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Your next plastic-free swap: reusable sponges

So you’ve tried reusable beeswax food wraps and reusable makeup pads, but what’s next? Reusable sponges.

Did you know most sponges are actually made of plastic? Every time you use them, tiny bits of plastic are released into the water and make their way into the ocean. Plus once you’re finished with it, it will just sit in a landfill for hundreds of years! All in all not a great way to wash the dishes.

This is where reusable sponges come in.

Panda reusable sponge

What are reusable sponges made of?

Reusable sponges are 100% plastic free! There are two sponges per pack – one scrubby sponge and one soft sponge. Each sponge features a pretty printed cotton side and six layers of bamboo filling. Bamboo is naturally antibacterial and super absorbent so is the perfect centre. The scrubby sponge then has a layer of hessian on top of this (from recycled coffee sacks where possible) and the soft sponge has a layer of cotton towelling. Each sponge has a ribbon loop at the top to hang them up when you’re not using them.

One soft sponge and one scrubby sponge per pack

How do you look after them?

Reusable sponges are designed to last a long time if they’re well cared for. Use them the same as a regular sponge when you’re doing the washing up or cleaning surfaces but remember to hang them up between uses. Reusable sponges are more absorbent than regular sponges so it’s important they are given time to drain properly.

Lighthouse reusable sponge

When they’re ready for a freshen up just chuck them in with a regular load of laundry then hang them out to dry after. They can also be washed in the top drawer of the dishwasher, though they will need extra drying time if cleaned this way. Please note that the printed cotton fabric may begin to fade slightly over time if it’s washed at high temperatures. As the sponges are made of all natural materials, they’re 100% compostable! Once the sponges reach the end of their life, chop them up into strips and add to your compost heap.

Penguin reusable sponge

Sound good? Click the pictures to be taken to the reusable sponges product pages to give them a go!

Banana reusable sponge
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Stay home, stay safe, order online

With all the uncertainty going on at the moment I wanted to update you with what’s happening here.

Drawn by Rhiannon is still open! Everything is carrying on as normal as possible here. Instead of visiting the post office, I will be paying for postage online. Then I can pop your orders straight into the postbox to avoid contact. PLEASE NOTE items are taking longer than usual to arrive due to staff shortages at Royal Mail. The boxes that I send orders in fit through your letterbox so you don’t need to worry about missing your happy post or having to come into contact with a delivery person. Unfortunately international postage is suspended for the time being.

If you’re away from friends and family but want them to know that you’re thinking of them, I can help! Just select the gift wrap option when you add an item to your basket. Then at checkout you can leave a gift message and I’ll add a handwritten note to your order and send it straight to your loved ones.
The blue kraft paper is currently unavailable so until I can get back to the studio, gifts will be wrapped in brown kraft paper instead. They will still be tied with lovely blue polka dot ribbon and fastened with paper tape so it will still be plastic free.

Plus if you live in Beverley I can hand deliver your order for free! Use discount code BEVFREEPOST at checkout to remove the postage charge. Please note this is only available for orders being delivered to Beverley. It will be invalid if the delivery address is not in Beverley.

What’s next for Drawn by Rhiannon?

I’ll be spending the lock-down photographing new items that I’ve made other the past couple of months. These will all be available to buy very soon so keep an eye on the ‘New In’ section on the homepage. There are a few sale items that I don’t have access to right now so I have removed those from the website for the moment to avoid disappointment.

The spring events have either been cancelled or postponed so I will update you once I know more. You can find all the events for later in the year here.

If you have any questions about anything, please get in touch. I’ll be keeping an eye on the developments and update you all if anything changes.

Finally a huge thank you to everyone that is continuing to support Drawn by Rhiannon at this difficult time. Being a small business is hard work at the best of times. With all the spring events being cancelled, online orders are more important than ever. Thank you so much for shopping small 💖

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

If your new year’s resolution is to be more eco-friendly then you might be wondering where to start.

We’ve already discussed 5 easy ways to be more eco-friendly in the kitchen. Now it’s time to tackle the bathroom.

1. Make recycling easier

It might sound obvious but if it’s easier for you to recycle, you’re much more likely to do it. You probably already have a recycling bin in your kitchen but do you have one in your bathroom? All those cardboard toilet rolls and shampoo bottles add up so make sure to stick a recycling bin in your bathroom for easy access. Otherwise those recyclable items might end up in the normal bin headed for landfill…

Add a recycling bin to your bathroom to make it easier to be eco-friendly

2. Try switching to bars

Unless you’re brand new to the eco-friendly way of life you will have heard about shampoo bars. A solid bar of shampoo is roughly the equivalent of 3-4 bottles of shampoo. Just think of all that plastic being saved! These handy bars are growing in popularity so there are plenty of different flavours to choose from now. Find them in your local eco shop or keep an eye out for them appearing in the bigger supermarkets. My personal favourites are The Friendly Soap Company and Alter/native.

Shampoo bars come in all sorts of scents these days

If a shampoo bar is too much of a jump for you, why not switch your hand soap instead? Bars of soap are so easy to find and come in a huge range of different scents. Try to buy ones that are wrapped in card/paper instead of plastic. Bonus points if you support a local or Fairtrade business!

Switching to bars of soap is an easy way to make your bathroom more eco-friendly

2b. Refill your plastic bottles

If bars just aren’t your thing you can still reduce your plastic use in the bathroom by refilling. Take your empty shampoo, conditioner and soap bottles to your local refill station. These are popping up all over the place, usually with Faith in Nature products. (If you’re in Newcastle/North East and want to know where you can refill your bottles, just ask!)

