• Songbird Botanicals

Good Bye Cotton Bags!

Yesterday evening, a documentary caught my eye, while I was relaxing after getting my daughters to bed. It was called Stacey Dooley Investigates....Fashions Dirty Secrets. Now who doesn't want to know about this? I hold my hands up and be the first to admit, I love fashion. I love looking at peoples Instagram pages filled with beautiful clothes and artful images, but I am aware about how the fast fashions industry is contributing to the damage of our environment. I just wasn't prepared for the actual level of the destruction! It made me cry, I felt sad, heartbroken and defeated, because lets face it, in the fashion world, they make too much money. And that is all its about! How on Earth am I going to help change something that is so big and I am so small. Thankfully, myself and you, can make small changes such as shopping at second hand and vintage stores, selling unwanted items on sites and apps such as Shopck and Ebay, giving away hand me downs, swopping with friends, cutting the materials and using it to make something else.... honestly, the options are endless, you just need to be creative and have fun.

Stacey took us viewers out to the Aral Sea, a lake which lies between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, which started shrinking in the 1960s and is now almost completely dried up due to the high levels of cotton farming needed to make cotton. To put it into perspective, 1,800 gallons of water is needed to grow enough cotton to make just ONE pair of regular jeans. Its mind blowing and terrifying when we think about how many jeans are produced! Why should we use so much water for a pair of trousers when so many people are dying every day because they don't have access to clean, fresh water. Its as basic human right, right?

I try so so hard to ensure that my products are all ethical. Switching from soy wax to rapeseed when I discovered the level of deforestation to produce soy, using only products that are organic where possible and materials that are biodegradable, recyclable and reusable. One of my main prides was using (big sob here) cotton drawstring bags!! I was led to believe by suppliers that this was a great source of eco friendly packaging as it is re-usable. BUT, its cotton! I absolutely do not want my brand to be part of anything that is causing devastation to our planet. The fact that Stacey was driving for over three hours on the sea bed because of cotton farming, which has led to poverty and illness to those who live there makes me feel so sad that I have been using them just to put my candles inside to make them look pretty. Its just not worth it. Nothing is.

So as of today, or maybe last night, but I was way too tired to write this then, I will no longer be using cotton bags as part of my packaging. They will be instead, wrapped prettily in recyclable/biodegradable white paper (you can chuck this in the food waste bin and it will decompose) YAY! It may not look as pretty, but this is something I am definitely willing to sacrifice. I was tempted to switch to boxes, but ya know, that's just more waste again isn't it? And the whole point of Stacey's documentary is to just cut down.

So I have put together some little ideas that you could try/do if you feel like me and want to try and make a little difference. We're heading into another lockdown at the end of this week, and if you're at home and have a bit of time, why not have a big clear out? Here's all the things you could do.

Give unwanted things to charity.

Contact homeless shelters.

Sell on Shpock/Ebay.

Hand them down.

Swop with friends.

If you're really creative, upcycle items to make something new.

Shop with smaller brands whose items are made in the UK.

Shop for eco friendly products.

Stop buying clothes for the sake of being on trend.

Merthyr Tydfil, my home town, is really embracing beautiful new businesses recently that are passionate about being ethical. We have my lovely friend Kimberly of The Pre-Loved Shack, who sells all beautiful pre-loved clothes online and our indoor market has recently added a new shop of all things Vintage, from Georgina of Velvet Sunflower. And my personal little favourite for finding one off, quirky home decor is The British Red Cross Shop, where Andrew always has the most beautiful window displays which brightens our high street.

I have attached links to the shops and hope you all join me on this journey in giving nature a chance to restore itself, before its too late.




Much Love

Zoe, Songbird Botanicals.


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