Eco-Friendly Gifts Blog: Why We Love Being A Green Business
As a group, we are dedicated to providing eco-friendly gifts that give joy, at no extra cost to the environment.
We have a range of gifts that are centered around the premise of being kind to the world around us, and gifts that treat our natural environment with the respect it deserves.
In this blog, we're going to talk about our motivation behind starting our business, and what we want for the future.
Going Plastic Free
Being a green business means examining all the processes that we are carrying out, and ensuring that they have the most minimal impact in several areas. We have two main areas in which we focus our efforts to be a sustainable business.
Plastic content is a crucial aspect to maintaining or selection of gifts that are kind to the environment. We will talk more about our Pampering Gift Set For Her later, to give an example specifically as to how we are creating gifts based on sustainability.
Conventional plastic produced from fossil fuels are actively damaging the world around us at every stage of their life, so choosing to minimize plastic in our gifts was an easy decision.
Our packaging also follows this principle, whether it be our wicker baskets or our compostable mailing bags.
Minimizing waste sent to landfill is the second main factor when we decide on product selection for our gifts.
Landfill is not a sustainable method of dealing with waste, and can actually be dangerous to the surrounding environment due to leachate.
In light of our aim in reducing waste sent to landfill, we have developed LFHP Zero. This is a scheme that means zero compostable waste will go to landfill from our gifts.
Plastic is currently causing havoc to our environment, and in particular marine creatures are suffering the effects of plastic pollution.
Green Gift Case Study: Pampering Gift Set For Her
We design our gifts around being sustainable, as well as being luxury.
Through using organic products in plastic free packaging, our Eco-Friendly Gifts are designed around reducing waste sent to landfill.
An example of this is our Pampering Gift Set For Her, a gift created to give relaxation in the busy schedule of your giftee.
Our Pampering Gift Set For Her is full of plastic free cosmetics, such as Organic Shampoo Bars, Moisturizing Bars and Rosewood Soap Bars.
As a western culture, single use plastics surround us every day, and they make up roughly half of all plastic being produced every year. When we talk about plastic, we mean conventional plastic such as PET and PE.
Conventional plastic is produced from fossil fuels, which means it has a large carbon footprint relative to other materials with the same characteristics being produced from renewable resources.
Conventional plastics also don't have the ability to biodegrade, meaning they just break down into smaller and smaller pieces of plastic.
Plastic, in the broadest sense of the world, means a material constructed from synthetic or semi-synthetic polymers.
Polymers are long chains of repeating structures, known as monomers. The origin of the word comes from the greek 'plastikos', which means 'able to me moulded'.
Let's choose polyethylene as an example.
The 'ethylene' refers to the monomer ethene, with the chemical structure containing 2 carbon atoms, and 4 hydrogen atoms.
The 'poly' refers to the repeating sequence of ethene. So in total, when can see that 'polyethylene' refers to a polymer, constructing from repeating sequences of ethylene, or ethene (two names for the same thing).
There are two types of plastic when referring to their behaviour when exposed to heat. Thermosets are plastics which cannot be remoulded, as they solidify into a permanent shape.
Thermoplastics are the opposite. They can be heated, remoulded and reformed over and over.
Plastic polymers often have additives, for a variety of different reasons. Some of the common additives are flame retardants, fragrances and heat stabilisers.
There are seven types of plastic in mainstream production today, and each of them has a number assigned to them, from 1-7.
These numbers can be seen on packaging, inside the recycling triangle. The numbers are set on how easy the plastic is to recycle, with number one being the easiest, and number seven being the hardest to recycle.
PET, polyethylene terephthalate, is number one, making it the easiest common plastic to recycle.
The current alternative to non biodegradable fossil based plastics are bioplastics. These are plastics similar to fossil based plastics, but there are two important differences.
Bioplastics are produced from biomass, they can biodegrade, or both.
Many of our compostable items are produced from PLA, which is both produced from biomass (cornstarch), and can biodegrade.
Due to biodegradability not having a time stamp on it, it is important that PLA is compostable as well as biodegradable. Due to 'compostable' referring to 'industrial composting', we have a developed LFHP Zero.
