Unexpectedly, the last couple of months have been incredible and all-consuming: I’ve opened a zero-waste online shop!
In April I had an idea, just a daydream at first really, in reaction to yet another plastic-filled party bag my daughter had brought back from school. As a family we have desperately been trying to reduce our plastic footprint in reaction to the overwhelming problem of pollution in our oceans and on land and as I looked at the single-use plastic toys and sweets in her bag, I decided to do something to help parents share birthdays in this lovely kind and generous way – but not at the cost of our environment.
At first I just looked for plastic-free alternatives, but in searching for toys and bags I decided to make these bags really count, not just for the environment and making them vegan-friendly but for the people who make the toys too. Having watched The True Cost movie last year on Netflix, I was sobered and enlightened about the conditions that garment and factory workers endure for our thirst for cheap throwaway goods, as well as the devastating environmental impact. There was no way that if I was going to have a business I would support such inhuman treatment of others. These bags had to be kind to people, kind to the earth and free from animal products. Being vegan to me is about respect, kindness and doing the best you are able to in your own situation. To take accountability for your actions and, if you have the privilege to choose what you spend you money on, to use that blessing to vote for the world you wish for.
The next few weeks were spent on research and building up contacts and trade relationships with some incredibly lovely people. The zero-waste and Fairtrade communities are inspiring, as are the workers who produce the goods and everyone in between “doing things right”. On June 8, with help from my husband who very patiently set up the online shop foundations (technology is not my forte – banging my head and swearing at the screen is more my style!) Plasticfreepartybags.com opened to a very warm and welcoming reception – including features in the Huffington Post, Baby Magazine and VB78 and a shout out from plastic-free superstar Mamalina.co amongst others.
Please pay us a visit online and check out our lovely toys; everything is either made of recycled goods, recyclable itself, reusable or compostable – often handmade and, where applicable, Fairtrade. Each item has a story that can be found in the product descriptions. I am adding new gifts and party bags options and fillers as and when I source ethical suppliers. Coming soon are some wonderful Christmas stockings with a very inspiring story behind them but hey, it’s June, far too early to be talking about that! Watch this space…
Thanks for reading and please share our zero-waste vegan-friendly Fairtrade shop with any eco-conscious friends and family looking to treat little ones to a big bag of fun and kindness!
Big thank you to my lovely mates, as well as James, for helping me get this off the ground. Notably AJ for designing my very cute whale logo (as well as our littlevbigv one), Andrew and Ellis for your marketing knowledge and my dear Dylan for being so encouraging when I first mentioned this “crazy idea”! This is just the start but I wouldn’t or couldn’t have done it without you. Thanks, guys.