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5 easy ways to be more eco-friendly in the kitchen

The news is full of stories about climate change and it can be very frightening.

However if everyone made small changes to their everyday life then it could make a huge difference to the future of our planet. I’m by no means an environmental expert but here are some tips to help make your kitchen a bit more eco-friendly.

1a. Reduce single use plastic – loose fruit and veg

Everyone knows the amount of plastic floating around the oceans and sitting in landfills is super bad news. Once you start thinking about single use plastic you see it everywhere! An easy way to reduce your plastic intake is to buy your fruit and veg loose instead of prepacked. Many of the supermarkets are now offering plastic free choices for their fruit and veg which is great news. Better yet, why not shop at your local greengrocer and support a small business.

eco friendly plastic free shopping

1b. Reduce single use plastic – weigh shop

As well as fruit and veg you can buy all sorts of your store cupboard essentials without plastic. Pasta, rice, dried fruit, spices, pulses and much more can be found at weigh shops. You can bring your own containers to fill up with as much or as little as you need so it helps prevent food waste too. These are popping up all over the country now so keep an eye out for one coming to your town soon. If you live around Newcastle Upon Tyne I recommend Buy the Kilo in Tynemouth (pictured), the Weigh House and Nil Living in the Grainger Market, The Little Refill Shop in Seaham and The Honey Tree in Heaton.

Buy the Kilo eco friendly plastic free shopping

1c. Reduce single use plastic – bring your own containers

It’s great to see that lots of the supermarkets are now encouraging this. Instead of buying prepackaged meats and cheese, you can take your own container to the butcher and deli counter at larger supermarkets. This prevents the use of plastic trays which are difficult to recycle. Plus the choice of cheese at the counter is much bigger than off the shelf, and the meat tastes fantastic.

2. Eco friendly cleaners

Have you ever thought about the amount of harsh chemicals that are released into the environment from cleaners? Or the amount of plastic you have stored in your cleaning cupboard? Thankfully there are now lots of options for more eco friendly cleaning products. One of the biggest names in eco friendly cleaning is Ecover. This brand is widely available and is often found in refillable shops too. I also thought the “doesn’t cost the earth” range by Wilko is good as it’s all made from sustainable plant ingredients and packaged in 100% recycled bottles. Plus their washing up liquid is one of the only washing up liquids that doesn’t irritate my skin.

To reduce waste even more you can fill up your cleaning products at a refill shop. Again these are becoming much more common so you may already have one near you without knowing about it. I use the concentrated cleaning gel from Alternative Stores which is just around the corner from me. You dilute the gel at home with water and a little goes a really long way so it actually works out far cheaper than ready made cleaning products! If you’re in Newcastle Upon Tyne there’s also the One World Shop that offers refills as well as Buy the Kilo, Nil Living and The Little Refill Shop mentioned earlier.

3. Freeze leftovers

The amount of food waste produced in the world is just crazy. Over 1/3 of all food produced globally goes to waste. This is such a simple issue for you to tackle at home. Meal plan what you’re going to eat for the week then just buy the food for those meals and snacks. Then if you have any food left over from your meal don’t throw it out! Use a tupperware or a glass jar to freeze your leftovers for a really quick meal for another day.

4. Find plastic alternatives

Take a look through your kitchen cupboards and fridge. What items could you swap to be packaged in something other than plastic? I’ve switched to milk in returnable glass bottles from a local farmer, cola in cans instead of plastic bottles, and mixer drinks in glass bottles instead of plastic. (For any dark and stormy fans Belvoir’s ginger cordial that comes in a glass bottle is divine.) These were really simple switches that have reduced my plastic use hugely.

Interesting fact about aluminium – did you know that there is no limit to the amount of times aluminium can be recycled? This makes it the most recyclable of all the materials. Plus the energy that’s saved by recycling one aluminium can is enough to power a TV for three hours!

5. Ditch the cling film

Of course I couldn’t make a blog post about an eco friendly kitchen without mentioning beeswax wraps. These fantastic creations have completely changed my kitchen habits. Instead of wrapping bowls and food in cling film, use a beeswax wrap instead.

Cling film can’t be recycled so every piece that was ever made is now sitting in a landfill or polluting our oceans. Beeswax wraps are reusable, much prettier than cling film, and can be composted at the end of their life. To find out more about the beeswax wraps, check out this blog post.

Drawn by Rhiannon beeswax food wraps fabric

You can also take your beeswax wrap to the cheese counter and take your chunk of cheese home wrapped in the lovely fabrics.

To shop the full range of reusable beeswax food wraps, click on the pictures above or click here.

If you have any more tips about how to make your kitchen more eco friendly or if you want to recommend an eco friendly shop near you, comment below!

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Made by hand from start to finish

Rubber duck reusable makeup remover pads being made by hand

At Drawn by Rhiannon everything is done by hand from start to finish.

