When it comes to living sustainably, you get back what you put in. When it comes to sustainable products, you get what you pay for.

What does sustainable mean?

Let’s start with the definition of sustainable products. These are products that don’t deplete natural, non-renewable resources. Neither do they harm the environment. However, sustainable products should provide social and economic benefits. Therefore, products made from ethical materials that implement sustainable practices in a socially responsible way.

Are they really more expensive?

There’s a general perception amongst many people that sustainable products are more expensive than cheaper alternatives. And for the most part, this is true because products that are more expensive to create are usually more costly to buy. Hold on, as we’ll get to the reasons why that is.

However, this doesn’t mean that sustainable products have to be unaffordable.

Many people struggle to afford the basics. Therefore, some sustainable products can become unaffordable if the price tag is too high.

However, in many cases, it’s cheaper to buy something more expensive of a higher quality that will last longer than a more inferior low-priced product that you will need to replace more often. There’s a well-known saying – ‘Buy cheap, buy twice’, otherwise known as a false economy.

Usually, when you buy cheap, somebody pays an additional price. That could be people in the supply chain treated unjustly or our planet’s longevity, which means we’re all paying.   

It’s important to know the distinction between cheap and inexpensive. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with getting a good deal. We all love one, right? It’s the ‘what’ you buy and ‘where’ that can make a difference. The goal should be to find the right product from the right place and get the best possible deal.

Reasons to buy sustainable products

Let’s take a look at some valid reasons why it pays to buy sustainably.

1. Ethical supply chain

Firstly, let’s consider the supply chain of your product. From manufacturing to distribution, steer clear of companies that use slave labour or force workers to operate in poor conditions with low pay. Sustainable brands implement fair working practices. They also care about the health and wellbeing of their diverse team of employees.

Product tip: Compare cheap chocolate brands that use forced labour with artisan chocolate like Islands that support workers and the environment.

2. Quality materials and ingredients

Check the ingredients and materials for harmful chemicals that could damage you or the environment. Quality products are usually made to last longer and function more effectively.

Product tip: Compare flimsy single-use disposable face masks with multi-layered reusable face coverings made from cotton that will last several months.

3. Packaging and parts

Who else throws their arms up in exasperation when they buy a seemingly sustainable product wrapped in single-use plastic? Waste management across the entire supply chain of a product is vital to reduce plastic pollution and our carbon footprint.

When you’re ready to dispose of your product, remove the parts and recycle responsibly. The same applies to packaging, where some components may be recyclable and others not. If you’re not sure how a product will be packaged and shipped, it’s wise to ask the retailer to reduce plastic packaging.

Product tip: Compare synthetic-based deodorant aerosols with natural deodorant packaged in reusable and recyclable tins.

4. Longevity

After reducing, reusable is the most sustainable way to maintain a circular economy. Such products last longer and therefore will generally be cheaper in the long term. Think quality materials and ingredients that may cost more. Also, consider buying second hand for some products.

Product tip: Compare single-use menstruation products with sustainable period products such as a reusable, non-toxic menstrual cup that can last up to 10 years.

5. Handmade

Buying handmade usually means you’ll be supporting an independent business. You’ll also be purchasing something unique that somebody has put care and attention into making. As well as encouraging craft skills, the carbon footprint of handmade products can be much smaller. This is because there is no need for large factories or long-distance distribution. You can also bet that every time you buy handmade, your maker will do a happy dance!

Product tip: Compare paraffin candles with hand-poured soy candles that burn for longer and have a more potent natural fragrance.

In conclusion, before you buy cheap, think twice. Was the product made ethically, using non-harmful materials or ingredients? Is the packaging excessive and unsustainable? Are you likely to have to replace the product sooner than you expect? Does the seller have core values beyond making money?

Finally, be aware of companies that greenwash – those that deceptively market themselves as sustainable. Labelling a product as compostable doesn’t mean it is. Unfortunately, there are plenty around, so do your research, don’t be afraid to ask questions and do not be misled!

We think buying sustainable products is worth it. Still not sure? Have a browse of our online shop and check out the quality, eco credentials and very affordable prices.


The Jolly Turtle supplies eco-friendly bespoke and pre-packed kits for events, travel, hospitality, and lifestyle, offering a simple and convenient way to shop for all your plastic-free essentials.

Keep sustainability at the heart of your Valentine’s Day celebrations this year with our ethical gift guide.

Why the planet doesn’t love Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is big business but, unfortunately, contributes to a vast amount of unnecessary waste every year. Consequently, all of that waste has an enormously detrimental impact on the environment.

Valentine’s Day is likely to be celebrated by 40 million Brits this year, with an estimated total spend of around £1 billion. That’s a significant drop from 2020, where the average spend and number of people celebrating was much higher.

Unsurprisingly this will be down to the limited options while we’re in lockdown. For example, romantic meals will be restricted to takeaways or cooking at home. Romantic getaways abroad will also have to wait.

But that still means we’ll throw out millions of roses, cards, bottles of bubbles, sweet treats, and tonnes of food waste and unrecycled packaging. As a result, most of this waste will likely end up in landfills or our oceans.

How ethical gifting can help

However, Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a big, expensive commercial affair. It should be about the thought and time you put into making your gift personal, and it doesn’t even have to cost a penny.

Neither does it have to involve single-use plastic that will only end up discarded after use and doomed to a landfill or the oceans.

If you’ve left Valentine’s Day a bit late this year or you’re struggling to find the right ethical gift for your loved one, a friend (or for yourself – after all, we all need some self-love), then this blog post is for you!

We’ve put together a list of our favourite ethical gift ideas that will hopefully make an impact on your loved one without negatively impacting on the planet. Additionally, we give some top tips and fascinating facts about each one.

Whatever you do this Valentine’s Day or Galentine’s Day, don’t give the gift of nothing.

