Ripple: Zero Waste Living

In July 2018, an ambitious Kickstarter campaign to raise £30k in 13 days began. Its mission? To open Cardiff’s first zero-waste store.

(Spoiler Alert: They totally nailed it, and NAOHOA helped raise over £800 towards it by donating tattoo Gift Certificates) .

Climate change and our impact on the planet has been firmly in our minds over the past few years – particularly after the boom of Blue Planet II‘s release in 2017 . Since then, many of us have tried switching to more eco-friendly alternatives such as shampoo bars, bringing flasks to cafes or switching to bamboo toothbrushes. Many bars and restaurants have replaced plastic straws with paper ones, or scrap the use of them altogether.

Ripple founder Sophie Rae. Photography by Mary W-Thomas.

Lead by Sophie Rae, her idea to make eco-living affordable and convenient resonated with us all. Given that Wales is one of the top countries in the world for recycling and we’ve been donning tote bags* since 2011, she was in good company.

In-store, you’ll find dried goods ranging from loose-leaf teas and snacks to a plethora of grains, pulses and spices. Household products such as shampoo, conditioner, washing up liquid and even bath salts are on offer, along with ethically-sourced, sustainable swaps and clothing.

I took this photo just before customers flooded in. It’s busy every day there!

The choice available is impressive and, with Sammy’s Fruit & Veg stand across the road, I’ve happily done my plastic-free food shop between the two every week without feeling like I’m compromising on my lifestyle. The only time I shop at a supermarket these days is to buy meat and eggs. Granted, these can be bought at the local farmer’s market on weekends and I’ll try to add this to my routine once I’ve finished working on Saturdays.

Spices in particular have been a pleasant surprise. When reusing glass spice jars, I’ve managed to refill on smoked paprika (35p), garlic powder (15p) and ground cumin (9p) for ridiculous prices. For someone who loves to cook, this is a huge bonus.

Upon entering, you’ll see their Gratitude Wall, where people can share their thanks.

The atmosphere is upbeat, staff are super friendly and helpful and customers themselves tend to be polite and patient. It does take longer to shop there, as you need to weigh your containers before and afterwards (or just afterwards, if you’ve used them in-store before), so factor that in when you visit next. If you’re a total dork like me, you can make a Tare Book to keep the stickers in (instead of leaving them on containers).

UPDATE: 06/03/19
You can now go label-less at Ripple! Simply write the container weight with a permanent marker, then bring your items to the till for the staff to process for you. 😀

Follow Ripple Living:
Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter


* Speaking of tote bags: You can now support yours truly by buying a NAOHOA Tote Bag for just £10! (or £5 if you buy one straight after getting your tattoo). It’s made using sustainable cotton by the eco-friendly UK company, BIDBI.
/shameless plug

Separator
Plastic China, a documentary directed by Jiuliang Wang.

Personally, I started this journey after watching a documentary called Plastic China (2016), which follows the harsh reality of families working at recycling factories. In 2018, China decided to refuse recycling material from other countries in an effort to restore damage made to their land.

Since then, I’ve added on a bunch of eco-switches to existing habits, including furoshiki, soap-making and, more recently, baking sourdough…all of which my farmer-from-Vietnam mother finds both amusing and endearing that things are, in her words, ‘going back the old way’.

As mentioned, NAOHOA was able to help raise £800 towards their £30k goal by donating 1hr Gift Certificates. It was a huge rush to see the first batch go within two days, then the last push in just 1.5hrs!

It was an honour to help and I’m grateful that a.) I was able to at all, and b.) the shop exists, because it’s become an integral part of my lifestyle now.

Being an independent business owner, I know how important and uplifting it is to support one another, and I’m loving the scene here in Cardiff right now.
💕

Separator

Habits That Make a Difference

Refuse

If you’re offered something you don’t genuinely want or need, refuse it. It’s a simple notion that often gets overlooked, especially when it comes to freebies.

Reuse

Utilise items that are useful, such as containers for food (even when eating out, to save the restaurant giving you more plastic or single-use boxes that can’t be recycled due to contamination). Get creative and repurpose or upcycle objects to either use yourself, give away or sell. Pinterest is a great source for inspiration.

If you have space, composting food is a great way to give plants and crops extra nutrients…for free!

Recycle

Besides discarding, this should be our last port of call. Why? Currently, Britain doesn’t process all of its recyclable waste, relying heavily on other countries to finish their work. When I discovered this and the shocking fact that waste that isn’t processed gets dumped…well, it made it clear that throwing things into green bins is nowhere near enough to make an impact.

Separator

What next?

What steps have you taken to do your bit for the planet?

Separator

Ripple Tattoo Gallery

I’ll keep this updated with photos of what the pledgers got inked!


Zero-Waste Christmas Ideas

Religious or not, most of us get swept away with Christmas cheer – but how can we continue celebrating whilst being mindful of our beautiful blue planet? Read on for simple ways we can alter our habits and perception for a merry Christmas, without the guilt of a carbon footprint a yeti would gawk at.

