative Director Amy Powney
When I’m designing sustainable clothing for Mother of Pearl, I can often feel like a multitasking fashion designer come detective, pulling out my little black book of questions with my development team to make sure every piece of clothing we produce is as sustainable as can be; Where has the fabric been grown and produced and under what conditions, have any chemicals been used? How are the workers and animals treated in the process? Is it recyclable and/or biodegradable, how far does it need to travel to get from first stage to final stage? This mentality, for better or worse, has spilled over into my personal life, as I find myself firing off similar questions when it comes to filling my fridge, stocking up on loo roll or investing in furniture for my home. I love helping fellow designers when it comes to guidance on how to make their fashion brand more sustainable, so I thought I should share my own pearls of wisdom for shopping more sustainably, outside of your wardrobe.
Disclaimer, I am far from perfect, but if you are looking to shop more sustainably but often don’t have the time, patience, feel overwhelmed by the choices (or all three and then some!), my tips are here to provide some light relief and guidance on sustainable living in what can feel like a sea of endless options. I’ve spent more hours than I care to admit comparing and contrasting eco energy suppliers...that’s why I’m sharing the love so you can spend less time on Google and more time in the pub. The main footprint we have is consumption of what we eat, what we wear and how we power our homes, the below is a quick checklist on what you can change to make a big impact day to day. I truly believe that no-one can do everything, but everyone can do something. So even by making one of these small changes could help us all fashion a better future:
Avoid supermarket sweeps by signing up to a local food delivery box. There are so many options from local, organic and even “ugly” fruit and veg that gets rejected by supermarkets. I’m signed up to Riverford and can’t recommend them enough. You can track the farms where your produce comes from, select zero packaging or UK farm only options and they also include delicious seasonal recipes. I also love the company's ethics, they conduct an annual profit share whereby 10% of all profits are split equally by everyone on the team.
Who knew you could make a difference with loo roll...started via a crowdfunding campaign, Who Gives a Crap is a unique company that makes toilet roll, with 50% of profits going towards building toilets and improving sanitation in the developing world. They also offer recycled and forest friendly paper options. As they say themselves, good for your bum, and great for the world.
Switching to a green energy supplier is good for the planet, and often good for your wallet too. I’m signed up to Ecotricity, the world's first green electricity company. They are true pioneers, and even offer customers an opportunity to invest in ecobonds via their site, worth checking out!
I was amazed to hear about TerraCycle, an innovative business that offers free recycling programmes for tricky household items, including toothpaste tubes and shampoo bottles. Sign up at Terracycle.com and simply choose the programmes you’d like to join; start collecting in your home, school, or office; download free shipping labels; and send in your waste to be recycled. You can even earn rewards for a non-profit of your choice at the same time. Win-win!
The Restory’s mission is to help you fall in love with your favourite pieces all over again. They provide an on-demand service of after-care for luxury fashion. Starting with shoes, bags and leather goods they help repair, restore and in general give a lot of love to breathe new life into some of your nearest and dearest items. In the UK, the average lifetime for a piece of clothing is estimated as just 2.2 years...we can do better than that! I am also a fan of repairs done by my local dry cleaners, most offer this cheap and cheerful service so why not ask next time you are there. We hope this has been a useful but please let us kow what guides you would like to see in the future.