Top 10 ethical gifts

1. The V-Card

First up in our ethical gift card is the V-Card. Unfortunately, many supermarkets sell greeting cards wrapped in plastic, but the good news is that there are plenty of eco-friendly alternatives.

Let’s start with whether you need a card. It shouldn’t be obligatory. How about a handwritten note, or simply telling each other how you feel? However, cards can be special too, so here are some sustainable options.

If your card is made from paper or card, you should recycle it. However, as it takes 8,000 trees to produce 25 million Valentine’s cards, it’s best to opt for cards made from recycled card.

Secondly, avoid cards with glitter, foil, ribbon, and battery-operated audio devices, as these are often difficult to separate from the card and so can’t be recycled.

Thirdly, if you’re feeling creative, you could reuse previous cards or photos to make a new card.

Finally, e-cards are completely zero waste and perfect if you’ve not left yourself enough time to buy or make one in advance.

Top tip: You can find out more about recycling greeting cards from Recycle Nation.

Fascinating fact: Teachers receive the most Valentine’s Day cards, followed by children, mums, wives, then pets.

2. Chocolates

What’s Valentine’s Day without indulging in chocolate? So many choices, yet so much plastic! Not to mention unsustainable palm oil – that nasty ingredient that is the cause of so much deforestation and wildlife displacement and deaths.

Plastic and palm oil aside, child labour and slave labour is, unfortunately, commonplace in the supply chain of sizeable commercial chocolate brands. In other words, avoid this type of chocolate.

Go premium with Fairtrade artisan chocolate like Islands Chocolate, a great sustainable option. It’s vegan, made on family-run cocoa farms, has an ethical supply chain and is wrapped in sustainable packaging. Additionally, it comes with a free Spotify playlist, exclusive to each flavour!

Top tip: Buy dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa if you want to ensure more of your money goes to cocoa farmers.

Fascinating fact: Chocolate is an aphrodisiac and was known as Casanova’s favourite dessert.

3. Flowers

Red roses may look lovely, but they’re not ‘green’. The UK imports 90% of flowers, including red roses, which are not in season in the UK at this time of year.

This year opt for locally grown seasonal flowers and try and buy organic. You’ll support British farms and reduce carbon emissions from air miles and pesticides.

In addition, avoid flowers wrapped in plastic and ask your florist to wrap paper. It looks so much nicer and can be recycled.

Instead of throwing flowers away once they come to the end of their life, you could turn them into something new, like flower crowns, face mist, or add them to candles. There are plenty of other innovative ways to repurpose flowers if you search online. Otherwise, you can pop them in your compost waste.

On the other hand, if you’re not very green-fingered, consider a plant instead of flowers as it should last longer.

Top tip: To preserve your flowers for longer, dissolve three tablespoons of sugar and two tablespoons of white vinegar into the water and cut the stems.

Fascinating fact: 15% of women send themselves flowers on Valentine’s Day. We are all for self-love!

4. Candles

A candle can help create a cosy, romantic atmosphere and is perfect for a special occasion like Valentine’s Day.

However, paraffin wax is the main ingredient used to produce many candles on the market. These types of candles emit toxic pollutants into the air when burning, as they are a by-product of petroleum. As a result, you can imagine what it does to the air in your home.

Therefore, choose a sustainable candle such as Lit Candles, vegan and 100% plastic-free. The natural ingredients ensure a longer lasting fragrance and will burn for up to 50% longer than paraffin wax candles.

Top tip: When you light a new candle for the first time, let it burn enough for the entire top layer to become liquid; otherwise, it won’t burn evenly.

Fascinating fact: Soy wax candles are the only type that is safe for eating and cooking with (although it’s not recommended).

5. Jewellery

Ethical jewellery is about more than Fairtrade materials and conflict-free diamonds. It’s also about ensuring fair wages and working hours, and not using child labour or production methods that pollute the environment.

Etsy is home to thousands of handmade jewellery brands, including second-hand vintage finds. Therefore, it’s great for finding a unique gift. If you’re unsure how it will be packaged, request plastic-free packaging in your delivery.

Are you planning to pop the question? See number 10 on our list!

Top tip: Keep jewellery inside a jewellery box and separate from other jewellery to prevent it from becoming tarnished.

Fascinating fact: Jewellery accounts for 24% of the money spent on Valentine’s Day.

6. Beauty Products

Most of us love a bit of pampering, but we don’t all have the time or money to go to a spa. Pampering is also more difficult as salons have been closed for the best part of a year. So, what better way than to treat your eco-conscious loved one than an affordable, ethical gift box full of lovely natural and organic products that are also plastic-free.

Our Eco Pamper Gift Box makes the perfect Valentine’s gift for a loved one or yourself. It contains five luxury and sustainable products in a beautiful premium gift box that can be reused.

Top tip: You can recycle plastic beauty product packaging (including tubes, lids and caps) from any brand with the Teracycle and Return to Origins recycling programs.

Fascinating fact: It can take almost 1,000 years for the average plastic moisturiser pot to decompose.

7. Organic Alcohol

Getting merry with your other half is a great way to enjoy Valentine’s Day, so how about getting a bottle of your other half’s favourite tipple as a gift? Whether it’s bubbles, wine, spirits, or beer you’re looking for, there are some delicious sustainable options out there.

Drinking champagne, sparkling wine, prosecco, or cava feeds the mind as much as the senses, which is why it is such a popular drink for celebrations. Fortunately, many producers in the Champagne region of France, Great Britain, and Italy are committed to increasing sustainable winegrowing practices.

Whatever you buy, go for organic if you can. Organic alcohol is the most ethical option as it’s grown without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and chemical fertilisers. Consequently, it’s better for your body and the environment. Check out some sustainable options below:

Top tip: When pouring bubbles, hold the glass at an angle; otherwise, more alcohol will escape in the form of air bubbles.