Every item begins with an image drawn by hand by me which I scan in to the computer to make a digital fabric design. I then make all the items myself on my industrial sewing machine. I also make all the packaging myself, photograph the items and edit them to make them as clear as possible. Finally I list them on my website and write up a description for every item. It really is all done by hand!

To show you what I mean here’s a rundown on how the new rubber duck reusable makeup remover pads were made by hand, step by step. (You can take a look at the finished product on my website here.)

Step 1: Drawings

I love that every fabric I design begins with one of my drawings. I use all sorts of materials to draw with but for the rubber ducks I decided to use promarkers. These pens are brilliant for creating bold graphic designs which was exactly the look I wanted for the ducks. I chose a selection of rubber ducks from my collection (I have almost 100 now!) and started to draw. I initially sketched the ducks in pencil to get a rough outline to work with. Then I went over the lines I was happy with with a black marker and coloured in the shapes. These are the pages from my sketchbook that I scanned in.

Step 2: Digital print design

Once I’m happy with the drawings it’s time to make the digital print design. The drawings always need a bit of cleaning up so I go around the edge of the drawings erasing any fuzzy edges from the scanner. Thanks to the bold line work and colours, the duck drawings scanned in really well and were fairly simple to convert in to digital images. Next I make sure the colours are where I want them to be. For example, some of the ducks had scanned in with bolder colours so I wanted to make sure that the colour depth was even across all the ducks. I never want to over-edit on the computer otherwise the drawings will lose their hand-drawn character. 

I had a good idea in my head about how I wanted the duck print to look which made it easier to arrange the design. Sometimes I’m not sure how I want the finished design to look so it can take a long time to work out a composition that I’m happy with. For the rubber ducks I simply wanted them in lines with a half drop repeat.

Step 3: Making

When I’ve finished the design, I send it to a fabric printing company in London. They print my designs on to the fabrics then send it back to me to be made in to all sorts of different items. 

With the reusable makeup remover pads there are quite a few steps required to make them. First of all I have to cut out the printed fabric and the backing fabric. For the back of the pads I use a soft cotton towelling that I source locally.

 

Once the fabrics are all cut out it’s time to start pinning. About 70% of making anything seems to be pinning!

 

After pinning everything in place I sew the two sides together on the industrial sewing machine. I then topstitch around the whole pad to make sure it’s really secure.

Rubber duck reusable makeup remover pads being made by hand

Then I repeat the whole thing four more times to have a total of five makeup pads per pack. The final stage in the making process is to make the little wash bag that the pads are stored in. I make these with tulle that I buy locally so that you can see which design pads are inside each bag. It’s also a handy little bag to keep for washing the makeup pads in so that they don’t escape and get lost in the wash.

Step 4: Packaging

I include an information tag with the reusable makeup remover pads which also gets made by me. I designed the tag on my computer to include how to use the pads and the cleaning instructions. These tags are then printed on to card and cutout using my cricut machine. The cricut machine saves me a lot of time and cuts a lot more accurately than I would!

Step 5: Photography

Once the makeup pads are made, in their little bags and tied with a tag, they’re ready to be photographed. I do all my product photography myself in my studio. Luckily my studio has nice big windows that let in lots of natural light so as long as the British weather is being kind, I can usually snap some pretty good product shots.

Then it’s just a case of editing the photos to fix the lighting and make sure the colours are true to life. Finally they’re ready to list on the website!

I always write a small section about the inspiration behind the print design for a personal touch and make sure important details such as size and fabric type are listed.

You can see the finished listing here – https://www.drawnbyrhiannon.co.uk/product/reusable-rubber-duck-makeup-remover-pads/

 

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Gift wrap

Adding gift wrap to your order will make your purchase extra special.

There are two options for gift wrap – Christmas gift wrap and other occasion gift wrap. Being eco friendly and using no plastic is very important at Drawn by Rhiannon. All the elements used in these wrapping options are either recyclable or reusable and there’s no plastic to be seen!

Christmas

If you select the Christmas gift wrap option, this is how your item will be wrapped. It features Christmas print kraft paper tied together with red twine and finished off with a festive cinnamon stick and jingle bell. A hand written charity Christmas card will be included so please leave your gift message at checkout. (If you would like to know which charities are being supported this year please get in touch.) Your order can then either be sent to you or it can be delivered directly to the recipient. Just type in whichever address you would like it sending to at checkout.

Other occasions

If your order is for a birthday gift, an anniversary present, a well done surprise or any other occasion, this is the option to choose. Your item will be wrapped in blue kraft paper and tied together with blue polka dot ribbon. A hand written note card will be included so please leave your gift message at checkout. Your order can then either be sent to you or it can be delivered directly to the recipient. Just type in whichever address you would like it sending to at checkout.