3. Look for plastic free alternatives in the kitchen

Simple changes can be made to make your bathroom entirely plastic free. For example, did you know honey makes fantastic cleanser? I’ve always struggled with eczema but since using honey on my face I’ve had the smoothest skin! Don’t worry about the stickiness, it wipes off with water surprisingly well. Plus it’s so much cheaper than standard cleansers and comes in a glass jar which you can reuse afterwards.

Honey makes a great cleanser alternative

Another foodie swap which surprised me was apple cider vinegar. Strangely it makes a wonderful conditioner and leaves your hair super soft. It’s also handy to use when you first switch to shampoo bars to make the transition easier for your hair. Magically the vinegar smell disappears as your hair dries leaving you with silky smooth locks. If you’re not convinced, this article goes in to the ins and outs of the science of it.

Apple cider vinegar makes a great plastic free alternative to conditioner

4. Zero plastic everyday essentials

An important item to consider going plastic free with is toilet paper. There’s no reason for it to be wrapped in plastic, we all know what toilet paper looks like! There are companies out there providing toilet paper without all the unnecessary plastic packaging. I use Who Gives a Crap – they wrap their rolls in super pretty paper instead of plastic so they’re still nice and hygienic. As well as that, the paper itself is recycled and they give 50% of their profits to help build toilets for people in need of them. You can’t go wrong! (If you want to give them a try, click here to get £5 off your first order over £36)

Look for a more eco-friendly toilet paper option

If you’re using disposable razors it’s really worth swapping to a more eco-friendly alternative. Metal razors are fantastic as you get a much closer shave and you can just replace the blade when it starts to blunt. The initial cost of buying the razor itself is obviously higher than the cheap plastic razors but the replacement blades are super cheap and it’s all recyclable!

Switch your disposable plastic razor to a metal razor

5. Swap makeup wipes for reusable makeup remover pads

Of course I couldn’t write a post about eco-friendly bathroom habits without mentioning reusable makeup remover pads. You may be wondering what’s so bad about makeup wipes; they look like they would naturally break down right? But no, the majority of makeup wipes are actually made of plastic that block drains and fill the oceans once you throw them away. This is why reusable makeup remover pads are a much better option. Not only do they look super pretty, they can be reused over and over again. Just tie them up in their washing bag then chuck them in a 30 degree wash. Check out the full range of makeup pads here.

Reusable makeup remover pads are the perfect addition for an eco-friendly bathroom

I hope that’s given you some ideas for how to make your bathroom more eco-friendly. Which was your favourite tip? Let me know in the comments below.

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Let’s save the planet

Our planet is super important and Drawn by Rhiannon is committed to minimising the environmental impacts that come with running a business.

As lovely as it is to bring wonderful new items in to the world, it’s important these items aren’t causing too much of a negative impact on the environment. Here are the steps that Drawn by Rhiannon is taking to help save the planet.

Designed and handmade in the UK

This isn’t just some catchy tagline. Drawn by Rhiannon is committed to supporting British businesses and reducing transportation pollution. Because of this, keeping everything in the UK just makes sense. All the cotton printed fabric, lining fabrics, thread, and packaging supplies are sourced within 12 miles of Drawn by Rhiannon HQ. Other haberdashery essentials such as zips and D-rings are currently sourced from Birmingham. Ongoing research is being carried out to find a more local supplier for these. And of course, everything is handmade by Rhiannon in her studio in Newcastle Upon Tyne which is powered by 100% renewable energy.

Drawn by Rhiannon industrial sewing machine

Eco friendly fabric printing

Once the fabric has been designed by Rhiannon, the files are sent to a fabric printing company in North Tyneside. The cotton fabric is printed using digital pigment inks. This process of printing requires no water and uses around 95% less energy than screen printing. There is virtually no ink waste and no soapy residues from production. All this helps to reduce the environmental impact and the print quality is fantastic with fab vibrant colours!
Currently the water resistant fabric is printed in London but once a suitable base fabric is sourced this will also be printed in North Tyneside.

Eco friendly fabric printing - Drawn by Rhiannon environmental policies

Reusable products

As well as implementing eco-friendly policies in the running of the business, Drawn by Rhiannon wants to encourage other people to think in a more sustainable way too. Through the eco range of reusable products, Drawn by Rhiannon is offering simple changes that will drastically reduce plastic waste in customers’ homes. Find out more about the reusable beeswax food wraps, the reusable makeup remover pads, and the reusable sponges. Stay tuned for more reusable products being released soon to help you reduce your environmental impact.

Plastic free packaging

It’s lovely to receive some beautifully packaged happy post but not if it’s full of nasty plastic. All the packaging at Drawn by Rhiannon, as well as the gift wrap options, are completely plastic free. Orders are either wrapped in blue polka dot paper bags or blue tissue paper depending on size. Items are then packaged in cardboard mailing boxes, sealed with paper tape. The paper bags and mailing boxes can be reused or put straight in home recycling bins. The tissue paper can be reused or put in a compost bin as it’s biodegradable.

It’s not just the postal packaging that’s zero plastic; all product packaging is also 100% plastic free. The reusable beeswax food wraps are packaged in paper envelopes and the labels are printed on 100% recycled paper. The tags for the reusable makeup remover pads are printed on card and tied with vintage ribbon, and the packaging for the reusable sponges is also plastic free and fully recyclable at home.

Reusable beeswax food wraps

If you have any questions or suggestions about Drawn by Rhiannon’s environmental policies please get in touch. You can use the contact page or social media.

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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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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.