Fascinating fact: Corks popped from champagne or sparkling wine can erupt at up to 60mph, so mind those eyes!

8. Make something

If you genuinely want to show you’ve made an effort this Valentine’s Day, show your love by making something that you know your partner will truly appreciate.

If they love music, how about a mixtape or digital playlist containing tracks that mean the most? This is my personal favourite in our list of ethical gifts.

Alternatively, you could bake some Valentine’s biscuitsjam tarts, or make a special dinner, for example. Or how about a unique massage?

Top tip: If you’re planning to bake or cook, try to get sustainably sourced ingredients not packaged in single-use plastic.

Fascinating fact: The first mixtapes appeared in the mid-1970s in New York City by DJs Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa, who influenced the hip hop movement.

9. Charity Gift

If you want to touch more than one heart this Valentine’s Day, a charity gift is the ultimate generosity. The pandemic has a detrimental impact on charities’ incomes, significantly less than what they budgeted. Therefore, financial support is needed now more than ever.

Whether you want to help build farms, fill classrooms or plant trees, for instance, a charitable gift will give you that warm and fuzzy feeling knowing that you’re helping to change lives around the world for the better. Here are some charitable gift ideas:

Top tip: If you’re not sure which charity to give to, Charity Navigator can help you search for a cause close to your heart that is legally registered, well-established and has a proven track record of success.

Fascinating fact: The total income of all UK charities combined is about £48 billion, about £10 billion less than what Tesco makes.

10. Proposal of Marriage!

The final one in our ethical gift guide, we’re talking about marriage proposals.

Did you know that over one million people will get engaged on Valentine’s Day? Therefore, if you’re waiting for the right time to pop the question, this 14th February could be the perfect date.

Firstly, if you’re looking for the perfect sustainable ring, The Natural Wedding Company has compiled a list of ethical engagement and wedding ring jewellers.

For unique and sustainable ideas for popping the BIG question, we love the idea of a ‘tiny tag book’, where you fill out miniature pages with special messages contained in a gift box.

Additionally, how about making your hopefully soon-to-be fiancé/fiancée a special breakfast in bed with a very memorable cup of tea?

Top tip: If you want to recreate a favourite restaurant or destination where you’d like to have proposed if we weren’t in lockdown, you’ll have to get creative. For instance, you could decorate the area related to that culture, play the relevant music genre, and cook or order a takeaway based on the food.

Fascinating fact: The world record for the most prolonged engagement is 67 years! The couple finally took the plunge and married aged 82.

In conclusion, if you plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, we hope you find our ethical gift guide useful.


The Jolly Turtle supplies eco-friendly bespoke and pre-packed kits for events, travel, hospitality, and lifestyle, offering a simple and convenient way to shop for all your plastic-free essentials.

Going vegan is more than cutting out animal products from your diet. It’s also about choosing not to wear or use products that originate from animals. Vegans have different reasons for adopting this lifestyle choice. It may be because they want to help protect the environment, safeguard animal rights, or adopt a healthier diet.

You may be thinking about dipping your toes into veganism. Or, you may consider yourself a hardcore vegan and want to find even more ways to cut out your consumption of animal-sourced products.

This article explores the negative impact of non-vegan products, focusing on food, fashion, and cosmetics.

Let’s start with a bit of background. Veganism was started in 1944 by the Vegan Society. Since then, it’s become increasingly popular. And this can only be a good thing for people, wildlife, and the planet. After all, there’s no better time than now to consider how we can help create healthier lives for ourselves and our environment.

Veganuary is a time of year when a new wave of eco-conscious consumers take action and go vegan. They do this to reduce their consumption and use of animal-based products. Over 400,000 people signed up to Veganuary in 2020, with more expected to sign up this year.

If you want to try Veganuary this year, sign up here (it’s never too late). The Veganuary website also offers plenty of great tips and recipes to help you on your vegan journey.

But, before you do sign up, check out our top 3 areas where you can make a positive impact by going vegan.

Vegan Food

Firstly, switching to a plant-based diet can positively impact you and our planet. A vegan diet means not eating or drinking any ingredients from animals. For instance, meat, dairy, and eggs.

Going vegan is more straightforward now than it’s ever been. With so many delicious and nutritious vegan recipes and meal subscription plans available, the demand for eating more plants is higher than ever.

If you’re wondering why going vegan is for the planet, let’s have a look at some of the benefits, starting with you.

Plant-based foods lower the risk of health issues such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. In addition, it can improve cardiovascular health.

Avoiding meat and dairy is also healthy for our planet. Plant-based foods have a low carbon footprint, therefore reducing greenhouse emissions significantly. It also cuts down the amount of land needed to farm plant-based foods compared to meat.

Did you know that meat production (especially beef) accounts for more methane emissions than any other source?

However, if you’re not ready to cut out meat and dairy entirely or permanently, consider transitioning to vegan slowly or making some days of the week meat-free.

Interesting fact:

The methane cows produce that causes global warming is from burping, not flatulence, as most people believe.

Vegan Fashion

Vegan clothing, shoes, bags, and other fashion accessories are made from non-animal sources and in a way that does not harm animals. Wearing garments or accessories made from vegan-friendly ingredients means you’ll be protecting animal rights and their welfare.

That means avoiding clothing made using materials such as fur, leather, silk, suede, exotic skins, cashmere, feathers, wool, and animal by-products.

Buying clothes made from vegan-certified brands is the most effective way to ensure no animals were used or harmed in your garment production.

However, be careful you don’t switch to plastics and other harmful toxic materials, as you’ll only be solving one problem and creating another. Examples of this include vegan leather and PVC, which contribute to global warming.

