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Born Eco marketplace

For a lot of us, it can be tricky, if not impossible, accessing the eco-friendly supplies you want locally, whether through lack of options on your local high street, a lack of time to be able to shop locally, or other factors such as mobility issues. And certainly, not least because of a global pandemic. Luckily, there’s a new eco-friendly online marketplace on the block – Born-Eco – that caters to all of your eco needs on one convenient website.

Born-Eco came about when in 2018 founder Ollie travelled to Borneo, an island best known for its beaches and ancient, biodiverse rainforest. Rather than the picture-perfect landscape that Ollie was expecting, he was shocked at the scale of environmental degradation of the island’s rainforests, which have been ravaged by palm oil production. Ollie found Borneo’s famous beaches had also suffered at the hands of humans, with swathes of plastic waste washed up on the island’s beaches.

Wanting to make a tangible change, Ollie came up with the idea of Born-Eco – a play on the name Borneo – where people could easily buy a wide range of eco-friendly goods.

Born-Eco flung open it’s virtual doors in October 2019, and it now acts as a single marketplace platform for sustainable products. It’s grown quickly since October, and there are now over 100 sellers, selling a vast array of eco-friendly products that are searchable by categories such as bathroom or kitchen, or by categories such as vegan or palm oil-free, making it a convenient user-friendly one-stop-shop for buyers. What’s more, all sellers are carefully vetted to make sure that Born-Eco brings you only the best eco-friendly products available.

The eco marketplace isn’t just convenient for buyers: it’s free for sellers, with Born-Eco committed to zero fees for sellers for the rest of 2020. So if you are a seller of handmade eco-friendly goods, then Born-Eco is definitely worth checking out.

Here’s a little peek at what you can find on Born-Eco’s virtual shelves. Some of these products would make an easily postable gift for an eco-conscious friend celebrating a birthday in lockdown.

eco-friendly shop online

Born-Eco’s bestsellers include :

These set of four beeswax wraps (£9.98) for keeping your food fresh without the need for cling film. If beeswax wraps aren’t your thing, I found vegan food wraps at a budget-friendly £2 per wrap.     

This plastic-free scourer (£3.99) as an alternative to plastic kitchen scouring pads.

And these cute recycled glass birds (£6), which would make a lovely gift for someone special.

It’s easy to see why these items are top sellers, not least because of the affordability of the products on Born Eco – it all feels very budget-conscious which I’m sure most people can appreciate right now, more than ever.

I would add the following to my top picks:     

online eco friendly shop

Plastic-free party bag (£5) – this is a clever idea for kids parties – it’s lovely to see alternatives to the traditional party bag out there.

This reusable sandwich bag (£6.50) for lunches and snacks on the go.

And this reusable paperless kitchen towel (£4.50), for a reusable alternative to kitchen paper.

You can visit Born-Eco via their website to check out their full range of eco-friendly homewares, accessories, gifts, and more. You can also check out their really useful blog full of eco news and ideas, and follow along on either Facebook or Instagram.

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Ad | Businesses – Compostable & Sustainable Packaging Is Out There

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Whilst I would rather shop in bricks and mortar shops all of the time, we all shop online, be that out of convenience or necessity. I, personally, live a bit more rurally and don’t always want to do a 20-mile round trip to buy plastic-free toilet paper, so online shopping it often is.

It’s often assumed that online shopping is bad for the environment, but on the contrary, online shopping can, in some cases, be better for the environment than bricks and mortar stores. A 2009 report from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh found that although packaging accounts for 22% of the carbon dioxide emissions of an item purchased online, customer transportation accounts for 65% of emissions when buying the equivalent item at a retail store.

This is concurrent with some research I did for work about 15 years ago, when I worked as a transport policy researcher, that showed that one truck doing many deliveries was more carbon-friendly than many people getting in their individual cars and driving to the shops.

Of course, over those intervening years, online shopping has changed dramatically and there are now caveats to the rule. For example, express shipping cancels out any carbon savings. Meanwhile, making multiple single orders rather than sitting down and making one single order also cancels out the carbon savings. This, in particular, is a relatively new consumer behaviour brought on by the rise of voice-activated devices such as Amazon’s Echo device, that can offer voice-controlled shopping. In short, if you want to be climate-friendly, don’t pick the express shipping option, and consolidate your orders. And of course, the biggest one: not buying stuff that you don’t need.

What about the online shopping packaging?

Whilst in shops you can bring your own bag or your own containers with online shopping there is no escaping the packaging.

I try and reuse all packaging that comes my way – boxes, bubble wrap and padded envelopes for things I’ve sold on eBay; brown packaging paper for wrapping up gifts; and so forth – but even then it would be great if shops could use more sustainable options, because there’s only so many times you can reuse packaging before it ends up in the bin. And don’t get me started on those grey plastic mailer bags that I haven’t found a way to reuse and can’t be recycled. Many online shops still have a long way to go on the packaging front.

Step forward noissue.

Next time a company posts you something in non-recyclable packaging then why not point them in the direction of noissue – a sustainable packaging company aimed at businesses large and small – that also plant trees with every order placed.

noissue didn’t set out to be an environmentally friendly packaging company – the founders were looking at eco friendly packaging for a previous endeavour, and couldn’t find exactly what they wanted, and realising a gap in the market switched focus and founded the company in 2017.

The noissue product that I am most excited about is a 100% compostable mailer, which replaces those pesky non-recyclable grey plastic bags. I’m always skeptical of industrially compostable items as so few of us have access to industrial composting facilities – most local councils won’t take items that are industrial compostable only – but thankfully noissue’s mailer is home compostable, breaking down within 180 days in a domestic composter (including in wormeries).

What I particularly like is that companies can buy in quantities as little as 100, making it accessible for smaller companies as well as larger ones. Too often eco options for businesses are only available at too big a scale for small companies to be able to warrant. noissue believe that sustainable packaging doesn’t have to be unattainable which resonates well with me.

noissue’s other packaging products include custom branded compostable packaging tape and stickers, which are both printed on FSC Certified paper using soy based inks, as opposed to traditional petroleum-based ink.

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Their tape uses a starch-based adhesive which activates when wet, preventing storage issues and avoiding the problem of wax/plastic coating on most other available custom packing tapes.

Their other main offering is custom printed and branded tissue paper. Like noissue’s other products, the tissue is FSC Certified, and all the ink used is soy-based – making this a great eco-friendly packaging option for craft sellers and jewellers. Worried about buying in bulk and then the paper deteriorating over time? All of noissue’s paper is acid-free paper, meaning that it won’t deteriorate or yellow as quickly as conventional paper. From a customer perspective, acid-free paper lasts longer and can be reused more.

Of course, more environmentally friendly packaging won’t save the planet on its own – we all need to be more mindful of our own consumption and stop buying stuff we don’t really need but at least for the things we do need to buy online it’s reassuring to know that better options are out there.