With LFHP Zero, any compostable waste you send back to us from our Eco-Friendly Gifts, will be composted with zero waste going to landfill.
We guarantee that all your used compostable waste will not end up in the natural environment, and will be fully composted.
There are also bioplastics which are produced from renewable resources, but cannot biodegrade.
This is a common myth in sustainability - just because a material is made from plants, it should able to biodegrade, and visa versa.
This is not true, and has resulted in a lot of confusion.
An example of a bioplastic which is produced from biomass, but cannot biodegrade, is bio based polyethylene.
Bio based PE is often made from sugar cane, a renewable resource. Because of the sugar cane sequestering carbon dioxide from the atmosphere when it is growing, some bio based polyethylene batches actually have a negative carbon footprint.
This is due to the carbon taken in by the sugar cane, being of a larger volume than that of the carbon being released in selective end of life disposal methods.
Motivation For Being A Green Business
We started off as Love Festivals Hate Plastic, a business providing eco-friendly festival survival kits, in an effort to reduce the amount of plastic waste being left at festival sites after the event had finished.
It is an area we still love to be involved in, and we continue to have our Eco Survival Kits in stock.
A common misunderstanding is that the organizers of large events such as festivals will recycle all the plastic waste, including tents, or donate them to give them a second life. This is really not true - the vast majority of waste left at festivals will be sent to landfill.
The problem with landfill is it's unsustainable.
There is only a finite space left on the planet, and we are quickly running out of it.
As developed nations, such as the UK where we are based, much of our plastic waste is exported to other countries such as Malaysia, to be recycled. This is in an effort to reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfill, or incineration.
Recycling Plastic Is Not Efficient
It's far cheaper for countries like the UK to send their waste abroad to be recycled, rather than dealing with inside the UK. Once the waste arrives in developing countries, much of it is not recycled, and is just dumped or burned illegally.
From this point in time onwards, we desperately need an efficient recycling system, as well as reducing the amount of plastic being produced every year.
There is no point trying to stop plastic pollution if every year, 300 million tonnes of plastic are entering circulation.
If you walk into your bathroom, and someone has left the tap running, would you try and clean up all the water on the bathroom floor, before you turned the tap off?
This is the current way in which governments are dealing with the crisis.
It is for this reason of exporting plastic waste, that over half of the oceans plastic is coming from just four countries in Southeast Asia.
Developed countries have shifted the blame to these poorer, developing countries. There is no room to lie anymore, as these countries are now sending waste back.
Landfills are not a sustainable option due to the effect they have on the surrounding environment.
Leachate is a mix of toxins in the plastic with rainfall on the landfill. Over time, the rainfall (if the landfill is not capped) will enter the landfill, and trickle further and further downwards, until it reaches groundwater.
From there, the now toxic liquid from the landfill can now enter rivers and pollute the local soil. A landfill near oxford is estimated to send 27.5 tonnes of ammonia into the local River Thames.
This ammonia then partially breaks down into nitrogen, which can cause excessive plant growth and decay.
This unnatural rate of plant growth and death means the marine life around the plants won't get the sufficient oxygen they need to function, and as a result populations can dwindle in numbers very quickly.
Plastic pollution is the result of a mass failure to deal with plastic properly.
With 8 million tonnes of plastic being dumped in the ocean every year, it's no wonder authorities are having a hard time dealing with the onslaught of plastic waste entering our seas.
Marine species are effectively being hunted by plastic debris, which is putting huge amounts of strain on marine ecosystems.
Sustainability Is The Way Forward
Throughout this blog, we've expressed our motivations for being a business that values the environment, sustainability and being green.
Giving examples to show exactly how we are being sustainable, such as our Pampering Gift Set For Her, should give an idea as to how we are achieving that.
We love to provide gifts that aren't just designed to make the recipient happy, but to have minimal impact on the environment also.
We are set up to provide eco-friendly gifts that are alternatives to gifts which don't consider the life cycle assessment with regards to the environment.
Through carefully designing our range of eco-friendly gifts to reduce plastic waste sent to landfill, the environmental impact is at the top of our priorities.
If you would like to read more about the steps we take to maintain sustainability, feel free to subscribe to our email list at the bottom of the page.