Fortunately, many vegan fashion companies also use ethical production processes and follow carbon-neutral practices. For example, organic cotton and hemp are vegan-friendly materials. Because they contain no plastic and are fully biodegradable, they are, therefore, considered excellent sustainable clothing choices.

Interesting fact:

Some fashion manufacturers use glues derived from animals in their clothing. These consist of boiled animal tissue or bones!

Vegan Cosmetics

Vegan cosmetic products don’t include any animal ingredients or by-products. Look for skincare products, make-up, and brushes that don’t contain these. For example, beeswax, honey, crushed insects, silk powder, animal hair, or any other ingredients derived from animals.

Some cosmetic brands claim to be vegan but are not cruelty-free. Therefore, it’s essential to use brands that do not test on animals. Check out some of the vegan and cruelty-free beauty products we sell. These also contain natural organic ingredients and zero-waste packaging.

You can also visit PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) to find out more about cruelty-free cosmetics and PETA-certified brands.

Interesting fact:

Non-vegan eyeshadows typically contain dye made from crushed and boiled cochineal beetles.


Conclusion

In conclusion, going vegan has many benefits. It helps protect animals, preserve the environment, and above all, it’s healthier for you. Food, fashion, and cosmetics are just some of the areas you can make a positive impact by avoiding animal-derived products.

We’d love to hear how your vegan journey is going and if you have any other tips you can share. Also, let us know which vegan brands you love to use!

The Jolly Turtle supplies eco-friendly bespoke and pre-packed kits for events, travel, hospitality, and lifestyle, offering a simple and convenient way to shop for all your plastic-free essentials.

Whether you loved it or loathed it, 2020 is a year most of us will forever remember. How could we possibly forget COVID-19?

I recently had a vision of my little boys sitting down with their children in maybe 30 years and telling them about the year that will go down in history. The year they spent more time at home than at school. The year they ate more brussel sprouts than times they hugged their grandparents (they don’t like sprouts!). And how almost the entire world shut down at some point.

The impact on people and companies globally was profound and, for many, devastating. As we reflect on the past year, beyond the tragedy and devastation, it’s clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has also generated a tremendous amount of change. It has shaped us in many ways, stimulated a lot of fast-moving innovation, and created new opportunities.

Like many small businesses, The Jolly Turtle didn’t escape the wrath of the pandemic. Our core business serves the events and hospitality industry, so it’s been a challenging economic climate for us. However, we’re fortunate in that we survived.

Sadly, many of the companies we work with didn’t survive beyond 2020 – festivals, hotels, glamping companies, and more. Many more are teetering on the brink, and only time will tell whether they will continue to operate in 2021. To help us stay focused on making a difference, we expanded our product range to accommodate the need for environmentally friendly PPE.

It’s more important than ever to focus on the positives amongst the doom and gloom in times like these. Therefore, as we step into a new year with renewed hope, we reflect on some of the things we’re proud to have achieved in 2020. For us, it’s certainly been a year to remember.

  1. We began 2020 under our previous brand, Pic ‘n’ Mix Festival Kit. In April, just after the first UK lockdown, we rebranded as The Jolly Turtle, launching a shiny new website and several new products at the same time. Our rebrand saw us expand into new sectors, including travel and hotels. Bad timing but unpredicted!
  2. Very quickly, we saw a problem evolving with disposable face masks adding to the plastic waste issue. Therefore, we launched a new range of reusable biodegradable face masks for adults and children. Unsurprisingly, these proved extremely popular with our eco-conscious customers.
  3. We expanded our hygiene product line in May when we introduced our zero-waste hand sanitiser and Eco Hygiene Kit.
  4. We donated money from sales to the NHS Charities National Covid-19 Urgent Appeal. That was on top of our regular donations to our charity partner, Surfers Against Sewage.
  5. In July, we launched a plastic-free PPE face shield, the world’s first to be certified with A Plastic Planet’s Plastic Free Trust Mark.
  6. To help spread awareness of the impact of plastic pollution generated from single-use plastic disposable PPE such as face masks and face shields, we gave a TV interview in September demonstrating our support.
  7. Then lockdown 2.0 happened. Without knowing whether our regular business would resume any time soon, we came up with another plan to expand our customer target base. We decided to go festive in time for Christmas. November saw our Eco Pamper Gift Boxes launch, including new luxury products such as candles, bath salts, chocolate, and our gorgeous seeded greeting cards.

By the end of 2020, we had launched 34 new plastic-free products over the year. Definitely a year to remember for us! Thank you to everyone that has helped keep us going.

2020 has taught us many lessons. There’s no doubt that the world has undergone a considerable transformation. The way people work and live has changed forever, and businesses have learned they need to be more adaptive and resilient than ever to survive.

From an environmental perspective, there have been many positive impacts and more lessons learned. As a result of reduced pollution from manufacturing and transport activities, air quality improved in cities worldwide within weeks. We saw the reintroduction of wildlife habitats that previously had diminished, including the recovery of marine life and ecosystems in the oceans.

This NCBI study gives some more detailed scientific insights into the positive and negative environmental impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s clear that climate change is more critical than ever, and COVID-19 has given us a chance to reflect on how we can live better while minimizing our impact on the planet. 2021 will set a new level of ordinary. We can and should use it as an opportunity to build a more sustainable economy and future for people and the planet.

As we enter a new, more hopeful 2021, we wish our readers a happy and safe New Year. One filled with parties, festivals, holidays, and hugs – all the things we most definitely want to remember! Let’s hope 2021 will be a year to remember, for all the right reasons.

The Jolly Turtle supplies eco-friendly bespoke and pre-packed kits for events, travel, hospitality, and lifestyle, offering a simple and convenient way to shop for all your plastic-free essentials. 