 

Separator

 

Rethink the Word ‘Gift’

When we think ‘gift’, the same image normally comes to mind. Something that’s tangible and wrapped with a pretty bow. However, not all presents need be physical. Here are some examples:

 

Experiences

What’s the thing they’ve always wanted to do but never got round to doing? Visit an attraction? See a show? Take a class*? Get a tattoo? *cough* How about purchasing a Gift Certificate so they can tick something off their bucket list? ‘Cause let’s face it: more socks are never on anyone’s bucket list…or any wish list for that matter!

 

Time

From a coffee date to helping move house; you choose how much time you’re willing to give. Time is a precious commodity and I find the older we get, the less we have (until retirement years, at least). Use the opportunity to revive old friendships and strengthen ones that have weathered the stormiest of weathers. You may find that you cherish those moments far more than a material gift ever could.

 

Handmade

Let’s get real: Who doesn’t love receiving cake at any time of the year? Cakes, cookies or something savoury – Pinterest is overloaded with ideas and recipes. If you’re a dab hand at things like knitting or crocheting, you could make plushies or accessories instead. 

 

Repurposed

Wanna get crafty? Give unwanted items a new lease of life that would be useful or decorative in any home. From hampers made of plastic bags, simple but elegant flower vases, or custom coasters, there are blogs all over the internet where budding creators share their knowledge. Again, many can be found via Pinterest (search for ‘upcycle’).

 

* I bought some lessons for myself via Udemy** on Black Friday and can’t wait to try them!

** Not a sponsored post. Just sharing the love. 🙂

 

Support Local Businesses

Naturally, I’m biased here. 😉 However, when you buy locally, from owners whose livelihood relies solely on lovely people appreciating our skills and/or products, it really does make our day. We spend all our energy in something we hope others will acknowledge and you buying from us ensures we can cover the rent, bills, food and gosh, maybe even a treat for ourselves!

Gift Certificates can be bought all year round and delivered straight to your door.

Personally, it’s taken me over three years to get to a stage where the thought of buying a coffee and slice of cake doesn’t riddle me with anxiety…and that’s all thanks to the accumulative efforts of me showing up and you guys spreading the word. Our businesses can’t survive without you and our spirits would surely sink if we had to give it up.

 

Wrap Responsibly

Need ideas on ways to wrap your pressies, without the traditional wrapping paper that can’t always be recycled? Try these on for size…

Reusing Existing Paper

Cardiff’s very own Green Squirrel community recently held a workshop, where they reused all sorts of materials to present their gifts. Parcel paper, scarves, twine, foliage…even loo roll! Spark your creativity and give something truly unique by trying a different approach this year.

 

Furoshiki

From the blog, 1 Million Women.

The long-established art of folding objects with cloth has been used in Japan for may years, gaining mainstream attention more recently with the wave of people choosing sustainable living over cheap convenience.

 

Upcycle Leftover Tubs

Every year, someone is guaranteed to give you a box of chocolates or biscuits for Christmas. Is this a British thing? I swear it’s almost compulsory to have a family tin of something, regardless of whether you have kids or not. Either way, thanks to this fabbo blogger, you can magic a tacky-looking tub into something super cute (or chic, depending what finish you go for).

 

Shop at Zero Waste Stores

Photo by Mary W Thomas for Ripple Living, Cardiff.

If you’re lucky enough to live in a city that has a zero-waste store (like we are now, thanks to Ripple Living and Viva Organic), they’ll normally stock all sorts of goods that can be bought as gifts (e.g. handmade soap or reusable cosmetic pads). Check them out! You’ll be doing extra do-goodery by supporting local business whilst helping the planet. 💚

 

 

Consider an Alternative Advent Calendar

View this post on Instagram

As a belated wedding gift, I bought my friend a limited edition Christmas advent calendar from @authentichouseuk . Each day in December, they'll open a treat that'll help them live in a more ethical, sustainable way. 😀 I asked Alice (owner of Authentic House) if she could throw in some extra bits if I rounded up the price, hence the little parcel next to it. . . . If you're looking for tips, products or inspiration on living a more eco-friendly lifestyle, check them out! 🌍💚🐳 www.authentichouse.co.uk . . The advent calendar is already sold out, so register your interest for next year! . . . #christmas #christmaspresent #weddinggift #christmasadventcalendar #adventcalendar #alternativeadventcalendar #authentichouse #authenticchristmas #ecofriendly #ecoadventcalendar #sustainableliving #saveouroceans #SupportingLocalBusinesses #womeninbusiness #noplastic #plasticfree #furoshiki #ecochristmas #ecofriendlychristmas

A post shared by Naomi Hoang (@naomi.hoang) on

Recently, I purchased an advent calendar from Authentic House, which promotes sustainable living in an easy subscription box that’s delivered straight to your door. Each day, you can unravel an item that can either help you swap habits for more eco-friendly ones (such as replacing cling film with beeswax wraps), or an ethical treat for yourself, such as handmade lip balm made by a local producer. The one pictured above was a limited edition piece I bought for a friend as a wedding gift for her and her family. 🙂

…this way, every day leading up to Christmas can feel like…well, Christmas! 🎄

 

Separator

 

That’s all from me! Thanks so much for reading and I hope you have a very Merry Christmas. 😚💕

Naomi xxx