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Packaging design – pretty and easy on the environment

Drawn by Rhiannon packaging

Being kind to the environment is very important to me. Because of this I have recently overhauled my packaging to make it more eco-friendly.

If you’re treating yourself to something, it’s even nicer if it arrives in pretty packaging. This is something that I was really focused on when I started the business. I wanted packaging that was pretty and matched my branding too. I chose to wrap orders in blue tissue paper and then layer over the top with polka dot cellophane.

Tissue paper and cellophane packaging
The polka dot cellophane helped orders to match my branding but it can’t be recycled

I loved the effect this created as it felt like you were unwrapping a present when it arrived. So many customers commented on how much they loved it which was great, but the use of cellophane bugged me as it just ends up in the bin.

Blue polka dot packaging mailing bags
I was really excited when I found mailing bags that matched my branding

I also chose to use blue polka dot mailing bags. They’re so much more exciting to receive than a brown jiffy bag and they can be recycled with plastic carrier bags at supermarkets.
However, I discovered that many customers didn’t have easy access to plastic bag recycling points so the mailing bags were also ending up in the bin.

That is a lot of plastic being wasted!

Time for a change

As lovely as the order looked, I wasn’t happy with the environmental impact of the packaging. The first thing that had to go was the cellophane. I wanted to keep the polka dot effect this gave but in a more eco-friendly way.

Blue polka dot paper bags for packaging
The blue polka dot paper bags are spot on!

When I found these blue polka dot paper bags I was so chuffed! They fit the bill perfectly as they match my branding and they’re still pretty to feel like a treat. Unfortunately they only make these in small sizes so the makeup bags, aprons and beeswax wraps still need something to be wrapped in.

Blue polka dot paper packaging
Lovely blue polka dot paper

After a lot of searching, I finally managed to find some blue polka dot wrapping paper that was recyclable. It looks so lovely but due to costs, it’s not feasible to use as every day packaging.

Wrap it up

Gift wrap option
Choose the gift wrap option at checkout for a special treat!

It is however perfect for using for gift wrap! Check out the video below to see how your order will arrive if you select the gift wrap option at checkout.

This may change slightly throughout the year due to availability, and in December your gift wrap order will be wrapped in Christmas paper!

Christmas gift wrap option
In December you can choose to have your order wrapped in Christmas paper

After a lot of research and consideration, I decided to simply wrap the larger items in tissue paper. Tissue paper is made from 100% recycled paper. There is some discussion over whether it can be recycled again, but it can definitely be reused to wrap your own gifts, or it can be composted.

Tissue paper packaging
Simple tissue paper seems to be the best option for larger items

I’ve also swapped the mailing bags for cardboard mailing boxes which can be recycled at home.

I’m always on the look out for more ways to be eco-friendly so if you have any further suggestions on how to improve my packaging, please let me know by commenting below.

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The magical eco-friendly beeswax wraps

Drawn by Rhiannon reusable beeswax food wraps

We all know how important it is to cut down on plastic waste, and using reusable beeswax wraps is a super easy way to get started.

These little beauties not only look fabulous, they’re also really practical and good news for the environment too. Whenever you would use cling film, just use a beeswax wrap instead.

How to use beeswax wraps

By using the warmth of your hands, the wrap will shape around your food and hold in place just like cling film. You can use them to wrap leftovers or snacks, pans and bowls. Just make sure to avoid wrapping hot foods as the heat can melt the wax. Check them out here.

Once you’re finished with the wrap, simply wash it under tepid water with a mild detergent. Hang to dry, then it’s ready to use again. When it has reached the end of its life, simply cut it in to strips and chuck it in the compost bin.

The benefits of beeswax wraps

It’s amazing how much plastic you save by reusing the wraps instead of using single-use cling film. With proper care, each wrap can last up to a year depending on how often you use it.

What’s more, beeswax is naturally anti-bacterial. This means the wraps actually keep your food fresher for longer which prevents food waste too!

The beeswax wraps are available in so many different print designs so there’s really something for everyone. They’re a great way to make yours or your kids packed lunches more fun, and they’ll add a lovely splash of colour to any kitchen. Take a look at the full range here.

Plastic free packaging

Of course I didn’t want to use plastic to package the wraps as that would really defeat the object of using less plastic… so after a lot of research and experimenting I came up with a completely plastic free, fully recyclable paper packaging solution. Please recycle the packaging with your household paper!

Have you used beeswax food wraps yet? Share your opinions about them in the comments below…

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The return of the beeswax wraps

Thanks to all you lovely people who visited the markets before Christmas, the beeswax food wraps sold out! I’m going to be making some more ready for the next market in March but I’d love to get your input on what designs I should make. The bees were the bestseller last year so I’ll definitely be making more of those but what else would you like to see? Any suggestions of new prints I could design to put on the wraps? Let me know by commenting below 🙂

Drawn by Rhiannon reusable beeswax food wraps