If you’re looking for tips to have an eco-friendly Christmas, look no further than our eco Christmas giving guide. From planning your gifts to buying and wrapping them, there are many opportunities to wow your family and friends with affordable, fabulous planet-positive gifts.

Firstly, let’s start with planning your gift.

Planning your gift

  1. According to a Finder survey, 50% of British people receive unwanted gifts at Christmas, worth about £5 billion! So, don’t be tempted to buy gimmicky or cheap, low-quality presents. Equally, don’t overspend just because you think you need to spend a certain amount. After all, a gift doesn’t have to cost a lot to mean a lot. Therefore, find out what your family and friends want, and if you’re stuck for ideas, consider buying a voucher.
  2. Show your love and appreciation with a homemade gift. If you can make something yourself, you’ll probably save money. Check out this DIY Christmas guide for some inspiration.
  3. If you’re not a creative type or short on time, buying something handmade or customized by another business is equally thoughtful. Try Not On The High Street or Etsy.
  4. Similarly, a gift experience is an excellent alternative to a physical gift, especially after this year. Many people will be eager to get out and experience things in 2021 after spending most of 2020 in lockdown. For instance, think festival tickets, a glamping package, wine tasting, helicopter ride, spa day. The list is endless!
  5. How about giving back your time to do something unique that will be appreciated? Use this gift voucher template to present your gift.
  6. Make a regular or one-off donation to a charity that is close to your gift recipient’s heart.
  7. Can you gift something preloved? After all, vintage and upcycled is well on trend and becoming increasingly popular. Check out Etsy Secondhand for some inspiration or your local charity shops. For something exceptional, 1st Dibs offers a range of premium vintage items.
  8. Christmas is a time of year when plastic pollution skyrockets, producing over 125,000 tonnes of waste sent to landfill. Therefore, search for gifts that aren’t made from virgin single-use plastic or packaged in plastic, and you’ll make a positive difference.
Festival
Festival tickets make a great gift
Gift certificate
Gift vouchers are usually a safe bet

Once you’ve chosen your gift, it’s time to think about where and how you buy it (if you’re not making it yourself).

Buying your gift

  1. Buy from small, independent businesses that need your support more than ever this year. Avoid big corporations with offshore tax-havens and those that don’t pay the proper amount of tax.
  2. Gift with purpose and buy from sustainable businesses that have a goal beyond making profits. Many companies are doing great things for their communities and making a real difference to people and the planet.
  3. Find out whether the gift is ethical. Consider the environmental impact from manufacturing to shipping and working practices.
  4. Ask the seller to limit packaging and not use plastic when wrapping or shipping. You’ll find that most are happy to do this.
  5. Buy as many products as possible in one shipment to reduce carbon emissions and packaging and shipping costs.
  6. Reuse the packaging you receive.
Delivery boxes
Buy products in one go to reduce shipping costs and carbon emissions
Wrapping box
Keep it green with brown paper and string

And finally, the fun part – wrapping and giving your gift. Whether you want to go understated or up your presentation game, there are plenty of eco-friendly ways to gift wrap.

Giving your gift

  1. Avoid using paper with a shiny surface or glitter, as it’s likely to contain plastic. Reusable or recyclable paper such as brown kraft paper can look amazing if you add some twine or eco-friendly ribbon. Even better, use reusable fabric to wrap your gifts and wow those receiving them.
  2. Use natural (and free) foliage collected from outdoors or items in your home to tie to your gifts, such as berries, spruce twigs, or dried orange slices.
  3. Finally, accompany your gift with a seeded greeting card and turn your sentiment into something beautiful and long-lasting.
Gift box foliage
Use natural foliage on your gift wrap
Eco Pamper Gift Box
Plastic-free Eco Pamper Gift Box

Eco Christmas giving ideas we love:

In conclusion, there are so many ways to do sustainable Christmas gifting. Just make a few changes and you’ll make a difference.


If you found our Eco Christmas giving guide useful, check out some of our other eco-friendly guides including:

The Jolly Turtle supplies eco-friendly bespoke and pre-packed kits for events, travel, hospitality, and lifestyle, offering a simple and convenient way to shop for all your plastic-free essentials. 

These eco-friendly tips will help you to save money and reduce your impact on the planet while working from home.

The problem

So, you’ve cut out the commute, and your office building is no longer having to supply all that gas, electricity and water needed to keep you and your colleagues comfortable and able to perform their jobs. Surely, that means less energy, less carbon pollution, and more eco-friendly working conditions? Not so.

Ditching the drive and working from your kitchen table doesn’t necessarily mean we’re using less energy and reducing our impact on the environment. Seasonal factors need to be taken into consideration. For example, the energy needed to heat a large office accommodating 100 people is normally more economical than that needed to heat 50 houses or flats.

The Solution

With a second national lockdown in place at the time of writing, a substantial proportion of the UK population is now working from home full-time. And we’re all spending a lot more time at home generally. So, there’s no better time to create a sustainable working environment that works better for you and the planet.

That’s why we’ve put together this list of 5 eco-friendly tips to create a sustainable working from home environment.

1. Turn your heating down

According to research, the average household energy bill could rise by almost 20% as a result of working from home over autumn and winter. This surge equates to around £52m a week spent more on energy bills across the UK.

However, you can take action to reduce the impact on your bank account and the planet. Throw on an extra layer and reduce the temperature on your thermostat a few degrees. You probably won’t notice the difference but if enough people do the same, we can save huge amounts of energy. Even better, upgrade to a smart thermostat and you’ll save even more.

2. Switch to green energy

Thanks to a recent surge in wind power, almost half of the UK’s electricity is now powered by renewable energy.

If you haven’t yet made the switch to renewable or green energy, now’s a good time to review your tariff.

There’s a misperception amongst many that you’ll have to pay more by switching to a green energy provider. However, there are a lot of affordable green energy plans available and some are cheaper than non-green deals. This is because people are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious and technologies in providing renewable energies are advancing.

Many people assume that green and renewable energy is the same, but it’s not. Green energy is a category of renewable energy. Green energy is more environmentally friendly as the resources do not deplete but power comes from natural sources rather than just being recyclable.

Turn your thermostat down
Wind farms are on the rise

3. Don’t keep devices plugged in

Leaving devices on standby can cost UK households up to £86 per year in unnecessary charges. Unplug your devices (including laptops, printer, mobile phones) when you’re not using them. Even better, invest in a smart power strip that automatically turns devices off when they’re not being used.

To further reduce your devices’ costs, swap your regular incandescent light bulbs for LEDs and you’ll save 40% on energy. They’re a much cheaper option in the long-term and better for the environment. This is because LED bulbs don’t waste the electricity they consume.

4. Limit using office supplies

Before you hit the ‘print’ button, consider whether you need to print out that document? Limiting your printing is a great way to reduce costs and the impact on the planet. When you do need to print, use recycled paper and print double-sided.

As well as going digital, you could also invest in sustainable stationery such as bamboo or refillable pens.

Unplug fully charged devices
Sustainable office furniture

5. Buy sustainable office furniture

When you’re working from home for long hours every day, you’ll want to be as comfortable and productive as possible.

If you’re planning to switch working at the kitchen table with setting up a new home office area, invest in sustainable or second-hand furniture.

Materials such as bamboo, seagrass, and rattan are highly sustainable. This is because they don’t contribute to deforestation. If you’re buying wood, make sure it’s FSC certified, which means its raw materials are renewable and sourced from responsibly managed forests.


Top Tip: Did you know that you may be eligible to claim tax relief if you are required to work from home regularly? Visit GOV.UK to find out if you can get government help towards your bills.

Do you have any other eco-friendly tips for working from home?

If you enjoyed reading this article, you may also find it useful to check out our tips to reduce water waste in your home. Don’t forget to also read about our top sustainable lockdown tips.

The Jolly Turtle supplies eco-friendly bespoke and pre-packed kits for events, travel, hospitality, and lifestyle, offering a simple and convenient way to shop for all your plastic-free essentials. 

Are you looking for some top tricks to hold a ‘spooktastic’ eco-friendly Halloween celebration without polluting the planet?

The problem

It’s that time of year when the supermarket aisles are lined with cheap plastic-manufactured and plastic-wrapped sweets, costumes and decorations. Unfortunately, most of these will get used once and then thrown away, only to end up in landfill or polluting our oceans and beaches. From there, the plastic breaks down over hundreds of years but never truly goes away. It looks unsightly, kills wildlife, and costs billions in clean-up efforts.

The solution

However, it’s easy to get into the spirit of Halloween without creating unnecessary waste. It just takes a bit of thought and organizing. 

Halloween will look and feel very different this year to a lot of people due to Covid-19. For a start, it’s unlikely that trick or treating will be considered safe by national governments.

But it’s still possible to have a ‘fangtastic’ time and keep safe from large group gatherings. Whether you’re planning to hold a virtual costume party, family treasure hunt, or host a spooky movie night at home, this year is a great opportunity to get creative and have fun whilst being mindful of waste.

Are you ready to ditch the synthetic for the sustainable? We give you our top tips and tricks to create an eco-friendly Halloween celebration.

1. Reuse costumes

Halloween costumes are estimated to generate over 2,000 tonnes of plastic waste every year in the UK. That’s equivalent to over 25,000 standard coffins. Eek!

There are so many how-to guides online to help you create a DIY costume and you don’t have to be an expert seamstress to give it a go. If possible, try and reuse what you already have. Can you upcycle that old shirt that’s been through the wash too many times? Rip it, throw it in dirt, or throw pomegranate juice at it. Just a few ideas to transform an outfit fit for a zombie!

If you’re still stuck for ideas using what you already have, think about scouring the charity shops, swap costumes with a friend, or rent a costume instead.

We wrote a whole blog post about eco-friendly costume ideas so check it out for some inspo.

Fun Fact: Halloween costumes were traditionally worn by ancient Celts as a disguise in case they encountered ghosts when leaving the house. This is because they believed ghosts returned to Earth on Halloween. 

Ghost costume
Simple ghost outfit
Making Halloween Costume
DIY costume making

2. Pick your pumpkin

Who wouldn’t prefer to pick their own pumpkin from a pumpkin farm rather than from the local supermarket? Choosing a pumpkin is all part of the build-up to Halloween and by going local, kids will become educated on how pumpkins are grown. Plus, they are cheaper and fresher in comparison to shops and you know your money will go straight into the pockets of the farmer.

So, grab a wheelbarrow and head out to your local pumpkin farm this year for a day out to remember.

Fun Fact: The UK’s largest pick-your-own pumpkin farm is in Newark and has more than 100,000 visitors every year. It’s run by a 20-year old who started growing pumpkins as a hobby when he was 13. 

Pumpkin farm
Pick your own at a pumpkin farm
Child in wheelbarrow with pumpkins
Make it a fun day out with the kids

3. Use pumpkin flesh and seeds

If you’ve ever spent hours carving a pumpkin work of art, you’ll know that it takes a lot of effort to scrape out all that pumpkin flesh and seeds from the inside. It’s a messy job, but it’s not all waste. 

The pulp can be used to make a pumpkin puree or mash. My personal favourite is spiced pumpkin soup, which is perfect for this time of year!

Pumpkin seeds can be reused in several ways. If they’re big enough, large seeds can be replanted to grow into new pumpkins. Smaller seeds can be eaten – just rinse, dry, oil, season and roast for a nutritious tasty snack or sprinkle on top of salads. Check out the BBC’s Good Food guide for a list of pumpkin recipes.

Once you’ve finished with your pumpkin decoration, it can go straight into your compost bin or be used to feed wildlife.

Fun Fact: People once believed that freckles could be removed by spreading a pumpkin paste over the skin!

4. Use plastic-free makeup and glitter

Halloween costumes and make-up go hand in hand. What’s an outfit without a gory face to match in dripping ‘bloody’ paint or bejewelled skeleton eyes? 

Yet so many cosmetic glitters on the market contain microplastics. These are millions of tiny plastic pieces which pollute our seas and our wildlife, creating long-lasting damage. Similarly, most cosmetic paints contain heavy metals and other toxic chemicals that can irritate the skin. Not to mention that they are often packaged in plastic packaging.

But it’s not all doom and gloom as there are so many eco-friendly and creative ways to up your Halloween look with paint and glitter.

Use a natural and vegan face paint made from fair trade organic ingredients. You can get some amazing colourful eyeshadow palettes made by ethical brands.

For glitter, make sure it’s eco-friendly, such as our bio-glitter, which is made from biodegradable film sourced from sustainable tree plantations. All of our glitter is packaged in biodegradable pouches for the ultimate eco sparkly solution.

We’re giving readers of our blog 25% off our bio-glitter and Aloe Vera glitter fix range until 31st October with discount code SPOOKY25. Check out our Poison Ivy and Red Voodoo, which we created especially for Halloween.

Halloween Make-up face
Get creative with glitter and paint
Halloween Face Painting Boy
Use non-toxic, organic face paints

Will you be celebrating Halloween this year? Do you have any other tips to create an eco-friendly Halloween experience?

The Jolly Turtle supplies eco-friendly bespoke and pre-packed kits for events, travel, hospitality, and lifestyle, offering a simple and convenient way to shop for all your plastic-free essentials. 

Do you want to reduce water waste and your energy bills at the same time as protecting the environment? We give you some top tips to help you live a more sustainable lifestyle at home.

Water is a commodity that we all need to survive and one that developed nations take for granted. Therefore, we must find ways to reduce water waste to make it more accessible to those that need it and reduce the impact on the environment.

In the UK, we use on average 150 litres of water per person every day. Think about all the ways we use it around the home – drinking, washing, cleaning, feeding plants. We definitely shouldn’t stop do those things. However, we should all be conscious of just how much we’re using and question whether any is going to waste.

Wasting water impacts the environment in many ways, including damaging the natural ecosystem when we take too much from it.

Reducing water waste will not only help conserve our energy but, if you’re on a water meter, it will reduce your costs too. Investing in a smart water meter is a great way to know exactly how much you’re using, where you can make cuts, and what it’s costing you. Most water companies in the UK will install one for free if you ask.

We’ve done some research and come up with five practical tips to help you reduce water waste.

1. Turn off the tap

The average 10-minute shower uses around 150 litres of water, compared to about 80 litres for a full bath. Also, the longer your shower, the more carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere from the additional energy needed to heat your water tank (which also costs more).

Here are some practical tips you can follow to save water from being unnecessarily wasted down the drain and reduce CO2 emissions.

Don’t forget to turn off the tap when brushing your teeth as this is another great way to reduce water waste. Keeping the tap running for two minutes can waste around 12 litres of water. That’s equivalent to almost 100 litres of water a day for a family of four who brushes morning and night.

Bonus tip: Did you know that showers are better than baths for those without skin conditions? Too much water can strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to irritation. Use a moisturiser to replenish your skin within 30 minutes of having a shower or bath.

2. Use washing machine and dishwasher for full loads

A typical run on a washing machine uses 50 litres of water and is likely the most expensive energy-consuming device you’ll be using at home.

Perhaps question whether you need to put that item you’ve just worn in the laundry basket or whether it can go back in the wardrobe for another day. Is it dirty? Can it be worn again? I often use the fingernail test on my children’s school uniform. If I can scrape off minor marks, it goes back in the school bag!

Over-washing clothing will reduce the lifespan of those items. Therefore, not washing your clothes as often should also save you money if you don’t need to replace them so soon. And buying fewer clothes is another way to protect the environment.

The same applies when washing the dishes. Unless you have a full load of pots and pans to wash, it’s more efficient to either wash up by hand or wait until you have a full load.

If your washing machine or dishwasher has one, use an economy or half-load setting to reduce water waste.

Bonus tip: Washing your clothes inside out at low temperature using a natural laundry detergent will keep them looking new for longer. They clean just as well but won’t fade as fast.

Man loading washing machine
Eco dishwasher

3. Don’t overfill the kettle

Most people in the UK boil more water in their kettles than they use, wasting millions of pounds a year. As a nation of tea drinkers, that’s a lot of water and electricity gone to waste.

Using an energy-saving kettle will help as it should have a guide to show the amount of water needed for the number of cups. Even better, if you can afford it, invest in a boiling water tap, which uses heat-exchange technology to reuse energy. This is ideal for businesses that need to cater to lots of tea drinkers all day as a significant amount of money would be saved on energy bills very quickly.

Bonus tip: Boiling the same water twice can give you a lower quality cup of tea. Reboiling removes the oxygen and nitrogen from water and gives a stronger flavour of undesirable minerals that don’t taste very nice.

4. Reduce toilet flushing

There’s a saying that goes ‘if it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down’.

Flushing the toilet as many times as the average person does every day uses around the same amount of water as you would drink in a month. A lot!

Most modern toilets have a dual flush option so don’t use the full flush unless you need to for number twos. This can save around 66% of water compared to single-flush toilets.

For single-flush toilets, you can fit a plastic bottle or flush bag in your cistern, which collects water from each flush that can be used for the next flush. This can save around 1,500 litres of water a year on average.

Bonus tip: If you do decide to ‘let it mellow if it’s yellow’, make sure you flush at least once a day. Otherwise, the bacteria will create a foul odour and stain your toilet.

Boiling kettle
Washing hands

5. Install a water butt in your garden

Use a water butt to collect rainwater and you’ll save huge amounts of water and money compared to using a hosepipe. Waterwise.com states that the average UK home receives over 21,000 litres of rainwater on its roof. So, more than enough to clean your car and water your garden all year round.

Go one step further and fit a water butt to your bathroom waste pipe to catch all that water from the bath and shower.

Bonus tip: Plants tend to prefer rainwater than tap water. This is because rainwater contains plant-loving nitrates and other organic chemicals. Whilst tap water won’t harm plants, it is more acidic due to the chemicals added during the filtration and refining process.


If you’re serious about cutting back on water waste, use a monitoring tool such as the Home Energy Check (for those in Scotland) to work out how much you’re using now and how much you could save after making changes. The Energy Saving Trust is also a useful resource to find out more about how you can save water at home.

The Jolly Turtle supplies eco-friendly bespoke and pre-packed kits for events, travel, hospitality, and lifestyle, offering a simple and convenient way to shop for all your plastic-free essentials. 

Are you looking for eco-friendly insect repellent? If you are prone to insect bites and want to deter them naturally, we’ve provided some eco-friendly tips that will help you repel mosquitos (and other insect bites).

When it comes to sun protection, natural eco-friendly sunscreen should be everyone’s first choice.

Whether you’ll be out in the UK sunshine (camping, anyone?) or going somewhere hot, you’ll definitely want to think about slapping on some sunscreen to protect your vulnerable skin from prolonged exposure to that beautiful yet dangerous ball of fire in the sky.

But which brand do you use and do you know exactly what you’re putting into your body and into the environment?

If you’re not using a natural eco-friendly sunscreen like Shade Sunscreen SPF25, here are 6 great reasons why you should be.

Shade sunsreen large and small

Reason 1 – Natural ingredients won’t harm your skin

The most common ingredients in chemical sunscreens are…unsurprisingly, chemicals. Chemical-based sunscreens are known to absorb the sun’s harmful UV rays, creating a chemical reaction that disperses those rays through your body and into the air. That means, chemicals (up to 60% of them) are absorbed into your skin and bloodstream, which can cause health issues such as allergies, eczema and even infertility. Because children’s sunscreens have high SPF ratings, they contain higher amounts of chemicals being absorbed into their skins.

Artificial fragrances added to sunscreens can also cause reactions such as reddened skin and watery eyes, especially for those prone to allergies and asthma. You might be surprised to learn that these fragrances can also enter a woman’s milk if breastfeeding, which I’m pretty sure is really bad for babies!

However, unscented and natural eco-friendly sunscreens like Shade actually reflect the sun’s rays, acting like a mirror on the skin, therefore protecting the skin from getting those rays into your body. And because the ingredients are non-toxic, they won’t harm your skin at all.

Reason 2 – Natural ingredients won’t harm the environment

Just as the chemicals in chemical sunscreens are absorbed into the body and dispersed into the air, the same happens in water, except the particles are dispersed into the sea instead. This can cause incredible damage to coral reefs and contribute to the destruction of these beautiful underwater habitats and the marine life that relies on them.

Did you know that Hawaii became the first US state this year to ban the sale of sunscreens containing oxybenzone andoctinoxate, which some scientists claim contribute to coral bleaching? One study found that about 12,000 metric tonnes of sunscreen have been washed into coral reefs. That’s more than The Eiffel Tower weighs!

Natural eco-friendly sunscreens like Shade contain minerals and ingredients that won’t harm the environment.

Reason 3 – They’re immediately effective

Chemical sunscreens take up to 20 minutes before they become effective and start protecting you from the sun. Not ideal, particularly if you want to protect your children’s delicate, young skin straightaway when out in the hot sun.

Natural sunscreens, on the other hand, get to work immediately, forming an instant barrier between your skin and the sun.

Reason 4 – Shade is not packaged in plastic

Most conventional sunscreens, and even a lot of natural sunscreens, are packaged in plastic bottles and if you’ve been watching the news lately or ‘Blue Planet’, you’ll know just how damaging plastic is to the environment. Plastic sticks around forever and if it’s not in landfill, it contaminates our water systems, damaging our precious oceans and wildlife.

Shade is packaged in a recyclable aluminium tin so there’s absolutely no harm to the environment. Going plastic-free is definitely the way forward!

Reason 5 – I can pronounce the ingredients

Personally, I prefer to use products where I can pronounce the ingredients and I know what I’m putting onto my skin and into my body. With ingredients like cinoxate, octyl methoxycinnamate, octorylene, and 4-methylbenzylidene camphor (the list goes on but you get the gist), unless you’re a scientist, you probably won’t know what these are and why they’re in your sunscreen.

Shade Sunscreen contains just four ingredients – coconut oil, beeswax, shea butter, and zinc oxide (the first two being organic). The zinc oxide acts as a sunblock, reflecting the light from the sun and bouncing it away from your skin. Know what you’re putting into your body!

Reason 6 – The travel-sized tin is tiny

The 15ml Shade Sunscreen is less than 4cm in diameter and only 2cm high so perfect for a weekend away or day down at the park. It will fit into a pocket and a small handbag, and only takes up a tiny amount of space in an airport security bag for liquids when flying.

So, which sunscreen will you be choosing this summer? If you love your precious skin and environment, choose an effective and safe product like Shade Sunscreen.

And don’t forget to follow other safety measures when in the sun – cover your body and avoid direct sunlight when the sun is at its strongest between 11am and 3pm.

The Jolly Turtle provides quality bespoke and pre-packed festival kits to festival-goers, offering a simple and convenient way to shop for all your quality festival essentials.